Banned Books Week: Reading List

This week (October 1-7) is Banned Books Week. This weeklong celebration emphasizes the freedom to read and draws attention to the harms of censorship. To celebrate, we’re highlighting some of our titles that have appeared on banned book lists across the country. You can learn more about Banned Books Week at

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in libraries, bookstores, and schools. Typically (but not always) held during the last week of September, the annual event highlights the value of free and open access to information and brings together the entire book community — librarians, educators, authors, publishers, booksellers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas.

Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition, Revised and Updated Third Edition by Cedric J. Robinson

“A towering achievement. There is simply nothing like it in the history of black radical thought.”—Cornel West, Monthly Review

Black Marxism has become an unlikely handbook for a new generation of radicals and activists.”—London Review of Books

“Robinson demonstrates very clearly . . . the ability of the black tradition to transcend national boundaries and accommodate cultural, religious and ‘racial’ differences. Indeed, he shows that, in a sense, it has emerged out of the transformation of these differences.”—Race and Class

Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists during the Great Depression, Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition by Robin D. G. Kelley

Elliott Rudwick Prize, Organization of American Historians

Outstanding Book Award, Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America

Francis Butler Simkins Award, Southern Historical Association

“A fascinating and indispensable contribution to the history of American radicalism and to black history.”—Nation

“Should serve as a model for historians seeking to recapture the untold story of other southern radicals during the 1930s.”—Journal of Southern History

The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860 by John Hope Franklin
With a new foreword and bibliographic afterword by the author

“An admirable piece of work. . . . This book gives a fairly complete picture of the plight of the North Carolina free people of color.”—Commonweal

“A well-balanced and objective study of a subject that is often distorted with prejudice.”—Political Science Quarterly