We’ve put together a collection of outstanding 10 new releases, including enlightening history, historical fictions, motivational biographies, and more, if you’re searching for a thought-provoking and interesting book to read for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. To find a book that will move you and keep you turning the pages, look through this list of MLK Day reading recommendations.
Matthew F. Delmont
Over one million Black men and women served in World War II. Black troops were at Normandy, Iwo Jima, and the Battle of the Bulge, serving in segregated units and performing unheralded but vital support jobs, only to be denied housing and educational opportunities on their return home. Without their crucial contributions to the war effort, the United States could not have won the war.
And yet the stories of these Black veterans have long been ignored, cast aside in favor of the myth of the “Good War” fought by the “Greatest Generation.” Half American is American history as you’ve likely never read it before.
Release Date: October 18, 2022
Moonrise over New Jessup
It’s 1957, and after leaving the only home she has ever known, Alice Young steps off the bus into the all-Black town of New Jessup, Alabama, where residents have largely rejected integration as the means for Black social advancement. Instead, they seek to maintain, and fortify, the community they cherish on their “side of the woods.” In this place, Alice falls in love with Raymond Campbell, whose clandestine organizing activities challenge New Jessup’s longstanding status quo and could lead to the young couple’s expulsion—or worse—from the home they both hold dear.
Release Date: January 10, 2023
The Last Folk Hero
From the mid-1980s into the early 1990s, the greatest athlete of all time streaked across American sports and popular culture. Stadiums struggled to contain him. Clocks failed to capture his speed. His strength was legendary. His power unmatched. Video game makers turned him into an invincible character—and they were dead-on. He climbed (and walked across) walls, splintered baseball bats over his knee, turned oncoming tacklers into ground meat. He became the first person to simultaneously star in two major professional sports, and overtook Michael Jordan as America’s most recognizable pitchman.
Release Date: October 25, 2022
Master Slave Husband Wife
In 1848, a year of international democratic revolt, a young, enslaved couple, Ellen and William Craft, achieved one of the boldest feats of self-emancipation in American history. Posing as master and slave, while sustained by their love as husband and wife, they made their escape together across more than 1,000 miles, riding out in the open on steamboats, carriages, and trains that took them from bondage in Georgia to the free states of the North. Along the way, they dodged slave traders, military officers, and even friends of their enslavers, who might have revealed their true identities.
Release Date: January 17, 2023
De’Shawn Charles Winslow
In the still-segregated town of West Mills, North Carolina, in 1976, Marian, Marva, and Lazarus Harmon-three enigmatic siblings-are found shot to death in their home. The people of West Mills- on both sides of the canal that serves as the town’s color line-are in a frenzy of finger-pointing, gossip, and wonder. The crime is the first reported murder in the area in decades, but the white authorities don’t seem to have any interest in solving the case. Fortunately, one person is determined to do more than talk. Miss Josephine Wright has just moved back to West Mills from New York City to retire and marry a childhood sweetheart, Olympus “Lymp” Seymore.
Release Date: January 17, 2023
This Other Eden
In 1792, formerly enslaved Benjamin Honey and his Irish wife, Patience, discover an island where they can make a life together. Over a century later, the Honeys’ descendants and a diverse group of neighbors are desperately poor, isolated, and often hungry, but nevertheless protected from the hostility awaiting them on the mainland.
During the tumultuous summer of 1912, Matthew Diamond, a retired, idealistic but prejudiced schoolteacher-turned-missionary, disrupts the community’s fragile balance through his efforts to educate its children.
Release Date: January 24, 2023
Bet on Black
Eboni K. Williams
Eboni K. Williams knew that an important part of her mission as a media personality would be to unabashedly place Blackness on a pedestal. She has long known that Blackness is a rich, expansive place that centers resilience, excellence, beauty, panache, and brilliance. But these notions of Blackness have long been distorted by American racism, where for generations Black folks have been expected to live a subordinate, second-class existence in the country they call home. She says, proclaiming that the good news about being Black today is that our community has unprecedented access to an array of tools to honor our Blackness.
Release Date: January 31, 2023
It’s Always Been Ours
In It’s Always Been Ours, eating disorder specialist and storyteller Jessica Wilson challenges us to rethink the politics of body liberation by centering the bodies of Black women in our cultural discussions of self-image, food, health, and wellness.
Interrogating a status quo that perpetuates white supremacist ideas about who Black women are, how they live in their bodies, and what Black health means, she creates a context for understanding how whiteness and capitalism have shaped the ways we view and treat our bodies, and how even well-intentioned solutions to this problem continue to center thin white women.
Release Date: February 7, 2023
When Broadway Was Black
If Hamilton, Rent, or West Side Story captured your heart, you’ll love this in-depth look into the rise of the 1921 Broadway hit, Shuffle Along, the first all-Black musical to succeed on Broadway. No one was sure if America was ready for a show featuring nuanced, thoughtful portrayals of Black characters—and the potential fallout was terrifying. But from the first jazzy, syncopated beats of composers Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, New York audiences fell head over heels. When Broadway Was Black is the story of how Sissle and Blake.
Release Date: February 7, 2023
In 1860, a ship called the Clotilda was smuggled through the Alabama Gulf Coast, carrying the last group of enslaved people ever brought to the U.S. from West Africa. Five years later, the shipmates were emancipated, but they had no way of getting back home. Instead they created their own community outside the city of Mobile, where they spoke Yoruba and appointed their own leaders, a story chronicled in Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon.
That community, Africatown, has endured to the present day, and many of the community residents are the shipmates’ direct descendants.
Release Date: February 21, 2023