Walter Street, III’s Recommended Reading Book List
This selection is in consideration of perennial critical issues confronting Blacks. This recommendation is guided by concerns domestic, within an international and historic context.
Frederick Douglass and James Baldwin promoted a principle of effective awareness that “past, present, future” form together a continuum. There can be no meaningful future without the past.
Bill Gates’ recent book on “How To Avoid A Climate Disaster” is third on the list. Black folks here and elsewhere are deeply impacted by the ravishes of environmental degradation: Environmental Racism. The effect is manifested upon life itself, economics, health, education. For 402 years Education has been considered a primary tool for liberation, survival and full citizenship.
The list is heavy with Black creatives because we along with the majority might not be fully aware of the prolific intellectual interest and development nurtured by our people. Africans transported here were not intellectually undeveloped or illiterate. Douglass as a teenager in Baltimore had the habit of picking up from the streets and gutters discarded scraps of newspapers, books and pamphlets in his quest in learning to read, write and to become informed of ideas and news of the day. People ignored this ignorant enslaved Negro child’s strange ways. He was probably using these scraps to stuff his shoes, pants, shirt to keep warm. Surprise!
|1||Frederick Douglass, Prophet of Freedom||David W. Blight||Most photographed American of the 19th century, radical enemy of slavery, anti-lynching, women’s suffrage|
|2||When they call you a terrorist, a black lives matter memoir||Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele, foreword by Angela Y. Davis||New generation leading for justice, equity, literacy|
|3||How to Avoid a Climate Disaster||Bill Gates||Climate Change (weirding) impacts Blacks domestically, internationally all levels: racism, economic, health|
|4||RL’s Dream||Walter Mosley||Black author. “Devil in the Blue Dress”|
|5||No Name in the Street||James Baldwin||Currently studied around the world|
|6||Democracy in America||Alexis de Torqueville||French commentor on evolving U. S. scene. Observed slavery ever present over entire country.|
|7||Southern Exposure, The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side||Lee Bey with forward by Amanda Williams||Chicago born & grown. Observer & authority on architecture.|
|8||Caste, the Originals of Our Discontents||Isabel Wilkerson||Author “Warmth of Other Suns”. Former New York Times reporter. The Great Migration.|
|9||Underground Railroad||Colson Whitehead||Award winning author. New York Times best seller.|
|10||To Be Young Gifted and Black, Lorraine Hansberry in her Own Words||Adapted by Robert Nemiroff||South side Chicago legacy playwright.|
|11||Thomas Paine, Enlightenment, Revolution and the Birth of a Nation||Craig Nelson|
|12||Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero, Bound for the Promised Land||Kate Clifford Larson|
|13||High Risers, Cabrini-Green and Fate of American Public Housing||Ben Austin||Deep history of Chicag0’s near north side. Immigrant entry to the city, traditionally most diverse residential area.|
|14||Our Time is Now||Stacey Abrams||Brilliant current strategist, thought leader for Black empowerment, liberation.|
|15||Lyrics of Lowly Life, the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar||Paul Laurence Dunbar||A Frederick Douglass disciple and observer of the Black seer. Eulogist of the master’s death.|
|16||My Soul Has Grown Deep, Classics of Early African-American Literature||Edited by John Edgar Wideman||A choice survey of Black intellect & leadership.|
|17||Barracoon, The Story of the Last “Black Cargo”||Zora Neale Hurston, Edited by Deborah G. Plant with Foreword by Alice Walker||1859 Africans brought as contraband into Mobile Bay aboard the Clotilda, recently located with plans to raise and restore.|