Famous Black Non-Fiction Writers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 James Baldwin

James Baldwin.
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: December 1, 1987

Amongst the greatest writers of the 20th century and a leading literary voice in the civil rights movement, James Baldwin extensively explored issues like race, sexuality and humanity in his work. His best known work include his debut novel Go Tell It on the Mountain and his books of essays Notes of a Native Son and Nobody Knows My Name.

 2 W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois.
Famous As: Civil Rights Activists
Birthdate: February 23, 1868
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Great Barrington, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 27, 1963

W. E. B. Du Bois was an American civil rights activist, sociologist, and Pan-Africanist. Du Bois played an instrumental role in fighting for full civil rights for people of color around the world. A co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Du Bois also played an important role as the leader of the Niagara Movement.

 3 Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 30, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates gained international prominence while serving as the national correspondent at The Atlantic. His writings on socio-political issues related to African Americans and white supremacy garnered him much appreciation. He is a recipient of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Prize for Writing to Advance Social Justice. He also writes fiction and comics.

 4 Olaudah Equiano

Olaudah Equiano.
Famous As: Anti Slavery Activist
Birthdate: 1745 AD
Birthplace: Igboland
Died: March 31, 1797

Olaudah Equiano was a writer and abolitionist who was part of the abolitionist group, Sons of Africa, composed of Africans living in Britain in the 18th century. Enslaved as a child and sold to different “masters,” he eventually purchased his freedom and became one of the leaders of the anti-slave trade movement in the 1780s.  

 5 Richard Wright

Richard Wright.
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 4, 1908
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Roxie, Mississippi, United States
Died: November 28, 1960

 6 Anita Hill

Anita Hill
Famous As: Attorney
Birthdate: July 30, 1956
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Morns, Oklahoma, USA

 7 Assata Shakur

Assata Shakur.
Famous As: Murder Convict
Birthdate: July 16, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Jamaica, New York, United States

Assata Shakur is a former member of the revolutionary organization 'Black Liberation Army'. Sentenced to life for murder, Shakur escaped from the 'Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women' and was eventually granted political asylum in Cuba. She is the first woman to be added to FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list. Her life inspired the documentary film Eyes of the Rainbow.

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 8 Ralph Sampson

Ralph Sampson.
Famous As: Basketball Player
Birthdate: July 7, 1960
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Harrisonburg, Virginia, United States

 9 Van Jones

Van Jones
Famous As: Motivational speaker
Birthdate: September 20, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Jackson, Tennessee Jackson, Tennessee, United States U.S.

Especially known for his honest and poignant commentaries, Van Jones is an award-winning political contributor, commentator, and the host of popular CNN programs like Van Jones Show and The Redemption Project. Also a leader in the fight for criminal justice reform for more than twenty-five years, he has founded number of non-profit organizations and authored several best-selling books.

 10 Barack Obama

Barack Obama.
Famous As: 44th U.S. President
Birthdate: August 4, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawai, USA

Former President of the United States, Barack Obama, has the distinction of being the first African-American president of the nation. A civil rights attorney and an academic, he has been credited with bringing about a significant improvement in America’s reputation abroad. His efforts to strengthen international diplomacy was recognized with the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

 11 Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris.
Famous As: Vice Preseiden of the United States
Birthdate: October 20, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: California

A Democrat politician and lawyer, Kamala Harris is the vice president-elect of the United States. She will assume the office on 20 January 2021, alongside President-elect Joe Biden.  Half-Indian, half-Jamaican, Harris is the first woman, the first Black person and the first Asian-American to be elected vice president.  

 12 Larry Elder

Larry Elder
Famous As: Radio Host
Birthdate: April 27, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

 13 Carter Woodson

Carter Woodson.
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: December 19, 1875
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Canton, Virginia, United States
Died: April 3, 1950

Historian Carter Woodson was is remembered for pioneering Black studies in schools and colleges. He began the Negro History Week, which is now celebrated as the Black History Month. Poverty had pushed him to work in the coal mines initially, and he couldn’t join high school before 20.

 14 Mangosuthu Buthelezi

Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 27, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mahlabathini, South Africa

Mangosuthu Buthelezi is a South African politician who is credited with founding the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). He was widely regarded as one of the most important black leaders during the apartheid era. From 1994 to 2004, he served as South Africa's minister of home affairs. He has also won many awards, such as Nadaraja Award and Magna Award.

 15 Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: March 11, 1969
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York (state) New York, U.S.

 16 Cass Pennant

Cass Pennant.
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 3, 1958
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Doncaster, South Yorkshire

 17 Kenneth Bancroft Clark

Kenneth Bancroft Clark
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: July 14, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Panama Canal Zone, United States
Died: May 1, 2005

 18 Henry Ossian Flipper

Henry Ossian Flipper.
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: March 21, 1856
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Thomasville, Georgia, United States
Died: April 26, 1940

 19 Robby Robinson

Robby Robinson
Famous As: Bodybuilder
Birthdate: May 24, 1946
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Damascus, Georgia, United States

 20 Anna Julia Cooper

Anna Julia Cooper.
Famous As: Author, Educator
Birthdate: August 10, 1858
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Died: February 27, 1964

 21 Bebe Moore Campbell

Bebe Moore Campbell
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: February 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: November 27, 2006

 22 George Padmore

George Padmore
Famous As: Writer, Journalist
Birthdate: June 28, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Arouca, Trinidad and Tobago
Died: September 23, 1959

 23 Randall Robinson

Randall Robinson
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: July 6, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, United States

 24 Tony Martin

Tony Martin
Famous As: Academic, Writer
Birthdate: February 21, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Died: January 17, 2013

 25 Antenor Firmin

Antenor Firmin
Famous As: Anthropologist
Birthdate: October 18, 1850
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cap-Haitien, Haiti
Died: September 19, 1911

 26 Pauline Hopkins

Pauline Hopkins
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: 1859 AD
Birthplace: Portland, Maine, United States
Died: August 13, 1930

 27 Carlos Baker

Carlos Baker
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 5, 1909
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Biddeford, Maine, United States
Died: April 18, 1987

 28 Eric D. Walrond

Eric D. Walrond
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 18, 1898
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Georgetown, Guyana
Died: August 8, 1966

 29 Henry Sylvester Williams

Henry Sylvester Williams
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: February 15, 1869
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Arouca, Trinidad and Tobago Arouca, Trinidad
Died: March 26, 1911

 30 Yvan Sagnet

Yvan Sagnet
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1985 AD
Birthplace: Douala, Cameroon

 31 Kekla Magoon

Kekla Magoon
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1980 AD
Birthplace: Michigan, U.S.

 32 Odette Roy Fombrun

Odette Roy Fombrun
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 13, 1917
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Port-au-Prince, Haiti

 33 Asma El Dareer

Asma El Dareer
Famous As: Physician, Activist
Birthdate: 1949 AD
Birthplace: Sudan

 34 Geoffrey Canada

Geoffrey Canada
Famous As: Educator
Birthdate: January 13, 1952
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

 35 Jayson Williams

Jayson Williams
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: February 22, 1968
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ritter, South Carolina, United States

 36 Kevin Belton

Kevin Belton
Famous As: Chef
Birthdate: 1960 AD
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States