African American Literature

Published By:
Lamont Jack Pearley

Mildred D Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Role of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Winner of the Newbery Medal, this remarkably moving novel has impressed the hearts and minds of millions of readers.

Set in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, this is the story of one family’s struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice. And it is also Cassie’s story—Cassie Logan, an independent girl who discovers over the course of an important year why having land of their own is so crucial to the Logan family, even as she learns to draw strength from her own sense of dignity and self-respect.

 

 

The Gold Cadillac 

Another powerful story in the Logan Family Saga and companion to Mildred D. Taylor’s Newbery Award-winning Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.
A drive South becomes dangerous for ‘lois and her family. 
‘Lois and Wilma are proud of their father’s brand-new gold Cadillac, and excited that the family will be driving it all the way from Ohio to Mississippi. But as they travel deeper into the rural South, there are no admiring glances for the shiny new car; only suspicion and anger for the black man behind the wheel. For the first time in their lives, Lois and her sister know what it’s like to feel scared because of the color of their skin.
“A personal, poignant look at a black child’s first experience with institutional racism.”–The New York Times

And Many More

 

W.E.B. Dubois

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Souls of Black Folk

The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line.” This infamous formulation is the central idea around which W. E. B. Du Bois crafted what would become the most influential work about race in America: The Souls of Black Folk. Since he penned these words in 1903, the fraught relationship between the races has dominated the country’s policies, economy, and social developments. Published forty years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Du Bois’s radioactive essays addressed an American nation that had still not yet found “peace from its sins.” Today, amid furor over voting rights, mass incarceration, police brutality and extrajudicial killing, the ghosts of white supremacy and ethnonationalism, and the apparent fragility of the equality and desegregation gains of the Civil Rights Movement, Du Bois’s work has proven prophetic, and more urgently necessary than ever.

 

 

The Conservation of Races

The American Negro Academy believes that upon those of the race who have had the advantages of higher education and culture, rests the responsibility of taking concerted steps for the employment of these agencies to uplift the race to higher planes of thought and action.Two great obstacles to this consummation are apparent: (a) The lack of unity, want of harmony, absence of a self-sacrificing spirit, and no well-defined line of policy seeking definite aims; and (b) The persistent, relentless, at times covert opposition employed to thwart the Negro at every step of his upward struggles to establish the justness of his claim to the highest physical, intellectual and moral possibilities. The Academy will, therefore, from time to time, publish such papers as in their judgment aid, by their broad and scholarly treatment of the topics discussed the dissemination of principles tending to the growth and development of the Negro along right lines, and the vindication of that race against vicious assaults.

 

The Negro

W.E.B. Du Bois was one of the most influential leaders of black thought in American history.Setting out to show to the reader “the strange meaning of being black here in the dawning of the Twentieth Century,” Du Bois wrote at length about the meaning and importance of emancipation for blacks, as well as its effects. His voice also ably demonstrated views on the role of the leaders of his race.
In addition to his prescient writing, Du Bois attended Harvard, becoming the first black man to earn a doctorate there. He went on to be a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University, and he also co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). His 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk remains one of the most important works about black culture, and his Black Reconstruction in America challenged the prevailing views that blacks did not participate in any meaningful way during Reconstruction. 

And Many More

 

Sterling Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Negro Poetry and Drama 

Commissioned by the great Alain Locke and edited by Sterling A. Brown, Negro Poetry and Drama was an essential tool in the African American adult education movement during the early twentieth century. The fight for civil rights was accompanied by a move to educate African Americans who were forcibly ignorant to the histories and contributions of those before them. By showcasing the various works and biographies of black writers, poets, playwrights, and dramatists, Negro Poetry uncovers and celebrates voices of the past, offering unique stories which had previously been marginalized or otherwise ignored within the American canon. Complete with the original discussion questions at the end of each chapter, this edition of Negro Poetry gives us a glimpse of the steps African Americans took to re-educate and reclaim their narratives in the fight towards equality. Whitney Shepard has a background in English and African American Studies, with an interest in critical race theory and social justice. She is currently the Director of Development and Programs at the Policy Studies Organization in Washington DC.

