Home » Nonfiction Directory » African American History

African American History Textbooks PDF

African American History Textbooks PDF - Free Black History PDF Books

Open Access African American history pdf textbooks. Hundreds of free black history pdf books. Selected black history books with descriptions.


Book Collections on Black History

African-American History Books PDF – Collection

About 800 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “African American History”. Be patient as the page loads. Some books: African American History, African American Literature, Rethinking African American Literary History, History and Memory in African-American Culture, 100 African-Americans Who Shaped History, Chronology of African American History, The Complete Encyclopedia of African American History, T African American Performance and Theater History, African American Activists, The African American Century, African American Cinema, many more books to read about African American History.

Books on Slavery in America – Collection

About 300 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books Slavery – U.S. history”. Some books: The Atlantic Slave Trade, To Be a Slave, The First African Americans and the Pursuit of Freedom at Jamestown, The African Slave Trade, Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market, Black Cargoes, The Black Holocaust, African Slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean, Pictorial History of the Slave Trade, Slavery, African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade, Slaves, Spices & Ivory in Zanzibar, many more books on the Slave Trade.

We have old spiritual books pdf

Slave Narratives and Histories – Collection

Slave narratives, other narratives related to the African slave trade, and contemporary histories related to the slave trade; mostly from the 1700s and 1800s. 58 items, at Hathi Trust.

Abolitionist Literature – Collection

Abolitionist books and other literature, published from 1819 to the 1840s. 39 items at Hathi Trust.

Historical African American Newspapers – Collection

Marist College, NY: Cannavino Library

Large collection of links to African American newspapers, which you can browse by region or search by letter. Most are publicly available online.

African American Magazines 19th & Early 20th Centuries – Collection

This collection has many issues of “The African Repository”, published by the American Colonization Society, “The Colored American Magazine”, and the “Southern Workman”. Also a very few issues of “The Crisis”, “Liberia”, and the “American Freedman”.

More Collections of Free Books on African American Topics


Selected Books on Black History with Descriptions

The Encyclopedia of African-American Heritage

Altman, Susan
Facts on File 1997

“An excellent reference for young readers, The Encyclopedia of African-American Heritage chonicles more than a millennium of history — the rich and varied tapestry woven by Africans who remained on their ancestral continent, those who were forced to leave their homes, and their descendants who developed roots in a new land.
The broad scope of coverage highlights people, places, culture, politics, and history.” -Publisher.

See the Menu at the top of every page for Directories of Free Online Fiction and NonFiction Books, Magazines, and more, on 400 pages like this at Century Past

Firebrand of Liberty: The Story of Two Black Regiments that Changed the Course of the Civil War

Ash, Steven V.
Norton 2007

“In March 1863, nine hundred black Union soldiers, led by white officers, invaded Florida and seized the town of Jacksonville. They were among the first African American troops in the Northern army, and their expedition into enemy territory was like no other in the Civil War. It was intended as an assault on slavery by which thousands would be freed. At the center of the story is prominent abolitionist Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who led one of the regiments. After waging battle for three weeks, Higginson and his men were mysteriously ordered to withdraw, their mission a seeming failure. Yet their successes in resisting the Confederates and collaborating with white Union forces persuaded President Abraham Lincoln to begin full-scale recruitment of black troops, a momentous decision that helped turned the tide of the war.” -Publisher.

Articles Collection – U.S. History 19th Century

Generations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slaves

Berlin, Ira
Belknap 2003

“Ira Berlin traces the history of African-American slavery in the United States from its beginnings in the seventeenth century to its fiery demise nearly three hundred years later.
Most Americans, black and white, have a singular vision of slavery, one fixed in the mid-nineteenth century when most American slaves grew cotton, resided in the deep South, and subscribed to Christianity. Here, however, Berlin offers a dynamic vision, a major reinterpretation in which slaves and their owners continually renegotiated the terms of captivity. Slavery was thus made and remade by successive generations of Africans and African Americans who lived through settlement and adaptation, plantation life, economic transformations, revolution, forced migration, war, and ultimately, emancipation.” -Publisher.

