A terrific starting place for searching out titles by and about African Americans is the Black Books Galore! series. Four guides, chock full of suggestions, can be found at your library, bookstore, or online at the Black Books Galore! web site. The first one alone mentions more than 500 of "the most positive, best written, and most acclaimed titles available," according to the site.
If you saw the recent 4-part PBS special "African American Lives," you know how good it was. If you missed it, the shows are now available on DVD. Insist that your library order these. The affable Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates talks to prominent African Americans like Oprah, Quincy Jones, and Chris Tucker, and helps them trace their family roots. The horrid institution of slavery, and its devaluing of human life, make such searches difficult, but Gates and his researchers persevere and come up with astounding personal histories. Using information gleaned from new DNA technology, Chris Tucker even travels to Africa to the area where his ancestors lived. Above all, the series emphasizes the heroism and triumph of ordinary people. Highly recommended for older children, especially teens, and adults.