As long as I can remember, I’ve always been a big fan of reading. I’d love to get a good reading list from someone who likes the kind of books I’m interested in. The year after a racial reckoning that many parts of the world are still dealing with, I felt the need to put together a list of the books that I’ve read or want to read.
It was important to me that I show support for Black authors from all walks of life during Black History Month. Everyone on this list is a Black person, but they are all very different people and have a lot of unique things about them that show up in their work. Second, I wanted to pick books that haven’t had the attention they deserve. A lot of people write about the same people in Black History Month year after year when they search for books, just like they do when they search for books. Adding more black authors to my list might help you learn about someone you didn’t know before.
Finally, as an inclusion strategist, I work every day with businesses that want to make their workplaces more inclusive. So, I like books that give me stories to use when I teach. Several threads run through each of these books. They all have something to do with inclusiveness, and how it works in real life. Some inclusion lines are easy to see in the book’s title, but others come to life as you read.
Change your perspective, learn more, laugh and cry, and be shocked by these books. This Black History Month, and maybe even in the months that follow, pick one of these books to read to help you become more inclusive.
This Is Not A Test: The New Narrative On Race, Class, and Education
I love this book because it gives a glimpse into education policy, which is often based on race, through the author’s own story. By writing essays, my friend José shows how classrooms are shaped by the communities where their kids and teachers come from. As a Black-Latino educator who taught middle school in Washington Heights, Jose made us think about class both from a learning perspective and as it pertains to our economic status.
Building For Everyone: Expand Your Market With Design Practices From Google’s Product Inclusion Team
As an inclusion strategist, I’m interested in how other professionals in my field are working on the same thing. Gives a look behind the scenes at how tech giant Google makes award-winning and inclusive products, like Google Glass, in this book.
Not Light, but Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom
One of the most important times in a person’s life is when they’re in high school, when they start to think about things in a different way. It’s becoming more common in the United States to talk about race. This book gives a framework for how to make difficult classroom talks go better. Frederick Douglas said, “It’s not light that we need, but fire.” The title of this book is a nod to that quote. A must-have for any teacher.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
This book by Isabel Wilkerson reveals how we move around the world through power systems that we don’t even know about. If you have ever had trouble understanding the concept of systemic oppression or if you want to learn more about how injustice not only happens but is also planned, this text is for you.
The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table
When you’re a woman and you’re also a woman of color, things get even more difficult. Minda tells her own story to show how women of color can fight for their rights in the workplace and how white allies can help.
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness
For anyone who doesn’t understand why white people have so many advantages, this book shows how racism is always going to be a problem in this country.
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are
Intimate memoirs are my favorite, and this book is unique because the author is still young but has made more money than most people twice her age. Getting to that level of success didn’t come without a price. The book’s author opens up about her career journey and what happened behind the scenes when she made a lot of headlines with her work.
I Don’t Want to Die Poor: Essays
Second collection of essays: The author does a great job of capturing how having student loan debt affects the way Xennials live their lives. Funny and honest, he shows us a side of him that we don’t usually see.
Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change
It has been a long time since we’ve seen Stacey Abrams run for governor of Georgia, and we’ve been moved by her efforts to get Georgians excited about the 2020 presidential race. From her book, we learn more about her personal history and how she thinks about the long term. This book is for people who don’t feel like they have a lot of power. It will show you how to win with what you have.
Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own
For people who like James Baldwin, this book gives his work a new look. Even if you don’t like him, you should know about his work. The political themes Baldwin talked about in books like The Fire Next Time are just as relevant today as they were 50 years ago. In this book, we learn how to not do the same things that happened in the past.
The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap
Not only does this book have a title about banking, but it also talks about other things. When you read it, you won’t believe some of the things it says about racialized economic policies in this country until you read it. The author uses a lot of history to show how Black people think about money, and he challenges the idea that they can make money in a segregated economy. If you have ever thought about how different people in the United States are when it comes to money, this book will help you understand it and give you ideas on how to solve it without separating people.
Black Detroit: A People’s History of Self-Determination
Despite the fact that I live in Detroit, I don’t think it’s the best city in the world. But I thought this was a good book to read this month because it was about one of our country’s best cities. Detroit has a lot of stories to tell about being black and how they helped shape the United States. I love Detroit, but even if you love it, this is the history of the city that you might not have known about.
A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story
Many people know the men who led the Black Panthers in the 1960s, but Elaine Brown isn’t one of them. Yet, she was in charge of the group at a time when it was known for being misogynistic. A very interesting memoir and point of view that you’re not likely to see very often.
Glory: Magical Visions of Black Beauty
If you want a coffee table book, this one is the only one I would recommend. It is truly a piece of art. It was done by a photography team who took pictures of Black kids to show off their natural beauty, natural hair, and stories. Photos and essays about how to think about young people are both in this book.
Resilient: How to Overcome Anything and Build a Million Dollar Business With or Without Capital
This book hasn’t come out yet, but I can’t wait to read it. It’s a book that my friend Sevetri wrote. In it, she tells the truth about how she started a multimillion-dollar business on her own and went on to get venture capital. It’s a good bet that this book is for people who are entrepreneurial, have big dreams, and want to start a business. When this book comes out, I can’t wait to read it!
Allies and Advocates: Creating an Inclusive and Equitable Culture
The last thing I want to say is that my book, Allies and Advocates, came out in November. I show you how to make your work and home environments more inclusive for people who are ready and willing to do the work. I talk about how to make space for allyship, give a history of “how we got here” from a race relations point of view, and give specific ways to use your own power (we all have it) to be more inclusive. The first thing you should do is find a good place to start. You can learn more about how you can be an ally or advocate by reading this.
The author: There is a book by Amber Cabral called Allies and Advocates: Creating an Inclusive and Equitable Culture. She wrote it. A company called CabralCo. works with big retailers and the Fortune 500 to help them be more inclusive and diverse.