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About the List
These memoirs represent the experiences of black people and their achievements despite living in a racist environment.
Becoming by An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * WATCH THE EMMY-NOMINATED NETFLIX ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY * OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK * NAACP IMAGE AWARD WINNER * ONE OF ESSENCE'S 50 MOST IMPACTFUL BLACK BOOKS OF THE PAST 50 YEARS In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America--the first African American to serve in that role--she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her--from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world's most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it--in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations--and whose story inspires us to do the same.
Call Number: E909.O24 A3 2018
Publication Date: 2018-11-13
Between the World and Me by #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER * NAMED ONE OF TIME'S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE * PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST * NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST * ONE OF OPRAH'S "BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH" * NOW AN HBO ORIGINAL SPECIAL EVENT Hailed by Toni Morrison as "required reading," a bold and personal literary exploration of America's racial history by "the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race" (Rolling Stone) NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS OF THE DECADE BY CNN * NAMED ONE OF PASTE'S BEST MEMOIRS OF THE DECADE * NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review * O: The Oprah Magazine * The Washington Post * People * Entertainment Weekly * Vogue * Los Angeles Times * San Francisco Chronicle * Chicago Tribune * New York * Newsday * Library Journal * Publishers Weekly In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of "race," a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men--bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates's attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son--and readers--the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children's lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.
Call Number: E185.615 .C6335 2015eb
Publication Date: 2015-07-14
The Color of Water by 'James McBride evokes his childhood trek across the great racial divide with the kind of power and grace that touches and uplifts all our hearts.' - Bebe Moore Campbell 'A triumph...The two stories, son's and mother's, beautifully juxtaposed, strike a graceful note at a time of racial polarization.' - The New York Times Book Review
Call Number: F130.N4 M38 1997
Publication Date: 1997-02-01
Conversations with James Baldwin by This collection of interviews with James Baldwin covers the period 19611987, from the year of the publication of "Nobody Knows My Names," his fourth book, to just a few weeks before his death. It includes the last formal conversation with him. Twenty-seven interviews reprinted here come from a variety of sourcesnewspapers, radio, journals, and reviewand show this celebrated author in all his eloquence, anger, and perception of racial, social, and literary situations in America. Over the years Baldwin proved to be an easily accessible and cooperative subject for interviews, both in the United States and abroad. He frequently referred to himself as a kind of trans-Atlantic commuter. Whether candidly discussing his own ghetto origins, his literary mission and achievements, his role in the civil rights movement, or his views on world affairs, black and white relations, Vietnam, Christianity, and fellow writers, Baldwin was always both popular and controversial. This importa
Call Number: PS3552.A45 Z464 1989
Publication Date: 1989-05-01
Dear Senthuran by FEATURED ON THE COVER OF TIME MAGAZINE AS A 2021 NEXT GENERATION LEADER "A once-in-a-generation voice." - Vulture "One of our greatest living writers." - Shondaland A full-throated and provocative memoir in letters from the New York Times bestselling author, "a dazzling literary talent whose works cut to the quick of the spiritual self" (Esquire) In three critically acclaimed novels, Akwaeke Emezi has introduced readers to a landscape marked by familial tensions, Igbo belief systems, and a boundless search for what it means to be free. Now, in this extraordinary memoir, the bestselling author of The Death of Vivek Oji reveals the harrowing yet resolute truths of their own life. Through candid, intimate correspondence with friends, lovers, and family, Emezi traces the unfolding of a self and the unforgettable journey of a creative spirit stepping into power in the human world. Their story weaves through transformative decisions about their gender and body, their precipitous path to success as a writer, and the turmoil of relationships on an emotional, romantic, and spiritual plane, culminating in a book that is as tender as it is brutal. Electrifying and inspiring, animated by the same voracious intelligence that distinguishes Emezi's fiction, Dear Senthuran is a revelatory account of storytelling, self, and survival.
Call Number: PR9387.9.E42 Z46 2021
Publication Date: 2021-06-08
Growing up King by Dexter King was just seven years old when an assassin took his father Martin Luther King's life. The bond between father and son was a close one and for years afterwards Dexter was haunted by a memory of himself and his dad riding their bikes through Atlanta's streets and by his father's laugh as he romped with his family. Dexter tried to find courage in his father's example of selfless heroism but as his shattered childhood ripened into adolescence the weight of the King legacy pressed down more heavily.
Call Number: E185.97.K5 K52 2003
Publication Date: 2003-01-09
Hunger by New York Times bestseller National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist Lambda Literary Award winner A best book of 2017: Time NPR People Elle The Washington Post The Los Angeles Times The Chicago Tribune Newsday St. Louis Post-Dispatch PopSugar BookRiot Library Journal Booklist Kirkus Reviews Shelf Awareness New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as "wildly undisciplined," Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she casts an insightful and critical eye on her childhood, teens, and twenties--including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life--and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life. With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and authority that have made her one of the most admired voices of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen. Hunger is a deeply personal memoir from one of our finest writers, and tells a story that hasn't yet been told but needs to be.
Call Number: BF697.5.B63 G39 2017
Publication Date: 2017-06-13
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou's debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Her life story is told in the documentary film And Still I Rise, as seen on PBS's American Masters. Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou's debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local "powhitetrash." At eight years old and back at her mother's side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age--and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors ("I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare") will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned. Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity."--James Baldwin
Call Number: PS3551.N464 Z466 2009
Publication Date: 2009-04-21
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by No book more vividly explains the horror of American slavery and the emotional impetus behind the antislavery movement than Frederick Douglass's Narrative. In an introductory essay, Robert B. Stepto reexamines the extraordinary life and achievement of a man who escaped from slavery to become a leading abolitionist and one of our most important writers. The John Harvard Library text reproduces the first edition, published in Boston in 1845.
