February is Black History Month, but we should read and celebrate Black stories every day of the year. Written by activists, artists, writers, scholars and leaders, here are 10 of the best-selling books by Black authors to add to your reading list.
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The memoir of legendary writer and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou. Angelou retells stories of her childhood and coming to terms with her freedoms as an adult while overcoming trauma from her past.
2. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi
Written by racism scholar Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist dives deep into racial injustice in America by offering insight into ethics, history, law, and science, while also pushing readers to go beyond simply being aware of racism and to instead take action to create a more just and equitable society.
3. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Written by former litigator, Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow puts the United States criminal justice system on blast for not eliminating the racial caste system but instead redesigning it by using mass incarceration as a means of racial control.
4. Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Written by the famed activist Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider is a collection of 15 essays exploring the beginning of her intellectual development and her experiences with ageism, racism, homophobia and class.
5. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
Written by one of America’s most well-known Black writers, James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain is the semi-autobiographical story of a teen growing up in Harlem during the 1930s.
6. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Invisible Man is told from the perspective of an unnamed main character who reveals truths about the racial divide in America by showcasing the effects of bigotry on both the victims and perpetrators.
7. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
A Raisin in the Sun is a play written by the young Lorraine Hansberry that tells the story of a family from the south side of Chicago with big dreams for their lives after receiving a considerable insurance check.
8. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Color Purple tells the story of two sisters, Celie and Nettie, who were separated when they were young, and their individual journeys while remaining in contact through letters written back-and-forth over the span of 20 years.
9. Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
The memoir of former President Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father shares the strained relationship he had with his absent father and discusses the challenges that come with being a biracial American.
10. Becoming by Michelle Obama
The memoir of former first lady Michelle Obama, Becoming is an intimate look into her life as she reflects on growing up on the south side of Chicago, her life while in the White House and what her life looks like now.