Best Books for Black Men

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Best Books for Black Men

No matter what ethnic community you belong to, we are all bound with a single bond, we are “readers”, who engage in reading thousands of pages to discover what the author wants to tell. The power of “pen and paper” is incomparable, it can take people to and fro amidst times and places, and can change thoughts, actions, and even lives.

Since we are talking about books that must be read by men of African American descent, undoubtedly, there are thousands of them written by authors who are themselves Black and have inspired, moved, motivated, touched millions with their works. If you are looking for some good books to read.

Here are some of the best books that totally deserve a place on your bookshelves.

1. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colour-blindness by Michelle Alexander

 The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colour-blindness by Michelle Alexander

Must-read non-fiction on Racism and the history of blacks, that records real events, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander will take you back and forth to the past and present. While working for the American Civil Liberties Union, Michelle Alexander witnessed the racial bias that still prevails in the Criminal Justice System against second-class citizens, mainly the blacks. This unethical bias reminds Alexander of the Jim Crow Laws that prevailed in South America during the 19th and early 20th centuries, that meted out inhuman treatment to African Americans. Alexander notices that this racial bias marginalizes colored races still in the 21st century, and hopes to present the true picture to the world.

Alexander begins with the history of racism that strongly dominated America, and how millions of people were painfully affected by its evils. She explores the “Jim Crow Laws” and the consequences it brought to the people to the present day scenario where racism still plays a role in judgment, there still remains a difference, a sense of hatred and inequality. From Civil Rights, racial segregation, to witnessing the evils of the past still in relevance, Alexander takes readers on a shocking journey that unveils the truth of modern American Society.

2. Reach: 40 Black Men Speaking On Living, Leading and Succeeding by Ben Jealous and Trabian Shorters

Reach: 40 Black Men Speaking On Living, Leading and Succeeding by Ben Jealous and Trabian Shorters

Reach 40 is a must-read especially for those youths who are of African American descent, for it records powerful stories from the most successful Black men, who proved everything is possible, and race does not define talents.

Covering first-person accounts from powerful and popular figures like Rev. Al Sharpton, John Legend, Isiah Thomas, Bill T. Jones, Louis Gossett, Jr., and Talib Kweli, who are successful organizers, businessmen, religious leaders, philanthropists, celebrities, and educators, and reveal their journey of becoming who they are today. A book that is a must-have to feel motivated, and instills more confidence into your lives, Reach 40 should reach out to all young, aspiring, Black men.

3. Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah a popular figure of America mostly recognized worldwide for his stand-up comedy, and comedy shows bring a series of stories from his South African childhood to the world.

From South Africa to the desk of “Daily Show”, the most popular show of America, Trevor’s Born a Crime reveals the story of his life, how he was kept indoors by his parents fearing punishment (since the union of whites and blacks in South Africa was then punishable), and how he came to be the person he is today. Years later, when Trevor and his mother made up their minds to live a free life, his life began to change gradually. From a fearful child to a young man searching for purpose in life, Trevor’s journey of becoming a popular figure is dramatic, hilarious, sad and heart-touching at the same time. Trevor’s intriguing stories of boyhood to manhood and to the path of hall of fame are a treat for readers.

4. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
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Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is an epic milestone of African American Literature and is a bestselling novel published in the year 1952. A novel that features an unnamed narrator, and whose style was inspired from T.S. Eliot’s  The Waste Land, James Joyce, and Dostoevsky, focuses on the life of a negro in America who feels “invisible” while traveling across the country. From the hellish levels of American intolerance and cultural blindness to his question of existence, the unnamed narrator has so much to tell to the world through his captivating narration. This novel by Ralph Ellison is undoubtedly a must-read if you want to dive deep into African American History.

5. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
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A National Bestselling novel, The Nickel Boys became an instant hit among readers for featuring the story of a young, black boy, unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy.

