Creation of the 'List'
You may know my focus this Section year is on the generational repercussions of slavery and four centuries of racism and oppression, and our country’s continuing failure to face either that history or its enduring effects.
Part of that failure is educational—our failure to explore,
February, of course, is Black History Month—a conceptual conceit I’m not alone in having problems with. As old as the practice is the joke: why do we celebrate Black History Month in February? Because it’s the shortest month of the year. What is evident every month of every year is the predominance of WASP values in our national consciousness, education, and culture.
Black History Month was launched with good intentions, as “Negro History Week,” by Carter G. Woodson, to encompass the birthdays of two Americans instrumental in relevant history, Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. Woodson never intended it to be a one-week focus, but spoke of
But I am taking advantage of the perhaps presently problematic Black History Month platform to circulate below a “Reading List” relevant to our Section year focus, about which it’s vital to first state a few caveats:
- Very far from being a complete compendium, this selection is intentionally incomplete and intended to be an INVITATION to each of you to add to it relevant books you know of that should be included;
- There are thousands of marvelous, relevant books in similar veins not on this list;
- The books I included are by design:
- a diverse and eclectic variety;
- mostly at least somewhat lesser known, as distinguished from, e.g., Michelle Obama’s “Becoming,” or “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”
Please receive the list in the spirit it is sent—an instigator of conversation, a door cracked open to a big room of discovery—and seize the moment to join that conversation with books of your own relevant to our Section’s focus this year.