Juneteenth Reads (or Listens!) for Adults

Updated June 17, 2024
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100 amazing facts about the Negro
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr.
Paper Book
The first edition of Joel Augustus Rogers's now legendary 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro with Complete Proof, published in 1934, was billed as "A Negro 'Believe It or Not.'" Rogers's little book was priceless because he was delivering enlightenment and pride, steeped in historical research...
Twelve years a slave
Northup, Solomon
Paper Book
Now the major motion picture that won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Picture, starringChiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, andLupita Nyong'o, and directed by Steve McQueen Perhaps the best written of all the slave narratives,Twelve Years a Slaveis a harrowing memoir about...
The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story
Hannah-Jones, Nikole
Paper Book
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * NAACP IMAGE AWARD WINNER * A dramatic expansion of a groundbreaking work of journalism, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story offers a profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present. "[A] groundbreaking compendium . . ....
African American Poetry : 250 years of struggle & song
Young, Kevin
Paper Book
A literary landmark- the biggest, most ambitious anthology of Black poetry ever published, gathering 250 poets from the colonial period to the present Across a turbulent history, from such vital centers as Harlem, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and the Bay Area, Black...
African Founders: How Enslaved People Expanded American Ideals
Fischer, David Hackett
Paper Book
In this sweeping, foundational work, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Hackett Fischer draws on extensive research to show how enslaved Africans and their descendants enlarged American ideas of freedom in varying ways in different regions of the early United States. ...
All that she carried : the journey of Ashley's sack, a black family keepsake
Miles, Tiya
Paper Book
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER * NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A renowned historian traces the life of a single object handed down through three generations of Black women to craft a "deeply layered and insightful" (The Washington Post) testament to people who are left out...
And There Was Light (CD)
Meacham, Jon
CD
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Jon Meacham chronicles the life of Abraham Lincoln, charting how--and why--he confronted secession, threats to democracy, and the tragedy of slavery to expand the possibilities of America. "Meacham has...
And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle
Meacham, Jon
Paper Book
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER . Pulitzer Prize-winning biographerJon Meacham chronicles the life of Abraham Lincoln, charting how-and why-he confronted secession, threats to democracy, and the tragedy of slavery to expand the possibilities of America. "Meacham has given us...
An Autobiography of Skin
Carr, Lakiesha
Paper Book
A NEW YORKER BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR * This magisterial, intimate look at Black womanhood "follows three women whose various traumas haunt them literally and metaphorically, as it explores what it means to be a Black woman in America today" (The New York Times Book Review,...
Barracoon : the story of the last "black cargo"
Hurston, Zora Neale
Paper Book
New York Times Bestseller *  TIME Magazine's Best Nonfiction Book of 2018 * New York Public Library's Best Book of 2018 * NPR's Book Concierge Best Book of 2018 * Economist Book of the Year * SELF.com's Best Books of 2018 * Audible...
Beloved : a novel
Morrison, Toni.
Paper Book
PULITZER PRIZE WINNER * NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A spellbinding novel that transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. With a new afterword by the author.  This "brutally powerful, mesmerizing story" (...
Beloved : a novel
Morrison, Toni.
Paper Book
PULITZER PRIZE WINNER * NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A spellbinding novel that transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. With a new afterword by the author.  This "brutally powerful, mesmerizing story" (...
Between the world and me
Coates, Ta-Nehisi
CD
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER * NAMED ONE OF TIME'S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE * PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST * NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST * ONE OF OPRAH'S "BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH" * <...
Between the world and me
Coates, Ta-Nehisi
Paper Book
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER - NAMED ONE OF TIME'S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE - PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST - NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST Hailed by Toni Morrison as "required reading," a bold and personal...
The Black church : this is our story, this is our song
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr.
Paper Book
The instant New York Times bestseller and companion book to the PBS series. "Absolutely brilliant . . . A necessary and moving work." --Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., author of Begin Again "Engaging. . . . In Gates's telling, the Black church shines bright...
Black futures
Drew, Kimberly
Paper Book
"A literary experience unlike any I've had in recent memory . . . a blueprint for this moment and the next, for where Black folks have been and where they might be going."-The New York Times Book Review(Editors' Choice) What does it mean to be Black and alive right...
Black Ghost of Empire: The Long Death of Slavery and the Failure of Emancipation
Manjapra, Kris
Paper Book
If the 1619 Project illuminated the ways in which life in the United States has been shaped by the existence of slavery, this "historical, literary masterpiece" (Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy) focuses on emancipation and how its afterlife further codified the racial caste system--instead...
Carolina Built
Alexander, Kianna
Paper Book
This "exuberant celebration of Black women's joy as well as their achievements" (Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author) novelizes the life of real estate magnate Josephine N. Leary in a previously untold story of passion, perseverance, and building a legacy after...
Conjure women
Atakora, Afia
Paper Book
A mother and daughter with a shared talent for healing--and for the conjuring of curses--are at the heart of this dazzling first novel "Lush, irresistible . . . It took me into the hearts of women I could otherwise never know. I was transported."--Amy Bloom, New York Times...
Conjure women : a novel
Atakora, Afia
Paper Book
A mother and daughter with a shared talent for healing--and for the conjuring of curses--are at the heart of this dazzling first novel   LONGLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE * NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times * NPR *...
The Devil's Half Acre: The Untold Story of How One Woman Liberated the South's Most Notorious Slave Jail
Green, Kristen
Paper Book
The inspiring true story of an enslaved woman who liberated an infamous slave jail and transformed it into one of the nation's first HBCUs  In The Devil's Half Acre, New York Times ...
An Emancipation of the Mind: Radical Philosophy, the War Over Slavery, and the Refounding of America
Stewart, Matthew
Paper Book
This is a story about a dangerous idea-that all men are created equal-which ignited revolutions in America, France, and Haiti; burst across Europe in the revolutions of 1848; and returned to inflame a new generation of intellectuals to lead the abolition movement. Frederick Douglass's...
The fire next time
Baldwin, James
CD
At once a powerful evocation of his early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice to both the individual and the body politic, James Baldwin galvanized the nation in the early days of the civil rights movement with his eloquent manifesto. The Fire...
Four hundred souls : a community history of African America, 1619-2019
Kendi, Ibram X.
Paper Book
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A chorus of extraordinary voices tells the epic story of the four-hundred-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present--edited by Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, and Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on...
Four hundred souls : a community history of African America, 1619-2019
Kendi, Ibram X.
Paper Book
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A chorus of extraordinary voices tells the epic story of the four-hundred-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present--edited by Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, and Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on...
Frederick Douglass : prophet of freedom
Blight, David W.
Paper Book
**Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History** "Extraordinary...a great American biography" (The New Yorker) of the most important African American of the 19th century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading...
The half has never been told : slavery and the making of American capitalism
Baptist, Edward E.
Paper Book
A groundbreaking history demonstrating that America's economic supremacy was built on the backs of enslaved people Winner of the 2015 Avery O. Craven Prize from the Organization of American Historians Winner of the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize
Hell of a book : or the altogether factual, Wholly Bona Fide story of a big dreams, hard luck, American-Made Mad Kid
Mott, Jason
Paper Book
***2021 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER*** ***THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER*** Winner of the 2021 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize Finalist, 2022 Chautauqua Prize Finalist, Willie Morris Award for Southern Writing Shortlist, 2021 Aspen...
Homegoing
Gyasi, Yaa
Paper Book
Winner of the NBCC's John Leonard First Book Prize A New York Times 2016 Notable Book One of Oprah's 10 Favorite Books of 2016 NPR's Debut Novel of the Year One of Buzzfeed's Best Fiction Books Of 2016 One of Time's Top 10 Novels of 2016
Homegoing a novel
Gyasi, Yaa.
Paper Book
Winner of the NBCC's John Leonard First Book Prize A New York Times 2016 Notable Book One of Oprah's 10 Favorite Books of 2016 NPR's Debut Novel of the Year One of Buzzfeed's Best Fiction Books Of 2016 One of Time's Top 10 Novels of 2016
Hood feminism : notes from the women that a movement forgot
Kendall, Mikki
Paper Book
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "The fights against hunger, homelessness, poverty, health disparities, poor schools, homophobia, transphobia, and domestic violence are feminist fights. Kendall offers a feminism rooted in the livelihood of everyday women." --Ibram X. Kendi,...
How the word is passed : a reckoning with the history of slavery across America
Smith, Clint
Paper Book
This "important and timely" (Drew Faust, Harvard Magazine) #1 New York Times bestseller examines the legacy of slavery in America--and how both history and memory continue to shape our everyday lives. Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint...
How to be an antiracist
Kendi, Ibram X.
CD
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a "groundbreaking" (Time) approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society--and in ourselves. "The most...
How to be an antiracist
Kendi, Ibram X.
Paper Book
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a "groundbreaking" (Time) approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society--and in ourselves. "The most...
I'm still here : black dignity in a world made for whiteness
Brown, Austin Channing
Paper Book
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK * From a leading voice on racial justice, an eye-opening account of growing up Black, Christian, and female that exposes how white America's love affair with "diversity" so often falls short of its ideals. "Austin...
Illustrated Black History: Honoring the Iconic and the Unseen
McCalman, George
Paper Book
*AWARD WINNER* of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Debut Author / and the NCBR Recognition Award A gorgeous collection of 145 original portraits that celebrates Black pioneers--famous and little-known--in politics, science, literature, music, and more-...
James
Everett, Percival
Paper Book
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER *  A brilliant, action-packed reimagining of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, both harrowing and darkly humorous, told from the enslaved Jim's point of view In development as a feature film to be produced by Steven Spielberg *...
I know why the caged bird sings
Angelou, Maya.
Paper Book
Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou's debut memoir is a modern American...
The Last Slave Ship: The True Story of How Clotilda Was Found, Her Descendants, and an Extraordinary Reckoning
Raines, Ben
Paper Book
An NPR Best Book of the Year The incredible true story of the last ship to carry enslaved people to America, the remarkable town its survivors founded after emancipation, and the complicated legacy their descendants carry with them to this day--by the journalist who...
Let Us Descend
Ward, Jesmyn
Paper Book
OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK * Instant New York Times Bestseller * Named one of the best books of 2023 by The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The Boston Globe, Time, The New Yorker, and more. "Nothing short of epic,...
Let Us Descend [Large Print]
Ward, Jesmyn
Paper Book
From Jesmyn Ward--the two-time National Book Award winner, youngest winner of the Library of Congress Prize for Fiction, and MacArthur Fellow--comes a haunting masterpiece, sure to be an instant classic, about an enslaved girl in the years before the Civil War. "'Let...
A little devil in America : notes in praise of black performance
Abdurraqib, Hanif
Paper Book
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST * A sweeping, genre-bending "masterpiece" (Minneapolis Star Tribune) exploring Black art, music, and culture in all their glory and complexity--from Soul Train, Aretha Franklin, and James Brown to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Whitney...
A Madman's Will: John Randolph, Four Hundred Slaves, and the Mirage of Freedom
May, Gregory
Paper Book
Few legal cases in American history are as riveting as the controversy surrounding the will of Virginia Senator John Randolph (1773-1833), which--almost inexplicably--freed all 383 of his slaves in one of the largest and most publicized manumissions in American history. So famous is the case that...
Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom
Woo, Ilyon
Paper Book
Winner of the 2024 Pulitzer Prize in Biography "A rich narrative of the Crafts, an enslaved couple who escaped from Georgia in 1848, with light-skinned Ellen disguised as a disabled white gentleman and William as her manservant, exploiting assumptions about race, class, and...
Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom
Woo, Ilyon
Paper Book
Winner of the 2024 Pulitzer Prize in Biography "A rich narrative of the Crafts, an enslaved couple who escaped from Georgia in 1848, with light-skinned Ellen disguised as a disabled white gentleman and William as her manservant, exploiting assumptions about race, class, and...
My Black Country: A Journey Through Country Music's Black Past, Present, and Future
Randall, A
Paper Book
Alice Randall, award-winning professor, songwriter, and author presents "a celebration of all things country music" (Ken Burns) as she reflects on her search for the first family of Black country music. Country music had brought Alice Randall and her activist mother together and...
Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass
Douglass, Frederick
Paper Book
Former slave, impassioned abolitionist, brilliant writer, newspaper editor and eloquent orator whose speeches fired the abolitionist cause, Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) led an astounding life. Physical abuse, deprivation and tragedy plagued his early years, yet through sheer force of...
Night Flyer: Harriet Tubman and the Faith Dreams of a Free People
Miles, Tiya
Paper Book
"Groundbreaking...Through Tiya Miles' meticulous research and an unwavering focus on Tubman's humanity, Night Flyer has transformed a fantastical figure from a bygone time into an accessible, modern-day inspiration." - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution "Though broad...
The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley: A Poet's Journeys Through American Slavery and Independence
Waldstreicher, David
Paper Book
Admired by George Washington, ridiculed by Thomas Jefferson, published in London, and read far and wide, Phillis Wheatley led one of the most extraordinary American lives. Seized in West Africa and forced into slavery as a child, she was sold to a merchant family in Boston, where she became a noted...
On Juneteenth
Gordon-Reed, Annette
Paper Book
Weaving together American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, Annette Gordon-Reed's On Juneteenth provides a historian's view of the country's long road to Juneteenth, recounting both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African-Americans have...
The President and the Freedom Fighter: Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Their Battle to Save America's Soul
Kilmeade, Brian
Paper Book
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER   The New York Times bestselling author of George Washington's Secret Six and Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates turns to two other heroes of the nation: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In The...
Roots : the saga of an American family
Haley, Alex
Paper Book
Based off of the bestselling author's family history, this novel tells the story of Kunta Kinte, who is sold into slavery in the United States where he and his descendants live through major historic events. When Roots was first published forty years ago, the book...
