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Recommended general readings
List of recommended readings- it includes a few secondary historical sources but consists largely of memoirs, novels, and writings arranged chronologically to record points in the ongoing story of Black people in America:
- Charles W. Chestnutt. The Marrow of Tradition. (1901)
- W. E. B. DuBois. The Souls of Black Folk. (1903)
- James Weldon Johnson. The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. (1912)
- Langston Hughes. The Weary Blues. (1925)
- Zora Neale Hurston. Mules and Men. (1935)
- Richard Wright. Black Boy. (1945)
- Ralph Ellison. The Invisible Man. (1952)
- James Baldwin. Go Tell It on the Mountain. (1953)
- Amiri Baraka. Blues people: Negro Music in America. (1963)
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X. (1965)
- Maya Angelou. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. (1969)
- Toni Morrison. The Bluest Eye. (1970)
- Ntozake Shange. For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf. (1975)
- Alex Haley. Roots. (1976)
- Mildred D. Taylor. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. (1977)
- Octavia Butler. Kindred. (1979)
- Akasha Hull, Patricia Bell-Scott, and Barbara Smith. But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women's Studies. (1982)
- Alice Walker. The Color Purple. (1983)
- Audre Lorde. Sister Outsider. (1984)
- Assata Shakur. Assata: An Autobiography. (1987)
- E. Lynn Harris. Invisible Life (1991)
- Samuel A. Floyd Jr. The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States. (1995)
- Sharla M. Fett. Working Cures: Healing, Health, and Power on Southern Slave Plantations. (2000)
- Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock. The Gift of Southern Cooking. (2003)
- Camille Dungy. Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry. (2009)
- Michelle Alexander. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. (2010)
- Carolyn Finney. Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors. (2014)
- Angela Davis. Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement. (2015)
- Colson Whitehead. The Underground Railroad. (2016)
- Lauret Savoy. Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape. (2016)
- Ibram Kendi. Stamped from the Beginning: the Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. (2016)
- Michael Twitty. The Cooking Gene. (2017)
- J. Drew Lanham. The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature. (2017)
- Keah Brown. On Life, Pop Culture, Disability and Other Reasons to Fall in Love with Me. (2019)
- Ibram Kendi (ed). Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America 1619-2019. (2021)
This list includes a range of works exploring black history, literature, culture, food, music, and relationships to the environment. Of course it is limited and doesn’t include everything or everyone it could or should. Feel free to create a list that speaks to you and your interests.
Important must reads
Four Hundred Souls by
Publication Date: 2021-02-02
A chorus of extraordinary voices comes together to tell one of history's great epics: the four-hundred-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present--edited by Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, and Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on Fire. The story begins in 1619--a year before the Mayflower--when the White Lion disgorges "some 20-and-odd Negroes" onto the shores of Virginia, inaugurating the African presence in what would become the United States. It takes us to the present, when African Americans, descendants of those on the White Lion and a thousand other routes to this country, continue a journey defined by inhuman oppression, visionary struggles, stunning achievements, and millions of ordinary lives passing through extraordinary history. Four Hundred Souls is a unique one-volume "community" history of African Americans. The editors, Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, have assembled ninety brilliant writers, each of whom takes on a five-year period of that four-hundred-year span. The writers explore their periods through a variety of techniques: historical essays, short stories, personal vignettes, and fiery polemics. They approach history from various perspectives: through the eyes of towering historical icons or the untold stories of ordinary people; through places, laws, and objects. While themes of resistance and struggle, of hope and reinvention, course through the book, this collection of diverse pieces from ninety different minds, reflecting ninety different perspectives, fundamentally deconstructs the idea that Africans in America are a monolith--instead it unlocks the startling range of experiences and ideas that have always existed within the community of Blackness. This is a history that illuminates our past and gives us new ways of thinking about our future, written by the most vital and essential voices of our present.
Race and Research
Examining Tuskegee by
Publication Date: 2013-08-01
The forty-year Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which took place in and around Tuskegee, Alabama, from the 1930s through the 1970s, has become a profound metaphor for medical racism, government malfeasance, and physician arrogance. Susan M. Reverby's Examining Tuskegee is a comprehensive analysis of the notorious study of untreated syphilis among African American men, who were told by U.S. Public Health Service doctors that they were being treated, not just watched, for their late-stage syphilis. With rigorous clarity, Reverby investigates the study and its aftermath from multiple perspectives and illuminates the reasons for its continued power and resonance in our collective memory.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by
Publication Date: 2011-03-08
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * "The story of modern medicine and bioethics--and, indeed, race relations--is refracted beautifully, and movingly."--Entertainment Weekly NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM HBO® STARRING OPRAH WINFREY AND ROSE BYRNE * ONE OF THE "MOST INFLUENTIAL" (CNN), "DEFINING" (LITHUB), AND "BEST" (THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER) BOOKS OF THE DECADE * ONE OF ESSENCE'S 50 MOST IMPACTFUL BLACK BOOKS OF THE PAST 50 YEARS * WINNER OF THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE HEARTLAND PRIZE FOR NONFICTION NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review * Entertainment Weekly * O: The Oprah Magazine * NPR * Financial Times * New York * Independent (U.K.) * Times (U.K.) * Publishers Weekly * Library Journal * Kirkus Reviews * Booklist * Globe and Mail Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine: The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, which are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave. Henrietta's family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family--past and present--is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of. Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family--especially Henrietta's daughter Deborah. Deborah was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Had they killed her to harvest her cells? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn't her children afford health insurance? Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.