And Many More

 

LeRoi Jones AKA Amiri Baraka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blues People

“The path the slave took to ‘citizenship’ is what I want to look at. And I make my analogy through the slave citizen’s music — through the music that is most closely associated with him: blues and a later, but parallel development, jazz… [If] the Negro represents, or is symbolic of, something in and about the nature of American culture, this certainly should be revealed by his characteristic music.”

So says Amiri Baraka in the Introduction to Blues People, his classic work on the place of jazz and blues in American social, musical, economic, and cultural history. From the music of African slaves in the United States through the music scene of the 1960’s, Baraka traces the influence of what he calls “negro music” on white America — not only in the context of music and pop culture but also in terms of the values and perspectives passed on through the music. In tracing the music, he brilliantly illuminates the influence of African Americans on American culture and history.

Black Music

Black Music is a book about the brilliant young jazz musicians of the early 1960s: John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, and others. It is composed of essays, reviews, interviews, liner notes, musical analyses, and personal impressions from 1959–1967. Also includes Amiri Baraka’s reflections in a 2009 interview with Calvin Reid of Publishers Weekly.

 

 

 

 

Wise, Why’s, Y’s: The Griot’s Song Djeli YA

A poetic voyage in five parts that charts the ebbs and flows of the African-American movement.

 

 

 

 

And Many More

 

Gwendolyn Midlo Hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Africans in Colonial Louisiana

Although a number of important studies of American slavery have explored the formation of slave cultures in the English colonies, no book until now has undertaken a comprehensive assessment of the development of the distinctive Afro-Creole culture of colonial Louisiana. This culture, based upon a separate language community with its own folkloric, musical, religious, and historical traditions, was created by slaves brought directly from Africa to Louisiana before 1731. It still survives as the acknowledged cultural heritage of tens of thousands of people of all races in the southern part of the state. In this pathbreaking work, Gwendolyn Midlo Hall studies Louisiana’s creole slave community during the eighteenth century, focusing on the slaves’ African origins, the evolution of their own language and culture, and the role they played in the formation of the broader society, economy, and culture of the region. Hall bases her study on research in a wide range of archival sources in Louisiana, France, and Spain and employs several disciplines–history, anthropology, linguistics, and folklore–in her analysis. Among the topics she considers are the French slave trade from Africa to Louisiana, the ethnic origins of the slaves, and relations between African slaves and native Indians. She gives special consideration to race mixture between Africans, Indians, and whites; to the role of slaves in the Natchez Uprising of 1729; to slave unrest and conspiracies, including the Pointe Coupee conspiracies of 1791 and 1795; and to the development of communities of runaway slaves in the cypress swamps around New Orleans.

 

 

Carter G Woodson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Century of Negro Migration

Carter G. Woodson recognized and acted upon the importance of a people having an awareness and knowledge of their contributions to humanity and left behind an impressive legacy. A founder of Journal of Negro History, Dr. Woodson is known as the Father of Black History. After leaving Howard University because of differences with its president, Dr. Woodson devoted the rest of his life to historical research. He worked to preserve the history of African Americans and accumulated a collection of thousands of artifacts and publications. He noted that African American contributions “were overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them.” Race prejudice, he concluded, “is merely the logical result of tradition, the inevitable outcome of thorough instruction to the effect that the Negro has never contributed anything to the progress of mankind.” In 1926, Woodson single-handedly pioneered the celebration of “Negro History Week”, for the second week in February, to coincide with marking the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The week was later extended to the full month of February and renamed Black History Month

 

 

The Miseducation of the Negro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ian C Dawkins Moore

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afromuse: The Evolution of Afro-American Music

The story of music making in early African societies and its importation to America. A review showing the musical influences of Africa onto America. Chapters includes: Africa’s history, musicology, instruments,the middle passage, seasoning in the islands, new world Africans arrive with their music,conversion to Christianity, the spirituals, camp meetings,the blues and hip hop’s real origins.

 

 

 

 

Zora Neale Hurston

 

 

 

 

 

Their Eyes Were Watching God

“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching Godbrings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

 

And Many More

 

James H. Cone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spirituals and The Blues

Cone explores two classic aspects of African-American culture–the spirituals and the blues. He tells the captivating story of how slaves and the children of slaves used this music to affirm their essential humanity in the face of oppression. The blues are shown to be a “this-worldly” expression of cultural and political rebellion. The spirituals tell about the “attempt to carve out a significant existence in a very trying situation”.

 

 

 

Black Theology and Black Power

Newly updated and expanded, this classic work is a product of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements in America during the 1960’s. Black Theology & Black Power is James H. Cone’s initial attempt to identify liberation as the heart of the Christian gospel, and blackness as the primary mode of God’s presence. As he explains in an introduction written for this edition, “I wanted to speak on behalf of the voiceless black masses in the name of Jesus whose gospel I believed had been greatly distorted by the preaching and theology of white churches.”

 

 

And Many More

Booker T Washington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Story Of The Negro

The Story of the Negro is a history of Americans of African descent before and after slavery. Originally produced in two volumes, and published here for the first time in one paperback volume, the first part covers Africa and the history of slavery in the United States while the second part carries the history from the Civil War to the first part of the twentieth century. Booker T. Washington was born into slavery, worked menial jobs in order to acquire an education, and became the most important voice of African American interests beginning in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

 

 

 

Contempt of Court: the turn of the century lynching that launched 100 years of federalism
by Mark Curriden, Leroy PhillipsIn this profound and fascinating book, the authors revisit an overlooked Supreme Court decision that changed forever how justice is carried out in the United States.
In 1906, Ed Johnson was the innocent black man found guilty of the brutal rape of Nevada Taylor, a white woman, and sentenced to die in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Two black lawyers, not even part of the original defense, appealed to the Supreme Court for a stay of execution, and the stay, incredibly, was granted. Frenzied with rage at the decision, locals responded by lynching Johnson, and what ensued was a breathtaking whirlwind of groundbreaking legal action whose import, Thurgood Marshall would claim, “has never been fully explained.” Provocative, thorough, and gripping,Contempt of Court is a long-overdue look at events that clearly depict the peculiar and tenuous relationship between justice and the law.

 

Shirley Moody Turner

 

 

 

 

Black Folklore and the Politics of Racial Representation

Before the innovative work of Zora Neale Hurston, folklorists from the Hampton Institute collected, studied, and wrote about African American folklore. Like Hurston, these folklorists worked within but also beyond the bounds of white mainstream institutions. They often called into question the meaning of the very folklore projects in which they were engaged.Shirley Moody-Turner analyzes this output, along with the contributions of a disparate group of African American authors and scholars. She explores how black authors and folklorists were active participants—rather than passive observers—in conversations about the politics of representing black folklore. Examining literary texts, folklore documents, cultural performances, legal discourse, and political rhetoric, Black Folklore and the Politics of Racial Representation demonstrates how folklore studies became a battleground across which issues of racial identity and difference were asserted and debated at the turn of the twentieth century. The study is framed by two questions of historical and continuing import. What role have representations of black folklore played in constructing racial identity? And, how have those ideas impacted the way African Americans think about and creatively engage black traditions?Moody-Turner renders established historical facts in a new light and context, taking figures we thought we knew—such as Charles Chesnutt, Anna Julia Cooper, and Paul Laurence Dunbar—and recasting their place in African American intellectual and cultural history.

 

Eileen Southern

 

 

 

 

 

The Music of Black Americans: A History / Edition 3

 

A new edition of the classic text on African American music.
Beginning with the arrival of the first Africans in the English colonies, Eileen Southern weaves a fascinating narrative of intense musical activity. As singers, players, and composers, black American musicians are fully chronicled in this landmark book. Now in the third edition, the author has brought the entire text up to date and has added a wealth of new material covering the latest developments in gospel, blues, jazz, classical, crossover, Broadway, and rap as they relate to African American music.

 

 

And many more

 

Richard Wright

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Boy

 

Richard Wright grew up in the woods of Mississippi, with poverty, hunger, fear, and hatred. He lied, stole, and raged at those around him; at six he was a “drunkard,” hanging about taverns. Surly, brutal, cold, suspicious, and self-pitying, he was surrounded on one side by whites who were either indifferent to him, pitying, or cruel, and on the other by blacks who resented anyone trying to rise above the common lot.

Black Boy is Richard Wright’s powerful account of his journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. It is at once an unashamed confession and a profound indictment—a poignant and disturbing record of social injustice and human suffering.

 

And More

 

Dr. Daphne Duval Harrison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black pearls: blues queens of the 1920s

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Throughout the 1920s, in tents, theaters, dance halls and cabarets, and on “race” records, black American women captivated large audiences with their singing of the blues. University of Maryland professor Harrison examines the subjects and texts of their songs, the toll these performers paid for their right to be heard, and what they did to transform a folk tradition into a popular art. She describes the singing and lifestyles of Sippie Wallace, Victoria Spivey, Edith Wilson and Alberta Hunter to illustrate how they introduced a new model of the black woman: assertive and sexy, gutsy yet tender, bereft but not downtrodden, exploited but not resentful, independent yet vulnerable. The author shows that their choice of performing style, inflection, emphasis and improvisation provided a perspective and expressiveness that profoundly affected later American popular music.

 

 

 

Chancellor Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Destruction Of the Black Civilization

The Destruction of Black Civilization took Chancellor Williams sixteen years of research and field study to compile. The book, which was to serve as a reinterpretation of the history of the African race, was intended to be “”a general rebellion against the subtle message from even the most ‘liberal’ white authors (and their Negro disciples): ‘You belong to a race of nobodies. You have no worthwhile history to point to with pride.'”” The book was written at a time when many black students, educators, and scholars were starting to piece together the connection between the way their history was taught and the way they were perceived by others and by themselves. They began to question assumptions made about their history and took it upon themselves to create a new body of historical research. The book is premised on the question: “”If the Blacks were among the very first builders of civilization and their land the birthplace of civilization, what has happened to them that has left them since then, at the bottom of world society, precisely what happened? The Caucasian answer is simple and well-known: The Blacks have always been at the bottom.”” Williams instead contends that many elements—nature, imperialism, and stolen legacies— have aided in the destruction of the black civilization. The Destruction of Black Civilization is revelatory and revolutionary because it offers a new approach to the research, teaching, and study of African history by shifting the main focus from the history of Arabs and Europeans in Africa to the Africans themselves, offering instead “”a history of blacks that is a history of blacks. Because only from history can we learn what our strengths were and, especially, in what particular aspect we are weak and vulnerable. Our history can then become at once the foundation and guiding light for united efforts in seriously planning what we should be about now.”” It was part of the evolution of the black revolution that took place in the 1970s, as the focus shifted from politics to matters of the mind.

 

C.L.R. James

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution

 

This powerful, intensely dramatic book is the definitive account of the Haitian Revolution of 1794-1803, a revolution that began in the wake of the Bastille but became the model for the Third World liberation movements from Africa to Cuba. It is the story of the French colony of San Domingo, a place where the brutality of master toward slave was commonplace and ingeniously refined. And it is the story of a barely literate slave named Toussaint L’Ouverture, who led the black people of San Domingo in a successful struggle against successive invasions by overwhelming French, Spanish, and English forces and in the process helped form the first independent nation in the Caribbean.

 

 

 

 

Bell Hooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Looks: Race and Representations

 

In these twelve essays, bell hooks digs ever deeper into the personal and political consequences of contemporary representations of race and ethnicity within a white supremacist culture.