By Aswad Walker | Houston Defender | Word In Black

This post was originally published on Defender Network

Photograph courtesy of Yaroslav Shuraev/Pexels.

(WIB) – The attacks on Blackness are reaching new, galactic-level heights. Don’t believe me? Just check the demonization of the term “woke,” which literally meant, at its origins, Blackfolk being aware of our historical and contemporary realities — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Or how about those why people — and those why people wannabes; i.e. Candace Owens, Jason Whitlock, Tim Scott, etc. — who have criminalized critical race theory, which, according to them and their low IQ lynch mob of millions, simply means all things Black.

These dangerous idiots are burning books, threatening professors’ tenure, and overrunning local school boards — all in an effort to shield little white kids from learning about the violent, racist history of their white grandparents, because learning about how insidious and monstrous their kin were/are would do irreparable damage to those why kids’ delicate constitutions.

But, instead of cowering at their attacks and couching our language or tempering our tone, we need to lean into our Blackness now more than ever — and harder than ever before.

One way to do that is by adding to your Black knowledge via the miracle of books. And Lord have mercy, do I have a book list for you, courtesy of the Pan African Orthodox Christian Church’s (Shrine of the Black Madonna) national ministry team.

The list below has a little something for everyone: history, contemporary reality, Afrofuturism, social commentary, non-fiction, fiction, environmental justice writings, theology pieces, and more.

So, get in where you fit in, and find the book or books that jibe with your spirit, and flex your agency, your right, your power, your responsibility to ingest all the Blackness you damn well, please.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Please know that this list is in no way exhaustive. There are a lot of must-read classics that aren’t on the PAOCC’s 2023 list because they’ve been on lists from years past. But moving forward, I will include those books – e.g., “The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey,” “Introduction to African Civilizations,” “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,” “Between the World and Me” and a gazillion other such classics – in future lists.)

  1. “101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think,” by Brianna Wiest
  2. “America’s Unholy Ghosts: The Racist Roots of Our Faith and Politics,” by Joel Edward Goza
  3. “Black Women Will Save The World: An Anthem,” by April Ryan
  4. “Born In Blackness,” by Howard French
  5. “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants,” by Robin Wall Kimmer
  6. “Community: Starting Well In Your Small Group,” by Andy Stanley
  7. “Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America,” by Ibram X Kendi & Keisha N. Blain
  8. “Fugitive Pedagogy,” by Jarvis Givens
  9. “Harvard Business Review 10 Must Reads: On Change Management,” HBR
  10. “Harvard Business Review 10 Must Reads: On Mental Toughness,” HBR
  11. “How Beautiful We Were: A Novel,” by Imbolo Mbue
  12. “I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness,” by Austin Channing Brown
  13. “Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope, In An American City,” by Andrea Elliott
  14. “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice & Redemption,” by Bryan Stevenson
  15. “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies,” by Resmaa Menakem
  16. “My Time Will Come: A Memoir of Crime, Punishment, Hope & Redemption,” by Ian Manuel & Bryan Stevenson
  17. “Nomad Century: How Climate Migration Will Reshape Our World,” by Gaia Vince
  18. “Power & Prediction: The Disruptive Economics of Artificial Intelligence,” by Agyei Agrawai, Joshua Gans, Avi Goldfarb
  19. “Reclaiming Stolen Earth: An Africana Ecotheology,” by Dr. Eric Jawanza Clark
  20. “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” by Yuval Noah Harari
  21. “Set The World On Fire (Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom),” by Keisha N. Blain
  22. “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story,” by Nikole Hannah-Jones
  23. “The Age of AI and our Human Future,” by Henry A. Kissinger, Eric Schmidt, Daniel Huttenlocher
  24. “The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma,” by Besser Van Der Kolk, M.D.
  25. “The End of the World Is Just The Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization,” by Peter Zeihan
  26. “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times,” by Michelle Obama
  27. “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” by Jeanne Theoharis
  28. “The Warmth of Other Suns,” by Isabel Wilkerson
  29. “Significations,” by Charles Long
  30. “Under The Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and the Health of our Nation,” by Linda Villarosa
  31. “What The Bible Says to the Minister: The Minister’s Personal Handbook,” by Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  32. “White Fear: The Browning of America is What’s Making White Folks Lose Their Minds,” by Roland Martin & Leah Lakins