Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month in the States is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora and wider BME communities.

Black History Month was first celebrated in the United Kingdom in 1987. It was organized through the leadership of Ghanaian analyst Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, who then served as a coordinator of special projects for the Greater London Council and created a collaboration to get it underway. It was first celebrated in London and has become a national institution.

We have picked out a selection of books to celebrate the history and achievements of the black community.

 

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Assata
An Autobiography

Assata Shakur

In 2013 Assata Shakur, founding member of the Black Liberation Army, former Black Panther and godmother of Tupac Shakur, became the first ever woman to make the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list. Assata Shakur’s trial and conviction for the murder of a white state trooper in the spring of 1973 divided America. Her case quickly became emblematic of race relations and police brutality in the USA. While Assata’s detractors continue to label her a ruthless killer, her defenders cite her as the victim of a systematic, racist campaign to criminalize and suppress black nationalist organizations. This intensely personal and political autobiography reveals a sensitive and gifted woman, far from the fearsome image of her that is projected by the powers that be. With wit and candour Assata recounts the formative experiences that led her to embrace a life of activism.

Zed Books

World excluding South Africa and USA

 

The People’s Right to the Novelbl2
War Fiction in the Postcolony

Eleni Coundouriotis

This study offers a literary history of the war novel in Africa. Coundouriotis argues that this genre, aimed more specifically at African readers than the continent’s better-known bildungsroman tradition, nevertheless makes an important intervention in global understandings of human rights. The African war novel lies at the convergence of two sensibilities it encounters in European traditions: the naturalist aesthetic and the discourse of humanitarianism, whether in the form of sentimentalism or of human rights law. Both these sensibilities are present in culturally hybrid forms in the African war novel, reflecting its syncretism as a narrative practice engaged with the colonial and postcolonial history of the continent. The war novel, Coundouriotis argues, stakes claims to collective rights that contrast with the individualism of the bildungsroman tradition. The genre is a form of people’s history that participates in a political struggle for the rights of the dispossessed.

Fordham University PressWorldwide Rights Available

 

Our Fighting Sisters bl3
Nation, memory and gender in Algeria, 1954–2012

Natalya Vince, Rebecca Mortimer

Between 1954 and 1962, Algerian women played a major role in the struggle to end French rule in one of the twentieth century’s most violent wars of decolonisation. This is the first in-depth exploration of what happened to these women after independence in 1962. Based on new oral history interviews with women who participated in the war in a wide range of roles, from urban bombers to members of the rural guerrilla support network, it explores how female veterans viewed the post-independence state and its multiple discourses on ‘the Algerian woman’ in the fifty years following 1962. It also examines how these former combatants’ memories of the anti-colonial conflict intertwine with, contradict or coexist alongside the state-sponsored narrative of the war constructed after independence. Making an original contribution to debates about gender, nationalism and memory, this book will appeal to students and scholars of history and politics.
Rights Upon Request

Dancing Through Historybl4
In Search of the Stories That Define Canada

Lori Henry

Her coast-to-coast journey takes her to Haida Gwaii in British Columbia, where she witnesses the seldom seen animist dances of the islands’ First Nation people. In the Arctic, Henry partakes in Inuit drum dancing, kept alive by a new generation of Nunavut youth. And in CapeBreton, she uncovers the ancient “step dance” of the once culturally oppressed Gaels of Nova Scotia.
During her travels, Henry discovers that dance helps to break down barriers and encourage cooperation between people with a history of injustice. Dance, she finds, can provide key insight into what people value most as a culture, which is often more similar than it seems. It is this kind of understanding that goes beyond our divisive histories and gives us compassion for one another.Dancing Traveller PublishingWorldwide Rights Available

bl-4Integrated Boyhood
Coming of Age in White Cleveland

Phillip M. Richards

The memoir of a bookish black youth in mid-twentieth century ClevelandWhen Phillip M. Richards graduated from Yale in 1972, he had fulfilled his parents’ dreams. In this book, Richards candidly describes how this exemplary middle-class Cleveland sojourn left him hopelessly confused and dislocated at the very moment of his parents’ triumph. His narrative of success provides the background to a more private turmoil: Richards’s struggle to read the shifting meanings of his privileged experience amid the city’s shifting racial lines, the fringe on the Left, the tumult of rising black consciousness, and the fears of nervous white suburban neighbors. This coming-of-age story sings the undersong of an older generation’s hard-won success. Like all black Clevelanders, Richards was forced to struggle for his understanding of the city’s—and his own—endless racial confusion in the midst of frightening historical change. It is this reality that recurs throughout Richards’s memoir: the early encounters of a scared, bookish African American boy from Mt. Pleasant with what can only be described as the real world.

Kent State University Press

Worldwide Rights Available

 

Empire and history writing in Britain c.1750–2012bl-5

Joanna Groot

This wide-ranging and accessible book examines the effects of British imperial involvements on history writing in Britain since 1750. It provides a chronological account of the development of history writing in its social, political and cultural contexts, and an analysis of the structural links between those involvements and the dominant concerns of that writing. It looks at the impact of imperial and global expansion on the treatment of government, social structures and changes, and national and ethnic identity in scholarly and popular works, school histories, and ‘famous’ history books. In a clear and student-friendly way, it argues that involvement in empire played a transformative and central role within history writing as whole, reframing its basic assumptions and language, and sustaining a significant ‘imperial’ influence across generations of writers and diverse types of historical

Manchester University Press

Rights Upon Request