Race is a complicated topic to learn. It can be hard to fathom how race can negatively impact one’s lifestyle if it does not impact yours. I recommend you read one of these books below to get a different perspective on how race impacts Black people in America.

five books about race
Photo/ collage of books

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1. My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson 

In this novel, Johnson introduces a group of Charlottesville residents who seek refuge at a former plantation. Each resident has an impactful story and background that gives different perspectives of how identity can impact one’s lifestyle and survival in America.

Purchase My Monticello on Amazon for $13.49

2. Three Girls From Bronzeveille by Dawn Turner

Turner documents the journey of three Black girls as they come into womanhood emphasizing on how race and class impacts their experiences. The three girls are from the Bronzeville neighborhood in Chicago, which was the destination of thousands of Black people who were escaping the Jim Crow South.

Purchase Three Girls From Bronzeveille on Amazon for $13.49

3. All About Love by bell hooks 

bell hooks uses this novel to propose new ways to think about love. She explains how social notions of what love means and how we receive it often fails us. She notes the commonalities between love and loss. 

Purchase All About Love on Amazon for $11.37

4. THICK: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom

Thick is a collection of essays that analyze Black womanhood, body image, and other taboo topics. 

Purchase Thick: And Other Essays on Amazon for $20.49

5. The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones 

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story is named after the year (1619) in which the first group of enslaved Africans were forcibly brought to the U.S. The novel is a collection of essays that analyzes how slavery continues to impact us today. 

Purchase The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story on Amazon for $22.80

6. Just Pursuit: A Black Prosecutor’s Fight for Fairness by Laura Coates 

Laura Coates writes the novel from her experience as a prosecutor for the Department of Justice, where she experienced how unjust Black cases were prosecuted and judged. In this novel, Coates explores the notion of what is right and what is lawful.

Purchase Just Pursuit: A Black Prosecutor’s Fight for Fairness on Amazon for $23.67

7. Women Race & Class by Angela Davis 

Davis provides the social and political history of feminism and how this history continues to affects Black and White women differently.

Purchase Women Race & Class on Amazon for $13.59

8. All That She Carried by Tiya Mills 

Renowned historian Mills recounts the story of a family relic—a simple cotton bag. She traces the legacy of this keepsake and uses historic records and archives to connect three generations of women whose stories have been lost to history.

Purchase All That She Carried on Amazon for $14.93

9. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin 

In The Fire Next Time, Baldwin writes about his upbringing in Harlem. He also included two essays where he analyzes the consequences of racial injustice.

Purchase The Fire Next Time on Amazon for $11.95

10. Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon 

Laymon’s Heavy is a personal narrative of his life where he writes about his struggles with vices, family secrets, relationships, and lies. Laymon confronts these disturbing truths of his life to learn how to live and become free as a Black man in America.

Purchase Heavy on Amazon for $13.64

Check out: Free Black History Documentaries That Will Change Everything