There are so many ways to celebrate Black History Month. One of my favorite things to do is stock up on black novels and watch cool clips and documentaries about notable black figures. I’ve opted this year to tackle some classic reads I somehow managed to miss, For Colored Girls being one of them. For those of you who are looking for some riveting reads, check out these books that’ll help you to celebrate black history this month and all throughout the year.
1. Donald Bogle’s Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies & BucksDr. Bogle is one of the foremost historians on black TV and film. Bogle tells captivating accounts of some of the first programs to include black performers. He analyzes shows such as Amos ‘n’ Andy and Sanford & Son, along with films such as Superfly and Boyz n the Hood. In a course I took with Dr. Bogle, we discussed performers Fredi Washington, Lena Horne, Louise Beavers, Cicely Tyson, Pam Grier, Sydney Poitier, “Larry” Fishburne and, perhaps his favorite, Dorothy Dandridge. Dr. Bogle is the expert. If you’re interested at all in the development of roles for minorities on screen, this book is my #1 pick and a must-read for celebrating black history.
2. Lynn Nottage’s RuinedA quick but magnificent read, Lynn Nottage’s play takes you to The Democratic Republic of Congo, telling the stories of women living in a small mining town as they face the destruction of civil war.
3. Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping ManI haven’t read this play for myself, but I was able to see it on stage in 2012. It’s easily one of the best I’ve seen. Just after the Civil War ended, a Jewish Confederate soldier returns to his home in the South to reunite with two of his family’s former slaves. As the two men care for the wounded soldier, they uncover a myriad of family secrets. See the video below, where actor André Braugher and Matthew Lopez discuss Braugher's character Simon and his faith