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Black History

Selected Books

African Americans in Pennsylvania, Shifting Historical Perspectives
F160.N4 A37 1997
This 1997 book from the Pennsylvania State University Press, edited by Joe W. Trotter Jr. & Eric Ledell Smith; contains a few chapters on Pittsburgh.
Ball, Robert Edward
Slaves in the Family
F279.C453 A2 1998
Edward Ball, a descendant of a white slave-owning plantation owners in South Carolina, has written a nonfiction American saga that is the story of black and white families who lived side by side for five generations. Using the copious plantation records of his family, supplemented by both black and white oral tradition, Ball uncovers the story of the people who lived on his ancestors' lands -- the violence and opulence, the slave uprisings and escapes, the dynastic struggles, and the mulatto children of Ball slaveholders and "Ball slaves".
Bennett Jr., Lerone
Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America
E185.B4 2007x
First published in 1962 as a "History of the Negro in America, 1619-1962", this book has gone through 8 editions.
Brown, Nikki
Private Politics and Public Voices: Black Women's Activism from World War I to the New Deal
E185.86.B6975 2006
This political history of middle-class African American women during World War I focuses on their patriotic activity and social work and follows their lives after the war, when they carried their debates about race relations into public political activism.
Freedom in My Heart: Voices from the United States National Slavery Museum
q E441.F775 2008
Resources from the National Slavery Museum offer never-before-seen images, personal letters, and artifacts, which shed new light on slavery and the activities surrounding it.
Harris, Duchess
Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Obama
E185.86.H36 2011x
Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this book analyzes Black women's involvement in American political life, focusing on what they did to gain political power between 1961 and the present, and why, in many cases, they did not succeed.
King, Wilma
Stolen Childhood: Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America
E441.K59 2011
One of the most important books published on slave society, Stolen Childhood focuses on the millions of children and youth enslaved in 19th-century America. This enlarged and revised edition reflects the abundance of new scholarship on slavery that has emerged in the 15 years since the first edition (1995).
Loewen, James W.
Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of Segregation in America
E185.615.L577 2005
Loewen (emeritus, sociology, U. of Vermont) exposes the history and persistence of "sundown towns," so-named for the signs often found at their corporate limits warning African Americans and other minorities not to be found in the town after dusk. He historically situates the rise of the sundown town movement in the years following the Civil War; describes the mechanisms of violence, threats, law, and policy that were used to force minorities out of Northern and Western towns into the big cities; and charts the continued existence of such communities.
The Long Walk to Freedom: Runaway Slave Narratives
E450.L83 2012
The Long Walk to Freedom presents excerpts from the narratives of well-known runaway slaves, like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs, as well as from the narratives of lesser-known and virtually unknown people.
Oakes, James
Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865
The abolition of slavery was a long process, as Oakes documents in this recent history.
Peterson, Carla L.
Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City
F130.N4 P47 2011
Part detective tale, part social and cultural narrative, Black Gotham is Carla Peterson's account of her quest to reconstruct the lives of her nineteenth-century ancestors, illuminating the greater history of African-American elites in New York City.
Rooks, Noliwe M.
Ladies' Pages: African American Women's Magazines and the Culture That Made Them
PN4882.5.R66 2004
Ladies' Pages sheds light on the most influential African American women's magazines and their little-known success in shaping the lives of black women.
The WPA History of the Negro in Pittsburgh
PENNA F159.P69 N495 2004
A work of the American Guide Series, published by the Federal Writers' Project, "The Negro in Pittsburgh," lay dormant in the Pennsylvania State Library until it was microfilmed in 1970. The WPA History of the Negro in Pittsburgh marks the first publication of this rich body of information. This unique historical study of the city's black population features articles on civil rights, social class, lifestyle, culture, folklore, and institutions from colonial times through the 1930s. Published by the University of Pittsburgh Press.
Trotter, Joe William
Race and Renaissance: African Americans in Pittsburgh since World War II
F159.P69 N4888 2010x
Race and Renaissance presents the first history of African American life in Pittsburgh after World War II. It examines the origins and significance of the second Great Migration, the persistence of Jim Crow into the postwar years, the second ghetto, the contemporary urban crisis, the civil rights and Black Power movements and the Million Man and Million Woman marches.
Tye, Larry
Rising from the Rails: Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class
HD8039.R362 U68 2004
When George Pullman began recruiting Southern blacks as porters in his luxurious new sleeping cars after Reconstruction, the former slaves found his offer of a steady job and worldly experience irresistable. They quickly signed up to serve as maid, waiter, concierge, nanny, and occasionally doctor and undertaker to cars full of white passengers, making the Pullman Company the largest employer of African Americans in the country by the 1920s and the Pullman Porters forerunners of the modern black middle class. A video production of the book is also available.
Walker, Susannah
Style & Status: Selling Beauty to African American Women, 1920-1975
E185.86.W338 2007
Susannah Walker analyzes an often-overlooked facet of twentieth-century consumer society as she explores the political, social, and racial implications of the business devoted to producing and marketing beauty products for African American women.


