Black History Month Reading List


In celebration of Black History Month, Pastor Nathan recommends the following books written by persons of color that write about Black life from personal, theological, and academic perspectives.  Books may be purchased online from a variety of booksellers.  Pastor Nathan is also willing to loan you his copy.  Please contact him if interested.

“What Doesn’t Kill you Makes you Blacker” A Memoir in Essays by Damon Young. “For Damon Young, existing while black is an extreme sport. The act of possessing black skin while searching for space to breathe in America is enough to induce a ceaseless state of angst, where questions such as “How should I react here, as a Professional Black Person?” and “Will this white person’s potato salad kill me?” are forever relevant. The books chronicles Young’s efforts to survive while battling and making sense of the various neuroses his country has given him.” (excerpt from book’s jacket cover). For an NPR article on the book, click – HERE.

“Stand your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God”  Written by Episcopal priest Kelly Brown Douglas, the book traces the evolution of the founding myth of American exceptionalism  and manifest destiny, to the hypersexualization and criminalization of the black body, to modern day stand-your-ground laws, and finally to the shooting death of Trayvon Benjamin Martin on February 26, 2012.  To read a review, click – HERE.

“How to be an Antiracist”  by Ibram X. Kendi.  “This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society. In How to be an Antiracist, Kendi take readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and to work to oppose them in our systems and ourselves.”  For more, click – HERE.

“Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S.”  by Lenny Duncan.  “Lenny Duncan is an unlikely pastor. Formerly incarcerated, formerly homeless, and formerly unchurched, he is now a black preacher in the whitest denomination in the United States: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Shifting demographics and shrinking congregations make the headlines, but Duncan connects the church’s lack of diversity to its lack of vitality. Part manifesto, part confession, and all love letter, Dear Church, offers a bold new vision for the future of the church.  For a review in The Christian Century, click – HERE.

“The Nickel Boys” by Colson Whithead.  “Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is a high school senior about to start classes at a local college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future.”   For a New York Times review, click – HERE.