In a recent Time Magazine article, Angie Thomas, author of the young-adult novel, The Hate U Give, is highlighted. Thomas herself joined the masses protesting police brutality and racial injustice on the streets of her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, after the killing of George Floyd ignited outrage across the country. Amid impassioned chants of “Black Lives Matter” and clenched fists raised in solidarity, Thomas said she saw something that nearly brought her to tears.
She said, “When I got there, one of the first things I saw were young people with signs that resembled my book cover,” which depicts the powerful image of a Black girl with curly hair holding a protest sign. Thomas said, “One thing we’re seeing right now is [young people] realizing that power. I’m honored to know that I can be a microphone for them and amplify them even louder.”
Amid the current reckoning on systematic racism, she believes literature can empower the next generation of leaders. Thomas remarked that she believes in the power of books and how they shape young people. She said, “I’m very hopeful that we're giving them better tools so that they could become better leaders than any of us ever imagined.”
This Mississippi native believes much of her audience resonates with her characters, because they represent the Black people who are around us every single day.
Dear reader, many of us are being called to turn to literature and memoir to gain a more comprehensive understanding of systemic racism, Black lives, and the part we all play. For me, of note is the book Speak Right On, authored by Mary Neighbour, in which the truth of slavery and oppression is put forth. Any book recommendations or comments on these topics would be much appreciated.