See also: Civil Rights in America

10,000 Black Men Named George
The true story of the formation of the first black-controlled union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Asa Philip Randolph, a black journalist, establishes a voice for the forgotten workers of the Pullman Rail Company, where all black porters were simply named "George", after George Pullman, the first person to employ emancipated slaves.
African American Lives (I & II)
(DVD) E185.96.A4463 2006x
(DVD) E185.96.A44632 2008x
A compelling combination of storytelling and science, this series uses genealogy, oral histories, family stories and DNA to trace roots of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and several accomplished African Americans down through American history and back to Africa.
Africans in America: America's Journey through Slavery
A landmark PBS historical documentary series of four, 90-minute television programs that bring to life our nation's early history from Jamestown in 1607 to the start of the Civil War in 1861, showing the dramatic impact of the struggle over slavery and freedom in shaping our country. There is a companion website.
(DVD) E185.86.B263 2007x
The forgotten history of racial cleansing in America is vividly recounted here, when thousands of African Americans were driven from their homes and communities by violent racist mobs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The film places these events in the context of present day race relations, by following three concrete cases of towns that remain all-white to this day: Forsyth County, Georgia; Pierce City, Missouri; & Harrison, Arkansas.
The Black Press: Soldiers without Swords
(DVD) PN4882.5.B595 2000zx
A documentary film by Stanley Nelson that provides an in-depth examination of the history and contributions of African American newspapers, including the Pittsburgh Courier. There is a PBS companion website
A History of Slavery in America
(DVD) E441.H67 2007x
This comprehensive program chronicles the institution of slavery in North America, beginning with the notorious "middle passage" through Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, emancipation, and Reconstruction. Expert interviews and archival photographs help to describe family life, religion, resistance to enslavement, the Abolitionist Movement and post-war difficulties of newly emancipated people, dispelling the myth that slavery was a passive state and highlighting the persistant struggle by African Americans to end it.
The Road to Brown
(DVD) KF373.H644 R63 2004x
Presents the role of Charles Hamilton Houston in the cases which led to the landmark Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education. Gives a history of segregation, Jim Crow Laws, the NAACP and biographical information on persons influential in the desegregation movement.
Scottsboro: An American Tragedy
(DVD) KF224.S34 S35 2005x
A PBS documentary about the 1931 alleged rape of two young white women by 9 young black men and the ensuing trial. There is a PBS companion website.
Slavery and the Making of America
(DVD) E441.S6257 2004x
A four-part PBS television series documenting the history of American slavery from its beginnings in the British colonies to its end in the Southern states and the years of post-Civil War Reconstruction. It has a companion website.
Struggles in Steel: A Story of African-American Steelworkers
A film by Tony Buba and Ray Henderson about the African-Americans who worked and fought in the mills. Produced by Braddock Films.

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