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New and Noteworthy
Four Hundred Souls by
Publication Date: 2021-02-02
Four Hundred Souls is a unique one-volume "community" history of African Americans. The editors, Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, have assembled ninety brilliant writers, each of whom takes on a brief period of that four-hundred-year-span. The writers explore their periods through a variety of techniques: historical essays, short stories, personal vignettes, and fiery polemics. They approach history from various perspectives: though the eyes of towering historical icons or the untold stories of ordinary people; through places, laws, and objects. While themes of resistance and struggle, of hope and reinvention, course though the book, this collection of diverse pieces fundamentally deconstructs the idea that Africans in America are a monolith. Instead it unlocks the startling range of experiences and ideas that have always existed within the community of Blackness. This is a history that illuminates our past and gives us new ways of thinking about our future, written by the most vital and essential voices of our present.-- From dust jacket.
I've Been Here All the While by
Publication Date: 2021-04-05
"Perhaps no other symbol has more resonance in African American history than that of "40 acres and a mule"--the lost promise of Black reparations for slavery after the Civil War. In I've Been Here All the While, we meet the Black people who actually received this mythic 40 acres, the American settlers who coveted this land, and the Native Americans whose holdings it originated from. In nineteenth-century Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma), a story unfolds that ties African American and Native American history tightly together, revealing a western theatre of Civil War and Reconstruction, in which Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole Indians, their Black slaves, and African Americans and whites from the eastern United States fought military and rhetorical battles to lay claim to land that had been taken from others. Through chapters that chart cycles of dispossession, land seizure, and settlement in Indian Territory, Alaina E. Roberts draws on archival research and family history to upend the traditional story of Reconstruction.
The 1619 Project by
Publication Date: 2021-11-16
The New York Times Magazine's award-winning "1619 Project" issue reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on that work, weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with thirty-six poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself. This is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation's founding and construction--and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life.
The Long Emancipation by
Publication Date: 2021-03-15
In The Long Emancipation Rinaldo Walcott posits that Black people globally live in the time of emancipation and that emancipation is definitely not freedom. Taking examples from across the globe, he argues that wherever Black people have been emancipated from slavery and colonization, a potential freedom has been thwarted. Walcott names this condition the long emancipation--the ongoing interdiction of potential Black freedom and the continuation of the juridical and legislative status of Black nonbeing. Stating that Black people have yet to experience freedom, Walcott shows that being Black in the world is to exist in the time of emancipation in which Black people must constantly fashion alternate conceptions of freedom and reality through expressive culture. Given that Black unfreedom lies at the center of the making of the modern world, the attainment of freedom for Black people, Walcott contends, will transform the human experience worldwide. With The Long Emancipation, Walcott offers a new humanism that begins by acknowledging that present conceptions of what it means to be human do not currently include Black people.
The Earliest African American Literatures by
Publication Date: 2021-12-28
With the publication of the 1619 Project by The New York Times in 2019, a growing number of Americans have become aware that Africans arrived in North America before the Pilgrims. Yet the stories of these Africans and their first descendants remain ephemeral and inaccessible for both the general public and educators. This groundbreaking collection of thirty-eight biographical and autobiographical texts chronicles the lives of literary black Africans in British colonial America from 1643 to 1760 and offers new strategies for identifying and interpreting the presence of black Africans in this early period. Brief introductions preceding each text provide historical context and genre-specific interpretive prompts to foreground their significance. Included here are transcriptions from manuscript sources and colonial newspapers as well as forgotten texts. The Earliest African American Literatures will change the way that students and scholars conceive of early American literature and the role of black Africans in the formation of that literature.