African American History, Biography & Culture: Books for Middle & High School

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Through stories that illustrate African American history, biography and culture, teens in grades 6-12 can learn about people and events in an exciting way. Titles like these can offer entertaining and clever stories while fostering positive messages.

Betty Before X

Raised by her aunt until she is six, Betty, who will later marry Malcolm X, joins her mother and stepfamily in 1940s Detroit, where she learns about the civil rights movement. You can also check out this title as eAudio on Hoopla

The Black Kids

With the Rodney King riots closing in on high school senior Ashley and her family, the privileged bubble she has enjoyed, protecting her from the difficult realities most black people face, begins to crumble. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby or as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby.

Dear Martin

Teen Justyce McAllister struggles with trying to live life through the lens of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s teachings, writings and philosophy and grapples with Dr. King’s stand on race relations and his 21st century existence. You can also check out this title as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby or as eBook on OverDrive/Libby.

Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It

Loretta, Roly and Aggie B. Little relate their Mississippi family’s struggles and triumphs from 1927 to 1968 while struggling as sharecroppers, living under Jim Crow and fighting for Civil Rights. 

One Person, No Vote: How Not All Voters are Treated Equally: A Young Adult Adaptation

In her New York Times bestseller “White Rage,” Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically impeded Black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present. With “One Person, No Vote,” she chronicles a related history: the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby.