Interested in reading classic books from Black authors? Here is a reading list we're sure you'll love! These best-selling, award-winning books are praised for a reason!
We recommend you purchase from an independent bookstore or request/borrow from your local library. Use our Bookshop links below to support the indie bookstore of your choice.
The Color Purple
A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia.
Things Fall Apart
Told through the fictional experiences of Okonkwo, a wealthy and fearless Igbo warrior of Umuofia in the late 1800s, Things Fall Apart explores one man's futile resistance to the devaluing of his Igbo traditions by British political andreligious forces and his despair as his community capitulates to the powerful new order.
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Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston
Out of print for almost thirty years--due largely to initial audiences' rejection of its strong black female protagonist--Hurston's classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.
Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.
Octavia E. Butler
The visionary author's masterpiece pulls us--along with her Black female hero--through time to face the horrors of slavery and explore the impacts of racism, sexism, and white supremacy then and now.
Originally published in 1952 as the first novel by a then unknown author, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century.
The Bluest Eye
In Morrison's bestselling first novel, Pecola Breedlove--an 11-year-old Black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others--prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different.
A Lesson Before Dying
Ernest J. Gaines
A young man who returns to 1940s Cajun country to teach visits a black youth on death row for a crime he didn't commit. Together they come to understand the heroism of resisting.
Opening a fresh perspective on the realities and challenges of black, female, working-class life, The Street became the first novel by an African American woman to sell more than a million copies.
Go Tell It on the Mountain
In one of the greatest American classics, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity.