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Top 100 Non-Fiction Books by People of Color

"Narratives That Shape Our World: Insight, Struggle, and Triumph"

A curated selection of powerful non-fiction works by people of color that delve into race, identity, history, and the enduring fight for justice and equality.

  • Voices of Change: Essential Non-Fiction by People of Color
  • Keywords: Non-Fiction, People of Color, Race, Identity, History, Social Justice, Memoir, Essays, Civil Rights, Cultural Studies.


Top 100 List

  1. "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" by Malcolm X and Alex Haley - A seminal work of the civil rights movement, telling the life story of one of its most dynamic figures.
  2. "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates - Written as a letter to his son, Coates explores the realities of being Black in America.
  3. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou - The first in a seven-volume series, this autobiography reveals the early years of the American author and poet.
  4. "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" by Michelle Alexander - A legal scholar’s examination of how the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control.
  5. "Becoming" by Michelle Obama - The former First Lady of the United States recounts her personal life, from her childhood in Chicago to her years in the White House.
  6. "The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration" by Isabel Wilkerson - Chronicles the migration of Black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.
  7. "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" by Bryan Stevenson - A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice.
  8. "So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo - Offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America.
  9. "Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood" by Trevor Noah - The comedian’s memoir of growing up in South Africa during the end of apartheid.
  10. "Men We Reaped" by Jesmyn Ward - A memoir that confronts the horror of losing five men close to her to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty.
  11. "Bad Feminist" by Roxane Gay - A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation.
  12. "An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States" by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - Reinterprets the history of the United States from the perspective of Indigenous peoples.
  13. "Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body" by Roxane Gay - Explores the author's relationship with food, weight, self-image, and how they interconnect with her past.
  14. "The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin - A powerful exploration of race in America that gave voice to the emerging civil rights movement.
  15. "Sister Outsider" by Audre Lorde - A collection of essays and speeches by the Black lesbian feminist poet.
  16. "The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America" by Richard Rothstein - Explores how American cities became racially divided as federal, state, and local governments systematically imposed residential segregation.
  17. "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents" by Isabel Wilkerson - Examines the unseen hierarchy in America and beyond, comparing them to the caste systems of India and Nazi Germany.
  18. "We Should All Be Feminists" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - A personal and powerful essay from the bestselling author adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name.
  19. "Heavy: An American Memoir" by Kiese Laymon - An exploration of what it means to be a Black man in America, dealing with themes of family, weight, and gambling.
  20. "The Souls of Black Folk" by W.E.B. Du Bois - A seminal work in African-American literature, presenting an assessment of race relations in the United States at the start of the 20th century.
  21. "No Name in the Street" by James Baldwin - This collection of essays discusses personal accounts and reflections on history, politics, and the civil rights movement.
  22. "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" by Paulo Freire - A seminal work in critical pedagogy, exploring education as a tool for social change.
  23. "Black Skin, White Masks" by Frantz Fanon - A psychological and philosophical study of the black experience in white-dominated societies.
  24. "The Mis-Education of the Negro" by Carter G. Woodson - An exploration of the flaws in the American education system's portrayal of African American history and culture.
  25. "Assata: An Autobiography" by Assata Shakur - The life story of the activist and former Black Panther member, detailing her journey and political persecution.
  26. "Women, Race, & Class" by Angela Y. Davis - A powerful study of women's liberation, race, and class in American history.
  27. "Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza" by Gloria Anzaldúa - A semi-autobiographical work that includes prose and poems detailing the invisible "borders" that exist between cultures, sexes, and other aspects of identity.
  28. "A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America" by Ronald Takaki - A comprehensive narrative of American history from the perspective of minority groups.
  29. "The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery" by Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz - A Toltec wisdom book that builds on the Four Agreements, offering a guide to personal freedom and self-mastery.
  30. "The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou" by Maya Angelou - A compilation of the author's life stories, providing a profound chronicle of her life and times.
  31. "Decolonizing the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature" by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o - A key work in postcolonial studies, examining the impact of colonialism on African literature and culture.
  32. "The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates" by Wes Moore - A story of two men with the same name but very different destinies.
  33. "The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race" edited by Jesmyn Ward - A collection of essays and poems about race in America, inspired by James Baldwin's "The Fire Next Time."
  34. "Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower" by Brittney Cooper - An exploration of black feminism, politics, and the power of anger as a constructive force.
  35. "How to Be an Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi - An essential work redefining what it means to be antiracist, and offering ideas for how to achieve this.
  36. "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" by Beverly Daniel Tatum - A psychologist's exploration of the development of racial identity and how it affects every aspect of society.
  37. "The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love" by bell hooks - An examination of how the culture of masculinity has impacted the ability of men to emotionally connect.
  38. "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Though primarily known as a novel, this book offers profound insights into race, immigration, and identity in America and Nigeria.
  39. "Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement" by Angela Y. Davis - A collection of essays, interviews, and speeches highlighting the connections between different struggles for freedom.
  40. "The Argonauts" by Maggie Nelson - An innovative work of autotheory that challenges societal norms around gender, identity, and family.
  41. "The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man" by James Weldon Johnson - A novel that explores racial identity in America through the story of a young man living in a racially divided country.
  42. "Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: or, How Capitalism Works--and How It Fails" by Yanis Varoufakis - A unique take on explaining the economy and capitalism to a younger audience, providing insights into economic principles and their impacts on society.
  43. "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari - Though not specifically focused on people of color, this book offers a comprehensive history of the human species and includes discussions on race, identity, and the construction of social structures.
  44. "The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations" by Toni Morrison - A collection of the Nobel laureate's reflections on society, culture, and art.
  45. "The Beautiful Struggle: A Memoir" by Ta-Nehisi Coates - A powerful narrative about growing up in Baltimore with a father who was a former Black Panther.
  46. "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker - An epistolary novel that explores the life of African American women in the early 20th century South, addressing issues of race, gender, and poverty.
  47. "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston - A novel that examines the life of Janie Crawford as she navigates love and independence in the early 20th century.
  48. "Beloved" by Toni Morrison - A novel centered around a former slave and the haunting legacy of slavery in America.
  49. "Go Tell It on the Mountain" by James Baldwin - A semi-autobiographical novel that examines the role of the Christian Church in the lives of African Americans.
  50. "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison - A novel that explores the social and intellectual issues facing African Americans in the early 20th century.
  51. "Native Son" by Richard Wright - A novel that addresses the systemic racism and poverty in Chicago through the story of Bigger Thomas.
  52. "Song of Solomon" by Toni Morrison - A novel that explores African American identity and history through the life of Macon "Milkman" Dead III.
  53. "Jazz" by Toni Morrison - A novel set in Harlem during the 1920s that explores the complexities of love and violence.
  54. "Sula" by Toni Morrison - A novel that examines the strong bond between two women and the impact of their friendship on their community.
  55. "Tar Baby" by Toni Morrison - A novel that addresses issues of race, class, and gender through the story of an interracial couple.
  56. "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison - A novel that explores the concept of beauty and its impact on a young African American girl.
  57. "A Mercy" by Toni Morrison - A novel set in the late 1600s that examines the origins of slavery in America.
  58. "Paradise" by Toni Morrison - A novel that explores the dynamics of an all-Black town in Oklahoma and the conflicts that arise within the community.
  59. "Love" by Toni Morrison - A novel that examines the complexities of love and its impact on a group of women connected to a hotel owner.
  60. "Home" by Toni Morrison - A novel that follows a Korean War veteran as he returns to his hometown in search of his sister.