Remembering Slavery: African Americans Talk about their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Emancipation

Berlin, Ira, Favreau, Marc and Miller, Steven F., eds.
New Press 1998

“Early in the 1930s interviewers from the Federal Writers’ Project combed the American South in search of former slaves. The interviewers spoke with hundreds of elderly people about their experiences in slavery, and preserved the voices of some of them on primitive recording devices. This includes a comprehensive introductory essay by preeminent slavery historian Ira Berlin, chapters on aspects of slave life, including relationships with owners, work, family culture, the Civil War, and Emancipation; complete transcript of the live recordings and dramatic readings of interviews with former slaves, contained on the companion tapes; extensive additional interviews with former slaves; little-known period photographs, including some of the former slaves interviewed on the companion tapes.” -Publisher.

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

Blackmon, Douglas A.

Doubleday 2008

A Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the “Age of Neoslavery,” the American period following the Emancipation Proclamation in which convicts, mostly black men, were “leased” through forced labor camps operated by state and federal governments. In this groundbreaking historical expose, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history—an “Age of Neoslavery” that thrived from the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II. Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Douglas A. Blackmon unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude shortly thereafter. By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from slavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America

Bordewich, Fergus M
Amistad 2005

Bound for Canaan tells the stories of men and women like David Ruggles, who invented the black underground in New York City; bold Quakers like Isaac Hopper and Levi Coffin, who risked their lives to build the Underground Railroad; and the inimitable Harriet Tubman, soon to be the first African American featured on American currency. Interweaving thrilling personal stories with the politics of slavery and abolition, Bound for Canaan shows how the Underground Railroad gave birth to this country’s first racially integrated, religiously inspired movement for social change.

Articles Collection – the History of Ideas

American Slavery and Colour

Chambers, William
London: Chambers 1857

William Chambers (1800-1883) was a Scottish publisher and politician who, with his brother Robert, published books in Edinburgh and London and also published the periodical “Chambers Edinburgh Journal”, which began in 1832. William Chambers travelled in American in 1854 and wrote in the Preface of this 1857 volume that, “The sight of a few slave sales has a wonderful effect in awakening the feelings on the subject of slavery. The thing is seen to be an undeniable reality – no mere invention of a novelist. … For three years, I have been haunted by recollections of that saddening scene, and taken a gradually deepening interest in American Slavery.”

Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom

Clinton, Catherine
Little, Brown 2004

Every schoolchild knows of Harriet Tubman’s heroic escape and resistance to slavery.But few readers are aware that Tubman went on to be a scout, a spy, and a nurse for the Union Army, because there has never before been a serious biography for an adult audience of this important woman.This is that long overdue historical work, written by an acclaimed historian of the antebellum era and the Civil War. With impeccable scholarship that draws on newly available sources and research into the daily lives of slaves, HARRIET TUBMAN is an enduring work on one of the most important figures in American history.

Children of Crisis: A Study of Courage and Fear

Coles, Robert
Little, Brown 1977

“Selections of Coles’ social study of “African American children caught in the throes of the South’s racial integration; the young children of impoverished sharecroppers, migrant workers, and mountaineers in Appalachia; children whose families were transformed by the migration from South to North, from rural to urban communities … ” – Publisher.

See our The First World War PDF books

Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings

Douglass, Frederick; edited by Philip Foner
Lawrence Hill 1999

“One of the greatest African American leaders and one of the most brilliant minds of his time, Frederick Douglass spoke and wrote with unsurpassed eloquence on almost all the major issues confronting the American people during his life—from the abolition of slavery to women’s rights, from the Civil War to lynching, from American patriotism to black nationalism. Between 1950 and 1975, Philip S. Foner collected the most important of Douglass’s hundreds of speeches, letters, articles, and editorials into an impressive five-volume set, now long out of print. Abridged and condensed into one volume, and supplemented with several important texts that Foner did not include, Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings presents the most significant, insightful, and elegant short works of Douglass’s massive oeuvre.” -Publisher.

The Souls of Black Folk; Essays and Sketches

Du Bois, W.E.Burghardt
McClurg 1903

“Originally published in 1903, Souls introduced a number of now-canonical terms into the American conversation about race, among them double-consciousness, and it sounded the ominous warning that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.” Unlike Du Bois’s more scholarly work, Souls blends narrative and autobiographical essays, and it continues to reach a wide domestic and international readership. This moving homage to black life and culture and its sharp economic and historical critique are more important than ever, resonating with today’s unequivocal demand that Black Lives Matter in the twenty-first century.” -Publisher.

