For Black History Month, we asked our team what books by Black authors they recommend everyone read. It resulted in quite the eclectic mix — from memoirs and social analyses, to classics and sci-fi / fantasies.
God In The Ghetto by my late father, William Augustus Jones, Jr., includes his seminal analysis of systemic racism, the integral role of the church in birthing and perpetuating it, and the Black church’s response. Sociological in framing, theological in foundation and principles, and practical in application, he deconstructs racism in America and offers up a responsive solution.
— Lesley Jones Sessler, Education Coordinator, Northeast Region
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin is a love story set in 1970’s Harlem that follows a relationship between a 19-year-old girl and a 22-year-old sculptor who is falsely accused of raping a woman, arrested and jailed awaiting his trial. The stories the author highlights resonated a lot with me. I shared similar experiences growing up. Hearing those stories reminded me I am not alone, and seeing how far the author was able to progress in life gave me the confirmation I needed to believe success is achievable for people like me.
— Ericia Henry, Donor & Volunteer Relations Intern
The Children of Blood & Bone series by Tomi Adeyemi offers a great revisioning of black power in the world. It is completely set in an Africa-inspired world and uses African myths and traditions to move the storyline.
— Jarod Wilson, Senior Director of Impact & Programming
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes was a fun read. For someone who loves nonfiction, TV and, well, saying no way too often, I think I blew through this one in a day or two. Rhimes, who is best known for being the creator and show runner of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and more recently Inventing Anna — to name a few — is actually, admittedly, an introvert who really struggles with being in the public eye. This clever book inspired me to say “yes!” to more of the things that scare me. It is a self-help book without the label.
— James Vaughn, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications
Walking with the Wind by Congressman John Lewis is the incredible story of Lewis’s rise from a family of Alabama sharecroppers to the United States Congress. He was a central figure in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, and he paints an incredible portrait of leading the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, working with other civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and standing on the frontlines of some of the most important moments in our country’s history. This book comes alive with Congressman Lewis’ voice and makes you feel like you’re not just reading history, but truly know some of the amazing women and men who stood against injustice in America.
— Daniel Hurst, Program Coordinator, Workforce Readiness
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn is filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system. The YA contemporary fantasy offers the dark allure of City of Bones with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic.
— Monika Mala, Chief Operating Officer
The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama. I have always been captivated by the former First Lady’s elegance, intelligence, leadership and, most of all, her abundance of care for others. In her book, she believes that when we light up for others, we can illuminate the potential of the world around us. As she says, “Success is about the difference we make in other people’s lives,” something I work toward every day.
— Travis Tester, Chief Development & Communications Officer
Share your picks with us! Email email@example.com.