The Black Writers Collection consists of fiction and non-fiction from noteworthy and award-winning Black authors that have amplified the Black voice, reflected Black life or worked to shape the cultural conversation. Most of the titles and authors were nominated or winners of the NAACP Image Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, Poet Laureate's, other national prize winners, or are a part of the ZORA Canon.
Black Writers Collection
A chorus of Black student voices that renders a new story of US education—one where racial barriers and violence are confronted by freedom dreaming and resistance
Black students were forced to live and learn on the Black side of the color line for centuries, through the time of slavery, Emancipation, and the Jim Crow era. And for just as long—even through to today—Black students have been seen as a problem and a seemingly troubled population in America’s public imagination.
Through over one hundred firsthand accounts from the 19th and 20th centuries, Professor Jarvis Givens offers a powerful counter-narrative in School Clothes to challenge such dated and prejudiced storylines. He details the educational lives of writers such as Zora Neale Hurston and Ralph Ellison; political leaders like Mary McLeod Bethune, Malcolm X, and Angela Davis; and Black students whose names are largely unknown but who left their marks nonetheless. Givens blends this multitude of individual voices into a single narrative, a collective memoir, to reveal a through line shared across time and circumstance: a story of African American youth learning to battle the violent condemnation of Black life and imposed miseducation meant to quell their resistance.
School Clothes elevates a legacy in which Black students are more than the sum of their suffering. By peeling back the layers of history, Givens unveils in high relief a distinct student body: Black learners shaped not only by their shared vulnerability but also their triumphs, fortitude, and collective strivings.
A fun and fact-filled introduction to the dismissed Black art masters and models who shook up the world.
Elegant. Refined. Exclusionary. Interrupted. The foundations of the fine art world are shaking. Beyoncé and Jay-Z break the internet by blending modern Black culture with fine art in their iconic music video filmed in the Louvre. Kehinde Wiley powerfully subverts European masterworks. Calls resonate for diversity in museums and the resignations of leaders of the old guard. It's clear that modern day museums can no longer exist without change--and without recognizing that Black people have been a part of the Western art world since its beginnings. Quietly held within museum and private collections around the world are hundreds of faces of Black men and women, many of their stories unknown. From paintings of majestic kings to a portrait of a young girl named Isabella in Amsterdam, these models lived diverse lives while helping shape the art world along the way. Then, after hundreds of years of Black faces cast as only the subject of the white gaze, a small group of trailblazing Black American painters and sculptors reached national and international fame, setting the stage for the flourishing of Black art in the 1920s and beyond. Captivating and informative, BLK ART is an essential work that elevates a globally dismissed legacy to its proper place in the mainstream art canon. From the hushed corridors of royal palaces to the bustling streets of 1920s Paris--this is Black history like never seen before.
The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes
The definitive sampling of a writer whose poems were “at the forefront of the Harlem Renaissance and of modernism itself, and today are fundamentals of American culture” (OPRAH Magazine).
Here, for the first time, are all the poems that Langston Hughes published during his lifetime, arranged in the general order in which he wrote them. Lyrical and pungent, passionate and polemical, the result is a treasure of a book, the essential collection of a poet whose words have entered our common language.
The collection spans five decades, and is comprised of 868 poems (nearly 300 of which never before appeared in book form) with annotations by Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel. Alongside such famous works as "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" and Montage of a Dream Deferred, The Collected Poems includes Hughes's lesser-known verse for children; topical poems distributed through the Associated Negro Press; and poems such as "Goodbye Christ" that were once suppressed.
It's often said that Black women are magic, but what if they really are mythological?
Growing up as a Black girl in America, Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton yearned for stories she could connect to—true ones, of course, but also fables and mythologies that could help explain both the world and her place in it. Greek and Roman myths felt as dusty and foreign as ancient ruins, and tales by Black authors were often rooted too far in the past, a continent away.
Mouton’s memoir is a praise song and an elegy for Black womanhood. She tells her own story while remixing myths and drawing on traditions from all over the world: mothers literally grow eyes in the backs of their heads, children dust the childhood off their bodies, and women come to love the wildness of the hair they once tried to tame. With a poet’s gift for lyricism and poignancy, Mouton reflects on her childhood as the daughter of a preacher and a harsh but loving mother, living in the world as a Black woman whose love is all too often coupled with danger, and finally learning to be a mother to another Black girl in America.
Of the moment yet timeless, playful but incendiary, Mouton has staked out new territory in the memoir form.
