Black History Reading List

By March 7, 2020 One Comment

Black American History Reading List

Compiled by Fr. Dirk Dunfee, SJ under the guidance of Mary Leisring, previously the Director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministry for the Archdiocese of Denver.

         There are many books on the topic that would be worth your time. Those listed below are some of the more noteworthy. Note that in many cases updated editions have been published. When this is the case, the date given is for the updated edition.

At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68. Branch, Taylor. (2006) [Third in a series beginning with Parting the Waters and continuing with Pillar of Fire.]

The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley. Haley, Alex & Malcolm X. (1987)

Between the World and Me. Coates, Ta-Nehisi. (2015)

Blues People: Negro Music in the White World. Baraka, Amir. (1980)

Desegregating the Altar: The Josephites and the Struggle for Black Priests 1871-1960. Ochs, Steven J. (1993)

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Baptist, Edward E. (2016)

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. Shetterly, Margot Lee. (2016)

Life on These Shores: Looking at African American History 1513-2008. Gates, Henry Louis. (2011)

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present. Washington, Harriet A. (2006)

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Alexander, Michelle. (2012)

1001 Things Everyone Should Know about African American History. Stewart, Jeffrey C. (1998)

Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63. Branch, Taylor. (1988)

Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65. Branch, Taylor. (1998

Racial Justice and the Catholic Church. Massingale, Fr. Bryan. (2010)

Reconstruction Updated Edition: America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877. Foner, Eric. (2014)

The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South. Blassingame, John W. (1979)

The Slave Ship. Rediker, Marcus. (2008)

Slave Testimony: Two Centuries of Letters, Speeches, Interviews and Autobiographies. Edited by John W. Blassingame. (1977)

Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground: Maryland During the 19th Century. Fields, Barbara Jeanne. (1987)

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. Blackmon, Douglas A. (2009)

Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development. Edited by Sven Beckert & Seth Rockman. (2018)

The Souls of Black Folk. Du Bois, W. E. B. (1903)

Up From Slavery. Washington, Booker T. (1901)

Walking with the Wind: a Memoir of the Movement. Lewis, John, & D’Orso, Michael. (2015)

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. Wilkerson, Isabel. (2011)


One Comment

  • MARY McEnany says:

    As a while woman, I found Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race to be an enlightening, well written and compelling book which was hard to put down. It adds details that of course can go beyond the wonderful movie of the same name. It opened my eyes to the power of the sororites at the traditional Black Womens’ colleges. The sororities were a major support in helping women secure jobs and living accomodations at Langley Field during WWII. Once this flourishing support system was in place, the Black Female mathematicians seemed to thrive against the remaining stiff racism they encountered. I had never really read much about the traditional Black Womens’ Colleges and I am very impressed. The stories of these women are wonderful and the raw truth of what they went through very disturbing.

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