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Black Is...2020 Boston Public Library
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Boston, MA
February 18-28, 2020
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The Black Is Booklist is a list of recent books concerning the African American experience. It is published as part of the Boston Public Library's observance of Black History Month each year.


Below is the booklist of Black Is...2020.

#1. Beneath The Tamarind Tree by Sesay, Isha

A story of Courage, Family, and the Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram. "In the early morning of April 14, 2014, the militant Islamic group Boko Haram violently burst into the small town of Chibok, Nigeria, and abducted 276 girls from their school dorm rooms. From poor families, these girls were determined to make better lives for themselves, but pursuing an education made them targets, resulting in one of the most high-profile abductions in modern history. While the Chibok kidnapping made international headlines, and prompted the #BringBackOurGirls movement, many unanswered questions surrounding that fateful night remain about the girls experiences in captivity, and where many of them are today.

#2. The Bold World by Patterson, Jodie

"Jodie Patterson is the mother of five children, including her ten-year-old transgender son Penelope, the catalyst for the author's reexamination of identity within her own dynamic household--and the wider world. This inspiring and highly personal debut memoir goes on to examine Jodie's extended families' African American experiences with racism and civil rights, and her own coming of age in New York City in the 1970s and 80s, and later on as a wife, mother, and activist.

#3. Breathe by Perry, Imani

A Letter to My Sons. "Emotionally raw and deeply reflective, Imani Perry issues an unflinching challenge to society to see Black children as deserving of humanity. She admits fear and frustration for her African American sons in a society that is increasingly racist and at times seems irredeemable. However, as a mother, feminist, writer, and intellectual, Perry offers an unfettered expression of love--finding beauty and possibility in life--and she exhorts her children and their peers to find the courage to chart their own paths and find steady footing and inspiration in Black tradition.

#4. Dapper Dan by Day, Daniel R.

"With his eponymous store on 125th Street in Harlem, Dapper Dan pioneered high-end streetwear in the early 1980s, remixing classic luxury-brand logos into his own flamboyant designs. But before reinventing fashion, he was a hungry boy with holes in his shoes, a teen who daringly gambled drug dealers out of their money, a young man in a prison cell who found nourishment in books, and, finally, a designer who broke barriers to outfit a whos-who of music, sport, and crime world celebrities in looks that went on to define an era. 

#5. Earl Campbell by Price, Asher

Earl Campbell was a force in American football, winning a state championship in high school, rushing his way to a Heisman trophy for the University of Texas, and earning MVP as he took the Houston Oilers to the brink of the Super Bowl. An exhilarating blend of biography and history, Earl Campbell chronicles the challenges and sacrifices one supremely gifted athlete faced in his journey to the Hall of Fame.

#6. Finding My Voice by Jarrett, Valerie

My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward. "When Valerie Jarrett interviewed a promising young lawyer named Michelle Robinson in July 1991 for a job in Chicago city government, neither knew that it was the first step on a path that would end in the White House. Jarrett soon became Michelle and Barack Obama's trusted personal adviser and family confidante; in the White House, she was known as the one who "got" him and helped him engage his public life.

#7. How We Fight for Our Lives by Jones, Saeed

"Haunted and haunting, [this book] is a stunning coming-of-age memoir. Jones tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescenceinto tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers.

#8. Just Another Nigger by Cox, Donald

"Memoir of a Black Panther Party member, chronicling his early childhood in Missouri, his thoughts about American racism and the nascent Civil Rights Movement, his participation in the Black Panther Party, and his exile from the United States"

#9. KD, by Thompson, Marcus

Kevin Durant's Relentless Pursuit to Be the Greatest. "The NBA has never seen a player quite like Kevin Durant. Larry Bird wasnt as quick, Magic Johnson didnt have such a range, and Michael Jordan wasnt seven feet tall. Durant handles the ball like Allen Iverson, shoots like Dirk Nowitzki, and has the scoring instincts of Kobe Bryant. He does it in a body thats about as big as Hakeem Olajuwon. But ultimately, Kevin Durant is like no one but himself. After an incredible first season with Golden State, Kevin Durant earned the coveted NBA Finals MVP award.

#10. Ladysitting by Cary, Lorence

My Year With Nana at the End of Her Century. Shares the story of the author's relationship with her remarkable grandmother, describing the latter's youth in the Jim Crow South, devotion to black causes, and management of her own business until age one hundred.


For the rest of the Black Is.. booklist, visit BPL website

Black Is...2020