Black History Month Books
Black History Month Book Club
In honor of Black History Month, we are reading books by Oprah Winfrey, Elaine Welteroth, Maya Angelou, and Shonda Rhimes.
In honor of Black History Month we rounded up four of our favorite books by Black authors. From American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou’s memorable and inspiring memoir to award winning television producer Shonda Rhimes’ autobiographical tale of the year she said “Yes!”... to everything, join this month’s book club, below.
The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations
By Oprah Winfrey
Spirituality. Healing. Connection. Forgiveness. Love.
Based on Oprah’s Emmy award-winning daytime series Super Soul Sunday, The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights From Super Soul Conversations chronicles epiphanies of soul-expanding insight and inspiration. Oprah interviews contemporary thought-leaders, award-winners, bestsellers, visionaries, and renowned teachers and authors to discover a deeper connection to the world around us and awaken us to life’s possibilities. Tony Robbins, Shonda Rhimes, Thich Nhat Hahn, Wayne Dyer, Cheryl Strayed, and Elizabeth Gilbert are among those interviewed and each feature begins with a personal essay written by Oprah in which she personally explores these ideas.
A must-read for anyone hoping to open their heart and mind, Oprah’s self-proclaimed “offering” to the world is as candid as it is forgiving, as soul-expanding as it is grounding, and as healing as it is inspiring.
Perhaps the most well-known television host of our time, Oprah Winfrey is a global media leader, TV personality, philanthropist, producer, actress, and entrepreneur. Born January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississiper, Oprah moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin at age 6 to live with her mother and then to Nashville, Tennessee to live with her father in her early teens. She received a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, and, although she left to pursue a career in broadcasting, graduated in 1986. When she was 19 she became a news anchor for the local CBS television station in Nashville, and worked her way to host the talk show AM Chicago, which in 1985 was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show. The show became the highest-rated television talk show in the United States and went on to earn several Emmy Awards.
Oprah created Oprah’s Angel Network, which sponsors charitable initiatives worldwide including a $40 million school she opened for disadvantaged girls in South Africa in 2007. She is known as an outspoken opponent of child abuse and, in 2010, was named a Kennedy Center honoree. In 2011, she received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and in 2013 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Oprah won the Cecil B. DeMille Award, which is a Golden Globe for lifetime achievement, in 2018. She has written several self-help books and memoirs including The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose (2019) and What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing (2021).
More Than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)
By Elaine Welteroth
Revolutionary editor (at the age of 29, she became the second person of African-American heritage in Condé Nast’s 107-year history to be named an editor-in-chief as she assumed the title for Teen Vogue), ceiling shatterer, and groundbreaking journalist Elaine Welteroth shows us what it means to come into our own on our own terms in her part-manifesto, part-memoir More Than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are (No Matter What They Say). Credited as the person who infused social consciousness into Teen Vogue as an editor there (she was also the first person of African American heritage to be an editor at Condé Nast and the second youngest person), Welteroth has been shattering ceilings throughout her careers in media and fashion. Her memoir recounts her childhood as the product of an interracial marriage in small-town California–a union that was highly unlikely at the time–to her experience as a young boss who was often the only Black woman in the room.
Welteroth has been at the forefront of social change, and her memoir details the difficulties of being a barrier-breaker. She unpacks her intersectional lessons, from race and identity to success and failure, all with impeccable style. Throughout her novel, Welteroth comes to realize she is more than enough, that the world will convince her otherwise, and that she must rely on herself.
Year Of YES: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person
By Shonda Rhimes
In Year Of YES: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person–an instant New York Times Best-Seller–Shonda Rhimes–one of the most powerful women in Hollywood, creator and executive producer of TV shows loved worldwide like Grey’s Anatomy & Scandal, and mother of three details her Year of YES. The concept–as an introvert, Rhimes was comfortable saying no to everything that scared her–from Hollywood parties and speaking engagements to media appearances and everything in between–for one year, she said YES.
This heart-warming, hilarious, relatable, and poignant memoir chronicles everything from Rhimes’ childhood as a book-loving introvert to her devotion to creating TV characters that resembled the people and world around her. It explores her life before and after her Year of Yes, during which time she learned to explore, applaud, empower, and love her truest self.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
By Maya Angelou
“The truth is you never can really leave home, you take it with you everywhere you go.”
Maya Angelou’s debut memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is an American classic that is beloved worldwide. It details the childhoods of Angelou and her brother Bailey as they are sent by their parents to live with their paternal grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas, a small Southern town. They experience the pain of abandonment from their mother and the prejudice of the segregated town.
One of the most legendary women in America, Maya Angelou was an activist, poet, dancer, singer, and world-famous author. Born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, she primarily grew up in the deeply segregated South in Stamps, Arkansas with her grandmother, uncle, and brother Bailey after her parents separated when she was four. She lived in Stamps until she was 13 and then she went to live with her mother in Oakland, California. There she attended George Washington High School and took drama and dance classes at the California Labor School prior to the start of World War II. After initially being rejected from the Women’s Army Corps due to her race, Angelou was eventually accepted for a position as a streetcar conductor and became the first African American woman to work as a streetcar conductor in San Francisco. She graduated from Mission High School in 1944; shortly after, she gave birth to her son Clyde Bailey (Guy) Johnson. She married Tosh Angelos in 1949 and, although they divorced in 1952, kept a version of his surname throughout her life.
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is as powerful as it is tragic and as mysterious as it is beautiful.