Clockwise: Nicole Sealey, Ishion Hutchinson, Marilyn Nelson, How Nguyen, Cathy Park Hong, WS Merwin

Sonnets by 11 Contemporary Poets

The name of this fourteen-line poetic form comes from the Italian sonetto, meaning "a little sound or song."
Clockwise: Kevin Young, Gwendolyn Brooks, Elizabeth Alexander, Mary Jo Bang, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Jack Gilbert

10 Contemporary Elegies

In these poems of lament, the speaker expresses grief and sorrow.
Illustration from the cover of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower

How Octavia E. Butler Became a Legend

The early inspiration and experiences that shaped the visionary science fiction storyteller.

Poems by 10 Contemporary Black Poets

Poems by Black poets, including Morgan Parker, Hanif Abdurraqib, Simone White, Terrance Hayes, and more.
The 135th St Branch of the New York Public Library

JSTOR Companion to the Schomburg Center’s Black Liberation Reading List

JSTOR has created an open library to support readers seeking to engage with BIPOC+Q-authored reading lists like the one developed by the New York Public Library.
Zora Neale Hurston, 1937

Zora Neale Hurston

In a controversial letter, the versatile author expressed frustration with critics of segregation.
A collage of book covers

What We’re Reading in 2020

Funk music, floating cities, poetic prose, and a return to the classics.
Paulette Nardal

What Was the Black International?

The twentieth-century struggle for African independence began in Paris salons hosted by the daughters of elite blacks, then travelled by telegram and steamship.
Alice Childress, Paul Robeson and Lorraine Hansberry

In the McCarthy Era, to Be Black Was to Be Red

The Marxist sympathies of Black radical leaders like Paul Robeson, Alice Childress, and Lorraine Hansberry made them targets for the FBI.
Student in a Black Studies class in a west side Chicago classroom, 1973

African American Studies: Foundations and Key Concepts

This non-exhaustive list of readings in African American Studies highlights the vibrant history of the discipline and introduces the field.