How to read about black lives and equality: Malta Libraries publishes a #BlackLivesMatter list

Public libraries network: “We do not use #BlackLivesMatter hashtag lightly – as a library we believe we ought to be held accountable”

Malcolm X, the prominent black rights activist and one-time Nation of Islam torchbearer. His autobiography is a seminal work on black consciousness
Malcolm X, the prominent black rights activist and one-time Nation of Islam torchbearer. His autobiography is a seminal work on black consciousness

Malta Libraries, the government network of national and public libraries, has published a list of books it currently stocks on black culture, American politics and equality.

“Malta Libraries is committed to educating itself and the public about matters that matter and is currently adding salient titles to its digital collection for its members to borrow and read up on the subject,” the library said, prefacing its Facebook post with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.

George Floyd, a 46-year-old bouncer, was killed by Derek Chauvin, a police officer, who pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck until he died while other police officers watched. Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total and two minutes and 53 seconds after Floyd was unresponsive, according to a criminal complaint released by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Floyd family, has now called for the Minneapolis police officers to face the more serious charge of first-degree murder, based on the new findings.

“We do not use this hashtag lightly – we use it because as a library we believe we ought to be held accountable. When we do reopen our doors we would like to make it known that we are not only open to all but also open for discussion. We want to learn how to be better and we encourage you to follow suit,” Malta Libraries said on Facebook.

Membership with Malta Libraries is free online.

Here’s our pick from the Malta Libraries list on Facebook

Who was Rosa Parks? - Yona Zeldis McDonough (Kids, non-fiction)

In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama. This seemingly small act triggered civil rights protests across America and earned Rosa Parks the title “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement”. This biography has black-and-white illustrations throughout.

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas (Teens, non-fiction)

The Hate U Give is a 2017 young adult novel by Angie Thomas. It is Thomas's debut novel, expanded from a short story she wrote in college in reaction to the police shooting of Oscar Grant. The book is narrated by Starr Carter, a 16-year-old black girl from a poor neighborhood who attends an elite private school in a predominantly white, affluent part of the city. Starr becomes entangled in a national news story after she witnesses a white police officer shoot and kill her childhood friend, Khalil. She speaks up about the shooting in increasingly public ways, and social tensions culminate in a riot after a grand jury decides not to indict the police officer for the shooting. In writing the novel, Thomas attempted to expand readers' understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as difficulties faced by black Americans who are forced to code switch.

The end of White World Supremacy: four speeches - Malcolm X (Adults, non-fiction)

Malcolm X remains a touchstone figure for black America and in American culture at large. He gave African Americans not only their consciousness but their history, dignity, and a new pride. No single individual can claim more important responsibility for a sociological and historical leap forward such as the one sparked in America in the sixties. When, in 1965, Malcolm X was gunned down on the stage of a Harlem theatre, America lost one of it eminent political thinkers.

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