26 Books Published by Chicago Review Press on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Click for more detail about The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave – Breeding Industry by Ned Sublette and Constance Sublette The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave – Breeding Industry

by Ned Sublette and Constance Sublette
Chicago Review Press (Oct 01, 2015)
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“Planters said that slavery was a peculiar domestic institution, a way of life. Abolitionists answered that it was the ugliest of businesses. For too long historians tried to split the difference but really took a side by calling it ‘the South,’ a society or a culture. Drawing on the most recent scholarship, Ned and Constance Sublette get it right: it was an industry, a particular market-tested brand with varieties adapted to its changing times and places. And like all industries it had a politics, too, that affected producers, consumers, and the workers who, in this peculiar case, were not only labor but also capital and, in the bodies of their children, product. The three-hundred-year story has rarely, if ever, been told so fully or so well.” —David Waldstreicher, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, author of Slavery’s Constitution: From Revolution to Ratification American Book Award Winner 2016

The American Slave Coast offers a provocative vision of US history from earliest colonial times through emancipation that presents even the most familiar events and figures in a revealing new light.

Authors Ned and Constance Sublette tell the brutal story of how the slavery industry made the reproductive labor of the people it referred to as "breeding women" essential to the young country’s expansion. Captive African Americans in the slave nation were not only laborers, but merchandise and collateral all at once. In a land without silver, gold, or trustworthy paper money, their children and their children’s children into perpetuity were used as human savings accounts that functioned as the basis of money and credit in a market premised on the continual expansion of slavery. Slaveowners collected interest in the form of newborns, who had a cash value at birth and whose mothers had no legal right to say no to forced mating.

This gripping narrative is driven by the power struggle between the elites of Virginia, the slave-raising "mother of slavery," and South Carolina, the massive importer of Africans—a conflict that was central to American politics from the making of the Constitution through the debacle of the Confederacy.

Virginia slaveowners won a major victory when Thomas Jefferson’s 1808 prohibition of the African slave trade protected the domestic slave markets for slave-breeding. The interstate slave trade exploded in Mississippi during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, drove the US expansion into Texas, and powered attempts to take over Cuba and other parts of Latin America, until a disaffected South Carolina spearheaded the drive to secession and war, forcing the Virginians to secede or lose their slave-breeding industry.

Filled with surprising facts, fascinating incidents, and startling portraits of the people who made, endured, and resisted the slave-breeding industry, The American Slave Coast culminates in the revolutionary Emancipation Proclamation, which at last decommissioned the capitalized womb and armed the African Americans to fight for their freedom.


Click for more detail about A Light Shines in Harlem: New York’s First Charter School and the Movement It Led by Mary C. Bounds A Light Shines in Harlem: New York’s First Charter School and the Movement It Led

by Mary C. Bounds
Chicago Review Press (Sep 01, 2014)
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A Light Shines in Harlem tells the fascinating story of the Sisulu-Walker Charter School of Harlem, the first charter school in New York, and of the charter movement. It is a penetrating look at the host of real-world decisions that make a charter school, or any school, succeed. And it is a true-to-life inspirational tale of how a hero of the civil rights movement, a Wall Street star, educators, inner-city activists, parents, and students all joined together to create a groundbreaking school that, in its best years, far outperformed other schools in the neighborhoods in which most of its children lived.   This book also looks at education reform through a broader lens. It discusses the most recent research and issues facing the charter movement, a movement which now educates more than 2.5 million students nationwide. A Light Shines in Harlem describes the strengths and weaknesses of charter schools and explains how lessons from them can be applied to other schools to make all schools better. The result is not only the gripping inside narrative of how one school fought to succeed despite the odds but also an illuminating glimpse into the future of American education.


