History

How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America

How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America

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Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction

Winner of the Stowe Prize

Winner of 2022 Hillman Prize for Book Journalism

PEN America 2022 John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction Finalist

A New York Times 10 Best Books of 2021

A Time 10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2021

Named a Best Book of 2021 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Economist, Smithsonian, Esquire, Entropy, The Christian Science Monitor, WBEZ's Nerdette Podcast, TeenVogue, GoodReads, SheReads, BookPage, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Fathom Magazine, the New York Public Library, and the Chicago Public Library

One of GQ's 50 Best Books of Literary Journalism of the 21st Century

Longlisted for the National Book Award

Los Angeles Times, Best Nonfiction Gift

One of President Obama's Favorite Books of 2021

This compelling #1 New York Times bestseller examines the legacy of slavery in America--and how both history and memory continue to shape our everyday lives.

Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader on an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks--those that are honest about the past and those that are not--that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation's collective history, and ourselves.

It is the story of the Monticello Plantation in Virginia, the estate where Thomas Jefferson wrote letters espousing the urgent need for liberty while enslaving more than four hundred people. It is the story of the Whitney Plantation, one of the only former plantations devoted to preserving the experience of the enslaved people whose lives and work sustained it. It is the story of Angola, a former plantation-turned-maximum-security prison in Louisiana that is filled with Black men who work across the 18,000-acre land for virtually no pay. And it is the story of Blandford Cemetery, the final resting place of tens of thousands of Confederate soldiers.

A deeply researched and transporting exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history, How the Word Is Passed illustrates how some of our country's most essential stories are hidden in plain view--whether in places we might drive by on our way to work, holidays such as Juneteenth, or entire neighborhoods like downtown Manhattan, where the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women, and children has been deeply imprinted.

Informed by scholarship and brought to life by the story of people living today, Smith's debut work of nonfiction is a landmark of reflection and insight that offers a new understanding of the hopeful role that memory and history can play in making sense of our country and how it has come to be.

How to Raise an Antiracist

How to Raise an Antiracist

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The book that every parent, caregiver, and teacher needs to raise the next generation of antiracist thinkers, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist and recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Grant.

"Kendi's latest . . . combines his personal experience as a parent with his scholarly expertise in showing how racism affects every step of a child's life. . . . Like all his books, this one is accessible to everyone regardless of race or class."--Los Angeles Times (Book Club Pick)

The tragedies and reckonings around racism that are rocking the country have created a specific crisis for parents, educators, and other caregivers: How do we talk to our children about racism? How do we teach children to be antiracist? How are kids at different ages experiencing race? How are racist structures impacting children? How can we inspire our children to avoid our mistakes, to be better, to make the world better?

These are the questions Ibram X. Kendi found himself avoiding as he anticipated the birth of his first child. Like most parents or parents-to-be, he felt the reflex to not talk to his child about racism, which he feared would stain her innocence and steal away her joy. But research and experience changed his mind, and he realized that raising his child to be antiracist would actually protect his child, and preserve her innocence and joy. He realized that teaching students about the reality of racism and the myth of race provides a protective education in our diverse and unequal world. He realized that building antiracist societies safeguards all children from the harms of racism.

Following the accessible genre of his internationally bestselling How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi combines a century of scientific research with a vulnerable and compelling personal narrative of his own journey as a parent and as a child in school. The chapters follow the stages of child development from pregnancy to toddler to schoolkid to teenager. It is never too early or late to start raising young people to be antiracist.

I've Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land

I've Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land

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Perhaps no other symbol has more resonance in African American history than that of 40 acres and a mule--the lost promise of Black reparations for slavery after the Civil War. In I've Been Here All the While, we meet the Black people who actually received this mythic 40 acres, the American settlers who coveted this land, and the Native Americans whose holdings it originated from.

In nineteenth-century Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma), a story unfolds that ties African American and Native American history tightly together, revealing a western theatre of Civil War and Reconstruction, in which Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole Indians, their Black slaves, and African Americans and whites from the eastern United States fought military and rhetorical battles to lay claim to land that had been taken from others.

Through chapters that chart cycles of dispossession, land seizure, and settlement in Indian Territory, Alaina E. Roberts draws on archival research and family history to upend the traditional story of Reconstruction. She connects debates about Black freedom and Native American citizenship to westward expansion onto Native land. As Black, white, and Native people constructed ideas of race, belonging, and national identity, this part of the West became, for a short time, the last place where Black people could escape Jim Crow, finding land and exercising political rights, until Oklahoma statehood in 1907.

IN DEFENSE OF WITCHES: THE LEG

IN DEFENSE OF WITCHES: THE LEG

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Mona Chollet's In Defense of Witches is a "brilliant, well-documented" celebration (Le Monde) by an acclaimed French feminist of the witch as a symbol of female rebellion and independence in the face of misogyny and persecution.

