Black History Month Bibliography


"Carter G. Woodson: Teacher, Historian, Publisher" (Artist: Charles Alston, 1943)
“Carter G. Woodson: Teacher, Historian, Publisher” (Artist: Charles Alston, 1943)

When Carter G. Woodson inaugurated Negro History Week in the second week of February 1926, he imagined an event that would popularize black history and create an awareness of it far outside of the halls of academia.

In that spirit, my post this February is meant to function as the beginnings of a widely accessible and publicly curated Black History Month Bibliography. The following books all pertain to the origins, evolution, professionalization, and expansion of the field of black history. The authors of these books examine the concerns of early black historians, find an enduring tradition of black race histories, and address the key role that black women have played in the writing of black history. They also recover the process by which Woodson and others helped define the modern field of black history and they make a case for the significance of writings about black history today.

This list is, of course, far from exhaustive. I hope that AAIHS readers will share further suggestions in the comments. Any and all books (and articles) that help us better understand the long tradition of black historical writing and attendant ideas about the place of black history in the United States are most welcome.

Mia E. Bay, Farah J. Griffin, Martha S. Jones, and Barbara D. Savage, eds., Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2015)

Elizabeth R. Bethel, The Roots of African American Identity: Memory and History in Antebellum Black Communities (New York: St. Martin’s, 1997)

Richard Blackett. Beating against the Barriers: Biographical Essays in Nineteenth-Century Afro-American History (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1986)

Pero Gaglo Dagbovie, What is African American History (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2015)

___________________, The Early Black History Movement, Carter G. Woodson, and Lorenzo Johnston Greene (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007)

_________________, African American History Reconsidered (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010)

John Ernest, Liberation Historiography: African American Writers and the Challenge of History, 1794-1861 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003)

Jacqueline Goggin, Carter G. Woodson: A Life in Black History (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1993)

Stephen G. Hall, A Faithful Account of the Race: African American Historical Writing in Nineteenth-Century America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009)

Vincent Harding, Beyond Chaos: Black History and the Search for the New Land (Atlanta: Institute of the Black World, 1970)

Darlene Clark Hine, ed., The State of Afro-American History: Past, Present, and Future (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1986)

_____________________, Hine Sight: Black Women and the Re-Construction of American History (Brooklyn: Carlson Publishing, 1994)

Beverly Jarret, ed., Tributes to John Hope Franklin: Scholar, Mentor, Father, Friend (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2003)

David Levering Lewis, W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919 (New York: Henry Holt, 1997)

Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Setting Down the Sacred Past: African-American Race Histories (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2010)

Manning Marable, Living Black History: How Reimagining the African-American Past Can Remake America’s Racial Future (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2006)

August Meier and Elliot Rudwick, Black History and the Historical Profession, 1915-1980 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986)

Wilson Jeremiah Moses, Afrotopia: The Roots of African American Popular History (Cambridge: Oxford University Press, 1998)

_________________________, The Wings of Ethiopia: Studies in African American Life and Letters (Ames: University of Iowa Press, 1990)

Carla Peterson, Doers of the Word: African-American Women Speakers and Writers in the North (1830-1880) (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996)

Fabio Rojas, From Black Power to Black Studies: How a Radical Social Movement Became an Academic Discipline (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007)

Earl Thorpe, Black Historians: A Critique (New York: William Morrow, 1971)

Deborah Gray White, ed., Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009)

William D. Wright, Critical Reflections on Black History (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002)







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Brandon Byrd

Brandon R. Byrd is an assistant professor of history at Vanderbilt University and working on a book manuscript entitled, An Experiment in Self-Government: Haiti in the African-American Political Imagination. Follow him on Twitter @bronaldbyrd.

Comments on “Black History Month Bibliography

  • Excellent list, Brandon.

    I’d add Janet Sims-Woods, Dorothy Porter Wesley at Howard University: Building a Legacy of Black History (The History Press, 2014) and Lorenzo Greene’s Diary edited by Arvarh E. Strickland:

    Working with Carter G. Woodson, the Father of Black History: A Diary, 1928-1930 (LSU, 1989)
    Selling Black History for Carter G. Woodson: A Diary, 1930-1933 (Missouri, 1996)

    • Great suggestions, Phil. Many thanks for the contribution.

  • I would also suggest:
    Andrea Burns, From Storefront to Monument: Tracing the Public History of the Black Museum Movement (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2013)

    • Great! Thank you, Skyler.

  • Great list, Brandon. Thanks for posting.

    I’d also add:
    Clarence Taylor, “Black Religious Intellectuals: The Fight for Equality from Jim Crow to the 21st Century.”

    Taylor’s book notably includes a chapter on Pauli Murray and Ella Baker as religious intellectuals.

    • Great suggestion, Anthony. Many thanks for reading and for the contribution.

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