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10 Banned Books By Black Authors

Check out and support these 10 Banned Books By Black Authors that frequently show up on banned book lists across the country.

Check out and support these 10 Banned Books By Black Authors that frequently show up on banned book lists across the country.

The censorship of Black authors is nothing new.

For years, books by Black authors have been targeted for censorship, and repression, and banned in school districts and school libraries across the country. This censorship is usually fueled by religious or political beliefs and even parents’ needs to “protect ” their children from things they deem not age appropriate.

But when we remove these books from our libraries and lists, we don’t expand our children’s views or have conversations about lives and thoughts that are unlike their own.

Why read banned books by Black Authors?

I believe in representation.

I believe that Black writers should tell their stories and that children and young adults should have the freedom to read and access these stories and ideas.

But due to the increasing political climate and debates over critical race theory, more books by black authors are being banned than ever before. Books about the Black experience here in the United States are being targeted. And many of these books are on countless reading lists for the most recommended books by black authors.

So at the Beginning of Black History Month, I want to highlight the top banned books by Black authors.

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10 Banned Books By Black Authors


1.I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings By Maya Angelou

One of my favorite books, this book is the first of seven autobiographical works by American writer Maya Angelou, was published in 1969. The book chronicles her life from age 3 through age 16, recounting an unsettled and sometimes traumatic childhood that included rape and racism.

Why is it banned?

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings has been frequently challenged and banned, ostensibly for vulgarity and sexually explicit content.


2.The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

?Angie Thomas’ debut novel was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter, moves daily between starkly different worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the elite suburban prep school she attends.But after witnessing the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend (who was unarmed) at the hands of a police officer, Starr becomes entangled in a national news story. Once a grand jury decides not to indict the police officer for the shooting, a riot ensues. Starr has to decide what to do—and how her words and actions could impact her community

Why is it banned?

The Hate U Give has been challenged and banned for supposedly promoting an anti-police message. Its themes of racial injustice and “vulgar” language have caused the book to be one of the most challenged books of 2017, 2018, and 2020, according to the American Library Association.


3.The Color Purple By Alice Walker

 This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and National Book Award Book is the story of sisters Celie and Nettie and their struggles to maintain their relationship and get back to each other.

Why is it banned?

Banned in schools all over the country since 1984, due to its graphic sexual content and situations of violence and abuse. While “The Color Purple” contains a lot of controversial content, it’s necessary to the story.

Check out and support these 10 Banned Books By Black Authors that frequently show up on banned book lists across the country.

4.The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison’s book The Bluest Eye explores the effects of racism on a young Black girl’s self-image. People in Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove’s neighborhood and school constantly remind her that she is an ugly girl and she struggles with self-hate. She thinks that if she just has blue eyes, everything good and beautiful will come in her life.

Why is it banned?

The Bluest Eye was  removed from shelves in Missouri and Florida school districts. Critical race theory has recently fueled more bans of Toni Morrison’s work . Her books make a regular appearance in the ALA’s top 10 most challenged books, including Beloved and Song of Solomon.

go tell it on the mountain is a banned book by a black author

5. Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin

This semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age story is an American classic. It tells the story of John Grimes, a teenager in 1930s Harlem, and focuses on the role of the Pentecostal Church in the lives of African Americans. John’s struggles and experiences mirror many of the author’s, including an impoverished upbringing in Harlem, a vitriolic father, and a religious conversion.

Why is this book banned?

In 1988, this book was challenged by parents of ninth graders for being “rife with profanity and explicit sex.” It was also challenged in a Hudson Falls, NY school in 1994 for sexual content, language, violence, references to rape, and degrading treatment of women. 

6.Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston

Considered a classic of the Harlem Renaissance, Their Eyes Were Watching God is the tale of Janie Crawford, whose quest for identity takes her on a journey during which she learns what love is, experiences life’s joys and sorrows, and come home to herself in peace.

Why was this book banned?

In 1997, the book was banned in Virginia because parents objected to the language and sexual explicitness, seeming to find fault with Janie’s relationship with the much-younger Tea Cake

7.Hood Feminism By Mikki Kendall

Through a collection of provocative essays, New York Times bestselling author Mikki Kendall offers an in-depth look at the feminist movement and how it often fails to support marginalized people.

Why was this book banned?

Kendall’s book was banned as part of a broader effort to censor discussions about race and sexuality. It was also featured in a list of about 850 books that Texas state representative Matt Krause claimed “made students feel discomfort” due to their content about race and sexuality, urging school libraries to report whether they had any of the books. 

8.All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson

“All Boys Aren’t Blue” is a collection of beautifully personal essays by George M. Johnson. In the book, they share their experience growing up Black and queer. From the bullying and abuse to first loves and special moments with their grandmother, Johnson gives readers a look at everything beautiful and painful of their experience.

Why was this book banned?

This was banned due to profanity and LGBTQ themes, which conservatives are quick to call “sexually explicit” and even “pornographic.” The American Library Association named it one of the 10 most challenged books of 2021.

9.Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

Best friends Claudia and Monday are inseparable, and they lean on one another for just about everything. On the first day of school, Monday is nowhere to be found. Two weeks later, Claudia still hasn’t seen her best friend and realizes something must seriously be wrong. This story is suspenseful and at times violent, yet filled with love and perseverance.This story is reminiscent of the many Black girls who go missing every year in the United States and of the lack of media coverage and police involvement with such cases. 

Why was the book banned?

Parents of children in the Loudoun County School District rallied to get this book banned because of its mentions of sexual abuse and violence. One mother, Patti Menders, even said, “We care about our children. Please get these dirty books out of our schools.”

10 The 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones

“The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative”

Why was the book banned?

bills introduced by state legislators in Arkansas, Iowa, and Mississippi argue that the book misrepresents American history. Two bills call the text “racially divisive” and “revisionist,” while the third claims it “attempts to deny or obfuscate the fundamental principles upon which the United States was founded.”

If you want to read more books with a group of people who want to read diverse books and discuss them, Consider joining My Banned Book Club! Learn More information here.

Other Books Lists You Need To Check Out

15 Books That Every Black Woman Should Own

25 Classic Books by Black Authors that Everyone Should Read