The guide includes resources to learn, find support, and ways to become an advocate for change. We've linked to the eBooks from our catalog. If you would like to purchase your own copies, we encourage you to do so from a Black-owned book seller.
The Condemnation of Blackness by Khalil Gibran MuhammadWinner of the John Hope Franklin Prize A Moyers & Company Best Book of the Year "A brilliant work that tells us how directly the past has formed us." --Darryl Pinckney, New York Review of Books How did we come to think of race as synonymous with crime? A brilliant and deeply disturbing biography of the idea of black criminality in the making of modern urban America, The Condemnation of Blackness reveals the influence this pernicious myth, rooted in crime statistics, has had on our society and our sense of self. Black crime statistics have shaped debates about everything from public education to policing to presidential elections, fueling racism and justifying inequality. How was this statistical link between blackness and criminality initially forged? Why was the same link not made for whites? In the age of Black Lives Matter and Donald Trump, under the shadow of Ferguson and Baltimore, no questions could be more urgent. "The role of social-science research in creating the myth of black criminality is the focus of this seminal work...[It] shows how progressive reformers, academics, and policy-makers subscribed to a 'statistical discourse' about black crime...one that shifted blame onto black people for their disproportionate incarceration and continues to sustain gross racial disparities in American law enforcement and criminal justice." --Elizabeth Hinton, The Nation "Muhammad identifies two different responses to crime among African-Americans in the post-Civil War years, both of which are still with us: in the South, there was vigilantism; in the North, there was an increased police presence. This was not the case when it came to white European-immigrant groups that were also being demonized for supposedly containing large criminal elements." --New Yorker
Publication Date: 2019-07-22
Race Matters by Cornel WestThe twenty-fifth-anniversary edition of the groundbreaking classic, with a new introduction First published in 1993, on the one-year anniversary of the Los Angeles riots, Race Mattersbecame a national best seller that has gone on to sell more than half a million copies. This classic treatise on race contains Dr. West's most incisive essays on the issues relevant to black Americans, including the crisis in leadership in the Black community, Black conservatism, Black-Jewish relations, myths about Black sexuality, and the legacy of Malcolm X. The insights Dr. West brings to these complex problems remain relevant, provocative, creative, and compassionate. In a new introduction for the twenty-fifth-anniversary edition, Dr. West argues that we are in the midst of a spiritual blackout characterized by imperial decline, racial animosity, and unchecked brutality and terror as seen in Baltimore, Ferguson, and Charlottesville. Calling for a moral and spiritual awakening, Dr. West finds hope in the collective and visionary resistance exemplified by the Movement for Black Lives, Standing Rock, and the Black freedom tradition. Now more than ever, Race Mattersis an essential book for all Americans, helping us to build a genuine multiracial democracy in the new millennium.
Publication Date: 2017-12-05
Before the Mayflower by Lerone BennettThe black experience in America--starting from its origins in western Africa up to 1961--is examined in this seminal study from a prominent African American figure. The entire historical timeline of African Americans is addressed, from the Colonial period through the civil rights upheavals of the late 1950s to 1961, the time of publication. "Before the Mayflower" grew out of a series of articles Bennett published in Ebony magazine regarding "the trials and triumphs of a group of Americans whose roots in the American soil are deeper than the roots of the Puritans who arrived on the celebrated Mayflower a year after a 'Dutch man of war' deposited twenty Negroes at Jamestown." Bennett's history is infused with a desire to set the record straight about black contributions to the Americas and about the powerful Africans of antiquity. While not a fresh history, it provides a solid synthesis of current historical research and a lively writing style that makes it accessible and engaging reading. After discussing the contributions of Africans to the ancient world, "Before the Mayflower" tells the history of "the other Americans," how they came to America, and what happened to them when they got here. The book is comprehensive and detailed, providing little-known and often overlooked facts about the lives of black folks through slavery, Reconstruction, America's wars, the Great Depression, and the civil rights movement. The book includes a useful time line and some fascinating archival images.