Click for more detail about Nine Lives Of A Black Panther: A Story Of Survival by Wayne Pharr Nine Lives Of A Black Panther: A Story Of Survival

by Wayne Pharr
Chicago Review Press (Jul 01, 2014)
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In the early morning hours of December 8, 1969, three hundred officers of the newly created elite paramilitary tactical unit known as SWAT initiated a violent battle with a handful of Los Angeles–based members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP). Five hours and five thousand rounds of ammunition later, three SWAT team members and three Black Panthers lay wounded. From a tactical standpoint, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) considered the encounter a disaster. For the Panthers and the community that supported them, the shootout symbolized a victory. A key contributor to that victory was the nineteen-year-old rank-and-file member of the BPP Wayne Pharr.             Nine Lives of a Black Panther tells Wayne’s riveting story of the Los Angeles branch of the BPP and gives a blow-by-blow account of how it prepared for and survived the massive military-style attack. Because of his dedication to the black liberation struggle, Wayne was hunted, beaten, and almost killed by the LAPD in four separate events. Here he reveals how the branch survived attacks such as these, and also why BPP cofounder Huey P. Newton expelled the entire Southern California chapter and deemed it “too dangerous to remain a part of the national organization.”             The Los Angeles branch was the proving ground for some of the most beloved and colorful characters in Panther lore, including Bunchy Carter, Masai Hewitt, Geronimo “ji-Jaga” Pratt, and Elaine Brown. Nine Lives fills in a missing piece of Black Panther history, while making clear why black Los Angeles was home to two of the most devastating riots in the history of urban America. But it also eloquently relates one man’s triumph over police terror, internal warfare, and personal demons. It will doubtless soon take its place among the classics of black militant literature.

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Click for more detail about Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture by Ytasha L. Womack Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture

by Ytasha L. Womack
Chicago Review Press (Oct 01, 2013)
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2014 Locus Awards Finalist, Nonfiction Category
 In this hip, accessible primer to the music, literature, and art of Afrofuturism, author Ytasha Womack introduces readers to the burgeoning community of artists creating Afrofuturist works, the innovators from the past, and the wide range of subjects they explore. From the sci-fi literature of Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler, and N. K. Jemisin to the musical cosmos of Sun Ra, George Clinton, and the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am, to the visual and multimedia artists inspired by African Dogon myths and Egyptian deities, the book’s topics range from the “alien” experience of blacks in America to the “wake up” cry that peppers sci-fi literature, sermons, and activism. With a twofold aim to entertain and enlighten, Afrofuturists strive to break down racial, ethnic, and social limitations to empower and free individuals to be themselves.


Click for more detail about First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America's First Black Public High School by Alison Stewart First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America’s First Black Public High School

by Alison Stewart
Chicago Review Press (Aug 01, 2013)
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Combining a fascinating history of the first U.S. high school for African Americans with an unflinching analysis of urban public-school education today, First Class explores an underrepresented and largely unknown aspect of black history while opening a discussion on what it takes to make a public school successful. In 1870, in the wake of the Civil War, citizens of Washington, DC, opened the Preparatory High School for Colored Youth, the first black public high school in the United States; it would later be renamed Dunbar High and would flourish despite Jim Crow laws and segregation. Dunbar attracted an extraordinary faculty: its early principal was the first black graduate of Harvard, and at a time it had seven teachers with PhDs, a medical doctor, and a lawyer. During the school’s first 80 years, these teachers would develop generations of highly educated, successful African Americans, and at its height in the 1940s and ’50s, Dunbar High School sent 80 percent of its students to college. Today, as in too many failing urban public schools, the majority of Dunbar students are barely proficient in reading and math. Journalist and author Alison Stewart—whose parents were both Dunbar graduates—tells the story of the school’s rise, fall, and possible resurgence as it reopens a new, state-of-the-art campus.


