A Select Reading List for African American History Month

In observance of African American History Month, Penn Press has assembled a reading list comprised of titles that deepen our understanding of our American history by highlighting the essential contributions that African Americans have made to our Nation’s identity in their ongoing struggles for freedom and equality. For more information on African American History Month, as well as a schedule of related events, visit the African American History Month website hosted by the Library of Congress.


Black WaldenBlack Walden: Slavery and Its Aftermath in Concord, Massachusetts
Elise Lemire
In Black Walden, Elise Lemire brings to life the former slaves of Walden Woods and the men and women who held them in bondage during the eighteenth century.

Wicked FleshWicked Flesh: Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World
Jessica Marie Johnson
Wicked Flesh shows how black women used intimacy and kinship to redefine freedom in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world.

Black MetaphorsBlack Metaphors: How Modern Racism Emerged from Medieval Race-Thinking
Cord Whitaker
In Black Metaphors, Cord J. Whitaker asks not so much whether race mattered to the Middle Ages as how the Middle Ages matters

The Practice of CitizenshipThe Practice of Citizenship: Black Politics and Print Culture in the Early United States
Derrick R. Spires
In The Practice of Citizenship, Derrick R. Spires demonstrates how both canonical and lesser-known black writers articulated an expansive, practice-based theory of citizenship.

The Philadelphia NegroThe Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study
W. E. B. Du Bois
Introduction by Elijah Anderson
More than one hundred years after its original publication by the University of Pennsylvania Press, The Philadelphia Negro remains a classic work.

Remaking the RepublicRemaking the Republic: Black Politics and the Creation of American Citizenship
Christopher James Bonner
Remaking the Republic chronicles the various ways African Americans from a wide range of social positions throughout the North attempted to give meaning to American citizenship over the course of the nineteenth century.

A Brotherhood of LibertyA Brotherhood of Liberty: Black Reconstruction and Its Legacies in Baltimore, 1865-1920
Dennis Patrick Halpin
A Brotherhood of Liberty traces the civil rights victories scored by black Baltimoreans that inspired activists throughout the nation and subsequent generations.

Early African American Print CultureEarly African American Print Culture
Edited by Lara Langer Cohen and Jordan Alexander Stein
In this landmark volume, a stellar group of established and emerging scholars ranges over periods, locations, and media to explore African Americans’ diverse contributions to early American print culture, both on the page and off.

The Black RepublicThe Black Republic: African Americans and the Fate of Haiti
Brandon R. Byrd
In The Black Republic, Brandon R. Byrd explores the critical but overlooked place of Haiti in black thought in the post–Civil War era.