Books for Black History Month

WP_20180122_15_54_33_Pro.jpg

GBC Chair’s Pick: I loved this book. It provided me with a much needed view of the history of the United States. After you finished you will wish the book was longer.

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist

Paperback: 560 pages

Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint edition (October 25, 2016)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0465049664

ISBN-13: 978-0465049660

Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution--the nation's original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America's later success. But to do so robs the millions who suffered in bondage of their full legacy. As historian Edward E. Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told, the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy. Told through intimate slave narratives, plantation records, newspapers, and the words of politicians, entrepreneurs, and escaped slaves, The Half Has Never Been Told offers a radical new interpretation of American history.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audiobook


Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany by Hans J. Massaquoi

Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (February 6, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060959614
ISBN-13: 978-0060959616

An astonishing true tale of how he came of age as a black child in Nazi Germany. The son of a prominent African and a German nurse, Hans remained behind with his mother when Hitler came to power, due to concerns about his fragile health, after his father returned to Liberia. Like other German boys, Hans went to school; like other German boys, he swiftly fell under the Fuhrer's spell. So he was crushed to learn that, as a black child, he was ineligible for the Hitler Youth. His path to a secondary education and an eventual profession was blocked. He now lived in fear that, at any moment, he might hear the Gestapo banging on the door -- or Allied bombs falling on his home. Ironic,, moving, and deeply human, Massaquoi's account of this lonely struggle for survival brims with courage and intelligence.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audiobook


On the Pleasures of Owning Persons: The Hidden Face of American Slavery by Professor and Chair Volney Gay (Author)

Publisher: Ipbooks; . ed. edition (July 31, 2016)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 099654819X

ISBN-13: 978-0996548199

The real reason Americans owned slaves was not just financial. They did it because they liked it. For the first two centuries of American history, starting with the colonists, slavery was a part of the social, economic, and governmental order. Looking back, many of us find it more comfortable to view slave owners as evil or sociopathic. The startling truth is that many were otherwise admirable.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, and Paperback


The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America by Michael Eric Dyson

Hardcover: 368 pages

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (February 2, 2016)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 054438766X

ISBN-13: 978-0544387669

Michael Eric Dyson explores the powerful, surprising way the politics of race have shaped Barack Obama’s identity and groundbreaking presidency. How has President Obama dealt publicly with race—as the national traumas of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and Walter Scott have played out during his tenure? What can we learn from Obama's major race speeches about his approach to racial conflict and the black criticism it provokes?

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audiobook


The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (1963)

Hardcover: 192 pages

Publisher: HOLT, RINEHART AND WINSTON; 1 edition (October 17, 2000)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 003055442X

ISBN-13: 978-0030554421
We are living through something of a Baldwin renaissance, in large part thanks to Raoul Peck’s brilliant documentary I Am Not Your Negro. Any number of Baldwin’s books might earn a place on this list, but The Fire Next Time stands out. Consisting of two essays, one addressed to Baldwin’s nephew, it is a passionate and visceral plea to black and white America. It is the only document I know of that expresses the civil rights case as eloquently as the speeches of Martin Luther King.


Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire (1950)

Paperback: 102 pages

Publisher: Monthly Review Press (2001)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1583670254

ISBN-13: 978-1583670255

Published in 1955, when most of Africa was still the colonial possession of one or other of the European powers, Césaire’s masterwork argues that the European empires were, like all empires, run for the profit of the colonizing powers, rather than the benefit of the colonized peoples. More controversially, Césaire hypothesized that the roots of Nazism could be found in the toxic soil of imperialism.

Available Formats: Paperback


The Black Atlantic by Paul Gilroy (1993)

Paperback: 280 pages

Publisher: Harvard University Press; Reissue edition (March 8, 1993)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0674076060

ISBN-13: 978-0674076068
It was in this book that Gilroy laid out his concept of the “Black Atlantic”, the idea that black culture is essentially a hybrid, a product of centuries of exchange, slavery and movement across the Atlantic. Exploring everything from the lives and work of African American philosophers such as WEB DuBois, to black popular music, Gilroy demonstrates that black culture is both “local” and “global”, and cannot be constrained within any single national culture. It flows across the black Atlantic of the book’s title. The influence of Gilroy’s work can be felt not only in modern scholarship but even in the work of the visual artist John Akomfrah.

