by Kenney Dennard
Many of us let Black History Month come and go thinking about it very little. The month should not be just for children in school. To be honest, they aren’t even taught much on the subject. Many schools don’t make a teacher teach Black History. History books don’t have a chapter on Black History. At most, your child may be asked to do a book report on someone of African descent. Here are some excellent choices for adults as well as teenagers. Don’t just support Black History in thought. Read Black History. Teach Black History.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Malcolm knew he would die at any moment before he was killed. He also knew his life and legacy would be misconstrued. Both assumptions came true. He did two things to prepare for his death which was right around the corner. He told his biographer Alex Haley the absolute truth about his life and The Nation of Islam, (He had been in the midst of doing the book, but had held back information. ) He then made sure that all the proceeds made from this book would go to his family instead of The Nation of Islam. (It was all he had to leave them and they still get paid from it today.)
The autobiography chronicles Malcolm’s life and the three major phases he went through. From street hustler to lead speaker of Nation of Islam to his life post Mecca when he began to transition to El Hajj Malik El Shabazz and start his own organization, the OAAU, Organization of African American Unity. This book takes you through each step, with Malcolm specifically detailing each phase of his life, giving very important messages for Blacks, still very much relevant today.
The Wealth Choice
It’s no secret that over the last few years hard times have struck the African American community even harder than most. Kimbro observes how the weight of the continuing housing and credit crisis disproportionately impacts the Black Community. In doing so, he takes a hard look at a carefully cultivated group of individuals who’ve scaled the heights of success and how others emulate them.
Based on a 7 year study of 1,000 of the wealthiest African Americans, The Wealth Choice offers surprising advice about climbing the economic ladder even when the odds are stacked against you. Bob Johnson, Herman Cain, Spike Lee, T.D. Jakes, L.A. Reid and Tyrese Gibson are just a few of the names interviewed for this book.
The Miseducation of the Negro
Carter G Woodson
The founder of Black History Month, Carter G Woodson saw it way back then. Woodson took note in the early 1900s how Blacks were being taught in schools. He never thought being taught under the ex slave owners curriculum would ever benifit former slaves. Woodson felt that African Americans of his day were being culturally indoctrinated, rather than taught. He claimed that this conditioning causes African Americans to become dependent and seek out inferior places in the greater society of which they are a part of. Sadly, the book is still very much relevant today.
The Endangered Black Family, Coping with the Unisexualization and Coming Extintion of the Black Race
Nathan Hare, PH.D
Written in the early 80s, this author took note then of the shrinking number of African Americans getting married and starting single family homes. He traced the problem back to Margaret Sanger and popular Eugenics of her time in the early and mid 1900s who spent their careers focusing on population control, especially in the Black Community. Sanger’s main contribution was the founding of Planned Parenthood which can now be found in mostly Black and Latino neighborhoods. Sanger and other Eugenics of her day got support from many that would not go on record with their support; even presidents of the United States. This book takes a serious look at many of the problems plaguing the Black family structure then as well as today.
Callus on My Soul
This is an autobiography of comedian and activist Dick Gregory. Amazingly, in his early life, during the 60s as a young comedian Gregory befriended Civil Rights activists Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King as well as President John F Kennedy. He was constantly asked to come speak at each of their functions. The comedian walks us through each remarkable story and explains how he went from being a comedian to activist. Callus on My Soul also details Gregory’s brief stint at running for President of the United States. It also chronicles his fasting to stop hunger and his jogging across the country to bring awareness.
Manchild in the Promised Land
This autobiographical book takes us through the life of Claude Brown. Brown and his family left the Carolinas in the 1930s, when Claude was around 8, to escape share cropping and Jim Crow. They arrived in Harlem, NY, where Claude came to realize was not a step up. He saw it later as running from one beast to another. Brown began skipping school, stealing, doing and selling marijuana and then noticing how no matter how hard he, his family and community tried, Blacks seemed destined to fail. He especially noticed this as heroine came into Harlem and ruined families with violence, prostitution and death.
To Be Loved
Berry Gordy Jr
This is Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr’s life in his own words. After years and years of bad press and artists filing lawsuits against he and the company he built from a 900 dollar loan from his family, Berry decided to set the record straight in the 1990’s. This book takes us from his days as a child in Detroit to his days in the boxing ring to working on the assembly line for General Moters. Finally, walking off the lot, Berry decided to follow his heart, writing songs and music.
His is an incredible journey starting with his days of writing songs for Jackie Wilson and the befriending Smokey Robinson after watching he and his group The Miricles lose at a talent show. That friendship would pull the two together as Owner and President of Motown Records, ushering in talents such as Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Rick James, DeBarge, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 and many, many others. It was an incredible journey!
Brainwashed, Challenging the myth of Black Inferiority
According ro Burrell, too many in Black America are still walking around in the wilderness. In this powerful examination of “the greatest propaganda campaign of all time,” - The masterful marketing of Black inferiority, Burrell proposes 10 questions that will make you look in the mirror and ask why some 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation so many Blacks still think and act like slaves. He explores popular culture of Blacks in music, movies and television, and how we are perceived, received and marketed around the world.
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