Black History Month dates back to 1915 when historian Carter G. Woodson co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. In 1926, the group declared the second week of February as “Negro History Week” to recognize the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history: the week was chosen because of the February birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In 1986, the week-long event became a month-long event, when it was officially recognized by President Gerald Ford as Black History Month to “honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Following is a selection of books written by Black writers, including memoirs, biographies, essays, poetry, art books, cookbooks as well as books for young readers.
“This beautiful and bold book should be on every child’s shelf. It illustrates Black history through words and images that highlight both the challenges and achievements of Black Americans. The bold colors and simple rhymes will keep kids engaged while covering deep topics. A wonderful introduction for kids.” — Fables Books, Goshen, IN
The 1619 Project’s lyrical picture book for young readers chronicles the consequences of slavery and the history of Black resistance in the United States.
Some call it Freedom Day; some call it Emancipation Day; some call it Juneteenth. Young readers can learn more about this important holiday that celebrates the end of chattel slavery in the United States in this Step 3 History Reader.
Ruby Bridges became the first Black child to integrate the all-white William Frantz Elementary in Louisiana, at the age of six. Based on the pivotal events that happened in 1960 and told from her point of view, this is a poetic reflection on her experience that changed the face of history and the trajectory of the Civil Rights movement.
The life of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is told in this biography for early readers.
In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes—big or small—in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves.
“Dream Variation,” one of Langston Hughes's most celebrated poems, about the dream of a world free of discrimination and racial prejudice, is now a picture book illustrated by Daniel Miyares, the acclaimed creator of Float.
Black History Leaders: Volume 4: Mariah Carey, Donna Summer, Whitney Houston and Lil Nas X (Paperback)
From the hit "Fame" and "Female Force" imprints by TidalWave comics, this volume explores the musicians who have made an indelible mark on our culture, including: LaDonna Adrian Gaines, better known as Donna Summer, the Queen of Disco. Lil Nas X, the multi-award-winning rapper who breaks glass ceilings as a gay man in hip-hop. Whitney Houston, an idol to millions with the voice of an angel whose meteoric career defined a generation, couldn't keep her demons at bay, amongst others.
The best-selling and awarding-winning novel about a Black boy who helps folk heroes and gods through storytelling in this graphic novel.
When a young girl sees a strong woman on TV labeled as "too assertive" and "too ambitious," it sends her on a journey of discovery through past, present, and future about the challenges faced by women and girls and the ways in which they can reframe, redefine, and reclaim words meant to knock them down.
Growing up as a Black girl in the 1920s and 1930s, Dorothy Height was denied access to a local swimming pool as well as admission to Barnard College because of her race. But she persisted in pushing for change, and became a seminal figure in both the civil rights and women's rights movements. She went on to be awarded the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.
When renowned classical singer Marian Anderson wasn't allowed to sing at a theater in Washington, DC, because she was Black, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt invited her to sing at the Lincoln Memorial, at a concert attended by thousands of people. Marian went on to sing around the world on behalf of the UN and the US State Department, and as a part of the Civil Rights Movement, she also performed at the March on Washington. She went on to win many awards, including the first ever Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, inspiring countless people along the way.
Coretta Scott King is known for being the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but she was a civil rights activist and leader in her own right. A singer and an author too, her work made a difference for Black Americans and for all women for decades to come.
“When we are able to recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it,” writes Michelle Obama. A rewarding blend of powerful stories and profound advice that will ignite conversation, The Light We Carry inspires readers to examine their own lives, identify their sources of gladness, and connect meaningfully in a turbulent world.
Relive the extraordinary Presidency of Barack Obama through White House photographer Pete Souza's behind-the-scenes images and stories, with a foreword from the President himself.
This book speaks directly to the BLM moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction, and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life.
A breathtaking collection of original portraits depicting black heroes, famous and unsung, who made their mark on activism, science, politics, business, medicine, technology, food, arts, entertainment, and more.
Moon U.S. Civil Rights Trail: A Traveler's Guide to the People, Places, and Events that Made the Movement (Travel Guide) (Paperback)
The U.S. Civil Rights Trail offers a vivid glimpse into the story of Black America's fight for freedom and equality.
The definitive sampling of a writer whose poems were “at the forefront of the Harlem Renaissance and of modernism itself, and today are fundamentals of American culture." — OPRAH magazine
Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts aims to gift her community with a collection of lyrical essays about the way joy has evolved, even in the midst of trauma, in her own life. Detailing these instances of joy in the context of Black culture allows us to recognize the power of Black joy as a resource to draw upon, and to challenge the one-note narratives of Black life as solely comprised of trauma and hardship.
