“No scene from African American literary history is more familiar than that of Frederick Douglass’s learning to read,” reads the opening line of the introduction of Forgotten Readers: Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies, an educational tome that unpacks the long legacy of black literacy and literary acumen; one that began while we were still legally prohibited from learning to read. It’s a fundamental part of our history, and as both black writers and readers know, an ongoing one.
This year, we got an extra day in our still too-short Black History Month, but it’s now coming to an end—and as we well know, our history deserves celebrating year-round. Since we know you not only read but want to keep that same BHM energy every day of the year, we’ve compiled a brief list of books that celebrate our nuanced and varied history in America (and beyond) on page after page.
Unfortunately, we’re not a library, but you can check them all out in our slideshow below. Because remember: our stories are the stuff black history is made of.