History

BLACK CIVIL WAR SOLDIER: A VIS

BLACK CIVIL WAR SOLDIER: A VIS

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A stunning collection of stoic portraits and intimate ephemera from the lives of Black Civil War soldiers

Though both the Union and Confederate armies excluded African American men from their initial calls to arms, many of the men who eventually served were black. Simultaneously, photography culture blossomed--marking the Civil War as the first conflict to be extensively documented through photographs. In The Black Civil War Soldier, Deb Willis explores the crucial role of photography in (re)telling and shaping African American narratives of the Civil War, pulling from a dynamic visual archive that has largely gone unacknowledged.

With over seventy images, The Black Civil War Soldier contains a huge breadth of primary and archival materials, many of which are rarely reproduced. The photographs are supplemented with handwritten captions, letters, and other personal materials; Willis not only dives into the lives of black Union soldiers, but also includes stories of other African Americans involved with the struggle--from left-behind family members to female spies. Willis thus compiles a captivating memoir of photographs and words and examines them together to address themes of love and longing; responsibility and fear; commitment and patriotism; and--most predominantly--African American resilience.

The Black Civil War Soldier offers a kaleidoscopic yet intimate portrait of the African American experience, from the beginning of the Civil War to 1900. Through her multimedia analysis, Willis acutely pinpoints the importance of African American communities in the development and prosecution of the war. The book shows how photography helped construct a national vision of blackness, war, and bondage, while unearthing the hidden histories of these black Civil War soldiers. In combating the erasure of this often overlooked history, Willis asks how these images might offer a more nuanced memory of African-American participation in the Civil War, and in doing so, points to individual and collective struggles for citizenship and remembrance.

Black Cowboys in the American West: On the Range, on the Stage, behind the Badge

Black Cowboys in the American West: On the Range, on the Stage, behind the Badge

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Who were the black cowboys? They were drovers, foremen, fiddlers, cowpunchers, cattle rustlers, cooks, and singers. They worked as wranglers, riders, ropers, bulldoggers, and bronc busters. They came from varied backgrounds--some grew up in slavery, while free blacks often got their start in Texas and Mexico. Most who joined the long trail drives were men, but black women also rode and worked on western ranches and farms.

The first overview of the subject in more than fifty years, Black Cowboys in the American West surveys the life and work of these cattle drivers from the years before the Civil War through the turn of the twentieth century. Including both classic, previously published articles and exciting new research, this collection also features select accounts of twentieth-century rodeos, music, people, and films. Arranged in three sections--"Cowboys on the Range," "Performing Cowboys," and "Outriders of the Black Cowboys"--the thirteen chapters illuminate the great diversity of the black cowboy experience.

Like all ranch hands and riders, African American cowboys lived hard, dangerous lives. But black drovers were expected to do the roughest, most dangerous work--and to do it without complaint. They faced discrimination out west, albeit less than in the South, which many had left in search of autonomy and freedom. As cowboys, they could escape the brutal violence visited on African Americans in many southern communities and northern cities.

Black cowhands remain an integral part of life in the West, the descendants of African Americans who ventured west and helped settle and establish black communities. This long-overdue examination of nineteenth- and twentieth-century black cowboys ensures that they, and their many stories and experiences, will continue to be known and told.

Black Metaphors: How Modern Racism Emerged from Medieval Race-Thinking

Black Metaphors: How Modern Racism Emerged from Medieval Race-Thinking

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In the late Middle Ages, Christian conversion could wash a black person's skin white--or at least that is what happens when a black sultan converts to Christianity in the English romance King of Tars. In Black Metaphors, Cord J. Whitaker examines the rhetorical and theological moves through which blackness and whiteness became metaphors for sin and purity in the English and European Middle Ages--metaphors that guided the development of notions of race in the centuries that followed. From a modern perspective, moments like the sultan's transformation present blackness and whiteness as opposites in which each condition is forever marked as a negative or positive attribute; medieval readers were instead encouraged to remember that things that are ostensibly and strikingly different are not so separate after all, but mutually construct one another. Indeed, Whitaker observes, for medieval scholars and writers, blackness and whiteness, and the sin and salvation they represent, were held in tension, forming a unified whole.

Whitaker asks not so much whether race mattered to the Middle Ages as how the Middle Ages matters to the study of race in our fraught times. Looking to the treatment of color and difference in works of rhetoric such as John of Garland's Synonyma, as well as in a range of vernacular theological and imaginative texts, including Robert Manning's Handlyng Synne, and such lesser known romances as The Turke and Sir Gawain, he illuminates the process by which one interpretation among many became established as the truth, and demonstrates how modern movements--from Black Lives Matter to the alt-right--are animated by the medieval origins of the black-white divide.

