Celebrate Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month by checking out one of these recently published books about African Americans.


Compiled by:
Elizabeth G.
 The Annotated African American Folktales

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Maria Tatar
398.2089 Ann

 A treasury of dozens of African-American folktales discusses their role in a broader cultural heritage, sharing such classics as the Brer Rabbit stories, the African trickster Anansi, and tales from the late nineteenth-century's "Southern Workman."


 When They Call You a Terrorist : a Black Lives Matter memoir

Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Asha Bandele
323.092 Khan-Cullors Kha

A poetic and powerful memoir about what it means to be a Black woman in America―and the co-founding of a movement that demands justice for all in the land of the free. In 2013, when Trayvon Martin’s killer went free, Khan-Cullor’s outrage led her to co-found Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi. Condemned as terrorists and as a threat to America, these loving women founded a hashtag that birthed the movement to demand accountability from the authorities who continually turn a blind eye to the injustices inflicted upon people of Black and Brown skin. Championing human rights in the face of violent racism, Khan-Cullor is a survivor. She transformed her personal pain into political power, giving voice to a people suffering inequality and a movement fueled by her strength and love to tell the country―and the world―that Black Lives Matter. When They Call You a Terrorist is a reflection on humanity. It is an empowering account of survival, strength and resilience and a call to action to change the culture that declares innocent Black life expendable.


13 Days in Ferguson

Ron Johnson
921 Johnson Joh

On August 14, 2014, five days after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown ignited race riots throughout the city of Ferguson, Missouri, the nation found an unlikely hero in Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol. Charged with the Herculean task of restoring peace between a hostile African American community and the local police, Johnson, a 30-year law enforcement veteran and an African American, did the unthinkable; he took off his bullet-proof vest and joined the protesters. In 13 Days in Ferguson, Johnson shares, for the first time, his view of what happened during the thirteen turbulent days he spent stabilizing the city of Ferguson, and the extraordinary impact those two historic weeks had on his faith, his approach to leadership, and on what he perceives to be the most viable solution to the issues of racism and prejudice in America.


#1960Now: Photographs of Civil Rights Activists and Black Lives Matter Protests

Sheila Pree Bright
323.1196 Bri Bri

The fight for equality continues, from 1960 to now. Combining portraits of past and present social justice activists with documentary images from recent protests throughout the United States, #1960Now sheds light on the parallels between the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and the Black Lives Matter movement of today. Shelia Pree Bright's striking black-and-white photographs capture the courage and conviction of '60s elder statesmen and a new generation of activists, offering a powerful reminder that the fight for justice is far from over. #1960Now represents an important new contribution to American protest photography.


An American Odyssey: the life and work of Romare Bearden

Mary Schmidt Campbell
750.92 Bearden Cam

One of the most important and underappreciated visual artists of the twentieth century, Romare Bearden started as a cartoonist during his college years and emerged as a painter during the 1930s, at the tail end of the Harlem Renaissance and in time to be part of a significant community of black artists supported by the WPA. Though light-skinned and able to "pass," Bearden embraced his African heritage, choosing to paint social realist canvases of African-American life. In this biography, Mary Schmidt Campbell offers readers an analysis of Bearden's influences and the thematic focus of his mature work. Bearden's work provides a portrait of memory and the African American past; according to Campbell, it also offers a record of the narrative impact of visual imagery in the twentieth century, revealing how the emerging popularity of photography, film and television depicted African Americans during their struggle to be recognized as full citizens of the United States.


Black Fortunes: the story of the first six African Americans who escaped slavery and became millionaires

Shomari Wills
973.0496 Wil

The astonishing untold history of America's first black millionaires - former slaves who endured incredible challenges to amass and maintain their wealth for a century, from the Jacksonian period to the Roaring Twenties - self-made entrepreneurs whose unknown success mirrored that of American business heroes such as Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, and Thomas Edison. Between the years of 1830 and 1927, as the last generation of blacks born into slavery was reaching maturity, a small group of smart, tenacious, and daring men and women broke new ground to attain the highest levels of financial success. --Amazon.com


Carla Hall's Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration

Carla Hall
641.5975 Hal

In Carla Hall’s Soul Food, the beloved chef and television celebrity takes us back to her own Nashville roots to offer a fresh, lip-smackin’ look at America’s favorite comfort cuisine and traces soul food’s history from Africa and the Caribbean to the American South. Carla shows us that soul food is more than barbecue and mac and cheese. Traditionally a plant-based cuisine, everyday soul food is full of veggie goodness that’s just as delicious as cornbread and fried chicken. From Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Hot Sauce Vinaigrette to Tomato Pie with Garlic Bread Crust, Hall’s recipes deliver her distinctive Southern flavors using farm-fresh ingredients. The results are light, healthy, seasonal dishes with big, satisfying tastes—the mouthwatering soul food everyone will want a taste of.


The General's Cook

Ramin Ganeshram
Ganeshr

 Philadelphia 1793. Hercules, President George Washington's chef, is a fixture on the Philadelphia scene. He is famous for both his culinary prowess and for ruling his kitchen like a commanding general. He has his run of the city and earns twice the salary of an average American workingman. He wears beautiful clothes and attends the theater. But while valued by the Washingtons for his prowess in the kitchen and rewarded far over and above even white servants, Hercules is enslaved in a city where most black Americans are free. Even while he masterfully manages his kitchen and the lives of those in and around it, Hercules harbors secrets-- including the fact that he is learning to read and that he is involved in a dangerous affair with Thelma, a mixed-race woman, who, passing as white, works as a companion to the daughter of one of Philadelphia's most prestigious families. Eventually Hercules' carefully crafted intrigues fall apart and he finds himself trapped by his circumstance and the will of George Washington. Based on actual historical events and people, The General's Cook will thrill readers as they follow Hercules' precarious and terrifying bid for freedom.


Josephine Baker's Last Dance

Sherry Jones
Jones

Discover the fascinating and singular life story of Josephine Baker--actress, singer, dancer, Civil Rights activist, member of the French Resistance during WWII, and a woman dedicated to erasing prejudice and creating a more equitable world. This illuminating biographical novel spans Josephine's early years in servitude and poverty in America, to her rise to fame as a showgirl in her famous banana skirt, to her activism against discrimination, and her many loves and losses. From 1920s Paris to 1960s Washington, to her final, triumphant performance, one of the most extraordinary lives of the twentieth century comes to stunning life on the page. With intimate prose and comprehensive research, Sherry Jones brings this remarkable and compelling public figure into focus for the first time in a joyous celebration of a life lived in technicolor, a powerful woman who continues to inspire today. 


We Cast a Shadow

Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Ruffin

In a near-future Southern city, everyone is talking about a new experimental medical procedure that boasts unprecedented success rates. In a society plagued by racism, segregation, and private prisons, this operation saves lives with a controversial method--by turning people white. Like any father, our unnamed narrator just wants the best for his son Nigel, a biracial boy whose black birthmark is getting bigger by the day. But in order to afford Nigel's whiteness operation, our narrator must make partner as one of the few black associates at his law firm, jumping through a series of increasingly absurd hoops--from diversity committees to plantation tours to equality activist groups--in a tragicomic quest to protect his son. This electrifying, suspenseful novel is, at once, a razor-sharp satire of surviving racism in America and a profoundly moving family story. We Cast a Shadow fearlessly shines a light on the violence we inherit, and on the desperate things we do for the ones we love.