Ani, Marimba (1994) Yurugu: An African-Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.
The most comprehensive African-centered critique of European systems of thought ever written. The extraordinary breadth of Ani's book provides a starting point for understanding how various European philosophies undergird white supremacist systems. One hundred years from now, this book will be cited along with DuBois’ Souls of Black Folk, and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man as one of the great works which analyzes the condition of Africans throughout the diaspora.
Armah, Ayi Kwei (1979) Two Thousand Seasons. Chicago: Third World Press.
The question is constantly asked “Why are Africans in the shape they are in?” Armah provides a disturbing answer through a searing novel. He forces the reader to examine the complicity of white supremacy in the condition of African people.
Asante, Molefi & Abu S. Abarry (1996) African Intellectual Heritage. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
If you needed one book that provides the vast intellectual scope of African people it is this one. Beginning at 2150 BCE and ending with the Million Man March, Asante and Abarry present the readings and speeches of African people. A basic book for any library involving African people.
Asante, Molefi (1988) Afrocentricity. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.
A book that describes what is now accepted as one of the most important worldviews of the 20th century.
Asante, Molefi & Mattson, Mark (1991) Historical and Cultural Atlas of African Americans. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Co.
This book provides a panoramic view of the history of African Americans---from Egypt to the present. Asante provides a wealth of photographs, drawings and maps that help to locate African people geographically, historically and psychologically. A basic book for understanding African people.
Asante, Molefi (1993) Malcolm X as Cultural Hero and Other Afrocentric Essays. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.
Asante gets specific about issues confronting Africans in the diaspora ranging from the image of Malcolm X to violence among Africans.
Barboza, Steven (1993) American Jihad: Islam After Malcolm X. New York: Doubleday.
Barboza explores the varieties of the fastest growing religion in America. His interviews with Muslims from all walks of life provide an unprecedented view of Islam.
Bowen, W. G. and Derek Bok (1998) The Shape of the River. Princeton: Princeton University Press
The former presidents of Princeton and Harvard Universities provide the most compelling arguments on why affirmative action works. It destroys myths such as it displaces whites, is “a handout”, by giving the reader empirical evidence of its positive results. A must reading for anyone who wishes to avoid the hype on affirmative action
Bell, Derrick (1992) Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism. Basic Books.
A life-changing book. The former Harvard professor provides a grim scenario on why African Americans will never achieve “equality” in this country. A pessimistic yet very realistic book about racism.
Bernal, Martin (1987, 1991, 2006). Black Athena, Vols. I, II, III. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
The sheer audacity of Bernal’s thesis---that what we call “Greek civilization” is essentially Egyptian---makes these volumes “heavy” reading. The scholarship is unquestionable in Bernal’s pursuit of the true root of what is commonly called “Western civilization”
Bradley, Michael. (1978). The Iceman Inheritance. New York: Kayode Publications Ltd.
Bradley offers the controversial thesis that European racism is evolutionarily and biological. Bradley supports this theory with numerous references and forces the reader to examine at the possible origins of white supremacy.
Brooks, Roy, L. (Ed) (1999). When Sorry Isn’t Enough. New York: New York University Press.
The issue of reparations for Africans will dominate any racial dialogue during the first quarter of the 21st century. Brooks’ book provides a context for these upcoming dialogues by making a strong case that the non-payment of reparations represents a continuing crime against humanity toward Africans and their descendants.
Butler, Octavia (1995, 2003). Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. (Aspect and Seven Stories Press respectively.
The Afrikan grande dame of science fiction, Octavia Butler, pens two novels that are prophetic in nature about the current deterioration of the United States and the "West" in general. Butler paints a grim picture of California beginning in 2025 that is eerily familiar to contemporary events in the world today. Mesmerizing in their narrative, these two books that should be read in order make for lively discussions on how Afrikans should be mindful of survival in a dying world.
Butterfield, Fox. (1996). All God’s Children: The Bosket Family and the American Tradition of Violence. New York: Harper Perennial.
No other book links the current violence in the African community better than Butterfield’s with the American tradition of violence. Willie Bosket, one of the most violent criminals in the U.S., is a direct product of the history of mayhem, torture, and “the duel mentality” that is traced back to before the American Revolutionary War. The analysis is compelling and answers many of the questions about how the United States is the most violent nation in world history.