Available Formats: Hardcover and Paperback


Roots by Alex Haley (1976)

Hardcover: 704 pages

Publisher: Wings; Reprint edition (September 5, 2000)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0517208601

ISBN-13: 978-0517208601
What turns a great book into a great political book is its impact, as much as its content. Both on the page and later on the television screen, Alex Haley’s masterpiece was a phenomenon. For African-Americans, whose familial links to Africa had been severed by slavery and racism, it was a revelation. Although Haley’s methodology has been criticized, the cultural impact of Roots remains undeniable.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, and Paperback



The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (2010)

Hardcover: 290 pages

Publisher: The New Press; 1 edition (January 5, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1595581030

ISBN-13: 978-1595581037
Lists of great books tend to focus on works that are old enough to have become firmly established as classics. Michelle Alexander’s book, published just seven years ago, earns its place and already seems prescient. Controversially and passionately, it exposes the crisis that is the mass incarceration of African-American men in post-civil rights America.
Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audiobook



The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter (2010)

Hardcover: 512 pages

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (March 15, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0393049345

ISBN-13: 978-0393049343
I’m sometimes nervous of books that use the phrase “white people”, as if all “white people” or all “black people” can be categorized as being a single group. But Painter’s book is a clever history of the idea of “whiteness”. It demonstrates that a number of ethnic groups, whom we today automatically regard as being “white”, were once regarded as being outside of the white race.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audiobook


Race Matters by Cornel West (1993)

Hardcover: 128 pages

Publisher: Beacon Press; Anniversary edition (December 5, 2017)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 080704122X

ISBN-13: 978-0807041222
Race Matters is to be re-issued later this year to mark its forthcoming 25th anniversary. The timing is grimly pertinent. Across a series of interweaving essays, West argues that racism is so much a part of American history and culture that it can only be addressed and confronted if that reality is confronted – and by Americans of all races.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audiobook


Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain by Peter Fryer (1984)

Paperback: 648 pages

Publisher: Pluto Press; 2 edition (November 6, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 074533072X

ISBN-13: 978-0745330723
In June 1948, Peter Fryer, then a young reporter, was dispatched to Tilbury docks to report on the arrival of the Empire Windrush and the 492 West Indian migrants on board. That led, 36 years later, to the publication of Staying Power. At a time when little on the subject was written, Fryer created an encyclopedic panorama of the black presence in Britain.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, and Paperback


The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley (1976)

Hardcover: 528 pages

Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (September 29, 1992)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0345379756

ISBN-13: 978-0345379757
Co-authored by Alex Haley and based on a series of interviews with Malcolm X, this is one of the greatest biographies of the last century. Through his own life story, and that of the key figures of his troubled years in the underworld of New York, Malcolm bore witness to the racism of 1930s and 40s. It’s impossible to believe he would occupy the cultural position he holds today had the book never been written.


Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (1994)

Hardcover: 507 pages

Publisher: HOLT, RINEHART AND WINSTON; 1 edition (September 22, 2000)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0030565812

ISBN-13: 978-0030565816
I was in Tanzania when the news of Mandela’s death was announced. I rushed out and bought the only copy of Mandela’s 1994 biography I could find in the book shops of Dar es Salaam – others had evidently felt the same urge to re-read the book. If apartheid was the most perfected and methodically applied system of racial oppression ever devised the Long Walk to Freedom is the ultimate denouncement of it. It is a statement of the obvious that Mandela was one of the great figures of our age. To fully understand how great you have to read his account of the infamous Rivonia trial.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, and Paperback


Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany by Hans J. Massaquoi

Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (February 6, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060959614
ISBN-13: 978-0060959616

