Brilliant Books for Black History Month

I love the month of February. Don't you? In addition to fun holidays like Galentine's Day (13th) and Valentine's Day (14th), there is also a handful of literary holidays worth celebrating -

Feb. 2 World Read Aloud Day

Feb. 5 Take Your Child to the Library Day

Feb. 9 Read in the Bathtub Day

Feb. 14 Library Lover's Day

Feb. 14 International Book Giving Day

I shared more about each of these, as well as a list of noteworthy authors' birthdays like Langston Hughes, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and John Steinbeck here.

Something I have grown to admire and greatly look forward to in February is the focus on Black History, and as a voracious reader, most (if not all) of my reading material centers around this worthy theme during the month.

What is Black History Month?

Black History Month began in the 1920s as Negro History Week and since both President Abraham Lincoln's birthday (Feb. 12) and Abolitionist Frederick Douglass' birthday (Feb. 14) are both celebrated mid-February, that is when Negro History Week took place. By the 1960s, Negro History Week had morphed into Black History Month and by the mid-1970s, President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month - a month-long celebration of both black history and achievement.

In anticipation for Black History Month, I decided to crowdsource solid book recommendations from pretty literate people online, compile the most repeated titles, and share them here in celebration of Black History Month.

If you're looking to expand your literary palate, I recommend checking out these Brilliant Books for Black History Month.

 

Novels

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

All That She Carried by Tiya Miles

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Band of Angels by Robert Penn Warren

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Cane River by Shari Belafonte

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Five Smooth Stones by Ann Fairbairn

Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman by Dorothy Sterling

Freeman by Leonard Pitts

Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan

Jubilee by Margaret Walker

Kindred by Octavia Bultler

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Meridian by Alice Walker

Middle Passage by Charles Johnson

Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes

Once in a Blood Moon by Dorothea Hubble Bonneau

Paradise by Toni Morrison

**Passing by Nella Larsen

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Lynne Thigpen

Roots by Alex Haley

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

The Book of Night Women by Marlon James

The Chaneysville Incident by David Bradley

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Confessions of Nat Turner by Kenneth Greenberg

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

The Good Negress by A.J. Verdelle

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

The Known World by Edward P. Jones

The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Dubois by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers

The Marrow of Tradition by Charles W. Chesnutt

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The Personal History of Rachel Dupree by Ann Weisgarber

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict

The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Dubois

The Street by Ann Petry

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward K. Moore

The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris

The Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

What You Owe Me by Bebe Moore Campbell

Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

Yonder by Jabari Asim

Nonfiction

Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" by Zora Neale Hurston

Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Laura Freeman

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee

There are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America by Alex Kotlowitz

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

White Fragility by Robin J. DiAngelo

Memoirs

Black Boy by Richard Wright

Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

Poetry

Langston Hughes

Add to the List

What black authors or titles covering black history would you add to the above list? I invite you to add their names and titles in the comments below.

And check out Pretty Literate Live on Sunday when I share the TOP TEN Recommended Books for Black History Month.

**NOTE: Passing by Nella Larsen is our book inside The Classics Community this month. You can check it out as a one-time purchase here.

Interested in MORE? Click here to watch author Miriyha Davis and I share more book recs and noteworthy black authors you should be reading.

1 comment

  • Wow what a wonderful compilation of titles! I have read some of those listed and look forward to reading others that are suggested. Thanks for the plethora of recommendations!

    Lynda A

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