Images Collection – Photos from U.S. & Canada History

Black Reconstruction in America

Du Bois, W. E. B.
Free Press 1998

After four centuries of bondage, the nineteenth century marked the long-awaited release of millions of black slaves. Subsequently, these former slaves attempted to reconstruct the basis of American democracy. W. E. B. Du Bois, one of the greatest intellectual leaders in United States history, evaluates the twenty years of fateful history that followed the Civil War, with special reference to the efforts and experiences of African Americans. Du Bois’s words best indicate the broader parameters of his work: “the attitude of any person toward this book will be distinctly influenced by his theories of the Negro race. If he believes that the Negro in America and in general is an average and ordinary human being, who under given environment develops like other human beings, then he will read this story and judge it by the facts adduced.” The plight of the white working class throughout the world is directly traceable to American slavery, on which modern commerce and industry was founded, Du Bois argues. Moreover, the resulting color caste was adopted, forwarded, and approved by white labor, and resulted in the subordination of colored labor throughout the world. As a result, the majority of the world’s laborers became part of a system of industry that destroyed democracy and led to World War I and the Great Depression. This book tells that story.

Antislavery; the Crusade for Freedom in America

Dumond, Dwight L.
University of Michigan 1961

“This work of dedicated scholarship and immense learning reveals with extraordinary force the truth behind the Civil War. Year by year slavery in the U.S. became more sinister. It contaminated the body politic, it tainted all institutional life, it became a colossus of arbitrary power and greed.” – Publisher

“Here, in one volume, is contained enough evidence, enough information to wipe segregation from our land. It is fascinating, though at times cruel reading. But it is factual. It has the force of a sledge hammer. I defy anyone to read this book without cringing with shame and embarrassment. It is a must reading for all Americans, North and South.” – Historian Benjamin Fine.

See our Modern World History Textbooks PDF

Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

Dusinberre, William
Oxford Univ. 2003

James K. Polk held the office of President from 1845 to 1849, a period when the expansion of slavery into the territories emerged as a pressing question in American politics. During his presidency, the slave period of Texas was annexed and the future of slavery in the Mexican Cession was debated. Polk also owned a substantial cotton plantation in northern Mississippi and 54 slaves. He was an absentee master who had a string of overseers or agents manage his plantation and did not visit his estate while he was in the White House. In this book, William Dusinberre reconstructs the world of Polk’s estate and the lives of his slaves, and analyzes how Polk’s experience as a slavemaster conditioned his stance towards slavery-related issues. Dusinberre argues that Polk’s policies helped precipitate the civil war he had sought to avert.

See our post on Books by 19th Century American Indian Authors

Speak Now Against the Day

Egerton, John
Univ. of North Carolina 1995

Speak Now Against the Day is the astonishing, little-known story of the Southerners who, in the generation before the Supreme Court outlawed school segregation and before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat on a Montgomery bus, challenged the validity of a white ruling class and a “separate but equal” division of the races.
The voices of the dissenters, although present throughout the South’s troubled history, grew louder with Roosevelt’s election in 1932. An increasing number of men and women who grappled daily with the economic and social woes of the South began forcefully and courageously to speak and to work toward the day when the South—and the nation—would deliver on the historic promises in the country’s founding documents. This is the story of those brave prophets—the ministers, writers, educators, journalists, social activists, union members, and politicians, black and white, who pointed the way to higher ground.

Better Day Coming: Blacks and Equality, 1890-2000

Fairclough, Adam
Viking 2001

“Better Day Coming recounts the endeavors of black Americans to achieve civil rights and equality in a society that, after the collapse of Reconstruction, sanctioned racial segregation, racial discrimination, and white political supremacy. It examines the leaders, movements, and strategies that shaped the black vision of equality. Beginning with the campaign against lynching launched by Ida B. Wells in the 1890s, it examines the tradition of militant protest that in 1909 led to the formation of the NAACP and which over the next fifty years formed a powerful foundation for civil rights efforts. Better Day Coming also offers a sympathetic portrait of Marcus Garvey while concluding that black nationalism, both in the 1920s and the 1960s, was doomed to failure. Paying tribute to the role of the Communist party in raising the fight against racism to a higher level of militancy during the 1930s, the book analyzes the contradictory effects of World War II, the cold war, and McCarthyism on black activism during the 1940s.” -Publisher.

See our Free Books on Asia PDF

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves: Indiana Narratives

Federal Writers Project
Washington: Work Projects Administration 1941

This book contains accounts of interviews carried out from 1936 to 1938 with approximately 60 former slaves living in Indiana. Note that other volumes of oral interviews were also prepared in other states as part of this Federal Writers Project.

Maps Collection – Old U.S. Maps

The African-American Century: How Black Americans have Shaped our Country

Gates, Henry Louis and West, Cornel
Free Press 2000

One hundred original profiles of the most influential African-Americans of the twentieth century. Here, two of the leading African-American scholars of our day, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Cornel West, show us why the twentieth century was the African-American century, as they offer their personal picks of the African-American figures who did the most to shape our world.
This colorful collection of personalities includes much-loved figures such as scientist George Washington Carver, contemporary favorites such as comedian Richard Pryor and novelist Alice Walker, and even less-well-known people such as aviator Bessie Coleman. Gates and West also recognize the achievements of controversial figures such as Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and rap artist Tupac Shakur. Lively, accessible, and illustrated throughout, The African-American Century is a celebration of black achievement and a tribute to the black struggle for freedom in America that will inspire readers for years to come.

Fighting the Devil in Dixie: How Civil Rights Activists Took on the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama

Greenhaw, Wayne
Lawrence Hill 2011

Examining the growth of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) following the birth of the civil rights movement, this book is filled with tales of the heroic efforts to halt their rise to power. Shortly after the success of the Montgomery bus boycott, the KKK—determined to keep segregation as the way of life in Alabama—staged a resurgence, and the strong-armed leadership of Governor George C. Wallace, who defied the new civil rights laws, empowered the Klan’s most violent members. Although Wallace’s power grew, not everyone accepted his unjust policies, and blacks such as Martin Luther King Jr., J. L. Chestnut, and Bernard LaFayette began fighting back in the courthouses and schoolhouses, as did young southern lawyers such as Charles “Chuck” Morgan, who became the ACLU’s southern director; Morris Dees, who co-founded the Southern Poverty Law Center; and Bill Baxley, Alabama attorney general, who successfully prosecuted the bomber of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church and legally halted some of Governor Wallace’s agencies designed to slow down integration. Dozens of exciting, extremely well-told stories demonstrate how blacks defied violence and whites defied public ostracism and indifference in the face of kidnappings, bombings, and murders.

Negro Suffrage in Wisconsin

Gregory, John Goadby
Milwaukee: Transactions 1895

Slavery and Abolition 1831-1841 (American Nation, Vol. 16)

Hart, Albert Bushnell
1906

“The book has the double purpose of describing the conditions of slavery and the state of mind of those interested for it or against it, and at the same time of recording the events which mark the anti-slavery agitation.” – Author’s Preface.
 

See our Ancient Greek Books PDF

The Negro in Ohio, 1802-1870

Hickok, Charles Thomas
Cleveland: Williams 1896

A PhD dissertation in the department of History and Economics at Western Reserve University. Chapter headings are:

1. The Slavery Clause in the Ordinance of 1787
2. The Struggle for Political Equality from the Formation of the State to the Ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment
3. Educational and Industrial Opportunities enjoyed by the Negro
4. Observations on the Slavery Sentiment in the State.

Articles Collection – the History of Science & Technology

Facts on File Encyclopedia of Black Women in America (6 vols)

Hine, Darlene Clark, ed.
Facts on File 1996

Apparently intended for middle to high school-age students, this volume (one of an eleven-volume set) presents a historical overview of Black women in America followed by alphabetically arranged entries listing important Black women and the organizations they founded. Six titles of eleven are available. Subtitles available are: Education; Science, Health & Medicine; The Early Years 1617-1899; Dance, Sports and Visual Arts; Business & Professions; Literature.

Slavery and the Making of America

Horton, James Oliver and Horton, Lois E.
Oxford Univ. 2005

“The history of slavery is central to understanding the history of the United States. Slavery and the Making of America offers a richly illustrated, vividly written history that illuminates the human side of this inhumane institution, presenting it largely through stories of the slaves themselves. Readers will discover a wide ranging and sharply nuanced look at American slavery, from the first Africans brought to British colonies in the early seventeenth century to the end of Reconstruction. The authors document the horrors of slavery, particularly in the deep South, and describe the valiant struggles to escape bondage, from dramatic tales of slaves such as William and Ellen Craft to Dred Scott’s doomed attempt to win his freedom through the Supreme Court. We see how slavery set our nation on the road of violence, from bloody riots that broke out in American cities over fugitive slaves, to the cataclysm of the Civil War… With more than one hundred illustrations, Slavery and the Making of America is a gripping account of the struggles of African Americans against the iniquity of slavery.” -Publisher.