Chideya, Farai (1995) Don’t Believe the Hype: Fighting Cultural Misinformation About African-Americans. New York: Penguin Books
The sheer volume of misinformation about African Americans is a primary contributor to “rumors of inferiority”. Chideya’s small but very informative volume presents an array of facts that may even surprise those who think they know dearly held “truths” about African Americans. A useful handbook for combating racist stereotypes.
Comaroff, Jean and John (1991). Of Revelation and Revolution: Christianity, Colonialism and Consciousness in South Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Presents the argument of how Western Christianity was the fundamental rationale for the establishment of apartheid in South Africa.
DeGruy, Joy (2005). Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing. Milwaukie, Oregon: Uptone Press.
The legacy of enslavement has left a deep wound in the psyche of African Americans that many will deny, some will acknowledge and few understand. Dr. Leary, who coined the phrase "Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome", effortlessly shows the direct links and residual effects of enslavement on all African Americans. A powerful book that must be read especially by educators and human service workers.
Diop, Cheikh Anta (1974). The African Origin of Civilization. Westport CT: Lawrence Hill Publishers.
The African genius who first cited anthropological evidence that the Egyptians were Black people. A scholarly book that will change your view of Africa.
DuBois, W.E.B. (1903). The Souls of Black Folk. Available in a variety of editions through a variety of publishers.
“The problem of the twentieth century will be the problem of the color line”. DuBois’ prophetic words echo even louder as we near the end of the century where color is still unresolved as a problem. If you have not read this book, you have no foundation for understanding anything relative to Africans in America.
Du Bois, W.E.B. (1896). The Suppression of the African Slave Trade. Available in a variety of editions through a variety of publishers. The best book to understand how the United States circumvented its own abolition of the slave trade in 1808. Du Bois argues that this was primarily for economic reasons, i.e., the expansion of the United States as an industrial nation. This was Du Bois's doctoral dissertation at Harvard and written when he was only 28 years old.
Du Bois, W.E.B. (1946), The World and Africa. Available in a variety of editions through a variety of publishers. Written as a rebuttal to historians European historians who said that Africa did not contribute anything to "civilization", this book shows the reader that not only were such assertions incorrect, but grounded in white supremacist notions about European superiority and African inferiority. A get-acquainted volume to the importance of Africa in understanding the world.
Franklin, John Hope (1989). Race and History: Selected Essays, 1938-1988. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
A collection of the most important essays by one of America’s leading historians. The sheer sweep of his writing opens new vistas on the struggle of African Americans, and excites the reader to further research.
Fuller, Neely (1980). The United Independent Compensatory Code/System/Concept: A Textbook/for Thought, Speech and/or action for victims of racism (white supremacy).
Read by anyone who wishes to truly understand the nature of white supremacy and its global impact on persons of color from around the world. Neely Fuller’s self-published book available at Black bookstores around the country, has been a best seller for years among those who wish to deconstruct the subtleties of white supremacy. Must reading.
Gould, Stephen (1981). The Mismeasure of Man. New York: W.W. Norton.
Gould analyzes the rampant 19th century white supremacy that plagued all of the social and natural sciences. Must reading if one is involved in the natural sciences.
Griaule, Marcel and Germaine Dieterlen (1965) The Pale Fox. Arizona: The Continuum Foundation.
The classic French anthropological study of the Dogon people of Mali provides a context for understanding indigenous West African religion. The study leaves no doubt about the harmony between science and religion in the Dogon cosmology.
Grimshaw, Anna (1992). The C.L. R. James Reader. London: Blackwell Press.
Some have called the late C.L.R. James the “Socrates” of Africans in the diaspora. This would probably be an insult to James, since most consider him far wiser than the Greek with whom he is compared.
Harding, Sandra (1993). The “Racial” Economy of Science: Toward a Democratic Future. Indiana: Indiana University Press.
Critics of Afrocentricity argue that the “natural” sciences are immune to criticisms of racism and androcentricity. Harding’s selection of readings proves that if anything, the so-called “natural” sciences are deeply imbedded with racist ideology that advocates the exploitation of first world persons.
