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5 Books to Read in Honor of Juneteenth

“The good news is that racist and antiracist are not fixed identities. We can be a racist one minute and an antiracist the next. What we say about race, what we do about race, in each moment, determines what -- not who -- we are.” ― Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist

Juneteenth was declared a state holiday in Pennsylvania only a couple years ago and a federal holiday last year, and it's sad to say, but we weren't super knowledgeable about what Juneteenth actually was. Since then, we've done some research and have learned more about the history of Juneteenth. Juneteenth is a holiday to celebrate the day that enslaved African Americans in Texas were told that the Civil War had ended and they were free. Although technically free in 1865, African Americans and other people of color have continued to be challenged and oppressed by racist beliefs and actions.

There are many ways for us, and you, to show our support to minority communities, but since we're a book blog, we're going to focus on 5 books that we feel can help us educate ourselves on how racism has affected, and continues to affect, the people in our community and beyond. We hope we covered enough genres that you might find a new book to add to your TBR in honor of Juneteenth.

  1. Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement by John Lewis & Michael D'Orso

I (Chelsea) was introduced to Walking with the Wind in my freshman year of college. Throughout the semester, the class was assigned chapters of the book, which were then discussed in class, etc. While it's been a long time (over a decade) since I've read this book, I feel that it's the first book I read that really made me look beyond my own reality. Not only do I suggest reading it, but I've added it back to my TBR list to revisit it in the near future. A similar book we've added to our TBR list is The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

2. Our Time is Now by Stacey Abrams

Our Time is Now is an excellent read if you're wanting to learn more about voter suppression. Stacey Abrams not only gives an account of her experience running for governor of Georgia, but also draws on others' experiences and research provided by national organizations. A similar book we've added to our TBR list is Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.

3. Becoming by Michelle Obama

Becoming might have come up in one of our previous blogs, but that's because it's such a good audiobook! Although Michelle Obama is the first African American to serve as First Lady of the United States of America, she was already well-known in her home community and beyond for her accomplishments prior to living in the White House. This book describes her experiences from her childhood in Chicago to her life in the White House. A similar book we've added to our TBR list is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

4. Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

Concrete Rose is the prequel to The Hate U Give, and this book does not disappoint if you've already read The Hate U Give. Maverick is trying to help his mom keep their house running the way he knows how, dealing drugs, but then he finds out he's going to be a father. How, as a teen, can he support a child? Maverick's story is heralded as a "searing and poignant exploration of Black boyhood and manhood." A similar book we've added to our TBR list is The Vanishing Half.

5. How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

If you're looking for a book that gives guidance on how to not just be against racism, but anti-racist, then How to be an Antiracist needs to be on your TBR list. This book is not only educational, but also thought-provoking. This is a great read to kick start your self-reflection on your own biases and actions, not only in regard to racism, but to other biases we may not realize we hold. A similar book we've added to our TBR list is Between the World and Me.

Do you have other "must-reads" on the topic of racism? We are always looking for new reads and suggestions for books! If you’d like to see what we are reading now, check out our Goodreads profiles (Kelli and Chelsea) or follow 2 Girls Bookin' It on Instagram and Facebook! If you’re excited to see what other topics we’ll be covering in the coming months, make sure to subscribe. Thanks for reading with us!

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