See our post on Big Online Historical Document Collections

Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market

Johnson, Walter
Harvard Univ. 1999

“This work tells the story of slavery in antebellum America by moving away from the cotton plantations and into the slave market itself, the heart of the domestic slave trade. Taking the reader inside the New Orleans slave market, the largest in the nation, where 100,000 men, women, and children were packaged, priced and sold, the author transforms the statistics of this chilling trade into the human drama of traders, buyers, and slaves, negotiating sales that would alter the life of each. What emerges is not only the brutal economics of trading but the vast interdependencies among those involved. Using recently discovered material, Johnson reveals the tenuous shifts of power that occurred in the market’s slave coffles and showrooms. Traders packaged their slaves by feeding them up, dressing them well, and oiling their bodies. Johnson depicts the subtle interrelation of capitalism, paternalism, class consciousness, racism and resistance in the slave market.” -Publisher.

Selected Articles on the Negro Problem

Johnsen, Julia E., comp.
H. W. Wilson 1921

In the first decades of the 20th century publisher H.W. Wilson produced many volumes in its Debaters’ Handbook Series on social and political issues that were under discussion at the time. Each book contains the full text of selected articles and documents representing opposing views on the issue, along with a substantial bibliography of books and articles.

Most of the books mentioned in these guides are likely to be freely available online. Search by title; first at the Internet Archive (archive.org), then at HathiTrust.org. Referenced magazine articles may also be available online at the same sites, with HathiTrust the preferred site for magazines.

Articles Collection – Environmental History

Waiting ’til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America

Joseph, Peniel E.
Henry Holt 2006

“Once in a while a book comes along that projects the spirit of an era; this is one of them . . . Vibrant and expressive . . . A well-researched and well-written work.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer
With the rallying cry of “Black Power!” in 1966, a group of black activists, including Stokely Carmichael and Huey P. Newton, turned their backs on Martin Luther King’s pacifism and, building on Malcolm X’s legacy, pioneered a radical new approach to the fight for equality. Drawing on original archival research and more than sixty original oral histories, Peniel E. Joseph vividly invokes the way in which Black Power redefined black identity and culture and in the process redrew the landscape of American race relations. In a series of character-driven chapters, we witness the rise of Black Power groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Black Panthers, and with them, on both coasts of the country, a fundamental change in the way Americans understood the unfinished business of racial equality and integration.” -Publisher.

I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women who Changed America

Lanker, Brian and Summers, Barbara
Stewart, Tabori & Chang 1989

A doubled-paged format of photographs, brief biographical information, and first-person accounts of women from all walks of life.

The African American Almanac

Lehman, Jeffrey
Gale 2003

“The African American Almanac provides a range of historical and current information on African American history, society and culture and includes coverage of such topics as Africa and the African diaspora; film and television; landmarks; national organizations; population; religion; science and technology; sports; and more. Users will also find chronologies, texts of important documents, legislation, speeches, biographical profiles, essays, and approximately 600 photographs, illustrations, maps and statistical charts (from 2000 U.S. census data) and more recent reports to help them with their research. A bibliography lists more than 300 books and online resources for further study. Includes a cumulative subject index.” -Publisher.

See our post on Historical Novels set in the American South

Out of the House of Bondage; A Discussion of the Race Problem

Miller, Kelly
NY: Neale 1914

Professor Miller was the Dean of the College of Arts and Science at Howard University, the premier African-American university. This is a collection of essays that had appeared in leading magazines over a few years prior to 1914. Chapter headings are: – Oath of Afro-American Youth, – A Moral Axiom, – Out of the House of Bondage, – The Physical Destiny of the American Negro, – Education for Manhood, – Crime Among Negroes, – The American Negro as a Political Factor, – Fifty Years of Negro Education, – Negroes in Professional Pursuits, – “The Negro in the New World” and “The Conflict of Color”, – The Ministry, – The Ultimate Race Problem, – I See and am Satisfied.

Articles Collection – Urban History

Days of Sorrow, Years of Glory, 1831-1850

From the Nat Turner Revolt to the Fugitive Slave Law

Paulson, Timothy J.
Chelsea House 1994

A volume in the series ‘Milestones in Black American History’. “…chronicles the action-filled years between Turner’s epochal revolt and Congress’s passage of the disastrous Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. A time of bondage for millions of African Americans, this was also a period when free blacks were demonstrating remarkable battlefield skills and producing a stunning array of industrial inventions, novels and memoirs, music, newspapers, sermons, and political oratory.” -Publisher.

The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A History

Rawley, James H.
Norton 1981

“The transatlantic slave trade played a major role in the development of the modern world. It both gave birth to and resulted from the shift from feudalism into the European Commercial Revolution. James A. Rawley fills a scholarly gap in the historical discussion of the slave trade from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century by providing one volume covering the economics, demography, epidemiology, and politics of the trade.” -Publisher.

See our Newsweek Archives

Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South

Rothman, Adam
Harvard Univ. 2005

Slave Country tells the tragic story of the expansion of slavery in the new United States. In the wake of the American Revolution, slavery gradually disappeared from the northern states and the importation of captive Africans was prohibited. Yet, at the same time, the country’s slave population grew, new plantation crops appeared, and several new slave states joined the Union. Adam Rothman explores how slavery flourished in a new nation dedicated to the principle of equality among free men, and reveals the enormous consequences of U.S. expansion into the region that became the Deep South. Slave Country combines political, economic, military, and social history in an elegant narrative that illuminates the perilous relation between freedom and slavery in the early United States. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in an honest look at America’s troubled past.

See our post on Articles of the Early 20th Century on African American Issues

Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America

Satter, Beryl
Metropolitan 2009

Part family story and part urban history, a landmark investigation of segregation and urban decay in Chicago—and cities across the nation
The “promised land” for thousands of Southern blacks, postwar Chicago quickly became the most segregated city in the North, the site of the nation’s worst ghettos and the target of Martin Luther King Jr.’s first campaign beyond the South. In this powerful book, Beryl Satter identifies the true causes of the city’s black slums and the ruin of urban neighborhoods throughout the country: not, as some have argued, black pathology, the culture of poverty, or white flight, but a widespread and institutionalized system of legal and financial exploitation.
In Satter’s riveting account of a city in crisis, unscrupulous lawyers, slumlords, and speculators are pitched against religious reformers, community organizers, and an impassioned attorney who launched a crusade against the profiteers—the author’s father, Mark J. Satter. At the heart of the struggle stand the black migrants who, having left the South with its legacy of sharecropping, suddenly find themselves caught in a new kind of debt peonage. Satter shows the interlocking forces at work in their oppression: the discriminatory practices of the banking industry; the federal policies that created the country’s shameful “dual housing market”; the economic anxieties that fueled white violence; and the tempting profits to be made by preying on the city’s most vulnerable population.
A monumental work of history, this tale of racism and real estate, politics and finance, will forever change our understanding of the forces that transformed urban America.

Articles Collection – U.S. History to 1800

Like Men of War: Black Troops in the Civil War, 1862-1865

Trudeau, Noah Andre
Back Bay 1999

In 1862 – more than a year into the Civil War – most Americans believed that blacks did not have the courage, intelligence, or discipline to make combat soldiers. But by war’s end, more then 175,000 African Americans had served in the Union Army. From the first actions along the Mississippi River to the celebrated attack on Fort Wagner to the final skirmishes of the war, black troops more than proved their courage. Like Men of War recounts the complete, battle-by-battle history of these soldiers, beginning with the first unofficial ex-slave regiments and the push to organize all-black federal regiments. Drawing on newspapers, soldiers’ diaries, and letters, acclaimed Civil War historian Noah Andre Trudeau offers a richly textured and unforgettable account of African-American soldiers in battle. This thoroughly researched and engaging history brings these soldiers vividly to life in their own words as they relate their battle experiences and their thoughts on the war and race.

We have a full page of links to newspaper archives free

African Americans in Michigan

Walker, Lewis et al.
Michigan State University 2001

“African Americans, as free laborers and as slaves, were among the earliest permanent residents of Michigan, settling among the French, British, and Native people with whom they worked and farmed. Lewis Walker and Benjamin Wilson recount the long history of African American communities in Michigan, delineating their change over time, as migrants from the South, East, and overseas made their homes in the state. Moreover, the authors show how Michigan’s development is inextricably joined with the vitality and strength of its African American residents. In a related chapter, Linwood Cousins examines youth culture and identity in African American schools, linking education with historical and contemporary issues of economics, racism, and power.” -Publisher.

