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Books & Authors, Diverse Voices

Black History Month: A Historical Fiction Commemoration

Another Brooklyn : A Novel by Jacqueline Woodson
Torn between the fantasies of her youth and the realities of a life marked by violence and abandonment, August reunites with a beloved old friend who challenges her to reconcile past inconsistencies and come to terms with the difficulties that forced her to grow up too quickly.

Blue in Green : A Novella by Wesley Brown
"Blue in Green" narrates one evening in August 1959, when, only eight days after the release of his landmark album "Kind of Blue," Miles Davis is assaulted by a member of New York City Police Department outside of Birdland. In the aftermath of Davis's brief stint in custody, we enter the strained relationship between Davis and the woman he will soon marry, Frances Taylor, whom he has recently pressured into ending her run as a performer on Broadway and retiring from modern dance and ballet altogether. Racing alongside him are recollections of a stony, young John Coltrane, a combative Charlie Parker, and the stilted world of the Black middle class he's left behind.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Two half-sisters, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in 18th-century Ghana and experience profoundly different lives and legacies throughout subsequent generations marked by wealth, slavery, war, coal mining, the Great Migration and the realities of 20th-century Harlem.

Kindred by Octavia Butler
Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her 26th birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned across the years to save him. After this first summons, Dana is drawn back, again and again, to the plantation to protect Rufus and ensure that he will grow to manhood and father the daughter who will become Dana's ancestor.

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Inspired by true events that rocked the nation, a profoundly moving novel about a Black nurse in post-segregation Alabama who blows the whistle on a terrible wrong done to her patients, from the New York Times bestselling author of Wench.

The Conductors by Nicole Glover
"The Conductors" features the magic and mystery of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series written with the sensibility and historical setting of Octavia Butler's "Kindred." Meet Hetty Rhodes, a magic-user and former conductor on the Underground Railroad who now solves crimes in post-Civil War Philadelphia.

The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris
In the waning days of the Civil War, brothers Prentiss and Landry, freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, seek refuge on the homestead of George Walker and his wife, Isabelle. The Walkers, wracked by the loss of their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm, hoping through an unexpected friendship to stanch their grief.

The Underground Railroad : A Novel by Colson Whitehead
A magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage and lost his mother and all memory of her when he was a child but he is also gifted with a mysterious power. Hiram almost drowns when he crashes a carriage into a river, but is saved from the depths by a force he doesn't understand, a blue light that lifts him up and lands him a mile away. This strange brush with death forces a new urgency on Hiram's private rebellion. Spurred on by his improvised plantation family, Thena, his chosen mother, a woman of few words and many secrets, and Sophia, a young woman fighting her own war even as she and Hiram fall in love, he becomes determined to escape the only home he's ever known.

Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson
Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Delores Brown has lived a relatively sheltered life. Shielded by her mother's position as the estate's medicine woman and cherished by the Master's sister, she is set apart from the others on the plantation, belonging to neither world. She'd been promised freedom on her 18th birthday, but instead of the idyllic life she imagined with her true love, Essex Henry, Pheby is forced to leave the only home she has ever known.

 Black History Month is celebrated each February. It is a time to reflect on our past, learn about the Black experience, and celebrate Black greatness. These historical fiction titles give the experience of Black history with an exciting fictional spin. 

 

 

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