Centuries after the infamous witch hunts that swept through Europe and America, witches continue to hold a unique fascination for many: as fairy tale villains, practitioners of pagan religion, as well as feminist icons. Witches are both the ultimate victim and the stubborn, elusive rebel. But who were the women who were accused and often killed for witchcraft? What types of women have centuries of terror censored, eliminated, and repressed?

Celebrated feminist writer Mona Chollet explores three types of women who were accused of witchcraft and persecuted: the independent woman, since widows and celibates were particularly targeted; the childless woman, since the time of the hunts marked the end of tolerance for those who claimed to control their fertility; and the elderly woman, who has always been an object of at best, pity, and at worst, horror. Examining modern society, Chollet concludes that these women continue to be harrassed and oppressed. Rather than being a brief moment in history, the persecution of witches is an example of society's seemingly eternal misogyny, while women today are direct heirs to those who were hunted down and killed for their thoughts and actions.

With fiery prose and arguments that range from the scholarly to the cultural, In Defense of Witches seeks to unite the mythic image of the witch with modern women who seek to live their lives on their own terms.

Independence Lost Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

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A rising-star historian offers a significant new global perspective on the Revolutionary War with the story of the conflict as seen through the eyes of the outsiders of colonial society

Winner of the Journal of the American Revolution Book of the Year Award - Winner of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Jersey History Prize - Finalist for the George Washington Book Prize

Over the last decade, award-winning historian Kathleen DuVal has revitalized the study of early America's marginalized voices. Now, in Independence Lost, she recounts an untold story as rich and significant as that of the Founding Fathers: the history of the Revolutionary Era as experienced by slaves, American Indians, women, and British loyalists living on Florida's Gulf Coast.

While citizens of the thirteen rebelling colonies came to blows with the British Empire over tariffs and parliamentary representation, the situation on the rest of the continent was even more fraught. In the Gulf of Mexico, Spanish forces clashed with Britain's strained army to carve up the Gulf Coast, as both sides competed for allegiances with the powerful Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek nations who inhabited the region. Meanwhile, African American slaves had little control over their own lives, but some individuals found opportunities to expand their freedoms during the war.

Independence Lost reveals that individual motives counted as much as the ideals of liberty and freedom the Founders espoused: Independence had a personal as well as national meaning, and the choices made by people living outside the colonies were of critical importance to the war's outcome. DuVal introduces us to the Mobile slave Petit Jean, who organized militias to fight the British at sea; the Chickasaw diplomat Payamataha, who worked to keep his people out of war; New Orleans merchant Oliver Pollock and his wife, Margaret O'Brien Pollock, who risked their own wealth to organize funds and garner Spanish support for the American Revolution; the half-Scottish-Creek leader Alexander McGillivray, who fought to protect indigenous interests from European imperial encroachment; the Cajun refugee Amand Broussard, who spent a lifetime in conflict with the British; and Scottish loyalists James and Isabella Bruce, whose work on behalf of the British Empire placed them in grave danger. Their lives illuminate the fateful events that took place along the Gulf of Mexico and, in the process, changed the history of North America itself.

Adding new depth and moral complexity, Kathleen DuVal reinvigorates the story of the American Revolution. Independence Lost is a bold work that fully establishes the reputation of a historian who is already regarded as one of her generation's best.

Praise for Independence Lost

"[An] astonishing story . . . Independence Lost will knock your socks off. To read [this book] is to see that the task of recovering the entire American Revolution has barely begun."--The New York Times Book Review

"A richly documented and compelling account."--The Wall Street Journal

"A remarkable, necessary--and entirely new--book about the American Revolution."--The Daily Beast

"A completely new take on the American Revolution, rife with pathos, double-dealing, and intrigue."--Elizabeth A. Fenn, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Encounters at the Heart of the World

Indian Cities: Histories of Indigenous Urbanization

Indian Cities: Histories of Indigenous Urbanization

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From ancient metropolises like Pueblo Bonito and Tenochtitlán to the twenty-first century Oceti Sakowin encampment of NoDAPL water protectors, Native people have built and lived in cities--a fact little noted in either urban or Indigenous histories. By foregrounding Indigenous peoples as city makers and city dwellers, as agents and subjects of urbanization, the essays in this volume simultaneously highlight the impact of Indigenous people on urban places and the effects of urbanism on Indigenous people and politics.

The authors--Native and non-Native, anthropologists and geographers as well as historians--use the term "Indian cities" to represent collective urban spaces established and regulated by a range of institutions, organizations, churches, and businesses. These urban institutions have strengthened tribal and intertribal identities, creating new forms of shared experience and giving rise to new practices of Indigeneity. Some of the essays in this volume explore Native participation in everyday economic activities, whether in the commerce of colonial Charleston or in the early development of New Orleans. Others show how Native Americans became entwined in the symbolism associated with Niagara Falls and Washington, D.C., with dramatically different consequences for Native and non-Native perspectives. Still others describe the roles local Indigenous community groups have played in building urban Native American communities, from Dallas to Winnipeg.

All the contributions to this volume show how, from colonial times to the present day, Indigenous people have shaped and been shaped by urban spaces. Collectively they demonstrate that urban history and Indigenous history are incomplete without each other.

