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43 Of The Most Powerful Black History Books Ever Written

If you are a serious student of Black history, these books need to be on your shelf.

Learn the truth about who you are without ever stepping foot onto a college campus. These Black history books will give you the full scope of our story – from the first Emperor in Africa to the richest empires the world has ever seen.

The truth is that Black history stretches back tens of thousands of years before slavery, colonialism, and even white civilization. And the more of your history you know, the deeper your knowledge of yourself and your people become.

Know your history, know yourself.

Early Black History Books From The Great Leap Forward To The First King of Kemet

The Black history books in this section cover African pre-history – a period of time that spans from the dawn of mankind to the coronation of Narmer, Africa’s first Emperor (ca 3150 BCE).

There are few Black history books in this section because there has been so little study done on the cultural anthropology rather than the physical anthropology of our Ancestors.

If you know of titles that you would like to submit for review, leave a comment below.

When The World Was Black: The Untold History of the World's First Civilizations, Part One: Prehistoric Cultures
  • Supreme Understanding (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 324 Pages - 02/02/2013 (Publication Date) - Supreme Design, LLC (Publisher)

Africa: A Biography of the Continent
  • Reader, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 816 Pages - 09/07/1999 (Publication Date) - Vintage (Publisher)

UNESCO General History of Africa, Vol. I, Abridged Edition: Methodology and African Prehistory
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 349 Pages - 12/05/1989 (Publication Date) - University of California Press (Publisher)

While most of the Black history books here cover Kemet (Ancient Egypt), there are many contemporary civilizations that deserve study.

Nile Valley and Bronze Age Black History Books

As far as these Black history books are concerned, the Bronze Age lasted from 3000 BC until the arrival of the Sea People in 1200 BC.

These Europeans who were either displaced by conflict or by climate change swept across the Middle East and North Africa, laying waste to every ancient civilization in their path.

Although Kemet would endure for another thousand years, the arrival of the Sea People meant the beginning of the end of the greatest civilization that we know of today.

After the fall, Africans carried on the legacy of Kemet in other places – from Axum to the South to as far away as present day Nigeria in the West.

Click any title below for book reviews and where to buy.

When The World Was Black: The Untold Story of the World's First Civilizations, Part 2 - Ancient Civilizations (Science of Self)
  • Supreme Understanding (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 02/13/2013 (Publication Date) - Supreme Design, LLC (Publisher)
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The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Toby Wilkinson (Author) - Michael Page (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
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African Origin of Civilization - The Myth or Reality
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Cheikh Anta Diop (Author) - Frank Block (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
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The Stolen Legacy: Greek Philosophy Is Stolen Egyptian Philosophy
593 Reviews
The Stolen Legacy: Greek Philosophy Is Stolen Egyptian Philosophy
  • Audible Audiobook
  • George G. M. James (Author) - Anthony Stewart (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology
70 Reviews
Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology
  • Chicago Review Press
  • Diop, Cheikh Anta (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
The Aboriginal Black Olmec Civilization
  • M'Bantu, Anu (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 78 Pages - 03/05/2019 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)
The Kingdom of Kush: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Nubian Empire
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Charles River Editors (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization (Exploding the Myths)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Anthony T. Browder (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Books On The Golden Age of Black History

Africans followed in the footsteps of the Ancestors after the fall of Kemet by building a series of magnificent civilizations.

The Moors in the Maghreb and Iberia pioneered technologies that would change the world – for better and for worse.

The legendary Kingdom of Wagadou (Ghana being the title of its ruler), would give birth to the equally great kingdoms of Mali and Songhai.

And Great Zimbabwe would launch construction projects that mystify the world to this day.

These Black history books tell their story and breathe life into their legacy.

Click any title below for book reviews and where to buy.

The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay: Life in Medieval Africa
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • McKissack, Patricia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
The Story of the Moors in Spain: A History of the Moorish Empire in Europe; their Conquest, Book of Laws and Code of Rites
  • Lane-Poole, Stanley (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 130 Pages - 04/10/2018 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)
The Black Kings of Europe
  • M'Bantu, Anu (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 86 Pages - 03/28/2019 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)
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Black Africans in Renaissance Europe
  • Earle, T. F. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 436 Pages - 12/27/2010 (Publication Date) - Cambridge University Press (Publisher)

Black History Books On The Maafa and Slavery

The Maafa is a kiSwahili word that describes a period of great suffering. Specifically, these Black history books tell the story of our Ancestors from the first military base captured by Europeans on the African Continent in 1514 up to the Berlin Conference of 1884.

