6 Books for Black History Month

In schools across the country, opponents of Black history education are attempting to erase the ways that Black people have shaped our world. These books prove that Black history is an integral part of all of our histories, and that our nation’s story cannot be told without understanding the ongoing impacts of racism. Our authors follow famous activists and ordinary individuals in communities that stretch from Brazil to small towns in Michigan. Browse all titles on our website, and save 30% when you use code NYUP30 at checkout. Orders over $40 receive free domestic shipping!

Bayard Rustin: A Legacy of Protest and Politics

Edited by Michael G. Long

Celebrate the life and legacy of Bayard Rustin, the man behind the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

“Rustin has emerged of late as a hero almost perfectly tuned to our time.  Bayard Rustin: A Legacy of Protest and Politics, a collection of essays on his life and times, edited by Michael G. Long, contains plenty of thoughtful new material, not least an essay by Rustin’s surviving partner, Walter Naegle.” ~Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

“Honors the gay civil rights activist’s relentless pursuit of truth by casting a critical eye on his life and work.” ~Elaina Patton, NBC News

Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia

By Sabrina Strings

Winner, 2020 Body and Embodiment Best Publication Award, given by the American Sociological Association

“This accessible academic title… makes a heavily cited case that modern society’s idolization of thinness is less rooted in medical science than in racist ideas born during the Enlightenment.” ~The New York Times

“Illuminate[s] how our current fat phobia is rooted, specifically, in a fear of black women… Persuasive.” ~Times Literary Supplement

Symbols of Freedom: Slavery and Resistance Before the Civil War

By Matthew J. Clavin

Discover how American symbols inspired enslaved people and their allies to fight for true freedom.

“In an era where many people in the U.S are protesting racism, this book is important reading for audiences of all levels to gain an understanding of past symbols of freedom and resistance and a way of looking forward.” ~Library Journal, Starred

 “A deeply researched, generously illustrated perspective on antebellum America.” ~Kirkus Reviews

Black in Latin America

By Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Uncover the history of how six Latin American countries acknowledge—or deny—their African past.

“In approaching this vast topic, Gates displays disarming modesty and enthusiasm; his tone is that of a letter from a perceptive friend who can’t wait to share what he’s learned.” ~The New Yorker

Black in Latin America would be an interesting companion to any guidebook for the Caribbean and Latin America, as it reveals not just a hidden history but also an evolving sense of identity.” ~Associated Press

In Pursuit of Knowledge: Black Women and Educational Activism in Antebellum America

By Kabria Baumgartner

Winner, 2021 American Educational Research Association Outstanding Book Award

Winner, 2020 Mary Kelley Book Prize, given by the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic

Winner, 2020 History of Education Society Outstanding Book Award

“Because of Baumgartner, we rediscover the names and stories of many African American women and children: the missing activists.” ~The New England Quarterly

The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship

By Deborah Willis

Longlist, National Book Awards 2021 for Nonfiction

“This remarkable book fills an enormous gap in our collective understanding of the past, a page-turner that will break your heart. Willis… centers extraordinary and largely unknown images of Black Civil War soldiers within a reported narrative that highlights the enormous hardships they faced and the contributions they made. She makes history feel like a family album.” ~Fortune Magazine, named one of the “Best Books of 2021, so far”

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