Black Voices & Culture: Non-Fiction Books for Adults

Explore our curated list of non-fiction books by Black and African American voices in celebration of Black History Month.

Updated January 10, 2024
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Why fathers cry at night : a memoir in love poems, letters, recipes, and remembrances
Alexander, Kwame
In an intimate and non-traditional (or "new-fashioned") memoir, Kwame Alexander shares snapshots of a man learning how to love. He takes us through stories of his parents: from being awkward newlyweds in the sticky Chicago summer of 1967, to the sometimes-confusing ways they showed their love to...
Those who saw the sun : African American oral histories from the Jim Crow South
Avery, Jaha Nailah
NYPL BEST OF THE YEAR BEST OF THE BEST, BLACK CAUCUS OF THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION A stunning collection of oral histories from Black elders who grew up in the Jim Crow South The past is not past. We may think...
Writing in color : fourteen writers on the lessons we've learned
Azad, Nafiza
Rethink the way you approach writing in this "honest, useful craft book that all fledgling writers need" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) from fourteen diverse authors that demystifies craft and authorship based on their experiences as writers of color--perfect for fans of Fresh Ink...
Temple folk
Bilal, Aaliyah
Finalist for the 2023 National Book Award for Fiction A groundbreaking debut collection portraying the lived experiences of Black Muslims grappling with faith, family, and freedom in America. In Temple Folk, Black Muslims contemplate the convictions of their...
The History of African Art
Blier, Suzanne Preston.
A concise, accessible and up-to-date overview of the arts of Africa from prehistoric times to the present day. This indispensable introductory guide explores the art of the African continent from its early origins over 150,000 years ago to the contemporary, set in the context...
Lena Horne : goddess reclaimed
Bogle, Donald
From Donald Bogle, the award-winning author of Hollywood Black and leading authority on Black cinema history, this is a first-of-its-kind comprehensive and lavish biography of Hollywood's first African American movie goddess. Lena Horne's life and career are...
A nimble arc : James Van Der Zee and photography
Boone, Emilie
While James Van Der Zee is widely known and praised for his studio portraits from the Harlem Renaissance era, much of the diversity and expansive reach of his work has been overlooked. From the major role his studio played for decades photographing ordinary people and events in the Harlem community...
Rediscovering Black portraiture
Brathwaite, Peter
Join Peter Brathwaite on an extraordinary journey through representations of Black subjects in Western art, from medieval Europe through the present day.   "These mirror images with their uncanny resemblances traverse space and time, spotlighting the black lives...
Twice as hard : the stories of Black women who fought to become physicians, from the Civil War to the 21st Century
Brown, Jasmine
Black women physicians' stories have gone untold for far too long, leaving gaping holes in American medical history, in women's history, and in black history. It's time to set the record straight No real account of black women physicians in the US exists, and what little mention...
Cooking from the spirit : easy, delicious, and joyful plant-based inspirations
Brown, Tabitha
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Voted the Favorite Vegan Cookbook of 2023 by VegNews Tabitha Brown, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Feeding the Soul, presents her first cookbook--full of easy, family-friendly vegan recipes and stories from the spirit, inspired...
Black TV : five decades of groundbreaking television from Soul Train to Black-ish and beyond
Butler, Bethonie
With iconic imagery and engrossing text, Black TV is the first book of its kind to celebrate the groundbreaking, influential, and often under-appreciated shows centered on Black people and their experiences from the last fifty years.   Over the past...
María Magdalena Campos-Pons : behold
Campos-Pons, Maria Magdalena
This vibrantly illustrated survey of the career of contemporary artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons delves into her diverse oeuvre of painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, film, and performance. María Magdalena Campos-Pons (b. 1959) makes powerful work that...
Self-care for black men : 100 ways to heal and liberate
Caraballo, Jor-El
A self-care guidebook full of activities for Black men everywhere pursuing joy, creating connections, confronting racism, and working through intergenerational trauma. Black men desperately need care and restoration. But what does that restoration look like when you're a Black...
Wannabe : reckonings with the pop culture that shapes me
Harris, Aisha
BEST READS OF 2023: New York Times Book Review * USA Today * The Skimm * Bookpage * St Louis Post-Dispatch / BEST HOLIDAY GIFTS 2023: Publishers Weekly / MOST ANTICIPATED READS OF 2023: ELLE * The Millions * Essence "Aisha Harris is one of our smartest, most entertaining modern cultural...
Adversity for sale : you gotta believe
Jeezy
NEW YORK TIMES and WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER To Jeezy's legion of fans, his name is synonymous with hustle, grit, and the integrity to go out there and achieve your dreams. In his first book, Adversity for Sale: Ya Gotta Believe, Jeezy shares never heard stories of what it took for...
Walk through fire
Johnson, Sheila C.
The cofounder of BET and first African American woman billionaire shares her deeply personal journey through love and loss, tragedy and triumph--an inspiring story of overcoming toxic influences, discovering her true self, and at last finding happiness in her work and life. From...
Leslie f*cking Jones : a memoir
Jones, Leslie
WINNER OF THE 2024 AUDIE AWARD FOR HUMOR A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A BARNES AND NOBLE'S BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR  A TOWN & COUNTRY BEST CELEBRITY MEMOIR OF 2023 A VULTURE BEST COMEDY...
The diaspora sonnets
De la Paz, Oliver
In 1972, after Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, Oliver de la Paz's father, in a last fit of desperation to leave the Philippines, threw his papers at an immigration clerk, hoping to get them stamped. He was prepared to leave, having already quit his job and having exchanged pesos for dollars;...
Punished for dreaming : how school reform harms Black children and how we heal
