Black Historical Fiction Decades Reading Challenge



Read about a piece of Black history for every decade of the twentieth century. The Black Historical Fiction Decades Challenge starts with a literary classic, The Souls of Black Folk, and ends with a fictional novel set against the backdrop of the 1992 Rodney King riots (The Black Kids).

If you're a fan of historical fiction and learning about new perspectives, this challenge is for you.


Please note that all links in this blog are affiliate links.


The Souls of Black Folk

by W.E.B. Du Bois

1900s

Collection of essays first published in 1903. Key literature of Black protest.



The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had

by Kristin Levine

1910s

Inspired by family history, two children (one black, one white) befriend each other against the odds.



Dead Dead Girls

by Nekesa Afia

1920s

Harlem Renaissance murder mystery. When Black girls start getting murdered in Harlem, the NYPD unexpectedly turns to Louise Lloyd, a former kidnapping victim, to help solve the case.



Under The Tulip Tree

by Michelle Shocklee

1930s

Centered around the Federal Writers Project detailing former slave stories.



Sisters in Arms

by Kaia Alderson

1940s

The untold, true story of Six Triple Eight, the only all-Black battalion of the Women's Army Corps.



The Darkest Child

by Delores Phillips

1950s

Follows a mixed family and their abusive mother. Talks about lynching, colorism, and school integration.



The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

1960s

Two Black women share their stories with a journalist about working with white families before Jim Crow.



Take My Hand

by Dolen Perkins Valdez

1970s

A fictionalized retelling of the story of the Reif sisters, who were forcibly sterilized by the US government.



American Spy

by Lauren Wilkinson

1980s

Follows a Black woman as she spies for the United States during the Cold War.



The Black Kids

by Christina Hammonds Reed

1990s

An upper-middle-class Black girl is forced to take sides between race and class when the 1992 Rodney King riots break out in Los Angeles.



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