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Black History Month

February is Black History Month. Celebrate the history of African Americans by reading about notable people, events, cultural narratives, and true stories of heroism. The entire family can share reading from this list of relevant titles in African American history.

Wandering in strange lands : a daughter of the Great Migration reclaims her roots by Jerkins, Morgan

"Between 1916 and 1970, six million black Americans left their rural homes in the South for jobs in cities in the North, West, and Midwest in a movement known as The Great Migration. But while this event transformed the complexion of America and provided black people with new economic opportunities, it also disconnected them from their roots, their land, and their sense of identity, argues Morgan Jerkins. In this fascinating and deeply personal exploration, she recreates her ancestors’ journeys across America, following the migratory routes they took from Georgia and South Carolina to Louisiana, Oklahoma, and California. Following in their footsteps, Jerkins seeks to understand not only her own past, but the lineage of an entire group of people who have been displaced, disenfranchised, and disrespected throughout our history. Through interviews, photos, and hundreds of pages of transcription, Jerkins braids the loose threads of her family’s oral histories, which she was able to trace back 300 years, with the insights and recollections of black people she met along the way—the tissue of black myths, customs, and blood that connect the bones of American history. " --book jacket

The black cabinet : the untold story of African Americans and politics during the age of Roosevelt by Watts, Jill

"In 1932 in the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt won the presidency with the help of key African American defectors from the Republican Party. At the time, most African Americans lived in poverty in the South, denied citizenship rights and terrorized by white violence. But Roosevelt's victory created the opportunity for a group of African American intellectuals and activists to join his administration as racial affairs experts. Known as the Black Cabinet, they organized themselvesinto an unofficial council. They innovated antidiscrimination policy, documented the New Deal's inequalities, led programs that lifted people out of poverty and paved the way for greater federal accountability to African Americans and a greater black presence in government. But the Black Cabinet never won official recognition from Roosevelt, and with his death, it disappeared from history. This is its story"--

Journey to freedom, 1838 by Winston, Sherri

In this retelling of an episode from Uncle Tom's Cabin, the slave Eliza Harris resolves to escape with her two-year-old son across the frozen Ohio River to prevent her master from selling the boy. Includes historical notes on Harriet Beecher Stowe, slavery in America, the Fugitive slave laws, and the Underground Railroad.

Deep delta justice : a Black teen, his lawyer, and their groundbreaking battle for civil rights in the South by Van Meter, Matthew

"In 1966 in a small town in Louisiana, a 19-year-old black man named Gary Duncan pulled his car off the road to stop a fight. Duncan was arrested a few minutes later for the crime of putting his hand on the arm of a white child. Rather than accepting his fate, Duncan found Richard Sobol, a brilliant, 29-year-old lawyer from New York who was the only white attorney at "the most radical law firm" in New Orleans. Against them stood one of the most powerful white supremacists in the South, a man called simply "The Judge." In this powerful work of character-driven history, journalist Matthew Van Meter vividly brings alive how a seemingly minor incident brought massive, systemic change to the criminal justice system." --

Thurgood Marshall : The Making of America by Kanefield, Teri

"Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) was a US Supreme Court Justice and important civil rights activist. Born in Baltimore, Marshall faced racial segregation at school, but he worked his way up and earned his law degree from Howard University, where he met Charles Hamilton Houston. He followed Houston to New York to serve the NAACP and argued cases as an attorney. He argued more than thirty-two cases before the Supreme Court-more than anyone else in history. And eventually, he argued against laws that justifiedJim Crow segregation-and won. He became the first African American man to serve on the Supreme Court, and he served from 1967-1991. The biography series begins with six books (see below). Unlike other biographies which tell a person's life chronologically and is only about that person's contributions, THE MAKING OF AMERICA series links the stories of individuals to create a single overarching story of America's growth and maturity. Each story becomes more interesting when fit into the larger narrative; however each biography is also a stand-alone title."--

Officer Clemmons : a memoir by Clemmons, François

The intimate debut memoir by the man known to the world as Mister Rogers' Neighborhood's "Officer Clemmons," a Grammy Award-winning artist who made history as the first African American actor to have a recurring role on a children's television program

