Black History Month Reading List

Submitted by Nick Grall on

In recognition of Black History Month, we have compiled a reading list that examines Black history in the Americas from the African diaspora to the present, including works by some of the more important and influential contemporary Black thinkers today. While expansive, this list is by no means complete, and we encourage you to expand your reading beyond these suggestions. Thank you to Bianca Dang, Ileana Rodriguez-Silva, Stephanie Smallwood, Christopher Tounsel, and Adam Warren for their help in creating this list.

U.S. and Commonwealth

Toni Morrison, The Origin of Others (Harvard University Press, 2017)

James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (Penguin Books, 1963)

Miriam Jiménez Román and Juan Flores, The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States (Duke University Press, 2010)

Alexis Wells-Oghoghomeh, The Souls of Womenfolk: The Religious Cultures of Enslaved Women in the Lower-South (University of North Carolina Press, 2021)

Michael A. Gomez, Reversing Sail: A History of the African Diaspora, second edition (Cambridge University Press, 2019)

Quito Swan, Pasifika Black: Oceania, Anti-colonialism, and the African World (New York University Press, 2022)

Jessica Marie Johnson, Wicked Flesh : Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020)

Roderick Ferguson, Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique (University of Minnesota Press, 2003)*

Angela Davis, Angela Davis: An Autobiography (Haymarket Books, 1974)*

bell hooks, Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics (South End Press, 1990)* 

Kimberlé Crenshaw, On Intersectionality: Essential Writings (The New Press, 2014)*

Robin D. G. Kelley, Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression (University of North Carolina Press, 1990)*

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (Haymarket Books, 2016)*

Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations” (The Atlantic, June 2014)*

Latin America and Caribbean

Herman Bennett, Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico (Indiana University Press, 2010)

Ben Vinson III, Bearing Arms for His Majesty: The Free-Colored Militia in Colonial Mexico (Stanford University Press, 2003)

George Reid Andrews, Blackness in the White Nation: A History of Afro-Uruguay (University of North Carolina Press, 2010)

Sherwin Bryant, Rivers of Gold, Lives of Bondage: Governing Through Slavery in Colonial Quito (University of North Carolina Press, 2014)

Michelle McKinley, Fractional Freedoms: Slavery, Intimacy, and Legal Mobilization in Colonial Lima, 1600-1700 (Cambridge University Press, 2016)

Tamara Walker, Exquisite Slaves: Race, Status, and Clothing in Colonial Lima (Cambridge, 2019)

Sherwin K. Bryant and Rachel Sarah O'Toole, eds. Africans to Spanish America: Expanding the Diaspora (University of Illinois Press, 2012)

Herman Bennett, African Kings and Black Slaves: Sovereignty and Dispossession in the Early Modern Atlantic (University of Pennsylvania, 2018)

João José Reis, Flávio dos Santos Gomes, and Marcus J. M. de Carvalho, The Story of Rufino: Slavery, Freedom, and Islam in the Black Atlantic (Oxford University Press, 2019)

Miguel A. Valerio Sovereign Joy: Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens, 1539-1640. Cambridge University Press, 2022.

Lorgia García-Peña, The Borders of Dominicanidad: Race, Nation, and Archives of Contradiction (Duke University Press, 2016)

José Lingna Nafafé, Lourenço Da Silva Mendonça and the Black Atlantic Abolitionist Movement in the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2022)

Devyn Spence Benson, Antiracism in Cuba: The Unfinished Revolution (The University of North Carolina Press, 2016)

Erika Denise Edwards, Hiding in Plain Sight: Black Women, the Law, and the Making of a White Argentine Republic (The University of Alabama Press, 2020)

Tanya Katerí Hernández, Racial Subordination in Latin America : the Role of the State, Customary Law, and the New Civil Rights Response (Cambridge University Press, 2013)

Ernesto Sagás, Race and Politics in the Dominican Republic (University Press of Florida, 2000)

Ileana M. Rodríguez-Silva, Silencing Race: Disentangling Blackness, Colonialism, and National Identities in Puerto Rico (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)

Claudia Lea, Landscapes of Freedom: Building a Postemancipation Society in the Rainforests of Western Colombia (University of Arizona Press, 2018) 

Ada Ferrer, Freedom’s Mirror : Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

*   This text was recently removed from the AP curriculum on African American studies and represents a larger reactionary effort to erase these contemporary voices on race and gender from classrooms and public discourse.