The Best Black History Books of 2018

Jones BlackAs picked by the editors of Black Perspectives.

Authors include Martha Jones, Julius Scott, David Blight, Lillian Barger, Daina Ramey Berry, Keisha Berry, Gerald Horne, and Imani Perry.

Subjects include: slavery in antebellum America, the Haitian Revolution, Frederick Douglass, liberation theology, the slave trade, black nationalism, African Americans in the military, Black Lives Matter, and W.E.B. Du Bois.

See the list here.

*Black Perspectives* Will Host a Forum on Frederick Douglass

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This is going to be good.  The forum will include posts by Brandon Byrd, Kenneth Morris, Neil Roberts, Manisha Sinha, David Blight, Leigh Fought, Christopher Bonner, and Noelle Trent.

Here is what you can expect:

Black Perspectives, the award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), is hosting an online forum on Frederick Douglass on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his birth. Organized by Brandon R. Byrd (Vanderbilt University), the online forum uses the 200th anniversary of Douglass’s birth as an opportunity to highlight commemorative, critical reflections, and assessments of Douglass’s ideas and legacy. The forum will feature an interview with Kenneth B. Morris, the great-great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass (and the great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington). It will also feature essays from Neil Roberts (Williams College); Manisha Sinha (University of Connecticut); David Blight (Yale University); Leigh Fought (Le Moyne College); Noelle Trent (National Civil Rights Museum); and Christopher Bonner (University of Maryland, College Park). The forum begins on Monday, November 26, 2018 and concludes on Friday, November 30, 2018.

During the week of the online forum, Black Perspectives will publish new blog posts every day at 5:30AM EST. Please follow Black Perspectives (@BlkPerspectives) and AAIHS (@AAIHS) on Twitter; like AAIHS on Facebook; or subscribe to our blog for updates. By subscribing to Black Perspectives, each new post will automatically be delivered to your inbox during the week of the forum.

Learn more here.

W.E.B Du Bois Forum at *Black Perspectives*

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This week, for the anniversary of Du Bois‘s death on August 27, 1963, the editors of the online magazine Black Perspectives have republished an online forum on Du Bois that originally appeared in February.  The forum includes short pieces from Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Edward Carson, Roopika Risam, Lavelle Porter, and Philip Luke Sinitiere.

Here is a taste of Carson’s piece, “Race, Religion and Radicalism: King and Du Bois“:

King is largely remembered for having a dream. And while his “I Have a Dream” speech and other rhetorical flourishes stand at the pinnacle of what Americans know about him, his objectives remain unrealized. King articulated a radical socialist message, still unheard and often disputed, due to his anti-poverty, anti-materialism, and anti-war convictions, perspectives shaped within the framework of challenging American capitalism. Like Socrates, King’s teachings threatened the ruling class and the pervasive comfort of liberals. Today’s proclamation of King, witnessed recently in the appropriation of his words for a Super Bowl LII commercial, presents a revisionary tale. Months before King’s assassination, his assault on capitalism earned him a rebuke by many Black folks, who did not care for his evolving vision in challenging the economic inequalities promulgated by capitalism, and still more white folks, who expressed a disdain toward him.

Du Bois, on the other hand, was a global intellectual within a radical leftist framework; he fought for the liberation of peoples in the darker lands, as well as those occupied by the oppressive forces of capitalism. Du Bois persistently juxtaposed the American race problem with the endemic forces of global imperialism and capitalism. “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line”: a recasting of that sentence’s inaugural iteration—most famously published in The Souls of Black Folk, but also the concluding sentence of the “To the Nations of the World,” collectively constructed by those attending the Pan-African Congress of 1900. We must also recognize that Du Bois’s radical evolution started with the Russian Revolution (1917). In seeking a solution to Black oppression, he became aware of his inner Bolshevism when and proclaimed, “I am a Bolshevik” after a 1926 visit to the Soviet Union. One must not attempt to recount Du Bois’s life and legacy just as a Pan-Africanist or civil rights activist, which society has done to King, but measure Du Bois and his internal struggles and maturation as an evolving radical and eventual member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). While King and Du Bois shared much in working for a reconfiguration of society, only Du Bois proclaimed in a pronounced fashion his full radicalness, leaving questions about King up for interpretation. Yet, both men had a dream and that dream was a society removed from capitalism’s despair.

Read the rest here.

How Did African Americans Remember the Civil War?

Confederate Charleston

Ashleigh Lawrence-Sanders, a Ph.D candidate in the History department at Rutgers University, tackles this question in a piece at Black Perspectives titled “Beyond Monuments: African Americans Contesting Civil War Memory.”