The Other Madisons : the lost history of a president's Black family by Kearse, Bettye

"A descendant of a slave named Coreen, and-according to oral tradition-her owner, President James Madison, finally shares her family's story."--

Black radical : the life and times of William Monroe Trotter by Greenidge, Kerri

"This long-overdue biography reestablishes William Monroe Trotter's essential place next to Douglass, Du Bois, and King in the pantheon of American civil rights heroes. William Monroe Trotter (1872- 1934), though still virtually unknown to the wider public, was an unlikely American hero. With the stylistic verve of a newspaperman and the unwavering fearlessness of an emancipator, he galvanized black working- class citizens to wield their political power despite the violent racism of post- Reconstruction America. For more than thirty years, the Harvard-educated Trotter edited and published the Guardian, a weekly Boston newspaper that was read across the nation. Defining himself against the gradualist politics of Booker T. Washington and the elitism of W. E. B. Du Bois, Trotter advocated for a radical vision of black liberation that prefigured leaders such as Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. Synthesizing years of archival research, historian Kerri Greenidge renders the drama of turn- of-the- century America and reclaims Trotter as a seminal figure, whose prophetic, yet ultimately tragic, life offers a link between the vision of Frederick Douglass and black radicalism in the modern era"--

His truth is marching on : John Lewis and the power of hope by Meacham, Jon

"John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, is a visionary and a man of faith. Using intimate interviews with Lewis and his family and deep research into the history of the civil rights movement, Meacham writes of how the activist and leader was inspired by the Bible, his mother's unbreakable spirit, his sharecropper father's tireless ambition, and his teachers in nonviolence. A believer in hope above all else, Lewis learned from a young age that nonviolence was not only a tactic but a philosophy, a biblical imperative, and a transforming reality. Integral to Lewis's commitment to bettering the nation was his faith in humanity and in God. Meacham calls Lewis "as important to the founding of a modern and multiethnic twentieth- and twenty-first century America as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and Samuel Adams were to the initial creation of the nation-state in the eighteenth century. He did what he did--risking limb and life to bear witness for the powerless in the face of the powerful--not in spite of America, but because of America, and not in spite of religion, but because of religion." --

African American poetry : 250 years of struggle & song

"Only now, in the 21st century, can we fully grasp the breadth and range of African American poetry: a magnificent chorus of voices, some familiar, others recently rescued from neglect. Here, in this unprecedented anthology expertly selected by poet and scholar Kevin Young, this precious living heritage is revealed in all its power, beauty, and multiplicity. Discover, in these pages, how an enslaved person like Phillis Wheatley confronted her legal status in verse and how an antebellum activist like Frances Ellen Watkins Harper voiced her own passionate resistance to slavery. Read nuanced, provocative poetic meditations on identity and self-assertion stretching from Paul Laurence Dunbar to Amiri Baraka to Lucille Clifton and beyond. Experience the transformation of poetic modernism in the works of figures such as Langston Hughes, Fenton Johnson, and Jean Toomer. Understand the threads of poetic history--in movements such as the Harlem and Chicago Renaissances, Black Arts, Cave Canem, the Dark Room Collective--and the complex bonds of solidarity and dialogue among poets across time and place. See how these poets have celebrated their African heritage and have connected with other communities in the African Diaspora. Enjoy the varied but distinctly Black music of a tradition that draws deeply from jazz, hip hop, and the rhythms and cadences of the pulpit, the barbershop, and the street. And appreciate, in the anthology's concluding sections, why contemporary African American poetry, amply recognized in recent National Book Awards and Poet Laureates, is flourishing as never before. Taking the measure of the tradition in a single indispensable volume, African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song sets a new standard for a genuinely deep engagement with Black poetry and its essential expression of American genius" --Amazon description

Who was Ida B. Wells? by Fabiny, Sarah

"Born into slavery in 1862, Ida Bell Wells was freed as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865. Yet she could see just how unjust the world she was living in was. This drove her to become a journalist and activist. Throughout her life, she fought against prejudice and for equality for African Americans. Ida B. Wells would go on to co-own a newspaper, write several books, help cofound the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and fight for women's right to vote."--