Harding, Vincent (1983). There is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America. New York: Vintage Books
Simply the best history of Africans in America ever written. Harding takes the reader from Africa to the Civil War from the point of view of being African in America. A work of sheer beauty.
Holloway, Joseph E. (1990). Africanisms in American Culture. Indiana: Indiana University Press.
This book examines the sometimes unnoticed influence that African culture had on the development of American linguistic formation, games, holidays and food.
Holloway, Joseph E. and Winifred K. Vass (1993) The African American Heritage of American English. Indiana: Indiana University Press.
Holloway and Vass give remarkable examples of the debt owed to the linguistic contributions of Africans in America. Place names as well as maps are provided to show how influential Africans were in naming many locations throughout the United States.
James, Marlon (2009) The Book of Night Women. New York: Oneworld Publications.
"Slave narratives" are always difficult to read, but James depiction of life on a Jamaican plantation during the 1800s ranks as one of the best depictions of the cruelty and barbarity of western chattel enslavement. His characters are very complex and the women in the book rank as some of the most memorable in fiction. Simply one of the best narratives of the ironies and inhumane cruelties of the worst crime against humanity of the past millennium --- the TransAtlantic Slave Trade.
Karenga, Maulana (1993). Introduction to Black Studies. Los Angeles, CA: Kawaida Publications
No other book presents as much information in so few pages as Karenga’s book. The creator of Kwanzaa, this book provides a basic outline on how Black studies should be approached.
Lewis, David Levering. (1993) W. E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race. New York: Henry Holt and Co.
Du Bois’s life, spanning nearly a century is the story of Blacks in the twentieth century. His genius and commitment to fighting racism is brilliantly detailed by the author. One cannot understand race in the 20th century unless one understands the life of Du Bois.
Lipschutz, Mark R. and R. Kent Rasmussen (1986). Dictionary of African Historical Biography. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
An essential reference book for understanding “Who’s who” in Africa. Covers political, literary, and historical figures on the African continent.
Madhubuti, Haki (1980). Black Men: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous? Chicago: Third World Press.
The chapter on the books that all Africans need to read is worth the purchase itself. Madhubuti addresses a range of issues involving African men. A must for every library.
Mbiti, John S. (1975). Introduction to African Religions. London: Heinemann Press.
A fundamental book for understanding African religions. Mbiti also examines the influence of Christianity, Islam and other religions on Africa, and how African religions have influenced so-called western religions.
McGuire, Danielle (2010). At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance---a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.
This book finally explores what was difficult to write about a generation ago: that the rise of the civil rights movement was in part a response to the centuries old sexual assault of African women. The horrors of unpunished sexual crimes against Black women, executed against them by white men and white women, makes for gut wrenching reading and reflection. It is essential reading for those who want to expand their knowledge of the so-called "civil rights era."
Morrison, Toni (1992). Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
The importance of this book in understanding how Hawthorne, Melville, Twain and other literary figures used Africans in developing American literature cannot be overestimated. Morrison’s analysis of a new literary criticism based on understanding the “Africanization” of American literature is flawless and extraordinary.
Morrison, Toni (1987). Beloved. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
The greatest African American love story ever told. Those who read it and don’t understand it miss the emotional impact of slavery on Africans in America. Read it and read it again.
Pieterse, Jan Nederven (1992) White on Black: Images of Africa and Blacks in Western Popular Culture. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
A rare book that documents through extensive photographs and graphics how white supremacy was (is) interwoven throughout the history of European domination of the Earth. The Dutch author’s indictment of the cultural supports of white supremacy is rare among European social scientists.
Rediker, Marcus (2007) The Slave Ship: A Human History. New York: Viking.
Disagreements may exist about how many Africans were stolen and enslaved from Africa, but little disagreement emerges about the horrific and terrible machines --- the slave ships --- that transported them from the continent to the so-called "western world". Rediker's gruesome and detailed history of the most barbaric machine ever invented to imprison humans must be read in doses. Few have devoted as much attention to what occurred during the infamous "Middle Passage" than Rediker. This book is must reading for understanding the gory and loathsome efficiency of transporting more than 60 million human beings from their homeland to a life of enslavement in unknown lands.
