Giving Compass' Take:

• Here are five books that shed light on racial justice issues and build greater understanding of structural racism in America.

• How can donors share and support black authors, poets, and artists? 

• Read more about the importance of educating kids on race in the U.S.

Now and always, we hope you will join us in reading, following, sharing, and supporting black authors and poets whose works shine a spotlight on the structural racism and injustice in society. Here are just a few contemporary writers doing vital work through a variety of genres.

  1. Fiction: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi This multigenerational epic follows the descendants of two half-sisters born in 18th-century Ghana across three centuries and two continents. With ambitious scope, unexpected twists, and astonishing language, Gyasi traces the legacies of slavery and colonization to reveal their longstanding impact on racism in America today.
  2.  Non-fiction: So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo Olua provides straight-forward and clear discussions around a wide range of topics related to racism, including microaggressions, intersectionality, privilege, cultural appropriation, and affirmative action, while also leaving the reader with concrete steps to help dismantle the systemic racial divide.
  3. Memoir: Heavy by Kiese Laymon Stunning on a sentence by sentence level, this memoir—addressed to Laymon’s mother—is a raw and gut-wrenching account of what it is like to move through the world in a black body, to feel intense shame and trauma, and to find power through language.
  4. Poetry: The Tradition by Jericho Brown Winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize, this poetry collection interrogates a culture that has normalized violence, at both an individual and societal level. In their exploration of love, sexuality, racism, gender, and history, these poems contain pain and sadness, but also an undercurrent of hope and a call to action.
  5. Essays: Black is the Body by Emily Bernard Written with honesty and vulnerability, the essays in Emily Bernard’s collection explore the author’s experience of race in the myriad situations that comprise her life: growing up black in the South, surviving a random stabbing, marrying a white man, and adopting Ethiopian children.

Read the full article about books on racial justice at The Aspen Institute.