The rise : black cooks and the soul of american food by Samuelsson, Marcus

"It is long past time to recognize Black excellence in the culinary world the same way it has been celebrated in the worlds of music, sports, literature, film, and the arts. Black cooks and creators have led American culture forward with indelible contributions of artistry and ingenuity from the start, but Black authorship has been consistently erased from the story of American food. Now, in The Rise, chef, author, and television star Marcus Samuelsson gathers together an unforgettable feast of food, culture, and history to highlight the diverse deliciousness of Black cooking today. Driven by a desire to fight against bias, reclaim Black culinary traditions, and energize a new generation of cooks, Marcus shares his own journey alongside 150 recipes in honor of dozens of top chefs, writers, and activists--with stories exploring their creativity and influence. Black cooking has always been more than "soul food," with flavors tracing to the African continent, to the Caribbean, all over the United States, and beyond. Featuring a mix of everyday food and celebration cooking, this book also includes an introduction to the pantry of the African diaspora."--Amazon

The dead are arising : the life of Malcolm X by Payne, Les

"An epic biography of Malcolm X finally emerges, drawing on hundreds of hours of the author's interviews, rewriting much of the known narrative. Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm X-all living siblings of the Malcolm Little family, classmates, street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures, FBI moles and cops, and political leaders around the world.His goal was ambitious: to transform what would become over a hundred hours of interviews into an unprecedented portrait of Malcolm X, one that would separate fact from fiction. The result is this historic biography that conjures a never-before-seen world of its protagonist, a work whose title is inspired by a phrase Malcolm X used when he saw his Hartford followers stir with purpose, as if the dead were truly arising, to overcome the obstacles of racism. Setting Malcolm's life not only within the Nationof Islam but against the larger backdrop of American history, the book traces the life of one of the twentieth century's most politically relevant figures "from street criminal to devoted moralist and revolutionary." In tracing Malcolm X's life from hisNebraska birth in 1925 to his Harlem assassination in 1965, Payne provides searing vignettes culled from Malcolm's Depression-era youth, describing the influence of his Garveyite parents: his father, Earl, a circuit-riding preacher who was run over by a street car in Lansing, Michigan, in 1929, and his mother, Louise, who continued to instill black pride in her children after Earl's death. Filling each chapter with resonant drama, Payne follows Malcolm's exploits as a petty criminal in Boston and Harlem in the 1930s and early 1940s to his religious awakening and conversion to the Nation of Islam in a Massachusetts penitentiary. With a biographer's unwavering determination, Payne corrects the historical record and delivers extraordinary revelations-from the unmasking of the mysterious NOI founder "Fard Muhammad," who preceded Elijah Muhammad; to a hair-rising scene, conveyed in cinematic detail, of Malcolm and Minister Jeremiah X Shabazz's 1961 clandestine meeting with the KKK; to a minute-by-minute account of Malcolm X's murder at the Audubon Ballroom. Introduced by Payne's daughter and primary researcher, Tamara Payne, who, following her father's death, heroically completed the biography, The Dead Are Arising is a penetrating and riveting work that affirms the centrality of Malcolm X to the African American freedom struggle"--

Martin and Bobby : a journey toward justice by Murphy, Claire Rudolf

"Martin and Bobby follows the lives and final days of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, showing how and where their work intersected and how their initially wary relationship evolved from challenging and testing one another to finally "arrivingin the same place" as allies fighting poverty and racism"--

Stony the road : Reconstruction, white supremacy, and the rise of Jim Crow by Gates, Henry Louis

"A profound new rendering of the struggle by African-Americans for equality after the Civil War and the violent counter-revolution that resubjugated them, as seen through the prism of the war of images and ideas that have left an enduring racist stain on the American mind. The abolition of slavery in the aftermath of the Civil War is a familiar story, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II. But the century in between remains a mystery: if emancipation sparked 'a new birth of freedom' in Lincoln's America, why was it necessary to march in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s America? In this new book, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of our leading chroniclers of the African-American experience, seeks to answer that question in a history that moves from the Reconstruction Era to the 'nadir' of the African-American experience under Jim Crow, through to World War I and the Harlem Renaissance. Through his close reading of the visual culture of this tragic era, Gates reveals the many faces of Jim Crow and how, together, they reinforced a stark color line between white and black Americans. Bringing a lifetime of wisdom to bear as a scholar, filmmaker, and public intellectual, Gates uncovers the roots of structural racism in our own time, while showing how African Americans after slavery combatted it by articulating a vision of a "New Negro" to force the nation to recognize their humanity and unique contributions to America as it hurtled toward the modern age. The book will be accompanied by a new PBS documentary series on the same topic, with full promotional support from PBS"--

