“Stamped from the Beginning” by Ibram X. Kendi provides a history of America’s racist ideas. Organized into five sections, the book tells the history of not just Black people in America but also how racist ideologies developed over time. This history is also viewed through the lens of categorizing people, events, and concepts into three positions on a spectrum ranging from racist to anti-racist. Of particular interest are explanations of the nuance of items that fall in the middle.
Category: <span>Book Reviews</span>
“Go Tell It on the Mountain” by James Baldwin is a 1953 novel that is based on Baldwin’s life but is not an autobiography. Instead, the story follows a day in the life of John Grimes, a 14-year-old boy growing up in Harlem. The book explores John’s life in the present which includes his relationship with his family and church. But the pasts of the three adults in John’s life, how they intertwined and made them the people they are in the present, are also explored.
“Things That Make White People Uncomfortable” is a memoir by NFL defensive end Michael Bennett. As expected, Bennett discusses his early life along with the pros and cons of playing collegiate and professional football. But less expected is Bennett’s frank discussion of topics related to race, violence against women, sexism, mental health, identity, and male vulnerability.
“Sugar” by Bernice McFadden is the story of a world-weary prostitute who moves to a small town in Arkansas and forms an unlikely and transformational friendship with her neighbor. Sugar Lacey arrives in Bigelow, Arkansas looking for, if not change, then a break from her life. Strutting into town sporting makeup, wigs, high heels, and vibrant big city clothing makes the local women uncomfortable with Sugar’s presence. But one woman, Pearl Taylor, makes it her duty to befriend Sugar when she moves into the house next door.
“Black Fortunes” by Shomari Wills tells the story of the first six Black Americans who became millionaires in the years following slavery. It serves as a mini-biography for each individual, giving insight into their early life and then detailing the path they took to accumulate their wealth. For the most part, the book linearly tells each person’s story but jumps back and forth between the subjects as the book moves through the years.