read these books

Last year I submitted a Facebook post of  the poster above. It generated over 300 “likes” and some much-needed debate around the question of how what we read stimulates and informs our consciousness. This got me thinking recently about my own development and the books I most credit for shaping my political consciousness. So I identified 20 books I read prior to turning 25 that got me on my path. I would love for you to share with me your own book list!

The books responsible for shaping my early political consciousness:

  1. Malcolm X Speaks- Malcolm X
  2. The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  3. Assata
  4. MIseducation of the Negro- Carter G. Woodson
  5. Black Awakening in Capitalist America –Robert Allen
  6. Democracy For the Few- Michael Parenti
  7. Classic Slave Narratives- Henry Louis Gates
  8. The Destruction of Black Civilization- Chancellor Williams
  9. The Shaping of Black America- Lerone Bennett
  10. The Souls of Black Folk- W.E.B. DuBois
  11. Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery-Naim Akbar
  12. Black Leaders of the 19th Century- August Meier
  13. Black Leaders of the 20th Century- August Meier
  14. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa- Walter Rodney
  15. Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey-Marcus Garvey
  16. Black Student’s Guide to Positive Education- Zak Kondo
  17. Pedagogy of the Oppressed-Paulo Friere
  18. The Invisible Man-Ralph Ellison
  19. A People’s History of the United States-Howard Zinn
  20. Message to the Blackman in America-Elijah Muhammad

What books shaped your early consciousness?


  1. All of Maya Angelou’s autobiographies, All of Zora Neale Hurstons books, J.A. Rogers Africa’s Gift to America, The Isis Papers, numerous black female novelists, everything by Jawanza Kunjufu, many by Anthony Browder, everything by Na’im Akbar, They Came Before Columbus, and numerous more by white and black authors, too many to remember or even count.

  2. All books by J.A. Rogers who was the first author who shaped my consciouness. The first book being “100 facts about the negro with proof”. It changed my life and he was well ahead of his time. I consider him the first afrocentric.

    The next was “Message to the blackman” by Elijah Muhammed and “The autobiography of Malcolm X” by Alex Haley. Both books influenced my thinking.

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