Schomburg Center Black Liberation Reading List
For 95 years, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has preserved, protected, and fostered a greater understanding of the Black experience through its collections, exhibitions, programs, and scholarship. In response to the uprisings across the globe demanding justice for Black lives, the Schomburg Center has created a Black Liberation Reading List. The 95 titles on the list represent books we and the public turn to regularly as activists, students, archivists, and curators, with a particular focus on books by Black authors and those whose papers we steward.
Most of the #Schomburg95 books are available digitally for free via The New York Public Library’s SimplyE e-reader app on iOS and Android. Many are also available from the Schomburg Shop, along with a dedicated array of books and materials chronicling global Black culture. From James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time to The Fire This Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward, these books speak to our time and are destined to be classics, addressing liberty across history, fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.
Use our book finder tool to browse the books on the list, find the books on SimplyE (available on the App Store or Google Play), or find at the Schomburg Shop. We have also created a downloadable version of the list that you can print yourself. Have a young person in your life? Share the Schomburg's Black Liberation List for Young Readers with them.
All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women's Studies by Akasha Gloria Hull, Patricia Bell-Scott & Barbara Smith, eds.
American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes
The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story by Edwidge Danticat
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley
Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt
The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution by C.L.R. James
A Black Women's History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry & Kali Nicole Gross
The Bluest Eye: A Novel by Toni Morrison
Breathe: A Letter to My Sons by Imani Perry
A Brief History of Seven Killings: A Novel by Marlon James
Brown: Poems by Kevin Young
Brutal Imagination by Cornelius Eady
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965–2010 by Kevin Young and Michael S. Glaser, eds.
The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America by Khalil Gibran Muhammad
The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty
Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
Diasporic Blackness: The Life and Times of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg by Vanessa K. Valdés
Don't Call Us Dead: Poems by Danez Smith
Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper
Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm's Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land by Leah Penniman
Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith
Fences by August Wilson
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race by Jesmyn Ward, ed.
Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis
From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II by Farah Jasmine Griffin
Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America by Jessica B. Harris
The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir by Saeed Jones
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose by Alice Walker
Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful by Kwame Brathwaite
The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander
Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman, Jr.
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad
Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward
Monument: Poems: New and Selected by Natasha Trethewey
My Song: A Memoir by Harry Belafonte
Negroland: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America by Candacy Taylor
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, adapted by John Jennings, art by Damian Duffy
Parenting for Liberation: A Guide for Raising Black Children by Trina Greene Brown
Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination by Toni Morrison
Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne maree brown
Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter by Jordan T. Camp & Christina Heatherton
Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present by Deborah Willis
Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock
S O S: Poems 1961–2013 by Amiri Baraka
Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems by Sonia Sanchez
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome by Alondra Nelson
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
The Street by Ann Petry
Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family by Mitchell S. Jackson
Sweat by Lynn Nottage
Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black by bell hooks
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom
The Tradition by Jericho Brown
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Vibration Cooking: or, The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl by Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor
Voyage of the Sable Venus: And Other Poems by Robin Coste Lewis
Wade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K. Smith
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
The Ways of White Folks by Langston Hughes
Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval by Saidiya Hartman
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom by Bettina L. Love
We're On: A June Jordan Reader by June Jordan
Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves by Glory Edim, ed.
What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays by Damon Young
Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?: Stories by Kathleen Collins
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele
Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? by Martin Luther King, Jr.
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
Find the books on SimplyE (available on the App Store or Google Play) or find at Schomburg Shop.
About the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
“Where every month is Black History Month”
Founded in 1925 and named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the preservation, research, interpretation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diasporan, and African experiences. As a research division of The New York Public Library, the Schomburg Center features diverse programming and collections totaling over 11 million items that illuminate the richness of global black history, arts, and culture. Learn more at schomburgcenter.org.
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About the Schomburg Shop: “Your Black Bookstore Uptown”
An emporium for products related to the global Black experience, the Schomburg Shop has many items ranging from classic and contemporary books for adults and children, unique gifts, and an exclusive collaborations and products designed for the Schomburg Center. Like the Schomburg Center, named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, the shop's selections are chosen to inspire learning and advance knowledge, providing a distinctive shopping destination.