In 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a pioneering black intellectual and the son of former slaves, recognizing “the dearth of information on the accomplishments of blacks . . . founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).”
Dr. Woodson and the ASALH would later, in 1926, establish the celebration that would go on to become known as Black History Month, choosing the month of February in order to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
Today, the ASALH continues Dr. Woodson’s legacy as the progenitor of Black History Month by “disseminating information about black life, history and culture to the global community.”
Throughout our history, UC Press is proud to have published a great volume of work concerning the topics of black art, literature, politics, and more. Please join us throughout the month as we participate in this global celebration of black history.
by Langston Hughes
edited by Evelyn Louise Crawford and MaryLouise Patterson
“The letters are held together by well-researched notes on black intellectuals’ battles for racial and economic justice, and they paint a vivid picture of the poet’s exuberant mind… Letters from Langston gives an excellent account of the racial and political challenges faced by this extraordinary writer.”
—The Gay & Lesbian Review
Langston Hughes, one of America’s greatest writers, was an innovator of jazz poetry and a leader of the Harlem Renaissance whose poems and plays resonate widely today. Accessible, personal, and inspirational, Hughes’s poems portray the African American community in struggle in the context of a turbulent modern United States and a rising black freedom movement. This indispensable volume of letters between Hughes and four leftist confidants sheds vivid light on his life and politics.
Letters from Langston begins in 1930 and ends shortly before his death in 1967, providing a window into a unique, self-created world where Hughes lived at ease. This distinctive volume collects the stories of Hughes and his friends in an era of uncertainty and reveals their visions of an idealized world—one without hunger, war, racism, and class oppression.
by James Campbell
” James Campbell has ably blended both scholarship and personal recollection.”
—New York Times Book Review
James Baldwin was one of America’s finest and most influential writers. By the time he died in 1987, his books, such as The Fire Next Time, Go Tell It on the Mountain, and Giovanni’s Room, had become modern classics.
James Campbell knew Baldwin for ten years before Baldwin’s death. For this book, he interviewed many of Baldwin’s friends and examined several hundred pages of correspondence. He quotes from the vast and disturbing file that the FBI compiled on Baldwin and he discusses Baldwin’s sometimes turbulent relationships with Norman Mailer, Richard Wright, and Marlon Brando, as well as his friendship with Martin Luther King Jr. Elegantly written, candid, and original, Talking at the Gates is a comprehensive account of the life and work of a writer who believed that “the unexamined life is not worth living.”
by Jack O’Dell
edited by Nikhil Pal Singh
“O’Dell is an intelligent and astute writer, organizer, and leader. . . . Important for students of the civil rights movement and US social History.”
This book collects for the first time the black freedom movement writings of Jack O’Dell and restores one of the great unsung heroes of the civil rights movement to his rightful place in the historical record. Climbin’ Jacob’s Ladder puts O’Dell’s historically significant essays in context and reveals how he helped shape the civil rights movement. This volume is edited by Nikhil Pal Singh and includes a lengthy introduction based on interviews he conducted with O’Dell on his early life and later experiences. Climbin’ Jacob’s Ladder provides readers with a firm grasp of the civil rights movement’s left wing, which O’Dell represents, and illuminates a more radical and global account of twentieth-century US history.