7 Must-Reads for Your Home Library This Black History Month - Home & Texture
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7 Must-Reads for Your Home Library This Black History Month

Celebrate Black voices that have shaped and contributed to society throughout history.

February 21, 2024 at 5:51 AM PST

As we commemorate Black History Month, we think it’s the perfect opportunity to expand your home library with essential reads that amplify Black voices and stories. From insightful memoirs to thought-provoking histories, books offer a diverse and enriching journey through pivotal moments, personal narratives, and cultural reflections. This month, deepen your understanding and appreciation of Black history and its enduring impact on society and support the Black authors who made the books possible. For inspiration on what to read first, here are seven books we hand-picked to get you started.

Our Top Picks

Supporting Black Authors

When you support Black writers, you not only learn about Black history, but you also help create a more diverse literary landscape. Marginalized voices are often shut out of the publishing industry due to a number of factors, such as a lack of visibility and opportunities. But representation is important, so by buying books written by Black authors, you highlight the demand for more inclusivity. And as a result, this helps create a more even playing field for Black voices to be heard.

Not to mention, supporting Black authors also contributes to the Black economy. This helps Black people and communities have better access to resources, opportunities and an overall better quality of life.

A woman reading a book
Photo credit: Yaroslav Shuraev via Pexels

Your Black History Month Bookshelf

From contemporary fiction to auto-biographies, there is certainly a genre for everyone. Plus, with more and more Black people trying their hand at writing, the reading options truly are infinite. To learn more about the incredible legacy that is Black history, here are seven books to add to your reading list.

1The Black Imagination: Science Fiction, Futurism and the Speculative

If you're a fan of science fiction, speculative fiction, and Afro-futurist genres, this book is for you. It takes a deep dive into the literary works of iconic Black authors such as Octavia Butler, Walter Mosley, and Nalo Hopkinson. For the Black studies critical thinker, this collection is the perfect complement to your reading list.

2Contemporary Plays by African American Women: Ten Complete Works

For the playwright at heart, this collection of contemporary plays is a great way to learn about emerging and seasoned Black women playwrights. Featuring 10 powerful plays, this book covers everything from gender to class.

3The Bloomsbury Handbook to Octavia E. Butler

For the Octavia E. Butler fan, this handbook is likely right up your alley. It delves deep into the impactful literary contributions that she authored, providing insights into her life, as well as the powerful messages within each of her works.

4Reimagining the Middle Passage: Black Resistance in Literature, Television, and Song

This powerful book explores the 20th- and 21st-century representations of the Middle Passage by Black artists. Reimagining the Middle Passage examines how these Black creators re-imagined this historical trauma, transforming it from a site of pain to a symbol of understanding and transformation.

5Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: A Casebook (Casebooks in Criticism)

This specific casebook explores legendary author Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." From essays to interviews, this book takes a critical approach to understanding one of the most iconic literary works of all time.

6The Poetics of Difference: Queer Feminist Forms in the African Diaspora

"The Poetics of Difference" is an outstanding read written by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan. This book explores the complicated creative forms produced by Black women creatives across the entire diaspora. It delves deep into the unexplored spaces of queer creative theorizing, analyzing everything from the languages to the textures of its content.

7Eating the Black Body: Miscegenation as Sexual Consumption in African American Literature and Culture

"Eating the Black Body" by author Carlyle Van Thompson is a thought-provoking yet insightful exploration of racial subjugation, including its lasting effects on the Black community.

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