In a society that not only promotes but glorifies the emasculation of Black men, it more important now than ever to teach our boys about their history in order to inform their future.
No longer can we depend on public education and its failing policies that funnel our children from the classroom to the prison cell. We must empower our boys with the tools to succeed and that begins with strengthening the mind through the intellectual consumption of the written word.
For generations, our greatest leaders have been adept at reading and writing. This proven path to knowledge and enlightenment is still effective today.
We’ve compiled a list of essential reading for developing Black teenage boys into successful, strong Black men. Just as iron sharpens iron, strong Black men follow the paths of strong Black men.
Following great examples, such as Frederick Douglass or Malcolm X, will set young boys on a path to become intellectual leaders and take personal responsibility, get a good education, and pursue their passions from an informed perspective.
One of the most important steps in this necessary growth process is to read books of successful African Americans who took initiative, overcame obstacles, and pursued their dreams passionately. Below is a list of several must-read books that we recommend for every Black teenage male:
1. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
The writer is a civil rights lawyer and legal scholar. The book discussed the issues of race suffered by African American men and clearly shows how America has the highest incarceration rates in the world due to its policies on the war on drugs. The biggest offenders are African American men who she believes are the target of the American system to oppress African Americans. The discrimination is also targeted at other minorities and economically disadvantaged people.
As a young African American boys, this is a book you must read to understand how the system is working and to know what you will be up against. There is a system designed to make you fail and you, therefore, must work twice as hard to beat it and stand up to be counted among the people who stood up for what they believed in. Taking education seriously is one such thing because even as the writer is an educated black lady who is widely respected in the world of law. Education will open up your mind and will open up doors that will help you succeed in life more than ever.
2. Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun by Reginald F. Lewis
This book details the life and times of Reginald F.Lewis who is considered the wealthiest African American in American history. The title of the book is a reflection of what kind of a man he was. Growing up poor like many black men of his age, he overheard a discussion between his grandparents about discrimination against black people and he quipped and wondered why the white have to get it easy and enjoy everything. He seemed to be a self-assured child and must have been driven by a personal determination that began at this young age.
Despite all the odds, he rose up and succeeded in the world of entrepreneurship to amass wealth that spanned 4 continents at the time of his death. Certainly, this is a story of a man that should be emulated. He grew up in the same system but worked so hard that he made a fortune for himself and others too. His story should inspire you to work harder at your dreams and become as great as he became.
3. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley
The book details the history of Malcolm X and his contribution to the end of racism. It details his birth and a short stint in the civil rights movement. Despite being alive for 40 years the age at which he was assassinated, he had managed to achieve so much by standing up for what he believed in. His background notwithstanding, he did not look back at what where he had come from to come in his way of being a civil rights leader.
The story of Malcolm X should be an inspiration that you do not have to wait longer to begin actualizing your dreams. You should start immediately and it is possible to achieve them despite coming from an African American home.
4. The Wealth Choice by Dennis Kimbro
The book is about the richest black men and women in America who have overcome the prejudice against them to rise to wealth. The book observes the lack of wealth among the African American community and takes it higher with a study of a few wealthy individuals who have scaled the heights and succeeded and how you can emulate them and become like them. The book basically puts a challenge to the young African American men to believe that it is possible for them to scale up and become great men of honor. The book is a summary of a 7-year journey analyzing about 1,000 wealthiest African Americans.
This book is about reality. A reality of African American people who exist and who have made a fortune in America which is a society that has odds cast against them. However, this has not come in their way and they have gone ahead and succeeded in the world of business.
5. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
The book comprises of 2 essays written initially during the segregation in the early 1960s. The first essay encourages the nephew of the writer to have a positive outlook on the situation despite the society’s ability to finish off great African American men.
The book can be an inspiration for you to turn your situation into positive energy that will propel you to greater heights and achieve your dreams through positivist just like this author recommends.
The truth is that you are now also in the same state as the writers were growing up during the civil rights movement. Their poor situations did not prevent them from being who they are today and the same can be your story.