American founders : how people of African descent established freedom in the New World by Proenza-Coles, Christina

Ann fights for freedom : an Underground Railroad survival story by Smith, Nikki Shannon

In 1854 in Eastern Maryland twelve-year-old Ann is a slave, grateful that her family is still all together; but when their master, in need of money, decides to sell Ann and her younger brother, their parents decide to take the dangerous step of running away north to freedom--a journey filled with danger, especially since they are not sure how to find the first station on the Underground Railroad.

Black Bottom saints : a novel by Randall, Alice

"From the Great Depression through the post-World War II years, Joseph "Ziggy" Johnson, has been the pulse of Detroit's famous Black Bottom. A celebrated gossip columnist for the city's African-American newspaper, the Michigan Chronicle, he is also the emcee of one of the hottest night clubs, where he's rubbed elbows with the legendary black artists of the era, including Ethel Waters, Billy Eckstein, and Count Basie. Ziggy is also the founder and dean of the Ziggy Johnson School of Theater. But now the doyen of Black Bottom is ready to hang up his many dapper hats. As he lays dying in the black-owned-and-operated Kirkwood Hospital, Ziggy reflects on his life, the community that was the center of his world, and the remarkable people who helped shape it."--Amazon

The cooking gene : a journey through African American culinary history in the Old South by Twitty, Michael

"A memoir of Southern cuisine and food culture that traces the paths of the author's ancestors (black and white) through the crucible of slavery to show its effects on our food today"--

The world's fastest man : the extraordinary life of cyclist Major Taylor, America's first Black sports hero by Kranish, Michael

"In the tradition of The Boys in the Boat and Seabiscuit, a fascinating portrait of a groundbreaking but forgotten figure--the remarkable Major Taylor, the black man who broke racial barriers by becoming the world's fastest and most famous bicyclist at the height of the Jim Crow era. In the 1890s, the nation's promise of equality had failed spectacularly. While slavery had ended with the Civil War, the Jim Crow laws still separated blacks from whites, and the excesses of the Gilded Age created an elite upper class. Amidst this world arrived Major Taylor, a young black man who wanted to compete in the nation's most popular and mostly white man's sport, cycling. Birdie Munger, a white cyclist who once was the world's fastest man, declared that he could help turn the young black athlete into a champion. Twelve years before boxer Jack Johnson and fifty years before baseball player Jackie Robinson, Taylor faced racism at nearly every turn--especially by whites who feared he would disprove their stereotypes of blacks. In The World's Fastest Man, years in the writing, investigative journalist Michael Kranish reveals new information about Major Taylor based on a rare interview with his daughter and other never-before-uncovered details from Taylor's life. Kranish shows how Taylor indeed became a world champion, traveled the world, was the toast of Paris, and was one of the most chronicled black men of his day. From a moment in time just before the arrival of the automobile when bicycles were king, the populacewas booming with immigrants, and enormous societal changes were about to take place, The World's Fastest Man shines a light on a dramatic moment in American history--the gateway to the twentieth century"--

Getting what we need ourselves : how food has shaped African American life by Wallach, Jennifer Jensen

"[T]races the history of African American food habits from West African origins through the twenty-first century, offering a unique set of insights into the daily concerns of black people in the US. The book demonstrates that from capture and enslavementthrough emancipation, the civil rights movement, and beyond, African American have embraced an understanding of the importance of food that goes beyond merely having enough to eat"--

A place to land : Martin Luther King Jr. and the speech that inspired a nation by Wittenstein, Barry

"The true story behind the writing of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech."--Provided by publisher.

