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On this page you will find an extensive bibliography of black women's autobiographies and biographies listed under the following headings and in the following order: Anthologies and Collections, Historical Narratives and Autobiographies, Twentieth Century Autobiographies, (divided into Celebrity Autobiographies and Civil Rights Autobiographies), Contemporary Autobiographies, and Biographies. Click on any of the headings to go to that part of the page.

ANTHOLOGIES AND COLLECTIONS [return to top of page]

Bell-Scott, Patricia. Life Notes: Personal Writings by Contemporary Black Women. New York: W. W. Norton, 1994.

Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Jacqueline Jones Royster, Janet Sims-Wood, Miriam DeCosta-Willis, and Lucille P. Fultz, editors. Double Stitch: Black Women Write about Mothers and Daughters, 1991

Cade (Bambara), Toni, ed. The Black Woman: An Anthology. New York: Signet, 1970.

Hurmence, Belinda, ed. Before Freedom: 48 Oral Histories of Former North and South Carolina Slaves. New York: Mentor, 1990

Lerner, Gerda, ed. Black Women in White America: A Documentary History. New York: Pantheon, 1972.

Loewenberg, Bert, and Ruth Bogin, eds. Black Women in 19th Century American Life. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1976

Mellon, James, ed. Bullwhip Days: The Slaves Remember. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988

Perdue, Charles L., Jr., Thomas E. Barden and Robert K. Phillips, ed. Weevils in the Wheat. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1976

Sterling, Dorothy, ed. We Are Your Sisters: Black Women in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Norton, 1984



Andrews, William L., ed. Sisters of the Spirit: Three Black Women’s Autobiographies of the Nineteenth Century. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986. (Jarena Lee, Zilpha Elaw, Julia A. J. Foote)

Bass, Charlotta Spears. Forty Years: Memoirs from the Pages of a Newspaper. Los Angeles: C.A. Bass, 1979 (First published 1960)

Billingsley, Ray A., ed. The Journal of Charlotte L. Forten: A Free Negro in the Slave Era. New York: Dryden Press, 1953.

Burton, Annie L. Memoirs of Childhood’s Slavery Days. Boston: Ross Publishing, 1909 (Electronic edition online at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1996)

Cooper, Anna Julia. A Voice from the South: By a Black Women of the South. Xenia, Ohio: Aldine Printing House, 1892.

Coppin, Fannie Jackson, Reminiscences of School Life, and Hints on Teaching. Philadelphia: African Episcopal Concern, 1913

DeCosta-Willis, Miriam, ed. The Memphis Diary of Ida B. Wells. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995.

Duster, Alfreda, ed. Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970.

Gilbert, Olive, comp. Narrative of Sojourner Truth, A Bondwoman of Olden Time. New York: Arno, 1968. (First published in 1878)

Greene, Frances Whipple, ed. Memoirs of Elleanor Eldridge. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1971 (First published 1838)

Gould, Lois Virginia Meacham. Chained to the Rock of Adversity: The Letters that Family and Friends Wrote to Anne and Anna Johnson and the Diary of Katherine Johnson, 1844-1900. (Forthcoming)

Hull, Gloria, ed. Give Us Each Day: The Diary of Alice Dunbar-Nelson. New York: W. W. Norton, 1984.

Humez, Jean McMahon. Gifts of Power: The Writings of Rebecca Cox Jackson, Black Visionary, Shaker Eldress 1981

Jacobs, Harriet A. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself. Edited and with an introduction by Jean Fagan Yellin. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987 (First published in 1861 under the pseudonym Linda Brent).

Johnson, Kathryn and Addie Hunton. Two Colored Women with the American Expeditionary Forces. New York: G. K. Hall, 1997. (First published 1922).

Keckley, Elizabeth. Behind the Scenes; or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Richardson, Marilyn, ed. Maria W. Stewart, America's First Black Woman Political Writer: Essays and Speeches. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1979.

Stewart, Maria. Productions of Mrs. Maria W. Stewart. Boston: W. Lloyd Garrison & Knapp, 1832.

Taylor, Susie Baker King. Reminiscences of my Life in Camp with the 33rd U. S. Colored Troops, Late 1st South Carolina Volunteers, 1902. Published as A Black Woman's Civil War Memoirs, ed. by Patricia W. Romero with an introduction by Willie Lee Rose. New York: Markus Wiener Publishing, 1988

Terrell, Mary Church. A Colored Woman in a White World. Washington, D. C.: Randsell Publishing Co., 1940

Wilson, Harriet E. Our Nig; or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black. Introduction and notes by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. New York: Vintage, 1983. (First published in 1859)


Celebrity Autobiographies [return to top of page]

Anderson, Marion. My Lord, What a Morning, 1956

Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. New York: Random House, 1969.
---, Gather Together in My Name. New York: Random House, 1974
---, Singing and Swinging like Christmas. New York: Random House, 1976
---, The Heart of a Woman. New York: Bantam Books, 1981.
---, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes. New York: Random House, 1986

Bailey, Pearl. The Raw Pearl. New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1968.

Bailey, Pearl. Talking to Myself. New York, 1971

Bailey, Pearl. Between You and Me. 1989.

Brooks, Gwendolyn. Report from Part One. Detroit: Broadside Press, 1972

Carroll, Diahann, with Ross Firestone. Diahann : An Autobiography. Boston : Little, Brown, 1986.

