The Black Book (Morrison book)

The Black Book is a collage-like book compiled by Toni Morrison published by Random House in 1974,[1] which explores the history and experience of African Americans in the United States[2][3] through various historic documents, facsimiles, artwork, obituaries, advertisements, patent applications, photographs, sheet music, and more.[4]

The Black Book
CountryUnited States
Publication date

The book was co-edited by Roger Furman, Middleton A. Harris, Morris Levitt, and Ernest Smith,[5] and features an introduction by Bill Cosby. Toni Morrison, who was then an editor at Random House,[6] was The Black Book's uncredited compiler,[7] and a poem by her appeared on the book's slipcover. Morrison said it was important to include documents such as patents to demonstrate that African Americans were "busy, smart and not just minstrelized".[4]

The Black Book was nominated for a 1975 National Book Award, and received an award from the American Institute of Graphic Arts.[1]

In 2009, Random House published a 35th anniversary edition of The Black Book,[8] containing Morrison's poem as the preface.


  1. ^ a b Wall, Cheryl A. (Winter 2012). "Reading The Black Book: Between the Lines of History". Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory. 68 (4): 105–130. doi:10.1353/arq.2012.0028. S2CID 162385721.
  2. ^ Brokaw, Kurt (June 18, 2019). "New Documentary: "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am"". Independent Magazine. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  3. ^ Morrison, Toni (August 11, 1974). "It is like growing up black one more time". The New York Times. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "'Black Book' Captures African-American Experience". All Things Considered. NPR. December 10, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  5. ^ Burke, Porscha. "Black Voices Matter". Random House Books. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  6. ^ Als, Hilton (October 19, 2003). "Ghosts in the House". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  7. ^ Morrison, Toni (February 1974). "Behind The Making of The Black Book". Black World. 23 (4): 86. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  8. ^ "The Black Book: 35th Anniversary Edition". Publishers Weekly. September 21, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2019.