Sweet taste of liberty : a true story of slavery and restitution in America by McDaniel, W

"In Sweet Taste of Liberty, W. Caleb McDaniel focuses on the experience of a freed slave who was sold back into slavery, eventually freed again, and who then sued the man who had sold her back into bondage. Henrietta Wood was born into slavery, but in 1848, she was taken to Cincinnati and legally freed. In 1855, however, a wealthy Kentucky businessman named Zebulon Ward, who colluded with Wood's employer, abducted Wood and sold her back into bondage. In the years that followed before and during the CivilWar, she gave birth to a son and was forced to march to Texas. She obtained her freedom a second time after the war and returned to Cincinnati, where she sued Ward for $20,000 in damages--now known as reparations. Astonishingly, after ten years of litigation, Henrietta Wood won her case. In 1878, a Federal jury awarded her $2,500 and the decision stuck on appeal. While nowhere close to the amount she had demanded, this may be the largest amount of money ever awarded by an American court in restitution forslavery. Wood went on to live until 1912"--

The Battle of Negro Fort : the rise and fall of a fugitive slave community by Clavin, Matthew J

"The dramatic story of the United States' destruction of a free and independent community of fugitive slaves in Spanish Florida. In the aftermath of the War of 1812, Major General Andrew Jackson ordered a joint United States army-navy expedition into Spanish Florida to destroy a free and independent community of fugitive slaves. The result was the Battle of Negro Fort, a brutal conflict among hundreds of American troops, Indian warriors, and black rebels that culminated in the death or re-enslavement of nearly all of the fort's inhabitants. By eliminating this refuge for fugitive slaves, the United States government closed an escape valve that African Americans had utilized for generations. At the same time, it intensified the subjugation of southern Native Americans, including the Creeks, Choctaws, and Seminoles. Still, the battle was significant for another reason as well. During its existence, Negro Fort was a powerful symbol of black freedom that subverted the racist foundations of an expanding American slave society. Its destruction reinforced the nation's growing commitment to slavery, while illuminating the extent to which ambivalence over the institution had disappeared since the nation's founding. Indeed, four decades after declaring that all men were created equal, the United States destroyed a fugitive slave community in a foreign territory for the first and only time in its history, which accelerated America's transformation into a white republic. The Battle of Negro Fort places the violent expansion of slavery where it belongs, at the center of the history of the early American republic."--Publisher's website

All blood runs red : the legendary life of Eugene Bullard-- boxer, pilot, soldier, spy by Keith, Phil

The incredible life story of Eugene Bullard, the first African American military pilot in WWI, who went on to become a self-taught jazz musician, a Paris nightclub impresario, a spy in the French Resistance and an American civil rights pioneer. Eugene Bullard lived one of the most fascinating lives of the twentieth century. This is the dramatic untold story of an American hero, a thought-provoking survey of the twentieth century and a portrait of a man who came from nothing and by his own courage, determination, gumption, intelligence and luck forged a legendary life

She came to slay : the life and times of Harriet Tubman by Dunbar, Erica Armstrong

Harriet Tubman is best known as one of the most famous conductors on the Underground Railroad. As a leading abolitionist, her bravery and selflessness has inspired generations in the continuing struggle for civil rights

Landmarks of African American history by Horton, James Oliver

Describes a variety of landmarks and buildings that represent the experiences and accomplishments of African Americans throughout the history of the United States

A child's introduction to African American history : the experience, people, and events that shaped our country by Asim, Jabari

"Critically acclaimed writer Jabari Asim guides readers ages 9-12 through the history of African Americans, from the slave trade to the Black Lives Matter movement, in the latest volume in Black Dog's bestselling, award-winning Child's Introduction series. This illustrated introduction to African American history goes beyond what's taught in the classroom giving young readers a more comprehensive look at this timely and important topic. Author Jabari Asim chronicles the story of African Americansfrom the slave trader through the American Revolution and the Civil War to the Tuskegee experiments, the Civil Rights movement, the election of Barack Obama. Sections throughout highlight the contribution of African Americans to the arts, music, literature, culture, sports and more. Lives of inspiring African American artists, inventors, and politicians including Harriet Tubman, Langston Hughes, Oprah Winfrey, Louis Armstrong, Serena Williams, are featured as well. Following in the tradition of Black Dog's best-selling Child's Introduction books, which include The Story of the Orchestra and A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky, A Child's Introduction to African American History includes 120 charming illustrations that bring the people and events to life. The book also features interactive projects that kids can do on their own or with their guardians including recipes and crafts"--

