Maya Angelou's memoir is a classic novel about a young girl overcoming sexual assault and losing her voice only to become one of the most accomplished women writer's of the 20th/21st century. Angelou received many accolades in her life time. Her poem 'Caged Bird" is one of my favorites both in the meaning and sound/rhythm. I like the image of it above, though the title is incorrect. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the title of her book.
Three classic novels: Beloved by Toni Morrison is a book about the horrors of slavery. This book forever affected me when the main character chooses to murder her baby rather than let her live a life a slavery.
Black Boy by Richard Wright is an eye opening classic novel. It's been awhile since I've read it, but it was one of the first books I read about the Jim Crow South. Wright shows the struggles of racism and segregation. Eventually, Wright moves to Chicago. I always thought that African American's were treated equally in the North, but that is not the case. Wright explains how difficult it was to be a black man in not only the South but also the North suffering greatly due to Jim Crow laws and the great depression.