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Black History Month @ GCC: BHM Books

Welcome to Celebrating Blackness! Use this guide to keep up with Black History Month events and recommendations. We invite you to celebrate Blackness with us here at GCC and abroad!

Your BHM Picks

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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Suggested by Orlando Roybal, he/him

Orlando says "This book take a critical look at system of oppression and what we must consider moving forward..."

About this Book: With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control--relegating millions to a permanent second-class status--even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a "call to action."

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We Can't Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival by Jabari Asim

Suggested by Karen Knotts, she/her

About this Book: "Asim disrupts what Toni Morrison [calls] the 'master narrative' and replaces it with a story of black survival and persistence through art and community in the face of centuries of racism. In eight ... essays, he explores such topics as the twisted legacy of jokes and falsehoods in black life; the importance of black fathers and community; the significance of black writers and stories; and the beauty and pain of the black body."


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Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

Suggested by Shelley Aronoff

About this Book: "In the story of Baldwin’s crucible, Glaude suggests, we can find hope and guidance through our own after times, this Trumpian era of shattered promises and white retrenchment. Mixing biography—drawn partially from newly uncovered interviews—with history, memoir, and trenchant analysis of our current moment, Begin Again is Glaude’s endeavor, following Baldwin, to bear witness to the difficult truth of race in America today. " - Penguin Random House

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Suggested by Alberto Romero, he/him/his

About this Book: Maya Angelou's debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right.

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Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

Suggested by Mia Picerno, she/her/hers

Mia says "I recommend that we get it. "The Yellow House" is a well-written memoir of a contemporary New Orleans woman and her family. It's both an interesting personal story and a larger commentary on some of the ways systemic racism in the United States plays out for real people."

About this book: A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER WINNER OF THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION. A brilliant, haunting and unforgettable memoir from a stunning new talent about the inexorable pull of home and family, set in a shotgun house in New Orleans East.

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Thick : and other essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom

Suggested By Becka Cooling, she/her

About this book: In eight highly praised treatises on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom—award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed—is unapologetically “thick”: deemed “thick where I should have been thin, more where I should have been less,” McMillan Cottom refuses to shy away from blending the personal with the political, from bringing her full self and voice to the fore of her analytical work. Named a top book of 2019 by TIMENew York Times Book Review, New York Public Library, Chicago Tribune, etc; Finalist, National Book Award; Winner of the 2019 Reading Women Award for Nonfiction; Winner of the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize.

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This Is The Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism by Don Lemon (March 2021 Release)

About this book: Beginning with a letter to one of his Black nephews, Don Lemon proceeds with reporting and reflections on his slave ancestors, his upbringing in the shadows of segregation, and his adult confrontations with politicians, activists, and scholars. In doing so, Lemon offers a searing and poetic ultimatum to America. He visits the slave port where a direct ancestor was shackled and shipped to America. He recalls a slave uprising in Louisiana, just a few miles from his birthplace. And he takes us to the heart of the 2020 protests in New York City. As he writes to his young nephew: We must resist racism every single day. We must resist it with love.

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The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

Suggested by: Jann Vendetti, she/her

About this Book: This is a book of short stories with Black women as protagonists. The author pulls you into the characters quickly, the writing is excellent, and the stories and experiences of the women are diverse and multi-layered. It was shortlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction in 2020.

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March by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, Illustrated by Nate Powell

Suggested by Margaret Lopez, she/her/hers

About this book: March is a three-part graphic novel that is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.

The Huey P. Newton Reader by Huey P. Newton, David Hilliard, David, editor Donald Weise

About this book: The first comprehensive collection of writings by the Black Panther Party founder and revolutionary icon of the black liberation era, The Huey P. Newton Reader combines now-classic texts ranging in topic from the formation of the Black Panthers, African Americans and armed self-defense, Eldridge Cleaver’s controversial expulsion from the Party, FBI infiltration of civil rights groups, the Vietnam War, and the burgeoning feminist movement with never-before-published writings from the Black Panther Party archives and Newton’s private collection, including articles on President Nixon, prison martyr George Jackson, Pan-Africanism, affirmative action, and the author’s only written account of his political exile in Cuba in the mid-1970s. Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Geronimo Pratt all came to international prominence through Newton’s groundbreaking political activism. Additionally, Newton served as the Party’s chief intellectual engine, conversing with world leaders such as Yasser Arafat, Chinese Premier Chou Enlai, and Mozambique President Samora Moises Machel among others.

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The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein

Suggested by Aisha Conner-Gaten, she/her/hers

In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America's cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation--that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation--the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments--that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.

Additional Glendale City Virtual Event with author Richard Rothstein on Feb 4, 2021 at 6:30pm PST:

Glendale Community College | 1500 North Verdugo Road, Glendale, California 91208 | Tel: 818.240.1000 | 
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