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Books about Black History that have informed who I am today: Part I

February 9, 2022

Books are a lifeline for me. I read as much as I can, to challenge my own understanding of the world, to gain insight into and analysis about how systems of oppression work and to be inspired by those who have come before me.

The books about Black History that have informed and formed who I am today, will be in three categories: 1) books about Slavery and the Abolitionist Movement; 2) books about the larger Black Freedom Struggle up to and including the Civil Rights Movement, and 3) book that have been written in the past 50 years, books that have expanded my understanding of the Black Freedom Struggle and why we need to dismantle the system of White Supremacy!

  • Repair: Redeeming the Promise of Abolition, by Katherine Franke
  • Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged and Profited from Slavery, by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang and Jenifer Frank
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave Written by Himself, a new critical edition by Angela Davis
  • Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation, by John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger
  • The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, by Edward Baptist
  • The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights, by Robin Blackburn
  • Seizing Freedom: Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All, by David Roediger
  • Slavery and Public History: The Tough Stuff of American Memory, edited by James Oliver Morton and Lois E. Horton
  • Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities, by Craig Steven Wilder
  • Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad, by Eric Foner Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880, by W.E.B. DuBois
  • How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America, by Manning Marable
  • Anti-Racism in US History: The First Two Hundred Years, by Herbert Aptheker
  • John Brown’s War Against Slavery, by Robert McGlone
  • Five for Freedom: The African American Soldiers in John Brown’s Army, by Eugene Meyer
  • Ida: A Sword Among Lions, by Paula Giddings
  • The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America, by Gerald Horne
  • A Black Women’s History of the United States, by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross 
  • The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, and Capitalism in 17th Century North America and the Caribbean, by Gerald Horne

In Part II, I will share the books dealing with the 1940s through the 1970s, in the period that is normally referred to as the Civil Rights Era.

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