Black History Month Reading List

10 books on Black history you need to read this February

One of the most important aspects of racial equity work is education. Here’s a list of books 10 books that may help you start this process, all written by Black authors. 

1. “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

From one of the most prolific modern Black authors, “Between the World and Me” is an eye-opening look into being Black in America. In this memoir written as a letter to his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates masterfully illustrates the Black experience.

2. “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett

Twin sisters run away from home at 16. One lives her life as a Black woman while the other passes as white. This page-turner explores race through the unique lens of identity, destiny and family.

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3. “The Nickel Boys” by Colson Whitehead

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is based on the real story of a Florida reform school that operated for over a century before the horrors inside were finally exposed. “The Nickel Boys” deserves every bit of critical acclaim it has achieved and is sure to become a classic.

4. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou

An icon of American literature, Maya Angelou’s story of resilience in the face of hardship and personal development through diversity is inspiring. Maya Angelou’s poetic voice shines in her writing and makes this a thoroughly enjoyable read.

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5. “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander

In this fascinating exploration of the prison and criminal justice systems in the United States, Michelle Alexander explains how systems of oppression develop and evolve to maintain their power. Prepare to have your eyes opened.

6. “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

When 16-year-old Starr witnesses the shooting of her childhood best friend at the hands of a police officer, she confronts the realities of police brutality and racism head on. As the most traumatic event of her life becomes a national headline and sparks outrage — Starr struggles to cope. This novel tells a heartbreaking and inspiring coming-of-age story in a realistic and relevant landscape.

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7. “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Alex Haley and Malcolm X

The autobiography of one of the most iconic and controversial figures of the Civil Rights Movement tells the compelling story of Malcolm X’s life through his eyes. Written by journalist Alex Haley from in-depth interviews with Malcolm X from 1963 up until his assassination in 1965, this book will leave you with an understanding of the complex man Malcolm X was.

8. “Stamped from the Beginning” by Ibram X. Kendi

Winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction, “Stamped from the Beginning” provides an engaging history of racism in the United States from slavery to modern day. If you’re looking for a comprehensive historical account, this book is for you.

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9. “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker

A heartbreaking but inspiring classic, “The Color Purple” follows Celie, a young Black girl growing up in the early 20th century. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction, this novel beautifully conveys themes of family, resilience and self-discovery all while tackling issues of race and gender.

10. “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison’s debut novel tells the story of a young Black girl growing up in a small Midwest town in the years following the Great Depression. Although it turned 50 last year, “The Bluest Eye” is still a beautiful and relevant coming-of-age story.