Weekend Reads: 3 Picks for Black History Month

This weekend we’re bringing you three reads that perfectly fit this year’s Black History Month theme: Going Forward, Guided by the Past. In these books, the past serves many different purposes—as inspiration from the leaders that came before, as a path to discovering ones identity through the deep-roots of culture and ancestry, and as a backdrop against which to imagine and fight for change.


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Exile Blues by Douglas Gary Freeman (Baraka Books)As a black kid growing up in the ’50s, Prez wanted to be just like Malcom or Martin—a soul man fighting back against the powers he grew up with that said black lives didn’t matter. Top of his class at Howard University in D.C., Prez is scouted to do field work on Civil Rights in the divided city of Chicago, where tensions with police soon lead to major conflict. This coming-of-age story passionately explores the roots of oppression and the fight for freedom and equal rights.
Black Boysby Virgilia Griffith, Stephen Jackman-Torkoff, Tawiah M’Carthy, Thomas Antony Olajide, and Jonathan Seinen (Playwrights Canada Press) A great example of this year’s Black History month theme, Black Boys focuses on the lives of three very different black men, each seeking a better understanding of each other, their own identity, and the world around them. The drama takes an intimate look at how the black male body has typically been portrayed and playfully subverts these ideas through the exploration of new possibilities for young black queer people.*Black Boys will be available in April 2020. Want a reminder? Shoot us an email at hello@alllitup.ca.
My Totem Came Calling by Blessing Musarari & Thorsten Nesch (Mawenzi House Publishers)When seventeen-year-old Chanda begins seeing visions of her totem animal—a zebra—all over Zimbabwe, she fears of ending up in the hospital. Taking her aunt’s advice, she leaves the city for her ancestral home, where her family resides, and where the history of her African heritage is alive to help her discover her true self. A fantastic read for young adults who are into books with a bit of magical realism.