Black History Month offers not only the occasion to consider the innumerable episodes in which Black figures and communities have shaped the story of America, but it also asks us to invert that very lens on ourselves contemporaneously: to examine our own position in history, to question the antecedents of our moment, and to collaborate on our future steps, towards the hope of a brighter and more just horizon.
Join us in this reflection throughout the month, as we highlight select new releases, as well as titles from our backlist, that speak to this profound legacy.
Workers on Arrival
Black Labor in the Making of America
by Joe William Trotter, Jr.
“Workers on Arrival makes a fantastic and well-timed contribution to labor and African American history and the history of American democracy. From slavery to the modern gig economy, black working-class men and women have transformed the raw materials of seed and soil, metal ore, wood, and coal, into food, buildings, and finished goods. It’s a great read and a stunning synthesis of the past four decades of scholarship in labor, African American, and political history.”—Elizabeth Faue, author of Rethinking the American Labor Movement
Covering the last four hundred years since Africans were first brought to Virginia in 1619, Trotter traces black workers’ complicated journey from the transatlantic slave trade through the American Century to the demise of the industrial order in the 21st century. At the center of this compelling, fast-paced narrative are the actual experiences of these African American men and women. Workers on Arrival expands our understanding of America’s economic and industrial growth, its cities, ideas, and institutions, and the real challenges confronting black urban communities today.
Making All Black Lives Matter
Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-First Century
by Barbara Ransby
“I can imagine no more perfect example of the dedicated scholar-activist than Barbara Ransby. She now offers us an analysis of the Movement for Black Lives, and its historical continuities and ruptures, that reflects both her considerable skills as a historian and her rich experience as an activist. This book passionately urges us to adopt the radical and feminist versions of democracy that will move us forward.”—Angela Y. Davis, author of Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement
In Making All Black Lives Matter, award-winning historian and longtime activist Barbara Ransby outlines the scope and genealogy of the resurgent Black Freedom Movement, documenting its roots in Black feminist politics and situating it squarely in a Black radical tradition, one that is anticapitalist, internationalist, and focused on some of the most marginalized members of the Black community. From the perspective of a participant-observer, Ransby maps the movement, profiles many of its lesser-known leaders, measures its impact, outlines its challenges, and looks toward its future.
King and the Other America
The Poor People’s Campaign and the Quest for Economic Equality
by Sylvie Laurent
“A rich and novel account of the Poor People’s Campaign, King and the Other America challenges common understandings of the movement and its significance in the histories of race, poverty, and social policy in the United States. It compels us to see the campaign as a pivotal moment in U.S. political history. Fascinating.”—William P. Jones, author of The March on Washington: Jobs, Freedom, and the Forgotten History of Civil Rights
In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned and designed the Poor People’s Campaign, an interracial effort that was carried out after his death. This campaign brought together impoverished Americans of all races to demand better wages, better jobs, better homes, and better education. King and the Other America explores this overlooked and obscured episode of the late civil rights movement, deepening our understanding of King’s commitment to social justice and also of the long-term trajectory of the civil rights movement.
Black against Empire
The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party
by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr.
“Finally! A book that clarifies the history of our movement, our aspirations, our struggles, and the bitter challenges we faced. This is a profoundly important and revealing work. Everyone who lived through these events, anyone who wants to understand the Black Panther Party, and especially the younger generations striving to shape the future must read this book!”—Bobby Seale, Chairman, Black Panther Party
Black against Empire is the first comprehensive overview and analysis of the history and politics of the Black Panther Party. The authors analyze key political questions, such as why so many young black people across the country risked their lives for the revolution, why the Party grew most rapidly during the height of repression, and why allies abandoned the Party at its peak of influence. Bold, engrossing, and richly detailed, this book cuts through the mythology and obfuscation, revealing the political dynamics that drove the explosive growth of this revolutionary movement and its disastrous unraveling.