Since November 2016, I have attended a bi-monthly event called “Books and Breakfast,” hosted by a St. Louis based non-profit organization called Hands Up United. Through this organization, I have been exposed to information about the struggle of not only black people, but also oppressed people of all types locally, nationally and internationally.
Through these themed events, the organization provides breakfast and a free book drive for community members to donate or take the books of their choosing. I have since developed a collection of books I am looking forward to reading. Below is the list of books that I have gotten through Hands Up United “Book’s and Breakfast’s” program and why I urge everyone to read them as well.
“Black Power” by Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton
This book is focused on the politics of liberation within America, and has been called a revolutionary work since its publication in 1967. “Black Power” focuses on systematic racism within our country and provides a guide for reform. I found this book intriguing because of the parallels that it presents in relation to our current world. The fight and struggles of our ancestors provide us with a framework to move forward into the future.
“29 Gifts” by Cami Walker
This is my favorite type of book: fluffy non-fiction. The author of this book suffered from multiple sclerosis and was gifted a “prescription” by a South African healer that encouraged her to give away 29 gifts in 29 days. This book tells the tale of daily altruism and how it can impact your outlook on the world.
“Assata” by Assata Shakur
This book tells the life story of Black Panther Assata Shakur from her perspective. Shakur was wrongly imprisoned for four years and now lives in Cuba for political asylum.
“When I was a Slave” by Norman R. Yetman
I first saw this book at a slave plantation while on an experiential trip I took to New Orleans. This collective narrative is the work of the Federal Writers’ Project, who collected over 2,000 transcripts of interviews with former enslaved people.
“God Help the Child” by Toni Morrison
The author is enough to justify picking up this book. This story is the first of Morrison’s stories to be set in today’s time and, being a huge fan of her other work, I’m excited to see how she handles the parallels of black lives both past and present. “God Help the Child” tells a story about the way in which childhood shapes children into adulthood.
“A Little Bit of Crystals” by Cassandra Eason
This book is a beginner’s guide to getting to know the different types of crystals and what their healing powers are. “A Little Bit of Crystals” walks readers through crystal remedies and also outlines how to incorporate crystals into your existing daily routines.
“Paradise” by Toni Morrison
After taking a course that was focused on the writings of Toni Morrison, I became an immediate fan. Paradise tells a story in prose that features love and tragedy set in post-slavery America. Much like other Morrison work, characters within “Paradise” struggle with relationships, ancestry and has been compared to her previous work, “Beloved.”
I hope that while managing my studies and also working I can find the time this year to read these books and then return them so someone else may read them as well. For more information about Book’s and Breakfast or Hands Up United visit facebook.com/handsupunited314/?fref=ts