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Check out the selection of biographies and nonfiction books below, or visit the Learning Commons today to find more titles. If you are having trouble finding a book or logging into eBooks, we are here to help.
Former first lady Michelle Obama reflects on her childhood, path to becoming a lawyer, her relationship with former president Barack, her time in the White House, and life after the presidency. She looks back at the struggles of being a woman of color in white male-dominated professions, and how she overcame to succeed alongside her husband.
Becoming Kareem by
Between the World and Me by
For Ta-Nehisi Coates, history has always been personal. At every stage of his life, he's sought in his explorations of history answers to the mysteries that surrounded him--most urgently, why he, and other black people he knew, seemed to live in fear. What were they afraid of? ... Coates takes readers along on his journey through America's history of race and its contemporary resonances through a series of awakenings.
Black Birds in the Sky by
Chronicles the history of the Tulsa Race Massacre, which took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 1, 1921 when a white mob entered the predominantly black neighborhood of Greenwood and destroyed thirty-five blocks of houses and businesses with fire and explosives. Describes what led up to the event, the resurgence in white supremacy groups, the pervasive jealousy of black prosperity, and the devastating aftermath for the black community. Explains why so little is known about it, and how it fits into the larger struggle for civil rights and equality for black Americans.
Black Boy by
An autobiography describing the author's struggles against the dehumanizing southern social environment of the Jim Crow South.
Brown Girl Dreaming by
"The author shares her childhood memories and reveals the first sparks that ignited her writing career in free-verse poems about growing up in the North and South"--Provided by publisher.
Call Me American by
The author shares the story of his life from his birth under a neem tree in Somalia to his journey to America. Highlights the traditions and customs of his culture as well as his dreams of becoming an American citizen and the struggles he faced as a Somali refugee.
Claudette Colvin by
Presents an account of fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin, an African-American girl who refused to give up her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, nine months before Rosa Parks, and covers her role in a crucial civil rights case.
The Fire This Time by
A collection of eighteen essays, memoir pieces, and poems addressing race in the United States and written in response to James Baldwin's 1962 "Letter to My Nephew" in which the author lamented that 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, it felt like African Americans were celebrating too soon.
Stolen Justice by
Investigates the history of the Reconstruction era following the Civil War and the efforts to secure newly freed slaves and later generations of African Americans the right to vote
Walk Toward the Rising Sun by
Ger Duany just wanted to make his family proud, play with his brothers and sisters, and maybe get an education and become a soldier when he's older. But when his village was attacked by the North Sudanese military, he was forced to become a child soldier and saw many of his loved ones die.
Publication Date: 2020-09-22
A Good Time for the Truth by
Minnesota writers provide a range of perspectives on what it is like to live as a person of color in Minnesota. They give readers a splendid gift: the gift of touching another human being's inner reality, behind masks and veils and politeness. Minnesota communities struggle with some of the nation's worst racial disparities. This book provides an important tool to those who want to be part of closing those gaps.
Hidden Figures by
Before John Glenn orbited Earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as 'human computers' used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation.
How Dare the Sun Rise by
Memoir of Sandra Uwiringiyimana, who was ten years old when rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo killer her mother and sister. Sandra managed to escape and found refuge in the United States through a refugee program. However, in middle school in New York she found an ethnic disconnect to overcome and give voice to her people.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by
Autobiography covering the childhood of a woman who has been a professional dancer, actress, poet, journalist, and television producer.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by
Examines the experiences of the children and husband of Henrietta Lacks, who, twenty years after her death from cervical cancer in 1951, learned doctors and researchers took cells from her cervix without consent which were used to create the immortal cell line known as the HeLa cell; provides an overview of Henrietta's life; and explores issues of experimentation on African-Americans and bioethics.
I'm Still Here by
The author's first encounter with a racialized America came at age seven, when her parents told her they named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. She grew up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, and has spent her life navigating America's racial divide as a writer, a speaker, and an expert helping organizations practice genuine inclusion.
Infinite Hope by
African American artist and illustrator Ashley Bryan recounts his experiences as a soldier in the segregated army of World War II and how he overcame the racism and horrors of war to pursue his love of art.
Publication Date: 2019-10-15
It's Trevor Noah: Born A Crime by
This fascinating memoir blends drama, comedy, and tragedy to depict the day-to-day trials that turned a boy into a young man. In a country where racism barred blacks from social, educational, and economic opportunity, Trevor surmounted staggering obstacles and created a promising future for himself, thanks to his mom's unwavering love and indomitable will.It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime not only provides a fascinating and honest perspective on South Africa's racial history, but it will also astound and inspire young readers looking to improve their own lives.
Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults) by
Lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares his efforts to end racial and economic injustice through his organization Equal Justice Initiative. With personal stories from his work, he sheds light on a broken justice system he's working to change.
The Black History Book by
Trace the history of Black cultures around the world and human evolution, beginning with the origins of humanity, through historical conquests, to the spread of various religions. Follows the beginnings of African peoples' enslavement and its links to colonization. Profiles later abolition and Civil Rights movements and highlights Black social justice movements around the world, including Black Lives Matter.
Dreams from My Father (Adapted for Young Adults) by
Presents an adaptation of Barack Obama's memoir of growing up as the son of a white American mother and a black African father whom he hardly knew. Describes how, upon hearing of his father's death, he reexamined his life's meaning by tracing his mother's family's migration from Kansas to Hawaii, and then visiting Kenya and meeting the African side of his family to explore the truth of his father's life and legacy. Includes photographs.