We return fighting : World War I and the shaping of modern Black identity by National Museum of African American History and Culture (U

"A richly illustrated commemoration of African Americans' roles in World War I highlighting how the wartime experience reshaped their lives and their communities after they returned home"--

Life upon these shores : looking at African American history, 1513-2008 by Gates, Henry Louis

"Henry Louis Gates, Jr., gives us a sumptuously illustrated, landmark book tracing African American history from the arrival of the conquistadors to the election of Barack Obama. Informed by the latest, sometimes provocative scholarship, and including more than eight hundred images--ancient maps, art, documents, photographs, cartoons, posters--Life Upon These Shores focuses on defining events, debates, and controversies, as well as the achievements of people famous and obscure. Gates takes us from the sixteenth century through the ordeal of slavery, from the Civil War and Reconstruction through the Jim Crow era and the Great Migration; from the civil rights and black nationalist movements through the age of hip-hop on to the Joshua generation. By documenting and illuminating the sheer diversity of African American involvement in American history, society, politics, and culture, Gates bracingly disabuses us of the presumption of a single "Black Experience." Life Upon These Shores is a book of major importance, a breathtaking tour de force of the historical imagination"--

The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington : picturing the promise

Sweet Home Cafe cookbook : a celebration of African American cooking by Lukas, Albert

Since the 2016 opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, its Sweet Home Café has become a destination in its own right. Showcasing African American contributions to American cuisine, the café offers favorite dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, adding modern flavors and contemporary twists on classics. Now both readers and home cooks can partake of the café's bounty: drawing upon traditions of family and fellowship strengthened by shared meals, Sweet Home Café Cookbook celebrates African American cooking through recipes served by the café itself and dishes inspired by foods from African American culture.

100 amazing facts about the Negro by Gates, Henry Louis

"From one of our premier writers, scholars, and public intellectuals: a surprising, inspiring, often boldly infuriating, highly instructive and entertaining compendium of curiosities regarding African Americans. In 1934, 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro With Complete Proof: A Short Cut to the World History of the Negro was published by Joel A. Rogers, a largely self-educated black journalist and historian. Now with élan and erudition--and winning enthusiasm--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., gives us a corrective yet loving homage to Rogers's work. Relying on the latest scholarship, Gates leads us on a romp through African American history and gossip in question and answer format: Who was the first African American? What was the second Middle Passage? Did black people own slaves? Why was cotton king? Who was the first black president in North America? How much African ancestry does the average African American have? Who really invented "the talented tenth"? What were the biggest acts of betrayal within the enslaved community? Who was the first black American woman to be a self-made millionaire? For 100 questions, 100 answers, intended to shine light on the sheer complexity and diversity of being African American."--Provided by publisher

Little legends : exceptional men in black history by Harrison, Vashti

Profiles thirty-five prominent men in African American history, including James Armistead Lafayette, Thurgood Marshall, Alvin Ailey, and Leland Melvin.

Dream a world anew : the African American experience and the shaping of America

There comes a time : the struggle for civil rights by Meltzer, Milton

Presents an overview of the events in African American history that culminated in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s and represented a striving for equal rights

The African American experience : black history and culture through speeches, letters, editorials, poems, songs, and stories

Living Black history : how reimagining the African-American past can remake America's racial future by Marable, Manning

Generations of captivity : a history of African-American slaves by Berlin, Ira

Encyclopedia of African-American culture and history

A black women's history of the United States by Berry, Daina Ramey

"A Black Women's History of the United States is a critical survey of black women's complicated legacy in America, as it takes into account their exploitation and victimization as well as their undeniable and substantial contributions to the country sinceits inception"--

Driving while black : African American travel and the road to civil rights by Sorin, Gretchen Sullivan

