Author Topic: Black Literature Compilations  (Read 1870 times)

Black Literature Compilations
« on: June 06, 2020, 08:26:10 AM »
Necessary Reading List for Non-Black Allies compiled by @gravewine on IG

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I made a list of necessary reading for white and non-black people to educate themselves and become better accomplices/ allies. This is ongoing and I will be adding more. Please do buy yourselves copies if you can to support Black authors.
https://www.instagram.com/p/CA8g8J0Jmlp/

Contents:
       
Are Prisons Obsolete? - Angela Davis
If They Come In the Morning - Angela Davis
Freedom is a Constant Struggle - Angela Davis
Age, Race, Class, and Sex - Audre Lorde
The Fire Next Time - James Baldwin
Notes on a Native Son - James Baldwin
Nationalism, Colonialism, and the United States - James Baldwin   
The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race - Jesmyn Ward
Accomplices Not Allies: Abolishing the Ally Industrial Complex
Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America - Kristian Williams
12 Things to do Instead of Calling the Cops (zine)
The End of Policing - Alex S. Vitale
A World Without Police (zine)
White Fragility - Robin DiAngelo
The Everyday Language of White Racism - Jane H Hill
The History of White People - Nell Irvin Painter
Understanding White Privilege - Francis E Kendall
Citizen, An American Lyric - Claudia Rankine
Between the World and Me Ta-Nehisi Coates   
Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition - Cedric J Robinson
Waiting Til' The Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America - Peniel E. Joeseph
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
Ain't I A Woman - Bell Hooks
To Die for the People - Huey P. Newton
The Autobiography of Malcom X   
Assata Shakur: An Autobiography      
The Emotional Politics of Racism - Paula Ioande
Playing in the Dark - Toni Morrison
Black Boy - Richard Wright
This Bridge Called my Back - Various
How To Be An Antiracist - Ibram X. Kendi
The Wretched Earth - Frantz Fanon

I don't know who compiled the documents below. I saw all three together on a Facebook page.

Black History Month Library

Black Radical & Tactical Lit Share

Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2020, 07:17:43 PM »
If He Hollers, Let Him Go - Chester Himes

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2020, 08:13:26 PM »
Hmm.  I'd say Huey P. Newton's Revolutionary Suicide is much more useful than that book of essays.  5-star buk.  It's bizarre to think that he was all but illiterate up until he went to college.  Remember every time you refer to the police force as 'pigs', you're appropriating his phrase.

Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2020, 09:36:42 PM »
I don't know if you would want to contact the person who compiled the list but @gravewine has written at the top of the document: 'Please feel free to share and contact me with reccomendations ! If you have PDFs to put on here, please email them to me at maricnagaoka@gmail.com'

Revolutionary Suicide is in the Huey P. Newton section of the Black History Month Library also posted above, if anyone here wants to read it, although the scan is a bit blurry.

I posted the links here mainly because of conversations and arguments in the general forum where people were mentioning problems of understanding of the concept of defunding the police and of the political background.

Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2020, 11:49:23 PM »
Thanks for starting this thread, Smeraldina Rima.

In addition I would strongly recommend Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch - an eloquent and very accessible exploration of Britain's uncomfortable relationship with its colonial past, our refusal to address the inequalities that persist, and how that's still affecting day-to-day life for people of colour.

For me, it was both a deeply relatable and incredibly eye-opening, sometimes uncomfortable read - the introduction hinges around the question 'But where are you really from?', which I used to get asked ALL THE FUCKING TIME. I'm not black but, like the author, grew up mixed race in a largely white, middle class part of South London, without ever properly acknowledging that I wasn't actually white - instead accepting the well-meaning but ultimately dangerous myth that we've achieved a multicultural post-racism, colour-blind utopia, when this is patently far from the truth.

I'm also surprised Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge isn't on that list. I finished it a couple of weeks ago and it's excellent - really made it clear just how vital it is that white people actively make a stance against racism, and just how fucking exhausting it is for people of colour to fight that fight alone, while constantly explaining why they need to fight it, again and again and again. Great jacket design, too.

chveik

  • vampires have it easy
Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2020, 12:01:47 AM »
I'm ashamed to say that I only read Fanon from that list. Aimé Césaire should be there though, a really good poet/politician.

bgmnts

  • Depressed to the point of poisonous toxicity.
Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2020, 12:05:07 AM »
Does Dumas count or is this just contemporary political literature? I love Dumas.

Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2020, 02:51:21 AM »
bgmts: I hadn't thought it through and it is awkward and vague as a thread rather than a pool of shared resources. I wasn't meaning this to be an all purpose black writing thread but didn't have a clear thought of an appropriate scope in time or genre for the way the thread might go after sharing the links. Maybe you could start a new thread about Dumas, but you can post in here if you prefer.

