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BLAC's Choices for Books to Help You Get 'Woke'

Stay educated. Get motivated.

In a world that's always on a high-speed chase for information, social-media sharing and instant gratification, a book makes us all slow down – especially when it's on a higher level. Here's a batch that touches upon the very meaning of the black experience, expounds upon the dream … and delves into the origins of funk. Expand your mind.

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

One World • $28

With his 2017 collection of essays, journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates – arguably America's foremost thinker on race – incited a battle of wills with fellow black intellectual Dr. Cornel West. If you want to understand the Obama-to-Trump transition as a sort of living history, this tome is worth your attention.

The Forgetting Tree: A Rememory

By Rae Paris

Wayne State University Press • $18.99

Black identity. How we do we forge it? What are its geographical implications? Writer and professor Rae Paris takes us on a journey through her personal family history, where she visits "sites of racial trauma, horror and defiance." This dreamily evocative work weaves memoir with poetry, photography and introspection, forming a seamless catalogue of hauntingly beautiful vignettes.

100 Amazing Facts About the Negro

By Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Pantheon Books • $40

If you've ever wondered, "Did black people own slaves and, if so, why?" "What percentage of white Americans have recent African ancestry?" and "Who was the first black person to see the baby Jesus?" – then this is your book. Put it on the table in your living room and watch the discussions happen.

Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Hard on You?

By George Clinton (with Ben Greenman)

Atria Paperback • $17

Pretty much whatever your age, race or socioeconomic status, you've grooved to the music of George Clinton ("One Nation Under a Groove," "Flash Light" – the list goes on). Now in paperback, this breezy memoir gives us the story behind some of the most influential songs of black and pop music history. Here's your ticket "to ride" inside one of the most eclectic musical minds on the planet. 

All books available on Amazon.

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