Elwood Curtis is found trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors, Nickel Academy is a living hell, one must avoid troubles to stay alive. Featuring the history of CivilRights, through the character of Elmwood, who is inspired by the speech of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart, he is desperate to fight for his rights. But things are not easy as they seem, black boys in the Jim Crow South of the mid-1960s do not have much freedom to make one’s decisions. Will Elmwood be able to bring a change? There are so many heart-touching events in the novel that depicts the true history of America.

6. The Sellout by Paul Beatty

The Sellout by Paul Beatty
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A satirical and biographical work of Paul Beatty, The Sellout features modern issues of Racism, that is presented with a comic touch. From reflecting on his own experiences to taking Racism to a macrocosmic issue that still prevails in the modern world, Beatty engages readers with his dark humor and depicts a true picture of the country. A must-read for Black men, The Sellout will undoubtedly be an entertaining read.

7. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
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Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad is a New York Times Bestseller, winner of Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, that chronicles the adventure of a young slave and her quest towards freedom. A plot that is truly captivating, revolves around the life of Cora, a slave on the cotton plantation of Georgia, who is among those many slaves working tirelessly under the command of the White Masters.

Life is a living hell for Cora and her fellow slave workers, she is coming into age and afraid of many things that might come with it. But when a new, young slave arrives on the plantation from Virginia, he interacts with Cora and secretly discloses to her about the “Underground Railroad”. Cora and the young slave manage to escape, but things don’t go as they have perceived them to be, will they be able to escape? Will they succeed to head North and be free? This novel is a lot more interesting than you can think. A must-read for all, Whitehead’s novel will win all hearts and become the favorites of many.

8. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
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The Warmth Of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson is a deeply moving novel that features the era of “Great Migration” between 1914-70, where the African Americans after years of painful struggle began moving from the South to the Northern and Western states of America. Moving out from the racism and painful past of Jim Crow South, Wilkerson portrays the story of three individuals- Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, George Swanson Starling, and Robert Pershing Foster, who take readers to the historical times.

Ida Mae was a sharecropper’s wife who fled to Chicago from Mississippi, George managed to escape from a notorious Sheriff and came to Harlem, New York whereas Robert a former Army Captain and Doctor escapes to Los Angeles from Louisiana to chase his “American Dream”. Although these individuals are strangers to each other, they unknowingly share a connection, all of them escape the South in search of freedom, and a “dream” of a better tomorrow. Wilkerson beautifully pens events, past and present incidents of these characters that give readers a complete view of the times of migration and struggle of blacks in a white dominating America. A novel that will touch readers emotionally, and perhaps connect with them somewhere, because we all seek freedom in some part of our lives.

9. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
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A real-life story penned by Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption takes readers into deeper insight into a case that brings out many dark truths of the American Society. Stevenson in his novel depicts how he had come to get attached with criminal defense law and defending death row prisoners, and how it had led him to discover some ugly truths. Stevenson records how he had come to a realization that the American Judicial system punishes poor citizens more severely than the rich. This realization he depicts clearly with a case of Walter McMillian, a black man who is wrongly accused of the murder of a white woman and is sentenced to death row.

Stevenson links Walter’s punishment to the racial history of America, and how its effect still remains under the judicial system. While focusing on the case of Walter, Stevenson also introduces other gruesome cases simultaneously, to provide a better picture of his causes. Will Stevenson be able to save an innocent convict like Walter? Will he be able to bring changes to the system and society as a whole? The readers will discover answers to these questions in the novel.

10. Between the World And Me Ta- Nehisi Coates

Between the World And Me Ta- Nehisi Coates
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A powerful book, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between The World And Me is a letter to his 15-year-old son Samori, who paves a way for him to tell how to live with a black body in a White dominant world. From recalling his personal experiences to intellectual development, Coates weaves them all in his plot to make it a powerful book of advice from a father to his son, who is coming-of-age.

While describing his own experiences as a child, a young adult, and a father, Coates brings out many prevalent racial issues, the marginalization of minorities in America, and many other truths of his life. It was when Coates got into HowardUniversity, he went through an intellectual awakening while studying Black authors and Black History. This book no doubt is very important for it records the racial history of African Americans in the United States, and on the other hand serves as one of the best, deeply personal books of advice for the young generation.

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.