Top 10 Black History Books For 2014
Black History Month is right around the corner so we’ve created a Top 10 Black History Books list for your edification and enjoyment.
Interested in the Civil Rights Movement? Black Freedom Movement? Civil Rights Figures? There is something for everyone on this Black History Month 2014 books list.
Maybe like me, you’re interested in how the civil rights and black power movements emerged from grassroots activism, transforming some aspects of racial discrimination but leaving many other elements intact. The issues the civil rights movement raised are still relevant today and not only in the US.
There is a massive body of literature on US Civil Rights and how it engaged with questions of race relations that are at the heart of US history: how a nation that became the world’s model for democracy was born in the shadow of slavery; how that issue tore apart the nation in a bloody civil war; and how, despite that war, a new system of racial discrimination based on segregation, disenfranchisement and economic exploitation persisted well into the latter half of the 20th century.
1.by David L. Lewis
Of the many worthy contenders to choose from, I particularly like Lewis’ 1970 biography of Martin Luther King, because it was one of the first to take on the task after King’s assassination in 1968. While sympathetic to King, the book is not afraid to point to his shortcomings. Revealingly and perhaps a reflection of King’s acceptance into the pantheon of American heroes subsequent editions have dropped the word “critical” from the title.
2.by Barbara Ransby
For many years, women’s roles in the civil rights movement were neglected. Ransby’s study charts the remarkable life of activist Ella Baker, who played an influential organizing and leadership role over many decades and helped establish the foundations for King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Ransby offers a fascinating portrait of one of the movement’s forgotten true heroes.
3.by John D’Emilio
Rustin is another previously overlooked figure. Gay, pacifist, communist and Quaker,was largely kept out of view so as not to attract unwelcome publicity. He was pivotal in organizing the 1963 and he was a close advisor to King on nonviolence. D’Emilio’s gender studies perspective broaches the touchy subject of sexuality in civil rights studies.
4.by Clayborne Carson
In the 1960s, many organizations contributed to the success of the civil rights movement. Few were as influential as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced “snick”). A youth-based movement,led daring direct action protests such as and . Carson, a former SNCC member and now the director of the , skillfully offers scholarly insight combined with first-hand experience.
5.by William H. Chafe
Chafe’s book was one of the first to examine the civil rights movement from a “bottom up” grassroots perspective. He places the protests that launched the 1960 sit-in movement in a much broader context and a longer history of black activism. This was the first book I read as a graduate student, and it provided a model and inspiration for my own PhD thesis, which took the Little Rock school integration crisis of 1957 as its point of departure.
6.by Mary L. Dudziak
In recent years, historians have begun to examine the civil rights movement within the context of international relations. Dudziak shows that the cold war made the US far more conscious of how it treated people of colour at home as it competed with the Soviet Union to win non-white hearts and minds abroad. Her book charts new territory in exploring international dimensions that shaped the movement â€“ and how the movement shaped international relations.
7.by Richard Kluger
The struggle for desegregation in education preceded and outlasted the civil rights movement’s heyday of the 1950s and 1960s. Kluger charts the legal struggle by the NAACP, the US’s oldest civil rights organization, which led to the landmark Brown school desegregation decision in 1954. Thereminds us that the movement was built on decades of previous black activism. Kluger’s talent is to focus on the human story and drama in the midst of describing complex courtroom proceedings.
We often think of the civil rights movement as a distinct episode in the history of the US south. More recent studies like Sugrue’s have shown that discrimination against African Americans existed nationwide, as did African American struggles to overcome it. His book not only challenges us to reconsider the chronology of the movement beyond the 1950s and 1960s, but also shifts its geographic coordinates to marshal an enormous wealth of research and an impressively diverse range of events.
9.by Brian Ward
The civil rights movement changed US politics and society, but its cultural impact was just as important. Ward’s provocative study argues that black music did not just absorb influences but that it profoundly shaped the movement from the artists and the venues they played, to the music industry and the role of African American-oriented radio. The author’s exhaustive research turns up some fascinating episodes that reveal just how profound the movement’s impact on popular culture was.
10.by Peniel E. Joseph
Was the black power movement part of the civil rights movement, or something separate? Joseph, a leading figure in the, makes the case for its singularity in the most comprehensive overview of the topic published to date. Rather than seeing black power as a series of unconnected iconic episodes and images , the , ‘s loud and proud Afro Joseph presents a picture of a coherent movement with its own distinct politics and sensibilities.
And with the use of Tablets and Smartphones ever increasing, black history books are also available in digital format through Amazon.
You can find these books by visiting our Black History Books Website.