H-F Librarians Book Recommendations for Black History Month and Beyond


Photo by Joe in D.C., Creative Commons

The cover of March: Book One by John Lewis. The book is the first of its trilogy and was released in 2015.

Faith Lee, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Black History Month is condensed into the shortest month of the year, leaving many who want to learn more about African-American history scrambling to find useful resources. In order to shed light on African-American literature and keep the conversation of Black authors going beyond Black History Month, we reached out to the H-F librarians for recommendations on good books to read. 

H-F librarian Jane Harper recommends, “March: Book One” by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. The novel details the life of Congressman John Lewis and his fight for racial equality from segregation to the modern age.

Harper’s recommendation: “It is so hard to recommend just one book, particularly now, because the publishing industry has finally responded to the demand for diverse voices in fiction and non-fiction. So, there are a lot of new books by Black authors in every imaginable area. But I do often recommend March: Book One, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. 

It is a graphic novel, and the first in a trilogy that is a memoir of the late Congressman, John Lewis, and chronicles his lifelong struggle for civil rights and human rights. His story is very personal, and as readers we experience many events of the civil rights movement through his eyes. Book One starts with his childhood in rural Alabama, his chance meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr.,the founding of the Nashville Student Movement and their mission to end segregation through non-violent lunch counter sit-ins.  

The powerful writing and illustrations make us feel like eyewitnesses, truly bringing history to life. Anyone who reads it should be prepared for an emotional experience. I can see why this book is so popular among students. 

We have all three books in the March Trilogy in the library, as well as eBook editions in Sora, our digital book platform. It is so important to celebrate Black voices in literature, and in every field, be it history, politics, entertainment, drama, sports, poetry, culinary arts, fine arts — if an area interests you, you will find a text written by a Black author that adds their perspective and experience to the conversation. It’s something we don’t want to save for one month out of the year. Instead, everyday, try to read something new by a Black author, even if it is just a page or two of a book, or one poem, or an article you find online.”

You can check out “March: Book One,” and other books on Black history at the H-F library or online at the library’s digital book platform, Sora. For more recommendations and useful resources, visit the H-F library blog