It’s Black History Month: Read Some Black History

Art T. Burton’s Black, Red, and Deadly: Black and Indian Gunfighters of The Indian Territory 1870-1907 is a fascinating and indispensible look at African American gunfighters on both side of the law, including Cherokee Bill, Rufus Buck, Dick Glass, and the legendary Bass Reeves. I also recommend his Black, Buckskin and Blue, an indepth look at the Buffalo Soldiers, African American cavalrymen in the Indian Wars.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley – The story of one of the most important voices of the Black Civil Rights movement, and one of my personal heroes, delineating his early life as a hustler in Harlem on up to his involvement and eventual break with the Nation of Islam.

Zora Neale Hurston: A Life In Letters by Carla Kaplan – Collected personal correspondences of the Queen of the Harlem Renaissance, ethnographer, folklorist, author, and Hoodoo initiate, the great Zora Neale Hurston. There is no greater insight into the lady then reading her own unadulterated words.

The Confessions of Nat Turner, the Leader of the Late Insurrections in Southampton, VA: As Fully and Voluntarily Made to Thomas R. Gray – Essentially the ‘death row’ confession of the Black preacher who led a violent slave revolt in 1831.

A Voice From Harper’s Ferry by Osborne P. Anderson – First hand account of John Brown’s failed raid on the Federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virgnia, which was intened to incite a widespread insurrection of slaves in the South and lead to the forming of an independent Black state in the Adirondack Mountains, by the only surviving Black participant.

When The Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc And The Creation Of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill and Theodore Taylor III – I discovered this children’s book about Kool Herc at the library when my daughter and I were searching for a book for her Black History Month project. Colorful, appealing illustrations and a neat primer on 1520 Sedgwick.

David Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson won the Eisner award for The Black Panther: A Graphic Novel History, tracing the roots, rise, and eventual fall of the grassroots black power political organization.