Throughout history, black women have been writing and prose-ing and creating literature that can only be described as art. While some are occasionally celebrated, they each truly deserve more praise and recognition than they receive. So, let’s get started:
SULA BY TONI MORRISON
Morrison is a classic American writer, and her books Beloved and The Bluest Eye are among her most popular. If you’re ready to try another book by her, we recommend Morrison’s second novel, about a friendship between two women. The perfect read for a vina book club!
AND STILL I RISE BY MAYA ANGELOU
Angelou was a poet, civil rights activist, playwright, performer, dancer, and much, much more. In fact, she was the first black woman to direct in Hollywood. Her words were, and are, filled with power and truth. And Still I Rise is Angelou’s beloved and moving third book of poetry about life and hardship.
A RAISIN IN THE SUN BY LORRAINE HANSBERRY
Based on the Langston Hughes poem “A Dream Deferred” (which is also a fantastic read), A Raisin in the Sun is a play about the American dream and the societal hoops discrimination puts a black family through only to have the dream just out of reach. Get ready for a read that will make you think hard about the ramifications then and in our present day.
WHAT IS NOT YOURS IS NOT YOURS BY HELEN OYEYEMI
Oyeyemi combines the real world with fantastical elements in this novel for an epic romp in magical realism. For those of you who enjoy being swept away by a good fantasy book (a genre not often dominated by black women authors!), we highly recommend.
WARRIORS DON’T CRY BY MELBA PATTILLO BEALS
Warriors Don’t Cry is a memoir of Beals’ life as a part of the Little Rock Nine; aka, the first students integrated into the all-white Central high school in Little Rock. She tells the horrific story of her experiences vividly and with her moving command of language. As if you need more incentive to read, Beals is a woman of powerful success. She went on to earn a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and became a reporter for NBC. Talk about #bossbabe, am I right?
HIDDEN FIGURES BY MARGOT LEE SHETTERLY
In light of the success of the recent Oscar-nominated movie, we can’t forget to mention Hidden Figures, the true story of three black women who encountered hatred, racism, and sexism in their highly successful careers at NASA during the space race. On the side, Shetterly is working on the Human Computer project, a research compilation in search of all the women working as mathematicians, computers, engineers, and scientists at NASA and the NACA from 1930-1980. Basically, all of the women who got us into space and didn’t get any credit.
What are your favorite books by black women? Celebrate them down below, and join the vina community at Hey! VINA on the app store.
(Feature image via Mariana Vusiatytska)