5 Books by Black Authors To Read This Year

With Black History Month coming to a close, this does not mean that it is time to stop educating ourselves and taking action. We should all be continuing to support black-owned businesses and individuals as well as engaging in an ongoing effort to be anti-racist. Here are some phenomenal novels with black authors that have a range of different styles and subject matters for you to check out!

  1. 1. The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power by Desmond Cole

    This book is, in my opinion, especially important for Canadians as well as those studying/residing in Canada to read. This book counteracts the harmful and incorrect belief that racism is “more of a problem in the United States” by detailing numerous instances of Anti-Black police violence and racism from Canada itself. Cole brilliantly unpacks the flawed system designed to punish POC at disproportionate rates while simultaneously showing that the United States is not the only country with a racism problem. 

  2. 2. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    This book was written by Coates as a letter to his son. Coates provides a gut-wrenching account of the struggles of what it is truly like to grow up as an African American man through detailed accounts of his own experiences. Coates provides a raw, first-hand account of the atrocities stemming from racist and Anti-Black attitudes that have plagued America from day one. This father-to-son account of the struggles Ta-Nehisi Coates has faced highlights the pain and suffering experienced by African Americans for centuries in an intensely personal manner.

  3. 3. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

    Alexander’s book has been praised far and wide for the consciousness-raising effect it has had. The mass incarceration of black males (as well as other minority groups) is here tied to the racist motives of the “War on Drugs” and the American justice system as a whole. Alexander compares this regime of fear and control over black men to a modern-day version of Jim Crow, and after reading her work, I’m almost certain you’ll agree.

  4. 4. Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper

    This is a collection of essays focusing on the prominent societal narrative of seeing the black woman as “angry” or “aggressive”. Cooper takes this stereotype and reinvents it, pointing out the necessity of anger in lighting a fire within to motivate yourself and those around you as well as having your voice heard by others. She points out the beauty that lies within the power and strength of black women with her profound yet at times comedic account of the challenges that arise each day. Cooper also has a larger message for white readers: Open your mind to the realities of oppression in the world around you.

  5. 5. Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim

    Edim has compiled an inspiring collection of essays by black women writers. These essays focus on the importance of the representation of black women. To read a book and see a character like oneself is an incredibly validating experience that black women have been historically robbed of (and still are today). The book as a whole is a powerful reminder of the power of representation and the effects that it can have, whether they be positive or negative. The book also includes various lists of books written by black female authors, so why stop at just the 5 I’ve written down in this list?