Black History Month 2012: African-American Female Authors and Poets

Black History Month Collage
Pictured above: Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune (founder of Bethune-Cookman University and unofficial advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt), Ella Fitzgerald (musician and first African-American woman to win a Grammy Award), Marian Anderson (contralto singer and first African-American to sing at the New York Metropolitan Opera), and Shirley Chisholm (politician and first African-American woman elected to U.S. Congress)

February is Black History Month, and this year’s theme is “Black Women in American Culture and History.” As part of the library’s celebration of Black History Month, we would like to honor African-American female authors and poets by promoting their literature, so we’ve created a list of authors (below) with links to their works in the DBRL library catalog.

While this list focuses on female authors who write literature for adults rather than children’s literature (including writers of urban fiction and urban christian fiction, among other genres including novels, short stories, poetry, and some non-fiction), we have made an effort to cover the library’s collection as comprehensively as possible. Please leave a comment if you notice mistakes or omissions.

Happy reading!

African-American Female Authors and Poets at DBRL:

Jenoyne Adams
Rochelle Alers
Elizabeth Alexander
Janice Angelique
Maya Angelou
Tina McElroy Ansa
Frankie Y. Bailey
T. N. Baker
Toni Cade Bambara
Asha Bandele
Leslie Esdaile Banks  (AKA L.A. Banks )
Jonetta Rose Barras
Eleanor Taylor Bland
Kola Boof
Dionne Brand
Connie Briscoe
Gwendolyn Brooks
Tracy Brown
Anita R. Bunkley
Shana Johnson Burton
Octavia E. Butler
Bebe Moore Campbell
Monica P. Carter
Xam Wilson Cartier
Lorene Cary
Barbara Chase-Riboud
Farai Chideya
Barbara T. Christian
Lucille Clifton
Wahida Clark
Anita Scott Coleman
Bettye Collier-Thomas
Anna J. Cooper
J. California Cooper
Ellen Craft
Hannah Crafts
Edwidge Danticat
Julie Dash
Angela Y. Davis
Belva Davis
Keshia Dawn
Toi Derricotte
Anita Doreen Diggs
Rita Dove
Sharon M. Draper
Tananarive Due
Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson
Katherine Dunham
Grace F. Edwards
Keisha Ervin
Lolita Files
Nancey Flowers
Karyn Langhorne Folan
Gwynne Forster
Sharon Ewell Foster
Nina Foxx
Lise Funderburg
Pat G’Orge-Walker
Nikki Giovanni
Marita Golden
Ashea S. Goldson
Linda Dominique Grosvenor
Rosa Guy
Shirley Hailstock
Patricia Haley
Lorraine Hansberry
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Allison Hobbs
Geneva Holliday
bell hooks (intentionally uncapitalized)
Nalo Hopkinson
La Jill Hunt
Angel Hunter
Kristin Hunter
Charlayne Hunter-Gault
Zora Neale Hurston
Anna J.
Angela Jackson
Monica Jackson
Sheneska Jackson
Harriet A. Jacobs
Beverly Jenkins
Yolanda Joe  (AKA Ardella Garland)
Angela Johnson
Stephanie A. F. Johnson
Gayl Jones
June Jordan
Joylynn Jossel
E. N. Joy
Jamaica Kincaid
Coretta Scott King
Joy Deja King (AKA Deja King)
Sandra Kitt
Slim Lambright (AKA Evelyn Lambright)
Michelle Larks
Nella Larsen
Sylvia Lett
Shelia Lipsey
Benilde Little
Audre Lorde
Gloria Mallette

Many thanks to the University of Pennsylvania for their excellently researched list of female African-American authors, which was heavily used in compiling this list.


About Emily Kickinson

Emily Kickinson, the alter ego of a mild-mannered library employee, spends a lot of time fighting crime. Unlike her real-life counterpart, she is good at comebacks, uses sarcasm appropriately, and has bright blue hair. If she could have one superpower, she'd be torn between flying and shooting lasers from her eyes. In the wild, Emily can be spotted actually hugging trees.
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