Black History — Chronological List

This list of Black History titles is arranged chronologically by the subject matter of the book.

A companion list sorted by level of difficulty/maturity can be found here.
A list of books focusing on racism/systemic racism rather than historical events/persons can be found here.

Click on the title to find my review.

c. 1200 – Malian Empire

Sundiata: Lion King of Mali

c. 1300 — Malian Empire

Mansa Musa: The Lion of Mali

c. 1750 – Brazil


When the Slave Esperança Garcia Wrote a Letter

1776-1783 — American Revolutionary War


Ona Judge Outwits the Washingtons: An Enslaved Woman Fights for Freedom
Phoebe the Spy
A Spy Called James: The True Story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Double Agent

 Enslavement

Africa is My Home: Child of the Amistad
Dancing the Ring Shout
Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave
Freedom in Congo Square
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams
Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story
Hush Harbor: Praying in Secret
The Middle Passage
Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School
Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton
Slavery in America: The Montgomery Slave Trade
Steamboat School
Stolen into Slavery:The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man
To Be a Slave

c. 1800-1860 — Underground Railroad/Escape Stories

Before She Was Harriet
The Bell Rang
Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship and Freedom
Freedom River
Freedom Song: The Story of Henry “Box” Brown
Harriet Tubman
Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
Night Boat to Freedom
Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story
Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad
William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad

c. 1800s – Biographies


Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony
Frederick Douglass: A Noble Life
Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History
Frederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass
Ira’s Shakespeare Dream
Lizzie Demands a Seat: Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights
Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring
Mary Seacole: Bound for the Battlefield
My Name is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth
So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom

1865 – Juneteenth


All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

1865-1877 — Reconstruction/Redemption


A Day for Rememberin’: Inspired by the True Events of the First Memorial Day
Reconstruction in America: Racial Violence after the Civil War, 1865-1876
Stolen Justice: The Struggle for African American Voting Rights
They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group
Unpunished Murder: Massacre at Colfax and the Quest for Justice

1870-1900

Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner
Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told
Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror
With Books & Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School

Suffrage Activism

Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Battle Box
Stolen Justice: The Struggle for African American Voting Rights

1900-1920 – Biographies

By & By: Charles Albert Tindley, the Father of Gospel Music
Dark Was the Night: Blind Willie Johnson’s Journey to the Stars
I, Matthew Henson: Polar Explorer
Let ‘Er Buck: George Fletcher, the People’s Champion
Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library
The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver
Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness

1920s 

Carter Reads the Newspaper
Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box
Little Piano Girl: The Story of Mary Lou Williams, Jazz Legend
New Shoes
Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum
Race Against Time: The Untold Story of Scipio Jones and the Battle to Save Twelve Innocent Men
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Talkin About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman
These Hands
Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre
The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just

1920s – Great Migration

The Great Migration, Journey to the North
Overground Railroad
This Is the Rope: A Story from the Great Migration

1920s – Harlem Renaissance

Happy Feet: The Savoy Ballroom
Harlem’s Little Black Bird: The Story of Florence Mills
Jake Makes a World: Jacob Lawrence, a Young Artist in Harlem
Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston
The Negro Speaks of Rivers (a poem by Langston Hughes)
One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance
Sugar Hill: Harlem’s Historic Neighborhood
That is My Dream (a poem by Langston Hughes)

1930s

Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the First Black-and-White Jazz Band in History
Bird & Diz
The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore
A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis
The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne
The Quilts of Gee’s Bend
Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow
Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald
Something to Prove: The Great Satchel Paige vs. Rookie Joe Dimaggio
Sprouting Wings: The True Story of James Herman Banning, the First African American Pilot to Fly Across the United States
Stella by Starlight (KKK)
Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song
The Voice that Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights
When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson

1940s

Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game
Jackie and Me
Knockin’ on Wood: Starring Peg Leg Bates
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters
Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis
A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin
A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson
Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper

1941-1945 – Black-Americans and WWII

Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America’s First Black Paratroopers
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen

1950s


Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball
Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis’ Fleet-of-Foot Girl
Attucks!: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team that Awakened a City
A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream
Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks
Henry Aaron’s Dream
Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph
Jazz on a Saturday Night
Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson
Romare Bearden: Collage of Memories
A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks

1955 — Murder of Emmett Till

Getting Away With Murder: The Hate Crime that Helped Spark the Civil Rights Movement
A Wreath for Emmett Till

1955 – Montgomery Bus Boycott

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Rosa

1950s and 60s — School Integration

The Lions of Little Rock
This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality
Remember: The Journey to School Integration
Separate No More: The Long Road to Brown v. Board of Education
This Is Your Time
Through My Eyes

1960s – Biographies

Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to the Art Gallery
Clemente!
Counting the Stars: The Story of Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician
Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews
Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe
Hidden Figures: The Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century
Maya Angelou
Odetta: The Queen of Folk
The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read
Rise: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou
She Was the First!: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm
Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman

1960s — Civil Rights Movement 

Child of the Civil Rights Movement
Delivering Justice: W.W. Law and the Fight for Civil Rights
Lift as You Climb: The Story of Ella Baker
March, volumes 1, 2, 3
Nobody Gonna Turn Me ‘Round: Stories and Songs of the Civil Rights Movement
Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama
Segregation in America
Sit In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

1961 – Freedom Rides

Night on Fire
Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961

1963 – Birmingham Children’s March and 16th St. Baptist Church Bombing

Birmingham, 1963
Let the Children March
A Time to Act: John F. Kennedy’s Big Speech
We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March
The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist

1963 – March on Washington

I Have a Dream: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I’ve Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song
Martin’s Dream Day
A Place to Land: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation

1964 –Mississippi Voter Registration

Freedom Summer
Freedom Summer: The 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi
Revolution

1965 – Selma Marches for Voting Rights

Because They Marched: The People’s Campaign for Voting Rights that Changed America
Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniel and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights
Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Get Weary
The Teachers March: How Selma’s Teachers Changed History
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March

1966– March Against Fear

The March Against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power

1967 – Supreme Court history

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage
The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy
Thurgood

1968 – Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend
Martin Rising: Requiem for a King
Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968

1968 – Black Panthers


One Crazy Summer

1970s


Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul
The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip Hop
A Voice Named Aretha
Wangari Maathai: The Woman who Planted Millions of Trees
What Do You Do With a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan
When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop

1980s

Feed Your Mind: A Story of August Wilson
Nelson Mandela
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

1990s

Jump: From the Life of Michael Jordan
Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super Stream of Ideas

2000-2010

Dream Big Dreams: Photographs from Barack Obama’s Inspiring and Historic Presidency
Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams
My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey

2010-2020

Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon
Flying High: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles
How to Build a Museum: Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture
Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice
The President Sang Amazing Grace: A Book About Finding Grace After Unspeakable Tragedy

Books that survey numerous eras

The ABCs of Black History
Black is a Rainbow Color
Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change
Rock of Ages
Sing a Song: How “Lift Every Voice and Sing” Inspired Generations
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
Timelines from Black History
28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World
The Undefeated
We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song
The Women Who Caught the Babies: A Story of African American Midwives
Young, Gifted, and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present