October is Black History Month in the UK and so we’re celebrating the people who have contributed to the legacy of Black History so far as we all shape the future.
We’ve chosen to celebrate writers, actors, directors, musicians and important public figures who are not only incredibly talented but who have also achieved amazing things and contributed immensely to Black History as well as to culture on an international scale. These influential and creative artists, revolutionaries and icons continue to inspire regardless of their era or subject.
To start our celebration of Black History Month we are looking at exceptional Black Writers.
You can find the following books in your LRC at University Centre, High Melton and we’ve chosen these particular writers because of their extraordinary talent and contribution to the field of literature, to say the least.
Maya Angelou, was an American writer, poet, actor, activist and producer. This amazing woman has influenced and inspired many people with her autobiographical writing and the part she has played in the civil-rights movement. She received many awards for her various contributions to this world and was recently honoured with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Angelou died in 2014 but her legacy lives on. The musician Beyonce has sampled Maya Angelou’s work in her own music, specifically the song ***Flawless which features a feminist speech by Angelou. A great advocate and spokesperson for black people and women.
To find out more about Maya Angelou you can visit her official website here.
James Baldwin was an iconic playwright, novelist, poet and activist. His major topics in his writing covered not only the pressures he felt as a black man but also as a gay man. He highlighted these issues and faced a lot of controversy but ultimately he prevailed and gave a voice and understanding to so many people who were struggling with the same or similar issues. Baldwin is rightly recognised as a great writer and his lifetime of accomplishments is something he can be incredibly proud of. His work is powerful and poignant and relevant throughout the decades that have passed since he wrote them.
For a more detailed insight into James Baldwin’s life you can read his biography here.
Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winning author. Her work focusses on African-Americans and their history, culture and struggles. She was the first African-American woman to be selected for the Nobel Prize award for her contribution to literature. An amazing talent and a very hard working woman, Morrison has achieved a great deal throughout her career and continues to publish work even now she is her 80’s. Morrison has also branched out into children’s literature and so you can enjoy her work in many ways as well as introducing the younger generation to her powerful voice.
You can read more about Toni Morrison here.
Other black writers we recommend you read: Walter Mosely, Zadie Smith, Andrea Levy, Taiye Selasi, Colson Whitehead, Amiri, Baraka and Alex Haley to mention but a few.