The annual Black History Month, a 29-day commemoration honoring the history of Black Americans and the challenges they have faced, is upon us again. It is important during this time of the year to reflect on education about the history and social issues involving race, diversity, and discrimination. OCA presents to the NYU Shanghai community five of the most critically acclaimed novels to learn about the Month and what it aims to highlight.
Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America
By Michael Eric Dyson
A sermon to call for change, this book argues that progress in racial issues can only be obtained by coming to terms with difficult truths, including the fact that the challenges and grievances of Black Americans have often been ignored or dismissed.
By Darryl Pinckney
Focusing on the lives of upper-class blacks, High Cotton discusses the burden of “double consciousness” on an educated black person. The protagonist’s childhood and professional life is traced with relation to his identity issues.
The Hate U Give
By Angie Thomas
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement, this novel traces the experiences of Starr, the only witness of her unarmed best friend’s murder by a fatal police shooting. Issues highlighted include police brutality, the role of media and society, and justice.
Piecing Me Together
By Renee Watson
Written from the perspective of a 16-year old African-American girl studying in a predominantly white school, this book brings to light the “pity” often faced by people of color in society furthered by the thought that they need to “saved.”
By Paul Beatty
The Sellout is about a young black man who continues segregation and slavery and is eventually taken to the Supreme Court. This satirical novel touches on racial issues related to the Constitution of the United States, the civil rights movement, and equality.
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Illustration Credit: Arshaun Darabnia, Goodreads