Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ten top books for Black History Month

John A. Kirk, the George W. Donaghey professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, is author of Martin Luther King Jr (2005) and Redefining the Color Line: Black Activism in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1940-1970 (2002), and editor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement: Controversies and Debates.

At the Guardian, Kirk named his top ten books for Black History month. (Black History Month is celebrated annually in the United States and Canada in February and the United Kingdom in October.) One title on the list:
King: A Critical Biography by David L Lewis

Of the many worthy contenders to choose from, I particularly like Lewis's 1970 biography of Martin Luther King, because it was one of the first to take on the task after King's assassination in 1968. While sympathetic to King, the book is not afraid to point to his shortcomings. Revealingly – and perhaps a reflection of King's acceptance into the pantheon of American heroes – subsequent editions have dropped the word "critical" from the title.
Read about another entry on the list.

Also see the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five books for young readers that bring African-American history alive.

--Marshal Zeringue