Call Number: E449 .D749 2009
Publication Date: 2009-04-15
Soul on Ice by The now-classic memoir that shocked, outraged, and ultimately changed the way America looked at the civil rights movement and the black experience. By turns shocking and lyrical, unblinking and raw, the searingly honest memoirs of Eldridge Cleaver are a testament to his unique place in American history. Cleaver writes in Soul on Ice, " I'm perfectly aware that I'm in prison, that I'm a Negro, that I've been a rapist, and that I have a Higher Uneducation." What Cleaver shows us, on the pages of this now classic autobiography, is how much he was a man.
Call Number: E185.97 .C6
Publication Date: 1968-01-01
Wandering in Strange Lands by One of TIME's 100 Must Read Books of 2020 and one of Good Housekeeping's Best Books of the Year "One of the smartest young writers of her generation."--Book Riot From New York Times bestselling author of This Will Be My Undoing Morgan Jerkins, a powerful story of her journey to understand her northern and southern roots, the Great Migration, and the displacement of black people across America. Between 1916 and 1970, six million black Americans left their rural homes in the South for jobs in cities in the North, West, and Midwest in a movement known as The Great Migration. But while this event transformed the complexion of America and provided black people with new economic opportunities, it also disconnected them from their roots, their land, and their sense of identity, argues Morgan Jerkins. In this fascinating and deeply personal exploration, she recreates her ancestors' journeys across America, following the migratory routes they took from Georgia and South Carolina to Louisiana, Oklahoma, and California. Following in their footsteps, Jerkins seeks to understand not only her own past, but the lineage of an entire group of people who have been displaced, disenfranchised, and disrespected throughout our history. Through interviews, photos, and hundreds of pages of transcription, Jerkins braids the loose threads of her family's oral histories, which she was able to trace back 300 years, with the insights and recollections of black people she met along the way--the tissue of black myths, customs, and blood that connect the bones of American history. Incisive and illuminating, Wandering in Strange Lands is a timely and enthralling look at America's past and present, one family's legacy, and a young black woman's life, filtered through her sharp and curious eyes.
Call Number: E185.6 .J47 2020
Publication Date: 2020-08-04
When They Call You a Terrorist by THE INSTANTNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. New York TimesEditor's Pick. Library Journal Best Books of 2019. TIMEMagazine's "Best Memoirs of 2018 So Far." O, Oprah's Magazine's "10 Titles to Pick Up Now." Politics & Current Events 2018 O.W.L. Book Awards Winner The RootBest of 2018 "This remarkable book reveals what inspired Patrisse's visionary and courageous activism and forces us to face the consequence of the choices our nation made when we criminalized a generation. This book is a must-read for all of us." - Michelle Alexander,New York Times bestselling author ofThe New Jim Crow A poetic and powerful memoir about what it means to be a Black woman in America--and the co-founding of a movement that demands justice for all in the land of the free. Raised by a single mother in an impoverished neighborhood in Los Angeles, Patrisse Khan-Cullors experienced firsthand the prejudice and persecution Black Americans endure at the hands of law enforcement. For Patrisse, the most vulnerable people in the country are Black people. Deliberately and ruthlessly targeted by a criminal justice system serving a white privilege agenda, Black people are subjected to unjustifiable racial profiling and police brutality. In 2013, when Trayvon Martin's killer went free, Patrisse's outrage led her to co-found Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi. Condemned as terrorists and as a threat to America, these loving women founded a hashtag that birthed the movement to demand accountability from the authorities who continually turn a blind eye to the injustices inflicted upon people of Black and Brown skin. Championing human rights in the face of violent racism, Patrisse is a survivor. She transformed her personal pain into political power, giving voice to a people suffering inequality and a movement fueled by her strength and love to tell the country--and the world--that Black Lives Matter. When They Call You a Terroristis Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele's reflection on humanity. It is an empowering account of survival, strength and resilience and a call to action to change the culture that declares innocent Black life expendable.
Call Number: E185.97.K43 A3 2018
Publication Date: 2018-01-16
Other Collections Highlights
African American Review is a peer-reviewed journal featuring essays on African American literature, art and cultures. It also includes interviews, fiction, and poems.
Ethnic NewsWatch provides a variety of publications that present various perspectives on issues pertaining to minority and marginalized cultures in the United States and beyond.
Explore other databases that include biographies and memoirs on the African American experience:
African American Communities Pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, correspondence, official records, reports, and in-depth oral histories covering the experiences of African Americans. Focuses on themes of racism, discrimination and integration, and African American culture and identity primarily in the communities of Atlanta, Chicago, Brooklyn New York, and towns and cities in North Carolina from 1863-1986.
Black Life in America News content from U.S. and global news sources, including African American publications, covering topics such as voting rights, voter suppression and disenfranchisement, segregation and civil rights, prejudice, discrimination, activism and protest movements.
Caribbean Newspapers Newspapers published throughout the Caribbean between 1718 and 1876.
Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice Archival collection covering slavery from 1490-2007; focus areas include the African Coast, Underground Railroad, abolition, desegregation and more. Includes content from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.