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West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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New and Contemporary Black History

These splendidly written and devotedly researched books are part of a new wave of innovative and explanative works of Black history.

The devil you know : a Black power manifesto by Charles M Blow

The New York Times columnist presents a rallying call to action that challenges popular myths about race and urges Black Americans to unite against white supremacy.

Barracoon : the story of the last "black cargo" by Zora Neale Hurston

The true story of the last known survivor of the Atlantic slave trade, illegally smuggled from Africa on the last "black cargo" ship to arrive in the United States

Make good the promises : reclaiming Reconstruction and its legacies

"An incisive and illuminating analysis of the enduring legacy of the post-Civil War period known as Reconstruction— a comprehensive story of Black Americans' struggle for human rights and dignity and the failure of the nation to fulfill its promises of freedom, citizenship, and justice" --

A more perfect reunion : race, integration, and the future of America by Calvin Baker

"For four centuries, Americans have found ways to live in a system of racial tyranny and apartheid. We tell ourselves that we know better, but with each generation, too many of us have been satisfied with doing just a little, deciding that the rest is a question for the future. But as acclaimed, award-winning writer Calvin Baker argues in this bracing, necessary book, we are now in that future: racism has torn the country apart and threatens our democracy. The only solution, Baker argues, is integration,which he defines as the full self-determination and participation for all African-Americans, as well as all other oppressed groups, in every facet of national life. Desegregation, diversity, and representation, our usual fall-back solutions, are not enough. Integration is the only remedy to a racist state and to our divisions, and the deepest challenge to the racial order. It is the real goal of civil rights, and the most radical, neglected idea in American politics. At once a provocative reading of U.S.history from the colonial era, and a trenchant critique of the obstacles to integration in our current political and cultural moment, A More Perfect Reunion is also a call to action. As Baker reminds us, we live in a revolutionary democracy; now we must finish that revolution"--

Colorization : one hundred years of Black films in a white world by Wil Haygood

"The author of The Butler and Showdown examines 100 years of Black movies--using the struggles and triumphs of the artists, and the films themselves, as a prism to explore Black culture and the civil rights movement in America. Beginning in 1915 with D.W.Griffith's The Birth of a Nation--which glorified the Ku Klux Klan and became Hollywood's first blockbuster--Wil Haygood gives us an incisive, fascinating, little-known history, spanning more than a century, of Black artists in the film business, onscreen and behind the scenes. He makes clear the effects of changing social realities and events on the business of making movies and on what was represented on the screen: from Jim Crow and segregation to white flight and interracial relationships, from the assassination of Malcolm X to the O.J. Simpson trial to the Black Lives Matter movement. He considers the films themselves--including The Imitation of Life, Gone With the Wind, Porgy & Bess, the Blaxploitation films of the 70s, Do The Right Thing, 12 Yearsa Slave, and Black Panther. And he brings to new light the careers and significance of a wide range of historic and contemporary figures: Hattie McDaniel, Sidney Poitier, Berry Gordy, Alex Haley, Spike Lee, Billy Dee Willliams, Richard Pryor, Halle Berry, Ava Duvernay, and Jordan Peele, among many others. An important, timely book, Colorization gives us both an unprecedented history of Black cinema, and a groundbreaking perspective on racism in modern America"--

The 1619 Project : a new origin story

"In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival led to the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the source of so much that still defines the United States. The New York Times Magazine’s...'1619 Project' issue reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on that work, weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with thirty-six poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself. This is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction—and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life."--book jacket

The Souls of black folk : with "The talented tenth" and "The souls of white folk" by W Du Bois

"When The Souls of Black Folk was first published in 1903, it had a galvanizing effect on the conversation about race in America--and it remains both a touchstone in the literature of African America and a beacon in the fight for civil rights. Believing that one can know the "soul" of a race by knowing the souls of individuals, W. E. B. Du Bois combines history and stirring autobiography to reflect on the magnitude of American racism and to chart a path forward against oppression, and introduces the now-famous concepts of the color line, the veil, and double-consciousness."--Amazon.com

All that she carried : the journey of Ashley's sack, a black family keepsake by Tiya Miles

"Sitting in the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture is a rough cotton bag, called "Ashley's Sack," embroidered with just a handful of words that evoke a sweeping family story of loss and of love passed down through generations. In 1850s South Carolina, just before nine-year-old Ashley was sold, her mother, Rose, gave her a sack filled with just a few things as a token of her love. Decades later, Ashley's granddaughter, Ruth, embroidered this history on the bag--includingRose's message that "It be filled with my Love always." Historian Tiya Miles carefully follows faint archival traces back to Charleston to find Rose in the kitchen where she may have packed the sack for Ashley. From Rose's last resourceful gift to her daughter, Miles then follows the paths their lives and the lives of so many like them took to write a unique, innovative history of the lived experience of slavery in the United States. The contents of the sack--a tattered dress, handfuls of pecans, a braidof hair, "my Love always"--speak volumes and open up a window on Rose and Ashley's world. As she follows Ashley's journey, Miles metaphorically "unpacks" the sack, deepening its emotional resonance and revealing the meanings and significance of everythingit contained. These include the story of enslaved labor's role in the cotton trade and apparel crafts and the rougher cotton "negro cloth" that was left for enslaved people to wear; the role of the pecan in nutrition, survival, and southern culture; thesignificance of hair to Black women and of locks of hair in the nineteenth century; and an exploration of Black mothers' love and the place of emotion in history"--

