As Black History Month ends, Bass librarians and students keep the conversation going

Whiteboard with favorite African American Artists listed for Black History Month
March 1, 2018

A Bass Library initiative to amplify underrepresented voices has generated a crowd-sourced reading list of books “by and about people of color”. Now, students and librarians are looking for ways to keep that list growing.

“We see a real community conversation unfolding, and we want to support that,” said Emily Horning, director of undergraduate programs at Bass Library.

The Reading Resilience Project invites members of the Yale community to suggest creative works via a book recommendation webform. In February, in honor of Black History Month, recommendations were also solicited via a whiteboard in Bass.

“The response was amazing,” Horning said.  “Within a few days, the board was covered with suggestions. Some students have offered just one title they feel passionately about; others have e-mailed entire bibliographies.”

Whiteboard of patron's favorite African-American Artists to honor Black History MonthAs of late February, the list had grown to 93 titles, from more than 100 recommenders—about half of whom are students.  (The full list is below.)

Some students added notes explaining the reasons for their recommendations. 

“This book is critical for understanding how Black girls and women navigate hostile territory and make a self,” one senior wrote about Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship by Aimee Meredith Cox.

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, another senior wrote, is “beautiful, just beautiful.”

The Reading Resilience Project was sparked by conversations between Horning and two students, Katherine Wyatt ’16 and Peter Huang ’16, in late 2015 during a wave of student activism aimed at making Yale more inclusive. The project went quietly in 2017 before being revived this year.

Now, Horning wants to make sure the conversation continues. The submission form will remain open and now can be used to recommend poetry, art objects, films, and other creative works by or about people of color.

Students and other Yale affiliates may add their own suggestions to the list and then check out recommended books from the project, which are displayed near the Bass circulation desk.  Suggestions for other Bass Library initiatives may be emailed to

Reading Resilience Project Booklist

A Chinese Life by Li Kunwu

A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki

A Mercy by Toni Morrison

A Toast in the House of Friends by Akilah Oliver

African American Women Confront the West: 1600-2000 by Quintard Taylor and Shirley Ann Wilson Moore

Aloha America: Hula Circuits through the U.S. Empire by Adria Imada

Aloha Betrayed by Noenoe K. Silva

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

Angela Davis: An Autobiography by Angela Davis

Another Country by James Baldwin

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Beauty is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan

Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Danielle Evans

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldua

Cane by Jean Toomer

Circle K Cycles by Karen Tei Yamashita

Code of the Street by Elijah Anderson

Cosmopolitan Canopy by Elijah Anderson

Cruising by Gerald Walker

Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples by Linda Tuhiwai Smith

Feel Free by Zadie Smith

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis

Fight or Flight (Shifting Tides Book 1)

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange

From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaiʻi by Haunani Kay Trask

Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

Go Tell it On the Mountain by James Baldwin

Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros 

How Tia Lola Came to Stay by Julia Alvarez

In Praise of Shadows by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Invisible Man by Ralph Waldo Ellison

Jazz by Toni Morrison 

Like One of the Family; Conversations from a Domestic Life, by Alice Childress

Maud Martha by Gwendolyn Brooks

Ms. Marvel (Volumes 1-11) by G. Willow Wilson

Murgu by Artan Fuga

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

Of Love and Dust by Ernest J. Gaines

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

Oreo by Fran Ross

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Passing by Nella Larsen

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Pimp by Iceberg Slim

Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin

Prison Writings: My Life is My Sundance by Leonard Peltier

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Race Matters by Cornel West

Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in America by Karen E. Fields and Barbara J. Fields

Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag

Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Searching for Zion by Emily Raboteau

Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih

Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship by Aimee Meredith Cox

She Weeps Each Time You're Born: A Novel by Quan Barry

So Far from God by Ana Castillo

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Swingtime by Zadie Smith

Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

The Broken Earth series by N.K. Jemisin

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Condemnation of Blackness by Khalil Muhammad

The Essential Tagore by Rabindranath Tagore

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

This Bridge Called My Back by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua, editors

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila

When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Zaatar Diva by Suheir Hammad

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde