Five Weekly Reads for Black History Month: Recently Released Highlights

It’s the first day of Black History Month, and over the course of the next four weeks are celebrating books new and old that focus on Black life and culture.

For more background on the founding and annual themes of Black History Month, check out the website of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

Today we’re happy to share a handful of recent titles in Black history, all published in Fall/Winter 2020.

Save 40% on all UNC Press books with discount code 01DAH40. Visit the sale page to browse more recommended titles in African American History, or view our full list of books in African American Studies.


I Don't Like the Blues: Race, Place & the Backbeat of Black Life by B. Brian Foster

I Don’t Like the Blues: Race, Place & the Backbeat of Black Life
by B. Brian Foster

In this illuminating work, Foster takes us where not many blues writers and scholars have gone: into the homes, memories, speculative visions, and lifeworlds of Black folks in contemporary Mississippi to hear what they have to say about the blues and all that has come about since their forebears first sang them. In so doing, Foster urges us to think differently about race, place, and community development and models a different way of hearing the sounds of Black life, a method that he calls listening for the backbeat.

Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell by Alison M. Parker

Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell
by Alison M. Parker

Born into slavery during the Civil War, Mary Church Terrell (1863–1954) would become one of the most prominent activists of her time, with a career bridging the late nineteenth century to the civil rights movement of the 1950s. The first president of the National Association of Colored Women and a founding member of the NAACP, Terrell collaborated closely with the likes of Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, and W. E. B. Du Bois. ###Unceasing Militant# is the first full-length biography of Terrell, bringing her vibrant voice and personality to life.

The Scholar and the Struggle: Lawrence Reddick’s Crusade for Black History and Black Power
by David A. Varel

Lawrence Reddick (1910–1995) was among the most notable African American intellectuals of his generation. In The Scholar and the Struggle, David A. Varel tells Reddick’s compelling story. His biography reveals the many essential but underappreciated roles played by intellectuals in the black freedom struggle and connects the past to the present in powerful, unforgettable ways.

To Make the Wounded Whole: The African American Struggle Against HIV/AIDS
by Dan Royles

In the decades since it was identified in 1981, HIV/AIDS has devastated African American communities. Members of those communities mobilized to fight the epidemic and its consequences from the beginning of the AIDS activist movement. They struggled not only to overcome the stigma and denial surrounding a “white gay disease” in Black America, but also to bring resources to struggling communities that were often dismissed as too “hard to reach.” To Make the Wounded Whole offers the first history of African American AIDS activism in all of its depth and breadth.

Visualizing Equality: African American Rights and Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century
by Aston Gonzalez

The fight for racial equality in the nineteenth century played out not only in marches and political conventions but also in the print and visual culture created and disseminated throughout the United States by African Americans. Advances in visual technologies—daguerreotypes, lithographs, cartes de visite, and steam printing presses—enabled people to see and participate in social reform movements in new ways. African American activists seized these opportunities and produced images that advanced campaigns for black rights. In this book, Aston Gonzalez charts the changing roles of African American visual artists as they helped build the world they envisioned.