13 Best African-American & Black Biographies

List Updated April 2020

Bestselling African-American & Black Biographies in 2020


The Souls of Black Folk (AmazonClassics Edition)

The Souls of Black Folk (AmazonClassics Edition)
BESTSELLER NO. 1 in 2020

What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors

What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors
BESTSELLER NO. 2 in 2020
  • Candlewick Press MA

100 African-Americans Who Shaped American History (100 Series)

100 African-Americans Who Shaped American History (100 Series)
BESTSELLER NO. 3 in 2020

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History (Vashti Harrison)

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History (Vashti Harrison)
BESTSELLER NO. 4 in 2020

Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage

Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage
BESTSELLER NO. 5 in 2020
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers

The Souls of Black Folk (Dover Thrift Editions)

The Souls of Black Folk (Dover Thrift Editions)
BESTSELLER NO. 6 in 2020
  • Dover Publications

Soul on Bikes: The East Bay Dragons MC and the Black Biker Set

Soul on Bikes: The East Bay Dragons MC and the Black Biker Set
BESTSELLER NO. 7 in 2020
  • Motorbooks International

Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire

Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire
BESTSELLER NO. 8 in 2020

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
BESTSELLER NO. 9 in 2020
  • Smileybooks

The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir

The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir
BESTSELLER NO. 10 in 2020

Heroes in Black History: True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes

Heroes in Black History: True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes
BESTSELLER NO. 11 in 2020

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
BESTSELLER NO. 12 in 2020
  • The #1 New York Times bestseller The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America's greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.

The Birth of Black America: The First African Americans and the Pursuit of Freedom at Jamestown

The Birth of Black America: The First African Americans and the Pursuit of Freedom at Jamestown
BESTSELLER NO. 13 in 2020
  • Used Book in Good Condition

Black History Month: Robert S. Abbott

Celebrate Black History Month and learn all about Robert S. Abbott, the creator, editor, and publisher of the largest African-American newspaper: the Chicago Defender.

Most grade school children can state what Martin Luther King Jr. and Thurgood Marshall accomplished during their lifetimes. Yet, we tend to forget about other heroes. Throughout this month, let us consider all who sacrificed to end segregation and tried to put an end to racial inequalities. One of these heroes was Robert S. Abbott.

Enjoy trivia? Here's one for you: In what American newspaper would you find the first comic strip? The answer might surprise you, as it is the first African American newspaper, the Chicago Defender owned and run by an attorney unable to practice due to his race, Robert S. Abbot. His paper was the first for publishing many things including a health column and circulation over 100,000. Much more important than that was his focus.

He began his venture in 1905 and quickly built up quite a following, mostly in the Chicago area. By 1910, with the assistance of his first and only employee, he covered racial issues not found in other publications. Lynchings, rapes, and equally disturbing violence dominated his headlines. Interestingly, within these articles he never used the word, Negro, preferring to use "Race men and Race women".

Mr. Abbott played his part in the Great Migration, pushing -- through his paper -- for a black migration to better living conditions in the north. WW1 and immigration laws slowing the flow of qualified workers had created many job opportunities. Therefore, the time was right for over a million African Americans to migrate from the south to better jobs in the north.

As race riots erupted across the country in 1919, he pushed for anti-lynching legislation; still, no federal law exists. With readership growing daily, columnists joined the Defender including, Walter White -- early NAACP member and fighter for civil rights -- and Langston Hughes -- novelist, poet, and writer. Mr. Abbott passed on in 1940 from kidney disease but his campaign for equal rights carried on through his nephew John H. Sengstacke who grew the paper into the largest and most read black-owned newspaper in the world.

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