In response to the points about books that should be included in the first document I think by listing the contents of that one I accidentally gave it the look of a comprehensive list to be weighed up. But it's only one person's reading list in progress to help make texts accessible.

Personally I was pleased to see a few novels and memoirs I'd been meaning to read during a period when it's more difficult for me to buy books. I might also get round to learning something about the theory of defunding/abolishing the police which has completely blindsided me. No police! You're mad aren't you? Oh, hang on. It's me who needs to think again.

Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2020, 02:26:52 PM »
Readings on Racism, White Supremacy, and Police Violence in America

Contents:

Daryl Pinckney on the American tradition of anti-Black vigilantism

Angela Davis on Black Lives Matter, Palestine, and the future of radicalism

Carol Anderson on the history of respectability politics and their failure to keep Black Americans safe

Garnette Cadogan on walking while Black

J. Faith Almiron: Eric Garner, Jean-Michel Basquiat and police brutality as an American tradition

Jeanne Theoharis: How American politicians willfully misuse history

Ed Pavlić: On James Baldwin’s dispatches from the civil rights movement

Sherilynn A. Ifill: how small-town newspapers ignored local lynchings

The story of segregation, one photograph at a time: revisiting the work of Gordon Parks

The fire next time is here: Jesmyn Ward on race in America

Philip Dray on Henry Louis Gates Jr. and a Civil War that never ended

Ibram X. Kendi on how racism relies on arbitrary hierarchies of power

Navigating the dark web of American racism: Alexandra Minna Stern on the foundational texts of white nationalism

George Hawley: The long history of white nationalism in the United States

The roots of anti-racist, anti-fascist resistance in America: Robin D.G. Kelley on the predecessors to Antifa

The effects of white supremacy are non-transferrable: Maurice Ruffin on watching people mourn an America that never was



This article is promoted in a Reading Lists section at the end of this collection of links:

https://literature.britishcouncil.org/blog/2020/literature-on-lockdown-8-blacklivesmatter/

It also includes Vahni Capildeo's poem cycle, Windrush Reflections, and a podcast by Reni Eddo-Lodge, the author of the book recommended by flotemysost:

About Race

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From the author behind the bestselling Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, comes a podcast that takes the conversation a step further.

Featuring key voices from the last few decades of anti-racist activism, About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge looks at the recent history that lead to the politics of today.

Retinend

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Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2020, 07:53:44 AM »
Ain't I A Woman - Bell Hooks

You ignorantly missed inclusion of the lowercase signifier of "bell hooks": go to the back of the bus class.

Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2020, 02:56:49 PM »
Sorry about that. Thanks for the correction.

Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2020, 11:02:12 PM »
Another recommendation focused on the contemporary experiences of people of colour in Britain: The Good Immigrant, a series of essays edited by Nikesh Shukla.

It's an enjoyable, often very funny and moving read rather than an academic text, but a really good insight into how prejudice and racism permeate day-to-day experiences for people of colour and people from immigrant backgrounds in the UK (it's not uniquely about black experiences, although several of the essays are from black writers).

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2020, 11:56:09 PM »
I've picked up White Fragility and Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race. Probably grounds for another thread but any recommendable fiction while were here, given I understand that's under-represented too?

non capisco

  • A ridiculous boy on a makeshift vehicle
Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2020, 12:21:48 AM »
Cheers for these, will endeavour to read as much as I can get hold of. I haven't read nearly enough non fictional black literature outside of Baldwin. Or fictional black literature come to that.

Fiction wise I'd add 'The Invisible Man' by Ralph Ellison to the list.

'The Lonely Londoners' by Sam Selvon is an excellent autobiographical fictional narrative about West Indian immigration to London in the 1950s, vividly written.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 12:32:39 AM by non capisco »

non capisco

  • A ridiculous boy on a makeshift vehicle
Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2020, 12:32:57 AM »
Edit glitch fix

Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2020, 12:42:26 AM »
Cheers for these, will endeavour to read as much as I can get hold of.

The Google docs have PDF files attached if that helps. There's a mix of scans and eReader formats.

I'm finding it difficult to read novels in general, having a bad attention span at the moment, so I'd like it if someone has a strong recommendation of fiction or a memoir under 100 pages long.

Also, would Alex Vitale's book be the best introduction to the argument for defunding the police?

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2020, 01:28:52 AM »
I've picked up White Fragility and Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race. Probably grounds for another thread but any recommendable fiction while were here, given I understand that's under-represented too?

