Black Lives Matter: 6 Books to Read in the Wake of #Ferguson

December 2 2014

In the wake of the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson last week, Off the Shelf put together a list of some of our favorite books that offer insight on the black experience and history of race relations. In the days after the announcement was made, we couldn’t help but notice and admire the Ferguson’s Library’s decision to stay open, amid area protests and riots, to serve its community. Knowledge is power, so we’re taking a page from the library’s book and encouraging everyone to read any/all of these important books on race in America.

 

Native Son
by Richard Wright

Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.

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Native Son
Richard Wright

Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

MENTIONED IN:

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Close
Black Like Me
by John Howard Griffin

A mid-century classic on race, Black Like Me is the true account of the authors' six-week experience travelling on Greyhound buses (occasionally hitchhiking) throughout the racially segregated states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia passing as a black man. He trudged southern streets searching for a place where he could eat or rest, looking vainly for a job other than menial labor, feeling the "hate stare". Black Like Me is a groundbreaking and controversial book.

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo
Black Like Me
John Howard Griffin

A mid-century classic on race, Black Like Me is the true account of the authors' six-week experience travelling on Greyhound buses (occasionally hitchhiking) throughout the racially segregated states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia passing as a black man. He trudged southern streets searching for a place where he could eat or rest, looking vainly for a job other than menial labor, feeling the "hate stare". Black Like Me is a groundbreaking and controversial book.

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

MENTIONED IN:

9 Festive Books We Always Read to Get Into the Holiday Spirit

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 1, 2020

The 10 Most Popular Books We Escaped Into This November

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 30, 2020

A WWII Historical Novel of Hope and Resistance to Light Up the Darkness

By Holly Claytor | November 27, 2020

10 Family Novels as Warm and Fuzzy as Your Favorite Sweater

By Maddie Ehrenreich | November 26, 2020

Readers’ Choice: The 10 Best Book Recommendations You’ve Ever Received

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Close
The New Jim Crow
Michelle Alexander

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

MENTIONED IN:

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Close
The History of White People
by Nell Irvin Painter

Telling perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history, eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter guides us through more than two thousand years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but also the frequent praise of “whiteness” for economic, scientific, and political ends. A story filled with towering historical figures, The History of White People closes a huge gap in literature that has long focused on the non-white and forcefully reminds us that the concept of “race” is an all-too-human invention whose meaning, importance, and reality have changed as it has been driven by a long and rich history of events.

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo
The History of White People
Nell Irvin Painter

Telling perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history, eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter guides us through more than two thousand years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but also the frequent praise of “whiteness” for economic, scientific, and political ends. A story filled with towering historical figures, The History of White People closes a huge gap in literature that has long focused on the non-white and forcefully reminds us that the concept of “race” is an all-too-human invention whose meaning, importance, and reality have changed as it has been driven by a long and rich history of events.

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

MENTIONED IN:

9 Festive Books We Always Read to Get Into the Holiday Spirit

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 1, 2020

The 10 Most Popular Books We Escaped Into This November

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 30, 2020

A WWII Historical Novel of Hope and Resistance to Light Up the Darkness

By Holly Claytor | November 27, 2020

10 Family Novels as Warm and Fuzzy as Your Favorite Sweater

By Maddie Ehrenreich | November 26, 2020

Readers’ Choice: The 10 Best Book Recommendations You’ve Ever Received

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 25, 2020

5 Workplace Thrillers to Make You Miss Your Office (or Not!)

By Maddie Ehrenreich | November 24, 2020

Close
Invisible Man
by Ralph Ellison

A milestone in American literature, this novel has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. Ralph Ellison was awarded in 1969.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo
Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison

A milestone in American literature, this novel has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. Ralph Ellison was awarded in 1969.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

MENTIONED IN:

9 Festive Books We Always Read to Get Into the Holiday Spirit

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 1, 2020

The 10 Most Popular Books We Escaped Into This November

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 30, 2020

A WWII Historical Novel of Hope and Resistance to Light Up the Darkness

By Holly Claytor | November 27, 2020

10 Family Novels as Warm and Fuzzy as Your Favorite Sweater

By Maddie Ehrenreich | November 26, 2020

Readers’ Choice: The 10 Best Book Recommendations You’ve Ever Received

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 25, 2020

5 Workplace Thrillers to Make You Miss Your Office (or Not!)

By Maddie Ehrenreich | November 24, 2020

Close

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