Don't let Baldwin's disheveled and confused look on the cover of this book fool you - he remains, to this day, to be one of the few authors able to address America's original sin (racism) in such a succinct and challenging way. Although written in 1963, these short essays are applicable to our current situation. Whether you've thought about issues of racial justice for a long time or a short time, (or "a minute" as the kids say) this book is a must have.
In Taylor's first book, she traces the movement for black liberation from the Civil Rights Era up to the current #BlackLivesMatter movement. Through historical and politically analysis, Taylor demonstrates that not only is #BLM a movement (versus a moment) but it is also the harbinger for the liberation of all people from the death grip of racialized capitalism.
Tracy K. Smith's work has garnered her numerous awards. She is poet Laureate and the winner of a Pulitzer prize for her poetry. But Smith and her writing are more than her awards. Specifically in Life on Mars, Smith writes in a way that is at once down to earth and extremely profound. Touching on topics from race, to religion, ecology and astronomy (I mean, consider the title), Smith's prose will move the reader in every way.