Holy Black History Month!: 23 Graphic Novels Featuring African Americans

By Martha Cornog, Philadelphia — Library Journal, 2/12/2009 1:12:00 PM

African American history turned a corner in January when Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. From Washington, DC, Obamamania swept through the recent New York Comic-Con, where exhibitors sold Alex Ross’s striking Superman Obama print as well as T-shirts proclaiming “Obama is my homeboy.” Obama comics are also jumping out of stores, and several more are in production.

Because our new president is a poster honcho for literacy as well as a comics-friendly icon, I hope we will soon see more graphic novels for children and tweens featuring black people as major characters. Luckily, there are many existing works that offer distinctive and often powerful portrayals of African Americans famous and unknown, real and fictional. Limited to teen through adult readers, the titles below are recommended for public and school libraries, and many would be welcome in academic collections. Display away, librarians!

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