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Fiction and poetry on antiracism and similar topics

Carissa Marques, Creative Services Director

If you’re still looking for reading materials to help further your education on antiracism and similar topics, here is a list of some fictional content and poetry:

Fiction 

The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison

“Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy – for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in. As her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison’s virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing.” – Barnes & Noble

Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston 

“One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a southern love story with wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.” – Barnes & Noble

A Raisin in the Sun – Lorraine Hansberry 

“Lorraine Hansberry’s award-winning drama about the hopes and aspirations of a struggling, working-class family living on the South Side of Chicago connected profoundly with the psyche of black America – and changed American theater forever.” – Goodreads

Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison  

“First published in 1952 and immediately hailed as a masterpiece, Invisible Man is one of those rare novels that have changed the shape of American literature. For not only does Ralph Ellison’s nightmare journey across the racial divide tell unparalleled truths about the nature of bigotry and its effects on the minds of both victims and perpetrators, it gives us an entirely new model of what a novel can be.” – Goodreads 

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi 

“Meshing the streets of Harlem and the Gold Coast of Ghana in the pages of one novel is a remarkable achievement. Yaw, one of the book’s 20th century descendents, teaches a class of African adolescents, whom he urges to think deeply about history: ‘You must always ask yourself, whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story, too.’ In Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi has given a rare and heroic voice to the missing and suppressed.” – Jean Zimmerman, NPR

Kindred – Octavia E. Butler 

“The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life.” – Goodreads 

Poetry 

  • Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches – Audre Lorde 
  • The Black Unicorn: Poems – Audre Lorde 
  • Reacquainted with Life – Kokumo 
  • Slingshot – Cyree Jarelle Johnson 
  • Homegirls and Handgrenades – Sonia Sanchez 
  • Autopsy – Donte Collins 
  • Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems – Danez Smith 

I would like to thank UNF 20/20 Voices public relations coordinator, Sierra Jones-Frishman for helping with the compilation of this list. 

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