Extraordinary Black Women in American History

Kids can learn a lot from real-life heroes who stood up for justice and equality, made a name for themselves in their chosen fields, and made their country and the world a better place. This list offers picture books, biographies, memoirs, and nonfiction stories of women who had the strength and perseverance to overcome obstacles, break barriers, and make history, from Harriet Tubman to Rosa Parks, first African American female astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison to first Black U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris. For other inspiring stories, check out Books with Stories of Extraordinary Women and Civil Rights Books

Browse Extraordinary Black Women in American History

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race Book Poster Image
Picture book intro to important, inspirational story.
By Margot Lee Shetterly, Winifred Conkling
(2018)
(2018)
Continue reading
Jazz Age Josephine Book Poster Image
Jazzy bio of Josephine Baker inspiring, bittersweet.
By Jonah Winter
(2012)
(2012)
Continue reading
Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice Book Poster Image
Inspiring, colorful story of senator's lifetime of work.
By Nikki Grimes
(2020)
(2020)
Continue reading
Mae Among the Stars Book Poster Image
Simple bio of first African American female astronaut.
By Roda Ahmed
(2018)
(2018)
Continue reading
Rosa Book Poster Image
Spectacular illustrations spotlight Parks' historic protest.
By Nikki Giovanni
(2006)
(2006)
Continue reading
I Am Harriet Tubman: Ordinary People Change the World Book Poster Image
Courage, doing the right thing are themes in thrilling bio.
By Brad Meltzer
(2018)
(2018)
Continue reading
The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial Book Poster Image
Inspiring, educational story of 1800s civil rights heroes.
By Susan E. Goodman
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
Ida B. Wells: Discovering History's Heroes Book Poster Image
Inspiring biography of courageous civil rights pioneer.
By Diane Bailey
(2020)
(2019)
Continue reading
The Legendary Miss Lena Horne Book Poster Image
Solid intro to singer, movie star, civil rights activist.
By Carole Boston Weatherford
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Counting the Stars: The Story of Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician Book Poster Image
Beautiful, detailed Katherine Johnson bio for older kids.
By Lesa Cline-Ransome
(2019)
(2019)
Continue reading
Finish the Fight: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote Book Poster Image
Inspiring history of the suffrage movement's women of color.
By Veronica Chambers, The Staff of the New York Times
(2020)
(2020)
Continue reading
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History Book Poster Image
Inspirational bios of trailblazing African American women.
By Vashti Harrison
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Madam C.J. Walker Builds a Business Book Poster Image
Inspiring bio of wealthy Black female entrepreneur in 1800s.
By Rebel Girls
(2019)
(2019)
Continue reading
Women Who Broke The Rules: Coretta Scott King Book Poster Image
A detailed, accessible biography of a civil rights icon.
By Kathleen Krull
(2016)
(2016)
Continue reading
Never Caught, the Story of Ona Judge: George and Martha Washington's Courageous Slave Who Dared to Run Away; Young Readers Edition Book Poster Image
Riveting bio is a great resource for teaching about slavery.
By Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Kathleen Van Cleve
(2019)
(2019)
Continue reading
This Is Your Time Book Poster Image
Powerful true tale of girl who desegregated school in 1960.
By Ruby Bridges
(2020)
(2020)
Continue reading
Betty Before X Book Poster Image
Inspiring, intimate story of activist's early years.
By Ilyasah Shabazz, Renée Watson
(2018)
(2018)
Continue reading
Brown Girl Dreaming Book Poster Image
Captivating poems depict coming-of-age in tumultuous 1960s.
By Jacqueline Woodson
(2014)
(2014)
Continue reading
Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith Book Poster Image
Inspiring autobiography by Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas.
By Gabrielle Douglas, Michelle Burford
(2013)
(2012)
Continue reading
Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematican Katherine Johnson Book Poster Image
Must-read true story of trailblazing NASA mathematician.
By Katherine Johnson
(2019)
(2019)
Continue reading
Streetcar to Justice: How Elizabeth Jennings Won the Right to Ride in New York Book Poster Image
Inspiring story of resisting segregation in 1850s New York.
By Amy Hill Hearth
(2018)
(2018)
Continue reading
This Promise of Change: One Girl's Story in the Fight for School Equality Book Poster Image
Compelling, inspiring memoir of integrating Southern school.
By Jo Ann Allen Boyce, Debbie Levy
(2019)
(2019)
Continue reading
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March Book Poster Image
Vivid recollections of a teen girl in the Selma march.
By Lynda Blackmon Lowery, Elspeth Leacock, Susan Buckley
(2015)
(2015)
Continue reading
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement Book Poster Image
Frank, poetic picture book bio has dazzling art.
By Carole Boston Weatherford
(2016)
(2015)
Continue reading
March Forward Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine Book Poster Image
Must-read memoir of a childhood in the segregated South.
By Melba Pattillo Beals
(2018)
(2018)
Continue reading
Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case Book Poster Image
Powerful true tale of mixed-race couple's fight for justice.
By Patricia Hruby Powell
(2017)
(2017)
Continue reading
Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance Book Poster Image
Uplifting memoir of teen Olympic medalist, ex-foster kid.
By Simone Biles, Michelle Burford
(2017)
(2016)
Continue reading
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice Book Poster Image
Dramatic story of forgotten teen civil rights hero.
By Phillip M. Hoose
(2009)
(2009)
Continue reading
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Book Poster Image
Poetic autobiography reveals impact of racial prejudice.
By Maya Angelou
(2011)
(1969)
Continue reading