Like many Americans, I have read many articles in the past year about the Black Lives Matter movement. I, however, am just a middle-class white American librarian who is very far removed from the realities of life that many African-Americans face.
Ta-Nehisi Coates has emerged as one of the most important and eloquent voices in the current discourse about the Black Lives Matter movement. His essays in The Atlantic, in particular “The Case for Reparations,” have made an impact in the larger discussion about race in America. Between the World and Me is a book that is written as a letter to his teenage son. A central theme in the book is that in the United States, African-Americans are often deprived of the rights to their own bodies. Authority figures and society often take their lives away either literally, by being shot, or in more subtle ways, like being imprisoned. In his book, Coates tries to explain to his son how and why his life will be very different in America simply because of the color of his skin.
This book is essential reading if you are curious about the reasons behind the Black Lives Matter movement. As a white American I know that I can never fully understand everything Coates has to say, but the book does at least provide some basic ideas of what it is like to be an African-American in our country. While you may not agree with the ideas of the Black Lives Matter movement, this important book will give some insight into the motivations behind it.
You can place a hold on the book in our catalog right now. Between the World and Me just received the 2015 National Book Award for nonfiction, so you might have to wait a bit. In the meantime, be sure to check out “You Might Also Like These…” at the bottom of the book’s catalog page.