INVENTION OF RACE IN THE EUROP

INVENTION OF RACE IN THE EUROP

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In The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages, Geraldine Heng questions the common assumption that the concepts of race and racisms only began in the modern era. Examining Europe's encounters with Jews, Muslims, Africans, Native Americans, Mongols, and the Romani ('Gypsies'), from the 12th through 15th centuries, she shows how racial thinking, racial law, racial practices, and racial phenomena existed in medieval Europe before a recognizable vocabulary of race emerged in the West. Analysing sources in a variety of media, including stories, maps, statuary, illustrations, architectural features, history, saints' lives, religious commentary, laws, political and social institutions, and literature, she argues that religion - so much in play again today - enabled the positing of fundamental differences among humans that created strategic essentialisms to mark off human groups and populations for racialized treatment. Her ground-breaking study also shows how race figured in the emergence of homo europaeus and the identity of Western Europe in this time.
Juneteenth: The Story Behind the Celebration

Juneteenth: The Story Behind the Celebration

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Juneteenth has been touted as a national day celebrating the end of slavery. Observances from coast to coast have turned this event into part of the national conversation about race, slavery, and how Americans understand, acknowledge, and explain what has been called the national "original sin."
But, why Juneteenth? Where did this celebration--which promises to become a national holiday--come from? What is the origin story? What are the facts, and myths, around this important day in the nation's history?
This is the first scholarly book to delve into the history behind Juneteenth. Using decades of research in archives around the nation, this book helps separate myth from reality and tells the story behind the celebration in a way that provides new understanding and appreciation for the event.
As the United States continues to have a national conversation about race relations and the meaning of full equality, Juneteenth promises to become an important expression of equality--an Independence Day celebration in its own right, a couple of weeks in advance of the traditional July 4th Holiday. This book will be a welcome addition to classrooms, book clubs and general readers interested in this once obscure regional event now destined for the national spotlight.
LAND: HOW THE HUNGER FOR OWNER

LAND: HOW THE HUNGER FOR OWNER

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"In many ways, Land combines bits and pieces of many of Winchester's previous books into a satisfying, globe-trotting whole. . . . Winchester is, once again, a consummate guide."--Boston Globe

The author of The Professor and the Madman, The Map That Changed the World, and The Perfectionists explores the notion of property--bought, earned, or received; in Europe, Africa, North America, or the South Pacific--through human history, how it has shaped us and what it will mean for our future.

Land--whether meadow or mountainside, desert or peat bog, parkland or pasture, suburb or city--is central to our existence. It quite literally underlies and underpins everything. Employing the keen intellect, insatiable curiosity, and narrative verve that are the foundations of his previous bestselling works, Simon Winchester examines what we human beings are doing--and have done--with the billions of acres that together make up the solid surface of our planet.

Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World examines in depth how we acquire land, how we steward it, how and why we fight over it, and finally, how we can, and on occasion do, come to share it. Ultimately, Winchester confronts the essential question: who actually owns the world's land--and why does it matter?

LAST SLAVE SHIP: THE TRUE STOR

LAST SLAVE SHIP: THE TRUE STOR

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The incredible true story of the last ship to carry enslaved people to America, the remarkable town its survivors founded after emancipation, and the complicated legacy their descendants carry with them to this day--by the journalist who discovered the ship's remains.

Fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed, the Clotilda became the last ship in history to bring enslaved Africans to the United States. The ship was scuttled and burned on arrival to hide evidence of the crime, allowing the wealthy perpetrators to escape prosecution. Despite numerous efforts to find the sunken wreck, Clotilda remained hidden for the next 160 years. But in 2019, journalist Ben Raines made international news when he successfully concluded his obsessive quest through the swamps of Alabama to uncover one of our nation's most important historical artifacts.

Traveling from Alabama to the ancient African kingdom of Dahomey in modern-day Benin, Raines recounts the ship's perilous journey, the story of its rediscovery, and its complex legacy. Against all odds, Africatown, the Alabama community founded by the captives of the Clotilda, prospered in the Jim Crow South. Zora Neale Hurston visited in 1927 to interview Cudjo Lewis, telling the story of his enslavement in the New York Times bestseller Barracoon. And yet the haunting memory of bondage has been passed on through generations. Clotilda is a ghost haunting three communities--the descendants of those transported into slavery, the descendants of their fellow Africans who sold them, and the descendants of their American enslavers. This connection binds these groups together to this day. At the turn of the century, descendants of the captain who financed the Clotilda's journey lived nearby--where, as significant players in the local real estate market, they disenfranchised and impoverished residents of Africatown.

From these parallel stories emerges a profound depiction of America as it struggles to grapple with the traumatic past of slavery and the ways in which racial oppression continue to this day. And yet, at its heart, The Last Slave Ship remains optimistic - an epic tale of one community's triumphs over great adversity and a celebration of the power of human curiosity to uncover the truth about our past and heal its wounds.