This book list is a place to start if you’re interested in 1) learning more about Juneteenth and it’s significance in American history 2) encountering African American/Black experience in the US 3) expanding your own understanding of American history and the racist systems/ideals/policies that have kept and continue to keep black and brown people at an economic and social disadvantage in the US and finally 4) examining your own racist bias and learning steps you can take to help alleviate racism from your own attitudes/assumptions as well as society at-large.
-Learn about Juneteenth and its significance in American History
This is a short and sweet introduction to ‘Juneteenth’ written by a native Texan who grew up celebrating Juneteenth every year with her family.
-Encounter the African American/Black experience in the US
This book blew me away! Isabel Wilkerson follows the stories of three different people/families as they migrate from the South to the North over nearly 50 years. These histories are poignant and brilliantly told by Wilkerson.
This anthology (volume of short essays/stories) will make you laugh, cry, scream at the injustice, and generally feel ‘all the feels.’ This one will change how you understand ‘what it means to be black in America.’
Calling all poetry lovers (and newbies) Amanda Gorman’s collection of poetry touches on various topics including the black experience both past and present as well as living through COVID-19, and finding peace during a tumultuous economic and political era.
-Expand your understanding of American history and racist systems/ideals/policies
An absolute ‘must read’ for Juneteenth!! While this one is a bit of a commitment at nearly 600 pages in length…it is time well spent. There is no better subtitle for this book, it is: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.
If you love biographies then this one is for you! Blight utilizes Douglass’ own writings to give the reader insight into Fredrick Douglass’ life, motivations, and experience as both enslaved and free in 19th century America.
This ethnology was written by the literary icon, Zora Neale Hurston and is the perfect Juneteenth read for those who want to learn American history but cannot invest the time required to read a 600+ page tome.
-Examine your own racist bias and learn steps you can take to help alleviate racism
This book will force you to re-frame your understanding of racism in America and Ibram X. Kendi explains how we all perpetuate racist attitudes and ideas. Thankfully, Kendi also proposes useful strategies for being an anti-racist and how these methods have the potential to change the world.