by Anthony Jerrod
As the late British scholar and writer C.S. Lewis once stated, “Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.” Indeed, throughout history, humanity has been blessed to explore beautiful expressions of excellent writers such as Herman Melville, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Virginia Woolf, Robert Frost, Pablo Neruda, George Santayana, Frantz Fanon, T.S. Eliot, Anton Chekhov, Walt Whitman and Jhumpa Lahiri.
Oftentimes, rich literary treasures are not associated with writers of African descent, but objective evidence has shown and continues to denote that some of the world’s finest books have evolved from the minds of black authors. Whether fiction or non-fiction, these writings have been important not only as poignant reflections of reality, but also as interesting opportunities for cross-cultural understanding.
The following books represent 13 of the best works of African-American non-fiction. Americans, regardless of ethnicity, gender or religion stand to gain a great deal from these enriching and empowering texts.