List of Books by, or About, People African Descent to Win Pulitzer Prizes (includes Finalists)

Pulitzer Prize Medal

Since 1917 the Pulitzer Prize has honored excellence in journalism and the arts. The first award was presented in 1918. The Prize recognizes American authors in six “Letters and Drama” categories; Biography/Autobiography, Fiction, General Non-Fiction, History, Poetry, and Drama (technically not a book award, but plays are all available as books and have been included here).

The first African-American writer to win a Pulitzer Prize in any of the above categories was Gwendolyn Brooks who received the award for poetry for her collection Annie Allen in 1950.


3 Books were Finalists or Winners of Pulitzer Prizes in 2012

Winner - History

Malcolm X: A Life Of Reinvention
by Manning Marable

Publication Date:
List Price: $30.00
Format: Hardcover, 608 pages
Classification: Nonfiction
ISBN13: 9780670022205
Imprint: Knopf
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann
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Book Description: 

Years in the making—the definitive biography of the legendary black activist.

Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins’ bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable’s new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties. Reaching into Malcolm’s troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents’ activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

Also consider A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marables Malcolm X by Jared Ball and Todd Steven Burroughs



Winner - Poetry

Life On Mars: Poems
by Tracy K. Smith

Publication Date:
List Price: $16.00
Format: Paperback, 88 pages
Classification: Poetry
ISBN13: 9781555975845
Imprint: Graywolf Press
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Parent Company: Graywolf Press
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Read a Description of Life On Mars: Poems


Book Description: 

A 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Nominated Book

Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize* A New York Times Notable Book of 2011 and New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice *
* A New Yorker, Library Journal and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year *New poetry by the award-winning poet Tracy K. Smith, whose "lyric brilliance and political impulses never falter" (Publishers Weekly, starred review)You lie there kicking like a baby, waiting for God himself
To lift you past the rungs of your crib. What
Would your life say if it could talk?
—from "No Fly Zone"


With allusions to David Bowie and interplanetary travel, Life on Mars imagines a soundtrack for the universe to accompany the discoveries, failures, and oddities of human existence. In these brilliant new poems, Tracy K. Smith envisions a sci-fi future sucked clean of any real dangers, contemplates the dark matter that keeps people both close and distant, and revisits the kitschy concepts like "love" and "illness" now relegated to the Museum of Obsolescence. These poems reveal the realities of life lived here, on the ground, where a daughter is imprisoned in the basement by her own father, where celebrities and pop stars walk among us, and where the poet herself loses her father, one of the engineers who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope. With this remarkable third collection, Smith establishes herself among the best poets of her generation.



Finalist - Biography / Autobiography

Malcolm X: A Life Of Reinvention
by Manning Marable

Publication Date:
List Price: $30.00
Format: Hardcover, 608 pages
Classification: Nonfiction
ISBN13: 9780670022205
Imprint: Knopf
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann
Borrow from Library

Read Our Review of Malcolm X: A Life Of Reinvention


Read a Description of Malcolm X: A Life Of Reinvention


Book Description: 

Years in the making—the definitive biography of the legendary black activist.

Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins’ bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable’s new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties. Reaching into Malcolm’s troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents’ activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

Also consider A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marables Malcolm X by Jared Ball and Todd Steven Burroughs