NCU Professor Recommends Great Reads in Honor of Black History Month

NCU professor Dr. Annabelle Goodwin

Black History Month provides us with an opportunity to reflect on some of the accomplishments and struggles of Black/African American people within the United States. NCU professor, Dr. Annabelle Goodwin, shares her opinions on racial diversity and suggested books on African American history.

According to Dr. Goodwin, “Our country has a long history of racial oppression and discrimination. Each of us has unique experiences and we were raised with different lessons and stories that inform who we are, what we believe, and how we treat people. As a white person who grew up in Portland, Oregon, I was mostly surrounded by other white/Euro-American people. As a white person who is committed to social justice, I believe that it is important for me to raise my awareness of the history and experiences that I have had little exposure to.”

One of the ways Dr. Goodwin has raised her awareness about this topic is through reading. “I’ve selected a handful of recent reads that have helped me to gain perspective and raise my consciousness,” states Goodwin.

“These books have collectively helped me to understand more about how slavery influences families today, how women encountered different types of challenges when fighting for civil rights, how people will work to dehumanize a child to uphold their superiority, and how our current legal system has laws and policies in place that unfairly work against black people in the US. Additionally, these books have shown me a lot about strength, commitment, perseverance, justice, and resiliency.”

Here is a list of books that Dr. Goodwin recommends. We hope you find this list useful. Please share with us what you are reading and how it’s touched your life by contacting NCU Communications.

Between the World and Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)

In this powerful book, Coates writes a letter to his son and shares many of his experiences of growing up as a black man.

The New Jim Crow

by Michelle Alexander (2010)

This book was recently in the press again for being banned in several prisons. The book details the disparities in how African Americans are incarcerated.

Coming of Age in Mississippi

by Anne Moody (2004)

Moody was raised in a family of sharecroppers. In this book, she shares about her experiences growing up and engaging in civil rights efforts. She also shares the unique perspective of a woman advocating for change during this dangerous but crucial period of time.

The Blood of Emmett Till

by Timothy B. Tyson (2017)

Many people are familiar with the name Emmett Till. This book details information about Till’s life and the trial following his murder.

Just Mercy

by Bryan Stevenson (2018)

In this excellent book, Stevenson talks about the justice system and ways that it frequently fails many people. Stevenson is a civil rights attorney and the director of the Equal Justice Initiative.


by Yaa Gyasi (2017)

I picked up this book in the airport when I forgot my other book at home. What a fortunate mistake. As you can see, I read a lot of non-fiction but this historical fiction starts in eighteenth century Ghana and shares stories about slavery to present day families and experiences.