Black History Reading List

In the fight against racism, education is of immense importance. In honor of Black History Month, educate yourself — no matter your race — on both African American history, which has been systemically diminished and erased, and the intersection between this history and the present, told by Black authors taking ownership of how their history is remembered. All titles listed can be purchased at Charis Books and More, the South’s oldest independent feminist bookstore, through its website, Quoted prices are from Charis.

Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements
Charlene Carruthers

Carruthers provides a vision for a Black liberation movement that’s more radical, queer, and feminist than its predecessors by drawing inspiration from Black organizing traditions, from the Haitian revolution to the civil rights movement. Unapologetic creates an organizing framework inspired by history and encourages people to see themselves as the future visionaries and leaders who will be remembered by history. Paperback, $13.46

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Michelle Alexander

In her book, Alexander connects the legal history of America’s Jim Crow laws of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to the current legal practices contributing to the mass incarceration of Black people. This work contextualizes the racial issues of the present into the larger historical landscape from which they came, perfectly illustrating how history has an impact on the day-to-day lives of many. Paperback, $17.09

The ABCs of Black History
Rio Cortez

It’s never too early to explore Black history! This bright and colorful rhyming children’s book celebrates big ideas, like power and soul; significant moments, like the Great Migration; and iconic figures, like Zora Neale Hurston and W.E.B. DuBois, letter by letter. Hardcover, $13.46

Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies
Dick Gregory

If you’re looking for a full, no-holds-barred Black history lesson, look no further. Gregory uses his experience in the fight against social injustice — he was a friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — to chart the true, often obscured history of the African American experience. This journey through time highlights everything from surviving the Middle Passage to modern-day protests, all with unapologetic candor. Paperback, $14.39

Black. Queer. Southern. Women.: An Oral History
E. Patrick Johnson

This beautiful and poignant work illustrates the importance of preserving the history of the present. Johnson enriches the historical record of racial and sexual minorities in the South by following the life narratives of more than 70 African American queer women living in the American South. Johnson uses individual storytelling to raise questions on queer identity formation, community building, and power relations in the context of Southern history. Paperback, $43.95