Black History Month
Black History Month
February is Black History Month.
A great way to celebrate is to read a memoir by an African-American author. Memoirs bring history to life because they recount the experiences of real people who lived through and contributed to history. They often also include the authors’ wise, inspiring and moving perspectives on their experiences. Unlike other forms of history, memoirs allow the reader to share another person’s point of view, and learn how it felt to live through a particular time period or event.
Here are a few recommendations to get you started:
Brown Girl Dreaming --- Author Jacqueline Woodson shares her experiences growing up in the 1960s in South Carolina and Brooklyn, New York. She experienced segregation and the civil rights movement firsthand.
Dapper Dan --- Daniel R. Day describes growing up, being imprisoned, reading and becoming a famous clothing designer in Harlem, NY.
Soaring to Glory --- Philip Handleman transmits the firsthand account of the experiences of Lt. Col. Harry Stewart, Jr., a Tuskegee Airman and American hero in World War II.
The Yellow House --- The Yellow House is the story of a home in New Orleans that was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, and of 100 years of the author’s family history that took place in the house.
13 Days in Ferguson --- This memoir tells the story of the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri from the perspective of police captain Ron Johnson.
Can’t Nothing Bring Me Down --- A Caribbean immigrant in New York, runner Ida Keeling experienced the Great Depression, the Civil Rights movement, the murder of her two sons, lack of justice in their murder, and severe depression. She recovers hope by returning to running.
After Life --- Alice Marie Johnson was sentenced to life in prison for a first-time drug-trafficking offense. Recently, she was in the news because she was released from prison after 20 years. She has become an ordained minister, and a supporter of prison reform.
Interested in exploring further?
- For more works by African-American authors available at MPHPL, please see our African-American Authors (Contemporary Nonfiction) and African American Authors (Contemporary Fiction) recommended reads list and subscribe to our African-American Authors email newsletter.
- For works about important people and events in African American history, please see our Black History recommended reads list.