15 Books Every Black Woman Should Read

Stories that will inspire and empower you.

Elevate Your Mind! - When?s the last time you got lost in a really good book? Thanks to a fast-paced world of iPhones, Facebook and online news, it may have been a minute. But no worries: delve into these 15 books from our past and present are by and for Black women. They will inspire, empower and educate you. By Kellee Terrell (@kelleent) (Photo: Laura Flugga/Getty Images)

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Elevate Your Mind! - When’s the last time you got lost in a really good book? Thanks to a fast-paced world of iPhones, Facebook and online news, it may have been a minute. But no worries: delve into these 15 books from our past and present are by and for Black women. They will inspire, empower and educate you. By Kellee Terrell (@kelleent) (Photo: Laura Flugga/Getty Images)

The Color Purple by Alice Walker - Clich? or not, Alice Walker's National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple, deserves to be on any and every reading list, especially those with an LGBT focus. The landmark novel tells the story of Celie, a southern Black woman who suffers a lifetime of abuse from her father and, later, her husband before meeting Shug, a sultry, confident blues singer whose sisterhood helps Celie to come into her own.(Photo: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)

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The Color Purple - Told in a series of diary entries, Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel set in the 1930s South tells the heartbreaking and inspiring story of Celie as she struggles with sexual violence, searching for her sister and discovering her own sexuality as a lesbian. (Photo: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America - One of our favorite Black intellectuals, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry takes us on the never-ending journey of how Black women in this country have been perceived. From Jezebel to Mammy to the ?strong? Black woman, this book will enrage and inspire you at the same time. (Photo: Yale University Press)

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America - One of our favorite Black intellectuals, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry takes us on the never-ending journey of how Black women in this country have been perceived. From Jezebel to Mammy to the “strong” Black woman, this book will enrage and inspire you at the same time. (Photo: Yale University Press)

Kindred  - Octavia Butler?s science fiction novel fuses together time travel, slavery and contemporary race relations to tell a haunting tale of how the horrors of the past continue to affect us in the present. An instant page-turner, you will be hooked from the first few pages. (Photo: Beacon Press)

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Kindred  - Octavia Butler’s science fiction novel fuses together time travel, slavery and contemporary race relations to tell a haunting tale of how the horrors of the past continue to affect us in the present. An instant page-turner, you will be hooked from the first few pages. (Photo: Beacon Press)

For Colored Girls  - Ntozake Shange?s beautifully radical choreopeom, which fuses choreographed dance and poetry, conveys the trials and tribulations of black women who are represented by a range of colors. While the women experience heartbreaking hardships ? rape, abortion, prostitution, loneliness and abuse ? they somewhow come together and heal.  (Photo: Scribner Publishing)

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For Colored Girls  - Ntozake Shange’s beautifully radical choreopeom, which fuses choreographed dance and poetry, conveys the trials and tribulations of black women who are represented by a range of colors. While the women experience heartbreaking hardships — rape, abortion, prostitution, loneliness and abuse — they somewhow come together and heal.  (Photo: Scribner Publishing)

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When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost  - Joan Morgan, dubbed the ?hip-hop feminist,? makes the ?F? word accessible to Black women by making it relevant, funny and intriguing. Morgan ponders how hip-hop culture, racism and sexism impact our experiences as we fight for equality and survival. (Photo: Simon & Schuster Publishing)

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When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost  - Joan Morgan, dubbed the “hip-hop feminist,” makes the “F” word accessible to Black women by making it relevant, funny and intriguing. Morgan ponders how hip-hop culture, racism and sexism impact our experiences as we fight for equality and survival. (Photo: Simon & Schuster Publishing)

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings  - Famed poet Maya Angelou?s touching memoir talks about her troubled youth, growing up poor, past abuse and the troubled relationship with her mother. But despite her pain, she shows us that the path to healing, self-love and forgiveness is infinitely possible. (Photo: Ballantine Books)

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings  - Famed poet Maya Angelou’s touching memoir talks about her troubled youth, growing up poor, past abuse and the troubled relationship with her mother. But despite her pain, she shows us that the path to healing, self-love and forgiveness is infinitely possible. (Photo: Ballantine Books)

Whatever Happened to Daddy's Little Girl?: The Impact of Fatherlessness on Black Women  - Journalist Jonetta Rose Barras's nonfiction book tackles the emotional issue of how growing up without a father negatively impacts Black women ? herself included. Given that more than 50 percent of us are fatherless, this book hits very close to home. (Photo: One World/Ballantine Publishing)

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Whatever Happened to Daddy's Little Girl?: The Impact of Fatherlessness on Black Women  - Journalist Jonetta Rose Barras's nonfiction book tackles the emotional issue of how growing up without a father negatively impacts Black women — herself included. Given that more than 50 percent of us are fatherless, this book hits very close to home. (Photo: One World/Ballantine Publishing)

Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self-Recovery - This critically-acclaimed self-help book by bell hooks (n?e Gloria Watkins) explores how racism and sexism have wounded Black women?s emotional and spiritual health. She offers up some life saving tips on how to heal, survive and live a fruitful and happy life. (Photo: South End Press Classics Series)

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Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self-Recovery - This critically-acclaimed self-help book by bell hooks (née Gloria Watkins) explores how racism and sexism have wounded Black women’s emotional and spiritual health. She offers up some life saving tips on how to heal, survive and live a fruitful and happy life. (Photo: South End Press Classics Series)

Daughter: A Novel - Ashe Bandele?s novel tells the story of Aya, a promising college bound 19-year old girl, who is mistakenly shot by a white police officer. As she fights for her life, her emotionally distant mother, Miriam, sits by her side, reminiscing on her own childhood and her regrets as a mother. (Photo: Scribner Publishing)

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Daughter: A Novel - Ashe Bandele’s novel tells the story of Aya, a promising college bound 19-year old girl, who is mistakenly shot by a white police officer. As she fights for her life, her emotionally distant mother, Miriam, sits by her side, reminiscing on her own childhood and her regrets as a mother. (Photo: Scribner Publishing)

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Breath, Eyes, Memory  - Edwidge Danticat?s award-winning masterpiece follows 12-year old Sophie as she leaves her village in Haiti to be reunited with her mother in New York, whom she barely remembers. She learns of family secrets, shame and the healing powers of her homeland. (Photo: Vintage Publishing)

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Breath, Eyes, Memory  - Edwidge Danticat’s award-winning masterpiece follows 12-year old Sophie as she leaves her village in Haiti to be reunited with her mother in New York, whom she barely remembers. She learns of family secrets, shame and the healing powers of her homeland. (Photo: Vintage Publishing)

The Joys of Motherhood - Buchi Emecheta?s powerful and heartbreaking novel explores the life of Nnu Ego, a loving, optimistic mother from Nigeria's Igbo tribe who struggles to survive in a culture that devalues women and takes the happiness out of being a mother. (Photo: Braziller Books)

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The Joys of Motherhood - Buchi Emecheta’s powerful and heartbreaking novel explores the life of Nnu Ego, a loving, optimistic mother from Nigeria's Igbo tribe who struggles to survive in a culture that devalues women and takes the happiness out of being a mother. (Photo: Braziller Books)

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl  - Published in 1861, Harriet Jacobs?s book is one of the few slave narratives written by a woman. Forced to live on a plantation in North Carolina, Jacobs writes about the horrors of slavery, her children being sold away from her and how she reunited with them years later.(Photo: Dover Publications)

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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl  - Published in 1861, Harriet Jacobs’s book is one of the few slave narratives written by a woman. Forced to live on a plantation in North Carolina, Jacobs writes about the horrors of slavery, her children being sold away from her and how she reunited with them years later.(Photo: Dover Publications)

Their Eyes Were Watching God - One of the most successful writers of the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston is perhaps best known for this masterpiece, which follows Janie Crawford as she navigates her complicated life in Eatonville, Florida, in the early 1900s. From racism to unwanted pregnancies to even a murder accusation, Janie?s life is never boring.Photo: Harper Perennial Modern Classics)

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Their Eyes Were Watching God - One of the most successful writers of the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston is perhaps best known for this masterpiece, which follows Janie Crawford as she navigates her complicated life in Eatonville, Florida, in the early 1900s. From racism to unwanted pregnancies to even a murder accusation, Janie’s life is never boring.Photo: Harper Perennial Modern Classics)

Bitch Is the New Black: A Memoir - Helena Andrews, an early 30-something,  D.C.-based journalist, goes all in with her snarky memoir that delves into her tortured childhood, having a lesbian mother and entering the competitive world of journalism. Oh, and she talks a lot about men and her quest for Mr. Right Now. (Photo: Harper Publishing)

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Bitch Is the New Black: A Memoir - Helena Andrews, an early 30-something,  D.C.-based journalist, goes all in with her snarky memoir that delves into her tortured childhood, having a lesbian mother and entering the competitive world of journalism. Oh, and she talks a lot about men and her quest for Mr. Right Now. (Photo: Harper Publishing)

A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life - In this relationships and self-love guide, reality star and former Essence relationship editor Demetria Lucas doesn?t shell out dated or sexist advice. She keeps it real and emphasizes the importance of having a healthy relationship with yourself first. (Photo: Atria Books)

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A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life - In this relationships and self-love guide, reality star and former Essence relationship editor Demetria Lucas doesn’t shell out dated or sexist advice. She keeps it real and emphasizes the importance of having a healthy relationship with yourself first. (Photo: Atria Books)