Thank you to Shay De La Cruz Coronado for guest-authoring this blog post! Shay serves as a student representative on the library’s Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Committee. The purchase of the books she highlights was made possible by an SBU Presidential Mini-Grant for Departmental Diversity. We also have available a complete list of the print and electronic books that were bought using these funds.
As we begin this new semester it is important to keep in mind the intersectionality between race, socioeconomic status, gender and able bodiedness. All these books contain stories by black people whose experience vary through the whole diaspora. Reading these stories can help us broaden our understanding and ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.
1) Sounds Like Home: Growing Up Black and Deaf in the South by Mary Herring Wright, 2019 – 20th Anniversary edition (ebook)
Set between the 1920s and 1940s in a North Carolina town, Mary Herring Wright’s Sounds Like Home: Growing Up Black and Deaf in the South encapsulates what it is like to be deaf in a racist society in one of the most tumultuous times in history.
2) Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson, 2015 (ebook)
Now a major motion picture, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption describes the story of Walter McMillian, a falsely convicted young man for a murder and his lawyer Bryan Stevenson’s efforts to overturn his death row conviction.
3) Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers, 2019 (print book)
Hot comb is a coming of age story about a girls first perm and hair struggles of a black young girl growing up in an all black community. the book highlights a lot of struggles black women deal with in society when it comes to hair. Written in comic book form, Ebony Flowers completely encapsulates a black women’s hair journey from a young girl to a grown woman with empathy and strength.
4) What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays by Damon Young, 2019 (print book)
Damon Young’s What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays provides us with a look of the black experience and double consciousness in a modern perspective. His own story about living in the United States of America while black and existing while constantly being judged by the color of his skin is put into an edge-cutting memoir.
5) Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family By Mitchell Jackson, 2019 (ebook)
Beginning and ending with a Letter, Survival Math by Mitchell Jackson depicts his struggles growing up in a predominately black town surrounded by Portland, OR which is one of the whitest cities in America. His memoir depicts his experiences watching his mother struggle with drug addiction, watching some of his friends and loved ones be killed by gangs and even his own experience dealing drugs. The book is a powerful reminder of how hard it is for people in low income communities all across America.
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