Honoring Black Histories and Experiences

Black History Month, or African-American History Month, was proposed in February of 1969 by students at Kent State University. Later to be federally recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976, Black History Month honors the central role Black Americans play in the history of the United States.

From classic works by Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. Du Bois to the impact of Black artists on our culture, our Black History Month collection features 10 books to read this month and beyond. Yale University Press continues to illuminate the breadth, diversity, and richness of Black experiences, through the brief yet authoritative biographies in the Black Lives series.

John Lewis
In Search of the Beloved Community

 Raymond Arsenault

“The perfect book, at the right time.”—Michael Henry Adams, The Guardian

Merze Tate
The Global Odyssey of a Black Woman Scholar

Barbara D. Savage

A powerful and inspiring biography of Merze Tate, a trailblazing Black woman scholar and intrepid world traveler

The Souls of Black Folk

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

When I Passed the Statue of Liberty I Became Black
The Lost Memoir of Britian’s First Black Olympic Medal Winner and the America He Discovered

Harry Edward
Edited by Neil Duncanson

The lost memoir of Britain’s first Black Olympic medal winner—and the America he discovered

Black Artists in America
From Civil Rights to the Bicentennial

Celeste-Marie Bernier, Earnestine Lovelle Jenkins and Alaina Simone

The second book in a three-volume series on Black American artists, featuring work from the 1950s to the 1970s that responded to the cultural, political, and social concerns of the era

Isaac Murphy
The Rise and Fall of a Black Jockey

Katherine C. Mooney

From the Black Lives series, the rise and fall of one of America’s first Black sports celebrities

A Darkly Radiant Vision
The Black Social Gospel in the Shadow of MLK

Gary Dorrien

The third and final volume in the first comprehensive history of Black social Christianity, by the “greatest theological ethicist of the twenty-first century” (Michael Eric Dyson)

To Speak a Defiant Word
Sermons and Speeches on Justice and Transformation

Pauli Murray
Edited by Anthony B. Pinn
Foreword by Michael Eric Dyson

Twenty-five years of writings by the religious thinker and activist Pauli Murray

My Bondage and My Freedom

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

The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism

Edited by Denise Murrell

A groundbreaking volume resituating the Harlem Renaissance as integral to the development of twentieth-century modernism

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