As Black History Month approaches, many readers look for new books, either for their own reading pleasure, for courses or for special seminars and discussions. Diversebooks.net offers many titles that would be excellent additions to any library. Let us fill your needs for black history reading material, available here at significant discounts off the list price. Our publishers offer a wide range of books on topics that will broaden your knowledge and challenge your students. Consider these titles:
Affect and Power: Essays on Sex, Slavery, Race, and Religion by David J. Libby $42.50, (list price $50), University of Mississippi Press, ISBN 9781934110331, pp. 240.
This is an anthology of essays by former students of Winthrop D. Jordan, a historian and author of White Over Black: American Attitudes toward the Negro, 1550-1812, to honor his legacy of writing and teaching. He taught about the complexities of sex, slavery, race, and religion in American culture in his forty-year career at the University of California and the University of Mississippi.
African American Writers: Portraits and Visions, by Lynda Koolish, $38.25, (list price $45) University of Mississippi Press, ISBN 1578062586, pp. 132.
The author spent 30 years photographing African American authors representing a vast spectrum of literature and genres. The volume gathers 60 of her black-and-white portraits of authors. Her subjects include playwrights, poets, novelists, critics, scholars, short story writers, oral storytellers and memoirists. A brief biography of each author accompanies the portraits, making it an invaluable reference tool. According to the publisher, this is the first book devoted exclusively to photographic portraits of African American writers since the writer and patron Carl Van Vechten’s work photographing Harlem Renaissance writers in the 1920s and 1930s. Koolish’s book was chosen by the American Library Association as one of the top 35 books from university presses in 2001.
Africans and Seminoles: From Removal to Emancipation, by Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr. $18.70 (List price $22), ISBN 9781578063604, University of Mississippi Press, pp. 296.
This is a new edition from the University of Mississippi Press of a book documenting the interrelationship of two racial cultures in antebellum Florida and Oklahoma. Seminoles held slaves, but their system was unlike that of other slaveholders, and the Seminoles often clashed with bounty hunters over ownership claims and even over who was free and who was not. Tensions mounted during the Second Seminole War, when many blacks united with Seminoles fighting against the United States. Blacks and Seminoles were later transported to Oklahoma together as part of the federal government’s “removal” project. The fortunes of the two groups remained intertwined, but their relationships were conflicted as others sought to re-enslave or control free blacks. After the Civil War, many blacks were adopted into the Seminole nation. In a preface to this edition, the author explains the controversy over their role that continues today.
American Musicians II: Seventy-one Portraits in Jazz by Whitney Balliett, $25.50, (List price $30), University of Mississippi Press, ISBN: 9781578068340, pp. 528.
A collection of the author’s jazz essays for The New Yorker, spanning nearly 25 years, including earlier ones on such artists as Earl Hines, and Mary Lou Williams and later examples on such towering figures as Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus. Together these writings offer a history of America’s unique contribution to music culture. Bailliett wrote for the magazine from 1954 to 2001 and died in 2007. He was considered one of the finest jazz writers ever.
Before Brown, Beyond Boundaries: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, $16.96 (List price $19.95), Association for the Study of African American Life and History (Africa World Press), ISBN 1592212050, pp. 224.
May 17, 2004, was the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education desegregation decision. This book can be helpful as a curriculum guide to one of the most important legal cases in African American history. Brown V. Board of Education combined five cases from four states and the District of Columbia: Kansas (Brown et. Al v. Board of Education of Topeka), South Carolina (Briggs v. Elliott), Delaware (Belton v. Gebhart), Virginia (Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward Country, Virginia), and the District of Columbia (Boiling v. Sharpe). They were pulled together by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for a challenge to segregation in schools that resulted in the Supreme Court decision that “the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ had no place” in public education.
Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro American Writing, edited by Amiri Baraka and Larry Neal, $21.21 (List Price $24.95), Black Classic Press, ISBN 9781574780390, pp. 680.
