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Continue Exploring Black History Month

Add 7 New Book Recs to Your TBR List

As Black History Month continues, we have more book recommendations for you! Researcher Services Librarian David Michalski offers seven titles and a peek behind each below. All are available online through the library. If you missed Student Services Librarian Nancy Wallace’s book recs earlier this month, find them here.

Cross-Border Cosmopolitans: The Making of a Pan-African North America, Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey, 2023

The character of Pan African thought is examined through African American liberation movements. Adjetey historicizes decolonization and the rise of global Black thought to reveal strategies and challenges shared by a vast variety of closely documented liberation movements in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Africa, while laying bare historic parallels between U.S. imperialism abroad and racial oppression in the United States.

Going Underground: Race, Space, and the Subterranean in the Nineteenth-Century United States, Lara Langer Cohen, 2023

Lara Langer Cohen traces African American history through the spatial figure of the underground, as it emerged as a spatial symbol of danger, intervention and resistance in the 19th century, in the image of the Underground Railroad, but also across both African American, and the wider culture. The result demonstrates the complex processes of racialization and the ways it becomes embedded in the landscape.

Beatrice’s Ledger: Coming of Age in the Jim Crow South, Ruth R. Martin, 2022

Ruth Martin opens her family ledger to recall the story of her life growing up in Jim Crow-era South Carolina. The ledger, and her deft use of historical sources, including maps, laws, and newspaper accounts, validates and contextualizes her memories and family lore. Together, they illustrate—in short stories about Black rural life, coming of age, and returning home—how intimate lives are both shaped by, and come-to-shape, history and society.

Stolen Wealth, Hidden Power: The Case for Reparations for Mass Incarceration, by Tasseli McKay, 2022

Tasseli McKay calculates the concrete costs that discriminatory criminal justice policies have on the wealth of African Americans. The era of mass incarceration, which disproportionately targets Black communities, is shown to have negatively affected parenting, intimate relationships, health, education, employment, and public safety. McKay finds that these costs, which are largely borne by people who have not been convicted of illegal acts, rise to a form of state violence that has been imposed upon African American families and communities.

Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation, Linda Villarosa, 2022

Under the Skin reveals how structural racism, within both the American health-care system, and in American society, leads to health disparities along racial categories. While acknowledging that poverty is a major contributor to health outcomes, Villarosa draws on studies that show that anti-Black racism manifested in divergent treatments and perceptions between Black and white patients also contributes to tragic disparities leading to less healthy lives and premature death.

Eating While Black: Food Shaming and Race in America, Psyche A. Williams-Forso, 2022

Eating While Black examines the ways in which Black people engage food and food cultures, including what is healthful and right to eat. These concerns are investigated in the context of historical and contemporary formations of race and gender, including representations in mass media, nutrition science, economics, and public policy. 

African Americans and the Mississippi River: Race, History, and the Environment, Dorothy Zeisler-Vralsted, 2023

A study forged by the confluence of race, class and the natural world, African Americans and the Mississippi River shows how African American experience shapes the place of the Mississippi in American history. It draws on a wide variety of sources, from music to natural history, to trace the river’s meanings from the 1700s to Hurricane Katrina. 




Black History Month Book recommendations diversity