12 Books by inspiring women of color

books by women of color

These 12 powerful women of color are so inspiring we had to make a list of their incredible books to share with you. Keep reading to learn more about these books by inspiring women of color.

This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins

In This Will Be My Undoing, Morgan Jerkins addresses one of the hardest, most controversial, and most relevant questions in American society today – what does it mean to be a black woman in America? Disenfranchised by both race and gender, Jerkins discusses the exclusion of black women in society and even in movements working toward equality like mainstream feminism.


Swallow the Fish by Gabrielle Civil

A memoir that examines the medium of performance art, Swallow the Fish is Gabrielle Civil’s addition to the black feminist conversation. Diving into everything from audience, motivations, fears and vulnerability, her book pushes readers to expand their thinking by asking tough questions.


I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

This is the inspiring and heartbreaking memoir of how Maya Angelou’s life was shaped by the bigotry and racism that ran rampant in America. Overcoming trauma, hatred and abandonment, Angelou learns that happiness and freedom often come from within and her own strong spirit gets her there.


Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming is an enthralling collection of poetry that makes readers instantly connect with Jacqueline Woodson. Telling the tale of growing up in the racially charged 1960s, just after the Jim Crow era, young Woodson comes to realize that racism still hung heavily over America.


No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts

JJ has attained a fortune since he left his hometown of Pinewood, North Carolina. When he returns home to build a mansion in order to woo his now-married high school sweetheart, he stirs up quite a bit of commotion. This look at an extended black American family and their versions of the American Dream is all too relatable.


Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay

Bad Feminist leaves no stone unturned as it examines politics, feminism, criticism, racism and almost every other controversial societal issue that America is currently facing. Funny, sharp and unapologetic, Roxane Gay gives terrific insight into the state of America from the perspective of a young, black woman.


Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad

Layla Saad helped change people’s perception of racism on Instagram when she began the #meandwhitesupremacy hashtag. Inviting others to open up about the ways they participate in racist behaviors, it gave people the opportunity to right their wrongs and be better to those around them. This new book is an expanded version of the original Me and White Supremacy Workbook and includes new stories, more cultural contexts and other important information to ensure readers can learn how to be better in their everyday lives. Me and White Supremacy will help readers stand up for what is right and make a positive change in the world.


Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Sing, Unburied, Sing follows 13-year-old Jojo as he figures out what it means to be a man while dealing with his drug-addict mother and convict father. The men in Jojo’s life teach him some of the harsh lessons about the realities of having a white father and black mother on his journey toward manhood.


Revelation by Bobi Gentry Goodwin

As a social worker, Angela Lovelace had always prided herself on her ability to stay calm under pressure. But her world is rocked when she comes across a picture of her father on the wall of an apartment, home to a young boy who just lost his addict mother. Extremely shaken by this event, Angela begins her mission to find out the truth. Through her investigation, she comes up against other family difficulties that ultimately lead her and her loved ones to look within and to their faith to get them through one of the hardest times in their lives. Revelation is a beautiful story of hope, family and


This Is It by Daria Peoples-Riley

Daria Peoples-Riley’s debut picture book, This Is It follows a young dancer as her shadow takes her on a journey to discover herself. The girl must learn to trust and believe in herself and her dancing abilities. This inspiring story teaches a lesson about believing in your own ability to succeed.


What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

What I Know For Sure was written by Oprah over the course of 14 years as she addressed the question “What do you know for sure?” for a column in her magazine. This collection of all these columns are organized by theme into the categories joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power. A thoughtful and inspiring read.


The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple tells the story of two sisters who took incredibly different paths in life. One is a missionary in Africa, the other is a child wife living in the South. The two sisters retain their close relationship of trust and loyalty despite the distance and differences in their lives.

*Disclosure: The links above are affiliate links. These picks are editorially selected, but if you purchase, She Reads may get something in return. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Ashley Johnson

Content Editor + Producer

Ashley has always been a writer at heart, receiving a diary from her mother at a very young age. Supportive book-buying parents influenced her love of literature and storytelling as she grew up. Her love for songwriting led the way to creating short stories and the start of her own blog where she documented her life as a college student. A fan of dark plot lines, Ashley picked up Stephen King’s It and never looked back. When she is not working on her first novel or new story ideas, Ashley can be found curled up with her rescue chihuahuas or exploring breathtaking locations throughout the US.

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