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Moms Must Read: 5 Books To Help you think About Civics, Civil Rights, and Politics

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Moms Must Read:
5 Books To Help you think About Civics,
Civil Rights, and Politics

 

The election has been on everyone’s minds for months, maybe even years. But the truth of the matter is that regardless the winner, some people will be disappointed. Whether your party wins or not, life must go on and we must continue or strive to be good citizens. One way to be a good citizen is to study how others have lived in the past and learn from their mistakes. That’s also where studying Civil Rights is important. Studying politics is important so that you can make informed choices when voting, even in local elections; they’re all important. It’s also helpful to know what your opponents believe in order to find a common ground, because there’s got to be a common ground or laws wouldn’t ever get passed.  To be sure, these topics can produce texts that are boring, over-inflated, or too full of rhetoric. Fortunately, I’ve done the work for you. I’ve scoured the globe to find books to help you think about Civics, Civil Rights, and Politics. 

1. March: Book One  by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

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Whites only establishments were the world that Senator John Lewis grew up in and he thinks it’s important that young people understand how difficult life was back then.  A graphic novel is an excellent medium to relay this information to kids and teens. A graphic novel takes the stigma out of reading a boring book by reaching readers in a way they appreciate. Kids might be hard-pressed to believe this is history, that it actually happened. Sharing our history with them will ensure they don’t make the same mistakes. 

Read More: TV NEWS WHITEWASH

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2. Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance

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The author of this book grew up poor in Appalachia. He went on to overcome his surroundings and graduate from Yale but in this story he talks about the struggles of the White working class. If you’ve ever read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, you’ll know that people of color were not the only people struggling to get by and living in poverty. Hillbilly Elegy is not a tale of woe but delves “into his [the author’s] own personal story and drawing on a wide array of sociological studies, Vance takes us deep into working class life in the Appalachian region.” I think it’s worth a look-see to understand why some White folks in the Midwest are angry. 

Read More: RAISIN’ IN MINNESOTA: THE COLOR OF DISCIPLINE

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3. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

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This title is often  prescribed for summer reading assignments or college courses. It describes the rather controversial thought that the American correctional system “functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness.” The author claims that communities containing people of color are dwindling because a large portion of their men are behind bars. Certainly something to explore further. 

Read More: RACE AND RACISM: WHY IS IT STILL TOO HOT TO HANDLE?

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4.  Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

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This book (and soon to be released movie!) is bound to be a pick me up for several groups of people. It’s the story of a group of African American women, known as “colored computers” who worked with NASA to calculate flight paths and other super technical space information. If you’re a Black woman, a Civil Rights fan, or a space geek, this is the book for you. I personally can’t wait for it to come out, as I did a very brief stint at NASA and geeked out constantly at the thought that the little teeny bit of work I did helped a future space mission. 

Read More: SMACK IN THE MIDDLE: WHAT I WILL TELL MY CHILDREN ABOUT RACE

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5. Truevine by Beth Macy

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Now here’s an unbelievable tale that’s actually true. Although it reads more like a fantastical horror story. Two Black sharecropper children are kidnapped from their home. They are taken to live and work with the circus and are forced to perform around the world. Their poor mother spends something like 28 years searching for them in an effort to return them to their home. Because of their albinism, their multipurpose ability to perform different acts as part of the freak show makes them valuable. The author makes you wonder where these stolen boys actually belong? Poor, with their mother or traveling the circus, which is the only life they’ve known? And here’s another thought: how far would you go to be reunited with your children? Now imagine that you are poor in the Jim Crow South. How does that work? Heartbreaking questions and definitely good conversations to follow. 

Read More: RAISIN’ IN MINNESOTA: ALL THE COLORS IN THE BOX; TALKING TO KIDS ABOUT RACE

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Well, I’ve brought you five different books; I think we could all learn something from each book. Blacks weren’t the only racial group who had to overcome economic uncertainty. And if you think politics isn’t involved in any of the topics, think again. The more I learn about America’s history and it’s treatment of people of color and the poor, the more disgusted I am. Here’s hoping we learn from the past and do better in the future. 

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