The Negro in Detroit: A Survey of the Conditions of a Negro Group in a Northern Industrial Center during the War Prosperity Period

Washington, Forrester B.
Detroit: Research Bureau, Associated Charities of Detroit 1920

See our post on Vintage Picture Postcards

An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America

Wiencek, Henry
Thorndike 2004

“When George Washington wrote his will, he made the startling decision to set his slaves free; earlier he had said that holding slaves was his “only unavoidable subject of regret.” In this groundbreaking work, Henry Wiencek explores the founding father’s engagement with slavery at every stage of his life–as a Virginia planter, soldier, politician, president and statesman. Wiencek’s revelatory narrative, based on a meticulous examination of private papers, court records, and the voluminous Washington archives, documents for the first time the moral transformation culminating in Washington’s determination to emancipate his slaves. He acted too late to keep the new republic from perpetuating slavery, but his repentance was genuine. And it was perhaps related to the possibility–as the oral history of Mount Vernon’s slave descendants has long asserted–that a slave named West Ford was the son of George and a woman named Venus; Wiencek has new evidence that this could indeed have been true.” – Publisher.

Articles Collection – U.S. History 20th Century

Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965

Williams, Juan
Penguin 2002

From the Montgomery bus boycott to the Little Rock Nine to the Selma-Montgomery march, thousands of ordinary people made up the American civil rights movement; their stories are told in Eyes on the prize. From leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., to lesser-known participants like Barbara Rose Johns and Jim Zwerg, each man and woman made the decision that discrimination was wrong and that something had to be done to stop it. These moving accounts and pictures of the first decade of the civil rights movement are a tribute to — and a reminder of — the people, black and white, who took part in the fight for justice, keeping their eyes on the prize of freedom.

The Origins of American Slavery: Freedom and Bondage in the English Colonies

Wood, Betty
Hill and Wang 1997

Though the English did not begin their colonization of the New World with the intention of enslaving anyone, by the end of the seventeenth century chattel slavery existed in each of England’s American colonies. Why? And why did the English enslave West Africans rather than native Americans or Europeans? Historians have usually stressed either racial ideology or determining economic and demographic factors, but Betty Wood suggests that a more complex rationale was at work. In this important new analysis, Wood begins by exploring the meanings of freedom and bondage in sixteenth-century English thought and the ideas that men and women of Tudor England had about Africans and native Americans. She studies their prejudices against non-Christians, their responses to models of slavery in the Spanish and French colonies, and their assessment of their own labor shortages, and in the light of these various factors interprets the decision of the English to resort to slave labor in the colonies. She then follows the spread of slavery through the seventeenth century, from the Caribbean and the Carolinas to Virginia tobacco country and finally among the Puritans and Quakers farther north.


Open Access PDF Textbooks on African American History

Open Access Textbooks – African American History Textbook PDF

Open Access textbooks are licensed by authors and publishers to be freely used, and were published or updated in recent years. You may also find here other learning resources, such as course lesson plans.


African American History and Culture

Florida State College at Jacksonville
Achieving the Dream 2021

This textbook covers a variety of topics related to African American History and culture, from African Origins to the Reconstruction era.


Our Lives: An Ethnic Studies Primer

Rowena Bermio, Vera Kennedy
Hancock College 2022

Content focuses on major concepts, theories, perspectives, and voices in ethnic studies with research from anthropology, history, political science, psychology, and sociology to offer an inclusive approach for critical inquiry. Modules include learning objectives, a list of key terms and concepts, applications (exercises), biological reflections (stories), summary, and review questions.


Race and Ethnic Relations in the U.S.: An Intersectional Approach

Carlos Ramos, Janet Hund, et al
LibreTexts 2022

With an eye on social justice and intersectionality, the text provides a sociological analysis of the history, demographics, and contemporary experiences of the following race-ethnic groups: African Americans, Asian American Pacific Islanders, Euro Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, Middle Eastern Americans, and immigrants.


Slavery to Liberation: The African American Experience (Second Edition)

Gwendolyn Graham, Joshua Farrington, et al
Eastern Kentucky Univ. 2022

Gives instructors, students, and general readers a comprehensive and up-to-date account of African Americans’ cultural and political history, economic development, artistic expressiveness, and religious and philosophical worldviews in a critical framework.


An Introduction to African and Afro-Diasporic Peoples and Influences in British Literature and Culture before the Industrial Revolution

Jenny Halpin, Jonathan Elmore
Univ. System of Georgia 2022

Corrects, expands, and celebrates the presence of the African Diaspora in the study of British Literature, undoing some of the anti-Black history of British studies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top