Dear Black Reader,
Who are you? Who are you as a person? What makes you unique? What makes you special? What gifts did God give you that you can hone in on, develop, and turn into something that you can share with the world? What makes you mad? What makes you happy? Are you quiet and shy? Are you loud and outgoing?
Whoever you are, you like to read. Or maybe you think you don’t like to read (I personally believe everyone likes to read) and you came to this site for suggestions for books that you may want to check out for yourself or somebody else. That’s great. I hope that you find something that you find interesting. But beyond that I hope that you find out who you are.
This site obviously can’t help you answer the question of who you are as an individual, but maybe it can help you find out “who you are” as a black member in this society.
I grew up in a pro-black family. In my family, to be black was beautiful, to be black was to be smart, and to be black was to be a community. To be pro-black wasn’t to say it, in fact nobody in my family has ever described us as such. It is what we were. It is a state of mind, it is a state of being. We looked out for each other; whenever we saw another black person we were taught to acknowledge them, to attend black schools, have black friends, and buy black. However it also meant knowing what we were capable of and empowering ourselves, and we did that – with books.
When I was nine, my mom began making me read stories about Nat Turner and Toussaint L’overture’s slave revolts and about powerful black women in history such as Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Shirley Chisholm. When I grew older and found out that many MANY black folks hadn’t grown up with such a positive view of blackness as I had and that much of the hate that they were taught in regard to their blackness came from the very people that looked like them, I was sad. I didn’t understand how anyone could possibly look at being blackness and believe that it was something to be considered ugly, or that it equated to being dumb. I didn’t even know that to be dark-skinned was meant to be ugly (and yes I am dark-skinned) because I understood that colorism was something that was imposed on black people by “others” during slavery, but who would listen to an “other” in this day in age? To combat that idea, I decided to start this blog because of my love for my blackness and my love for books.
Our lives and literature have been documented since our ancestors first arrived to America. And while this blog will only be reviewing contemporary books, we will still be posting quotes and information from and about authors past and present We will feature information from all walks of life, from Toni Morrison to Tiffany Haddish.
Being able to identify ourselves and our lives in books is important. I’ve always known what I was capable of doing even as a child, when I encountered racism and/or sexism because of the books my mother made me read. I always understood that racist and sexist attitudes within society weren’t a reflection of me and my worth, but that the real problem lay within the person who was exuding these attitudes. I always knew how beautiful and smart I was because of stories like these and others.
Books are empowering, whether fiction or non-fiction. Words are empowering. Our stories are empowering. And I hope that the words in the books that I (and other contributors) write will empower you and wrap you in a soft warm blanket of self-acceptance and love for the black that is you.
Thanks for reading! And enjoy!