10 Books to Educate Yourself on Black History, Culture, and Struggles


SuperShe • 4 months ago

Hi SuperShes,
My name is Aerin, and I am an employee here at SuperShe.

As part of my own research and personal education on Black history, culture, and struggles, I have compiled a list of 10 books by Black authors that I am reading/am going to read in order to better myself as the ally I am trying to be. I want to share my list here with all of you, so that you can also take the time to do the work, read up, and educate yourself on these important issues. Education is power, and education is the start of change.

The SuperShe community needs to work together to be the change, and I want to give you some more tools to get started.
**The links will take you to the website Bookshop, which will help you locate local bookstores near you. Please, when possible, purchase these books from Black-owned bookstores near you to support local Black businesses**

  1. How to Be An Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi.
    It’s not enough to be just “not racist.” You have to be antiracist, and Kendi helps the reader understand this and learn how to change themselves from the inside out accordingly.
  2. Ain’t I a Woman 
    Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks. Hooks analyzes and theorizes about the intersections of oppression – something that many of us (especially non-POC shes) need to learn about.
  3. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
    Coates explores the history of race in America and poses questions about its present and future that are extremely relevant to the current reality in the United States. The book is framed as a letter to his adolescent son, which adds even more to its powerful impact.
  4. Sister Outsider
    Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde. Racism, sexism, homophobia, class, and more are the subjects of the 15 essays and speeches in this collection. Lorde dives into each topic in a raw way, and asserts that our differences are what drive change in the future.
  5. We Live for the We
    The Political Power of Black Motherhood by Dani McClain.
    McClain, a reporter on race, politics, and reproductive health, grapples with how to raise a child in this society that lacks justice and is rampant with racism.
  6. Black Feminist Thought
    Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment by Patricia Hill Collins. Collins explores the thoughts and perspectives of both Black feminist intellectuals and Black women outside the realm of academia, giving a comprehensive examination of Black feminist thought – an intersection of oppression that we as shes need to educate ourselves on.
  7. The New Jim Crow
    Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. Alexander details the ways that the racial caste system in America has evolved over time, not disappeared. This is a crucial read in understanding the systemic racism that the U.S. upholds.
  8. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    All of Morrison’s work is fantastic. This particular book is about the relationship between beauty and race and the obligation to conform. A very important read, especially as shes in a world where so much importance is placed on beauty and conformity to what society deems “beautiful.”
  9. The Miner’s Canary
    Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy by Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres. This book emphasizes an important message that has become even clearer around the world in the past week: the problem of racism must be fought and solved by everyone. It is a problem of our entire society, not just a problem for the Black community. It is everyone’s problem, and it must be solved by everyone.
  10. Citizen:
    An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. This is a book of poetry that tells the story of the increasing racial aggressions in modern day society, from seemingly minor interpersonal slip ups to worldwide news.

This is in no way a comprehensive list of all of the amazing and powerful resources out there, so please, if you have any more recommendations, comment them below.

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