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Together, we collectively acknowledge the African American experience—dating back to when the first enslaved African pressed his feet onto American soil. It is also a good time to soak up all the unknown stories and marvels of our heritage. Plenty is surfacing online via social media. However, black books are the ultimate source to immerse ourselves in the resilience and wonderment of blackness past and present.

Jacobs fictionalized her own story on the horrors of slave life as a young girl, specifically one having to deal with the sexual harassment projected by her slaveholder and the physical violence of his jealous wife. Charles W. Chesnutt was a prolific black writer who could very well pass for white but refused to.

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This historical text, published at the turn of the century, depicts the Wilmington Race Riots in It focuses on racial politics, violence, and blackface during Reconstruction, and sadly, echoes events happening today. His loss of innocence comes as he is discriminated against by his teacher. Throughout the text, Johnson gives firsthand accounts and observations of occupying two racial spaces, fitting into neither, yet being forced to choose one. Zora Neale Hurston flexes her anthropology chops in this book that published in She gathers and documents cultural information from her native Florida, and New Orleans, and brings forth the beauty of common folk; their voice, their diction, their living, their way.

This existential text told the story of a lone, nameless black man navigating a white world and, eventually, we find him so isolated from society to align and protect himself from the powers that be. It is an allegory for the entire black race, which is mistreated, objectified, commodified, and cast aside in such a way that it may as well be invisible. Christianity has close ties to the black American experience, and in many instances it is inextricable. Baldwin puts the beauty and the problematic on the page by way of a young man attempting to negotiate being black, religious, unloved, and possibly gay.

We are blessed to have this book in the world.

15 Brilliant Black History Books To Read For Black History Month

The book posthumously was published in Long before the crack era of the s, heroine wreaked havoc on black communities. Donald Goines, a brilliant writer of street literature captures the pain of addiction perfectly. The text was integral to African Americans wanting to know their family roots, and sparking interest in genealogy.


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Ntozake Shange took the Black Arts movement by storm when her collection of choreopoems hit theaters. Harris, et al. Both texts contain useful overviews of scholarly debates over definitions of literacy and literacies. Finally, Perry and Salvino offer complementary literary and historical perspectives on what literacy has meant to African Americans from the early republic to today, using sources that include autobiographical accounts of literacy acquisition and writing by contemporaneous educational theorists.

Fisher, Maisha T.

Living Thinkers: An Autobiography of Black Women in the Ivory Tower

New York: Routledge, A study of alternative educational spaces—especially venues for cultural performance—and literacy acquisition practices in 20th-century African American communities. Utilizing historical and ethnographic research methods, Fisher identifies a close relationship between literacy and political activism.

Harris, Joyce L. Kamhi, and Karen E. Pollock, eds.

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Literacy in African American Communities. Collection of essays representing scholarly perspectives on literacy in social sciences, education, and communication studies. Perry, Theresa. Hilliard III, 11— Boston: Beacon, Starting from the connection many scholars of African American studies have drawn between literacy and freedom, this essay analyzes a sampling of autobiographical accounts of the struggle for literacy acquisition and what it signifies by prominent African American activists and writers from Frederick Douglass to Malcolm X and Maya Angelou.

Royster, Jacqueline Jones.

Pittsburgh Series in Composition, Literacy, and Culture. An influential monograph that links rhetorical studies, literacy studies, and feminist analysis with the history of African American women writers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Salvino, Dana Nelson. Edited by Cathy N.

Books on Black American History

Davidson, — Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, A concise introduction to what literacy signified in antebellum America and how ideologies of literacy—especially the idea that literacy equals freedom—come into being. Salvino distinguishes literacy in and of itself from the belief in the efficacy of literacy as a liberating force.


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Street, Brain V. Literacy in Theory and Practice. Winn, Maisha T. DOI: Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page.