Black American Lived Experiences

Black people are not a monolithic group. There are so many distinct backgrounds and experiences that make up who we are. But being Black in America can mean a number of different experiences that have a universal resonance. These memoirs show the depth and breadth of those experiences while touching on the nuances and connectivity of it all.

An extended list is available here.

Force of Beauty

The story of three generations of Black women, one extraordinary friendship, and a not-often recalled history of the city that made them....

Surviving the White Gaze

A stirring and powerful memoir from black cultural critic Rebecca Carroll recounting her painful struggle to overcome a completely white childhood in order to forge her identity as a black woman in America....

Just as I Am

At last, Academy, Tony, and three-time Emmy Award-winning actor and trailblazer Cicely Tyson tells her stunning story, looking back at her life and six-decade career....

Smokey Robinson: Grateful and Blessed

If any artist could brag about his contribution to the pop culture canon, it’s Smokey Robinson. His career is filled with so many “he was there” moments it’s a wonder he doesn’t recall them with the swagger of a conquering hero....

Redefining DIVA 2.0

More than just another celebrity memoir, Redefining DIVA 2.0: Life Lessons from The Original Dreamgirl will inspire anyone who listens to it to examine the potential in their own life....

No Ashes in the Fire

From a leading journalist and activist comes a brave memoir. When Darnell Moore was 14, three boys from his neighborhood tried to set him on fire. In No Ashes in the Fire, he shares the journey taken by that scared, bullied teen who not only survived, but found his calling....

Postcards from Cookie

Award-winning journalist and host of Black Enterprise Business Report Caroline Clarke’s moving memoir of her surprise discovery of her birth mother and the relationship that blossomed between them through the heartfelt messages they exchanged on hundreds of postcards....

Eloquent Rage

With searing honesty, intimacy and humor too, America's leading young Black feminist celebrates the power of rage in this piercing audiobook....

Heavy

A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family....

Between the World and Me

Pulitzer Finalist, General Nonfiction, 2016. “This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.” In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men.

A Fortune for Your Disaster

In his much-anticipated follow-up to The Crown Ain't Worth Much, poet, essayist, biographer, and music critic Hanif Abdurraqib has written a book of poems about how one rebuilds oneself after a heartbreak, the kind that renders them a different version of themselves....

Feeding the Dragon

For a book-obsessed kid with a big imagination and a flair for drama, could anything be luckier than living in a library? Sharon Washington's autobiographical Off-Broadway show brings its sense of wonder and bittersweet realism into your home and heart....

Barracoon

A major literary event: a never-before-published work from the author of the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God that brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade....

Becoming

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites listeners into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her....

Just Mercy (Movie Tie-In Edition)

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned....

When They Call You a Terrorist

The emotional and powerful story of one of the cofounders of Black Lives Matter and how the movement was born....

My Soul Looks Back

In the Technicolor glow of the early 70s, Jessica B. Harris debated, celebrated, and danced her way from the jazz clubs of the Manhattan's West Side to the restaurants of the Village....

Force of Beauty

The story of three generations of Black women, one extraordinary friendship, and a not-often recalled history of the city that made them....

Surviving the White Gaze

A stirring and powerful memoir from black cultural critic Rebecca Carroll recounting her painful struggle to overcome a completely white childhood in order to forge her identity as a black woman in America....

Just as I Am

At last, Academy, Tony, and three-time Emmy Award-winning actor and trailblazer Cicely Tyson tells her stunning story, looking back at her life and six-decade career....

Smokey Robinson: Grateful and Blessed

If any artist could brag about his contribution to the pop culture canon, it’s Smokey Robinson. His career is filled with so many “he was there” moments it’s a wonder he doesn’t recall them with the swagger of a conquering hero....

Redefining DIVA 2.0

More than just another celebrity memoir, Redefining DIVA 2.0: Life Lessons from The Original Dreamgirl will inspire anyone who listens to it to examine the potential in their own life....

No Ashes in the Fire

From a leading journalist and activist comes a brave memoir. When Darnell Moore was 14, three boys from his neighborhood tried to set him on fire. In No Ashes in the Fire, he shares the journey taken by that scared, bullied teen who not only survived, but found his calling....

Postcards from Cookie

Award-winning journalist and host of Black Enterprise Business Report Caroline Clarke’s moving memoir of her surprise discovery of her birth mother and the relationship that blossomed between them through the heartfelt messages they exchanged on hundreds of postcards....

Eloquent Rage

With searing honesty, intimacy and humor too, America's leading young Black feminist celebrates the power of rage in this piercing audiobook....

Heavy

A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family....

Between the World and Me

Pulitzer Finalist, General Nonfiction, 2016. “This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.” In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men.

A Fortune for Your Disaster

In his much-anticipated follow-up to The Crown Ain't Worth Much, poet, essayist, biographer, and music critic Hanif Abdurraqib has written a book of poems about how one rebuilds oneself after a heartbreak, the kind that renders them a different version of themselves....

Feeding the Dragon

For a book-obsessed kid with a big imagination and a flair for drama, could anything be luckier than living in a library? Sharon Washington's autobiographical Off-Broadway show brings its sense of wonder and bittersweet realism into your home and heart....

Barracoon

A major literary event: a never-before-published work from the author of the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God that brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade....

Becoming

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites listeners into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her....

Just Mercy (Movie Tie-In Edition)

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned....

When They Call You a Terrorist

The emotional and powerful story of one of the cofounders of Black Lives Matter and how the movement was born....

My Soul Looks Back

In the Technicolor glow of the early 70s, Jessica B. Harris debated, celebrated, and danced her way from the jazz clubs of the Manhattan's West Side to the restaurants of the Village....

Up Next

Contemporary Stories from Black Authors

A collection that reflects the variety and depth of the Black experience as portrayed by just a few of the best storytellers of our time.