Click for more detail about Do I Look Like an ATM?: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible African American Children by Sabrina Lamb Do I Look Like an ATM?: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible African American Children

by Sabrina Lamb
Chicago Review Press (Mar 01, 2013)
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Youth financial education is an urgent issue, and author Sabrina Lamb believes that African American parents first must reeducate themselves about finances to make sure the next generation does not fall into the spending trap that can be a family legacy. The lack of a healthy financial education has generational impact, causing families to be financially vulnerable, squander financial resources, and fail at wealth accumulation. With step-by-step advice and exercises for parents and young people, Do I Look Like an ATM? sets out to establish new financial behavior so children will avoid the personal economic problems that have plagued the culture. The book guides parents through self-examination of their financial habits. By performing the exercises in this book and having candid discussions, parents can, together with their children, become engaged citizens in the world of money. With new financial traditions and a better understanding money and its meaning, the next generation will realize the true power of wealth and use their money wisely. Sabrina Lamb is the founder and chief executive officer of the WorldofMoney.org, a leading provider of financial education of underserved youth in the New York City Tri-State area. Lamb has written for Ebony, Essence, Heart and Soul, and Black Elegance. She lives in New York.


Click for more detail about Mary Wells: The Tumultuous Life Of Motown’s First Superstar by Peter Benjaminson Mary Wells: The Tumultuous Life Of Motown’s First Superstar

by Peter Benjaminson
Chicago Review Press (Nov 01, 2012)
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Complete with never-before-revealed details about the sex, violence, and drugs in her life, this biography reveals the incredibly turbulent life of Motown artist Mary Wells. Based in part on four hours of previously unreleased and unpublicized deathbed interviews with Wells, this account delves deeply into her rapid rise and long fall as a recording artist, her spectacular romantic and family life, the violent incidents in which she was a participant, and her abuse of drugs. From tumultuous affairs, including one with R&B superstar Jackie Wilson, to a courageous battle with throat cancer that climaxed in her gutsiest performance, this history draws upon years of interviews with Wells’s friends, lovers, and husband to tell the whole story of a woman whose songs crossed the color line and whose voice captivated the Beatles.

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Almighty Black P Stone Nation: The Rise, Fall, and Resurgence of an American Gang by Natalie Y. Moore and Lance Williams The Almighty Black P Stone Nation: The Rise, Fall, and Resurgence of an American Gang

by Natalie Y. Moore and Lance Williams
Chicago Review Press (Sep 01, 2012)
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This exposé investigates the evolution of the Almighty Black P Stone Nation, a motley group of poverty-stricken teens transformed into a dominant gang accused of terroristic intentions. Interwoven into the narrative is the dynamic influence of leader Jeff Fort, who—despite his flamboyance and high visibility—instilled a rigid structure and discipline that afforded the young men a refuge and a sense of purpose in an often hopeless community. Details of how the Nation procured government funding for gang-related projects during the War on Poverty era and fueled bonuses and job security for law enforcement, and how Fort, in particular, masterminded a deal for $2.5 million to commit acts of terrorism in the United States on behalf of Libya are also revealed. In examining whether the Black P Stone Nation was a group of criminals, brainwashed terrorists, victims of their circumstances, or champions of social change, this social history provides both an exploration of how and why gangs flourish and insight into the way in which minority crime is targeted in the community, reported in the media, and prosecuted in the courts.


Click for more detail about Ashamed To Die: Silence, Denial, And The Aids Epidemic In The South by Andrew J. Skerritt Ashamed To Die: Silence, Denial, And The Aids Epidemic In The South

