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7 Must-Read Black Biographies From the World Over


Black people in history have done amazing things. We’ve featured seven super interesting biographies about African, Afro-Caribbean, and African-American people.

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Chinua Achebe: A Biography by Ezenwa-Ohaeto

Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian-born novelist, critic, and poet. He was a central figure of modern African literature. His novel, “Things Fall Apart,” remains the most read, translated, and studied African novel. 

Achebe’s biography by Ezenwa-Ohaeto captures how the author’s personal attributes have mixed with historical events to produce the man who invented African literature. The biography is available on Amazon, and you can buy it if you’re interested in learning about Chinua Achebe. 

Nelson Mandela: The Man and the Movement by Mary Benson

Born on July 18, 1918, Nelson Mandela was a South African politician and anti-apartheid activist who served as the country’s first president from 1994 to 1999. He was South Africa’s first black head of state and the first elected in a democratic election.

The Man and the Movement by Mary Benson captures Nelson Mandela’s early life, political involvements, and his journey from 27 years of imprisonment to being the first black South African head of state. 

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Marcus Garvey: Life and Lessons by Robert A. Hill

Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican political activist. He was the first President-General and founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association

He’s one of the Afro-Caribbean heroes who fought really hard for black people, even if it meant risking their own lives. The book ‘Life and Lessons’ by Robert A. Hill, tells the story of Marcus Garvey’s life.

Claude McKay: Rebel Sojourner in the Harlem Renaissance by Wayne F. Cooper

Born on September 15, 1890, in Clarendon, Jamaica, Claude McKay was a Jamaican-American writer and poet. He was a prominent figure during the time of the new Negro movement that started in the beginning of the 20th century. 

Claude McKay was best known for his novel “If We Must Die,” which contributed to the Harlem Renaissance. In the book Rebel Sojourner in the Harlem Renaissance, Wayne F. Cooper explores an interesting, comprehensive account of Claude’s complex, frequently contradictory, and chaotic life.

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Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary by Juan Williams

Thurgood Marshall was an African-American civil rights lawyer and jurist. He served as the United States Supreme Court associate justice between 1967 and 1991.

Marshall was the United States Supreme Court’s first African-American justice. The book Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary by Juan Williams is a must-read for all Americans concerned with the struggle for civil and individual rights. 

In the book, Juan Williams covered the impact and journey of Thurgood through life. The book is available on Amazon both in e-copy and paperback. 

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Queen: The Life and Times of Dinah Washington by Nadine Cohodas

Born on August 29, 1924, Dinah Washington was an African-American pianist and singer. She was among the most famous black female recording artists of the 1950s. Basically a jazz vocalist, Dinah performed and recorded R&B, blues, and traditional pop music. 

Dinah Washington lives large in the book Life and Times of Dinah Washington by Nadine Cohodas. The biography is a revolution of Dinah’s life and work. Nadine Cohodas captures Dinah in all her contradictions. 

Ida: A Sword Among Lions by Paula J. Giddings

Ida Bell was an African-American educator, investigative journalist, and early leader in the civil rights movement. She was among the originators of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

In this biography, Paula J. Giddings captures the life, struggles, and achievements of Ida Bell. It’s a well-researched piece that gives you insider information about who Ida Bell was. The biography is available on Amazon. So you can get the e-copy or paper, depending on your preference. 

The black race worldwide has produced great personalities who made impacts and fought for what they believe in, not minding losing their lives. The seven must-read black biographies covered here give you insider information about the lives, impacts, and struggles of some of the iconic black personalities. 

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Uchenna Agwu
Uchenna Agwu
Hi there! I’m Uchenna Agwu, and I love to write. When I’m not writing, you can usually find me reading books or watching documentaries (I’m a bit of a nerd). But I also like to get out and explore – whether that means going on hikes or checking out new restaurants.


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