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10 Must-Read Books Written by Black Authors

Updated: Feb 10

In celebration of Black History Month, we are highlighting some of the most popular works of literature written by Black authors, all of which have become ingrained within cultural landscape. Here are their 10 incredible book recommendations that belong on your reading list, curated by our agents and staff at Brown Harris Stevens.

"A writer's life and work are not a gift to mankind; they are its necessity." — Toni Morrison

Lily Wong

Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Helped Launch Our Nation Into Space by Margot Lee Shetterly

This novel explores the formerly unacknowledged but integral contributions of NASA's African-American female mathematicians, who persevered despite facing the highly oppressive Jim Crow laws that enforced segregation within the industry.

Patrick Jean-Louis

Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

This collection of essays by James Baldwin details his experience as a Black man living within Harlem during the Civil Rights Movement. It provides groundbreaking social criticism that few Black writers provided at the time.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

This national bestseller by James Baldwin has been repeatedly described as a "powerful evocation" of childhood in Harlem, painting a picture of the neighborhood throughout the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement and details the consequences of racial prejudice and injustice.

Isaiah Ajala

Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun? by Reginald F. Lewis & Blair S. Walker

This biography tells the fascinating life story of Reginald F. Lewis: renowned attorney, Wall Street mogul, philanthropist, and wealthiest Black man in U.S. history. It taces his life's accomplishments and displays a life filled with groundbreaking achievements that broke the mold for Black businessmen in America.

Ali Rubenstein

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

In this character-driven novel, Black Cake displays the dynamic of a family, whose members are forever-changed after the loss of the matriarch-—one who kept secrets, committed betrayals, and had a hidden past. Themes of family relationships, identity, and forgiveness are all explored in this fascinating author-debut.

Mary Vetri

Happy to Be Nappy by bell hooks & Chris Raschka

In her first children's book, hooks celebrates the beauty of all different hairstyles that Black girls have, appreciating diversity, and exuding confidence in culture.

Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood by bell hooks

In her powerful memoir, bell hooks describes her life as one that bursted with female creativity and strength, as she embarked on a path of self-discovery from childhood, and into adulthood,.

Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks

This novel provides a solid introduction into the work of feminist and author bell hooks, in a discussion of feminist and cultural criticism that was groundbreaking within the academic world upon its release.

Leanne Stella

Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood by Tony Hillery

This inspiring children's novel tells the story of Tiny Hillery and his belief in hands-on education within the field of farming, nutrition, and environmental sustainability.

Victor P. Inwang II

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois

This renowned series of essays shares William Edward Burghardt Du Bois' advocacy for progression of Black Americans within political, socio-economic, and educational spheres, while centering its themes around race and inequality. This novel is considered a cornerstone is African American literature.

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