Best Nonfiction: 'The Black Book: Reflections from the Baltimore Grassroots' by Lawrence Grandpre and Dayvon Love

This smart, demanding collection of essays from two members of grassroots think tank Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle begins by asking that its readers have “racial literacy.” That is to say, it is not a book that will talk down to you or get you up to speed, it is one that expects you to grasp these issues and won’t slow down for you to catch up. It does not handle race delicately and has a fierce contrarian streak that’s necessary as we enter the second civil rights movement. The most surprising essay is Love’s ‘The Non-Profit Industrial Complex in Baltimore,’ which argues that nonprofits are “at least as dangerous to the livelihood of Black people as the prison industrial complex.” Others include ‘Anti-Blackness as an (Independent) Political System’ and ‘Spectacular Blackness.’ It’s a book that’ll challenge even the supposedly most with-it and aware and an ideal book to give to your (white) friends just getting hip to the idea that “Black Lives Matter.” Part of a triptych of black Baltimore books released in the past year, along with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between The World and Me” and D. Watkins’ “The Beast Side.”

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