An astonishing true tale of how he came of age as a black child in Nazi Germany. The son of a prominent African and a German nurse, Hans remained behind with his mother when Hitler came to power, due to concerns about his fragile health, after his father returned to Liberia. Like other German boys, Hans went to school; like other German boys, he swiftly fell under the Fuhrer's spell. So he was crushed to learn that, as a black child, he was ineligible for the Hitler Youth. His path to a secondary education and an eventual profession was blocked. He now lived in fear that, at any moment, he might hear the Gestapo banging on the door -- or Allied bombs falling on his home. Ironic,, moving, and deeply human, Massaquoi's account of this lonely struggle for survival brims with courage and intelligence.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audiobook


Look for Me in the Whirlwind: From the Panther 21 to 21st-Century Revolutions by Dhoruba Bin Wahad,‎ Jamal Joseph,‎ Sekou Odinga

Paperback: 648 pages
Publisher: PM Press (August 15, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1629633895
ISBN-13: 978-1629633893

In 1969, 21 members of the militant New York branch of the Black Panther Party were rounded up and indicted on multiple charges of violent acts and conspiracies. The membership of the NY 21, which includes the mother of Tupac Shakur, is largely forgotten and unknown. Their legacy, however—reflected upon here in this special edition—provides essential truths which have remained largely hidden.

Available Formats: Kindle and Paperback


Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America by Peniel E. Joseph

Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; Reprint edition (July 10, 2007)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0805083359

ISBN-13: 978-0805083354

Was the black power movement part of the civil rights movement, or something separate? Joseph, a leading figure in the new black power studies, makes the case for its singularity in the most comprehensive overview of the topic published to date. Rather than seeing black power as a series of unconnected iconic episodes and images – Black Panthers toting guns, the clenched fist salutes at the 1968 Olympics, Angela Davis's loud and proud Afro – Joseph presents a picture of a coherent movement with its own distinct politics and sensibilities.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audiobook


The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution by C.L.R. James

Paperback: 448 pages

Publisher: Vintage; 2 edition (October 23, 1989)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0679724672

ISBN-13: 978-0679724674

This powerful, intensely dramatic book is the definitive account of the Haitian Revolution of 1794-1803, a revolution that began in the wake of the Bastille but became the model for the Third World liberation movements from Africa to Cuba. It is the story of the French colony of San Domingo, a place where the brutality of master toward slave was commonplace and ingeniously refined. And it is the story of a barely literate slave named Toussaint L'Ouverture, who led the black people of San Domingo in a successful struggle against successive invasions by overwhelming French, Spanish, and English forces and in the process helped form the first independent nation in the Caribbean.

Available Formats: Hardcover and Paperback


Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times by Harriet A. Washington

Paperback: 528 pages

Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (January 8, 2008)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 076791547X

ISBN-13: 978-0767915472

Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches

From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment. Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audiobook


Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America by Peniel E. Joseph

Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; Reprint edition (July 10, 2007)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0805083359

The Black Power movement is one of the most misunderstood movements in history. Decades of negative media coverage and stereotypes have contributed to that. Here Peniel Joseph dives in deep and shows where and how the Black Power movement diverged from and overlapped with other racial equality movements, from its inception with Stokely Carmichael at the helm to the rise of the Black Panther Party.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audiobook


White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide Paperback – by Carol Anderson

Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; Reprint edition (September 5, 2017)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1632864134

ISBN-13: 978-1632864130

From the Civil War to our combustible present, White Rage reframes our continuing conversation about race, chronicling the powerful forces opposed to black progress in America--now in paperback with a new afterword by the author, acclaimed historian Carol Anderson.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audiobook


Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Lawrence Hill Books; unknown edition (November 1, 2001)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1556520743

ISBN-13: 978-1556520747

On May 2, 1973, Black Panther Assata Shakur (aka JoAnne Chesimard) lay in a hospital, close to death, handcuffed to her bed, while local, state, and federal police attempted to question her about the shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike that had claimed the life of a white state trooper. Long a target of J. Edgar Hoover's campaign to defame, infiltrate, and criminalize Black nationalist organizations and their leaders, Shakur was incarcerated for four years prior to her conviction on flimsy evidence in 1977 as an accomplice to murder. This intensely personal and political autobiography belies the fearsome image of JoAnne Chesimard long projected by the media and the state. With wit and candor, Assata Shakur recounts the experiences that led her to a life of activism and portrays the strengths, weaknesses, and eventual demise of Black and White revolutionary groups at the hand of government officials. The result is a signal contribution to the literature about growing up Black in America that has already taken its place alongside "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" and the works of Maya Angelou.Two years after her conviction, Assata Shakur escaped from prison. She was given political asylum by Cuba, where she now resides."