"How the automobile fundamentally changed African American life-the true history beyond the Best Picture-winning movie. The ultimate symbol of independence and possibility, the automobile has shaped this country from the moment the first Model T rolled off Henry Ford's assembly line. Yet cars have always held distinct importance for African Americans, allowing black families to evade the many dangers presented by an entrenched racist society and to enjoy, in some measure, the freedom of the open road. Gretchen Sorin recovers a forgotten history of black motorists, and recounts their creation of a parallel, unseen world of travel guides, black only hotels, and informal communications networks that kept black drivers safe. At the heart of this story is Victor and Alma Green's famous Green Book, begun in 1936, which made possible that most basic American right, the family vacation, and encouraged a new method of resisting oppression. Enlivened by Sorin's personal history, Driving While Black opens an entirely new view onto the African American experience, and shows why travel was so central to the Civil Rights movement"--

The broken heart of America : St. Louis and the violent history of the United States by Johnson, Walter

"From an award-winning historian, a groundbreaking portrait of pervasive exploitation and radical resistance in America, told through the turbulent history of St. Louis. From Lewis and Clark's 1804 expedition to the 2014 uprising in Ferguson, American history has been made in St. Louis. And as Walter Johnson shows in this searing book, the city exemplifies how imperialism, racism, and capitalism have persistently entwined to corrupt the nation's past. St. Louis was a staging post for Indian removal and imperial expansion, and its wealth grew on the backs of its poor black residents, from slavery through redlining and urban renewal. But it was once also America's most radical city, home to anti-capitalist immigrants, the Civil War's first general emancipation, and the nation's first general strike -- a legacy of resistance that endures. A blistering history of a city's rise and decline, The Broken Heart of America will forever change how we think about the United States."--

Fannie Lou Hamer : America's freedom fighting woman by Brooks, Maegan Parker

"In 1964, Fannie Lou Hamer delivered a heart-wrenching testimony before the Democratic National Convention's (DNC) Credentials Committee. In this speech, Hamer represented both the concerns of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) and the limits of American democracy when she proclaimed: 'I question America. Is this the land of the free and the home of the brave where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily? Because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?' This is the speech that sent President Lyndon B. Johnson into a state of outright panic, as he diverted the media's attention away from Hamer's stinging indictment of the nation he led. This is the speech that left most Credentials Committee members in tears, forced Johnson to negotiate with the MFDP, and compelled the Democratic Party to vow they would never again seat a segregated delegation. And this is the speech that television networks, made wise to Johnson's diversionary tactics, replayed during their evening programs, thereby bringing Fannie Lou Hamer into the living rooms of Americans across the nation. As significant as the 1964 DNC speech is, this book will underscore that Hamer's testimony was but one moment within a remarkable life that spanned fifty-nine tumultuous years in the history of American race relations. For the first forty-four years of her life, Hamer lived on sharecropping plantations, all the while learning life lessons from her family, the Black Baptist religious tradition, and from the oppressive white supremacist mores surrounding her. Once Hamer's life path intersected with the mid-century Civil Rights Movement, she spent fifteen years (1962-1977) traveling from the South to the North— and even to the West Coast of Africa— advocating civil rights, economic justice, and interracial cooperation. Hamer shared the platform with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, who introduced her to an audience in Harlem as 'the country's number one freedom fighting woman.' This accessible biography will enrich public memory about Hamer by telling not only the significant story of her riveting testimony, but also by recounting a life filled with triumphs, tragedies, and accompanying lessons for contemporary audiences." --

River of blood : American slavery from the people who lived it : interviews & photographs of formerly enslaved African Americans

Taking a knee, taking a stand : African American athletes and the fight for social justice by Schron, Bob

"A decade-by-decade account of African-American athlete activism told through the stories of prominent athletes who fought for racial or gender equality, often at the expense of their reputation or their ability to practice their sport. From Jesse Owens'sperformance in the 1936 Olympics to Colin Kaepernick's controversial kneel during the national anthem, this book show that the actions of these brave men and women are living history, part of an arc of progress on civil rights that is ongoing and far from over"--

Odetta : a life in music and protest by Zack, Ian

"The untold story of the woman whose music and afro inspired a generation, whose voice provided a soundtrack for the unfolding civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s"--

