1. Peace from Broken Pieces by Iyanla Vanzant

First inhaled back in 2013, this book literally helped me put all of the pieces of my puzzle together. It wholeheartedly helped me realize that my puzzle was actually in pieces in the first place. I always knew my puzzle pieces needed to be put together, but I had no idea that the literal pieces of my puzzle were themselves, in pieces and inherently, needed to be pieced together.

It wasn’t until then, that I was able to understand that before the puzzle could even began to form virtually in my mind, figuratively in my heart and then, literally through my life and soul, I had to go find, identify and even steal my pieces back from the scattered corners of my world, to become the amazing woman I am today!

2. The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley by Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley

I first read this book in the eighth grade and that was my first awakening to my state of mind as the so-called “angry Black woman”. I didn’t even know what it meant to be Black before reading this book. Since then, I’ve read the book at least half a dozen more times and each time, I’ve gained an eye sore of knowledge about the state of my Black being in a once White ruled and now a “Green”/ money ruled society.

  1. Assata by Assata Shakur

When I was first enlightened by the most magnificent read of my 25 years of life, I was just a budding college freshman, at a predominantly White private university, wholeheartedly confident that there actually was a silver lining for all students working to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”. After I put this book down, I knew that I was a Black woman fighting to make it in a college society that was functioned to keep Black women from “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps”.

I’ve read this book at least a dozen times, and each time, it’s like reading it with a pair of fresh eyes! I mean her words hit me like a ton of bricks every time. And in a different way, each time. I am confident that this is the one book I’ll have to read every two to three years, just to get a refresher about the society I am living in. There’s just no way to read it and truly comprehend the depth and impactful TRUTH that bleeds through each line, in one read. It has to be read, over and over and over. Until, well, until the TRUTH in it is no longer the TRUTH of today but rather the TRUTH of yesterday.

4. Angela Davis: An Autobiography by Angela Davis

As crazy as it still seems to me, I didn’t read this book until last year, when I received it as a birthday gift. Till this day, I consider it to be the best birthday gift I have ever received. Nonetheless, I easily realized as I quickly and devotedly poured through the mystical essence of the analytical majesty in these pages, that I wasn’t ready to read this book until last year.

I was actually blessed to have Ms. Davis as a professor of mine as a student at Syracuse University, back in 2010 and even then, I was still way too unconscious to understand any of the depth in the book at the time. A person could read this book, as many have and continue to, but to truly appreciate, digest and receive what Angela was able to do with her life story through her autobiography, is something that most will take a lifetime and maybe then some, to ever even begin to wrap their mind around.

5. The War Before: The True Life Story of Becoming a Black Panther, Keeping the Faith in Prison, and Fighting for Those Left Behind by Safiya Bukhari

Ahh man! Safiya! What can I say about her? About this book? This masterpiece! One the greatest unknown knowns, truly, Safiya and her words are arguably the most powerful of forces to come out of the Black Power Movement, alive (though, not as long as we could hope), free (after much time and sacrifice) and still fucking CONSCIOUS! My professor at the time, Susan Rosenberg, gave me the greatest gift any teaching professional has ever given me in my lifetime, when she recommended that I read this book for a class presentation.

Safiya was the greatest street soldier, woman warrior and intellectual of her time, in my opinion. Not because of what she did before she went to prison but instead, for what she did when she left prison, committing the rest of her living days to freeing those she left behind, from the War Before. I could and actually will, in due time, go into much greater detail about the majestic presence Safiya left on this world, though so many don’t know, but for now, I will just say, I am grateful, blessed and eternally thankful for this book! Thanks again Susan!

  1. *For Good Measure* A People’s History by Howard Zinn

Can I just say, I never knew White people knew, let alone, told the stories of people who weren’t White, before this book. It may seem mind-boggling to some, but as a high school freshmen, going to an elite, predominantly White high school smack dab in the middle of the very non White Lower East Side, I didn’t feel like White people got it at all. This book did sooo much more than open my eyes to such a reality, and by doing so, tied in together the beginning seedlings of my revolutionary soul!

No greater burden Meme