Dark days, bright nights : from Black power to Barack Obama by Peniel E Joseph

Offers a narrative chronicle of race in the United States and the successes, failures, and stalemates of African American leaders in the past fifty years

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

"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"--

A bound woman is a dangerous thing : the incarceration of African American women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland by DaMaris B Hill

For black American women, the experience of being bound has taken many forms: from the bondage of slavery to the Reconstruction-era criminalization of women; from the brutal constraints of Jim Crow to our own era's prison industrial complex, where between 1980 and 2014, the number of incarcerated women increased by 700%.* For those women who lived and died resisting the dehumanization of confinement--physical, social, intellectual--the threat of being bound was real, constant, and lethal. From Harriet Tubman to Assata Shakur, Ida B. Wells to Sandra Bland and Black Lives Matter, black women freedom fighters have braved violence, scorn, despair, and isolation in order to lodge their protests. In A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing, DaMaris Hill honors their experiences with at times harrowing, at times hopeful responses to her heroes, illustrated with black-and-white photographs throughout

Four hundred souls : a community history of African America, 1619-2019

"A "choral history" of African Americans covering 400 years of history in the voices of 80 writers, edited by the bestselling, National Book Award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain. Last year marked the four hundredth anniversary of thefirst African presence in the Americas--and also launched the Four Hundred Souls project, spearheaded by Ibram X. Kendi, director of the Antiracism Institute of American University, and Keisha Blain, editor of The North Star. They've gathered together eighty black writers from all disciplines -- historians and artists, journalists and novelists--each of whom has contributed an entry about one five-year period to create a dynamic multivoiced single-volume history of black people in America"--

How the word is passed : a reckoning with the history of slavery across America by Clint Smith

"'How the Word is Passed' is Clint Smith's revealing, contemporary portrait of America as a slave owning nation. Beginning in his own hometown of New Orleans, Smith leads the reader through an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks— those that are honest about the past and those that are not— that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nations collective history, and ourselves." --

Power hungry : women of the Black Panther Party and Freedom Summer and their fight to feed a movement by Suzanne Cope

"Two unsung Black women, Cleo Silvers and Aylene Quin, used food as a political weapon during the civil rights movement, generating influence and power so great that it brought the ire of government agents down on them"--

On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed

""It is staggering that there is no date commemorating the end of slavery in the United States." -Annette Gordon-Reed. The essential, sweeping story of Juneteenth's integral importance to American history, as told by a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Texas native. Interweaving American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, Annette Gordon-Reed, the descendant of enslaved people brought to Texas in the 1850s, recounts the origins of Juneteenth and explores the legacies of the holiday that remain with us. From the earliest presence of black people in Texas-in the 1500s, well before enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown-to the day in Galveston on June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger announced the end of slavery, Gordon-Reed's insightful and inspiring essays present the saga of a "frontier" peopled by Native Americans, Anglos, Tejanos, and Blacks that became a slaveholder's republic. Reworking the "Alamo" framework, Gordon-Reed shows that the slave-and race-based economy not only defined this fractious era of Texas independence, but precipitated the Mexican-American War and the resulting Civil War. A commemoration of Juneteenth and the fraught legacies of slavery that still persist, On Juneteenth is stark reminder that the fight for equality is ongoing"--

One person, no vote : how voter suppression is destroying our democracy by Carol (Carol Elaine) Anderson

Love, activism, and the respectable life of Alice Dunbar-Nelson by Tara T Green

"Love, Activism, and the Respectable Life of Alice Dunbar-Nelson is about the love one Black woman had for her race, of men and women, and, finally, of herself. Born in New Orleans in 1875 to a mother who was a former slave and a father of questionable identity, Alice Dunbar-Nelson was a pioneering woman who actively addressed racial and gender inequalities as a writer, suffragette, educator, and activist. While in her 20s, she took the national stage from New Orleans as an early Black feminist, active with the Black Club Women's Movement. From there, she built important relationships with leaders in New York, Wilmington, DE, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia. She used her fiction, drama, poetry, and journalism to give voice to immigrants, poor people, women, Black people, and Creoles of color. Despite chronic illnesses, financial instability, and other struggles, her diaries reveal the ways she put herself first for the good of her mind and body, practices that became necessary after surviving an abusiverelationship with Paul Laurence Dunbar-the first of three husbands. Tara T. Green builds on Black feminist, sexuality, historical and cultural studies to construct a biographical study that examines Dunbar-Nelson's life as a respectable activist-a woman who navigated complex challenges associated with resisting racism and sexism, and who defined her sexual identity and sexual agency within the confines of respectability politics"--

Until I am free : Fannie Lou Hamer's enduring message to America by Keisha N Blain

"Until I Am Free explores the political ideas and philosophies of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer"--

South to America : a journey below the Mason-Dixon to understand the soul of a nation by Imani Perry

"An essential, surprising journey through the history, rituals, and landscapes of the American South--and a revelatory argument for why you must understand the South in order to understand America"--

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

"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
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