The Civil Rights Movement is a great step forward for great America in the 20th century. We, generations later, only know that heroic past through works of art. Civil Rights Movement Books is one of the most accurate depictions of the times' contexts and events.
Melaninful has compiled a list of books that portrayed many pivotal moments in the evolution of the movement. Surely these Civil Rights Movement books will give you a multi-dimensional view of this great struggle.
Why Reading Civil Rights Movement Books Is So Crucial?
The Civil Rights Movement, which started in America in the 1940s, was a campaign by Black Americans and their allies to bring about the end of racial discrimination, disenfranchisement, and racial segregation in the United States. The movement had roots in the Reconstruction era of the 1800s, and it brought about a lot of change and advancements for Black Americans.
From the 1940s to the end of the movement in the late 1960s, the movement’s practice of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience eventually secured new protections in federal law for the human rights of all Americans and brought about large legislative gains.
While there were improvements, it was not without its costs. There was racism and violence in response to the movement, and many people lost their lives, including key Civil Rights figures. While the fight for racial equality and justice continues in America today, it is important to remember the men and women who worked tirelessly to help forge a path and to reflect on the important actions and leaders in Civil Rights history.
Enjoy these wonderful books to help you learn more about the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement and the change they brought about.
20 Top-Rated Civil Rights Movement Books
Publication year: 1920
Author: Ishmael Reed
Mumbo Jumbo written by Ishmael Reed, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
A plague is spreading, and it's spreading fast, from New Orleans to Chicago to New York. It's an epidemic of freedom, joy, and self-expression, being spread by Black artists, that makes anyone who catches it desperate to dance, sing, laugh and jive. It's the outbreak of Jazz, Ragtime, and Blues; the spirit of Blackness overtaking America and the world. And it's threatening to dismantle the whole social order.
Working to root out the plague by any means possible - even murder - are the members of The Wallflower Order, an international conspiracy dedicated to puritanism and control. But, deep in the heart of Harlem, private eye and Vodun priest Papa LaBas is determined to defend his flourishing ancient culture against their insidious plans.
'We, the black and the white, deeply need each other here if we are really to become a nation'
James Baldwin's impassioned plea to 'end the racial nightmare' in America was a bestseller when it appeared in 1963, galvanizing a nation and giving voice to the emerging civil rights movement. Told in the form of two intensely personal 'letters', The Fire Next Time is at once a powerful evocation of Baldwin's early life in Harlem and an excoriating condemnation of the terrible legacy of racial injustice.
This is the momentous story of the Civil Rights movement, told by one of its most powerful and eloquent voices, Martin Luther King, Jr. Here King recounts the pivotal events in the city of Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 that propelled his non-violent campaign for racial justice from lunch counter sit-ins to a phenomenon that 'rocked the richest, most powerful nation to its foundations.
Why We Can't Wait is both a unique document of American history and an enduring testament to the wise, courageous, and endlessly hopeful vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
On the evening of June 12, 1963 — the day President John F. Kennedy gave his most impassioned speech about the need for interracial tolerance “Medgar Evers, the NAACP’s first field secretary in Mississippi, was shot and killed by an assassin’s bullet in his driveway. The still-smoking gun — bearing the fingerprints of Byron De La Beckwith, a staunch white supremacist — was recovered moments later in some nearby bushes.
Still, Beckwith remained free for over thirty years, until Evers’s widow finally forced the Mississippi courts to bring him to justice. The Autobiography of Medgar Evers tells the full story of one of the greatest leaders of the civil rights movement, bringing his achievement to life for a new generation.
Breach of Peace: Portraits of the 1961 Mississippi Freedom Riders
Ripples of Hope brings together the most influential and important civil rights speeches from the entire range of American history from the colonial period to the present. Gathered from the great speeches of the civil rights movement of African Americans, Asian Americans, gays, Hispanic Americans, and women, Ripples of Hope includes voices as diverse as Sister Souljah, Spark Matsui, and Harvey Milk, which, taken as a whole, constitute a unique chronicle of the modern civil rights movement.
Featuring a foreword by President Bill Clinton and an afterword by Mary Frances Berry, this collection represents not just a historical first but also an indispensable resource for readers searching for an alternative history of American rhetoric
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
People looking to learn more about the Civil Rights movement firsthand and enjoy traveling can use this thorough guide to see historic sites up close and in person. This handy guide takes travelers to such key locations of the Civil Rights movement as the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, the Emmett Till Intrepid Center, and the Little Rock Nine memorial. It covers America from Georgia up to Washington D.C.
Stokely Carmichael, the charismatic and controversial black activist, stepped onto the pages of history when he called for “Black Power” during a speech one Mississippi night in 1966. A firebrand who straddled both the American civil rights and Black Power movements, Carmichael would stand for the rest of his life at the center of the storm he had unleashed that night. In Stokely, preeminent civil rights scholar Peniel E. Joseph presents a groundbreaking biography of Carmichael, using his life as a prism through which to view the transformative African American freedom struggles of the twentieth century.
At the dawn of the modern civil rights movement, Monroe Trotter, a journalist agitator, and D.W. Griffith, a technically brilliant filmmaker, incited a public confrontation that roiled America, pitting black against white, Hollywood against Boston, and free speech against the fight for equality. This is the fiery story of a revolutionary moment for mass media and the nascent civil rights movement, and the men clashing over the cultural and political soul of a still-young America standing at the cusp of its greatest days.
The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
To most Americans, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. represent contrasting ideals: self-defense vs. nonviolence, black power vs. civil rights, the sword vs. the shield. The struggle for black freedom is wrought with the same contrasts.
While nonviolent direct action is remembered as an unassailable part of American democracy, the movement’s militancy is either vilified or erased outright. In The Sword and the Shield, Peniel E. Joseph upends these misconceptions and reveals a nuanced portrait of two men who, despite markedly different backgrounds, inspired and pushed each other throughout their adult lives.
A historic biography that conjures a never-before-seen world of its protagonist, a work whose title is inspired by a phrase Malcolm X used when he saw his Hartford followers stir with purpose, as if the dead were truly arising, to overcome the obstacles of racism. Setting Malcolm’s life not only within the Nation of Islam but against the larger backdrop of American history, the book traces the life of one of the twentieth century’s most politically relevant figures “from street criminal to devoted moralist and revolutionary.”
Much has been written about Berdis Baldwin’s son James, about Alberta King’s son Martin Luther, and Louise Little’s son Malcolm. But virtually nothing has been said about the extraordinary women who raised them. In her groundbreaking and essential debut The Three Mothers, scholar Anna Malaika Tubbs celebrates Black motherhood by telling the story of the three women who raised and shaped some of America’s most pivotal heroes.
These civil rights movement books have created a lot of life-changing journeys. Grasp one from the above list and immerse yourself in the world of words that reflect the will of an era will be a great choice after a hard-working day.
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