Memories and Inspiration Reading List header

Reading List for Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art

Learn more about the artists and themes in Memories & Inspiration with books from the reading list below.

Children’s Books

Grandpa and the Library, How Charles White Learned to Paint by C. Ian White
Gordon Parks, How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston
Jacob Lawrence by Mike Venezia
My Hands Sing the Blues, Romare Bearden’s Childhood by Jeanne Walker Harvey
Lift Every Voice and Sing: A Celebration of the African American National Anthem by James Weldon Johnson, illustrated by Elizabeth Catlett
The Block by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Romare Bearden
Harriet and the Promised Land by Jacob Lawrence
The Great Migration: An American Story by Jacob Lawrence

Adult Non-Fiction

Jacob Lawrence by Richard J. Powell
A Life in Art: Alma Thomas, 1891-1978 by Merry A. Foresta
Aaron Douglas: African American Modernist by Aaron Douglas, Susan Elizabeth Earle, Renée Ater, Helen Foresman
Romare Bearden: Southern Recollections by Romare Bearden, Carla M. Hanzal, Ruth Fine
Romare Bearden by Lowery Stokes Sims
The Art of Romare Bearden by Harry N. Abrams
Gordon Parks No Excuses by Ann Parr
Hale Woodruff, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet, and the Academy by Amalia K. Amaki
Charles White by Andrea Barnwell Brownlee
African American Art by Crystal Britton
African-American Art by Sharon F. Patton
African American Art and Artists by Samella Lewis
A History of African-American Artists, from 1792 to the Present by Romare Bearden
African American Masters, Highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum by Gwen Everett
Revelations, Art from the African American South by Timothy Anglin Burgard
Black Artists on Art by Samella Lewis
Bare Witness: Photographs by Gordon Parks by Maren Stange
Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power (Exhibition Catalogue from Tate Modern, 2017)
Elizabeth Catlett: An American Artist in Mexico by Melanie Anne Herzog
Alma Woodsey Thomas: Painter and Educator by Charlotte Etinde-Crompton
Aaron Douglas: Art, Race, & the Harlem Renaissance by Amy Helene Kirschke
Harlem Renaissance : Art of Black America by Mary Schmidt Campbell
Theaster Gates: How to Build a House Museum by Kitty Scott

Poetry Volumes

I Live in Music by Ntozake Shange, illustrated by Romare Bearden
The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes
Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks
SOS: Poems 1961-2013 by Amiri Baraka
Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day by Nikki Giovanni
The Skin of Dreams: New and Collected Poems 1995-2018 by Quraysh Ali Lansana


I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
Kindred by Octavia Butler
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley
Native Son by Richard Wright
Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
Black Bottom Saints by Alice Randall (forthcoming, August 2020)