Legacy-something received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past
Today we ask: What’s Your Legacy?
Reading is a strong part of strengthening the ability of passing knowledge and culture. Oftentimes folks ask “What should I be reading? I want to know more about history!” We’re offering our top 5 picks that have helped shape the mission of LK. Check them out below and if you’d like a personalize reading list please feel free to contact us.
1. The Miseducation of the Negro by Dr. Carter G. Woodson
Written in 1933 by “The Father of Black History,” this seminal text provides a complete analysis of the education system and determines that it has failed Black America. Although the text was written over 70 years ago it continues to be at the top of reading lists throughout America because of its continued relevance.
“If you teach the Negro that he has accomplished as much good as any other race he will aspire to equality and justice without regard to race. Such an effort would upset the program of the oppressor in Africa and America. Play up before the Negro, then, his crimes and shortcomings. Let him learn to admire the Hebrew, the Greek, the Latin and the Teuton. Lead the Negro to detest the man of African blood–to hate himself.” (The Miseducation of the Negro)
2. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Written by civil rights lawyer and legal scholar Michelle Alexander this work examines how the mass incarceration of African Americans has undermined the positive strides made during the Civil Rights Movement and the election of the nations first Black president. Although African Americans make up nearly 12-13% of the United State’s population Alexander finds that they’re extraordinarily incarcerated and arrested. America itself has the highest incarceration rate in the world. The text also looks at how prison’s are able to profit from the work of those incarcerated yet will not hire those inmates once they’re back in society leaving them unemployed yet skilled.
“Many offenders are tracked for prison at early ages, labeled as criminals in their teen years, and then shuttled from their decrepit, underfunded inner city schools to brand-new, high-tech prisons.” (The New Jim Crow)
3. Message to the People: The Course of African Philosophy by Marcus Garvey
Three years before his death Sir Marcus Garvey passed on his life lessons and philosophies to a group of his Universal Negro Improvement Association members with the writing and teaching of this text. The work covers a number of topics including leadership, self-initiation, character and education.
“You must never stop learning. The world’s gretest men and women were people who educated themselves outside the university with all the knowledge that the university gives, [and] you have the opportunity of doing the same thing the university student does—read and study.” (Message to the People)
4. When and Where I Enter: The impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America by Paula Giddings
This groundbreaking text provides a thorough historical narrative of Black women’s history. It covers the Women’s Club Movement and its involvement in the suffrage movement and examines the roles of key leaders including Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and Mary Church Terrell. The work also reveals the critical role of Ida B. Wells and her anti-lynching campaign while highlighting the women involved in Civil Rights organizations such as SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee).
“In addition to the practical things that needed to be done to assure progress, Black women had to confront and redefine morality and assess its relationship to “true womanhood.” For the prevailing views of the society had not only debased their image, but had also excluded them from the mainstream of the labor force and continued to make them vulnerable to sexual exploitation.” (When and Where I Enter)
5. Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South by Michael Gomez
In this thoroughly researched text scholar Michael Gomez examines the origins of African American identity by tracing its roots back to Africa. He determines that the numerous African ethnic identities became forged together during the transatlantic slave trade to become one once they reached the America’s. Gomez examines the transformations of the enslaved population in the areas of politics, social structure, and religion.
“This book seeks to examine the means by which Africans and their descendants attempted to fashion a collective identity in the colonial and antebellum American South, It is a study of their efforts to move from ethnicity to race as a basis for such an identity, a movement best understood when the impact of both internal and external forces upon social relations within this community are examined.” (Exchanging Our Country Marks)