The Books That Every Black Person In America Should Read


This week I heard a local radio personality mention, that when he was a young man, his mother made him read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Essay on Self Reliance”, and how it impacted him.

I have heard many times before that there are certain books that every Black person should read.

I searched for a list and found a dozen of them. Several books were on all the lists. Here is My list of books that all Black People in America should read. They are good for information, inspiration and recreation. I have already read a few of them myself. Any book on this list would also make a great addition to a home library.

There are 28 books listed some are for adult readers only. Make sure that the young people in your life are exposed to the books on the Everybody list.

Consider an African-American Book Study Group. Books can be shared in read aloud sessions or books can be purchased on the web, for as little as $2 in some cases. They may be available in digital form or as audio books. You might also find them at your local library.

If you complete a book a month it will take you a little over 1 year for the everybody list and just under a year for the adult list. Enjoy

It takes a village to raise a child, this is My Village Project

Take Care of Your Village

The Village Mother.


The List


  1. There Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neal Hurston
  2. The Souls of Black Folk, by W.E.B. Du Bois
  3. Up from Slavery, by Booker T. Washington
  4. Dreams from our Fathers, by President Barack Obama
  5. The Miseducation of the Negro, by Carter G. Woodson
  6. Race Matters Cornell West
  7. Letters to A Young Man, by Hill Harper
  8. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick Douglass
  9. Black Lies, White Lies: The Truth According to Tony Brown Tony Brown
  10. The Autobiography of Malcolm X: by Alex Haley
  11. God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse, by James Weldon Johnson
  12. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
  13. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
  14. The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes
  15. Africana, by Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates Jr.
  16. From Slavery to Freedom, by John Hope Franklin
  17. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
  18. An Essay On Self Reliance Ralph Waldo Emerson


For Adults

  1. Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member by Sanyika Shakur
  2. No Disrespect by Sister Souljah
  3. Coldest Winter Ever, by Sistah Souljah
  4. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, by Steve Harvey
  5. God’s Gift to Women: A Novel by Michael Baisden
  6. Men Cry in the Dark by Michael Baisden
  7. Invisible Life: A Novel by E. Lynn Harris
  8. Just As I Am: A Novel by E. Lynn Harris
  9. Slave: My True Story by Damien Lewis
  10. Thomas and Beulah, by Rita Dove
  11. Annie Allen, by Gwendolyn Brooks

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