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African American History Month Reading List

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Known as both African-American History Month and Black History Month, February is a time set aside each year to recognize and appreciate the many invaluable contributions of African-Americans to American society and culture. Just as important, it is also a time to pay tribute to “the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society” -AfricanAmericanHistoryMonth.org. To celebrate such an auspicious month, the library has put together a reading list and book display of notable fiction and nonfiction titles.

Click here to learn more about African American History Month.



Here are a few standout titles from our reading list:



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“In this honest and stunning novel, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions-affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.” -Goodreads.com



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“An eloquent, epic firsthand account of the civil rights movement by a man who lived it-an American hero whose courage, vision, and dedication helped change history. The son of an Alabama sharecropper, and now a sixth-term United States Congressman, John Lewis has led an extraordinary life, one that found him at the epicenter of the civil rights movement in the late ’50s and ’60s. As Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Lewis was present at all the major battlefields of the movement. Arrested more than forty times and severely beaten on several occasions, he was one of the youngest yet most courageous leaders.” -Goodreads.com



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“In 1961, Sarah M. Broom’s mother Ivory Mae bought a shotgun house in the then-promising neighborhood of New Orleans East and built her world inside of it. It was the height of the Space Race and the neighborhood was home to a major NASA plant–the postwar optimism seemed assured. Widowed, Ivory Mae remarried Sarah’s father Simon Broom; their combined family would eventually number twelve children. But after Simon died, six months after Sarah’s birth, the Yellow House would become Ivory Mae’s thirteenth and most unruly child.

A book of great ambition, Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home in a neglected area of one of America’s most mythologized cities. This is the story of a mother’s struggle against a house’s entropy, and that of a prodigal daughter who left home only to reckon with the pull that home exerts, even after the Yellow House was wiped off the map after Hurricane Katrina. The Yellow House expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of its lesser known natives, guided deftly by one of its native daughters, to demonstrate how enduring drives of clan, pride, and familial love resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the “Big Easy” of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unparalleled new voice of startling clarity, authority, and power.” Goodreads.com



If you have any questions about putting any of these books on hold, please leave a comment below, call the Reference Desk at 732-873-8700 ext. 111, or message us on our chat service.

Thanks for reading!
-George, FTPL

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