Popular Civil Rights Books
Civil Rights Books
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By Hilary Krutt Off the Shelf. Martin Luther King Jr. Day presents an important opportunity to reflect on the progress made since the Civil Rights Movement, as well as to meditate on how best to address inequalities that persist to this day. Here, in honor of Dr. King, we highlight writers who have made significant contributions to the discussion of race relations in this country. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and an unwavering call to fix our broken justice system, from the influential lawyer behind the Equal Justice Initiative. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates This profound winner of the National Book Award, hailed by Toni Morrison as "required reading," explores the biggest questions about America's racial history through the intimate lens of a father's concern for his son.
The US civil rights movement is a perennially popular topic that has spawned a massive body of literature. What interests me about its history is how it engages with questions of race relations that are at the heart of US history: how a nation that became the world's model for democracy was born in the shadow of slavery; how that issue tore apart the nation in a bloody civil war; and how, despite that war, a new system of racial discrimination based on segregation, disenfranchisement and economic exploitation persisted well into the latter half of the 20th century. I'm also interested in how the civil rights and black power movements emerged from grassroots activism, transforming some aspects of racial discrimination but leaving many other elements intact. The issues the civil rights movement raised are still relevant today — and not only in the US. Of the many worthy contenders to choose from, I particularly like Lewis's biography of Martin Luther King , because it was one of the first to take on the task after King's assassination in While sympathetic to King, the book is not afraid to point to his shortcomings. Revealingly — and perhaps a reflection of King's acceptance into the pantheon of American heroes — subsequent editions have dropped the word "critical" from the title.
Teach students in grades PreK—8 about the civil rights movement and its heroes. With simple, lyrical text and bold, kid-friendly illustrations, this book introduces Dr. King to the youngest readers. A simple biography of the black woman whose refusal to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama in led to a bus boycott that helped galvanize the civil rights movement. In commemoration of his peaceful fight for freedom and change, Martin Luther King, Jr.