by Andrew J. Skerritt
Chicago Review Press (Nov 01, 2011)
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Even as the tragic African AIDS epidemic fills the headlines, the United States has failed to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in the South, where people are dying because of a shame that leads to silence. In Ashamed to Die, author Andrew J. Skerritt focuses on a small town in South Carolina, a microcosm of this national tragedy, and examines how the tenacious disease ravaged the black community. The heartbreak of America’s failure comes alive through Carolyn, a wild child whose rebellion coincided with the advent of AIDS; Girard, a dreadlocked bank executive; Nita, a young woman searching for love; and others whose moving stories reveal hard truths about the consequences of our nation’s neglect.             These are impoverished people who struggled with racial oppression for generations but whose lives were dramatically changed by the civil rights movement. Sadly, their hard-won freedoms were subverted by the problems arising from overwhelming poverty and ingrained inequities—drugs, illicit sex, despair, and, finally, death from AIDS. Skerritt contends that taboos about love, race, and sexuality—combined with Southern conservatism, white privilege, and black oppression—continue to create an unacceptable death toll and that, despite AIDS awareness programs and medical breakthroughs, the epidemic is not lessening in the Deep South.            This true story of how persons of faith, enduring love, and limitless forgiveness can inspire others is not only a call to action and awareness but also a guide for poor communities facing a public health threat burdened with conflicting moral and social consequences.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Simeon’s Story: An Eyewitness Account Of The Kidnapping Of Emmett Till by Simeon Wright and Herb Boyd Simeon’s Story: An Eyewitness Account Of The Kidnapping Of Emmett Till

by Simeon Wright and Herb Boyd
Chicago Review Press (Sep 01, 2011)
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No modern tragedy has had a greater impact on race relations in America than the kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till. A 14-year-old black boy from Chicago visiting relatives in Mississippi in 1955, Till was taken from his uncle’s home by two white men; several days later, his body was found in the Tallahatchie River. This grotesque crime became the catalyst for the civil rights movement.At age 12, author Simeon Wright saw and heard his cousin Emmett whistle at a white woman at a grocery store; he was sleeping in the same bed with him when Emmett was taken; and he was at the sensational trial. This is his gripping coming-of-age memoir.


Click for more detail about Eye of the Hurricane: My Path from Darkness to Freedom by Rubin Carter and Ken Klonsky Eye of the Hurricane: My Path from Darkness to Freedom

by Rubin Carter and Ken Klonsky
Chicago Review Press (Jan 01, 2011)
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Eye of the Hurricane: My Path from Darkness to Freedom is a self-portrait of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a twentieth-century icon and controversial victim of the U.S. justice system turned spokesperson for the wrongfully convicted. In this moving narrative Dr. Carter tells of all the "prisons" he has survived—from his childhood through his wrongful incarceration and after. A spiritual as well as a factual autobiography, Eye of the Hurricane explores Carter’s personal philosophy, born of the unimaginable duress of wrongful imprisonment and conceived through his defiance of the brutal institution of prison and ten years of solitary confinement. His is not a comfortable story or a comfortable philosophy, but it offers hope for those who have none and serves as a call to action for those who abhor injustice. Eye of the Hurricane may well change the way we view crime and punishment in the twenty-first century.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Post Black: How A New Generation Is Redefining African American Identity by Ytasha L. Womack Post Black: How A New Generation Is Redefining African American Identity

by Ytasha L. Womack
Chicago Review Press (Jan 01, 2010)
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As a young journalist covering black life at large, author Ytasha L. Womack was caught unaware when she found herself straddling black culture’s rarely acknowledged generation gaps and cultural divides. Traditional images show blacks unified culturally, politically, and socially, united by race at venues such as churches and community meetings. But in the ?post black” era, even though individuals define themselves first as black, they do not necessarily define themselves by tradition as much as by personal interests, points of view, and lifestyle. In Post Black: How a New Generation Is Redefining African American Identity, Womack takes a fresh look at dynamics shaping the lives of contemporary African Americans. Although grateful to generations that have paved the way, many cannot relate to the rhetoric of pundits who speak as ambassadors of black life any more than they see themselves in exaggerated hip-hop images. Combining interviews, opinions of experts, and extensive research, Post Black will open the eyes of some, validate the lives of others, and provide a realistic picture of the expanding community.


Click for more detail about The Year Before the Flood: A Story of New Orleans by Ned Sublette The Year Before the Flood: A Story of New Orleans

by Ned Sublette
Chicago Review Press (Sep 01, 2009)
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With a style the Los Angeles Times calls as "vivid and fast-moving as the music he loves," Ned Sublette’s powerful new book drives the reader through the potholed, sinking streets of the United States’s least-typical city.