A transporting exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history, illustrating how some of our country's most essential stories are hidden in plain view, whether in places we might drive by on our way to work, holidays such as Juneteenth, or entire neighborhoods where the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women, and children has been deeply imprinted.
Nafissa Thompson-Spires grapples with race, identity politics, and the contemporary middle class in this “vivid, fast, funny, way-smart, and verbally inventive collection.” — George Saunders
“An elegant meditation on the complexities of the American South—and thus of America—by an esteemed daughter of the South and one of the great intellectuals of our time. An inspiration.” — Isabel Wilkerson
An unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.
Follow the inspiring life of Martin Luther King Jr. in a moving, vital, and informative book by an author and an illustrator with close ties to Dr. King’s family.
For the first time, the edited journals of Alice Walker are gathered together to reflect the complex, passionate, talented, and acclaimed Pulitzer Prize winner for The Color Purple. She intimately explores her thoughts and feelings as a woman, a writer, an African-American, a wife, a daughter, a mother, a lover, a sister, a friend, a citizen of the world.
The breakout poetry collection by acclaimed poet Amanda Gorman.
“It’s clear from the first page that Davis is going to serve a more intimate, unpolished account than is typical of the average (often ghost-written) celebrity memoir. Finding Me reads like Davis is sitting you down for a one-on-one conversation about her life, warts and all.” — USA Today
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (Paperback)
Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of the four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.
In 1850s South Carolina, an enslaved woman named Rose faced a crisis: the imminent sale of her daughter Ashley. Thinking quickly, she packed a cotton bag for her with a few items, and, soon after, the nine-year-old girl was separated from her mother and sold. Decades later, Ashley’s granddaughter Ruth embroidered this family history on the sack in spare, haunting language.
An anthology of Black resilience and reclamation, with contributions by Pearl Cleage, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Honor e Fanonne Jeffers, Tayari Jones, Kiese Laymon, Imani Perry, Deesha Philyaw, Khadijah Queen, Jason Reynolds, Alice Walker, and more. Born of a desire to bring together the voices of those most harshly affected by the intersecting pandemics of Covid-19 and systemic racism, Bigger Than Bravery explores comfort and compromise, challenge and resilience, throughout the Great Pause that became the Great Call.
A renowned culinary historian offers a fresh perspective on our most divisive cultural issue, race, in this illuminating memoir of Southern cuisine and food culture that traces his ancestry — both black and white — through food, from Africa to America and slavery to freedom.
Renowned chef and food justice activist Bryant Terry reworks and remixes the favorite staples, ingredients, and classic dishes of the African Diaspora to present more than 100 wholly new, creative culinary combinations that will amaze vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.
80+ comfort-filled recipes that trace the roots of modern California soul food to the Great Migration, from the acclaimed chef and author of Brown Sugar Kitchen.
Part cookbook. Part manifesto. Created with big Bronx energy, Black Power Kitchen combines 75 mostly plant-based, layered-with-flavor recipes with immersive storytelling, diverse voices, and striking images and photographs that celebrate Black food and Black culture, and inspire larger conversations about race, history, food inequality, and how eating well can be a pathway to personal freedom and self-empowerment.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Ringgold, a dedicated and impassioned civil rights advocate, established her voice as a feminist and within the Black Arts Movement. Alongside reproductions of key works made between 1967 and 1981, Faith Ringgold: Politics / Power provides an overview of Ringgold's seminal artistic and activist work, and its historical context during these years, including accounts by the artist herself.
The official catalog accompanying the major Henry Taylor retrospective at MoCA LA which creates a grand pageant of contemporary Black life in America.
The Migration Series is now a landmark in the history of modern art. Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series grounds Lawrence's work in the cultural and political debates that shaped his art and demonstrates its relevance for artists and writers today. The series is reproduced in full; short texts accompanying each panel relate them to the history of the Migration and explore Lawrence's technique and approach. The book includes 11 newly commissioned poems, by Rita Dove, Nikky Finney, Terrance Hayes, Tyehimba Jess, Yusef Komunyakaa, Patricia Spears Jones, Natasha Trethewey, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Crystal Williams and Kevin Young, that respond directly to the series.
The definitive volume on the ever-evolving and shape-shifting work of the Chicago-based artist, Nick Cave: Forothermore highlights the way Cave's practice has shifted and continues to shift in response to our history and current moment of cultural crisis. Including several new, never-before-seen works, the book shows an artist at the height of his power.