This Black History Month: Celebrating Black Voices in Fiction

Black history in the United States cannot be given due attention in a meager blog post. From the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, to Reconstruction, to the Civil Rights movement and the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s easy to get entrenched in stories of Black pain and trauma. But amidst that there is also: excellence, joy, and success. It’s important to remember that Black history is not a thing of the past; history is being made every day.

Although there’s a plethora of seminal nonfiction texts written on Black history and the Black diaspora in America – you can check out How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi or A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross, among others, for more critical reading – for the purposes of this post, we’ve focused on some wonderful voices in fiction*. We’ve selected a short list of classics and contemporary works from our Popular Literature collection, ranging from literary fiction to romance to science fiction. A permalink for each book is included below, which will take you to our catalog – there, you can search for more books by Black authors.

If you have suggestions for books you cannot find in our collection, please let us know by emailing lib-poplit@fsu.edu.

The twelve selections are as follows:

Can’t Escape Love, by Alyssa Cole

The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019, edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha Blain

The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride

Halsey Street, by Naima Coster

Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi

Silver Sparrow, by Tayari Jones

Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid

Sula, by Toni Morrison

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down, by Alice Walker


*Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 is not exclusively fiction, but is rather a collection of essays, short stories, poetry, and personal vignettes on the subject of Black lives in American history.

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