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African American Studies

African American Studies Book List

Cover of 'Lyrical Liberators'

Lyrical Liberators
The American Antislavery Movement in Verse, 1831–1865
Edited by Monica Pelaez

Before Black Lives Matter and Hamilton, there were abolitionist poets. In Lyrical Liberators, Monica Pelaez draws on unprecedented archival research to recover, collect, and annotate works by critically acclaimed writers, commercially successful scribes, and minority voices including those of African Americans and women.

Jon Gjerde Prize for Best Book in Midwestern History (Midwestern History Association), Honorable Mention
Cover of 'Driven toward Madness'

Driven toward Madness
The Fugitive Slave Margaret Garner and Tragedy on the Ohio
By Nikki M. Taylor

Margaret Garner was the runaway slave who, when confronted with capture just outside of Cincinnati, slit the throat of her toddler daughter rather than have her face a life in slavery. Her story has inspired Toni Morrison’s Beloved, a film based on the novel starring Oprah Winfrey, and an opera. Yet, her life has defied solid historical treatment.

Cover of 'Keeping Heart'

Keeping Heart
A Memoir of Family Struggle, Race, and Medicine
By Otis Trotter
· Introduction by Joe William Trotter Jr.

Organized around the life histories, medical struggles, and recollections of Otis Trotter and his thirteen siblings, Keeping Heart is a personal account of an African American family’s journey north during the second Great Migration.

Cover of 'Keep On Fighting'

Keep On Fighting
The Life and Civil Rights Legacy of Marian A. Spencer
By Dorothy H. Christenson
· Introduction by Mary E. Frederickson

Dot Christenson records the life story of remarkable leader, Marian Alexander Spencer, who joined the NAACP at thirteen and grew up to achieve a number of civic leadership firsts and a legacy of lasting civil rights victories.

Cover of 'The Life and Death of Gus Reed'

The Life and Death of Gus Reed
A Story of Race and Justice in Illinois during the Civil War and Reconstruction
By Thomas Bahde

Gus Reed was a freed slave who traveled north as Sherman’s March was sweeping through Georgia in 1864. His journey ended in Springfield, Illinois, a city undergoing fundamental changes as its white citizens struggled to understand the political, legal, and cultural consequences of emancipation and black citizenship. Reed became known as a petty thief, appearing time and again in the records of the state’s courts and prisons.

Cover of 'Soulful Bobcats'

Soulful Bobcats
Experiences of African American Students at Ohio University, 1950–1960
By Carl H. Walker and Betty Hollow
· Foreword by Roderick J. McDavis

During the 1950s, a group of ambitious young African Americans enrolled at Ohio University, a predominantly white school in Athens, Ohio. Years later, eighteen of them decided to share their stories, recalling the joys and challenges of living on a white campus before the civil rights era.

Cover of 'The Americans Are Coming!'

The Americans Are Coming!
Dreams of African American Liberation in Segregationist South Africa
By Robert Trent Vinson

For more than half a century before World War II, black South Africans and “American Negroes“ — a group that included African Americans and black West Indians — established close institutional and personal relationships that laid the necessary groundwork for the successful South African and American antiapartheid movements. The Americans Are Coming! is a rare case study that places African history and American history in a global context and centers Africa in African Diaspora studies.

Cover of 'The Papers of Clarence Mitchell Jr., Volume IV'

The Papers of Clarence Mitchell Jr., Volume IV
Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau, 1951–1954
By Clarence Mitchell Jr.
· Edited by Denton L. Watson

Volume IV of The Papers of Clarence Mitchell Jr. covers 1951, the year America entered the Korean War, through 1954, when the NAACP won its Brown v. Board of Education case, in which the Supreme Court declared that segregation was discrimination and thus unconstitutional. The decision enabled Mitchell to implement the legislative program that President Truman’s Committee on Civil Rights outlined in its landmark 1947 report, To Secure These Rights.

Cover of 'Trustee for the Human Community'

Trustee for the Human Community
Ralph J. Bunche, the United Nations, and the Decolonization of Africa
Edited by Robert A. Hill and Edmond J. Keller

Ralph J. Bunche (1904–1971), winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950, was a key U.S. diplomat in the planning and creation of the United Nations in 1945. In 1947 he was invited to join the permanent UN Secretariat as director of the new Trusteeship Department.

Cover of 'Constructing Black Education at Oberlin College'

Constructing Black Education at Oberlin College
A Documentary History
By Roland M. Baumann

A richly illustrated volume presenting a comprehensive history of the education of African American students at Oberlin College.

Cover of 'Barack Obama and African Diasporas'

Barack Obama and African Diasporas
Dialogues and Dissensions
By Paul Tiyambe Zeleza

An active blogger on The Zeleza Post, from which these essays are drawn, Paul Tiyambe Zeleza provides a genuinely critical engagement with Africa’s multiple worlds. With a blend of erudition and lively style, Zeleza writes about the role of Africa and Africans in the world and the interaction of the world with Africa. In the title essay, Zeleza analyzes the significance of the election of a member of the African diaspora to the presidency of the United States.

Cover of 'In the Balance of Power'

In the Balance of Power
Independent Black Politics and Third-Party Movements in the United States
By Omar H. Ali
· Foreword by Eric Foner

Historically, most black voters in the United States have aligned themselves with one of the two major parties: the Republican Party from the time of the Civil War to the New Deal and, since the New Deal—and especially since the height of the modern civil rights movement—the Democratic Party.

Cover of 'American Pogrom'

American Pogrom
The East St. Louis Race Riot and Black Politics
By Charles L. Lumpkins

On July 2 and 3, 1917, a mob of white men and women looted and torched the homes and businesses of African Americans in the small industrial city of East St. Louis, Illinois. When the terror ended, the attackers had destroyed property worth millions of dollars, razed several neighborhoods, injured hundreds, and forced at least seven thousand black townspeople to seek refuge across the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri.

Winner of the Gambrinus Prize and the Dale Somers Memorial Award
Cover of 'The Rescue of Joshua Glover'

The Rescue of Joshua Glover
A Fugitive Slave, the Constitution, and the Coming of the Civil War
By H. Robert Baker

On March 11, 1854, the people of Wisconsin prevented agents of the federal government from carrying away the fugitive slave, Joshua Glover. Assembling in mass outside the Milwaukee courthouse, they demanded that the federal officers respect his civil liberties as they would those of any other citizen of the state. When the officers refused, the crowd took matters into its own hands and rescued Joshua Glover.

Cover of 'The Black Laws'

The Black Laws
Race and the Legal Process in Early Ohio
By Stephen Middleton

Beginning in 1803, the Ohio legislature enacted what came to be known as the Black Laws. These laws instituted barriers against blacks entering the state and placed limits on black testimony against whites.