Top five reads for Black History Month

As BHM draws to a close, continue your examination into Black culture and life with these reads



RV’s library has a number of rich and diverse texts by Black writers

Isabella Kensler, Arts & Culture Writer

Literature is an important aspect of everyday life, it allows us to understand the perspectives of others through words that aren’t always as easily vocalized. To bring awareness and educate oneself on Black History this month, I recommend diving into one of these books to empathize with the oppression people of color have faced. 

A common novel that touches on the oppressed stereotypes of violences and racism surrounding the Black community is “The Hate You Give” by Angie Thomas. “The Hate You Give” follows sixteen year old Starr Carter between the two worlds of her poor hometown neighborhood and the rich preppy school she attends. Along with the already unsteady balance between her two separate lives, Starr struggles with survivor’s guilt as she witnesses her best friend Khalil’s death at the hands of a police officer.

Poetry is also a beautiful form of expression to truly understand the speaker’s perspectives. Maya Angelou, civil rights activist, has some incredible publications, such as Still I Rise” and”I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Although the two poem collections differ, both books touch on Maya’s first hand experiences with racism through metaphors, but also encourage the strength to push through and inspire equality. 

Another book of representation is “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison. The narrator of “Invisible Man” is a nameless Black man who struggles with self identity, as a result of moving to America in the 20th century. The symbolism of invisible represents the racism the young boy has faced and how he is only seen through the eyes of prejudiced standpoints, which cause him to be “invisible” since he is not truly being seen for who he is. 

Last but not least is “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennet. “The Vanishing Half” is a historical fiction novel that tells the story of Black identical twin sisters that grew up together in Louisiana. Although from just a young age, the girls witnessed the death of their father at the hands of a white man, which ended up causing the girls to run away from their hometown as teenagers.  Throughout the novel, themes of identity, race, and class are explored.

These titles and others allow individuals to learn about themselves and others through writing,” said RV’s librarian, Mrs. Venuto. “Reading provides new perspectives on our world and history while giving many the opportunity to feel they are not alone. “ 

I recommend taking the time to sit down and read one of these books this month, because Black lives matter, and it is important to understand the history in order to change it for the better.