Here is a taste:

African Americans worked from the end of the war to this current moment to consistently affirm and interpret the Civil War’s meaning for them.  Due to its power and influence, confronting the Lost Cause is a large part of this collective memory.  The Lost Cause movement includes the historical memories, myths, commemorative events, and invented traditions of many white Southerners that first took shape after the end of the Civil War. The Lost Cause was as much about upholding white supremacy as it was about commemorating the white Southern Civil War experience.  It is not incidental, for example, that the Keystone, a publication for Southern white clubwomen and members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) published stories of Confederate heroism alongside dedications to “faithful slaves” and praise for books like Thomas Dixon’s The Clansman.  White Civil War memory has long dominated conversations about how the war is remembered, even now when it involves anti-racist activism.  The idea that “both sides” should be celebrated and honored was largely an invention of white Southerners and Northerners in order to reunite the nation.  African American Civil War memory was sidelined in its service.  As a result, we know considerably less about the long tradition of Black anti-Lost Cause resistance that culminated with Bree Newsome snatching the Confederate flag down from the Statehouse grounds of South Carolina in 2015 and Takiyah Thompson toppling a Confederate monument in Durham, North Carolina on August 14 of this year.

On March 27, 1865 African Americans flooded the streets of Charleston, South Carolina to celebrate the coming end of the Civil War.  The result was a grand spectacle, with dozens of Black men marching while tied to a rope to symbolize those bound in chains while being sold down South. A hearse followed with the sign “Slavery is Dead. Who Owns Him? No one.  Sumter Dug His Grave on 13th April, 1861.” Behind the hearse, fifty Black women marched dressed in mourning clothes, but were laughing and happy. “John Brown’s Body” was a popular song among Black and white Union troops and was commonly sung in the various military parades across the South as Union troops marched in victory.  The school children marching in this parade focused on singing one verse in particular loudly: “We’ll hang Jeff Davis on a sour apple tree . . . As we Go Marching On.”

Read the entire piece here.

 

Summer Internship Opportunity at *Black Perspectives*

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Here it is:

Black Perspectives, the blog of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), is currently accepting applications for our inaugural summer editorial internship program. The internship, which begins on June 1st and ends on August 31st, is open to graduate students and advanced undergraduate students.

About Black Perspectives

Black Perspectives is the leading online platform for public scholarship on global black thought, history, and culture. As engaged scholars, we are deeply committed to producing and disseminating cutting-edge research that is accessible to the public and is oriented towards advancing the lives of people of African descent and humanity. Formerly referred to as the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) Blog, Black Perspectives serves as the medium to advance these critical goals. Although many of the writers are historians, we provide a crucial online space for scholars working in various academic fields.

We understand African American and African diasporic thought in its broadest terms and encourage the use of interdisciplinary research approaches. We also value diversity and inclusion and welcome all scholars–regardless of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, or any other social category—to contribute as long as the research is thorough and accurate in its portrayal of black thought, history, and culture.

About the Internship

Interns will work closely with the blog editors on a part-time, unpaid basis for three months and receive practical experience in academic blogging. Each intern will contribute to the publication of the blog in a variety of aspects including research, copy-editing, fact checking, and formatting. Interns will receive a complimentary one-year membership in AAIHS and waived registration fee for the 2018 AAIHS conference.

The 3-month internship offers young scholars an opportunity to sharpen their writing skills and receive personalized feedback on their writing. It also provides interns with access to a diverse network of early career bloggers (and professors), and the opportunity to publish their pieces on a popular academic blog. The internship is online, which means that interns only need access to a computer and internet.

Qualifications

  • Currently enrolled in an accredited academic institution; graduate students (PhD and MA students) and advanced undergraduate students.
  • Preference will be given to candidates who major/specialize in History, African American Studies, English, and Journalism. However, we will consider applications from candidates in a variety of fields including Political Science, Sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies, International Relations and America Studies.
  • Must be motivated, detailed-oriented, and possess strong writing skills.
  • Must have a knowledge base and keen interest in black thought, history and culture.
  • Must have an interest in blog writing and social media.
  • Must be interested in working with a diverse group of scholars who are passionate about black thought, history, and culture.
  • Must be willing to devote approximately 10 hours per week to assisting with the blog; and be willing to attend mandatory online training sessions during the week of May 28th and attend one-hour SKYPE/Phone meetings (generally once per month).

Those interested in the program are invited to submit the following materials to Profs. Keisha N. Blain and Ibram X. Kendi via email at aaihs10@gmail.com no later than May 25, 2017.