Among the many resources available to expand our understanding of African-American History, I would like to highlight some. This list will continue to grow. I have chosen these items from Amazon and they are easy to purchase through these links. These are my affiliate links; you will never pay more by using them.
Freedom Summer: The Savage Season of 1964 That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy – “Remarkable…a well-researched, vivid retelling of the 1964 civil rights crusade to put Mississippi’s 200,000 disenfranchised blacks on the voting rolls…[an] important book.” -San Francisco Chronicle (DVD on the topic is below)
American Experience: Freedom Summer (PBS) – Combining video footage with personal interviews, this is a powerful view of an historic effort in the summer of 1964 and part of civil rights history
American Experience: Freedom Riders – vivid video, photos and accounts of the courageous students who rode busses in the south to force the integration of public transportation and the violent response to this effort.
The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation, Stories of My Family’s Journey to Freedom by John Baker is the story of generations who were first enslaved at Wessyngton Plantation in Robertson County, Tennessee. In the 1800s, this was the largest tobacco plantation in the country, located east of Clarksville, TN. Mr. Baker spent 30 years researching this history in every possible way. This is an astounding story!
The Black Calhouns: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American Family – Author Gail Lumet Buckley—daughter of actress Lena Horne—delves deep into her family history, detailing the experiences of an extraordinary African-American family from Civil War to Civil Rights. Beginning with her great-great grandfather Moses Calhoun, who was enslaved, Buckley follows her family’s two branches: one that stayed in the South, and the other that settled in Brooklyn. Through the lens of her relatives’ momentous lives, Buckley examines major events from Atlanta during Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow, to New York City during the Harlem Renaissance, from world wars to the civil rights movement.
Unseen: Unpublished Black History from the New York Times Photo Archives – Published in 2017. Previously unpublished photographs from these archives with commentary about what is pictured. History enhanced by images! Senator Cory Booker, Henry Louis Gates, and Marian Wright Edelman have given high praise for this collection.
The African American History of Nashville, Tennessee 1790-1930 includes maps and photographs to bring this history to life.
This is the 4th Edition of African American Firsts, 4th Edition: Famous, Little-Known And Unsung Triumphs Of Blacks In America. It highlights “firsts” in a wide variety of fields of endeavor. Inspiring!
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is the basis of and companion book to the 6-Part PBS video series of the same name. It was written by Harvard professor Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Donald Yacovone and covers 500 years of history.
DVD of PBS Series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross:
The Great Debaters, based on a true story of the debate team of tiny Wiley College in rural Texas in the Jim Crow South (1935). James Farmer, Jr., one of the debaters, later became the founder of Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.). His father , James Farmer, Sr., was the first Black person to earn a PhD in Texas and was a preacher, teacher, writer, and campus pastor at Wiley.
Black Genius: Inspirational Portraits of African-American Leaders – “Intimate, in-depth portraits, interviews, and essays of America’s black leaders—from the founding of the nation and Frederick Douglass to the 2008 presidential race and Barack Obama. Each figure is interconnected with the next, exploring themes of family and intergenerational community, spirituality, and diligence, activism, and struggle.”
Pulse of Perseverance: Three Black Doctors on Their Journey to Success is “the honest, deeply personal tale of three young black men’s refusal to succumb to failure and how, together, they overcame daunting odds to take their place among the just five percent of U.S. doctors who are black. … the authors provide an unflinching look at the barriers black Americans face as they try to move out of the place society has designated for them.”
American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment begins as an expose of the reality in a Louisiana privately run prison. The author, a renowned investigative reporter, is hired as an entry-level prison guard. After working there for four months, he augmented his experiences with research into the history of private prisons which goes back to Civil War times in the south. “Private prisons became entrenched in the South as part of a systemic effort to keep the African-American labor force in place in the aftermath of slavery, and the echoes of these shameful origins are with us still.” This book was listed in the top 10 nonfiction books by the New York Times Book Review.