First published in 1968, this anthology of more than 180 selections is the touchstone of the Black Arts Movement, bringing together the works of such literary stars as Sonia Sanchez, Nathan Hare, Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), John Henrik Clarke, Harold Cruse and Stanley Crouch. In this revised second edition, Amiri Baraka (formerly known as Leroi Jones) provided a new introduction, reflecting on the Movement nearly forty years after the first publication. Baraka wrote: “These are the founding Fathers and Mothers, of our nation…. These descriptions will be carried for the next thousand years, of good, and of evil. These will be the standards black men make reference to for the next thousand years.
David Walker’s Appeal, by David Walker, $7.60 (List Price $8.95), Black Classic Press ISBN: 0933121385, pp. 108.
David Walker’s Appeal. In Four Articles, a pamphlet published in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1829, was an argument against American slavery that was read widely among whites and blacks, north and south. It called on blacks to resist slavery by violence if necessary. Walker himself was born a free black in the South, traveled extensively throughout the region to observe slavery in practice and settled in Boston where he became a staunch advocate for abolition. This edition was published by Black Classic Press in 1997.
Early Negro Writing 1760-1837, $21.21, (List Price $24.95) edited by Dorothy Porter, Black Classic Press, ISBN 9780933121591, pp. 660.
This is a rare collection of significant writings by African Americans, including narratives, poems and essays. It is compiled from books, documents of organizations, speeches and pamphlets dating to the American colonial period. The writings are by such familiar figures as Phillis Wheatley, Prince Hall, James Forten, Absolom Jones, Richard Allen, David Ruggles and by some who may be more obscure to most readers.
Murder at Montpelier: Igbo Africans in Virginia, by Douglas B. Chambers, $21.25, (List Price $25) University of Mississippi Press, ISBN: 9781604732467, pp. 240.
When Ambrose Madison, grandfather of the Founding Father and future president James Madison, died in 1732 after a lingering illness at his plantation estate, Montpelier, poisoning was suspected as the cause and his servants were accused of having used traditional African medicinals to kill him.
His death came only a few months after his arrival on the plantation, where enslaved African Igbos had been clearing land and planting crops under white overseers for five years before Madison took up residence.
The book explores the supposed murder and its effects on relations between the owners and the enslaved labor. It gives a detailed history of the African descendents at Montpelier-over five generations from the 1720s and beyond. Montpelier, a 2,650-acre estate in Orange County, Virginia, was the lifelong home of James Madison. The DuPont family later owned it. It is now the property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is open to visitors.
The Origin of Races and Color, $7.61 (List Price $8.95), by Martin R. Delaney, Black Classic Press, ISBN: 9780933121508, pp. 95.
Martin R. Delany, 1812-1885, a free-born black man from Charles Town, Virginia (now in West Virginia), was an abolitionist, Civil War army officer, doctor and prolific writer. He apparently wrote his history of the black race in answer to popular theories of the time that used science to foster notions of white superiority. Delany emphasized the greatness of early black civilizations.
Sitting in Darkness: New South Fiction, Education, and the Rise of Jim Crow Colonialism, 1865-1920, $42.50 (List price $50), by Peter Schmidt, University of Mississippi Press, ISBN: 9781934110393. pp. 304.
The author’s work explores how fictional works that depict the Reconstruction era and the building of the New South play into public debates over schools, discrimination and civic life, as well as domestic and foreign policy. According to the publisher, “The book’s readings seek to synthesize developments in literary and cultural studies, ranging through New Criticism, New Historicism, postcolonial studies, black studies, and “whiteness” studies.”
Stroud’s Slave Laws, by George M. Stroud, $16.11 (List price $18.95), Black Classic Press, ISBN 9781580730075, pp. 313.
