A Review of 2021 Books in Black Intellectual History

African American Museum Oakland Library, July 28, 2012 (Wikimedia Commons)

The following list is a sampling of books on African American history that were released during 2021. All of them have some tie to the broad genre of Black intellectual history—and also showcase the diversity of topics, themes, and methodologies within that field. 


Thomas Aiello. The Life and Times of Louis Lomax: The Art of Deliberate Disunity. (Duke University Press)

Davarian Baldwin. In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities are Plundering Our Cities. (Bold Type Books)

Shanna G. Benjamin. Half in Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay. (University of North Carolina Press) 

Keisha Blain. Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Enduring Message to America. (Beacon Press)

Regina N. Bradley. Chronicling Stankonia: The Rise of the Hip Hop South. (University of North Carolina Press) 

Claudrena Harold. When Sunday Comes: Gospel Music in the Soul and Hip-Hop Eras. (University of Illinois Press) 

Yunxiang Gao. Arise, Africa! Roar, China! Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century. (University of North Carolina Press) 

Van Gosse. The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War. (University of North Carolina Press) 

Edited by Robert Greene and Tyler D. Parry. Invisible No More: The African American Experience at the University of South Carolina. (University of South Carolina Press) 

Edited by Pamela Horowitz and Jeanne Theoharis. Julian Bond’s Time to Teach: A History of the Southern Civil Rights Movement. (Beacon Press)

Edited by Ronald Angelo Johnson and Ousmane K. Power-Greene. In Search of Liberty: African American Internationalism in the Nineteenth Century Atlantic World. (University of Georgia Press) 

Jared A. Loggins and Andrew J. Douglas. Prophet of Discontent: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Critique of Racial Capitalism (University of Georgia Press)

Kyle T. Mays. An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States. (Beacon Press) 

Warren Milteer Jr. Beyond Slavery’s Shadow: Free People of Color in the South. (University of North Carolina Press) 

Maribel Morey. White Philanthropy: Carnegie Corporation’s An American Dilemma and the Making of a White World Order. (University of North Carolina Press) 

Tamika Y. Nunley. At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slaves, and Shifting Identities in Washington, D.C. (University of North Carolina Press) 

Robert G. Parkinson. Thirteen Clocks: How Race United the Colonies and Made the Declaration of Independence. (University of North Carolina Press) 

Stephen Preskill. Education in Black and White: Myles Horton and the Highlander Center’s Vision for Social Justice. (University of California Press)

K. Stephen Prince. The Ballad of Robert Charles: Searching for the New Orleans Riot of 1900. (University of North Carolina Press) 

James Smethurst. Behold the Land: The Black Arts Movement in the South. (University of North Carolina Press)  

Crystal Lynn Webster. Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood: African American Children in the Antebellum North. (University of North Carolina Press) 

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Robert Greene II

Robert Greene II is an assistant professor of history at Claflin University and Senior Editor of Black Perspectives. He studies American history after 1945 with a focus on the American South, political history, and memory. Follow him on Twitter @robgreeneII.