Are Black Men Doomed? by Alford A. Young, Jr., is a Black sociologist’s rumination on whether America can “ever come to terms with Black men.” The slim, 100-page, volume is a powerful reminder of what Black men are up against as they face truly insurmountable forces. Answering his own rhetorical question to the affirmative, Young avoids the twin traps of assuming Black men are inherently incapable of redeeming themselves, or that they are responsible for making the changes necessary for their own salvation. Instead, Young argues, the redemption of Black men must come from the same external forces that have doomed them.
What Drowns the Flowers in Your Mouth by Rigoberto Gonzalez is the prolific poet and memoirist’s latest, and an introspective look at the struggles of immigrants in California’s Coachella Valley — as well as the legacy of toxic Latino machismo — through the struggles of his own family. Gonzalez and his brother must deal with the early loss of their mother and the later abandonment by their father. He writes about how those events and others impact the decisions the two make later in life. This is the story of their struggle and perseverance, of the emotional trauma of abandonment, and of the bonds of family.
Challenges to the Dream: The Best of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards at Carnegie Mellon University, edited by Jim Daniels, is an anthology of more than 80 works written by high school and college students in the greater Pittsburgh area for an annual writing contest. The students write about their personal struggles with race and discrimination through a range of topics, including stereotypes, bullying, homophobia, and identity questions. Written in both prose and poetry, this collection brings fresh voices that encourage and extend conversations about racial, political, gender, and cultural issues.
The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart is the definitive biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance. Locke was a philosopher and author who coined the term “New Negro” to describe African-Americans who were proud of both their ethnicity and heritage. Stewart explores Locke’s childhood and education, his travels to Europe as the first Black Rhodes Scholar, and his struggle coming to terms with his identity as a gay Black man in a racist and homophobic society. A prolific author on race relations, Locke was an inspiration to future leaders , including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We Wear the Mask: 15 True Stories of Passing in America edited by Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page, this collection of essays from different communities share the authors’ experiences dealing with forms of passing. Passing, or being seen as something one is not (often in regard to race or gender), has a long and complicated history. Whether it’s a Mexican-American raised to believe he was Native American, or renowned Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page writing of “economic passing,” this anthology provides emotionally engaging stories about the diverse and evolving nature of passing in America.
Higher Is Waiting by Tyler Perry is an engaging personal memoir that reveals the actor-producer’s deeply spiritual side. The intimate writing reveals how faith came to guide and impact every facet of his life. The world famous Black man is also a screenwriter, playwright, songwriter, entrepreneur, and philanthropist — and was once the highest paid man in the entertainment industry. Through Higher Is Waiting, Perry offers questions designed to help readers on their own journeys, providing a spiritual guidebook designed to inspire others to find their own personal redemption.
Black Man in A White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine by Damon Tweedy, M.D, an associate professor of psychiatry at Duke University, explores his experiences as a Black man in the traditionally white medical profession. Tweedy uses personal anecdotes to show that despite progress being made, the medical profession still falls short in providing consistently high levels of care specifically tailored to their patients of color. Tweedy makes recommendations to help improve the health delivery system and offers inspirational thoughts and observations.