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President Obama Marks Five-Year Anniversary of My Brother's Keeper with Reading List


February 18, 2019
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Earlier today, President Obama  shared a reading list Opens in a new tab  in lead-up to MBK Rising!, a two-day convening that will bring together in Oakland the growing network of MBK Communities, elected officials, cross-sector leaders, and young men of color and the organizations working hard to help them achieve their dreams. You can sign up for a livestream reminder before the event begins here.

Five years ago, I launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative calling on all Americans to take action on behalf our nation’s boys and young men of color. It was a call to make sure every child felt valued, safe, and supported by their community—a call to help these young men in particular see hope and opportunity in their future.

We’ve come a long way in those five years. Today, as part of the Obama Foundation, the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance consists of nearly 250 communities working to break down barriers that too often leave boys and young men of color at a disadvantage. And tomorrow in Oakland, I’ll join the My Brother’s Keeper community to mark the progress we’ve made and chart the course ahead at a celebration we’re calling MBK Rising!

In the lead-up to the event, and in honor of Black History Month, I wanted to share a nonfiction reading list that can help to provide some essential context about the challenges that many people of color face every day. From modern memoirs to cornerstones of the American narrative, these works can help us better understand our country’s past and our evolving, persistent struggles with race—and they can be fuel on our journey toward a more fair and just future for all of our sons and daughters. They certainly are for me.

I hope you’ll take some time to read some of these books, letters, and articles. And tomorrow, I hope you’ll follow along with MBK Rising! at

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

A Stone of Hope: A Memoir by Jim St. Germain with Jon Sternfeld

The Upshot from The New York Times: Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys: Opens in a new tab

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

The Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight