A selective listing of notable new and forthcoming titles of African-American interest.


The Freedom Artist
Ben Okri. Akashic, Feb. 2020
In the latest novel from the acclaimed Nigerian author, a young woman is arrested for asking a provocative question—who is the prisoner?—an act that reveals a world of lies, oppression, and fear.

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick
Zora Neal Hurston. Amistad, Jan. 2020
Written while Hurston was the sole black student attending Barnard College, this collection of short fiction showcases the range and vitality of African-American life during the 1920s.

It’s Not All Downhill from Here
Terry McMillan. Ballantine, Mar. 2020
After a devastating loss, Loretha Curry—68 years old with a booming beauty supply business and a frisky husband—has to figure out what she’s going to do with the rest of her life.

Red at the Bone
Jacqueline Woodson. Riverhead, out now
The National Book Award–winning author’s new novel opens with the coming-of-age party of a 16-year-old at her grandparents’ brownstone in Brooklyn, in a narrative that reveals a complex family and community history.

So We Can Glow
Leesa Cross-Smith. GCP, Mar. 2020
Cross-Smith surveys the hearts and minds of teen girls and women in this new short story collection.

Water Dancer
Ta-Nehisi Coates. One World, out now
In his first novel, NBA nonfiction winner Coates tells the story of a young enslaved boy whose mother was sold away; when he later nearly drowns, he discovers he possesses a mysterious power.


Busted in New York and Other Essays
Darryl Pinckney. FSG, out now
Among these 25 essays, Pinckney examines white supremacy, painter Kara Walker, Barry Jenkins’s film Moonlight, and the black literary diaspora, among other topics.

How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir
Saeed Jones. Simon & Schuster, out now
A coming-of-age memoir by an acclaimed poet that presents the story of his life as a young black, gay man.

The Last Negroes at Harvard: The Class of 1963 and the 18 Young Men Who Changed Harvard
Kent Garrett and Jeanne Ellsworth. HMH, Feb. 2020
In 1959 Harvard recruited 18 “negro” boys to enroll in an early attempt at affirmative action; they graduated as African-Americans. Garrett is one of the 18, and interviews the surviving grads to uncover their stories.

Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America
Candacy Taylor. Abrams, Jan. 2020
A history of the perils black Americans faced when traveling, the book documents The Green Book, published from 1936 to 1966, the “ black travel guide to America,” which listed the places it was safe for African- Americans to stop at.

She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman
Erica Armstrong Dunbar. 37 Ink, out now
An accessible, lively biography offering a fresh view of Tubman, who not only freed slaves but was a spy for the Union Army, a suffragist, and an advocate for the elderly.


Roy DeCarava: Light Break
Zoe Whitley and Sherry Turner DeCarava. First Print/Zwirner, out now
A wide-ranging selection of celebrated photographs by the acclaimed African-American photographer Roy DeCarava (1919–2009).

Roy DeCarava: the sound i saw
Radiclani Clytus and Sherry Turner DeCarava. First Print/Zwirner, out now
A deluxe hardcover reprint edition of DeCarava’s emblematic visual meditation on New York City and on jazz, first published in 2001.

Richard Mayhew, with an essay by Andrew Walker. Chronicle Books, Mar. 2020
A career-spanning monograph collects the work of Richard Mayhew, the acclaimed 95-year-old abstractionist landscape painter; includes an interview with the artist.


The Collected Poems of Lorenzo Thomas
Edited by Aldon Lynn Nielsen and Laura Vrana. Wesleyan Univ., Dec. 2019
Thomas (1944–2005) was a member of the Society of Umbra, a predecessor of the Black Arts Movement, and his poems were influ- enced by the New York School and Black Arts aesthetics, as well as the blues, and jazz.

A Fortune for Your Disaster
Hanif Abdurraqib. Tin House, out now
A new collection of poems by Abdurraqib captures rebuilding oneself after heartbreak, and wrestling with the shared histories of black people.

We Want Our Bodies Back: Poems
Jessica Care Moore. Amistad, Feb. 2020
A new collection of Moore’s poems focuses on the lives and experiences of black women.


Baaaad Muthaz
Bill Campbell, art by David Brame and Damian Duffy. Rosarium, out now
An adult sci-fi love letter to black American pop culture of the 1970s and ’80s.

Big Black: Stand at Attica
Frank “Big Black” Smith and Jared Reinmuth, art by Améziane. Archaia, Feb. 2020
An adult graphic memoir by a former Attica prisoner turned prisoner-advocate; the late Frank “Big Black” Smith was a key inmate leader during the tragic 1971 four-day Attica State Prison insurrection.


All the Days Past, All the Days to Come
Mildred D. Taylor, Penguin/Viking, Jan. 2020
The conclusion of Taylor’s Logan family saga, a YA series inspired by the story of the civil rights movement.

Child of the Dream
Sharon Robinson, Scholastic Press, out now.
A memoir by the daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, focused on the year 1963 when she turned 13.

The Crossover: The Graphic Novel Adaptation
Kwame Alexander, with art by Dawud Anyabwile. HMH, out now
Alexander teams up acclaimed comics artist Anyabwile (Brotherman) to adapt his Newbery Award–winning children’s novel about basketball-playing twin brothers into a young reader’s graphic novel.

Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace
Ashley Bryan, Atheneum/Dlouhy, out now.
A picture-book memoir about the author’s service in a segregated Army unit during WWII and his love of art.

J.N. Monk, with art by Harry Bogosian. Lerner Graphic Universe, out now
A middle grade action sci-fi graphic novel that stars a headstrong mechanic living in an underground zone who must now travel to the planet’s dangerous surface.

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