I belong to the youngest millennials. Born in 1996, I remember floppy disk, dial up, and massive desktop computers in my childhood. I was in a generation that learned the Dewey Decimal system but also the art of internet searching. Quickly, libraries and books faded out and Wikipedia gained immense popularity. I have used Wikipedia for everything from homework assignments to winning meaningless arguments.
The internet has become a space for intense social activism especially in the black community and communities abroad. With hashtags gaining national and political attention like #blacklivesmatter and #oscarsowhite small movements online can result in massive social movements. In this age some millennials rely on the Wikipedia or Buzzfeed as a security blanket for fast information about topics surrounding popular culture.
My warning to you is don’t forget the literature that inspired all the social movements before ours. Before 1996. Before our generation. We are not isolated in history as a single anomaly but we reference our predecessors. To understand who we are in relationship to #blacklivesmatter let's go back, sit, close our laptops, and read again. Below are my recommendations for readings that are pivotal to developing a black cultural and political identity that spans topics of race, politics, culture, gender, sexuality, and class.
These are definitely not the only books that could have been on the list. But, they are my personal favorites and are just gateways into other pathways of knowledge. If you’ve read any of these novels, or don't agree with some of the choices say why in the comments below!
Written By: Micheala Sharp