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Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

September 19, 2019

Ronald Wimberly has gathered and presents quotes from a dozen black luminaries in mutliple fields. He provides illustrations of each person, some background information, and their most memorable quotes.

Black History in Its Own Words is a collection of quotes by black individuals who have contributed to black history and black advancement. This collection features quotes from black activists like Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, and Fred Hampton. It also features artists who have broken ground in their respective fields and genres, such as Basquiat, Octavia Butler, Mykki Blanco, and Poly Styrene.
What I liked about the book the most is the discovery of individuals who do not get talked about by the dominant culture, or seldom get spoken about outside of the person’s respective fields and genres. Rarely is one going to see MC Ride, George Joseph Herriman, Audre Lorde, and Poly Styrene mentioned in the same work. This book allows teens and adults to discover black people who made history, but who rarely get truly recognized for their accomplishments in art, politics, music, writing, etc. 
All of the people mentioned in the book have inspired and influenced hundreds of black and brown people. Ronald Wimberly simply pulls these inspirational people together, explains their backgrounds, and presents each person’s most defining quote.
This book is a great starting point for those who are just learning about black history. It shows that black people are not monolithic, and that black people have touched, influenced, and defined multiple fields. This book is also great for black and brown teens who want to discover black voices which lie outside of the usual figures of black history canon, like Martin Luther King, Jr., Booker T. Washington, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X.

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Sade has been with Nashville Public Library since 2007. She started as a Page, and worked her way up. She loves reviewing books, movies, and restaurants. You can usually find her watching terrible movies and reading speculative fiction and comics. Sade is currently a librarian at the Edmondson Pike Branch Library.

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