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Staff blog

Non-Fic Picks: Black History Month

February is Black History Month.  Celebrate with this week’s non-fic picks:

Michelle Obama: A Life by Peter Slevin

Learn more about America’s historic First Lady Michelle Obama in this comprehensive biography.  Slevin, who has followed the Obamas closely, starts with Michelle’s Chicago South Side working-class childhood and concludes with her time spent at the White House.  Both smart and strong, Slevin highlights Michelle’s achievements including her degrees from both Princeton University and Harvard Law School, her time spent practicing corporate law, balancing her roles as a mother and public figure, and, of course, becoming the First Lady.  Michelle has many notable accomplishments as a mentor, teacher, nutrition advocate, and military family supporter that speak volumes on their own.         

Say It Plain: A Century of Great African American Speeches edited by Catherine Ellis and Stephen Drury Smith

Featuring powerful speeches from Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson, Clarence Thomas, and Thurgood Marshall, Say It Plain captures the oratory tradition of America’s prominent African American cultural, spiritual, and political leaders.  Addressing topics like social injustice, democratic principles, school segregation, unemployment, and Black Nationalism, readers get a comprehensive glimpse of the struggle to build a better nation.  Say It Plain also includes historical perspective and context before each speech as well as two audio CDs so you can experience actual recordings.

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois

Originally published in 1903 as a series of essays for Atlantic Monthly, W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk is a cornerstone of African American literature.  Introducing concepts like the “color line” (the existence of segregation following the abolition of slavery) and “double-consciousness” (the conflict of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of a racist white society), Du Bois sociological treatise utilized the past to galvanize change for the future.  Focusing on segregation, policy, religion, education, and civil rights, Du Bois writings have inspired the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and are still relevant today. 



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