Stolen justice : the struggle for African-American voting rights by Goldstone, Lawrence

"Following the Civil War, the Reconstruction era raised a new question to those in power in the US: Should African Americans, so many of them former slaves, be granted the right to vote? In a bitter partisan fight over the legislature and Constitution, the answer eventually became yes, though only after two constitutional amendments, two Reconstruction Acts, two Civil Rights Acts, three Enforcement Acts, the impeachment of a president, and an army of occupation. Yet, even that was not enough to ensure that African American voices would be heard, or their lives protected. White supremacists loudly and intentionally prevented black Americans from voting -- and they were willing to kill to do so. In this vivid portrait of the systematic suppression of the African American vote, critically acclaimed author Lawrence Goldstone traces the injustices of the post-Reconstruction era through the eyes of incredible individuals, both heroic and barbaric, and examines the legal cases that made the Supreme Court a partner of white supremacists in the rise of Jim Crow. Though this is a story of America's past, Goldstone brilliantly draws direct links to today's creeping threats to suffrage in this important and, alas, timely book"--

Vanguard : how black women broke barriers, won the vote, and insisted on equality for all by Jones, Martha S

"According to conventional wisdom, American women's campaign for the vote began with the Seneca Falls convention of 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. The movement was led by storied figures such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. But this women's movement was an overwhelmingly white one, and it secured the constitutional right to vote for white women, not for all women. In Vanguard, acclaimed historian Martha Jones offers a sweeping history of African American women's political lives in America, recounting how they fought for, won, and used the right to the ballot and how they fought against both racism and sexism. From 1830s Boston to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and beyond to Shirley Chisholm, Stacey Abrams, and Kamala Harris, Jones excavates the lives and work of black women who, although in many cases suffragists, were never single-issue activists. She recounts the lives of Maria Stewart, the first American woman to speak about politics before a mixed audience of men and women African Methodist Episcopal preacher Jarena Lee Reconstruction-era advocate for female suffrage Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Boston abolitionist, religious leader, and women's club organizer Eliza Ann Gardner,and other hidden figures who were pioneers for both gender and racial equality. Revealing the ways black women remained independent in their ideas and their organization, Jones shows how black women were again and again the American vanguard of women's rights, setting the pace in the quest for justice and collective liberation. In the twenty-first century, black women's power at the polls and in politics is evident. Vanguard reveals that this power is not at all new, but is instead the culmination of twocenturies of dramatic struggle"--

The sword and the shield : the revolutionary lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. by Joseph, Peniel E

"The Sword and the Shield is a dual biography of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King that transforms our understanding of the twentieth century's most iconic African American leaders. Peniel E. Joseph reveals a nuanced portrait of two men who, despite markedly different backgrounds, inspired and pushed each other throughout their adult lives. This is a strikingly revisionist biography, not only of Malcolm and Martin, but also of the movement and era they came to define"--

Lighting the fires of freedom : African American women in the Civil Rights Movement by Bell, Janet Dewart

"Through wide-ranging conversations with nine African American women, several now in their nineties with decades of untold stories, we hear what ignited and fueled their activism, as Bell vividly captures their inspiring voices"--

Making our way home : the great migration and the black American dream by Imani, Blair

"A powerful illustrated history of the Great Migration and its sweeping impact on Black and American culture, from Reconstruction to the rise of hip hop. Over the course of six decades, an unprecedented wave of Black Americans left the South and spread across the nation in search of a better life--a migration that sparked stunning demographic and cultural changes in twentieth-century America. Through gripping and accessible historical narrative paired with illustrations, author and activist Blair Imani examines the largely overlooked impact of The Great Migration and how it affected--and continues to affect--Black identity and America as a whole. Making Our Way Home explores issues like voting rights, domestic terrorism, discrimination, and segregation alongside the flourishing of arts and culture, activism, and civil rights. Imani shows how these influences shaped America's workforce and wealth distribution by featuring the stories of notable people and events, relevant data, and family histories. The experiences of prominent figures such as James Baldwin, Fannie Lou Hamer, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X), Ella Baker, and others are woven into the larger historical and cultural narratives of the Great Migration to create a truly singular record of this powerful journey"--
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