I Left My Back Door Open
Chicago deejay Daphne "Dee Dee" Dupree is sassy and successful—but a series of catastrophic relationships has left her gun-shy. Now with her own life and the lives of those closest to her seemingly coming apart at the seams, she's going to have to leave the safe cocoon of her broadcasting booth to face her world, her secrets, and a new promise of mature love fearlessly and head-on.
It's in the Action
A much-needed perspective. -- Library Journal Starred Review
The wisdom acquired during C. T. Vivian's nine decades is generously shared in It's in the Action, the civil rights legend's memoir of his life and times in the movement. Born in Missouri in 1924, Vivian lived twenty-four years in Illinois before moving to Nashville, where he earned a degree in theology and joined John Lewis, Diane Nash, and others to integrate the city in 1960. After being imprisoned and beaten during the Freedom Rides, he joined Dr. King at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta and played leading roles in integration and voting rights campaigns in Birmingham, St. Augustine, and Selma. Over the next half century, he became internationally known for his work for education and civil and human rights and against racism, hatred, and economic inequality. In 2013, Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Vivian passed away peacefully in Atlanta on July 17, 2020. Vivian was never defined by discrimination and hardship, although he faced many instances of both. The late civil rights leader's heart-wrenching and inspiring stories from a lifetime of nonviolent activism come just in time for a new generation of activists, similarly responding to systems of injustice, violence, and oppression. It's in the Action is a record of a life dedicated to selflessness and morality, qualities achieved by Vivian that we can all aspire to. Bearing a foreword from Andrew Young, the memoir is an important addition to civil rights history and to the understanding of movement principles and strategies.
The Gilded Auction Block
An incisive new collection of poetry on political and contemporary themes
I’m made of murderers I’m made
Of nobodies and immigrants and the poor
and a whole / Family the mother’s
liver and her lungs
In The Gilded Auction Block, the acclaimed poet Shane McCrae considers the present moment in America on its own terms as well as for what it says about the American project and Americans themselves. In the book’s four sections, McCrae alternately responds directly to Donald Trump and contextualizes him historically and personally, exploding the illusions of freedom of both black and white Americans. A moving, incisive, and frightening exploration of both the legacy and the current state of white supremacy in this country, The Gilded Auction Block is a book about the present that reaches into the past and stretches toward the future.
Looking for Lorraine
Winner of the 2019 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography
Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction
Winner of the Shilts-Grahn Triangle Award for Lesbian Nonfiction
Winner of the 2019 Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Award
A New York Times Notable Book of 2018
A revealing portrait of one of the most gifted and charismatic, yet least understood, Black artists and intellectuals of the twentieth century.
Lorraine Hansberry, who died at thirty-four, was by all accounts a force of nature. Although best-known for her work A Raisin in the Sun, her short life was full of extraordinary experiences and achievements, and she had an unflinching commitment to social justice, which brought her under FBI surveillance when she was barely in her twenties. While her close friends and contemporaries, like James Baldwin and Nina Simone, have been rightly celebrated, her story has been diminished and relegated to one work—until now. In 2018, Hansberry will get the recognition she deserves with the PBS American Masters documentary “Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart” and Imani Perry’s multi-dimensional, illuminating biography, Looking for Lorraine.
After the success of A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry used her prominence in myriad ways: challenging President Kennedy and his brother to take bolder stances on Civil Rights, supporting African anti-colonial leaders, and confronting the romantic racism of the Beat poets and Village hipsters. Though she married a man, she identified as lesbian and, risking censure and the prospect of being outed, joined one of the nation’s first lesbian organizations. Hansberry associated with many activists, writers, and musicians, including Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois, among others. Looking for Lorraine is a powerful insight into Hansberry’s extraordinary life—a life that was tragically cut far too short.
A Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Book for Nonfiction
A 2019 Pauli Murray Book Prize Finalist
The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni
When Nikki Giovanni's poems first emerged from the Black Rights Movement in the late 1960s, she immediately took a place among the most celebrated and controversial poets of the era. Finally, here is the first compilation of Nikki Giovanni's poetry. It is the testimony of a life's work from one of the commanding voices to grace America's political and poetic landscape at the end of the twentieth century.
From the revolutionary "The Great Pax Whitie" and "Poem for Aretha" to the sublime "Ego Tripping" and the tender "My House," these 150 mind-speaking, truth-telling poems are at once powerful yet sensual, angry yet affirming. Arranged chronologically, they reflect the changes Giovanni has endured as a Black woman, lover, mother, teacher, and poet. Here is the evocation of a nation's past and present -- intensely personal and fiercely political -- from one of our most compassionate, outspoken observers.
Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright's novel is just as powerful today as when it was written -- in its reflection of poverty and hopelessness, and what it means to be black in America.