Books for Black History Month

Check out the library’s picks for Black History Month!

February 8, 2023

This list includes:

Check out lists from previous years: 2022 | 2021



The Trayvon Generation by Elizabeth Alexander

The Trayvon Generation

Elizabeth Alexander

One of the great literary voices of our time shares her celebrated and moving reflection on the challenges facing young Black America, illuminating our nation’s unresolved problem with race.

This essay was originally published in the New Yorker, and is included in the essay anthologies The Matter of Black Lives, The Best American Essays, and The Best American Magazine Writing.

The Devil You Know by Charles M Blow

The Devil You Know
A Black Power Manifesto

Charles M Blow

The New York Times columnist presents a rallying call to action that challenges popular myths about race and urges Black Americans to unite against white supremacy.

Julian Bond's Time To Teach by Julian Bond

Julian Bond’s Time To Teach
A History Of The Southern Civil Rights Movement

Julian Bond

The SNCC co-founder and civil rights professor draws on original lecture notes to explain the role of youth activism in key historical events, the unpopular and high-risk realities of disruptive movements and what today’ s activists need to know.

By Hands Now Known by Margaret A Burnham

By Hands Now Known
Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners

Margaret A Burnham

The director of Northeastern University’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project examines the legal apparatus that helped sustain Jim Crow-era violence, focusing on a series of harrowing cases from 1920 to 1960.

Half American by Matthew Delmont

Half American
The Epic Story Of African Americans Fighting World War II At Home And Abroad

Matthew Delmont

This history of World War II as told from the African American perspective looks at the bravery and patriotism of the one million black men and women who served in the face of unfathomable racism.

Black American Refugee by Tiffanie Drayton

Black American Refugee
Escaping The Narcissism Of The American Dream

Tiffanie Drayton

A prominent Black writer shares her journey from Trinidad to New Jersey in search of a better life, only to return to Tobago after becoming exhausted by chasing an American Dream that has become inaccessible to Black people.

African Founders by David Hackett Fischer

African Founders
How Enslaved People Expanded American Ideals

David Hackett Fischer

Investigates the little-known history of how enslaved people from various parts of Africa mixed with colonists of European ancestry in the colonial United States to establish unique regional cultures.

Vanguard by Martha S Jones

How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won The Vote, And Insisted On Equality For All

Martha S Jones

Examines the struggle of African American women to achieve equality and political power by examining the lives and work of black women, including Maria Stewart, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and Fannie Lou Hamer

A Shot In The Moonlight by Ben Montgomery

A Shot In The Moonlight
How A Freed Slave And A Confederate Soldier Fought For Justice In The Jim Crow South

Ben Montgomery

A true tale of justice in the Jim Crow south relates the story of George Dinning, a freed slave who was wrongfully convicted of murder after defending himself against a white mob and later won damages against them in court with the help of a Confederate war hero-turned-lawyer.

His Name Is George Floyd by Robert Samuels, Toluse Olorunnipa

His Name Is George Floyd
One Man’s Life And The Struggle For Racial Justice

Robert Samuels, Toluse Olorunnipa

Two prize-winning Washington Post reporters examine how systemic racism impacted both the life and death of the 46-year old black man who was murdered in broad daylight outside a Minneapolis convenience store by white officer Derek Chauvin.

South To America by Imani Perry

South To America
A Journey Below The Mason-Dixon To Understand The Soul Of A Nation

Imani Perry

This intricately woven tapestry of stories of immigrant communities, exploitative opportunists, enslaved peoples, unsung heroes and lived experiences shows the meaning of American is inextricably linked to the South– and understanding its history and culture is the key to understanding our nation as a whole.

Waging A Good War by Thomas E Ricks

Waging A Good War
A Military History Of The Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968

Thomas E Ricks

A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter offers a fresh perspective on the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and its legacy today, narrating its triumphs and defeats and highlighting lesser-known figures who played critical roles in fashioning nonviolence into an effective tool.

Under The Skin by Linda Villarosa

Under The Skin
The Hidden Toll Of Racism On American Lives And The Health Of A Nation

Linda Villarosa

The first book to tell the full story of race and health in America today, showing the toll racism takes on individuals and the health of our nation, by a groundbreaking journalist at the New York Times Magazine.

I Saw Death Coming by Kidada E Williams

I Saw Death Coming
A History Of Terror And Survival In The War Against Reconstruction

Kidada E Williams

From a groundbreaking scholar, a heart-wrenching reexamination of the struggle for survival in the Reconstruction-era South, and what it cost.

Biography and Memoir

Until I Am Free by Keisha N Blain

Until I Am Free
Fannie Lou Hamer’s Enduring Message To America

Keisha N Blain

Blending together social commentary, biography and history, an award-winning historian challenges us to listen to Fannie Lou Hamer, a working-poor and disabled Black woman activist and intellectual of the civil rights movement, as we grapple with modern concerns around race, inequality and social justice.

