The Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted important conversations all around the world about racial injustice. The movement has been educational about Black history and current injustices they still face daily. Today, events are being held all over the country in celebration of Juneteenth.  

What is Juneteenth?

In September of 1862, the Emancipation Proclamation was signed announcing the end of slavery. However, the Civil War did not end until 1865 and the state of Texas continued to keep slaves after they were legally free. 

When General Robert E. Lee surrendered in 1865 there were still an estimated 250,000 slaves in the state of Texas. Even when news of the surrender hit larger Texas cities that April, it wasn’t until the Army General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston Island with 2,000 federal troops prepared to occupy Texas to enforce the slaves’ freedom that change happened. On June 19th 1865, Granger read aloud the “General order of No 3” which announced the freedom of all slaves:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere”

The day was spent in celebration for the freedom that slaves had for two and a half years but were just now granted. This day would become known as Juneteenth. 

Every year after, people come together to celebrate Juneteenth with storytelling, food, sports, and worship to remember the African American journey to freedom.

One way you can celebrate Juneteenth is to support local Black owned restaurants, businesses, and artists in your area. Blacking out the best seller list is a show of support that is encouraging book lovers to buy two books by a black author this week. If you need some suggestions on what to buy over the weekend, we have you covered.

General Fiction - June

The Invincible Simmer of Juniper Jones by: Daven McQueen
In the summer of 1955, Ethan Harper was sent to his Aunt and Uncle’s home in a small town in Alabama. Ethan, being biracial, faces a lot of racial situations but then he meets Juniper Jones and it turns out to be a summer he will never forget.

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare
A powerful, emotional debut novel told in the unforgettable voice of a young Nigerian woman who is trapped in a life of servitude but determined to fight for her dreams and choose her own future

Sing, Unburied, Sing by: Jesmyn Ward
Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle.

Queenie by: Candice Carty-Williams
Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah in this disarmingly honest, boldly political, and truly inclusive novel that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and found something very different in its place.

Red at the Bone by: Jacqueline Woodson
Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson’s taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.

The Water Dancer by: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her—but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
A stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

Such a Fun Age by Kelly Reid 
In the midst of a family crisis one late evening, white blogger Alix Chamberlain calls her African American babysitter, Emira, asking her to take toddler Briar to the local market for distraction. There, the security guard accuses Emira of kidnapping Briar, and Alix’s efforts to right the situation turn out to be good intentions selfishly mismanaged.

Thrillers - Romance - June

My Sister, the Serial Killer by: Oyinkan Braithwaite
A blackly comic novel about how blood is thicker – and more difficult to get out of the carpet – than water.

Devil in a Blue Dress by: Walter Mosley
In Los Angeles of the late 1940s, Easy Rawlins, a black war veteran, has just been fired from his job at a defense plant. Easy is drinking in a friend’s bar, wondering how he’ll meet his mortgage, when a white man in a linen suit walks in, offering good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Monet, a blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs

The Ancient Nine by: Ian Smith
A twisty and mysterious story through the depths of the Harvard libraries. If you’re a fan of secret societies, and stories like the Da Vinci Code and the Skulls, you will not want to miss picking this book up. 

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by: Talia Hibbert
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. Now for the next items.

The Wedding Party by: Jasmine Guillory
Maddie and Theo have two things in common, Alexa is their best friend and they hate each other. Their bridal party duties throw each other together in this enemies to lover story.

The Boyfriend Project by: Farrah Rochon
Three young women who become friends when the live Tweeting of a disastrous date leads them to discover they’ve all been duped by the same man.

Young Adult - June

Slay by: Brittney Morris
By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. 

The Hate U Give by: Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Children of Blood and Bone by: Tomi Adeyemi
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Now, Zelie has one chance to bring back magic to her people.

On the Come Up by: Angie Thomas
Insightful, unflinching, and full of heart, On the Come Up is an ode to hip hop from one of the most influential literary voices of a generation. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; and about how, especially for young black people, freedom of speech isn’t always free.

With the Fire on High by: Elizabeth Acevedo
With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks. A story of chasing your dreams against all odds.

Nonfiction - Poetry - June

Brown Girl Dreaming by: Jacqueline Woodson
In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Poet X by: Elizabeth Acevedo
A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. 

And Still I Rise by: Maya Angelou
In this inspiring poem, Maya Angelou celebrates the courage of the human spirit over the harshest of obstacles.

Becoming by: Michelle Obama
A memoir of the life of  Michelle Obama, one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era.

Hunger by: Roxane Gay
A searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.

Between the World and Me by: Ta-Nehisi Coates
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis.

This is Just my Face by: Gabourey Sidibe
The Oscar-nominated Precious star and Empire actress delivers a much-awaited memoir—wise, complex, smart, funny—that is different from anything we’ve read.

Born a Crime by: Trevor Noah
The memoir of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

 

We hope you found a few books on this list to add to your shelf this weekend to help Blackout the best seller lists. Remember, this isn’t just for this week. Keep buying, reading, and sharing to support Black authors and stories.