From a hospital bed, a venerated gossip columnist looks back on his time documenting the celebrities and social life of Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood – both famous artists and local heroes – painting a detailed, dazzling and loving portrait of his community.
While not ignoring or shying away from the harsh realities of life for Black people in past decades, the books on this list make sure to represent the hopes and joys that make life worth living as well. You will not find any fiction that is only focused on trauma and misery here. Instead, in these fully fleshed-out historical fictions, you will find nuanced and beautiful portraits of Black lives written by Black authors.
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After Emancipation, Josephine N. Leary moves to North Carolina to follow her ambition of acquiring and investing in real estate. While her marriage and family gladly take up her time and energy, she still yearns to create a legacy outside of them. This fictional account is based on true events and historical figures. This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on Overdrive/Libby and in eAudio on Overdrive/Libby.
A former enslaved woman and a Pinkerton agent work together as spies in the Civil War and become ensnared in a Confederate plot. As they desperately work to stop it, they also start to fall in love – but these two outcomes may not be able to coexist.
In 1957, Alice finds safety from an abusive white neighbor by escaping to an all-Black community in Alabama. Then she falls in love and marries a man who is working to integrate her safe haven. Can she reconcile these opposing realities and continue the joyful life she has built?
Six enslaved women organize a rebellion on the Texas plantation to which they are confined and threatened with forced pregnancy. This bleak situation is contrasted with the friendship, love and bonds of solidarity that the women create between themselves.
This title is also available for checkout as an eBook on OverDrive/Libby.
San Francisco in the early 1950s is home to The Salvations, a family musical act of three sisters directed by their mother. Change, both threatening and tantalizing, comes to town as a talent manager scouts the group while white land developers try to buy out Black homeowners in the Fillmore. And the sisters have dreams that may clash with their mother’s ambitions.
In 1973 Montgomery, Alabama, Civil Townsend, a young Black nurse working for the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, grapples with her role when she takes two young girls into her heart and the unthinkable happens, and nothing will ever be the same for any of them.