Celebrating Black History Month

In case you weren’t aware, it’s Black History Month. We’ll leave aside the well-known and somewhat suspicious fact that the shortest month of the year is the one officially designated to understanding, recognizing, and honoring the long and troubled history of the relationship between blacks and whites in the United States and instead take this opportunity to shamelessly promote the work we publish on African American history (and offer our readers the chance to purchase any of the books mentioned below at a 40% discount).

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U Street in Washington, D.C., has figured prominently in African American life since the Civil War. Blair Ruble’s history of the neighborhood, Washington’s U Street: A Biography, traces the tumultuous changes in the area, from the days of Jim Crow and segregation in the late 1900s to the rise of the African American middle class and elites in the early and mid-twentieth century to U Street’s fall following desegregation and its recent rebirth. The paperback edition of the book came out in early January.

Also new in paperback are two books that deal with race in the early years of the American Republic. Ashli White’s Encountering Revolution: Haiti and the Making of the Early Republic uses the Haitian Revolution to redefine our understanding of the relationship between republicanism and slavery during America’s founding. Born Southern: Childbirth, Motherhood, and Social Networks in the Old South, by V. Lynn Kennedy, looks at how the power structures of race, gender, and class functioned to create a distinct antebellum southern society. Advance copies of both books just arrived at our offices and they will be available at the end of the month.

Dennis Deslippe’s Protesting Affirmative Action: The Struggle for Equality after the Civil Rights Revolution came off press about a week ago. This exploration of the backlash against the civil rights movement probes the effects of affirmative action on the careers and livelihoods of a wide range of workers from around the country. Look for Marybeth Gasman and Louis W. Sullivan’s The Morehouse Mystique: Becoming a Doctor at the Nation’s Newest African American Medical School later this month. The school, founded just after the civil rights era, served a dual purpose during a time when minorities had trouble getting access to medical care and when medical schools accepted few black students.

Professor Gasman has been busy with books of late. Not only does she have a second book coming out with JHU Press this spring, Booker T. Washington Rediscovered (coedited with Michael Scott Bieze), a balanced and insightful look at the controversial founding father of African American education in the United States, but she is also a coauthor of Race, Gender, and Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations, published in November 2011 by Palgrave MacMillan.

Though the sesquicentennial of the Civil War is now behind us (thankfully, since spelling that word is a nightmare!) it’s always a good time to try and understand what slavery and the Civil War meant to this country. Give Slavery’s Ghost: The Problem of Freedom in the Age of Emancipation, by Richard Follett, 2011 Pulitzer-Prize winner Eric Foner, and Walter Johnson; Remixing the Civil War: Meditations on the Sesquicentennial (gah! there’s that word again), edited by Thomas J. Brown; and Money over Mastery, Family over Freedom: Slavery in the Antebellum Upper South, by Calvin Schermerhorn, a read and you won’t be able to help but know more.

Even if you’re not familiar with the work of Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Lillian Smith, James Baldwin, and their contemporaries, their barrier-breaking literature deeply altered American letters. In Psychology Comes to Harlem: Rethinking the Race Question in Twentieth-Century America, Jay Garcia not only examines how and why these writers developed their psychologically informed critiques of the society-wide racism that existed at the time, but also explores the lasting effects these criticisms have had on modern antiracist cultural analysis.

Speaking of literature, don’t forget to check out Callaloo, the premier African diaspora literary journal. It’s available as a print or electronic subscription and as part of Project MUSE.

On the education front, we’re happy to have recently released the paperback editions of two important works that deal with diversity in colleges and universities. In Diversity’s Promise for Higher Education: Making it Work, Daryl G. Smith provides a clear and innovative approach to developing and instituting effective and sustainable diversity strategies. Ann L. Mullen’s Degrees of Inequality: Culture, Class, and Gender in American Higher Education—winner of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International’s Educator’s Award and the Outstanding Publication in Post-Secondary Education honor from Division J of the American Educational Research Association—is a revealing study of students at Yale University and Southern Connecticut State University that shows just how firmly set the inequities in our educational system are.

For those of you who will be in Southern California at the end of the month, consider dropping by the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum for the official launch of its exhibit of the nation’s oldest completely restored Jim Crow railwaycar, Rockdale, Sandow & Southern #3, as well as a new African American Railroad Heritage exhibit. The February 25 event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Contact Ted Kornweibel, author of Railroads in the African American Experience: A Photographic Journey, for more details and to RSVP.

Wondering about that discount we mentioned? Simply click through any of the book links above and enter code HEQT at checkout and you’ll get 40% off of the list price.

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