These are NYPL’s must-read ‘Black Lives Matter’ books

There’s never been a better time to read up. 

Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a part of the New York Public Library system, has just released its Black Liberation Reading List to mark its 95th anniversary and to respond to the global protests in support of Black Lives Matter.  

The list is 95 books long and focuses on titles by black authors, many whose papers are included in the Schomburg collection: Think James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Ann Petry and Harry Belafonte. The Center’s collections are vast, including everything from manuscripts and photographs to rare books and film, containing over 11 million items.

The list spans everything from fiction to poetry and photography to nonfiction, scholarly work and essays by Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Roxane Gay, Zadie Smith, Ta-Nehisi Coates and many others. 

Roxane Gay's "Bad Feminist" is also on the list.
Roxane Gay’s “Bad Feminist” is also on the list.Getty / Harper Perennial

“While no list can be complete, we wanted to include not just antiracist books, but those that describe Black Liberation in terms of history, poetry and even joy,” said Kevin Young, Director of the Schomburg Center. “Joy is an act of resistance.”

In the next week, the Center will also release a list of 30 Black Liberation titles for young people. Most of the titles on the list can be borrowed for free through the NYPL’s SimplyE e-reader app. You can see the full list here

There are plenty of additional resources for awareness these days too. While you’re reading, tune into a black empowerment playlist. And movie studios are making important films available for free, such as this year’s “Just Mercy” and the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. biopic “Selma.” Other must-watch movies about racism are available to stream on Netflix and more.