Clifton, Lucille. Generations: A Memoir. 1976

Dunham, Katherine. A Touch of Innocence. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1959

Gibson, Althea, edited by Ed Fitzgerald. I Always Wanted to Be Somebody. New York: Harper, 1958

Gibson, Althea, with Richard Curtis. So Much to Live For. New York: Putnam, 1968

Holiday, Billie and William Dufty. Lady Sings the Blues. 1956

Horne, Lena. Lena. New York: Doubleday, 1965.

Jordan, Barbara and Shely Hearn. Barbara Jordan: Self Portrait.

Jordan, Barbara, with James Haskins. Barbara Jordan. New York: Dial, 1977.

Joyner-Kersee, Jackie, with Sonja Steptoe. A Kind of Grace : the Autobiography of the World's Greatest Female Athlete. New York : Warner Books, 1997.

Kitt, Eartha. Alone with Me. 1976

Kitt, Eartha. Confessions of a Sex Kitten. 1991

Lord, Audre. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. Waterton, Mass: Persephone Press, 1982

Lord, Audre. The Cancer Journals. 1980
Makeba, Miriam. My Story. New York: New American Library, 1987.

Ringgold, Faith. We Flew Over the Bridge. Boston: Bullfinch Press, 1995.

Rudolph, Wilma. Wilma. 1977

Smith, Ada (Bricktop) with James Haskins. Bricktop. 1983.

Turner, Tina. What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Walker, Margaret. How I Wrote Jubilee. Old Westbury, N. Y.: Feminist Press, 1972.

Waters, Ethel, with Charles Samuels; new preface by Donald Bogle. His Eye Is on the Sparrow : an Autobiography. New York : Da Capo Press, 1992.

Civil Rights Autobiographies [return to top of page]

Bates, Daisy. The Long Shadow of Little Rock. New York: David McKay, Inc., 1962

Boynton, Amelia. Bridge across Jordan. Revised and expanded edition, Washington, D. C.: Schiller Institute, 1991

Brown, Elaine. A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story. New York: Pantheon, 1993.

Chisholm, Shirley. Unbought and Unbossed. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1962.

Clark, Septima Poinsette, Echo in My Soul. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1962

Davis, Angela. Angela Davis: An Autobiography. New York: International Publishers, 1988

Evers, Myrlie with William Peters. For Us the Living. Jackson, Mississippi: Banner Books, 1996 (First published 1967)

Kennedy, Florynce. Color Me Flo: My Hard Life and Good Times. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1976

Garrow, David, ed. The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It: The Memoir of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1987

Hedgeman, Anna Arnold. The Trumpet Sounds: A Memoir of Negro Leadership. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1964.

King, Coretta Scott. My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1969.

King, Mary. Freedom Song: A Personal Story of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. New York: William Morrow, 1977.

Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi. New York: Dial Press, 1968

Murray, Pauli. Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family. New York: Harper and Row, 1978.

Murray, Pauli. Pauli Murray: The Autobiography of a Black Activist, Feminist, Lawyer, Priest, and Poet. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1987.


Berry, Bertice. Bertice: the World According to Me (l996).

Campbell, Bebe Moore. Sweet Summer: Growing Up with and without My Dad. New York: Putnam, 1989

Cary, Lorene. Black Ice. New York: Knopf, l99l.

Chambers, Veronica. Mama's Girl. New York: Riverhead Press, l996.

Cole, Johnetta. Conversations: Straight Talk with America’s Sister President. New York: Doubleday, 1993.

James, Kay Coles with Jacquelline Cobb Fuller. Never Forget. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992.

Jones, Lisa. Bulletproof Diva: Tales of Race, Sex, and Hair. New York: Doubleday, 1994.

Gibson, Aliona L. Nappy: Growing up Black and Female in America. New York: Harlem River Press, l995.

hooks, bell. Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood (l996)

Lyles, Charlise. Do I Dare Disturb the Universe? (l994).

McClain, Leanita. A Foot in Each World: Essays and Articles by Leanita Mcclain, edited by Clarence Page (l986).

Mazloomian, Kemba Saran. To Dine with the Blameless Ethiopians (l996).

Njeri, Itabari. The Last Plantation: Color, Conflict, and Identity: Reflections of a New World Black (1997).

Walker, Alice. Anything We Love Can Be Saved (l997)


BIOGRAPHIES [return to top of page]

Bearden, Jim and Linda Jean Butler. Shadd: The Life and Times of Mary Ann Shadd. Toronto: NC Press, 1977 (First published 1971)

Brown, Hallie Quinn. Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction. Xenia, Ohio: Aldine Printing House, 1926.

Crawford, Vicki L. Jacqueline Rouse, and Barbara Woods, eds. Women in the Civil Rights Movement: Trailblazers and Torchbearers, 1941-1965. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Carlson, 1990.

Gabel, Leona C. From Slavery to the Sorbonne and Beyond: The Life and Writings of Anna J. Cooper. Northampton, Mass.: Smith College, 1982.

Mabee, Carleton, Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend. New York: New York University Press, 1993.

Majors, Monroe. Noted Negro Women, Their Triumphs and Activities. Chicago: Donohue & Henneberry, 1893.

Rouse, Jacqueline Ann. Lugenia Burns Hope: Black Southern Reformer. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1989

Sterling, Dorothy. Black Foremothers: Three Lives. Old Westbury, N.Y.: Feminist Press, 1979 (Ellen Craft, Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell)

Williams, Richard E. Called and Chosen: The Story of Mother Rebecca Jackson and the Philadelphia Shakers. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1981

Minnie Choice, four years old, 1876.
Austin/Thompson Collection