Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Library Displays: February 2021-Black History Month

   Black History Month

Making Black History

In the Jim Crow era, along with black churches, schools, and newspapers, African Americans also had their own history. Making Black History focuses on the engine behind the early black history movement, Carter G. Woodson and his Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). Author Jeffrey Aaron Snyder shows how the study and celebration of black history became an increasingly important part of African American life over the course of the early to mid-twentieth century. It was the glue that held African Americans together as ?a people,? a weapon to fight racism, and a roadmap to a brighter future. Making Black History takes an expansive view of the historical enterprise, covering not just the production of black history but also its circulation, reception, and performance. Woodson, the only professional historian whose parents had been born into slavery, attracted a strong network of devoted members to the ASNLH, including professional and lay historians, teachers, students, ?race? leaders, journalists, and artists. They all grappled with a set of interrelated questions: Who and what is ?Negro?? What is the relationship of black history to American history? And what are the purposes of history? Tracking the different answers to these questions, Snyder recovers a rich public discourse about black history that took shape in journals, monographs, and textbooks and sprang to life in the pages of the black press, the classrooms of black schools, and annual celebrations of Negro History Week. By lining up the Negro history movement's trajectory with the wider arc of African American history, Snyder changes our understanding of such signal aspects of twentieth-century black life as segregated schools, the Harlem Renaissance, and the emerging modern civil rights movement.

Collective Courage

In Collective Courage, Jessica Gordon Nembhard chronicles African American cooperative business ownership and its place in the movements for Black civil rights and economic equality. Not since W. E. B. Du Bois's 1907 Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans has there been a full-length, nationwide study of African American cooperatives. Collective Courage extends that story into the twenty-first century. Many of the players are well known in the history of the African American experience: Du Bois, A. Philip Randolph and the Ladies' Auxiliary to the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Jo Baker, George Schuyler and the Young Negroes' Co-operative League, the Nation of Islam, and the Black Panther Party. Adding the cooperative movement to Black history results in a retelling of the African American experience, with an increased understanding of African American collective economic agency and grassroots economic organizing. To tell the story, Gordon Nembhard uses a variety of newspapers, period magazines, and journals; co-ops' articles of incorporation, minutes from annual meetings, newsletters, budgets, and income statements; and scholarly books, memoirs, and biographies. These sources reveal the achievements and challenges of Black co-ops, collective economic action, and social entrepreneurship. Gordon Nembhard finds that African Americans, as well as other people of color and low-income people, have benefitted greatly from cooperative ownership and democratic economic participation throughout the nation's history.

Jazz Griots

This book studies how four representative African American poets of the 1960s, Langston Hughes, Umbra's David Henderson, and the Black Arts Movement's Sonia Sanchez, and Amiri Baraka engage, in the tradition of griots, in poetic dialogues with aesthetics, music, politics, and Black History. In so doing they narrate, using jazz as meta-language, genealogies, etymologies, cultural legacies, and Black (hi)stories. In intersecting and complementary ways, Hughes, Henderson, Sanchez, and Baraka fashioned their griotism from theorizations of artistry as political engagement, and, in turn, formulated a Black aesthetic based on jazz performativity--on a series of jazz-infused iterations that form a complex pattern of literary, musical, historical, and political moments in constant cross-fertilizing dialogues with one another. This form of poetic call-and-response becomes a definitional literary template for these poets, as it allows both the possibility of intergenerational dialogues between poets and musicians and dialogic potential between song and politics, between Africa and Black America, between vernacular continuums, in their poems.

Black History and Black Identity

This study contends that historians and intellectuals failed to understand the difference between race and ethnicity, which has in turn impaired their ability to understand who Black people are in America. The author argues that Black Americans are to be distinguished from other categories of black people in the country: black Africans, West Indians, or Hispanics. While Black people are members of the black race, as are other groups of people, they are a distinct ethnic group of that race. This conceptual failure has hampered the ability of historians to define Black experience in America and to study it in the most accurate, authentic, and realistic manner possible. This confusing situation is aggravated further by the fact that many scholars tend to describe Black people in an arbitrary manner, as Africans, African Americans, Afro-Americans, black or Black, which is insufficient for precision. They sometimes downplay the historical evidence regarding African identity, and the identity of Blacks in America. Wright offers a new methodological basis for undertaking Black history: namely, the framework of historical sociology. He argues that this approach will produce a more useful history for Black people and others in America.