Running throughout October in the UK, Black History Month is a time to reflect on the cultures and lived experiences of Black communities and hear their stories.
Books for Black History Month and beyond
Allowing the space for Black perspectives to be shared should happen all year-round. But in honour of Black History Month, here are 10 fiction and non-fiction books to read about Black culture(s), which encompass a variety of themes, including racism, mental health, gender, workplace equity, and more.
1. Maybe I Don’t Belong Here: A Memoir of Race, Identity, Breakdown and Recovery by David Harewood
Here, British actor David Harewood details his psychotic breakdown at the age of 23 and explores the impact of institutional racism on Black mental health, including the potential ways to change the system.
2. What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship to Coalition by Emma Dabiri
Dabiri offers an extended essay with actionable insights and advice to help white people become better allies to Black communities in the fight against systemic racism, including moving beyond sentiments to achieve real change.
3. Black Tudors: The Untold Story by Miranda Kaufmann
Black Tudors reveals forgotten real-life accounts of the lives and contributions of free people of African heritage during this seminal part of English history.
4. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Celebrated author Bernardine Evaristo takes focus on the lives of Black and multiracial women in this fiction tale that covers themes such as racial passing, sexuality, immigration, diaspora, and more.
5. Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga
Historian and broadcaster David Olusoga examines the long historical relationship between Britain and the people of Africa and the Caribbean going back to Roman Britain.
6. Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation by Colin Grant
Homecoming offers readers a collection of over a hundred first-hand interviews and memoirs by the women and men who came to Britain from the West Indies between the 1940s and the 1960s.
7. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Reni Eddo-Lodge explores ‘whitewashed’ feminism, the link between class and race, and the political purpose of white dominance in this searing piece of work.
8. Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
Transcendent Kingdom is an engrossing work of fiction by Ghanaian-American author Yaa Gyasi. It covers many important themes, including immigration, addiction and mental health, and the underrepresented position of women and women of colour in the world of science.
9. Intelligence isn’t Enough: A Black Professional’s Guide to Thriving in the Workplace by Carice Anderson
Professional development manager, coach, consultant, and Harvard MBA holder Carice Anderson has spent nearly two decades working with top companies, including Deloitte, Google, and McKinsey. Here she shares her experiences of the barriers Black professionals face in the corporate workplace and what can be done to help.
10. Afropean: Notes from Black Europe by Johny Pitts
Afropean explores the experiences of Europeans of African descent juggling multiple identities and allegiances in countries including Portugal, Sweden, and Russia.