Black Voices and Culture – Books for Adults

By Doug J. & Isaac R.
March 10, 2022

Take a look at some recent notable books by African American authors that reflect upon and celebrate Black culture and history. 

Click on any book cover to go to the catalog to find books, ebooks & audiobooks, and to place holds.


All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles 

The story of how three generations of Black women have passed down a family treasure—a sack filled with a few precious items given from an enslaved woman to her daughter in 1850s South Carolina. 

Sometimes I Trip on How Happy We Could Be by Nichole Perkins 

Combining her sharp wit, stellar pop culture sensibility and trademark spirited storytelling, the writer and podcast host takes readers on a rollicking ride through the last 20 years of music, media and the internet from the perspective of a Southern black woman. 

On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed 

In this intricately woven tapestry of American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, the descendant of enslaved people brought to Texas in the 1850s, recounts the origins of Juneteenth and explores the legacies of the holiday that remain with us. 

Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora by Bryant Terry 

A James Beard Award-winning chef, educator and author presents a joyful celebration of Black culture by interweaving food, experiences and community through poetry, essays and recipes including Crispy Cassava Skillet Cakes, Meatballs with Egusi, and Squash and Jerk Chicken Ramen. 

This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism by Don Lemon

America’s only Black prime-time anchor, in an urgent, deeply personal, riveting plea, shows us all how deep our problems lie, and what we can do to begin to fix them.

With Her Fist Raised : Dorothy Pitman Hughes and the Transformative Power of Black Community Activism by Laura L. Lovett

The first biography of Dorothy Pitman Hughes, co-founder of Ms. Magazine and trailblazing Black feminist activist whose work made children, race, and welfare rights central to the women’s movement

The Compton Cowboys: The New Generation of Cowboys in America’s Urban Heartland by Walter Thompson-Hernandez 

Tells the story of The Compton Cowboys-a group of African-American men and women who defy stereotypes and continue the proud, centuries-old tradition of black cowboys in the heart of one of America’s most notorious cities. 

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey

The former U.S. poet laureate shares a personal memoir about the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and how this profound experience of loss shaped her as an adult and an artist. 


Seven Days in June by Tia Williams 

Running into reclusive author Shane Hall at a literary event, bestselling erotica writer Eva Mercy, over the next seven days, reconnects with this man who broke her heart 20 years earlier until he disappears again, leaving more questions than answers. 

The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers 

To come to terms with who she is and what she wants, Ailey, the daughter of an accomplished doctor and a strict schoolteacher, embarks on a journey through her family’s past, helping her embrace her full heritage, which is the story of the Black experience in itself. 

Hell of a Book by Jason Mott 

Winner of the 2021 National Book Award, this is an astounding work, always deeply honest, at times electrically funny, that goes to the heart of racism, police violence, and the hidden costs exacted upon Black Americans, and America as a whole. 

The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris 

With candor and sympathy, Harris creates an unforgettable cast of characters, depicting Georgia in the violent crucible of Reconstruction. Equal parts beauty and terror, as gripping as it is moving, this is an epic whose grandeur locates humanity and love amid the most harrowing circumstances. 

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. 

Separated by their embrace of different racial identities, two mixed-race identical twins reevaluate their choices as one raises a black daughter in their southern hometown while the other passes for white with a husband who is unaware of her heritage. 

Deacon King Kong by James McBride. 

In the aftermath of a 1969 Brooklyn church deacon’s public shooting of a local drug dealer, the community’s African-American and Latinx witnesses find unexpected support from each other when they are targeted by violent mobsters.

It’s Not All Downhill from Here by Terry McMillan.

Confident that her best days are still ahead, a successful businesswoman relies on close friends and her resourcefulness when an unexpected loss turns her world upside down. By the best-selling author of Waiting to Exhale. 

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. 

A novel about faith, science, religion, and family that tells the deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief, narrated by a sixth-year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford school of medicine studying the neural circuits of reward seeking behavior in mice.