9 Must-Read Books by Female Authors For Black History Month

I do not know about you but the last few months have been pretty testing personally and professionally. As we continue battling with the coronavirus globally, I am forced to hold up a mirror to my life and to reflect on how I can live more purposefully using my work to be of service to others.

2020 has already forced many of us to see the reality of racism in all its forms and guises globally forcing us to question long-held assumptions about the society we live in. #BlackLivesMatter protests around the world sparked a commitment among many individuals and organisations to educate themselves about racism.

As we start the new month of October, which is marked as a Black History Month in the UK, I thought we could also continue educating ourselves and continue the conversation on how we can each do better, using our knowledge and voice to support others.

Black History Month has also been about education and awareness and this year, Black history isn’t just a month to be ticked off a calendar. And it is up to every one of us to continue the conversation.

Whether you have donated to the cause, protested, or held discussions with those close to you, as allies, there is always one more step for you to take.

So, every week of October we will be sharing one small step you can take to become a true ally, understanding the causes of racial injustice.

Step One:

9 books by black female authors you need to read, to get one step closer to being a true ally.

We have gathered some of the all-time best books by Black female authors to help you learn more about the struggles and triumphs of black people.

1.Hood Feminism: Notes From The Women White Feminists Forgot, Mikki Kendall (Twitter @Karnythia)

Hood Feminism fights to have minorities addressed and acknowledged within modern feminism and makes it known that black women aren’t just a sassy motif on a T-shirt but ordinary people who are fighting to have their voices heard.

2. Loud Black Girls: 20 Black Women Writers Ask: What’s Next? Yomi Adegoke & Elizabeth Uviebinené (Twitter @yomiadegoke @lizuvie)

Featuring 20 essays from established and up-and-coming black British writers, Loud Black Girls explores what really matters to black women today.

Expect frank and fearless words from Paula Akpan, Siana Bangura, Candice Brathwaite, Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, Fiona Rutherford and Kuba Shand-Baptiste among others who try to navigate through words what life is really like for black women in a post-Brexit and Trump world.

3. Becoming, Michelle Obama (Twitter @michelleobama)

Becoming offers up an insightful revisiting of her time both in and out of the White House, all while addressing some of society’s most troubling issues, including racism and sexism. 

4. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas (Twitter @angiecthomas)

The Hate U Give is a heartbreaking and powerful narrative detailing the current black experience in America as told through the eyes of a 16-year-old girl. Author Angie Thomas pairs modern-day political references with old-school critical race theory to explain how we got to our current climate and what it will take to rebuild.

5. Me and white supremacy, Layla Saad

What Layla has created here is essential to anyone committed to doing the right thing regardless of how difficult it may feel. We can not dismantle what we are unwilling to acknowledge. And this book is perfect for anyone who wants to start to build a better society for all. 

6. British, Afua Hirsch (Twitter @afuahirsch)

Highly personal and yet instantly universal, this is a book that millions will instantly relate to. Hirsch places her own lifelong search for identity and a sense of Britishness against the backdrop of our national identity crisis. Delving behind words like ‘prejudice’, ‘disadvantage’, ‘structural-racism’ Hirsch unpacks the real-world impact of these forces and on the lives of real people. Written with passion not anger, insight rather than resentment, on the issues of race, identity and the multiple meanings of Britishness this is the book for our divided and dangerous times.

7. I’m no longer talking to white people about race, Reni Eddo-Lodge (Twitter @renireni)

The book that sparked a national conversation. Exploring everything from eradicated black history to the inextricable link between class and race, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race is the essential handbook for anyone who wants to understand race relations in Britain today.

8. Ain’t I A Woman, Bell Hooks (Twitter @bellhooks)

In this classic study, cultural critic Bell Hooks examines how black women, from the seventeenth century to the present day, were and are oppressed by both white men and black men and by white women. Illustrating her analysis with moving personal accounts, Ain’t I a Woman is deeply critical of the racism inherent in the thought of many middle-class white feminists who have failed to address issues of race and class. While acknowledging the conflict of loyalty to race or sex is still a dilemma, Hooks challenges the view that race and gender are two separate phenomena, insisting that the struggles to end racism and sexism are inextricably intertwined.

9. Girl, Woman, Other: WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 2019, Bernardine Evaristo (Twitter @bernardineevari)

This is Britain as you’ve never read it. This is Britain as it has never been told. From Newcastle to Cornwall, from the birth of the twentieth century to the teens of the twenty-first, ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ follows a cast of twelve characters on their personal journeys through this country and the last hundred years. They’re each looking for something – a shared past, an unexpected future, a place to call home, somewhere to fit in, a lover, a missed mother, a lost father, even just a touch of hope.

What books have you found most insightful about race and gender in these times? Please come over and introduce yourself and share your personal favourites in our new Book Club Power Circle.