On June 19th, 1865 in Galveston, Texas, enslaved African Americas were the last to hear of the news of the Emancipation Proclamation. Recognized as a federal holiday in the United States, Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation and resistance of enslaved African Americans. Our Juneteenth Reading list highlights historical and modern voices who have championed racial equality in the United States for your reading today and everyday.
This magisterial follow-up to the Grawemeyer Award-winning The New Abolition explores the black social gospel’s crucial second chapter.
The Science of Abolition: How Slaveholders Became the Enemies of Progress by Eric Herschthal
A revealing look at how antislavery scientists and Black and white abolitionists used scientific ideas to discredit slaveholders.
My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass, Introduction by David W. Blight
“David Blight has produced a fine edition of Douglass’ second autobiography. This is an essential work in African-American and American history, and displays Douglass’ developing strength as a writer and political leader.”—Richard Slotkin, Wesleyan University
Portraits of Resistance: Activating Art During Slavery by Jennifer Van Horn
A highly original history of American portraiture that places the experiences of enslaved people at its center.
Princess of the Hither Isles: A Black Suffragist’s Story from the Jim Crow South by Adele Logan Alexander
A compelling reconstruction of the life of a black suffragist, Adella Hunt Logan, blending family lore, historical research, and literary imagination.
The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois, Introduction by Jonathan Scott Holloway
W. E. B. Du Bois’ insightful commentary on Black history, racism, and the struggles of Black Americans following emancipation—a masterpiece in the African-American canon.
The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition by Manisha Sinha
A groundbreaking history of abolition that recovers the largely forgotten role of African Americans in the long march toward emancipation from the American Revolution through the Civil War.
Black Dignity: The Struggle against Domination by Vincent W. Lloyd
Why Black dignity is the paradigm of all dignity and Black philosophy is the starting point of all philosophy.