February is Black History Month, and the library has many books by and about influential African Americans. Whether you want to learn more about Marcus Garvey or black women in the suffrage movement, there’s probably a book about it! Skim the list below and get started learning! Most of the books listed can be found in the “E” section of our shelves.
*Book descriptions were provided by the publishers via the library catalog.
The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Dubois
A singular combination of essays, memoir, and fiction, this book is a searing account of the situation of African Americans in the United States.
The Memphis Diary of Ida B. Wells by Ida B. Wells
The diaries of Wells, a noted journalist and activist, reveal nineteenth- and twentieth-century black life in a major southern city.
Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama
In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. Read Olivia Chin’s review here.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
A phenomenal #1 bestseller that has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three years, this memoir traces Maya Angelou’s childhood in a small, rural community during the 1930s.
Race Matters by Cornel West (available in both print and eBook formats)
Race Matters addresses some of today’s most urgent issues for black Americans – from discrimination to despair, from leadership to the legacy of Malcolm X. West has the courage to break taboos of silence in the black community, while always acknowledging the realities of race in America.
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Sister Outsider presents essential writings of black poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, an influential voice in 20th-century literature.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as ‘human computers’ used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation.
The Autobiography of Malcom X by Malcolm X & Alex Haley
The former leader of the Black Muslims tells the story of his life and his part in the civil rights movement.
Harlem’s Glory: Black Women Writing by Various Authors
In poems, stories, memoirs, and essays about color and culture, prejudice and love, and feminine trials, dozens of African-American women writers – some famous, many just discovered – give us a sense of a distinct inner voice and an engagement with their larger double culture.
Vintage Baldwin by James Baldwin
In his novels, short stories, plays, and essays, James Baldwin broached issues such as race, sex, politics, and art.
Fight On! Mary Church Terrell’s Battle For Integration by Dennis B. Fradin and Judith Bloom Fradin
Profiles the first black Washington, D.C. Board of Education member, who helped to found the NAACP and organized of pickets and boycotts that led to the 1953 Supreme Court decision to integrate D.C. area restaurants.
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Martin Luther King, Jr.
He was a husband, a father, a preacher- and the preeminent leader of a movement that continues to transform America and the world.