Publication Date: 2016-10-19
The Color of Law by Richard RothsteinExploding the myth of de facto segregation arising from private prejudice or the unintended consequences of economic forces, Rothstein describes how the American government systematically imposed residential segregation: with undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced segregation; and support for violent resistance to African Americans in white neighborhoods. A groundbreaking, "virtually indispensable" study that has already transformed our understanding of twentieth-century urban history (Chicago Daily Observer), The Color of Law forces us to face the obligation to remedy our unconstitutional past.
Publication Date: 2018-05-01
Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness by Jane Lazarre"I am Black," Jane Lazarre's son tells her. "I have a Jewish mother, but I am not 'biracial.' That term is meaningless to me." In this moving memoir, Jane Lazarre, the white Jewish mother of now adult Black sons, offers a powerful meditation on motherhood and racism in America as she tells the story of how she came to understand the experiences of her African American husband, their growing sons, and their extended family. Recounting her education, as a wife, mother, and scholar-teacher, into the realities of African American life, Lazarre shows how although racism and white privilege lie at the heart of American history and culture, any of us can comprehend the experience of another through empathy and learning. This Twentieth Anniversary Edition features a new preface, in which Lazarre's elegy for Mother Emanuel AME in Charleston, South Carolina, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and so many others, reminds us of the continued resonance of race in American life. As #BlackLivesMatter gains momentum, Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness is more urgent and essential than ever.
Publication Date: 2016-04-01
Damn near White by Carolyn Marie WilkinsCarolyn Wilkins grew up defending her racial identity. Because of her light complexion and wavy hair, she spent years struggling to convince others that she was black. Her family's prominence set Carolyn's experiences even further apart from those of the average African American. Her father and uncle were well-known lawyers who had graduated from Harvard Law School. Another uncle had been a child prodigy and protégé of Albert Einstein. And her grandfather had been America's first black assistant secretary of labor. Carolyn's parents insisted she follow the color-conscious rituals of Chicago's elite black bourgeoisie--experiences Carolyn recalls as some of the most miserable of her entire life. Only in the company of her mischievous Aunt Marjory, a woman who refused to let the conventions of "proper" black society limit her, does Carolyn feel a true connection to her family's African American heritage. When Aunt Marjory passes away, Carolyn inherits ten bulging scrapbooks filled with family history and memories. What she finds in these photo albums inspires her to discover the truth about her ancestors--a quest that will eventually involve years of research, thousands of miles of travel, and much soul-searching. Carolyn learns that her great-grandfather John Bird Wilkins was born into slavery and went on to become a teacher, inventor, newspaperman, renegade Baptist minister, and a bigamist who abandoned five children. And when she discovers that her grandfather J. Ernest Wilkins may have been forced to resign from his labor department post by members of the Eisenhower administration, Carolyn must confront the bittersweet fruits of her family's generations-long quest for status and approval. Damn Near White is an insider's portrait of an unusual American family. Readers will be drawn into Carolyn's journey as she struggles to redefine herself in light of the long-buried secrets she uncovers. Tackling issues of class, color, and caste, Wilkins reflects on the changes of African American life in U.S. history through her dedicated search to discover her family's powerful story.
Publication Date: 2010-10-10
Our Nig, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself by Harriet Jacobs; Jennifer Fleischner (Editor)In this volume, Jennifer Fleischner examines the first- and best-known female account of life under, and escape from, slavery -- Harriet Jacobs' autobiography. In her introduction, Fleischner shows how Jacobs used the written word to liberate herself and promote the end of slavery by carefully discussing her sexual exploitation as a slave in ways that would inspire sympathy in -- and not offend -- her Victorian white, middle-class, female audience. An updated introduction explores Jacobs' personal struggles with religion and violent resistance, and connects her narrative to the broader history of the anti-slavery movement in the United States. The rich collection of related documents that accompany Jacobs' complete narrative features three new sources, including the will of Jacobs' owner Margaret Horniblow, the abolitionist emblem, and the original title page of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Updated document head notes, chronology, questions for consideration, selected bibliography, and index provide students with a valuable framework for understanding this period in United States history. Available in print and e-book formats.
Publication Date: 2019-10-11
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X; Alex Haley (As told to)ONE OF TIME'S TEN MOST IMPORTANT NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement and a man whose work was never completed but whose message is timeless. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand America. Praise for The Autobiography of Malcolm X "Malcolm X's autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will."--Barack Obama "Extraordinary . . . a brilliant, painful, important book."--The New York Times "A great book . . . Its dead level honesty, its passion, its exalted purpose, will make it stand as a monument to the most painful truth."--The Nation "The most important book I'll ever read, it changed the way I thought, it changed the way I acted. It has given me courage I didn't know I had inside me. I'm one of hundreds of thousands whose lives were changed for the better."--Spike Lee "This book will have a permanent place in the literature of the Afro-American struggle."--I. F. Stone
Publication Date: 1992-01-15
Waking up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby IrvingFor twenty-five years, Debby Irving sensed inexplicable racial tensions in her personal and professional relationships. As a colleague and neighbor, she worried about offending people she dearly wanted to befriend. As an arts administrator, she didn't understand why her diversity efforts lacked traction. As a teacher, she found her best efforts to reach out to students and families of color left her wondering what she was missing. Then, in 2009, one "aha!" moment launched an adventure of discovery and insight that drastically shifted her worldview and upended her life plan. In Waking Up White, Irving tells her often cringe-worthy story with such openness that readers will turn every page rooting for her-and ultimately for all of us.
Publication Date: 2014-01-01
Southern Horrors and Other Writings by Jacqueline Jones RoysterGain insight into the life of Ida B. Wells as Southern Horrors and Other Writings illustrates how events like yellow fever epidemic transformed her into a internationally famous journalist, public speaker, and activist at the turn of the twentieth century.
Publication Date: 2016-05-06
The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin WoodsonThe thesis of Dr. Woodson's book is that African-Americans of his day were being culturally indoctrinated, rather than taught, in American schools. This conditioning, he claims, causes African-Americans to become dependent and to seek out inferior places in the greater society of which they are a part. He challenges his readers to become autodidacts and to "do for themselves", regardless of what they were taught:History shows that it does not matter who is in power... those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they did in the beginning.
Publication Date: 2010-11-23
The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du BoisThe Souls of Black Folk is a classic work of American literature by W. E. B. Du Bois. It is a seminal work in the history of sociology, and a cornerstone of African-American literary history. To develop this groundbreaking work, Du Bois drew from his own experiences as an African-American in the American society. Outside of its notable relevance in African-American history, The Souls of Black Folk also holds an important place in social science as one of the early works in the field of sociology.
Publication Date: 2014-11-28
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge'Every voice raised against racism chips away at its power. We can't afford to stay silent. This book is an attempt to speak'The book that sparked a national conversation. Exploring everything from eradicated black history to the inextricable link between class and race, Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race is the essential handbook for anyone who wants to understand race relations in Britain today. THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLERWINNER OF THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS NON-FICTION NARRATIVE BOOK OF THE YEAR 2018FOYLES NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEARBLACKWELL'S NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEARWINNER OF THE JHALAK PRIZELONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTIONLONGLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZESHORTLISTED FOR A BOOKS ARE MY BAG READERS AWARD
Publication Date: 2017-06-01
In Praise of Black Women by Simone Schwarz-Bart; Andre Schwarz-Bart; Stephanie K. Daval (Translator); Rose-Myriam Rejouis (Translator); Val Vinokurov (Translator); Howard Dodson (Foreword by)This volume weaves oral tradition, folk legends and stories, songs and poems, historical accounts, and personal writings from North and South America and the Caribbean, from the 15th to the 19th century.
Publication Date: 2002-11-15
Modern African Women by Simone Schwarz-Bart; Andre Schwarz-Bart; Rose-Myriam Rejouis (Translator); Val Vinokurov (Translator); Stephanie Turner (Translator); Howard Dodson (Foreword by)This work offers tales from Senegal to South Africa, from the 19th century to the 21st century. These modern African rulers, leaders, and visionaries include Madam Yoko, Queen of the Kpaa Mende and national heroine of Sierra Leone, and Princess Kesso, a Fulani Muslim princess from Guinea who became one of the world's first black models. Also included are: Alice Lenshina, who fought British colonial rule in Zambia and was considered a prophet in the Lumpa Church; Ellen Kuzwayo, member of the African National Congress whose struggle for civil and women's rights landed her in prison; Dulcie September, the ANC representative in France, killed for her ardent support for the cause of freedom; Miriam Makeba, internationally loved singer South African singer; Winnie Mandela, who carried on the struggle during Nelson Mandela's long imprisonment; and many others.
