10 Fun Facts About Influential Black Authors

When only 12% of children’s books were created by authors and illustrators of color in 2016, it’s important that we celebrate and encourage diversity in publishing. For Black History Month, we’ve compiled a list of 10 authors who we think have made an influence with their work.

1) Toni Morrison

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Notable works: Beloved, The Bluest Eye, Sula

Fun Fact: Morrison won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Beloved 


2) James Baldwin 

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Notable works: Go Tell It on the Mountain, The Fire Next TimeGiovanni’s Room

Fun Fact: He graced the May 1963 cover of Time magazine


3) Maya Angelou 

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Notable works: I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsAnd Still I Rise

Fun Fact: Angelou received over 30 honorary Doctoral Degrees from Universities around the world 


4) Alice Walker

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Notable works: The Color Purple

Fun Fact: Walker was the first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1983 


5) Zora Neale Hurston

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Notable works: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Fun Fact: Hurston was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance


6) Langston Hughes

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Notable works: The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues

Fun Fact: One of his most famous poems, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” was published in his teens 


7) Frederick Douglass (someone getting recognized more and more)

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Notable works: Narrative of the Life of Frederick DouglassMy Bondage and My Freedom

Fun Fact: “Douglass was nominated for Vice President of the United States as a member of the Equal Rights Party in 1872.”


8) August Wilson

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Notable works: Fences, JitneyThe Piano Lesson

Fun Fact: Wilson won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his plays Fences and The Piano Lesson


9) Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Notable works: Between the World and MeThe Beautiful Struggle

Fun Fact: Coates won the National Book Award for Between the World and Me 


10) Claudia Rankine 

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Notable works: Citizen, Don’t Let Me Be LonelyPlot

Fun Fact: Rankine was a National Book Award finalist for Citizen 


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