Schomburg Center's Black Liberation Reading List: Accessible Versions with BARD & Bookshare Links

By NYPL Staff
July 1, 2020
Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library

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.

If you find it hard to read standard print, The New York Public Library's Andrew Heiskell Library provides free access to talking books, talking book players, braille, a talking book download website and a free talking book and ebraille app for mobile devices. Go to to learn more and to apply.

Most of the books on the Black Liberation Reading List are available in one or more accessible formats. Find links to them below.

Note that DB = available on BARD in talkingbook format and as a mailable talking book, and BR = available on BARD in braille format and as mailable physical braille. These formats are available through the links, or call us at 212-206-5400 to order a physical copy through the mail. Some titles are available through Bookshare and can be found through the Bookshare (BK) link under that title. All Heiskell members can gain access to Bookshare for free.

DB (digital talkingbook) / BR (braille) / BK (Bookshare)

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes: DB, BR,

The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story by Edwidge Danticat: DB, BR,

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley: BK

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay: DB, BR, BK

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: DB, BR,

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt: BK

The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution by C.L.R. James: BK

A Black Women's History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry & Kali Nicole Gross: DB, BK

The Bluest Eye: A Novel by Toni Morrison: DB, BK

Breathe: A Letter to My Sons by Imani Perry: BK

A Brief History of Seven Killings: A Novel by Marlon James: BK

Brown: Poems by Kevin Young: DB, BR, BK

Brutal Imagination by Cornelius Eady: BK

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine: DB, BR, BK

The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965–2010 by Kevin Young and Michael S. Glaser, eds.: BK

The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America by Khalil Gibran Muhammad: DB, BK

The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty: DB, BK

Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.: BK

Don't Call Us Dead: Poems by Danez Smith: BK

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper: DB, BK

Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm's Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land by Leah Penniman: BK

Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith: DB, BK

Fences by August Wilson: DB, BK

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin: DB, BK

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin: DB, BK

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race by Jesmyn Ward, ed. : DB, BR, BK

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis: BK

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: BK

Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II by Farah Jasmine Griffin: DB, BK

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon: DB, BR, BK

High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America by Jessica B. Harris: DB,

The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter: DB, BK

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall: DB, BR, BK

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi: DB, BR, BK

How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir by Saeed Jones: DB, BR, BK

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou: DB, BR,

In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose by Alice Walker: DB, BK

Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin: BK

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson: DB, BK

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler: DB, BK

The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander: DB, BK

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman, Jr.: DB, BK

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable: DB, BK

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad: DB, BK

Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward: DB, BK

Monument: Poems: New and Selected by Natasha Trethewey: DB, BR, BK

My Song: A Memoir by Harry Belafonte: DB, BK

Negroland: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson: DB, BK

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander: DB, BK

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead: DB, BR, BK

Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America by Candacy Taylor: DB,

Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination by Toni Morrison: DB, BK

Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne maree brown: BK

Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter by Jordan T. Camp & Christina Heatherton, eds.: BK

Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris: BK

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry: DB, BK

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock: DB, BK

S O S: Poems 1961–2013 by Amiri Baraka : DB, BR, BK

Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems by Sonia Sanchez: BK

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde: DB, BK

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo: DB, BR,

The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome by Alondra Nelson: BK

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi: DB, BK

Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: BK

The Street by Ann Petry: DB, BK

Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family by Mitchell S. Jackson: DB, BK

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: DB, BR, BK

Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom: DB,

The Tradition by Jericho Brown: DB, BR,

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead: DB, BR, BK

Wade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K. Smith: DB, BR,

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson: DB,

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: DB, BR, BK

We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom by Bettina L. Love: BK

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

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays by Damon Young: DB, BK

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?: Stories by Kathleen Collins: DB, BK

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & asha bandele: DB, BK

Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? by Martin Luther King, Jr.: BR, BK

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson: DB, BK

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor: DB, BK

The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon: DB, BK