Lifting As We Climb by
Presents the history of the African American women who fought for the right to vote even as they faced racism, rejection from white suffragists, and danger. Describes the historical line from abolition, to suffrage, to civil rights, and to activism today.
Let Love Have the Last Word by
Memoir of musician known as Common, discussing his views on God and what it means that "God is love," and exploring how his lyric "let love have the last word" governs his life in relation to self-love, his daughter, his family, and his community.
Notes from a Young Black Chef by
The author shares his story of leaving behind his life in a gang and selling drugs to become a chef who appeared on "Top Chef" and opened his own restaurant. Highlights his struggles to rise up out the path he was on and his fall from the top when his restaurant shut down shortly after opening.
Ordinary Hazards by
Memoir of African American poet and writer Nikki Grimes, covering her early life and how at the age of six she learned the power of writing to help her sort out her feelings and faith, and working up through her life and career and how she turned her words into her life.
The Port Chicago 50 by
Describes the fifty black sailors who refused to work in unsafe and unfair conditions after an explosion in Port Chicago killed 320 servicemen, and how the incident influenced civil rights.
The Pretty One by
Presents a collection of essays written by Keah Brown, a disabled African American woman who began a viral "hashtag" on Twitter known as #disabledandcute. Essays touch on topics ranging from living with her disability, how pop culture depicts or represents--or fails to represent--disabled black Americans, and how she has found her sense of self-worth and self respect.
A Promised Land by
Extends a memoir of former President Barack Obama, discussing his first term as United States president, and his thoughts regarding many of his momentous accomplishments, such as the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the capture of Osama bin Laden, and his handling of crises such as the Wall Street financial debacle and the "Deepwater Horizon" oil spill.
Proud (Young Readers Edition) by
Memoir of Ibtihaj Muhammad, a professional fencer and the first female Muslim American to compete in the Olympic Games wearing the hijab.
Simeon's Story by
Simeon Wright, the cousin of Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old African-American who was beaten and killed in 1955 for whistling at a white woman, reflects on what it was like to grow up in Mississippi during the 1940s and 1950s, reveals details about the night Emmett was kidnapped, and reflects on how the crime and trial affected his family and the community.
African Icons by
Illustrations and detailed profiles offer historical information about the lives of assorted African leaders and figures who helped shape world history--from powerful kings and queens who outsmarted their enemies and established prosperous governments to great thinkers and artists who contributed to areas of philosophy and the arts.
Better, Not Bitter by
Chronicles the life of Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park Five who was wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for seven years, and details how his experiences in prison sparked his work to bring change to America's criminal justice system. Include black-and-white photographs.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by
This adaptation of Ibram X. Kendi's "Stamped from the beginning" explores the history of racist ideas in America by examining the lives of notable historical figures, from Cotton Mather and Thomas Jefferson to W.E.B. Du Bois and Angela Davis. Discusses how racist ideas spread and how they are also discredited.
Stony the Road by
Explores the post-Civil-War-era experiences and struggles of African Americans to achieve the freedom that the Emancipation Proclamation declared was theirs, confronting first the post-war use of media--which in that time became more prominent with technology like chromolithography--to disseminate racist propaganda, and chronicling the history of African American struggles throughout the Reconstruction Era, the Jim Crow segregation era, and up to the civil rights movement.
The Talk by
As long as racist ideas persist, families will continue to have the difficult and necessary conversations with their young ones on the subject. In this inspiring collection, literary all-stars such as Renée Watson, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Adam Gidwitz, and many more engage young people in frank conversations about race, identity, and self-esteem.
This Is Your Time by
Addressed as a letter to "young peacemakers," civil rights activist Ruby Bridges describes her experiences as the first black child to integrate into an all-white elementary school in New Orleans when she was six years old. Striking black-and-white photographs and brief paragraphs relate her encounters through the years with inspiring young school children, reflect on current racial struggles, and call on young people to bring healing and peace to the nation.
To the Mountaintop by
The author describes her involvement in the civil rights movement and the way she felt at the inauguration of Barack Obama, featuring black-and-white photographs, articles from the "New York Times," and more.
Troublemaker for Justice by
Explores the life of civil rights activist and gay man Bayard Rustin, who being gay was mostly left out of the history books and biggest stories about the civil rights movement, even though he was a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Rustin taught King the techniques and philosophy of non-violent action, and in 1963 he organized the march on Washington.
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom* by
Presents the story of Lynda Blackmon Lowery, the youngest person to take part in the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965. Jailed nine times before her fifteenth birthday, Lynda's story shows how even young women and men can make a difference for equality.
When They Call You a Terrorist (Young Adult Edition) by
Patrisse Khan-Cullors’ story asks us to remember that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love. Leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have been called terrorists, a threat to America. But in truth, they are loving women whose life experiences have led them to seek justice for those victimized by the powerful.
The Warmth of Other Suns by
Chronicles the migration of African Americans from the American south to northern cities from 1915 to 1970. Follows three individuals in their search for a better life, and records how they traveled across America and impacted the cities where they settled.
Star Child by
Profiles the life of fantasy fiction writer Octavia Butler using a variety of verse, poems, and prose to describe her youth growing up during the Space Race, her family, and how she became dedicated to the art of science fiction writing.
Race Against Time by
Exhibits a historical account of the efforts of Scipio Africanus Jones, a self-taught early twentieth century African American lawyer, to save the lives of twelve sharecroppers who were unjustly tried and sentenced to death in Arkansas after riots broke out when they were trying to unionize.