President Barack Obama’s summer reading list includes a book about a Black couple impacted by a wrongful conviction—a reality for a disproportionate number of African-American families.
The former president unveiled his list of five books on Sunday, and it is a mix of fiction and nonfiction titles that include An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.
“One of my favorite parts of summer is deciding what to read when things slow down just a bit, whether it’s on a vacation with family or just a quiet afternoon,” Obama posted on Facebook. “This summer I’ve been absorbed by new novels, revisited an old classic, and reaffirmed my faith in our ability to move forward together when we seek the truth.
In the novel, newlywed couple Celestial and Roy are beginning their life together with great optimism about the future. Things become unhinged when Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The couple struggles to hold on to their union while Roy languishes behind bars. Jones, a Spelman College graduate, has received praise for her moving novel.
Jones touched on an issue that has disproportionately torn apart Black families. African Americans convicted of murder or sexual assault are more likely than their white counterparts to be found innocent later, the National Registry of Exonerations reported in 2017 in an analysis of almost 2,000 exonerations.
Black defendants accounted for 40 percent of murder convictions over the nearly three decades covered in the study—and also represented 50 percent of those wrongfully convicted.
Obama’s four other favorites are Tara Westover’s Educated, Warlight by Michael Ondaatje, the classic A House for Mr Biswas written by Nobel Prize winner V.S. Naipaul and Factfulness by Hans Rosling.
The World Pays Tribute To The Legacy Of Aretha Franklin
1. Alicia KeysSource: 1 of 14
2. Ariana GrandeSource: 2 of 14
3. Apollo TheaterSource: 3 of 14
4. Patti LaBelle
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5. Barbra Streisand
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This photo was taken in 2012 when Aretha & I performed at a tribute celebration for our friend Marvin Hamlisch. It’s difficult to conceive of a world without her. Not only was she a uniquely brilliant singer,but her commitment to civil rights made an indelible impact on the world pic.twitter.com/Px9zVB90MM— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) August 16, 2018
6. Don Lemon
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.@DonLemon: This country has lost one of our greatest treasures. Aretha Franklin.— Don Lemon Tonight (@DonLemonTonight) August 17, 2018
With a heart as big as her voice, and a soul that helped power the March for Freedom for people of color, when she insisted like she always did on Respect https://t.co/QN8HgpBYuU pic.twitter.com/OPnLVGARMf
7. Harlem Gospel Choir On GMA
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The Harlem Gospel Choir is here with us live in Times Square this morning, helping celebrate the life of Aretha Franklin. pic.twitter.com/DkZxIrdq0N— Good Morning America (@GMA) August 17, 2018
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This woman played a BIG part in my life. She played a genuine role in my life similar to how my Grandmother was very dear to me. I’ll never forget the talks we shared together. Auntie, kill the choir up there in Heaven & know that your Music will last forever. #Iconic 💔 pic.twitter.com/UXAw9PCQ8H— Fantasia Taylor (@TasiasWord) August 17, 2018
9. Celine Dion
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I'm saddened to learn that Aretha Franklin has passed.The most soulful and inspirational singer of our time. / Je suis attristée d'apprendre le décès d’Aretha Franklin. La chanteuse la plus inspirante de notre époque. - Céline xx…— Celine Dion (@celinedion) August 16, 2018
📸 : Kevin Mazur https://t.co/3Tz7G2W205 pic.twitter.com/Q5DtmJ1IVa
10. Clive Davis
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11. Stax RecordsSource: 11 of 14
12. Aretha Franklin's Childhood Home In Memphis, TennesseeSource: 12 of 14
13. Hollywood Walk Of FameSource: 13 of 14
Obama’s Reading List Includes A Story That Impacts Far Too Many Black Families was originally published on newsone.com