Nearly 90 percent of books reviewed by The New York Times are written by white authors. According to a 2019 article by Poynter, award-winning author Roxanne Gay researched the racial background of every author critiqued by the paper in 2011. Her research yielded predictably striking results: 31 black authors, 655 white authors. Eighty-one reviewed books in all, by writers of color. “I don’t know how to solve this problem or what to do with this information,” wrote Gay, who is black.

We can begin by reading black authors. That is a start. We recommend:

  1. Create a book club and either incorporate black authors into your reading list or, if you are truly woke, make it exclusively black authors. 
  2. Incorporate black authors’ books into your gift-giving.
  3. Buy and post reviews of books written by black authors.

Below is a list of current authors we have curated to help you kick off your education on Black Books Matter. Check our list of Black-owned businesses to find a Black-owned bookstore near you.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Michelle Alexander
In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended the racial caste system in America, we have simply redesigned it.

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity In A World Make For Whiteness
Austin Channing Brown
I’m Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice. Her stories bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric—from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, and from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.

Black Feminist Thought
Patricia Hill Collins
In Black Feminist Thought, Patricia Hill Collins explores the words and ideas of Black feminist intellectuals as well as those African-American women outside academia. 

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower
Brittney C. Cooper
Far too often, Black women’s anger has been caricatured into an ugly and destructive force that threatens the civility and social fabric of American democracy. But Cooper shows us that there is more to the story than that.

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Dr. Joy DeGruy

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome
Dr. Joy DeGruy
PTSS posits that centuries of slavery in the United States, followed by systemic and structural racism and oppression, including lynching, Jim Crow laws, and unwarranted mass incarceration, have resulted in multigenerational maladaptive behaviors, which originated as survival strategies.

How We Fight For Our Lives
Saeed Jones
Jones’s memoir tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears.

How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi

How to Be an Antiracist
Ibram X Kendi
In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

Heavy: An American Memoir
Kiese Laymon
In this powerful and provocative memoir, genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon explores what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse.

The Condemnation of Blackness by Khalil Gibran Muhammad

The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America
Khalil Gibran Muhammad
Chronicling the emergence of deeply embedded notions of black people as a dangerous race of criminals by explicit contrast to working-class whites and European immigrants, this fascinating book reveals the influence such ideas have had on urban development and social policies.

So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

So You Want to Talk About Race
Ijeoma Oluo 
A hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America. Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy—from police brutality to the mass incarceration of African Americans—have made it impossible to ignore the issue of race.

Look Both Ways
Jason Reynolds
Jason Reynolds conjures ten tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings and brilliantly weaves them into one wickedly funny, piercingly poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life.

Fatal Invention by Dorothy Roberts

Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century
Dorothy Roberts
This groundbreaking book by the acclaimed Dorothy Roberts examines how the myth of the biological concept of race—revived by purportedly cutting-edge science, race-specific drugs, genetic testing, and DNA databases—continues to undermine a just society and promote inequality in a supposedly “post-racial” era.

Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad

Me and White Supremacy
Layla Saad
Based on the viral Instagram challenge that captivated participants worldwide, Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey of how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.

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

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Bryan Stevenson
A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward

The Fire This Time
Jesmyn Ward
A 2016 essay and poetry collection edited by Jesmyn Ward. The title alludes to James Baldwin’s seminal 1963 text The Fire Next Time.

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

The Warmth of Other Suns
Isabel Wilkerson
This work tells the story of the Great Migration and the Second Great Migration, the movement of African Americans out of the Southern United States to the Midwest, Northeast, and West from approximately 1915 to 1970.


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