Black History, Black Stories: 7 Books That Center Our Legacies for Longer Than a Month

Illustration for article titled Black History, Black Stories: 7 Books That Center Our Legacies for Longer Than a Month
Screenshot: Amistad Publishing, City Lights Publishing, Hachette Books
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“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.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?



While the collective intelligence of humanity might be heading for an all-time low, it’s at least somewhat reassuring that more and more excellent books are being published all the time.

Thanks for this excellent piece, and the rejuvenating chunk of quality books to add to my busting-at-the-seams To Read list!