Sacramento Public Library

Black History Month

    A Burst of Light: And Other Essays

    A Burst of Light: And Other Essays - Audre Lorde

    Moving, incisive, and enduringly relevant writings by the African-American poet and feminist include her thoughts on the radical implications of self-care and living with cancer as well as essays on racism, lesbian culture, and political activism.
    A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Era: The Life & Legacy of Gwendolyn Brooks

    A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Era: The Life & Legacy of Gwendolyn Brooks - Angela Jackson

    Shares the life of the first black person to win a Pulitzer Prize, including the arc of her career and how she depicted the realities of urban life.
    Ali: A Life

    Ali: A Life - Jonathan Eig

    Presents an unauthorized portrait of the iconic champion fighter, arguing that race was a central theme in Muhammad Ali's career, faith ,and advocacy work and that his political beliefs and neurological health shaped his complex character.
    Be Free or Die: The Amazing Story of Robert Smalls' Escape from Slavery to Union Hero

    Be Free or Die: The Amazing Story of Robert Smalls' Escape from Slavery to Union Hero - Cate Lineberry

    Describes the amazing hijacking of a Confederate steamer in 1862 by a 23-year-old slave who avoided the heavily armed troops stationed in Charleston Harbor and delivered the vessel to Union forces, earning his freedom.
    Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women's Activism in the Beauty Industry

    Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women's Activism in the Beauty Industry - Tiffany M. Gill

    Looking through the lens of black business history, Beauty Shop Politics shows how black beauticians in the Jim Crow era parlayed their economic independence and access to a public community space into platforms for activism. Tiffany M. Gill argues that the beauty industry played a crucial role in the creation of the modern black female identity and that the seemingly frivolous space of a beauty salon actually has stimulated social, political, and economic change.
    Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America

    Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America - Patrick Phillips

    A harrowing testament to the deep roots of racial violence in America chronicles acts of racial cleansing in early 20th-century Forsyth County, Georgia, where the murder of a young girl led to mob lynchings, acts of terror against black workers and violent protests by night riders trying to enforce whites-only citizenship.
    Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century

    Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century - Tera W. Hunter

    Tera W. Hunter offers the first comprehensive history of African American marriage in the nineteenth century and into the Jim Crow era. She reveals the practical ways couples adopted, adapted, or rejected white Christian ideas of marriage, creatively setting their own standards for conjugal relationships under conditions of uncertainty and cruelty.
    Caribbean Crossing: African Americans and the Haitian Emigration Movement

    Caribbean Crossing: African Americans and the Haitian Emigration Movement - Sara Fanning

    Caribbean Crossing documents the rise and fall of the campaign for black emigration to Haiti, drawing on a variety of archival sources to share the rich voices of the emigrants themselves. Using letters, diary accounts, travelers’ reports, newspaper articles, and American, British, and French consulate records, Sara Fanning profiles the emigrants and analyzes the diverse motivations that fueled this unique early moment in both American and Haitian history.
    Chester B. Himes: A Biography

    Chester B. Himes: A Biography - Lawrence P. Jackson

    An account of the improbable life of the controversial writer explores Himes' middle-class origins, imprisonment, creative experiences during World War II and eventual escape to Europe, where he became famous for his Harlem detective series and its themes of sexuality, racism and social injustice.
    Colored Travelers: Mobility and the Fight for Citizenship Before the Civil War

    Colored Travelers: Mobility and the Fight for Citizenship Before the Civil War - Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor

    Americans have long regarded the freedom of travel a central tenet of citizenship. Yet, in the United States, freedom of movement has historically been a right reserved for whites. In this book, Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor shows that African Americans fought obstructions to their mobility over 100 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus. These were "colored travelers," activists who relied on steamships, stagecoaches, and railroads to expand their networks and to fight slavery and racism. They refused to ride in "Jim Crow" railroad cars, fought for the right to hold a U.S. passport (and citizenship), and during their transatlantic voyages, demonstrated their radical abolitionism. By focusing on the myriad strategies of black protest, including the assertions of gendered freedom and citizenship, this book tells the story of how the basic act of traveling emerged as a front line in the battle for African American equal rights before the Civil War.
    Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family

    Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family - Bruce D. Haynes & Syma Solovitch

    In Down the Up Staircase, Bruce D. Haynes and Syma Solovitch trace the social history of Harlem through the lens of one family across three generations, connecting their journey to the historical and social forces that transformed Harlem. This story is told against the backdrop of a crumbling three-story brownstone in Sugar Hill.
    Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC

    Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC - Faith S. Holsaert

    In Hands on the Freedom Plow, fifty-two women--northern and southern, young and old, urban and rural, black, white, and Latina--share their courageous personal stories of working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement.
    Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence and America's Civil Rights Century

    Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence and America's Civil Rights Century - Jason Morgan Ward

    Spanning three generations, Hanging Bridge reconstructs two wartime lynchings--the 1918 killing of two young men and two pregnant women, and the 1942 slaying of two adolescent boys--that propped up Mississippi's white supremacist regime and hastened its demise. These organized murders reverberated well into the 1960s, when local civil rights activists again faced off against racial terrorism and more refined forms of repression.
    He Calls Me By Lightning: The Life of Caliph Washington and the Forgotten Saga of Jim Crow, Southern Justice, and the Death Penalty

    He Calls Me By Lightning: The Life of Caliph Washington and the Forgotten Saga of Jim Crow, Southern Justice, and the Death Penalty - S. Jonathan Bass

    A heroic reconstruction of the forgotten life of a wrongfully convicted man whose story becomes an historic portrait of racial injustice in the civil rights era.
    I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street

    I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street - Matti Taibbi

    Presents an exploration into the roots and aftermath of the infamous killing of Eric Garner by the police in 2014, sharing insights into the ensuing nationwide series of protests that reinforced the Black Lives Matter movement and transformed American politics.
    Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray

    Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray - Rosalind Rosenberg

    Throughout her prodigious life, activist and lawyer Pauli Murray systematically fought against all arbitrary distinctions in society, channeling her outrage at the discrimination she faced to make America a more democratic country. In this definitive biography, Rosalind Rosenberg offers a poignant portrait of a figure who played pivotal roles in both the modern civil rights and women's movements.
    Katherine Dunham: Dance and the African Diaspora

    Katherine Dunham: Dance and the African Diaspora - Joanna Dee Das

    Katherine Dunham: Dance and the African Diaspora makes the argument that Dunham was more than a dancer-she was an intellectual and activist committed to using dance to fight for racial justice. Dunham saw dance as a tool of liberation, as a way for people of African descent to reclaim their history and forge a new future. She put her theories into motion not only through performance, but also through education, scholarship, travel, and choices about her own life.
    Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America

    Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America - James Forman

    A consequential argument about race, crime and law in today's America by a Yale legal scholar and former public defender examines the urgent debates surrounding the criminal justice system and its activities involving mass incarceration, aggressive police tactics and their impact on at-risk people of color and beleaguered law-enforcement officers.
    Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge

    Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge - Erica Armstrong Dunbar

    A revelatory account of the actions taken by the first president to retain his slaves in spite of Northern laws profiles one of the slaves, Ona Judge, describing the intense manhunt that ensued when she ran away.
    Operation Breadbasket: An Untold Story of Civil Rights in Chicago, 1966-1971

    Operation Breadbasket: An Untold Story of Civil Rights in Chicago, 1966-1971 - Martin L. Deppe

    This is the first full history of Operation Breadbasket, the interfaith economic justice program that transformed into Jesse Jackson’s Operation PUSH (now the Rainbow PUSH Coalition). Begun by Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1966 Chicago Freedom Movement, Breadbasket was directed by Jackson. Deppe traces Breadbasket’s history from its early “Don’t Buy” campaigns through a string of achievements related to black employment and black-owned products, services, and businesses. To the emerging call for black power, Bread­basket offered a program that actually empowered the black community, helping it engage the mainstream economic powers on an equal footing.
    Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin

    Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin - Sybrina Fulton & Tracy Martin

    An intimate and inspiring portrait of Trayvon Martin shares previously untold insights into the movement he inspired from the perspectives of his parents, who also describe their efforts to bring meaning to his short life through the movement's pursuit of redemption and justice.
    South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s

    South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s - Kellie Jones

    Kellie Jones traces how the artists in L.A.'s black communities during the 1960s and 70s created a vibrant, productive, and engaged activist arts scene in the face of structural racism through the production of art works that spoke to African American migration and L.A.'s racial politics.
    Southern Food and Civil Rights: Feeding the Revolution

    Southern Food and Civil Rights: Feeding the Revolution - Frederick Douglass Opie

    Explores the intersection between food and the civil rights movement, discussing the individuals and organizations who donated, cooked, and distributed food to civil rights activists, as well as efforts to end discrimination in the restaurant business.
    The Annotated African American Folktales

    The Annotated African American Folktales - Henry Louis Gates Jr. & Maria Tatar

    A treasury of dozens of African-American folktales discusses their role in a broader sophisticated, complex and heterogeneous cultural heritage, sharing illuminating annotations and illustrations complementing such classics as the Brer Rabbit stories, the African trickster Anansi and out-of-print tales from the late 19th century's Southern Workman.
    The Blood of Emmett Till

    The Blood of Emmett Till - Timothy B. Tyson

    Draws on previously untapped firsthand testimonies and recovered court transcripts to present a scholarly account of the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till and its role in launching the civil rights movement.
    The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South

    The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South - Michael W. Twitty

    Sifting through stories, recipes, genetic tests and historical documents, a renowned culinary historian, in a memoir of Southern culinary tradition and food culture, traces his ancestry through food, from Africa to America and slavery to freedom, and the charged politics surrounding the origins of soul food, barbecue and all Southern cuisine.
    The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America: From the Age of the Pullman Porters to the Age of Obama

    The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America: From the Age of the Pullman Porters to the Age of Obama - Ethan Michaeli

    Drawing on interviews and extensive archival research, an award-winning author, publisher and journalist tells the story ofThe Defender, a great black Chicago newspaper that gave voice to the voiceless and whose pages helped elect mayors and presidents and were filled with columns by legends like Ida B. Wells and Martiin Luther King.
    The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race

    The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race - Jesmyn Ward

    Presents a continuation of James Baldwin's 1963 "The Fire Next Time" that examines racial issues from the past half-century through essays, poems, and memoir pieces by some of the current generation's most original thinkers and writers.
    The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves in the White House

    The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves in the White House - Jesse J. Holland

    The Invisibles chronicles the African American presence inside the White House from its beginnings in 1782 until 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that granted slaves their freedom. During these years, slaves were the only African Americans to whom the most powerful men in the United States were exposed on a daily, and familiar, basis. By reading about these often-intimate relationships, readers will better understand some of the views that various presidents held about class and race in American society, and how these slaves contributed not only to the life and comforts of the presidents they served, but to America as a whole.
    The Light of Truth: Writings of an Anti-Lynching Crusader

    The Light of Truth: Writings of an Anti-Lynching Crusader - Ida B. Wells

    In this collection, Wells's anti-lynching crusade comes alive. Through brilliant social analysis, she exposed lynching as part of a larger framework of subjugation in which white people used violence as a deliberate tactic to combat black economic progress in the southern USA. Wells won international renown for her investigative journalism, leading her on lecture tours around the Northern States and Europe, where she rallied support against lynching. Wells established herself as an advocate for social justice and human dignity by combining irrefutable evidence with deeply personal emotional appeal.
    The Lost Eleven: The Forgotten Story of Black American Soldiers Brutally Massacred in World War II

