More than a dozen authors were submitted by readers, who praised the literary giants for their works of nonfiction and fiction alike. Some submissions called out specific works by the authors, while others just pointed more broadly to the writer’s body of work as the reason for him or her being an essential read.
Below, see the Black authors Boston.com readers shared as their best-loved and the works they most treasure from the writers:
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The individual who submitted the author wrote Adichie is “a fabulous writer and storyteller; ‘Americanah’ is a must-read.”
- “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou (1969)
- “Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin (1963) (two submissions)
Two Boston.com readers submitted this work by Baldwin as their favorite. “[Baldwin] was able to eloquently seam together the narrative of the black struggle for equality and dignity while teaching others to understand our journey for social justice and humanity,” Ramona, from Los Angeles, wrote.
- “Manchild in the Promised Land” by Claude Brown (1965)
- “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison (1952)
“Best novel of the 20th century by any writer,” the person who submitted the title wrote.
- “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry (1959)
- Langston Hughes
- Amanda Gorman
“She touched my heart personally and the pulse of the nation,” Roben, from Harvard, Mass., wrote.
- “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison (1970)
- “Discrimination and Disparities” by Thomas Sowell (2018)
- Bryan Stevenson
The Boston.com reader who submitted Stevenson said they were doing so because of “his work on behalf of illegally-convicted Black Americans.”
- “Jesus and the Disinherited” by Howard Thurman (1949)
- “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson (2020)
“The author draws parallels between our history and our present and a caste system that are compelling; critically, they also form a constructive framework for addressing and resolving issues that impede our pursuit of the common good,” wrote Michael, from Hingham, Mass.
- George Washington Williams
“You can trust his accuracy,” wrote James from Clinton, Mass. “His best book is ‘History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion’.”
- Jacqueline Woodson
“Ms. Woodson writes for all ages and there are many of her picture books that I like to share with my students, as a school librarian,” wrote one Boston.com reader. “She also writes deeply personal stories for adults. Her lyrical prose enables anyone who reads her work to become immersed in each chapter. I find it difficult to put one of her novels down until I am finished with it.”
- Richard Wright
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