Honor Black History Month with These 5 Books From Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela is best known for his presidency in South Africa and the dismantling of apartheid, a system of institutionalized racial segregation.  To honor Black History Month, here are five books written by Nelson Mandela that you should read!



image via amazon


1. long walk to freedom

This book is the most accessible book on Mandela’s life.  It was first published in 1994 by the American publisher Little, Brown and Company and is split into two sections.  The first section of the book describes his upbringing, from childhood to adolescence in South Africa.  He also talks about his experiences in education before he moves onto the second section, where he describes the political and social aspects of apartheid.  He then moves onto his arrest and 27-year prison term in Pollsmoor Prison, where he mentions cruel punishment and backbreaking labor.  Most of this autobiography was written in secrecy while Mandela was in prison.



image via amazon


2. conversations with myself

This book is made up of Mandela’s letters, notebooks, taped conversations, prison diaries, calendars, and an unfinished autobiography.  First published in 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, the book covers leftovers of apartheid, reminisces of prison, protests to authorities, letters to loved ones, political strategizing and philosophical statements.  A lot of the book is about inward reflection.  Mandela also expresses his anger and humiliation at the hardships apartheid has caused him, but what comes through in this book is his resolve.




image via amazon


3. no easy walk to freedom

This book is a collection of Mandela’s speeches, letters, and writing that vividly illustrates the attraction surrounding his campaigning for freedom.  First published in 1965, this edition is updated with revised notes and an introduction, and is regarded as an important document that looks into the life of a man who is known for his self-determination and fight for human rights.



image via amazon


4. the struggle is my life

This book, first published at the end of 1990, includes Mandela’s speeches and political writings from his days as a leader of the African National Congress Youth League in 1944 until his release from prison in 1990.  If you’re interested in reading about his speeches from this time, this book will be for you.




image via amazon


5. the prison letters of nelson mandela

This book, published by Liveright in 2018, is organized chronologically and divided by the four venues in which Mandela was a sentenced prisoner.  The collection of prison letters specifically talks about his relationships, his political training and how it influenced his support for prisoners’ rights.  They are hard to read, as they show his separation from those closest to him and how it affected him.


featured image via abc news


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