Black Books We Are Reading Right Now

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Black authors have made significant contributions to literature and continue producing thought-provoking and entertaining works. We asked our staff what awe-inspiring books by Black authors are on their reading list. Some are classics, and others are future classics! We encourage you to read them too!

Visit to purchase or our local library to borrow these great books!

Publisher Rebecca Barnes

  • “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston (1937) – This novel explores the life of Janie Crawford, a Black woman living in Florida during the early 20th century. “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is a beautifully written story about love, identity, and self-discovery.
  • “Beloved” by Toni Morrison (1987) – This powerful novel tells the story of Sethe, a former slave, and her journey to come to terms with her past and find peace in the present. “Beloved” is a haunting and beautifully written story that explores the complexities of love, loss, and trauma.
  • “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Malcolm X and Alex Haley (1965) – This memoir tells the story of Malcolm X, one of the most influential Black leaders of the 20th century. “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” is a powerful and inspiring story of self-discovery and the quest for justice and equality.
  • “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015) – This letter to his son explores the experiences of Black people in America and the ongoing struggle for racial justice. “Between the World and Me” is a thought-provoking and powerful read that will leave you with a deeper understanding of the Black experience in America.
  • “Sister Outsider” by Audre Lorde (1984) – This collection of late essays and speeches explores themes of identity, race, gender, and sexuality. “Sister Outsider” is a powerful and inspiring read that will leave you with a deeper understanding of the intersections of oppression and the importance of intersectional activism.
  • “Roots” by Alex Haley (1976) – This novel traces the history of one African American family, from its origins in Africa to their enslavement in the United States and their eventual journey to freedom. “Roots” is a powerful and deeply moving story that explores themes of identity, heritage, and the quest for freedom.  “The movie gave me nightmares as a kid,” says Rebecca Barnes, publisher of Prince William Living. “But it made me want to know more, so I read the book and many more after that.”
  • “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker (1982) – This novel tells the story of Celie, a young African American woman living in the rural South in the early 20th century. The book covers Celie’s journey from a young, abused, uneducated girl to a confident, independent woman. Throughout the book, Celie writes letters to God, expressing her thoughts and feelings about the events that shape her life, including her relationships with the men in her life and the women she meets along the way.
  • “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – This novel explores the experiences of a young Nigerian woman as she immigrates to the United States and navigates the challenges of living as a black person in a foreign country. Adichie’s writing is insightful and relatable, and the book has been praised for its exploration of identity and race.
  • “Nothing Happens” by James Baldwin (1964) Baldwin reflects on his experiences as a black man in America and the challenges he faced growing up in the mid-20th century. He also writes about the broader political and social landscape of the time, exploring the intersections of race, class, and power. “I’ve been watching old interviews with James Baldwin, so I downloaded Nothing Happens on Audible.”  Says Prince William Living Publisher Rebecca Barnes. “It has made me ask more questions of my Uncle, who registered Mississippians to vote in the 1960s.”
    Contributor Katrina Wilson
  • “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale” by John Steptoe (1987) –
    This children’s book has great visual imagery for children’s minds. A king is looking for a wife, and Mufaro’s daughters might have a chance. His daughters were beautiful women, but their personalities were like day and night.
  • “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe (1958) – This novel is set in 1800s Africa. The main character – an Igbo warrior–Okonkwo, navigates how the British colonizes Africa. As well as struggles in his personal life.
  • “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963” by Christopher Paul Curtis (1995) –
    Our Prince William Living contributor, Katrina Wilson, says the book describes the troubles Blacks faced traveling in America. The book may be best for tweens as it describes key moments in the Civil Rights Movement. One example is the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, where four little girls were killed in Birmingham, Alabama. “At the time, I liked the book because in school, we are taught about the Civil Rights Movement, and this took it further. It’s crazy now that I’m older, I see as Blacks, we still have to be careful while traveling,” Wilson said.
  • “Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self” by Danielle Evans (2010) –  “Danielle Evans wrote about Black teenage girls so well,” Wilson said. “One of the stories I resonated with was the story of a girl giving away her virginity. In recent years folks have talked about how Black girls are hypersexualized from a young age. To actually read that short story, I thought about how people have viewed my friends and me when it comes to sex. When one of the characters does decide to have sex, she mainly does it because “I might as well do it now. I’m going to do it anyway at some point in life.”’There are other short stories in the book with Black experience themes like self-discovery.”

Contributor Dominique McIndoe

  • “The Street” by Ann Petry (1946) This novel explores the experiences of a Black woman named Lutie Johnson as she navigates poverty, racism, and sexism in 1940s New York City. Prince William Living contributor Dominique McIndoe says about the book “ went a bit further than the telling of the “black experience” at that time. It put a lens specifically on the black woman experience—which is nuanced in itself—that was often not emphasized as much in black literature of the era.”
  • “The Wedding” by Dorothy West (1995) is a novel that follows the preparations and aftermath of the wedding of a young, wealthy Black woman named Shelby Coles on Martha’s Vineyard in the 1950s.
  • “The Living is Easy” by Dorothy West (1948)  tells the story of the beautiful and ambitious Cleo Judson, a light-skinned Black woman in the 1930s who is determined to rise up the social ladder and marry a wealthy man.
  • “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou (1969) this memoir chronicles Angelou’s childhood and teenage years, including her experiences of racism, trauma, and sexual abuse, as well as her growth and resilience.
  • “The Blacker the Berry” by Wallace Thurman (1929)  focuses on the experiences of a dark-skinned Black woman named Emma Lou Morgan, who struggles to find acceptance and love within her own community due to colorism and racism.

These books by Black authors are just a few examples of the incredible contributions that Black writers have made to literature. Whether you’re in the mood for a novel, memoir, or collection of essays, these books are sure to inspire, educate, and entertain. So, pick one up today and start your journey towards understanding the Black experience.


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