AFRICAN-AMERICAN/BLACK ESSENTIAL BOOKS/READING LIST

“FREDERICK-DOUGLASS”/

“The plan which I adopted, and the one by which I was most successful, was that of making friends of all the little white boys whom I met in the street. As many of these as I could, I converted into teachers. With their kindly aid, obtained at different times and in different places, I finally succeeded in learning to read. When I was sent to errands, I always took a book with me and by doing one part of my errand quickly I found time to get a lesson before my return. I used also to carry bread with me, enough of which was always in the house, and to which I was always welcome; for I was much better off in this regard than many of the poor white children in our neighborhood. This bread I used to bestow upon the hungry little urchins, who in return, would give me that more valuable bread of knowledge.”

-Frederick Douglass, 'Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Written by Himself.'


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*denotes an African American Author


THE 12 BOOKS THAT SERVED AS THE LITERARY BASIS FOR THEWOOZY.COM

  • 1. THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X - ALEX HALEY *
  • If there is one book that has awakened America to the struggle for power and black identity in the mid-20th century, it is the story of a child named Malcolm Little, who found himself in prison and transformed himself into Malcolm X, the tip of the spear for black militancy.

  • 2. MY BONDAGE AND MY FREEDOM - FREDERICK DOUGLASS *
  • Frederick Douglass writes with a technical and artistic savvy rarely matched in the history of literature. In the telling of his life story, Douglass illustrates his indomitable integrity and unbreakable spirit.

  • 3. UNCLE TOM’S CABIN- HARRIET BEECHER STOWE *
  • The power of Stowe’s work is rooted in an unrelenting narrative, that combines the best qualities of classic fiction with the hero’s journey, all centered on a series of arguments on age old human questions as represented by America’s enslavement of African peoples..

  • 4. RADIO FREE DIXIE (ROBERT F. WILLIAMS)- TIMOTHY TYSON
  • Robert F. Williams story satisfies the need of modern blacks to identify with a leader who never bowed in the face of racial terror. Radio Free Dixie tells the story of how Williams went from the FBI’s 10 most wanted list, to living as the esteemed guest of Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh and Mao Zedung.

  • 5. 12 YEARS A SLAVE - SOLOMON NORTHRUP *
  • Solomon Northrup was abducted from freedom in the north and dragged to the darkest pit of southern slavery. Through his journey, we are allowed a rare glimpse into an ultra-literary experience in America’s peculiar institution.

  • 6. BLACK SKIN, WHITE MASKS- FRANTZ FANON *
  • Fanon, a Caribbean born, french educated psychiatrist, went to Algeria and witnessed the Algerian Revolution first-hand. After the overthrow of the French, Fanon watched as the Algerian elite replaced the French as corrupt oppressors, a process that gives this ground breaking psychological investigation its title.

  • 7. AMERICAN SLAVERY AS IT IS - THEODORE DWIGHT WELD
  • Weld’s book forms the most horrible compendium ever assembled of the perverse horrors of slavery. Culled from personal testimony, newspaper articles and sworn affidavit, American Slavery was Weld’s irrefutable indictment on the state of American slavery.

  • 8. INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL- HARRIET JACOBS *
  • Harriet Jacobs, a woman of incredible poise and dignity, was forced to hide herself in a 6 foot unheated crawlspace for several years until she found the opportunity to steal herself away to freedom.

  • 9. THE MISEDUCATION OF THE NEGRO - CARTER G. WOODSON *
  • Woodson, the Harvard educated former coal miner, expounds on the conspiracy to miseducate Negroes and thereby keep them in a state of perpetual subservience.

  • 10. DOPEFIEND - DONALD GOINES *
  • Donald Goines, former dope fiend and felon, follows in the footsteps of Iceberg Slim as an urban fiction pioneer. Dopefiend is a train wreck of a story set in an urban hell of dope and desperation.

  • 11. NARRATIVE OF OLAUDAH EQUIANO - OLAUDAH EQUIANO *
  • Olaudah’s story spans a great deal of the enslaved black diaspora. Kidnapped by slave traders in Africa, Olaudah’s journey took him across the Caribbean to the America’s and to England. Olaudah later purchased his freedom and became a leading voice in the Abolitionist movement.

  • 12. BLACK BOY - RICHARD WRIGHT *
  • Richard Wright’s polished voice tells the story of what it is to be a Black Boy that is directionless, prone to delinquency and tortured by hunger, -a hunger that extends to a sense of purpose and a need for a meaningful identity.


    Af-Am Autobiography

    Af-Am Historical Non-Fiction

    Af-Am Essays / Perspectives / Stories

    Af-Am Fiction


    MUST READS, NON-AFRICAN-AMERICAN SPECIFIC


    Young Kids

    Young Adults & Graphic Novels (G)

    Adult Fiction

    History / Biography

    Philosophy / Methods / Humanities

    Spirituality

    Origin of Life, the Universe & Existence


    The Woozy Essential and Auxiliary Book List

    The Woozy Book List

    Click HERE for The Gutenberg Project Online Book Catalogue. Over 100,000 public domain books are available for free download through Gutenberg.org, and their Partners, Affiliates and Resources.