A Coastline Is An Immeasurable Thing by Mary-Alice Daniel

A Coastline Is An Immeasurable Thing
A Memoir Across Three Continents

Mary-Alice Daniel

An American African poet recalls her journey from Nigeria to England to America and the racial, religious and cultural challenges she faced while confronting the bonds and boundaries of blackness.

The Grimkes by Kerri K Greenidge

The Grimkes
The Legacy Of Slavery In An American Family

Kerri K Greenidge

Award-winning historian Kerri Greenidge presents a parallel narrative, indeed a long-overdue corrective,shifting the focus from the white abolitionist sisters to the Black Grimkes and deepening our understanding of the long struggle for racial and gender equality.

My Seven Black Fathers by Will Jawando

My Seven Black Fathers
A Young Activist’s Memoir Of Race, Family, And The Mentors Who Made Him Whole

Will Jawando

Looking back on the relationships with an extraordinary series of mentors who enabled him to thrive, including President Barack Obama, an attorney, activist and community leader offers a transformative way for black men to shape the next generation.

True by Kostya Kennedy

The Four Seasons Of Jackie Robinson

Kostya Kennedy

Offers a new chronicle of the life of Jackie Robinson, one of baseball’s, and America’s, most significant figures.

Straight Shooter by Stephen A Smith

Straight Shooter
A Memoir Of Second Chances And First Takes

Stephen A Smith

Revealing who he really is when the cameras are off, America’s most popular sports media figure writes about the greatest highs and deepest lows of his life and career, while sharing his signature, uninhibited opinions about current political and social issues.

The Love You Save by Goldie Taylor

The Love You Save

Goldie Taylor

An acclaimed journalist and human rights activist shares the harrowing yet deeply hopeful story of her troubled childhood in East St. Louis–a memoir of family, faith and the power of books.


The Survivalists by Kashana Cauley

The Survivalists

Kashana Cauley

When she moves in with her coffee entrepreneur boyfriend and his doomsday-prepping roommates, Aretha, a black lawyer, finds her dreams of making partner slipping away as she is drawn into preparing for the end of the world, which may be around the corner.

Moon And The Mars by Kia Corthron

Moon And The Mars

Kia Corthron

Set in the impoverished Five Points district of New York City in the years 1857-1863, this novel is told through the eyes of Theo, an orphan living between the homes of her Black and Irish grandparents, as the nation divides and marches to war.

Maame by Jessica George


Jessica George

A young British Ghanaian woman navigates her 20s and finds her place in the world.

The Love Songs Of W.e.b. Du Bois by Honor�e Fanonne Jeffers

The Love Songs Of W.E.B. Du Bois

Honoree Fanonne Jeffers

To come to terms with who she is and what she wants, Ailey, the daughter of an accomplished doctor and a strict schoolteacher, embarks on a journey through her family’s past, helping her embrace her full heritage, which is the story of the Black experience in itself.

The House Of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson

The House Of Eve

Sadeqa Johnson

From the award-winning author of Yellow Wife, a daring, beautiful, and redemptive novel that explores what it means to be a woman and a mother, and how much one is willing to sacrifice to achieve her greatest goal.

Moonrise Over New Jessup by Jamila Minnicks

Moonrise Over New Jessup

Jamila Minnicks

In 1957, Alice Young arrives in the all-Black town of New Jessup, Alabama, a place of opposing viewpoints on desegregation at the beginning of the civil rights movement, where she falls in love with Raymond Campbell, whose clandestine organizing activities could expel them from the home they love.

Anywhere You Run by Wanda M Morris

Anywhere You Run

Wanda M Morris

Two sisters on the run from Jim Crow justice in 1964 Jackson, Mississippi, flee to separate parts of the country, unaware that they are both being pursued by someone with dark secrets and a disturbing motive for finding them that is unknown to anyone buthimself.

River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

River Sing Me Home

Eleanor Shearer

A redemptive story of a mother’ s gripping journey across the Caribbean to find her stolen children in the aftermath of slavery.

In The Upper Country by Kai Thomas

In The Upper Country

Kai Thomas

Summoned to a neighboring farm to gather testimony after an old woman who recently arrived via the Underground Railroad kills a slave hunter, Lensinda Martin accepts the woman’s proposed barter of a story for a story instead of a confession.

Decent People by De'Shawn Charles Winslow

Decent People

De’Shawn Charles Winslow

When three siblings are found shot to death in the still-segregated town of West Mills, North Carolina, in 1976, and the white authorities show no interest in solving the case, Josephine Wright sets out to prove the innocence of her childhood sweetheart,Olympus “Lymp” Seymore, the murder victims’ half-brother and the leading suspect in the case.