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Front cover design of Indigené with cultural iconography. D-207 105:12

Year-Round Resources for Black History

Visit Archives and Special Collections for books, papers, records and more

Black History Month and the month of February may have reached their end, but you can view Black history collections and related resources in Archives and Special Collections year-round. We’ve highlighted three books and an anthology below. Check them out and then plan your visit!

Books Offering Critical and Historic Accounts of Black Experiences

The following books from our collections offer critical writings by Black authors or authors writing a critical history of the social, political, and cultural challenges of Black experiences:

Black Life in the Sacramento Valley 1850-1934 by Michele Shover and Thomas C. Fleming (1998)

Black Life in the Sacramento Valley 1850-1934 combines two works—one from historian Michele Shover, and the other from news reporter Thomas Fleming—into one print edition. Fleming writes directly about his experiences as a Black man in the Sacramento Valley, while Shover explains the historic conditions that affected the Black community in Chico, California. The editor, Max Millard, combined both books because the authors offer complementary accounts of what the Black experience in Chico was like from 1850-1934.

The opening decades of the 20th century promised Chico African Americans little relief from the economic, social, and political burdens that had marked their lives… however the latter half of the new century would open opportunities that the earlier residents could not have believed.”

— The Black Experience in 19th-Century Chico/ Michele Shover. pg. 46
Front cover of the book Black Life in the Sacramento Valley 1850-1934.
The front cover of Black Life in the Sacramento Valley 1850-1934 includes an archival image of a Black marching band in Chico, Calif.

Just because there wasn’t segregation in California doesn’t mean there wasn’t discrimination in hiring…Apart from the blacks who owned their own businesses, I never saw a black person in the Sacramento Valley who was hired as a sales clerk at a store.”

— Reflections on Black History, 1919-1934 / by Thomas C. Fleming. pg. 65

Indigené: An Anthology of Future Black Arts edited by the Black History Museum Committee (1978)

This anthology integrates the histories of Black people in the arts in the United States with communities of Caribbean artists that were excluded or separated in previous anthologies.

Front cover of Indigene'. D-207 105:12
Front cover of Indigené. D-207 105:12

[This] is an anthology designed to give you a feel for what it is like to be Black/human in the 1970’s. It does this by assembling a wide variety of workers and nonworkers…Previous anthologies have either excluded or separated Caribbean and Black artists from the U.S.A., sanculottic creations, literary genres, and visual art forms.”

— Preface, Indigené

A Documented History of Black Consciousness by Thomas Addo Quaynor (1986)

This is a first-edition print by Dr. Thomas Quaynor that examines the role of European colonialism in the expressions of black pride and nationalism in Black people from Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

Front cover of the book A Documented History of Black Consciousness.
Front cover of A Documented History of Black Consciousness.

Pigmentation has brought conflict to humanity

For skin color is making dull the intellect of man

They who wear a color not like that of my nativity

Often invoke injustice on us of that clan”

— Poem in the Preface by Quaynor / Poem published in “America Sings, 1960”

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kalu Nicole Gross (2020)

Published more recently, “A Black Women’s History…” narrates the history of Black women through individual stories, acknowledging a history that is often overlooked. The two historians writing this book focus on the voices of Black women to emphasize the instrumental role that Black women had in shaping the United States of America.

An image from the book A Black Women's History of the United States.
“Women being transported from Memphis, TN to an Arkansas plantation, July 1937,” an image from A Black Women’s History of the United States.

We knew that we needed to strike a balance between writing an overview of Black women’s history and incorporating newer work on those stories, voices, and histories of Black women whose lives have nonetheless remained somehow shrouded.”

— Author’s Note, pg. X

Incidentally, co-author Daina Ramey Berry is the daughter of Dr. Melvin Ramey, who was a Professor Emeritus at UC Davis. He was the second Black faculty member hired at UC Davis and continued to make lifelong contributions to UC Davis. His papers were donated to Archives and Special Collections, where they will be processed and made available for research.

Resources available in Archives and Special Collections exploring Black History

The following resources are readily available for use by researchers interested in Black history. Some of these resources were gathered with help from Christine Cheng, Instruction and Outreach Librarian, and other staff at Archives and Special Collections. We invite you to use our resources at any time during our open hours.

Books and pamphlets from ASC African American History Collection
Books and pamphlets from the African American History Collection (D-207) in Archives and Special Collections.

Collections on Black History

Collections Related to Black History

And in case you missed them, check out the library’s Black History Month book recommendations curated by Student Services Librarian Nancy Wallace and Researcher Services Librarian David Michalski.


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