Black History Reading List
I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the books by black authors that have encouraged, uplifted, entertained, and/or challenged me. Each of these books have been great additions to my personal library. If you’re looking for some new additions, perhaps these would be a good fit for you.
Evette Baker, Prosperity Connection Financial Coach
- “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf.” – Written by playwright and poet Ntozake Shange. This is a beautifully written book of poems, symbolism, and struggles of Black women that’s generational. The book was adapted into a movie in 2010 which was directed Tyler Perry and stared many well known African American actresses such as Janet Jacket Jackson, Whoopie Goldberg and Phylicia Rashad.
- “Between the World and Me.” Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates is the main voice in his book which is a letter to his son explaining what it is like to be a black man in America and how he wishes he could give his son a better world to become a man in. I bought this book for my son to read when he turned twenty-one years old.
- “The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood” Written by Helene Cooper. This is a tale of the author’s lost Congo childhood when a group of soldiers staged a coup d’état, assassinating President William Tolbert and executing his cabinet. This book is gripping and sweet at the same time. Now Helene is a reporter in Washington, D.C., she is impelled by stories from a disintegrating Monrovia to return, to “the ninth circle of hell, where ten-year-olds were taken from their parents and forced to fight in the country’s never-ending civil wars.”
- “Native Son” Written by Richard Wright, this classic American novel is about a young black man getting caught up in the environment in which he lives and how he is portrayed by white American society, who see him only as a criminal. This book reminds black American that we all can or have been, in some form the main character Bigger Thomas. James Baldwin write “No American Negro exists, who does not have his private Bigger Thomas living in his skull”
- “The Color Purple” Written by Alice Walker. This novel about the life of an African American woman growing up in the American south in 1930’s. The main character Celie is poor, black, and a woman, which all make her a person of low social class. She is mistreated by her step-father and forced to marry a man who only wants her to take care of his spoiled children. Somehow she finds a way to bond with the other black women around her to come out of her situation as a homeowner and a business owner. “The Color Purple” has been adopted into a movie and a Broadway musical. I have created a miniature in honor of the book called “The Lavender House.”
- “A Raisin in the Sun.” Written by playwright Lorraine Hansberry. This is a play about an African American family waiting on an insurance settlement. The play debuted on Broadway in 1959. It was adopted into a movie in 1961, starring Sidney Poiter as the main character Walter Lee who struggles with his family choices and his own. The move was remade in 2008 and it starred Sean Combs (aka Puff Daddy) as the main character.