DaRell Pittman’s Top Ten Book List for Black History Month


Darrell PittmanDarrell Pittman is a husband, father of three, educator and poet. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1980 and taught in the public school system in San Antonio until 2013. His interests include enjoying basketball, football, track, art galleries, jazz, community theater and anything science fiction. His statement on poetry: “I try to touch the heart, inspire the mind and move the soul. However, if I get one of the three, I am happy.” He would also like to publicly thank the person who decided to butter the pecans before putting them into the ice cream.


  • The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni 1968-1998 by Nikki Giovanni

I am a poet and I love poetry. Nikki Giovanni is my favorite poet. Guess who is my number one. In this book, Nikki’s poetry spans her 1960’s “Burn Baby Burn” attitudes all the way to her “true power is knowing yourself and acting on that truth” beliefs.

  • The Last Poem on The Last Day by Charles L. Peters

This book of poetry cuts through the leathery skin of egotism and the need to blame others for our failures in love relationships. It slices into the heart of truth in self-responsibility and self-awareness. Truly a great example of finding one’s self through self-examination and perspective.

This novel works on so many levels. I found it fascinating as an example of how the males dominate society even cross-culturally. My eyes were opened to the inner and daily workings of Nigerian life and relationships. Poignant and humorous, this book was a great read.

  • Green: Surviving the Murder of Self by D. Malone

Sexual and physical abuse is an insidious crime that seethes behind closed curtains and doors in our society. This book is a personal narrative of a woman’s journey to overcome years of abuse to rediscover her true self and actually find that the sky can be blue.

This was an extremely important book for my daughter’s self-image as she grew. It had images of children who realistically looked like her. It had images that looked like her cousins and friends. She could see that people like her are worthy of being in books and are important. That is a powerful concept for children to have. Self-worth is a powerful catalyst for the young.

Although this book is over 400 pages, it’s actually an easy read. Broken into short sections, it allows readers to peruse areas of history that intrigue them and read about it in detail. The title says it all. It’s very informative and a good tool for digging deeper into historical misconceptions one may already be aware of.

  • This Life by Sidney Poitier

Sidney’s life is an example of triumph through adversity and how dignity, hard work, and focus can allow anyone to achieve success in areas of their choosing. Hey, it’s Sidney Poitier … who doesn’t like Sidney Poitier (smile)?

  • Siswe Banzi is Dead by Athol Fugard (play)Raisin in the Sun

Who reads plays like they are regular prose fiction or nonfiction? I do, that’s who. This play is a phenomenal metaphor for the Black man losing his identity in an effort to become successful. Not outrageously successful but just surviving or “getting by” type of successful. Well written and sociologically poignant.

This classic tale of the African-American family and its journey to have its “children do better than we did” is a powerful read. Racism, transgenerational conflicts, assimilation versus cultural identity, feminism, the cancer of hopelessness and the power of hope.Raisin in the Sun is a must-read for everyone.

I have “used” this book more than any book I have. I pull quotes for my personal daily life, for papers I have written, for poems I have written and for giving wisdom to people who seek my advice. This book contains quotes and sayings that Black people of the world have said. It has precise perspectives to things that affect us, in our daily lives. I recommend everyone buy this “pocket carrier” book.


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