Black Historical Figures You Should Know

#1 Claudette Colvin

By Phillip Hoose
Based on extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin and many others, Phillip Hoose presents the first in-depth account of an important yet largely unknown civil rights figure, skillfully weaving her dramatic story into the fabric of the historic Montgomery bus boycott and court case that would change the course of American history.

#2 Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom

By Lynda Blackmon Lowery
This is the story of the youngest person to complete the Selma to Montgomery March, Lynda Blackmon Lowery, describing her frequent imprisonments for her participation in nonviolent demonstrations and how she felt about her involvement in Civil Rights events.

#3 Give Me Wings

By Kathy Lowinge
The Jubilee Singers traveled from Cincinnati to New York, following the Underground Railroad. With every performance they endangered their lives and those of the people helping them, but they also broke down barriers between blacks and whites, lifted spirits, and even helped influence modern American music.

#4 One Last Word

By Nikki Grimes
In this collection of poetry, Nikki Grimes looks afresh at the poets of the Harlem Renaissance — including voices like Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and many more writers of importance and resonance from this era — by combining their work with her own original poetry.

#5 We’ve Got a Job

By Cynthia Levinson
The inspiring story of the 1963 Birmingham Children’s March, one of the greatest moments in civil rights history, as seen through the eyes of four young people at the center of the action.

#6 Double Victory

By Cheryl Mullenbach
An account of the lesser-known contributions of African-American women during World War II reveals how they helped lay the foundations for the Civil Rights Movement by challenging racial and gender barriers at home and abroad.

#7 How I Discovered Poetry

By S.K. Marilyn Nelson
A powerful and thought-provoking Civil Rights era memoir from one of America’s most celebrated poets. Looking back on her childhood, Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Marilyn Nelson tells the story of her development as an artist and young woman through poetry.

#8 In the Shadow of Liberty

By Kenneth C. Davis

Through the powerful stories of five enslaved people who were “owned” by four of our greatest presidents, this book helps set the record straight about the role slavery played in the founding of America.