Contributed By: Alexandria Ducksworth

Looking for an uncommon African-American bio to read during Black History Month? Here are nine extraordinary lives you can read right now:


1. Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice by Paula Byrne

Dido Elizabeth Belle was the illegitimate daughter of an African slave and a British naval officer raised as an aristocrat.









2. Crossing the Continent 1527 – 1540: The Story of the First African-American Explorers of the American South by Robert Goodwin

African slave Esteban Dorantes explored California with his Spanish companions centuries before Lewis and Clark.









3. Grace, Gold, and Glory – My Leap of Faith by Gabrielle Douglas

Olympic gold gymnast Gabrielle Douglas reveals her story of faith and determination on her path to the Olympic games.









4. Jackie Ormes: The First African-American Cartoonist by Nancy Goldstein

Jackie Ormes’ doodles led her to working for the Pittsburgh Courier. Her comics syndicated through major black newspapers across America.









5. King Peggy by Peggielene Bartels & Eleanor Herman

US secretary Peggielene Bartels receives an urgent phone call her royal uncle has died. She has been selected as the next chief in line of Tantum, Ghana.








6. Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland

Misty finds her calling through ballet despite living in poverty. She becomes the first African-American female principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, the first in its 75-year history.








7. Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage by Vincent Carretta
The Wheatley family unknowingly purchased a West African slave with a knack for reading and writing. The slave, Phillis Wheatley, became the first black female poet ever to have her words published.








8. The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire by Karl Jacoby

Black Texas slave William Ellis transforms into a Mexican millionaire thanks to his unique racial appearance, Spanish fluency, and concealing his past well.








9. To Free A Family: The Journey of Mary Walker by Sydney Nathans

Escaping slavery was easy for Mary Walker. For her family, not so much. It takes Mary almost 17 years before her family reunites with her in Massachusetts.








Visit the GCPL library or our website to pick up a book today!