Ideas of race and racial ideology
Fredrickson, G. M. 1987. The Black Image in the White Mind. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press.
Smedley, A. 1993 (1999). Race in North America: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview. Boulder: Westview Press.
Stepan, Nancy. 1982. The Idea of Race in Science. London: Macmillan.
The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity in the United States by
Publication Date: 2000-07-14
This groundbreaking collection of classic and cutting edge sociological research gives special attention to the social construction of race and ethnicity in the United States. It offers an in-depth and eye-opening analysis of (a) the power of racial classification to shape our understanding of race and race relations, (b) the way in which the system came into being and remains, and (c) the real consequences this system has on life chances. The readings deal with five major themes: the personal experience of classification schemes; classifying people by race; ethnic classification; the persistence, functions, and consequences of social classification; and a new paradigm: transcending categories. For individuals who want to gain a fuller understanding of the impact the ideas of race has on a society that is consumed by it.
Lists of recommended readings from other sources
History of Developing Health Systems in the Americas
Medicalizing Blackness by
Publication Date: 2017-10-09
In 1748, as yellow fever raged in Charleston, South Carolina, doctor John Lining remarked, "There is something very singular in the constitution of the Negroes, which renders them not liable to this fever." Lining's comments presaged ideas about blackness that would endure in medical discourses and beyond. In this fascinating medical history, Rana A. Hogarth examines the creation and circulation of medical ideas about blackness in the Atlantic World during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. She shows how white physicians deployed blackness as a medically significant marker of difference and used medical knowledge to improve plantation labor efficiency, safeguard colonial and civic interests, and enhance control over black bodies during the era of slavery. Hogarth refigures Atlantic slave societies as medical frontiers of knowledge production on the topic of racial difference. Rather than looking to their counterparts in Europe who collected and dissected bodies to gain knowledge about race, white physicians in Atlantic slaveholding regions created and tested ideas about race based on the contexts in which they lived and practiced. What emerges in sharp relief is the ways in which blackness was reified in medical discourses and used to perpetuate notions of white supremacy.
The Experiential Caribbean by
Publication Date: 2017-04-17
Opening a window on a dynamic realm far beyond imperial courts, anatomical theaters, and learned societies, Pablo F. Gomez examines the strategies that Caribbean people used to create authoritative, experientially based knowledge about the human body and the natural world during the long seventeenth century. Gomez treats the early modern intellectual culture of these mostly black and free Caribbean communities on its own merits and not only as it relates to well-known frameworks for the study of science and medicine. Drawing on an array of governmental and ecclesiastical sources--notably Inquisition records--Gomez highlights more than one hundred black ritual practitioners regarded as masters of healing practices and as social and spiritual leaders. He shows how they developed evidence-based healing principles based on sensorial experience rather than on dogma. He elucidates how they nourished ideas about the universality of human bodies, which contributed to the rise of empirical testing of disease origins and cures. Both colonial authorities and Caribbean people of all conditions viewed this experiential knowledge as powerful and competitive. In some ways, it served to respond to the ills of slavery. Even more crucial, however, it demonstrates how the black Atlantic helped creatively to fashion the early modern world.
Doctoring Freedom by
Publication Date: 2016-02-01
For enslaved and newly freed African Americans, attaining freedom and citizenship without health for themselves and their families would have been an empty victory. Even before emancipation, African Americans recognized that control of their bodies was a critical battleground in their struggle for autonomy, and they devised strategies to retain at least some of that control. In Doctoring Freedom, Gretchen Long tells the stories of African Americans who fought for access to both medical care and medical education, showing the important relationship between medical practice and political identity. Working closely with antebellum medical journals, planters' diaries, agricultural publications, letters from wounded African American soldiers, WPA narratives, and military and Freedmen's Bureau reports, Long traces African Americans' political acts to secure medical care: their organizing mutual-aid societies, their petitions to the federal government, and, as a last resort, their founding of their own medical schools, hospitals, and professional organizations. She also illuminates work of the earliest generation of black physicians, whose adult lives spanned both slavery and freedom. For African Americans, Long argues, claiming rights as both patients and practitioners was a political and highly charged act in both slavery and emancipation.
Infectious Fear by
Publication Date: 2009-05-01
For most of the first half of the twentieth century, tuberculosis ranked among the top three causes of mortality among urban African Americans. Often afflicting an entire family or large segments of a neighborhood, the plague of TB was as mysterious as it was fatal. Samuel Kelton Roberts Jr. examines how individuals and institutions--black and white, public and private--responded to the challenges of tuberculosis in a segregated society. Reactionary white politicians and health officials promoted "racial hygiene" and sought to control TB through Jim Crow quarantines, Roberts explains. African Americans, in turn, protested the segregated, overcrowded housing that was the true root of the tuberculosis problem. Moderate white and black political leadership reconfigured definitions of health and citizenship, extending some rights while constraining others. Meanwhile, those who suffered with the disease--as its victims or as family and neighbors--made the daily adjustments required by the devastating effects of the "white plague." Exploring the politics of race, reform, and public health, Infectious Fear uses the tuberculosis crisis to illuminate the limits of racialized medicine and the roots of modern health disparities. Ultimately, it reveals a disturbing picture of the United States' health history while offering a vision of a more democratic future.
African Americans, Black people and Healthcare in America
As the attached presentation shows, black people in America have had a long history of providing healthcare for the community and working to gain more influence and serve more effectively through participation in organized medicine.
History of African American Health Care Providers
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