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Black Lives in Literature: a Juneteenth Reading List

Text Celebrating Juneteenth June 19, 2020 over an abstract red, green and black background

Juneteenth celebrates the end of the institution of slavery in the United States, commemorating the date a Union general issued an order to free all enslaved persons in Texas on June 19, 1865. If you are interested in celebrating Black lives this Juneteenth through literature, we have created a list of excellent Black authors for adults and young adults, whose work you can explore free at the library. If you are interested in learning more about anti-racism, we have also included a list of recommended resources. We hope you all find a way to celebrate and contemplate this Juneteenth, and because we know reading has the power to change the world, we hope that this literature will inspire you.

Neither of these lists are in any way exhaustive. If you would like more information about Juneteenth, Black authors, anti-racism, or Black history, please call your local library to ask a librarian for more resources, or use our My Next Read service to receive a custom list of book recommendations via email.

Black Authors:

Search for these names in the library catalog, OverDrive, or Hoopla to find a list of each author’s titles, or call your library for assistance.

Tomi Adeyemi
Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
Kwame Alexander
Maya Angelou
James Baldwin
Brit Bennett
Octavia Butler
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Alyssa Cole
Sharon Draper
Bernadine Evaristo
Roxane Gay
Yaa Gyasi
Ernest J. Gaines
Zora Neale Hurston
Samantha Irby
N.K. Jemisin
Tayari Jones
Nella Larsen
James McBride
Toni Morrison
Walter Mosley
Walter Dean Myers
Nnedi Okorafor
Ann Petry
Jason Reynolds
Rivers Solomon
Sister Souljah
Angie Thomas
Alice Walker
Jesmyn Ward
Colson Whitehead
Jacqueline Woodson
Richard Wright

Anti-Racism reading list:

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (OverDrive and Hoopla)
Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom (OverDrive and Hoopla)
Freedom Is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis (Hoopla)
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi 
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde (Hoopla)
So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (OverDrive and Hoopla)
Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad (OverDrive and Hoopla)
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

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