In celebration of Black History Month,  the TWU History Department has recommended a list of books to help us learn about and honour the accomplishments of blacks throughout history and appreciate the diversity of our community.

Each week during the month of February, TWU Library will be highlighting these important and foundational works.

We hope that you will check out these titles!

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
This novel from award-winning author tells the story of two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and the UK, raising universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for identity and a home.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehesi Coates.
This title offers a powerful new framework for understanding American history and current racial crisis. The author attempts to answer racial questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder.

Blackpentecostal Breath:  The Aesthetics of Possibility (ebook) by Ashon T. Crawley.
This tile engages a wide range of critical paradigms from black studies, queer theory, and sound studies to theology, continental philosophy, and performance studies to theorize the ways in which alternative or “otherwise” modes of existence can serve as disruptions against the marginalization of and violence against minoritarian lifeworlds and possibilities for flourishing.

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah.
This title is one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom. This is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist.

The Hanging of Angelique:  Canada, Slavery and the Burning of Montreal by Afua Cooper.
This work re-tells the astonishing story of Marie-Joseph Angélique, a slave woman convicted of starting a fire that destroyed a large part of Montréal in April 1734 and condemned to die a brutal death.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
This novel captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.”

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skoot.
This novel tells the story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more.

So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo.
This title offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy, from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans, has put a media spotlight on racism in our society.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson.
This title chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. The author captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. 

We Should all be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
In this personal, eloquently-argued essay, adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, the author explores what it means to be a woman, and puts forth a rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.