Publication Date: 2003-03-27
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Mary Helen Washington (Foreword by); Henry Louis Gates (Afterword by)Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person -- no mean feat for a black woman in the '30s. Janie's quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.
Publication Date: 1998-12-01
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines"This majestic, moving novel is an instant classic, a book that will be read, discussed and taught beyond the rest of our lives."--Chicago Tribune Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, A Lesson Before Dying is a deep and compassionate novel about a young man who returns to 1940s Cajun country to visit a black youth on death row for a crime he didn't commit. Together they come to understand the heroism of resisting. From the critically acclaimed author of A Gathering of Old Men and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.
Publication Date: 1997-09-28
Native Son by Richard WrightRight from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.
Publication Date: 2005-08-02
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Publication Date: 1995-03-14
The Ways of White Folks by Langston HughesA collection of vibrant and incisive short stories depicting the sometimes humorous, but more often tragic interactions between Black people and white people in America in the 1920s and '30s. One of the most important writers to emerge from the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes is best known as a poet, but these stories showcase his talent as a lively storyteller. His work blends elements of blues and jazz, speech and song, into a triumphant and wholly original idiom. Stories included in this collection: "Cora Unashamed" "Slave on the Block" "Home" "Passing" "A Good Job Gone" "Rejuvenation Through Joy" "The Blues I'm Playing" "Red-Headed Baby" "Poor Little Black Fellow" "Little Dog" "Berry" "Mother and Child" "One Christmas Eve" "Father and Son"
Publication Date: 1990-09-12
Jitney by August Wilson; Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Preface by)Only one of the plays in two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson's masterful The American Century Cycle has never been seen on Broadway--until now. In his preface to this Broadway edition of Jitney, director Ruben Santiago-Hudson writes: "There had been nine jewels placed in August Wilson's formidable crown, each had changed the landscape of Broadway in their respective seasons. Until now, only one gem was missing. With this production of Jitney at the Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre the final gem is in place."Set in the 1970s, this richly textured piece follows a group of men trying to eke out a living by driving unlicensed cabs, or jitneys. When the city threatens to board up the business and the boss's son returns from prison, tempers flare, potent secrets are revealed and the fragile threads binding these people together may come undone at last.In addition to the essential and insightful preface by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, this edition boasts production stills from the Manhattan Theatre Club's Broadway production, directed by Santiago-Hudson and featuring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon J. Dirden, André Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas, and John Douglas Thompson.
Publication Date: 2017-04-25
The Complete Poetry by Maya AngelouThe beauty and spirit of Maya Angelou's words live on in this complete collection of poetry. Throughout her illustrious career in letters, Maya Angelou gifted, healed, and inspired the world with her words. Now the beauty and spirit of those words live on in this new and complete collection of poetry that reflects and honors the writer's remarkable life. Every poetic phrase, every poignant verse can be found within the pages of this sure-to-be-treasured volume--from her reflections on African American life and hardship in the compilation Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie ("Though there's one thing that I cry for / I believe enough to die for / That is every man's responsibility to man") to her revolutionary celebrations of womanhood in the poem "Still I Rise" ("Out of the huts of history's shame / I rise / Up from a past that's rooted in pain / I rise") to her "On the Pulse of Morning" tribute at President William Jefferson Clinton's inauguration ("Lift up your eyes upon / The day breaking for you. / Give birth again / To the dream."). Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry also features her final long-form poems, including "A Brave and Startling Truth," "Amazing Peace," "His Day Is Done," and the honest and endearing Mother: "I feared if I let you go You would leave me eternally. You smiled at my fears, saying I could not stay in your lap forever" This collection also includes the never-before-published poem "Amazement Awaits," commissioned for the 2008 Olympic Games: "We are here at the portal of the world we had wished for At the lintel of the world we most need. We are here roaring and singing. We prove that we can not only make peace, we can bring it with us." Timeless and prescient, this definitive compendium will warm the hearts of Maya Angelou's most ardent admirers as it introduces new readers to the legendary poet, activist, and teacher--a phenomenal woman for the ages.
