The University of Georgia Press has published many books that highlight the struggles and triumphs of people of color in the U.S. and beyond, and when we started making a reading list we realized there were too many important books to narrow it down to a single list or post. This is why we decided break the list down into installments. Here’s part two of our three-part Black History Month Reading List. Check out our first installment here.
“From the first arrival of northern abolitionists who came to the South Carolina sea islands in 1862 to establish schools for free slaves down to the present, the institutions that evolved into Penn Center have been the social and cultural center of St. Helena Island. Dedicated from the beginning to preparing residents for equal citizenship and civil rights, Penn Center has continued that mission faithfully, as recorded in this splendid history.”
—James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
This comparative study looks at the laws concerning the murder of slaves by their masters and at how these laws were implemented. Andrew T. Fede cites a wide range of cases—across time, place, and circumstance—to illuminate legal, judicial, and other complexities surrounding this regrettably common occurrence. These laws had evolved to limit in different ways the masters’ rights to severely punish and even kill their slaves while protecting valuable enslaved people, understood as “property,” from wanton destruction by hirers, overseers, and poor whites who did not own slaves.
Making Black History: The Color Line, Culture, and Race in the Age of Jim Crow
By Jeffrey Aaron Snyder
How black history became a pillar of African American life during Jim Crow
“Snyder’s lucidly written and passionately argued story of the making of black history offers a timely and compelling reminder of how much the writing of our racial past has shaped the present and future of America. The struggles for a black archive and against historical erasure in the pathbreaking scholarship of Carter G. Woodson, John Hope Franklin, and others is part of the foundation upon which the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture rests. Their commitment to telling—and learning—what Woodson called the ‘whole truth’ should be shared by every American and immigrant alike.”
—Khalil Gibran Muhammad, author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America
“A signal contribution, this timely volume provides the central historical and contemporary contexts for teachers, students, and the general public seeking to understand the tragic events in Charleston in 2015. Building on the possibilities inherent in digital crowdsourcing, Charleston Syllabus inaugurates a new model of engagement between academia and the general public around the most pressing issues of our time.”
—Leslie M. Harris, author of In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863
The Black Panther Party in a City Near You
Edited by Judson L. Jeffries
A grassroots-level view of the daily work of Black Panthers across the country
This is the third volume in Judson L. Jeffries’s long-range effort to paint a more complete portrait of the most widely known organization to emerge from the 1960s Black Power Movement. Like its predecessors (Comrades: A Local History of the Black Panther Party  and On the Ground: The Black Panther Party in Communities across America ), this volume looks at Black Panther Party (BPP) activity in sites outside Oakland, the most studied BPP locale and the one long associated with oversimplified and underdeveloped narratives about, and distorted images of, the organization.
“This book unquestionably adds to our broader sense of the New Negro Movement, taking it beyond the comfortable borders of the urban North into the messier field of operation in the South. This history is highly readable and should be read by contemporary activists and organizers doing their work in the South.New Negro Politics in the Jim Crow South fleshes out the legacy of broad and dynamic fronts against racism and worker exploitation in what is often dismissed as the nation’s retrograde region.”
—J.T. Roane, Black Perspectives (African American Intellectual History Society blog)
“What is the organic relationship between music as performed and music as lived? Development Drowned and Reborn puts New Orleans back in the forefront of national and international debates about race, capitalism, sustainability, and social change. It is a necessary starting point for the potential rebirth of New Orleans as well as the renewal of the United States as a society that comes to grips with its troubled past to build an equitable and sustainable future. A magnificent achievement.”
—Paul Ortiz, Director, Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, University of Florida
“Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom is the most significant fugitive slave narrative to come out of Georgia. I know of no other account that provides as riveting an account of an actual escape experience. It offers so much more in its treatment of gender and racial role-reversals, of husband-wife and master-slave relations, and of abolitionist activity on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.”
—Georgia Historical Quarterly
Black Woman Reformer: Ida B. Wells, Lynching, and Transatlantic Activism
By Sarah L. Silkey
How Ida B. Wells turned popular opinion in Britain against lynching in the United States
(Paperback coming in March)
“Black Woman Reformer is a dynamic and insightful volume that breathes new life into the story of a famous and important figure by placing Wells’s antilynching campaign within a larger transatlantic reform movement. Silkey’s study makes a major contribution to African American history, the history of mob violence, and the history of Gilded Age reform movements.”
—William D. Carrigan, author of The Making of a Lynching Culture: Violence and Vigilantism in Central Texas, 1836–1916
The Illustrated Slave: Empathy, Graphic Narrative, and the Visual Culture of the Transatlantic Abolition Movement, 1800–1852
From the 1787 Wedgwood antislavery medallion featuring the image of an enchained and pleading black body to Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012) and Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave (2013), slavery as a system of torture and bondage has fascinated the optical imagination of the transatlantic world. Scholars have examined various aspects of the visual culture that was slavery, including its painting, sculpture, pamphlet campaigns, and artwork. Yet an important piece of this visual culture has gone unexamined: the popular and frequently reprinted antislavery illustrated books published prior to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) that were utilized extensively by the antislavery movement in the first half of the nineteenth century.