    The Lost Eleven: The Forgotten Story of Black American Soldiers Brutally Massacred in World War II - Denise George & Robert Child

    Documents the lesser-known story of the Wereth Eleven, African-American soldiers who made heroic contributions during the Battle of the Bulge, drawing on firsthand interviews to trace their deaths after being captured by Nazis and the growing efforts to commemorate their sacrifices.
    The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of an Idea

    The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of an Idea - Christopher J. Lebron

    Started in the wake of George Zimmerman's 2013 acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has become a powerful and uncompromising campaign demanding redress for the brutal and unjustified treatment of black bodies by law enforcement in the United States. The movement is only a few years old, but as Christopher J. Lebron argues in this book, the sentiment behind it is not; the plea and demand that "Black Lives Matter" comes out of a much older and richer tradition arguing for the equal dignity - and not just equal rights - of black people.
    The Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era

    The Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era - Elizabeth Dowling Taylor

    In this outstanding cultural biography, the author of the New York Times bestseller A Slave in the White House chronicles a critical yet overlooked chapter in American history: the inspiring rise and calculated fall of the black elite, from Emancipation through Reconstruction to the Jim Crow Era—embodied in the experiences of an influential figure of the time, academic, entrepreneur, and political activist and black history pioneer Daniel Murray.
    The Original Blues: The Emergence of the Blues in African American Vaudeville

    The Original Blues: The Emergence of the Blues in African American Vaudeville - Lynn Abbott & Doug Seroff

    An invaluable musical history documenting the advent of the blues in black vaudeville.
    The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers

    The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers - Henry Louis Gates, Jr

    A landmark collection documenting the social, political, and artistic lives of African American women throughout the tumultuous nineteenth century.
    The President's Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, From the Washingtons to the Obamas

    The President's Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, From the Washingtons to the Obamas - Adrian Miller

    James Beard award–winning author Adrian Miller vividly tells the stories of the African Americans who worked in the presidential food service as chefs, personal cooks, butlers, stewards, and servers for every First Family since George and Martha Washington. Miller brings together the names and words of more than 150 black men and women who played remarkable roles in unforgettable events in the nation's history.
    The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation

    The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation - Natalie Y. Moore

    In this intelligent and highly important narrative, Chicago-native Natalie Moore shines a light on contemporary segregation in the city's South Side; with a memoirist's eye, she showcases the lives of these communities through the stories of people who reside there. The South Side shows the impact of Chicago's historic segregation - and the ongoing policies that keep the system intact.
    We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program

    We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program - Richard Paul & Steven Moss

    Profiles ten pioneer African American space workers whose stories illustrated the role NASA and the space program played in promoting civil rights. The authors vividly describe what it was like to be the sole African American in a NASA work group and how these brave and determined men also helped to transform Southern society by integrating colleges, patenting new inventions, holding elective office, and reviving and governing defunct towns. Adding new names to the roster of civil rights heroes and a new chapter to the story of space exploration, We Could Not Fail demonstrates how African Americans broke the color barrier by competing successfully at the highest level of American intellectual and technological achievement.
    What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing

    What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing - Brian Seibert

    A history of tap dancing explores its role as an art form that creates its own music, tracing its origins in African traditions and other folk dance forms, its growth on the stage and screen, and its reinvention by a new generation. Siebert, a dance critic for The New York Times, illuminates the cultural exchange between blacks and whites over centuries, the interplay of imitation and theft, as well as the moving story of African-Americans in show business, wielding enormous influence as they grapple with the pain and pride of a complicated legacy.
     
    Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File

    Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File - John Edgar Wideman

    An award-winning writer traces the lesser-known story of Louis Till, the father of iconic civil rights martyr Emmet Till, tying their fates together to reveal how the father was wrongly convicted for rape and murder before being executed by the Army a decade before his son's murder.
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