Black History Month: A UGA Press Reading List, Part 3

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. Here’s the final installment of our three-part Black History Month Reading List. Check out our first installment here and our second installment here.

Booker_AloneatoptheHillAlone atop the Hill: The Autobiography of Alice Dunnigan, Pioneer of the National Black Press 
Written by Alice Dunnigan
Edited by Carol McCabe Booker
Foreword by Simeon Booker

 The powerful life and times of the first black woman to break into the national press corps in Washington, D.C.

Alone Atop the Hill is a poignant and revealing account of Alice Dunnigan’s life from her childhood in rural poverty to her adulthood in education and journalism. The narrative casts valuable light on the politics of race prior to the emergence of the civil rights movement. From start to finish I was drawn into Dunnigan’s stories, both personal and political.”
—Eric Arnesen, professor of history, George Washington University

DeppeComp2.inddOperation Breadbasket: An Untold Story of Civil Rights in Chicago, 1966–1971 
By Martin L. Deppe
Foreword by James R. Ralph Jr. 

An insider’s account of the influential, but often overlooked, civil rights organization from which Jesse Jackson emerged

“An eyewitness to the unfolding of Dr. King’s work in Chicago and the beginning of my national leadership, Rev. Martin Deppe has written an important addition to the canon of civil rights movement literature: the history of Operation Breadbasket. It was fifty years ago that Dr. King assigned me to head Breadbasket, the economic arm of the still ongoing crusade for racial and social justice in America. Rev. Deppe was there from the beginning as a member of the steering committee. Because of the urgency of today’s issues of want and war I had almost forgotten our beginnings. Rev. Deppe, however, has reminded me and anyone else who has the pleasure of reading this wonderful book that a tree cannot grow without roots.”
—Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr.

Ortlepp_JimCrowTerminalsJim Crow Terminals: The Desegregation of American Airports
Anke Ortlepp 

The first history of Jim Crow airports and their desegregation

Historical accounts of racial discrimination in transportation have focused until now on trains, buses, and streetcars and their respective depots, terminals, stops, and other public accommodations. It is essential to add airplanes and airports to this narrative, says Anke Ortlepp. Air travel stands at the center of the twentieth century’s transportation revolution, and airports embodied the rapidly mobilizing, increasingly prosperous, and cosmopolitan character of the postwar United States. When segregationists inscribed local definitions of whiteness and blackness onto sites of interstate and even international transit, they not only brought the incongruities of racial separation into sharp relief but also obligated the federal government to intervene.

Shipp_Murder at Broad River BridgeMurder at Broad River Bridge: The Slaying of Lemuel Penn by the Ku Klux Klan
Bill Shipp
With a foreword by Renee C. Romano
With a new preface to the paperback edition

“A concise, well written account . . . Shipp argues persuasively that at this time southern justice was uneven at best and that the Klan exercised enormous, often violent, influence in that area.”
Library Journal

BallJackson_ReconsideringRootsReconsidering Roots: Race, Politics, and Memory 
Edited by Erica L. Ball and Kellie Carter Jackson
Foreword by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

A new look at the wildly popular, paradigm-shifting book and television miniseries

“I am pleased that a rising generation of scholars more likely to know LeVar Burton as the genial and book-loving host of PBS’s Reading Rainbow than as the original Kunta Kinte is now interested in giving Roots a fresh and rigorous scholarly treatment, one that befits its importance as a cultural multiplier while also wrestling with the critiques leveled against it. . . . In doing so, they are making it possible for readers to engage Roots in a comprehensive way so that they can grapple both with the heated debates it sparked in the world of letters among historians, literary critics, and genealogists, as well as with its larger significance to the African American—and to the American—saga.”
—from the foreword by Henry Louis Gates Jr

Lillvis_Posthuman BlacknessPosthuman Blackness and the Black Female Imagination
By Kristen Lillvis

How posthuman theory can inform black visual art, film, music, and literature

Posthuman Blackness and the Black Female Imagination examines the future-oriented visions of black subjectivity in works by contemporary black women writers, filmmakers, and musicians, including Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Julie Dash, and Janelle Monáe. In this innovative study, Kristen Lillvis supplements historically situated conceptions of blackness with imaginative projections of black futures. This theoretical approach allows her to acknowledge the importance of history without positing a purely historical origin for black identities.

behrend_reconstructingdemocracy_hReconstructing Democracy: Grassroots Black Politics in the Deep South after the Civil War
Justin Behrend 

How politically engaged freedpeople shaped a new system of governance in the South

Reconstructing Democracy deepens, elaborates and adds to a broader debate over Reconstruction, with careful argument and the patient accrual of evidence. In the meticulous work found on every page – and in the abiding devotion of the author to the idea that common people have a political history – Behrend’s work is the perfect place for scholars to begin the work of re-imagining the history of America’s most tortured historical moment.”
—Erik Mathisen, Reviews in History

MorisetteComps.inddNew Perspectives on James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-colored Man 
Edited by Noelle Morrissette 

New insights on an enduring classic of African American literature

“The essays are critically and theoretically diverse, matching the sheer complexity of the novel itself. . . . The collection succeeds in laying bare the necessity to reevaluate the body of Johnson’s works.”
Choice Reviews

James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) exemplified the ideal of the American public intellectual as a writer, educator, songwriter, diplomat, key figure of the Harlem Renaissance, and first African American executive of the NAACP. Originally published anonymously in 1912, Johnson’s novel The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man is considered one of the foundational works of twentieth-century African American literature, and its themes and forms have been taken up by other writers, from Ralph Ellison to Teju Cole.

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