Publication Date: 2015-03-31
The Color Purple Collection by Alice WalkerThree novels by a New York Times-bestselling author--including the Pulitzer Prizewinner The Color Purple--that speak to the African experience in America. The Color Purple is Alice Walker's stunning, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of courage in the face of oppression. Celie grows up in rural Georgia, navigating a childhood of ceaseless abuse. Not only is she poor and despised by the society around her, she's badly treated by her family. As a teenager she begins writing letters directly to God in an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear. Her letters span twenty years and record a journey of self-discovery and empowerment through the guiding light of a few strong women and her own implacable will to find harmony with herself and her home. In The Temple of My Familiar, Celie and Shug from The Color Purple follow the lives of a brilliant cast of characters, all dealing in some way with the legacy of the African experience in America. From recent African immigrants, to a woman who grew up in the mixed-race rainforest communities of South America, to Celie's own granddaughter living in modern-day San Francisco, all must come to understand the brutal stories of their ancestors to come to terms with their own troubled lives. Possessing the Secret of Joy portrays Tashi's tribe, the Olinka, where young girls undergo genital mutilation as an initiation into the community. Tashi manages to avoid this fate at first, but when pressed by tribal leaders, she submits. Years later, married and living in America as Evelyn Johnson, Tashi's inner pain emerges. As she questions why such a terrifying, disfiguring sacrifice was required, she sorts through the many levels of subjugation with which she's been burdened over the years. Hailed by the Washington Post as "one of the best American writers of today," Alice Walker is a master storyteller and a major voice in modern literary fiction.
Publication Date: 2012-09-11
Go Tell It on the Mountain by James BaldwinIn one of the greatest American classics, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity. Baldwin's rendering of his protagonist's spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin tells the story of the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Originally published in 1953, Baldwin said of his first novel, "Mountain is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else." "With vivid imagery, with lavish attention to details ... [a] feverish story." --The New York Times
Publication Date: 2013-09-12
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou; Oprah Winfrey (Foreword by)Maya Angelou's debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Her life story is told in the documentary film And Still I Rise, as seen on PBS's American Masters. Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou's debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local "powhitetrash." At eight years old and back at her mother's side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age--and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors ("I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare") will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned. Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity."--James Baldwin
Publication Date: 2009-04-21
Giovanni's Room by James BaldwinJames Baldwin's groundbreaking novel about love and the fear of love is set among the bohemian bars and nightclubs of 1950s Paris. In the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin's now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart. "A book that belongs in the top rank of fiction." --The Atlantic
Publication Date: 2013-09-12
The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks by Gwendolyn Brooks; Elizabeth Alexander (Editor)Discover the most enduring works of legendary poet Gwendolyn Brooks--the first black author to win a Pulitzer Prize--in one collectible volume "If you wanted a poem," wrote Gwendolyn Brooks, "you only had to look out of a window. There was material always, walking or running, fighting or screaming or singing." From the life of Chicago's South Side she made a forceful and passionate poetry that fused Modernist aesthetics with African-American cultural tradition, a poetry that registered the life of the streets and the upheavals of the 20th century. Starting with A Street in Bronzeville (1945), her epoch-making debut volume, The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks traces the full arc of her career in all its ambitious scope and unexpected stylistic shifts. "Her formal range," writes editor Elizabeth Alexander, "is most impressive, as she experiments with sonnets, ballads, spirituals, blues, full and off-rhymes. She is nothing short of a technical virtuoso." That technical virtuosity was matched by a restless curiosity about the life around her in all its explosive variety. By turns compassionate, angry, satiric, and psychologically penetrating, Gwendolyn Brooks's poetry retains its power to move and surprise. About the American Poets Project Elegantly designed in compact editions, printed on acid-free paper, and textually authoritative, the American Poets Project makes available the full range of the American poetic accomplishment, selected and introduced by today's most discerning poets and critics.