Goodreads has a pretty decent collection of African American books. It’s not nearly where I’d like it to be, but still good enough to make a person wonder what to read next. There’s also a fair bit of upcoming Black literature on my radar these days.
Here are some of the most anticipated books written by African American authors I’m looking forward to.
1. The Trayvon Generation by Elizabeth Alexander
The Trayvon Generation is a nonfiction novel expanded from Alexander’s The New Yorker essay of the same name. This book is extremely relevant for our times because it details a time when even our children weren’t immune to emotional and physical violence from a society that increasingly jailed and murdered our children for the crime of being black.
In her essay, Alexander called these children the Trayvon generation, stressing the importance of understanding their trauma is America’s trauma. Irrespective of skin color, we cannot continue to subject another generation of American youth to the same violence. We must protect our kids from the system that further alienates them from society.
2. A Woman of Endurance by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa
The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was one fucked-up joint. It’s believed that upwards of 25% of the captive Africans died from dysentery, disease, malnourishment, abuse, and revolt during the middle passage. Disease and death were just part of a risk-reward calculation for motherfucking colonizers who made their immense fortunes from trafficking men, women, and children?
The expendability of black lives, and the arduous conditions attached to slavery necessitated constant replenishment of resources. Black women of childbearing age -broodmares were forced to breed to meet the rising demand for Black bodies and profitability. A Woman of Endurance tells the story of one such woman. Set in the Puerto Rican chapter of the slave trade during the 19th century, this novel details the life of Pola, an African captive purchased for the sole purpose of bearing more slaves.
3. Diary of an Angry Black Man by Fritz Valme
Now that we’ve gone through an upcoming work of historical nonfiction and historical fiction, let’s train our eyes to the present. I wrote the Diary of an Angry Black Man when I was in the mood for a reckoning.
In 2020, after witnessing the brutal murder of George Floyd on national television, I was overcome with rage with how many of our men, women, and children had been brutalized or executed for the crime of being black. I could not help but recount the names of the many African Americans who the justice system “purposely” failed. Names like Tamir, Rice, Amadou Diallo, Philando Castile, Treyvon Martin, Eleanor Bumpus, Michael Brown, Ryan Foster, Rodney King, Michael Stewart, Breona Taylor, Jordan Edwards, Nate Pickett, Sandra Bland, and so many others flooded my mind to where I nearly drowned in sorrow and hate. So, I decided to pour out all of my hurt, anguish, and disillusionment into a diary that would snowball into a memoir about the Black experience in a systemically fucked-up America.