3 Books & 3 Movies About Black Lives In America | Tanvii.com - Indian Fashion, Lifestyle and Travel Blog

3 Books & 3 Movies About Black Lives In America

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Now is the time when a lot of people not only in America but around the world are trying to educate themselves on racial inequality and oppression in the US. As an avid-reader and a ferocious consumer of entertainment I have un-intentionally gravitated towards diverse and varied content over all.

Below are three books and three movies that I have consumed in the past few years which I believe give a real depiction of what it was to be black in America. Except the first book, which has been written by Debby Irving, a white woman which also does a great job of showing white privilege in comparison to black lives.

If you are looking some to read and/or watch below are my recommendations:

Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving

Waking Up White is the book Irving wishes someone had handed her decades ago. By sharing her sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, she offers a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As Irving unpacks her own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, she reveals how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived ideas about race. She also explains why and how she's changed the way she talks about racism, works in racially mixed groups, and understands the antiracism movement as a whole. Exercises at the end of each chapter prompt readers to explore their own racialized ideas. Waking Up White's personal narrative is designed to work well as a rapid read, a book group book, or support reading for courses exploring racial and cultural issues.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is a high school senior about to start classes at a local college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides “physical, intellectual and moral training” so the delinquent boys in their charge can become “honorable and honest men.” The book is based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Newlyweds, Celestial and Roy, are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive and she is artist on the brink of an exciting career. They are settling into the routine of their life together, when they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a deeply insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward- with hope and pain- into the future.


Just Mercy

After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian's life.


Young Thurgood Marshall faces one of his greatest challenges while working as a lawyer for the NAACP. Marshall travels to conservative Connecticut when wealthy socialite Eleanor Strubing accuses black chauffeur Joseph Spell of sexual assault and attempted murder. He soon teams up with Sam Friedman, a local Jewish lawyer who's never handled a criminal case. Together, the two men build a defense while contending with racist and anti-Semitic views from those who deem Spell to be guilty.


Interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving fell in love and were married in 1958. They grew up in Central Point, a small town in Virginia that was more integrated than surrounding areas in the American South. Yet it was the state of Virginia, where they were making their home and starting a family, that first jailed and then banished them. Richard and Mildred relocated with their children to the inner city of Washington, D.C., but the family ultimately tries to find a way back to Virginia.

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Please feel free to recommend me any of your favorites in the comment below.


  1. Appreciate this post...thanks for sharing! Will def be checking some of these out! xoxo, Sarah

  2. Thanks for the review and going to check some of these movies soon as weekends are approaching.

  3. The movie Marshall is such a good one. I recently purchased four books about race, color, and the history that got us to where we are. Looking forward to learning more about this most important issue xo

  4. The Nickel Boys was a good read, and I loved Loving. Today is actually Loving Day! I'll have to give Just Mercy a watch.

  5. These are nice recommendations but please think about linking to independently-owned bookstores, ideally those either owned by POC or at a minimum those who have a strong history of allyship. It's nice to see a post like this, but it would be even better if this post put money in the hands of someone other than Jeff Bezos.

  6. Thank you for sharing these! I appreciate it - I'll be checking them out.


  7. Definitely things to check out and look into! Thanks for sharing your suggestions.

  8. We loved Marshall - such an amazing movie. We need to watch Mercy though - thank you for the recommendation!

    xo Laura Leigh

  9. Thank you for sharing this! I will for sure check them out especially the movies. I was just asking around about movies to watch about black lives matter.


  10. Thank you for sharing these! I have added the books to my reading list and I keep hearing how good Just Mercy is.


  11. These look like great suggestions to look into. I’d be interested to know what you thought of them and which was your top read.

  12. I loved An American marriage and I have Nickel Boys on my shelf to read! I also love Just Mercy, the book & can't wait to watch the movie

  13. Kristine Nicole AlessandraJune 12, 2020 at 7:17 PM

    Thank you for the book recommendations. I was in the process of adding new titles to my reading list for next month. These 3 books look like they are worth it. I am going to see if they have an eBook format for my Kindle.

  14. Just Mercy is fantastic! You can also read his book and read the book of Anthony Hinton - the man at centre of Just Mercy. He wrote a book called The Sun Does Shine about his experience with being wrongfully convicted and living on death row.

  15. Thank you for sharing these with us. I've heard a lot about Loving, but I haven't watched it yet. I will give it a try this weekend xo

    Makeup Muddle

  16. Such an awesome post with great info! I watched just mercy last week but need to check out the others!

  17. Thank you very much for sharing these, I will look into the movies

  18. I've been planning to watch Just Mercy with my dad since the teaser trailer aired. I'm glad that it's streaming now. I'll definitely need to catch it soon. These are great suggestions.

  19. YES!! Loving was filmed just outside of Richmond and the hype was real when it first came out and we loved it! Need to check out the rest of the things on this list! xx

  20. Loving was such an amazing movie. I've been reading White Fragility and it's been an eye opening read.

  21. This is such a great post! Thank you for sharing what you have been learning. Xo

  22. My friend was just telling me about Just Mercy! It’s on my list to see.

  23. i need to check out those movies cause I just finished my last Netflix show! thanks for a great roundup!

    cute & little

  24. Thanks for rounding these up. Just Mercy is already on my list and looking forward to watching. Will def e looking into the others! xoxo, Sarah

  25. I haven't really been into reading lately, but am definitely going to check out these movies! Thank you for sharing.

  26. Thanks for sharing these Tanvi. It's been amazing to be able to find SO many resources to learn more about the fight against racism in America.

    Xx, Nailil

  27. Thank you so much for sharing this information for many of us to listen, learn and educate ourselves

  28. I just picked up An American Marriage, but haven't heard of these other books and movies! I need to check them out. Thanks for sharing this information!



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