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Rapid Readers' Advisory: Black History Month

This LibGuide helps librarians and library patrons quickly connect with popular and relevant books and eBooks by genre, theme, medium, or language.

Black AF history : the un-whitewashed story of America / Michael Harriot

It should come as no surprise that the dominant narrative of American history is blighted with errors and oversights--after all, history books were written by white men with their perspectives at the forefront. It could even be said that the devaluation and erasure of the Black experience is as American as apple pie. In Black AF History, Michael Harriot presents a more accurate version of American history. Combining unapologetically provocative storytelling with meticulous research based on primary sources as well as the work of pioneering Black historians, scholars, and journalists, Harriot removes the white sugarcoating from the American story, placing Black people squarely at the center.

African Town : inspired by the true story of the last American slave ship

Chronicles the story of the last Africans brought illegally to the United States on the Clotilda in 1860.

Walk with me : a biography of Fannie Lou Hamer

"Kate Clifford Larson's biography of Fannie Lou Hamer is the most complete ever written, drawing on recently declassified sources on both Hamer and the civil rights movement, including unredacted FBI and Department of Justice files. It also makes full use of interviews with Civil Rights activists conducted by the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress, and Democratic National Committee archives, in addition to extensive conversations with Hamer's family and with those with whom she worked most closely."

	A glorious liberty : Frederick Douglass and the fight for an anti-slavery constitution / Damon Root

"A review of Douglass's ideas about free labor and constitutional liberty in order to understand the origins and meanings of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, each of which grew out of the anti-slavery movement that Douglass did so much to shape."


Unforgivable blackness : the rise and fall of Jack Johnson / by Geoffrey C. Ward

This biography presents the life of the first black heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Jackson, nicknamed the Galveston Giant, whose flamboyant personality and defiance of racial stereotypes in the early twentieth century often made him the object of public outrage and a target of law enforcement officials.

	The life and times of Hannah Crafts : the true story of The Bondwoman's Narrative / Gregg Hecimovich

"A groundbreaking study of the first Black female novelist and her life as an enslaved woman, from the biographer who solved the mystery of her identity, with a preface by Henry Louis Gates Jr."

Kamala's way : an American life / Dan Morain

There's very little that's conventional about Kamala Harris, yet her personal story also represents the best of America. Morain introduces us to the fast-rising prosecutor, who became the first Black female attorney general in California history. He shows us that Harris is a shrewd strategist, a risk-taker who ran for the United States Senate, embraced Barack Obama's candidacy when he was just a long shot, and cares for both her personal and political families while doing things her own way.

The three mothers : how the mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin shaped a nation

"In her groundbreaking and essential debut The Three Mothers, scholar Anna Malaika Tubbs celebrates Black motherhood by telling the story of the three women who raised and shaped some of America's most pivotal heroes: Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin. Much has been written about Berdis Baldwin's son James, about Alberta King's son Martin Luther, and Louise Little's son Malcolm. But virtually nothing has been said about the extraordinary women who raised them, who were all born at the beginning of the 20th century and forced to contend with the prejudices of Jim Crow as Black women. Berdis, Alberta, and Louise passed their knowledge to their children with the hope of helping them to survive in a society that would deny their humanity from the very beginning-from Louise teaching her children about their activist roots, to Berdis encouraging James to express himself through writing, to Alberta basing all of her lessons in faith and social justice."

Textures : the history and art of Black hair / curators, Dr. Tameka N. Ellington, Dr. Joseph L. Underwood

"This book is published on the occasion of the exhibition Textures : the history and art of Black hair, Kent State University Museum, September 10, 2021-August 14, 2022."

	Jean-Michel Basquiat : king pleasure / by the family of Jean-Michel Basquiat

"This landmark volume tells the story of Jean-Michel Basquiat from the intimate perspective of his family, intertwining his artistic endeavors with his personal life, influences, and the times in which he lived, and features for the first time work from the Estate's largely unseen and significant collection of paintings, drawings, sketches, and ephemera."

Born in Blackness : Africa, Africans, and the making of the modern world, 1471 to the Second World War / Howard W. French

"Revealing the central yet intentionally obliterated role of Africa in the creation of modernity, Born in Blackness vitally reframes our understanding of world history. In a sweeping narrative that traverses 600 years, one that eloquently weaves precise historical detail with poignant personal reportage, Pulitzer Prize finalist Howard W. French retells the story of medieval and emerging Africa, demonstrating how the economic ascendancy of Europe, the anchoring of democracy in America, and the fulfillment of so-called Enlightenment ideals all grew out of Europe's dehumanizing engagement with the 'darkest' continent."

A little devil in America : notes in praise of black performance / Hanif Abdurraqib

"A Little Devil in America is an urgent project that unravels all modes and methods of black performance, in this moment when black performers are coming to terms with their value, reception, and immense impact on America. With sharp insight, humor, and heart, Abdurraqib examines how black performance happens in specific moments in time and space--midcentury Paris, the moon, or a cramped living room in Columbus, Ohio. At the outset of this project, Abdurraqib became fascinated with clips of black minstrel entertainers like William Henry Lane, better known as Master Juba. Knowing there was something more complicated and deep-seated in the history and legacy of minstrelsy, Abdurraqib uncovered questions and tensions that help to reveal how black performance pervades all areas of American society."

Making our way home : the Great Migration and the Black American dream / Blair Imani

About Great Migration and the Black American dream.


	Victory. Stand! : raising my fist for justice / Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes, Dawud Anyabwile

"A groundbreaking and timely graphic memoir from one of the most iconic figures in American sports-and a tribute to his fight for civil rights. On October 16, 1968, during the medal ceremony at the Mexico City Olympics, Tommie Smith, the gold medal winner in the 200-meter sprint, and John Carlos, the bronze medal winner, stood on the podium in black socks and raised their black-gloved fists to protest racial injustice inflicted upon African Americans. Both men were forced to leave the Olympics, received death threats, and faced ostracism and continuing economic hardships."

The Black Church : this is our story, this is our song / Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

"A powerful new history of the Black church in America as the Black community's abiding rock and its fortress."

Unspeakable : the Tulsa Race Massacre / Carole Boston Weatherford

The 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma, race massacre was one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation's history. On May 31 and June 1 an armed mob looted homes and businesses as Black families fled. The police did nothing to protect Greenwood, and as many as three hundred African Americans were killed, most buried in unmarked graves. No official investigation occurred until seventy-five years later. Weatherford helps young readers understand the events of this incident.

All that she carried : the journey of Ashley's sack, a black family keepsake / 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--including Rose'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."

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