Book cover of Claude McKay: The Making of a Black Bolshevik by Winston James
Biography & Autobiography

Claude McKay: The Making of a Black Bolshevik

One of the foremost Black writers and intellectuals of his era, Claude McKay (1889–1948) was a central figure in Caribbean literature, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Black radical tradition. McKay’s life and writing were defined by his class consciousness and anticolonialism, shaped by his experiences growing up in colonial Jamaica as well as his early career as a writer in Harlem and then London. […Learn More]

Book cover of Ordinary Notes by Christina Sharpe
Politics & Social Science

Ordinary Notes

A singular achievement, Ordinary Notes explores profound questions about loss and the shapes of Black life that emerge in the wake. In a series of 248 notes that gather meaning as we read them, Christina Sharpe skillfully weaves artifacts from the past—public ones alongside others that are poignantly personal—with present realities and possible futures, intricately constructing an immersive portrait of everyday Black existence. […Learn More]

Book cover of His Name Is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Robert Samuels
Biography & Autobiography

His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice 

A landmark biography by two prizewinning Washington Post reporters that reveals how systemic racism shaped George Floyd’s life and legacy—from his family’s roots in the tobacco fields of North Carolina, to ongoing inequality in housing, education, health care, criminal justice, and policing—telling the story of how one man’s tragic experience brought about a global movement for change. […Learn More]

Book cover of Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson
Biography & Autobiography

Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir

The Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and memoirist Margo Jefferson has lived in the thrall of a cast of others—her parents and maternal grandmother, jazz luminaries, writers, artists, athletes, and stars. These are the figures who thrill and trouble her, and who have made up her sense of self as a person and as a writer. In her much-anticipated follow-up to Negroland, Jefferson brings these figures to life in a memoir of stunning originality, a performance of the elements that comprise and occupy the mind of one of our foremost critics. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family by Dr. Kerri Greenidge
Biography & Autobiography

The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family

Sarah and Angelina Grimke—the Grimke sisters—are revered figures in American history, famous for rejecting their privileged lives on a plantation in South Carolina to become firebrand activists in the North. Their antislavery pamphlets, among the most influential of the antebellum era, are still read today. Yet retellings of their epic story have long obscured their Black relatives. In The Grimkes, award-winning historian Kerri Greenidge presents a parallel narrative, indeed a long-overdue corrective, shifting the focus from the white abolitionist sisters to the Black Grimkes and deepening our understanding of the long struggle for racial and gender equality. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Devil's Half Acre: The Untold Story of How One Woman Liberated the South's Most Notorious Slave Jail by Kristen Green
Biography & Autobiography

The Devil’s Half Acre: The Untold Story of How One Woman Liberated the South’s Most Notorious Slave Jail 

The inspiring true story of an enslaved woman who liberated an infamous slave jail and transformed it into one of the nation’s first HBCUs 

In The Devil’s Half Acre, New York Times bestselling author Kristen Green draws on years of research to tell the extraordinary and little-known story of young Mary Lumpkin, an enslaved woman who blazed a path of liberation for thousands. […Learn More]

Book cover of South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation by Imani Perry
Biography & Autobiography

South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation

We all think we know the South. Even those who have never lived there can rattle off a list of signifiers: the Civil War, Gone with the Wind, the Ku Klux Klan, plantations, football, Jim Crow, slavery. But the idiosyncrasies, dispositions, and habits of the region are stranger and more complex than much of the country tends to acknowledge. In South to America, Imani Perry shows that the meaning of American is inextricably linked with the South, and that our understanding of its history and culture is the key to understanding the nation as a whole. […Learn More]

Book cover of Agent Josephine: American Beauty, French Hero, British Spy by Damien Lewis
Biography & Autobiography

Agent Josephine: American Beauty, French Hero, British Spy

Singer. Actress. Beauty. Spy. During WWII, Josephine Baker, the world’s richest and most glamorous entertainer, was an Allied spy in Occupied France. 

Prior to World War II, Josephine Baker was a music-hall diva renowned for her singing and dancing, her beauty and sexuality; she was the highest-paid female performer in Europe. […Learn More]

Book cover of Afropessimism by Frank B. Wilderson

Afropessimism

Combining trenchant philosophy with lyrical memoir, Afropessimism is an unparalleled account of Blackness.

Why does race seem to color almost every feature of our moral and political universe? Why does a perpetual cycle of slavery―in all its political, intellectual, and cultural forms―continue to define the Black experience? And why is anti-Black violence such a predominant feature not only in the United States but around the world? These are just some of the compelling questions that animate Afropessimism, Frank B. Wilderson III’s seminal work on the philosophy of Blackness. […Learn More]