Love, Bettina L.
NOW A NEW YORK TIMES AND A USA TODAY BESTSELLER FINALIST, LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE "I am an eighties baby who grew to hate school. I never fully understood why. Until now. Until Bettina Love unapologetically and painstakingly...
Black women's wellness : your "I've got this!" guide to health, sex, and phenomenal living
McCloud, Melody Theresa
An essential guide to lifelong health and greater well-being from one of today's highly regarded women's health experts    "I offer this book as a Black female to be your one-stop reference on your personal quest to achieve total wellness, health, and happiness...
Pulling the chariot of the sun : a memoir of a kidnapping
McCrae, Shane
Vulture's #1 Memoir of 2023 An unforgettable, "lyrical and poignant" (The Washington Post) memoir by an award-winning poet about being kidnapped from his Black father and raised by his white supremacist grandparents. When Shane McCrae was...
The new saints : from broken hearts to spiritual warriors
Owens, Lama Rod
A USA Today Bestseller A Buddhist Lama and intersectional thought leader shares a guide for those who would dream a more just, ethical world into being. Saints, spiritual warriors, bodhisattvas, tzaddikim--no matter how they are named in a given...
Before the Movement : The Hidden History of Black Civil Rights
Penningroth, Dylan C.
The familiar story of civil rights goes like this: once, America's legal system shut Black people out and refused to recognize their rights, their basic human dignity, or even their very lives. When lynch mobs gathered, police and judges often closed their eyes, if they didn't join in. For Black...
Dark days : fugitive essays
Reeves, Roger
* WINNER OF THE 2024 GLCA NEW WRITERS AWARD FOR CREATIVE NONFICTION * A crucial book that calls for community, solidarity, and joy, even in--especially in--these dark days In his debut work of nonfiction, award-winning poet Roger Reeves finds new meaning in...
Tupac Shakur : the authorized biography
Robinson, Staci
The authorized biography of the legendary artist, Tupac Shakur, a "touching, empathetic portrait" (The New York Times) of his life and powerful legacy, fully illustrated with photos, mementos, handwritten poetry, musings, and more Artist, poet, actor,...
A long time coming : a lyrical biography of race in America from Ona Judge to Barack Obama
Shepard, Ray Anthony
This YA biography-in-verse of six important Black Americans from different eras, including Ona Judge, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Martin Luther King Jr., and Barack Obama, chronicles the diverse ways each fought racism and shows how much-and how little-has changed for Black...
Life on other planets : a memoir of finding my place in the universe
Shields, Aomawa L.
A stunning and inspiring memoir charting a life as an astronomer, classically-trained actor, mother, and Black woman in STEM, searching for life in the universe while building a meaningful life here on Earth As a kid, Aomawa Shields was always bumping into things, her neck craned...
Suddenly we
Shockley, Evie
Evie Shockley's new poems invite us to dream--and work--toward a more capacious "we" In her new poetry collection, Evie Shockley mobilizes visual art, sound, and multilayered language to chart routes towards openings for the collective dreaming of a more capacious "we." How do...
Worthy
Smith, Jada Pinkett
**Time magazine most anticipated books of 2023** **Parade magazine must-read books by celebrities 2023** "I went through so many emotions reading this book. Reconnecting to one's ancestors and truly feeling, not only hearing, their stories are fertile ground for true ecstatic...
Thank you (falettinme be mice elf agin) : a memoir
Stone, Sly
Not many memoirs are generational events. But when Sly Stone, one of the few true musical geniuses of the last century, decides to finally tell his life story, it can't be called anything else. As the front man for the sixties pop-rock-funk band Sly and the Family Stone, a songwriter...
Juke joints, jazz clubs, and juice : cocktails from two centuries of African American cookbooks
Tipton-Martin, Toni
Discover the fascinating history of Black mixology and its enduring influence on American cocktail culture through 70 rediscovered, modernized, or celebrated recipes, by the James Beard Award-winning author of Jubilee. A BEST COOKBOOK OF THE YEAR- The Boston Globe,...
Beyond the shores : a history of African Americans abroad
Walker, Tamara J.
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice * An award-winning author charts the poignant global journeys of African Americans as she explores her own transatlantic family odyssey in Beyond the Shores, a powerful history of living abroad while Black.   "By...
Thicker than water : a memoir
Washington, Kerry
Award-winning actor, director, producer, and activist Kerry Washington shares the deeply moving journey of her life so far, and the "beautiful" story of discovering her truth in this instant New York Times bestseller (Oprah Winfrey). While on a drive in Los...
Great Falls, MT : fast times, post-punk weirdos, and a tale of coming home again
Watts, Reggie.
Comedian and musician Reggie Watts shares his story of growing up in Montana as a biracial oddball struggling to navigate life, girls, drugs, and his own identity in America's heartland--and having a blast doing it. Reggie Watts is weird. But you knew that. Anyone who's seen...
The bodies keep coming : dispatches from a black trauma surgeon on racism, violence, and how we heal
Williams, Brian H. (Surgeon)
A tour de force that diagnoses the structural root of the violence that plagues us all. Trauma surgeon and professor Dr. Brian H. Williams has seen it all: gunshot wounds, stabbings, and traumatic brain injuries. In The Bodies Keep Coming, Williams ushers us into the trauma bay, where the...
The risk it takes to bloom : on life and liberation
Willis, Raquel
A passionate, powerful memoir by a trailblazing Black transgender activist, tracing her life of transformation and her work towards collective liberation. In 2017, Raquel Willis took to the National Women's March podium just after the presidential election of Donald Trump,...
Black friend : essays
Ziwe
From a rapidly rising comedy star, a bold, personal, and darkly hilarious takedown and send-up of our culture's (mis)understanding of raceZiwe made a name for herself staring interviewees in the eye and asking, "How many Black friends do you have?" She's an expert at making people squirm, coming...

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