It’s Black History Month in the US right now. Check out these inspiring Black authors who’ve made great literary contributions and our book recommendations!

The richness of Black history and literature is too much to be confined to one single month. But, to give you titles to add to your reading list, we’ve put together a list of fantastic book recommendations for works by Black authors. Including both fiction and non-fiction, these works cover Black culture, history, power and perspectives.

Maya Angelou – I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou was a prolific and powerful writer and poet, as well as being a fervent civil rights activist. Her 1969 autobiography I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings illustrates how strength of character and quality literature can help overcome traumas and racism.

Toni Morrison – Beloved

Toni Morrison was the first Black woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature, in 1993. The awarding body stated that Morrison, “who, in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.” Beloved, combines stark realism with African folklore, inspired by real life events involving escaped slave, Margaret Garner.

Barack Obama – A Promised Land

Nobel Peace Prize winner and first Black American president, Barack Obama writes about the challenges and racism he has faced throughout life. This presidential memoir takes readers from early campaigns, into the Oval Office, to the events surrounding the death of Bin Laden.

Catherine E. McKinley – The African Lookbook

Author Catherine E. McKinley has compiled an unprecedented visual history of African women told in striking and subversive historical photographs. The book serves to show African women beyond the anthropological photography or “poverty porn” so many are used to.

Langston Hughes – Let America Be America Again

American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, Langston Hughes is famous for innovating “jazz poetry”. He is also known as a leader for the “Harlem Rennaisance”, a revival of African American culture in Harlem. Hughes’ poem Let America Be America Again speaks of the freedom, equality and American dream that every immigrant hoped for but never received.

Further your celebration of US Black History Month 2021by checking out some fantastic films and shows. Or, if you prefer to listen to things, these inspiring and educational podcasts and radio shows. Music fans rejoice, as NPR‘s Tiny Desk hosts a month-long Black History Month Tiny Desk series.