Fiction by African writers, or primarily about race issues?  If it's the former, then The Palm-Wine Drunkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Amos Tutuola are both wicked trips to rich psychedelic underworlds, like latterday versions of Ovid or Apuleius from a different part of the globe that followed Anansi instead of Zeus.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2020, 12:55:30 PM »
I'm interested in a bit of both really! Cheers for the recommendations.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2020, 11:58:47 AM »
Just adding this here, I imagine there's an overlap but Giles Peterson's worldwide fm has a good list of resources too.

https://worldwidefm.net/anti-racism-resources/

Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2020, 05:54:11 PM »
Just a thought re: the PDFs on the Google Doc - it's great that essays and articles can be made accessible, and admittedly I'm no expert on copyright, but with the entries that are available commercially, if it's possible to buy these and support these authors I'd have thought that would be better (I know there's a note on the Google Doc to that effect as well).

There was a report earlier this week on the pay gap in advances between white authors and authors of colour - obviously their publishers have a responsibility here, but anything that supports author of colour (not just financially, but visibility in sales reports and bestseller charts too) will help.

Completely appreciate that not everyone can afford to buy books and it's vitally important that these ideas are shared, but I know that piracy is also a massive issue for a lot of authors.

Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2020, 08:23:46 PM »
I've been wondering about the value of these overwhelming reading lists being passed around and asked for everywhere, a lot of it is just gonna be white people emotionally exhausting themselves on the subject more than anything else and patting themselves on the back for doing so.

Anyways, I'm gonna try and commit to the Huey Norton one above. These days I manage about 2 books a year so that'll be good going.
Outta the ones I know from the top list I'll just say the Fire Next Time is like 60 pages long and James Baldwin is a ridiculously compelling writer, so if you haven't read it it's probably a good one to go with (although I'm assuming basically everyone has read it if I have tbh...). Between the World and Me felt like a pretty strained attempt to tread the same lines in a modern context by a much weaker writer.

Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2020, 08:40:00 PM »
flotemysost: That's a good point and thanks for sharing the article. I think that's why there are fewer recent texts by living authors on the list but there are a few with the notes encouraging people to buy them. I shouldn't have emphasised the possiblity of reading for free without repeating that and posting the list at all might have created a copyright problem for the site. Incidentally, the last Bandcamp Day was used by some artists to raise money for BLM and bail funds but also to encourage people to question their music consumption habits, circulating a list of Black labels, producers and artists. I suppose one positive side of circulating the free texts apart from education is in helping to slowly change habits as we can branch out from one landmark text to several other newer ones.



peanutbutter: With the first point, I agree but I think it's one of those things you have to accept as an awkward aspect - in others and in yourself - alongside some kind of slow change and better understanding. When I was looking for a short text yesterday I actually ended up reading The Fire Next Time and would agree that that's a good one to read for people out of the habit of reading and with little knowledge of Black history and literature but that people reading this might have already read it. It also drew my attention to the recent essay collection The Fire This Time.



For poetry, I would tentatively recommend James Weldon Johnson's 1922 anthology, The Book of American Negro Poetry on archive.org, with his fifty page introduction. And here is Langston Hughes's shorter introduction, 200 Years of Afro-American Poetry intended for a similar anthology published fourty years later. I should probably stress that there are more recent anthologies we could buy as well as most importantly supporting individual poets and small presses. One example of a recent anthology is Camille T. Dungy's Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry.

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Black Nature is the first anthology to focus on nature writing by African American poets, a genre that until now has not commonly been counted as one in which African American poets have participated.

Black poets have a long tradition of incorporating treatments of the natural world into their work, but it is often read as political, historical, or protest poetry-anything but nature poetry. This is particularly true when the definition of what constitutes nature writing is limited to work about the pastoral or the wild.

Camille T. Dungy has selected 180 poems from 93 poets that provide unique perspectives on American social and literary history to broaden our concept of nature poetry and African American poetics. This collection features major writers such as Phillis Wheatley, Rita Dove, Yusef Komunyakaa, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sterling Brown, Robert Hayden, Wanda Coleman, Natasha Trethewey, and Melvin B. Tolson as well as newer talents such as Douglas Kearney, Major Jackson, and Janice Harrington. Included are poets writing out of slavery, Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, and late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century African American poetic movements.

Black Nature brings to the fore a neglected and vital means of considering poetry by African Americans and nature-related poetry as a whole.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2020, 09:37:43 AM »


Completely appreciate that not everyone can afford to buy books and it's vitally important that these ideas are shared, but I know that piracy is also a massive issue for a lot of authors.

It probably doesn't help that unless you have a kindle, ebook shops are terrible experiences necessitating Adobe software to manage the drm, it's literally easier to just nick the thing off library genenesis even if you've got a conscience and want to pay for it. Which then leaves you wishing you could pay the author direct and cut out all the people in between for allowing this to happen.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Black Literature Compilations
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2020, 07:29:34 PM »
I've finished reading that White Fragility. It did open my eyes to defense mechanisms white people do, but I also agree with the (black) criticism that it's mostly an exercise in self-flagellation and an advertisement for a person that charges $30k for corporate consultancy about race. I need to read something better next, although I'm sticking with my 'one serious, one fiction' rule.

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