Celebrating African American History

With Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday on January 18th and African American History Month in February, you may feel encouraged to learn more about African American history and experiences. The following items were recently added to our collection:AfricanAmericanhistorybooks

African Americans in U.S. Foreign Policy: from the Era of Frederick Douglass to the Age of Obama edited by Linda Heywood, Allison Blakely, Charles Stith, and Joshua C. Yesnowitz

A collection of essays examining different aspects of race and foreign relations from the end of slavery to the present. The essays shed light onto the contributions of African American leaders and cultural ambassadors in diplomatic services, as well as answering questions as to why African Americans supported the diplomatic initiatives of a government with racist policies and cultural practices that undermined their civil rights. The volume concludes with a look at foreign policy in the Obama administration.

Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad: the Geography of Resistance by Cheryl Janifer LaRoche

Approaching the Underground Railroad through an archaeological lens, LaRoche focuses on how free African American communities were able to help individuals fleeing slavery. She argues that geographical features like waterways, caves and iron forges in the southern part of the free North were key to the effectiveness of the Underground Railroad.

South Side Girls: Growing up in the Great Migration by Marcia Chatelain

Chatelain examines the image of urban black girlhood in Chicago during the Great Migration, specifically from 1910 to 1940. She argues that the vulnerable image portrayed of urban black girlhood symbolized the larger well-being of a community undergoing major social, economic and cultural changes. Chatelain not only draws out the views of the adult African American population, but also references the girls’ letters and interviews.

The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power by Leah Wright Rigueur

An examination of African American Republicans, from the New Deal to 1980, in their fight for inclusion. Rigueur argues that while black Republicans faced hostility within the Republican Party and were shunned by their communities as political minorities, they were influential at various points in both instituting policies and programs and garnering support from outside the Republican Party.

Selma

A motion picture by director Ava DuVernay starring David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. leading the march for civil rights from Selma to Montgomery.

Freedom Now! Forgotten Photographs of the Civil Rights Struggle by Martin A. Berger

Featuring dozens of ‘forgotten’ photographs of the black civil rights movement, Freedom Now! shows that African Americans were actively engaged in violent protests. Berger argues that popular imagination focused on the images of black activists victimized by violent white southerners, while images contrary to this nonthreatening view have been purposely edited out of the collective narrative. This book provides a complete look at the actions, strength, and heroism of black activists.

Let the Fire Burn

A documentary film by director Jason Osder, Let the Fire Burn is about excessive police action against the radical urban group MOVE in Philadelphia. On May 13, 1985, police dropped military-grade explosives that led to the deaths of eleven people and destruction of 61 homes in an effort to arrest MOVE members occupying one of the rowhouses in the city.

The Political Roots of Racial Tracking in American Criminal Justice by Nina M. Moore

Moore examines the endurance of racial discrimination in criminal justice and its enablement in the national crime policy process. She argues that the race problem is rooted in an exaggerated public concern with ‘a crime problem’ over other issues facing the criminal justice system.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

One of 2015’s bestsellers and winner of the National Book Award for nonfiction, Between the World and Me is a memoir about Coates’ exploration of race in U.S. history and its present-day implications. Written as a letter to his son, Coates shares various personal experiences, from his days at Howard University to visiting a Civil War battlefield, Chicago’s South Side and African American homes broken by violence, ultimately providing a framework for understanding race.

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