Roots : the saga of an American family
Haley, Alex
Paper Book
Based off of the bestselling author's family history, this novel tells the story of Kunta Kinte, who is sold into slavery in the United States where he and his descendants live through major historic events. When Roots was first published forty years ago, the book...
She came to slay : the life and times of Harriet Tubman
Dunbar, Erica Armstrong
Paper Book
In the bestselling tradition of The Notorious RBG comes a lively, informative, and illustrated tribute to one of the most exceptional women in American history--Harriet Tubman--a heroine whose fearlessness and activism still resonate today. Harriet Tubman is best known as...
A slave no more : two men who escaped to freedom : including their own narratives of emancipation
Blight, David W.
Paper Book
Slave narratives, some of the most powerful records of our past, are extremely rare, with only fifty-five post-Civil War narratives surviving. A mere handful are first-person accounts by slaves who ran away and freed themselves. Now two newly uncovered narratives, and the biographies of the men...
Stamped racism, antiracism, and you
Reynolds, Jason
CD
The #1 New York Times bestseller and a USAToday bestseller! A timely, crucial, and empowering exploration of racism--and antiracism--in America This is NOT a history book. This is a book about the here and now....
Stamped : racism, antiracism, and you
Reynolds, Jason
Paper Book
This crucial, empowering, #1 New York Times bestselling exploration of racism--and antiracism--in America makes critical ideas accessible for teen readers, adapted from Ibram X. Kendi's National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning. ...
Stony the road : Reconstruction, white supremacy, and the rise of Jim Crow
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr.
Paper Book
The abolition of slavery after the Civil War is a familiar story, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II. But the century in between remains a mystery: if emancipation sparked 'a new birth of freedom' in Lincoln's America, why was it necessary to march in...
Sweet Home Cafe cookbook : a celebration of African American cooking
Lukas, Albert
Paper Book
A celebration of African American cooking with 109 recipes from the National Museum of African American History and Culture's Sweet Home Cafe. A James Beard Foundation Book Award nominee for best American cookbook; a Food & Winebest cookbook; a Booklisttop 10 food book; an...
Twelve years a slave
Northup, Solomon
CD
12 Years a Slave is the harrowing account of a black man, born free in New York State, who was drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery in 1841. Having no way to contact his family, and fearing for his life if he told the truth, Solomon Northup was sold from plantation to plantation in Louisiana,...
The Underground Railroad
Whitehead, Colson
CD
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * PULITZER PRIZE WINNER * NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER * A magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. * Now an original Amazon Prime Video series directed by...
The underground railroad : a novel
Whitehead, Colson
Paper Book
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * PULITZER PRIZE WINNER * NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER * A magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. * Now an original Amazon Prime Video series directed by...
The Underground Railroad a novel
Whitehead, Colson
Paper Book
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * PULITZER PRIZE WINNER * NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER * A magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. * Now an original Amazon Prime Video series directed by...
Book Club 2 Go. the epic story of America's great migration / The warmth of other suns
Wilkerson, Isabel.
Other
NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER * NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * In this beautifully written masterwork, the Pulitzer Prize-winnner and bestselling author of Caste chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who...
The warmth of other suns : the epic story of America's great migration
Wilkerson, Isabel.
Paper Book
NATIONAL BEST SELLER * NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER * NAMED ONE OF TIME'S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE AND ONE OF BUZZFEED'S BEST BOOKS OF THE DECADE   "A brilliant and stirring epic . . ....
The water dancer : a novel
Coates, Ta-Nehisi
CD
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK * From the National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me, a boldly conjured debut novel about a magical gift, a devastating loss, and an underground war for freedom. "This potent book about America's...
The water dancer : a novel
Coates, Ta-Nehisi
Paper Book
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK * From the National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me, a boldly conjured debut novel about a magical gift, a devastating loss, and an underground war for freedom. "This potent book about America's...
We are each other's harvest : celebrating African American farmers, land, and legacy
Baszile, Natalie
Paper Book
A WALL STREET JOURNAL FAVORITE FOOD BOOK OF THE EAR From the author of Queen Sugar--now a critically acclaimed series on OWN directed by Ava Duvernay--comes a beautiful exploration and celebration of black farming in America.  In this impressive...
We were eight years in power : an American tragedy
Coates, Ta-Nehisi
Paper Book
In this "urgently relevant"* collection featuring the landmark essay "The Case for Reparations," the National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me "reflects on race, Barack Obama's presidency and its jarring aftermath"*--including the election of Donald...
Yonder
Asim, Jabari
Paper Book
The Water Dancer meets The Prophets in this spare, gripping, and beautifully rendered novel exploring love and friendship among a group of enslaved Black strivers in the mid-19th century. They call themselves the Stolen. Their owners call them captives. They...

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