Rowan, Carl (1996). The Coming Race War in America. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
A surprising yet provocative book written by one of the world’s leading Black journalists. Rowan last book outlines a chilling scenario of race relations in the world that pulls together a series of facts alone that makes the book worthwhile reading.
Saxton, Alexander (1990). The Rise and Fall of the White Republic. London: Verso Press.
Saxton offers the hypothesis that the Americanization of 19th century America was in actuality the conscious and deliberate attempt to structure a “white republic” that viewed all persons of color---Asians, Africans and American Indians as inferior.
Sertima, Ivan Van. (1987, 1988). African Presence in Early Europe and Asia. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
Van Sertima traces early explorations into Europe and Asia by Africans. These works leave the reader with a broader understanding of how Africa has influenced the rest of the world.
Some, Sobonfu (1999). The Spirit of Intimacy: Ancient African Teachings in the Ways of Relationships. New York: Quill/William Morrow.
Some small book is the only “marriage manual” that African people need. It challenges dearly held western notions about marriage and relationships. Very profound and very readable.
Stampler, Norm (2005). Breaking Rank: A top Cop's Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing. The former white Chief of Police of San Diego tells why "police brutality" toward Black people is not only routine but encouraged by a culture of fear of Afrikan men embedded in police departments not only in the United States, but around the world. A rare and honest disclosure of how racism is the motive behind most policing.
Umoja, Akinyele (2013). We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement. Robert Williams classic book, Negroes with Guns, is now joined by Umoja's powerful history of the use of guns by American Africans during the civil rights era. The history of Black armed self-defense has all but been ignored by those who wish to emphasize the "non-violent" (passive?) nature of those who participated in the civil rights movement. This book explodes the myth that the use of guns was nonessential and virtually non-existent in the liberation of African people in the United States.
Welsing, Frances Cress (1991). The Isis Papers. Chicago: Third World Press.
The number one selling non-fiction book among African Americans from 1991-1993. Welsing thesis on the global system of white supremacy is still unchallenged. A most important book to read.
Williams, Chancellor (1976). The Destruction of Black Civilization. Chicago: Third World Press.
One of the most important books on why Black civilizations declined from their former glory. Unsparing in his critique of those who raped the African continent, Williams seeks to understand the present by a deeper understanding of the past.
Wilson, Amos (1998). Blueprint for Black Power. New York: Africa World InfoSystems.
The indispensable handbook of Black nationalism that should be read together with Marimba Ani's Yurugu. Wilson's book is the most comprehensive treatment of how to obtain "Black Power", the obstacles to obtaining it and why it is the only logical and viable path to Afrikan liberation.
Winbush, Raymond (2001). The Warrior Method: A Plan for Rearing Healthy Black Boys. New York: Amistad/HarperCollins.
Although discussing developmental issues confronting African boys, this book has wider implications for the need of all African people to understand their role in the Maafa and how white supremacy mediates the lives of African people all over the world. An indispensable book for understanding how to rear Black children.
Winbush, Raymond (2003). Should America Pay?: Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations. New York: Amistad/HarperCollins.
The struggle for reparations for enslaved Africans is as old as enslavement itself, having a distinct historical thread throughout the African world. This books brings together both supporters and opponents of reparations and makes the strong case for why no “racial healing” will take place without justice being paid for the crime against humanity of African slavery.
Winbush, Raymond (2009). Belinda's Petition: A Concise History of Reparations for the TransAtlantic Slave Trade. Philadelphia: XLibris Publishers.
The remarkable story of Belinda Royale, an enslaved African woman in Massachusetts in the late 18th century, illustrates the importance of understanding reparations as a constant theme in Black redress during the past 500 years. She won her case, and the book is a concise introduction to the reparations struggle waged by Africans throughout the world for justice perpetrated against them.
Woodson, Carter G. (1990). The Miseducation of the Negro. Nashville, TN: Winston-Derek Publishers.
The classic book offered by the “father” of African American history, on why Blacks and Whites have been miseducated.