First published in 1827 and 1856 as A Sketch of the Laws Relating to Slavery in the Several States of the United States of America, Stroud’s work heavily influenced attitudes toward slavery in the nation in the years leading up to the Civil War. Stroud analyzed the slave codes and statutes of twelve slaveholding states, exposing the often absurd and oppressive nature of the laws governing this institution and the people held in bondage. He wrote: “Slaves … had no head in the state, no name, title or register: nor could they take by purchase or descent; they had no heirs, and therefore could make no will:… whatever they acquired was their master’s: they could not plead nor be pleaded for, but were excluded from all civil concerns whatsoever:…they were not entitled to the rights and considerations of matrimony, and, therefore, had no relief in the case of adultery:…they could be sold, transferred, or pawned as goods of personal estate …”
The Second Crucifixion of Nat Turner $8.45 (List price $9.95), edited by John Henrik Clarke, Black Classic Press, ISBN 9780933121959, pp. 117.
A collection of essays, originally published as William Styron’s Nat Turner: Ten Black Writers Respond, (Beacon 1968), addresses what the writers consider as misrepresentations of the insurrectionist Turner. In this volume, such writers as historian Lerone Bennett Jr., John O. Killens, Alvin Poussaint and John A. Williams attempt to set the record straight. In Southampton, Virginia, in 1831, Turner led the bloodiest revolt against U.S. slavery on record and was executed for it, as were 56 others accused of taking part. Styron was the author of the 1967 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Confessions of Nat Turner, written as a first-person narrative in the voice of Turner. It is based on an account of the real Nat Turner’s confessions to his lawyer, Thomas Ruffin Gray, at the time. Gray’s account and the fictionalized version, despite its acclaim, have often been criticized as biased and distorted, in particular for perpetuating the mythology of rampant sexual assaults on white women by black men.
Survey Graphic (March 1925), Harlem Mecca of the New Negro, $12.71 (List Price $14.95), Black Classic Press, ISBN: 978-0933121058, pp. 92.
This is a reproduction of one issue of a magazine published in 1925. It includes Alain Locke’s essay “Enter the New Negro,” Countee Cullen’s poem “Heritage,” a W.E.B. Du Bois short story, and Arturo Schomburg’s historical essay, “The Negro Digs Up His Past.” Survey Graphic was a monthly, illustrated magazine affiliated with Survey, a journal of social work. In 1924, the journal’s editor asked Locke, a Howard University professor, to edit a special issue devoted to the Harlem Renaissance, then in full steam but invisible to many whites. Soon after, Locke also expanded the contents and published the result as the more-familiar anthology The New Negro.
William Cooper Nell: Selected Writings 1832-1874 $38.25 (List price $45), edited by Dorothy Porter Wesley and Constance Porter Uzelac, Black Classic Press, ISBN 9781574780192, pp. 725.
This is the first time a biography of William Cooper Nell (1816 – 1874) and a collection of his articles have appeared in one volume. A Boston-born African American abolitionist and historian, Nell wrote for such publications as “The Liberator,” “The National Anti-Slavery Standard” and “The North Star.” The book includes correspondence with many noted abolitionists, including Wendell Phillips, Frederick Douglass, Amy Kirby Post and Charles Sumner.
Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire, by Drusilla Dunjee Houston, $12.71, (List Price $14.95), Black Classic Press, ISBN 9780933121010, pp. 280.
In this book, first published in 1926 and republished by Black Classic Press in 1985, Houston describes the origin of civilization and establishes links among the ancient Black populations of Arabia, Persia, Babylonia, and India, concluding that the ancient Blacks who inhabited these areas were culturally related. Houston was born in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, and moved with her family to Oklahoma, where she became a teacher and founder of schools to improve the education of black girls. She is credited as the first African American woman to write a multi-volume study of ancient Africa. It took 25 years to complete. She also wrote editorials for her brother Roscoe Dunjee’s newspaper, the Black Dispatch, and later for the Arizona Journal and Guide. She became a syndicated writer for the Associated Negro Press.