Black History Month

Published 11:27 am Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Black History Month is an annual acknowledgment of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. One way to celebrate is by diversifying your bookshelf! Here are some books by Black authors to pick up not just this month, but anytime you’re looking for something good to read! 


Finding Me by Viola Davis

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In this memoir by the EGOT-winning actress, you will hear her story from a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to the stage in New York City, and beyond. The author states: “I wrote this for anyone running through life untethered, desperate, and clawing their way through murky memories, trying to get to some form of self-love. For anyone who needs reminding that a life worth living can only be born from radical honesty and the courage to shed facades and be… You.”


Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson

Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Brown was promised her freedom on her 18th birthday. But when her birthday finally comes around, instead of the idyllic life she was hoping for with her true love, she finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil’s Half-Acre, a jail where slaves are broken, tortured, and sold every day. Forced to become the mistress of the brutal man who owns the jail, Pheby faces the ultimate sacrifice to protect her heart in this powerful, thrilling story of one slave’s fight for freedom.


Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Mary B. Addison killed a baby. Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say. 


The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, this iconic modern classic is a powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance, and silence in 20th-century rural Georgia. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery, and Sofia. 


Scenes from My Life by Michael K. Williams

A moving, unflinching memoir of hard-won success, struggles with addiction, and a lifelong mission to give back from the late iconic actor beloved for his roles in The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, and Lovecraft Country.


Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith

A captivating graphic novel love letter to the beauty and endurance of Black women, their friendships, and their hair. Wash Day Diaries tells the story of four best friends through connected short story comics that follow these young women through the ups and downs of their daily lives in the Bronx. The book takes its title from the wash day experience shared by Black women everywhere of setting aside all plans and responsibilities for a full day of washing, conditioning, and nourishing their hair. 


Jen Pace Dickenson is the Youth Services Librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit or call (828) 894-8721.