Click any title below for book reviews and where to buy.

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Haiti: The First Black Republic
  • Hardcover Book
  • Derenoncourt, Jr. Frantz (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
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The Fortunes of Africa: A 5000-Year History of Wealth, Greed, and Endeavor
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Martin Meredith (Author) - Kevin Stillwell (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
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Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo"
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Zora Neale Hurston (Author) - Robin Miles (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
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The Atlantic Slave Trade in World History (Themes in World History)
  • Black, Jeremy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 190 Pages - 03/17/2015 (Publication Date) - Routledge (Publisher)

Black History Books On Colonialism, Neocolonialism, and Post-Slavery

1884 marked the end of naked slavery and the beginning of colonialism and indentured servitude across the African Continent and Diaspora.

White nations had filled their coffers with Black wealth, and stole Black labor to build their economies.

Meanwhile, the African Continent and Diaspora began to change strategies as well – from one of offense to one of survival.

These Black history books focus on the period from the Berlin Conference until the election of Kwame Nkrumah – the first democratically elected African President in modern times.

Click any title below for book reviews and where to buy.

A History of Pan-African Revolt (The Charles H. Kerr Library)
  • James, C. L. R. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 10/25/2012 (Publication Date) - PM Press (Publisher)
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Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America's First Civil Rights Movement
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Fergus Bordewich (Author) - Peter J. Fernandez (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
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Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Henry Louis Gates (Author) - Dominic Hoffman (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
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Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Martin Meredith (Author) - Matthew Waterson (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
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King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Adam Hochschild (Author) - Geoffrey Howard (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa
41 Reviews
How Europe Underdeveloped Africa
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Walter Rodney (Author) - Mirron Willis (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
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The Scramble for Africa: White Man's Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912
  • Pakenham, Thomas (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 738 Pages - 12/01/1992 (Publication Date) - Avon Books (Publisher)
Swahili: The History and Legacy of Africa’s Indigenous Culture and the Effects of European Colonization
  • Charles River Editors (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 92 Pages - 04/18/2018 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

Black History Books That Cover the 20th Century and Beyond

On March 6, 1957, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana became the first democratically elected President on the African Continent.

His ascent marked the end of the age of colonialism, and the dawn of practical Pan-Africanism.

But the African story is that of one step forward and two steps back. Despite the establishment of the OAAU – the most powerful organization in Black history, a new age of neo-colonialism and white supremacy threatened to wipe out the hard won gains of Africans around the world.

These Black history books explain how we won early victories – and where we lost.

Click any title below for book reviews and where to buy.

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Unseen: Unpublished Black History from the New York Times Photo Archives
  • Hardcover Book
  • Canedy, Dana (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
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Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies
269 Reviews
Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies
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African American History: A Captivating Guide to the People and Events that Shaped the History of the United States
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Captivating History (Author) - Duke Holm (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)

1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African American History
  • Stewart, Jeffrey C. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 05/04/1998 (Publication Date) - Three Rivers Press (Publisher)

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Hitler's Black Victims: The Historical Experiences of European Blacks, Africans and African Americans During the Nazi Era (Crosscurrents in African American History)
  • Lusane, Clarence (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 12/13/2002 (Publication Date) - Routledge (Publisher)

Best Overall Black History Books

These Black history books cover broad swaths of Black history, earning them a place among the best overall books on the subject.

The titles on this list are subjective, so if you believe there is a title that should be included, leave a comment below.

Click any title below for book reviews and where to buy.

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Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D.
460 Reviews
Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D.
Get this Audiobook plus a second, free with audible trial

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They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America (Journal of African Civilizations)
694 Reviews
They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America (Journal of African Civilizations)
  • Random House Trade
  • Van Sertima, Ivan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

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Precolonial Black Africa
115 Reviews
Precolonial Black Africa
  • Chicago Review Press
  • Diop, Cheikh Anta (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

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