10 Best Books About Slavery Fiction Update 05/2022

It is one of the darkest parts of human history. The transatlantic slave trade was held up by colonial powers and backed by aristocrats in the West. Thousands of people were enslaved and stripped of every human right because of it. Here are eight books that you should read to learn more about a painful time in human history.

Kindred by Octavia. E. Butler

Kindred is a mix of slave memoir, history, and fantasy. One of the best books ever written was written by a black woman in 1976. The book is a powerful metaphor for how African Americans live today. American culture has been etched so deeply with the history of racism, slavery, and abuse that even today, it’s still there. Kindred is not only well-written, but it is also very moving.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

For more than 300 years, Ghana has been a part of the world. Homegoing is a powerful book that tells that story. A half-sister, Esi, and her half-brother, Effia, grow up and live in two very different places. If you want to be rich, you have to marry a rich white man. At Cape Coast Castle, you can live like a princess while Esi is kept in a dungeon with a lot of other slaves. Her descendants will be forced to work. It shows both the history of Ghana and the slavery in the United States. Yaa Gyasi tells the stories of people whose lives were shaped by history.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

In simple terms, Beloved is a beautiful picture of a woman who is haunted by her past. Based on real events, this book is all about slavery, how to get out of slavery, and what happens after you do that, too. Toni Morrison’s powerful writing is seen as a way to show how a slave’s mind is filled with dark, painful, and disgusting memories. This book asks the reader to put in a little work to fully understand what a slave thinks. A story called “Beloved” talks about shame and desperation. It also talks about guilt, bad things, and how to keep going. If you want to understand it, you should read it a lot.

Roots: the Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley

Another powerful historical novel based on real events follows the main character, Kunta Kinte, from the Gambia, West Africa, where he was kidnapped, to Virginia, where he was forced to work on a plantation. roots is not just for black people or for white people, but for everyone and everyone from every race and every culture. Roots tells a heartfelt story about the strength of the human spirit. Haley’s book about American history has become a classic in the genre.

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron

In 1831, Nat Turner is in a cell in a prison in Virginia, where he is going to die. He is a slave, a preacher, and the leader of the only successful slave revolt in history. To his jailers, William Styron wrote a big and beautiful book about how Turner confessed to them, but only under the pressure of his God. This book talks about the humiliation, betrayal, and cruelty of slavery. You need to read this book to understand the depths of slavery. It won the Pulitzer Prize.

William Styron, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, wrote a controversial book about a Black slave named Nat Turner. The book tells his story in first-person. There were many white people killed by slaves in Virginia in 1831 when Nat led them in a fight. After he’s caught, a smug lawyer, Thomas Gray, tells him to “confess” his crimes. A prison cell flashback is how Nat Turner tells his story as he awaits death.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Hetty is a city slave who wants to leave the suffocating walls of the Grimke house where she lives. There are rules for women that make it hard for the Grimke family’s youngest daughter, Sarah, to be herself. Kidd’s novel is based on the lives of Hetty and Sarah, and it’s a big story. This masterpiece of hope, bravery, and the search for freedom shows off Kidd’s storytelling power and imagination in a big way.

Philida by André Brink

Philida is a story that will stay with you for a long time. It is set in South Africa in the 1830s. People will be amazed by this story about a woman who is very independent. She won’t settle for anything or anyone. Philida is a good book to read if you want to learn more about history and see a great life story.

Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen

Sarny, a young slave girl living on a plantation in the 1850s, meets John, who has been recaptured and is now back on the plantation. In John’s job, he helps Sarny learn to read and write. If you are caught, you will die by having your parts cut off. Gary Paulsen’s groundbreaking book is a well-researched, historically accurate, and beautiful depiction of a dark time in our history.

During the dark times of our history, literature about slavery is a way to remember them. Every generation should understand the seriousness of slavery, and they should never forget.

The Glory Field by Walter Dean Myers

The Glory Field is a young adult book that tells the story of an African American family that has been through a lot over the past 250 years. In Sierra Leone, Muhammad Bilal, a young man, is taken and sent to the United States on a slave ship. One of Muhammad’s descendants named Lizzy then shows up to work on the Live Oaks farm in South Carolina. After the Civil War is over, Lizzy’s son Elijah fights for his own freedom in the city of Chicago.

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

The Book of Negroes, which was made into a TV miniseries, tells the story of an 11-year-old girl named Aminata Diallo, who was taken from her West African village in 1750. A slave ship is taking her to Robinson Appleby, who is very mean. She is chained up and forced to work. Solomon Lindo, an Indigo grader, helps Aminata get to New York, but he doesn’t help her get there on his own. There, she joins the Black British Loyalists and makes a tense journey with 1,200 former slaves back to Africa.

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