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, and Paperback


The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

Paperback: 640 pages

Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (October 4, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0679763880

ISBN-13: 978-0679763888

From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves. With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, George Starling, and Robert Foster. Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audiobook


Women, Race, & Class by Angela Y. Davis

Paperback: 288 pages

Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books edition (February 12, 1983)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0394713516

ISBN-13: 978-0394713519

A powerful study of the women's liberation movement in the U.S., from abolitionist days to the present, that demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders. From the widely revered and legendary political activist and scholar Angela Davis.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover and Paperback


Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday by Angela Y. Davis

Paperback: 464 pages

Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books Ed edition (January 26, 1999)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0679771263

ISBN-13: 978-0679771265

From one of this country's most important intellectuals comes a brilliant analysis of the blues tradition that examines the careers of three crucial black women blues singers through a feminist lens. Angela Davis provides the historical, social, and political contexts with which to reinterpret the performances and lyrics of Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday as powerful articulations of an alternative consciousness profoundly at odds with mainstream American culture.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover and Paperback


Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South by E. Patrick Johnson

Paperback: 592 pages

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 2 edition (September 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0807872261

ISBN-13: 978-0807872260

Giving voice to a population too rarely acknowledged, Sweet Tea collects more than sixty life stories from black gay men who were born, raised, and continue to live in the South. E. Patrick Johnson challenges stereotypes of the South as "backward" or "repressive" and offers a window into the ways black gay men negotiate their identities, build community, maintain friendship networks, and find sexual and life partners--often in spaces and activities that appear to be anti-gay. Ultimately, Sweet Tea validates the lives of these black gay men and reinforces the role of storytelling in both African American and southern cultures.

Available Formats: Kindle, Paperback and Audiobook


Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension Of American Racism by James W. Loewen

Hardcover: 562 pages

Publisher: New Press, The; 1st, First Printing edition (September 29, 2005)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 156584887X

ISBN-13: 978-1565848870

In this groundbreaking work, bestselling sociologist James W. Loewen, author of the national bestseller Lies My Teacher Told Me, brings to light decades of hidden racial exclusion in America. In a provocative, sweeping analysis of American residential patterns, Loewen uncovers the thousands of “sundown towns”—almost exclusively white towns where it was an unspoken rule that blacks could not live there—that cropped up throughout the twentieth century, most of them located outside of the South. These towns used everything from legal formalities to violence to create homogenous Caucasian communities—and their existence has gone unexamined until now. For the first time, Loewen takes a long, hard look at the history, sociology, and continued existence of these towns, contributing an essential new chapter to the study of American race relations.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audiobook


God's Other Children - A London Memoir by Vernal W Scott

Paperback: 606 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 22, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1482741172

ISBN-13: 978-1482741179

Black LGBTQ people have long been an integral part of black history. A crucial part of their more recent history has been captured in this essential non-fiction book, which has won rave reader reviews and recommendations by WH Smith and notables such as Peter Tatchell and Lord Paul Boateng. Born in early 1960s London to Jamaican parents, Vernal has written the only self-published title to be shortlisted for the 2014 Polari First Book Prize. Featuring text and photos over 600 pages, it is a quite astonishing account of Black culture and sexuality, ‘coming out’, the ‘AIDS war years’, gay fatherhood, politics, ‘damaging religion’, hate, love, and more.

Available Formats: Kindle and Paperback


The Black Calhouns: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American Family by Gail Lumet Buckley

Hardcover: 336 pages

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (February 2, 2016)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0802124542

ISBN-13: 978-0802124548

In The Black Calhouns, Gail Lumet Buckley—daughter of actress Lena Horne—delves deep into her family history, detailing the experiences of an extraordinary African-American family from Civil War to Civil Rights.

Available Formats: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audiobook

 

BC