I love to read. It was in kindergarten when I received my first library card (which I still use to this day) and it was in that moment, I recognized the power of reading and the importance of libraries.

In school, we were always assigned books to read, but it was out of school that I read the books that applied to what I enjoyed. It was at home, where I would borrow from my mother the books she was reading. It was at home, I was introduced to Toni Morrison, Terry McMillan, Malcolm X, Eric Jerome Dickey, Walter Mosely, Alex Haley, Edwidge Danticat, and Mildred Taylor. Home, was where I got a taste of the various perspectives on blackness and it was at the library, that I was able to check out even more books by these authors. As I got older and technology evolved, I was able to add blogs, podcasts, and other mediums to how I accessed knowledge.

The one thing I find striking is that in school you are given a list of readings that are tailored for certain targeted learning objectives and often these targeted learning objectives are not a reflection of the world (There is not that much diversity in children books). I know for me, often it is difficult to know independently what books to read and what topic areas that were not covered in school might be important to understand. To overcome this difficulty, I have used Internet searches of ‘must read books/authors’ to help me curate books, authors, and topics.

What I love about the Internet is the collaborative nature of many individuals. I have found in recent years that people are beginning to curate lists about topics that may not be covered in school. I tend to gravitate towards topics that are of importance to my personal and professional development. These areas are: productivity, business, personal finance, wellness, and black lives.

The topic of black lives has become even more relevant as we see in the US and across the world the various issues that continue to fester.
Over the years, I have been revisiting books I read in my youth and discovering new books in my adulthood. The lists below are some that I found that cover a range of topics, authors, and books. Some of the lists are about race relations, race identity, and racial violence. Others are about books that children and teenagers can read to help them understand topics relating to race. Others are just about suggested black authors to read. There even is a list about the books featured in the new Luke Cage show.

I hope that from these resources listed, you are able to create a list that is tailored to your specific interest areas that might not have been covered in your elementary school, high school, or college classes.

Just a suggestion – as you go through these lists and try to figure out which books to read, try either choosing based on interest or books or authors that repeated.

If you know of any other lists related to black lives, please share them in the comments. I always am looking for more books and articles to read and would love to grow this resource.


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32 reading lists dedicated to blackness

Black Lives Matter

Black lives matter syllabus

Ferguson syllabus

Charleston syllabus

Black lives matter: perspectives on blackness, state violence, and resistance 

Complete summer reading syllabus on black lives matter 

Readings Related to Space and Place

Black geographies 

Radical black cities, 2014 

Radical black cities, 2015 

Reading Haiti, 2011 

Reading Haiti, 2012 

Reading Haiti, 2014 

Urban design and race 

Black Authors and Books to Read

30 books by blacks authors you should read 

10 black authors to read 

100 must read African American books 

101 African American novels 

10 books for 2014 

10 books for 2015 

Black literature featured in Netflix’s Luke Cage

African American Literature Book Club (added 10/8/16)

Radical Black Reading

Radical black reading, 2011 

Radical black reading, 2012 

Radical black reading 2013 

Radical black reading 2014 

Black Feminism Syllabus

The ‘MHP’ black feminism syllabus 

Black disable woman syllabus

The lemonade syllabus

Black Library Professionals

Annotated chronological bibliography of diversity, recruitment, retention and other concerns regarding African American and ethnic library professionals 

Libraries for black lives resource list

Racial Injustice and Sports

Colin Kaepernick syllabus

Lists for grades K to 12 (though I think relevant to all ages)

Black panther syllabus 

Books about protesting 

List of Coretta Scott King Awardees (1970 to Present)



Photo Credit: Ginny Robot

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