Believe it or not, books can do more than substitute for your drink coaster. Here's some literature that will enhance Black History Month with a compelling story:
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Mr. Shelby decides to sell two of his slaves, Uncle Tom and Harry, in order to pay his debt. When Harry’s mother Eliza overhears this, she decides to run away with Harry. Tom is sold and befriends a white girl named Eva. This anti-slave novel and classic follows the hardships of these slaves.
The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. This timeless story covers the life of an African American man growing up in a Southern black community. The protagonist finds himself invisible to people because of their refusal to see his true self.
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. This play depicts racism in the slums of Chicago after World War II though the eyes of the Young Family. When the family of five is entitled to receive 10,000 dollars, they plan to start a better life for themselves.
How to Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. Taking place during the great depression, racism is introduced in the novel when Scout Finch’s lawyer father defends an African American man who is wrongfully accused of raping a white woman. Scout and her brother Jem suffer from abuse by the other members of the community because of their father’s heroic decision.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis. Ten-year-old Kenny and his family go to Birmingham, Alabama, to visit Kenny's grandmother. Read how this African American family overcomes a tragic white racist bombing in the community.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. This is an inspiring auto-biographical novel. When Maya becomes a victim of racism, she overcomes her fears and traumatic experiences through her love of literature.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Cecil is a poor and uneducated African American girl living in Georgia. Because of the constant abuse and rape by her father, Cecil begins to write letters to God. She is able to accept the struggles in her life when she meets a group of caring women.
Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen. Taking place in the South during the time of slavery, Sarny is taught to read by another slave named Nightjohn. This book teaches the history and struggles of slaves living in the South.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Because Lily has to deal with a racist community and an abusive father, she decides to leave her home and discover the truth behind her mother’s death. With her nanny Roseleen, the two find a loving family of beekeepers.
Bad Boy: A Memoir by Walter Dean Myers. Behind Myers's tough exterior, he secretly had a passion for books and wanted to become a writer. However, growing up in a poor family in Harlem, he realized that racial struggles would stop him from living his dream. Read how Myers overcame all of his doubts.
I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly by Joyce Hansen. This American Girl book takes place after the Civil War when slavery is abolished. When Patsy, a former slave, teachers students how to read and write, she discovers the true meaning of being free.