Celebrating Black History Month: A Journey Through Literature

By Kya Hertz

Black History Month offers a reflective journey into the struggles, triumphs, and enduring spirit of the African American community. It's a time to honor the past, recognize the present, and inspire the future. One of the most profound ways to connect with the essence of this month is through literature. This year, we spotlight three compelling books that delve into the complexities of race, health, and societal structures. Join us in exploring the works of Dorothy Roberts, Jasmine Brown, and Uche Blackstock. If you don’t have time to read the physical book, please note that all three are available on Audible.

1. “Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Bib Business Recreate Race in the Twenty-first Century” by Dorothy Roberts

Dorothy Roberts, Penn faculty member, an acclaimed scholar and social justice advocate, presents a powerful examination of race and social policy. Her work dissects the intersection of race or ancestry, class, and gender within the context of societal institutions. Roberts’s insightful analysis sheds light on the historical and contemporary injustices that shape our world. Reading her book is not just an act of learning; it's an immersive experience that challenges perceptions and ignites a call to action.




2. "Twice as Hard" by Jasmine Brown

"Twice as Hard" is a compelling narrative that navigates the intricate landscapes of race and professional life. Jasmine Brown offers a candid portrayal of the challenges faced by Black professionals in predominantly white spaces. Her stories resonate with the spirit of resilience and determination, serving as both a mirror and a beacon for individuals navigating similar paths. Brown's eloquent prose and poignant storytelling make "Twice as Hard" a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the nuances of racial dynamics in professional settings. Jasmine Brown has been interviewed several times and spoke at our Women in Medicine lecture series in 2023.  One of her interviews can be accessed at the following link: https://www.inquirer.com/inquirer-live/telling-your-health-story-2023-live-virtual-event-20230103.html



3. "Legacy" by Uche Blackstock

In "Legacy," Uche Blackstock embarks on a profound exploration of heritage and identity. This book delves into the rich tapestry of Black history, weaving personal narratives with broader societal insights. Blackstock's narrative is a testament to the strength, creativity, and resilience that define the Black experience. "Legacy" is more than a book; it's a celebration of the enduring spirit and profound contributions of the African American community.

As we celebrate Black History Month, let these books serve as your guides through the rich and diverse experiences of the African American community. Whether you're seeking to understand complex societal structures, gain insights into personal struggles and triumphs, or celebrate the enduring legacy of an entire community, these books offer a window into the soul of a people whose history is woven into the very fabric of our nation.

Embrace the journey, immerse yourself in these narratives, and let the wisdom within these pages inspire you to reflect, understand, and advocate for a world where diversity is not just acknowledged but celebrated. Happy reading!