Readings on Transnational African American History

Paul Robeson leading Moore Shipyard workers in singing the Star Spangled Banner in Oakland, CA, in September 1942 (Photo: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration).

African American History has always transcended borders of many kinds, yet historians have not always recognized the transnational and global dimensions of this history. In the last few decades, the field of transnational African American History has rapidly expanded. We hope this list of key works will be useful to students and scholars. This list is not meant to be comprehensive. Indeed, there are many important works we were not able to include here. Rather, we hope this list can be a useful starting point for anyone interested in transnational African American History.

Historiography, Methods & Narratives
Early Black Atlantic
Colonial and Early America
Early Twentieth Century
World War II
Cold War
Post-Civil Rights Movement
Black Power


Nico Slate is Professor of History at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author of Colored Cosmopolitanism: The Shared Struggle for Freedom in the United States and India (Harvard University Press, 2012); The Prism of Race: W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson and the Colored World of Cedric Dover (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014); Gandhi’s Search for the Perfect Diet: Eating with the World in Mind (University of Washington Press, 2019); and Lord Cornwallis Is Dead: The Struggle for Democracy in the United States and India (Harvard University Press, 2019).

Clayton Vaughn-Roberson is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at Carnegie Mellon University. His dissertation, “Fascism with a Jim Crow Face: The National Negro Congress and the Global Popular Front, 1935-1945,” details the intersection of anti-fascism and black liberation during the 1930s and 1940s. Mr. Vaughn-Roberson has published articles in the Journal of Civil and Human Rights and the Journal of American Communist History, and has presented his work at international conferences in the United States and England.

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