The Book of James
By Valerie Babb

LeBron James is a professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers. Nicknamed “King James,” he is one of the greatest players of all time. LeBron is loyal, outspoken and brutally honest. His powerful voice on and off the court stands for justice and equality. Against the backdrop of his life story, Valerie Babb, a professor and author, narrates the evolution of African-American culture. Change occurs, but at a shockingly slow pace. LeBron was the poor Black boy with a 16-year-old mother, and if not for the kindness of neighborhood friends, they would have been living on the street. His mother Gloria never gave up on him. In a society where children slip through the cracks, LeBron stood very tall, and when the community reached out, Gloria made sure to grab every opportunity. LeBron’s business acumen made him one of the wealthiest athletes ever. He places much of his success in the hands of a trusted few he has known since childhood. LeBron advocates for education, health care and an end to police brutality. His work is not done. This is educational, eye-opening and a slam dunk.

Twice as Hard
By Jasmine Brown

Medicine, racism and women. Against all odds, Black women throughout history have managed to become physicians. Women who faced adversity and bigotry found ways to achieve their dreams and contribute to their communities. Each of these women excelled academically while scraping the money together to get to medical school. As if this was not hard enough, once they graduated – often at the top of their class – their residency applications were often rejected simply because they were Black women. Through mentorship, hard work and faith, a precious few succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Health centers were established in communities that had none, testing and life changing research was founded for sickle cell anemia and healthcare was provided to the poorest of our nation. These women became surgeons, delivered babies, held political and academic positions and most importantly shined as role models for future generations. Fascinating details beginning in the mid-1800s of women who should be in every history book, brought to life by medical student and author Jasmine Brown. Having faced similar roadblocks, Brown highlights the incredible accomplishments of these physicians who changed the world. An uplifting and inspirational book that proves reading can be the best medicine.

Carolina Built
By Kianna Alexander

In 1856, Josephine Napoleon Leary was born into slavery in North Carolina. After emancipation she was freed at 9 years old. Intelligent and a hard worker, there is nothing Jo wanted more than to prosper and take care of her family. Josephine married Sweety Leary, and together they built a life in Edenton. She helped her husband run a barber shop, but soon enough Jo’s entrepreneurial spirit convinced her to strike out on her own, unheard of for a woman during these times. Purchasing land was difficult, but Jo successfully created passive income to supplement their monthly bills. That savings allowed her to buy additional property over a few years, which brought their family the financial security she had always craved. Jo never gave up on her belief that women could equally meet the business demands of men. As a Black woman with all the odds against her, Josephine followed her dreams becoming a wife, mother and an accomplished businesswoman. Her largely-forgotten legacy still stands today and her accomplishments for women and the African-American community speak for itself. Perseverance, hard work and heaps of faith – Josephine Leary is an inspiration to us all.

#WORTHWATCHING:  “The Best of Enemies” on Netflix. Civil rights activist Ann Atwater battles C.P. Ellis, a revered member of the KKK, in 1971 Durham, North Carolina. The community is divided over school segregation and the unlikely friendship of Ann and C.P. is a true tale of inspiration.