5 Non-Fiction Books By Black Authors

5 Non-Fiction Books by Black Authors

For those of you who don’t know, during the month of February, I’m going to be posting a list of books written by Black authors that I either have read and would recommend or that are on my TBR in honor of Black History Month. Each week will have a slightly different theme. Last week I talked about adult fiction books and this week I’m talking about nonfiction. Because I’ve read very little non-fiction in my life, these are all books on my TBR, rather than books I’ve already read.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander book cover

It’s been awhile since I first heard about this book and yet somehow I still haven’t read it. This has become a really popular book and has received a lot of praise. It discusses mass incarceration and how it’s used to target Black people (especially young Black men). Last semester I took a sociology course on drugs in the US and we had a guest lecture from a professor who researches mass incarceration and it’s really gotten me even more motivated to read this book. I’m really hoping to do so at some point this year.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates book cover

This is a collection of essays talking about race in America and the impact it has had (and continues to have) on American history/society. This is another really well-known book and it’s received tons of awards. I actually have to read this for a sociology course I’m taking this semester and I’m really excited about it.

The Sisters Are Alright by Tamara Winfrey Harris

The Sisters Are Alright by Tamara Winfrey Harris book cover

I haven’t heard much about this book, but I do see it recommended here and there. This book seeks to dismantle stereotypes about Black women that have been around for decades (or centuries) and that continue to be perpetuated through media, government policies, etc. This sounds absolutely fantastic; I don’t know what else to say about it.

Death of a King by Tavis Smiley

Death of a King by Tavis Smiley book cover

I first heard about this book a few months ago when Matt McGorry talked about it on Facebook. I keep temporarily forgetting about it and then remembering it and getting mad at myself for not having read it yet, haha. Death of a King talks about Dr. Martin Luther King’s last year before he was murdered and, from what I hear, talks about the ways in which his actions and beliefs are watered-down or “cleaned up” to make him more likable for white people, emphasizing love and peace and ignoring things like protests. This seems especially important to read given the narrative around Black Lives Matter and how people like to constantly tell protesters that MLK wouldn’t have approved of what they’re doing (except that he almost certainly would have…).

As a side note: I chose to include this in this week’s even though I have a biography/memoir week coming up since this isn’t a full biography on MLK and only focuses on one year of his life.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay book cover

I know I’ve mentioned how badly I want to read this book multiple times on my blog already, but I’m unlikely to stop until I’ve actually read it, so get used to it. 😉 This is one book I definitely want to try to read before the year is over, though. This is a collection of essays where Gay talks about feminism and her experiences being a Black woman. I’m sure most of you have heard about this already since it’s a ridiculously popular book so I won’t go on for too long about it. I will say, however, that I have even more respect for Roxane Gay now that she pulled an upcoming release from Simon & Schuster after they gave a book deal to Milo Yiannopoulos.

What non-fiction books by Black authors do you want to read? Have you read any of these?

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19 thoughts on “5 Non-Fiction Books By Black Authors

  1. Yet another awesome list. I read The New Jim Crow years ago now. It was really eye-opening. Daniel Hunter wrote an accompaniment book called Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow which helps people who want to get involved and make meaningful change in their communities. I would certainly encourage you to check it out once you read The New Jim Crow (I also reviewed it on my blog back in November).

    All of these books, sans The New Jim Crow, are on my TBR! I don’t know if that has ever happened before. I feel so hip.


    • I really need to get around to reading The New Jim Crow. I might see if my library has it next time I go. It’s such a frustrating topic to learn about but also super important. I’ll definitely have to check out the accompaniment book too! It sounds great.
      Haha, I know what you mean! Every time I go to someone’s recommendations list or something like that, I’m amazed if I’ve heard of all of them 😛

      Liked by 1 person

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