BORN IN BLACKNESS: AFRICA, AFR

BORN IN BLACKNESS: AFRICA, AFR

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Traditional accounts of the making of the modern world afford a place of primacy to European history. Some credit the fifteenth-century Age of Discovery and the maritime connection it established between West and East; others the accidental unearthing of the "New World." Still others point to the development of the scientific method, or the spread of Judeo-Christian beliefs; and so on, ad infinitum. The history of Africa, by contrast, has long been relegated to the remote outskirts of our global story. What if, instead, we put Africa and Africans at the very center of our thinking about the origins of modernity?

In a sweeping narrative spanning more than six centuries, Howard W. French does just that, for Born in Blackness vitally reframes the story of medieval and emerging Africa, demonstrating how the economic ascendancy of Europe, the anchoring of democracy in the West, and the fulfillment of so-called Enlightenment ideals all grew out of Europe's dehumanizing engagement with the "dark" continent. In fact, French reveals, the first impetus for the Age of Discovery was not--as we are so often told, even today--Europe's yearning for ties with Asia, but rather its centuries-old desire to forge a trade in gold with legendarily rich Black societies sequestered away in the heart of West Africa.

Creating a historical narrative that begins with the commencement of commercial relations between Portugal and Africa in the fifteenth century and ends with the onset of World War II, Born in Blackness interweaves precise historical detail with poignant, personal reportage. In so doing, it dramatically retrieves the lives of major African historical figures, from the unimaginably rich medieval emperors who traded with the Near East and beyond, to the Kongo sovereigns who heroically battled seventeenth-century European powers, to the ex-slaves who liberated Haitians from bondage and profoundly altered the course of American history.

While French cogently demonstrates the centrality of Africa to the rise of the modern world, Born in Blackness becomes, at the same time, a far more significant narrative, one that reveals a long-concealed history of trivialization and, more often, elision in depictions of African history throughout the last five hundred years. As French shows, the achievements of sovereign African nations and their now-far-flung peoples have time and again been etiolated and deliberately erased from modern history. As the West ascended, their stories--siloed and piecemeal--were swept into secluded corners, thus setting the stage for the hagiographic "rise of the West" theories that have endured to this day.

"Capacious and compelling" (Laurent Dubois), Born in Blackness is epic history on the grand scale. In the lofty tradition of bold, revisionist narratives, it reframes the story of gold and tobacco, sugar and cotton--and of the greatest "commodity" of them all, the twelve million people who were brought in chains from Africa to the "New World," whose reclaimed lives shed a harsh light on our present world.

BROWN SKIN SHOWGIRLS: A BLACK

BROWN SKIN SHOWGIRLS: A BLACK

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There are many art and entertainment resources that reference the contributions and important roles women of color play in shaping the art of dance in North America. However, it is rare to encounter a historically rich and visually stunning book that is dedicated solely to the brown skin showgirl or black burlesque of the early- to mid- 20th century. BROWN SKIN SHOWGIRLS is a black and white photographic celebration of the many brave African American and Cuban women who performed exotic, rumba, salsa, calypso, striptease and much more on Leon Claxton's Harlem in Havana Revue during the heyday of burlesque. This book is guaranteed to expand your knowledge of these performers who helped shape American entertainment and popular culture as we know it today. Many of them have transitioned or their whereabouts are unknown. All attempt have been made to verify the names of the individuals appearing in this book. Thanks to this special collector's edition, they will never be forgotten. Get ready to be titillated! Visit harleminhavana.com.
CALLING THE SPIRITS: A HISTORY

CALLING THE SPIRITS: A HISTORY

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From Halloween expert Morton, a level-headed and entertaining history of our desire and attempts to hold conversations with the dead.

Calling the Spirits investigates the eerie history of our conversations with the dead, from necromancy in Homer's Odyssey to the emergence of Spiritualism--when Victorians were entranced by mediums and the seance was born. Among our cast are the Fox sisters, teenagers surrounded by "spirit rappings"; Daniel Dunglas Home, the "greatest medium of all time"; Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whose unlikely friendship was forged, then riven, by the afterlife; and Helen Duncan, the medium whose trial in 1944 for witchcraft proved more popular to the public than news about the war. The book also considers Ouija boards, modern psychics, and paranormal investigations, and is illustrated with engravings, fine art (from beyond), and photographs. Hugely entertaining, it begs the question: is anybody there . . . ?

CASTE (OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB): THE

CASTE (OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB): THE

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK - NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST - "An instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far."--Dwight Garner, The New York Times

The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.

NAMED THE #1 NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR BY TIME, ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY People - The Washington Post - Publishers Weekly AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review - O: The Oprah Magazine - NPR - Bloomberg - Christian Science Monitor - New York Post - The New York Public Library - Fortune - Smithsonian Magazine - Marie Claire - Town & Country - Slate - Library Journal - Kirkus Reviews - LibraryReads - PopMatters

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize - National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist - Dayton Literary Peace Prize Finalist - PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction Finalist - PEN/Jean Stein Book Award Longlist

"As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power--which groups have it and which do not."

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people--including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball's Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others--she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity.

Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.

CATCH AND KILL: LIES, SPIES, A

CATCH AND KILL: LIES, SPIES, A

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Now an HBO documentary series streaming on HBO Max.

In this instant New York Times bestselling account of violence and espionage, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Ronan Farrow exposes serial abusers and a cabal of powerful interests hell-bent on covering up the truth, at any cost.

In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood's most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move, and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family. All the while, Farrow and his producer faced a degree of resistance they could not explain -- until now. And a trail of clues revealed corruption and cover-ups from Hollywood to Washington and beyond.
This is the untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability, and silence victims of abuse. And it's the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement.

Both a spy thriller and a meticulous work of investigative journalism, Catch and Kill breaks devastating new stories about the rampant abuse of power and sheds far-reaching light on investigations that shook our culture. Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography
Indie Bound #1 BestsellerUSA Today BestsellerWall Street Journal Bestseller

Ceremony and Civility: Civic Culture in Late Medieval London

Ceremony and Civility: Civic Culture in Late Medieval London

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Medieval London, like all premodern cities, had a largely immigrant population-only a small proportion of the inhabitants were citizens-and the newly arrived needed to be taught the civic culture of the city in order for that city to function peacefully. Ritual and ceremony played key roles in
this acculturation process. In Ceremony and Civility, Barbara A. Hanawalt shows how, in the late Middle Ages, London's elected officials and elites used ceremony and ritual to establish their legitimacy and power.

In a society in which hierarchical authority was most commonly determined by inheritance of title and office, or sanctified by ordination, civic officials who had been elected to their posts relied on rituals to cement their authority and dominance. Elections and inaugurations had to be very public
and visually distinct in order to quickly communicate with the masses: the robes of office needed to distinguish the officers so that everyone would know who they were. The result was a colorful civic pageantry.

Newcomers found their places within this structure in various ways. Apprentices entering the city to take up a trade were educated in civic culture by their masters. Gilds similarly used rituals, oath swearing, and distinctive livery to mark their members' belonging. But these public shows of
belonging and orderly civic life also had a dark side. Those who rebelled against authority and broke the civic ordinances were made spectacles through ritual humiliations and public parades through the streets so that others could take heed of these offenders of the law.

An accessible look at late medieval London through the lens of civic ceremonies and dispute resolution, Ceremony and Civility synthesizes archival research with existing scholarship to show how an ever-shifting population was enculturated into premodern London.

CHASING ME TO MY GRAVE: AN ART

CHASING ME TO MY GRAVE: AN ART

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WINNER OF THE 2022 PULITZER PRIZE IN BIOGRAPHY

Booklist #1 Nonfiction Book of the Year * African American Literary Book Club (AALBC) #1 Nonfiction Bestseller * Named a Best Book of the Year by: NPR, Publishers Weekly, BookPage, Barnes & Noble, Hudson Booksellers, ARTnews, and more * Amazon Editors' Pick * Carnegie Medal of Excellence in Nonfiction Longlist

A compelling and important history that this nation desperately needs to hear. --Bryan Stevenson, New York Times bestselling author of Just Mercy and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative

Winfred Rembert grew up in a family of Georgia field laborers and joined the Civil Rights Movement as a teenager. He was arrested after fleeing a demonstration, survived a near-lynching at the hands of law enforcement, and spent seven years on chain gangs. During that time he met the undaunted Patsy, who would become his wife. Years later, at the age of fifty-one and with Patsy's encouragement, he started drawing and painting scenes from his youth using leather tooling skills he learned in prison.

Chasing Me to My Grave presents Rembert's breathtaking body of work alongside his story, as told to Tufts Philosopher Erin I. Kelly. Rembert calls forth vibrant scenes of Black life on Cuthbert, Georgia's Hamilton Avenue, where he first glimpsed the possibility of a life outside the cotton field. As he pays tribute, exuberant and heartfelt, to Cuthbert's Black community and the people, including Patsy, who helped him to find the courage to revisit a traumatic past, Rembert brings to life the promise and the danger of Civil Rights protest, the brutalities of incarceration, his search for his mother's love, and the epic bond he found with Patsy.

Vivid, confrontational, revelatory, and complex, Chasing Me to My Grave is a searing memoir in prose and painted leather that celebrates Black life and summons readers to confront painful and urgent realities at the heart of American history and society.