In this eagerly awaited follow-up to The World That Made New Orleans, Sublette’s award-winning history of the Crescent City’s colonial years, he traces an arc of his own experience, from the white supremacy of segregated 1950s Louisiana through the funky year of 2004-2005—the last year New Orleans was whole. By turns irreverent, joyous, darkly comic, passionate, and polemical, The Year Before the Flood juxtaposes the city’s crowded calendar of parties, festivals, and parades with the murderousness of its poverty and its legacy of racism. Along the way, Sublette opens up windows of American history that illuminate the present: the trajectory of Mardi Gras from pre-Civil War days, the falsification of Southern history in movies, the city’s importance to early rock and roll, the complicated story of its housing projects, the uniqueness of its hip-hop scene, and the celebratory magnificence of the participatory parades known as second lines. With a grand, unforgettable cast of musicians and barkeeps, scholars and thugs, vibrating with the sheer excitement of New Orleans, The Year Before the Flood is an affirmation of the power of the city’s culture and a heartbreaking tale of loss that definitively establishes Ned Sublette as a great American writer for the 21st century.


Click for more detail about The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square by Ned Sublette The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square

by Ned Sublette
Chicago Review Press (Sep 01, 2009)
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“[Ned Sublette] is a passionate chronicler of the Africans’ resilience, of how they revived a cultural memory that gave life to music and enduring folkways.” —New York Times


Click for more detail about Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan-Africanism by Kwame Ture Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan-Africanism

by Kwame Ture
Chicago Review Press (Feb 01, 2007)
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In the speeches and articles collected in this book, the black activist, organizer, and freedom fighter Stokely Carmichael traces the dramatic changes in his own consciousness and that of black Americans that took place during the evolving movements of Civil Rights, Black Power, and Pan-Africanism. Unique in his belief that the destiny of African Americans could not be separated from that of oppressed people the world over, Carmichael’s Black Power principles insisted that blacks resist white brainwashing and redefine themselves. He was concerned not only with racism and exploitation, but with cultural integrity and the colonization of Africans in America. In these essays on racism, Black Power, the pitfalls of conventional liberalism, and solidarity with the oppressed masses and freedom fighters of all races and creeds, Carmichael addresses questions that still confront the black world and points to a need for an ideology of black and African liberation, unification, and transformation.


Click for more detail about What Went Wrong in Ohio: The Conyers Report on the 2004 Presidential Election by John Conyers What Went Wrong in Ohio: The Conyers Report on the 2004 Presidential Election

by John Conyers
Chicago Review Press (Apr 01, 2005)
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This fascinating and disturbing book is the official record of testimony taken by the Democratic Members and Staff of the House Judiciary Committee, presided over by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the Ranking Member. Originally released in January, 2005 by the Committee and now available in print for the first time.

Witnesses included both Republicans and Democrats, elected officials, voting machine company employees, poll observers, and many voters who testified about the harassment they endured, some of which led to actual vote repression.

While shreds of the electoral chaos in Ohio were reported in the press, the issue soon faded from public view. What Went Wrong In Ohio provides new insights into the abuse and manipulation of electronic voting machines and the arbitrary and illegal behavior of a number of elected and election officials which effectively disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters in order to change the outcome of an election.

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Click for more detail about Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo by Ned Sublette Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo

by Ned Sublette
Chicago Review Press (May 01, 2004)
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Ned Sublette is the cofounder of the Qbadisc record label. He has coproduced the public radio program Afropop Worldwide for seven years and traveled frequently to Cuba since 1990.


Click for more detail about Number Sense and Nonsense: Building Math Creativity and Confidence Through Number Play by Claudia Zaslavsky Number Sense and Nonsense: Building Math Creativity and Confidence Through Number Play

by Claudia Zaslavsky
Chicago Review Press (Jul 01, 2001)
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These 80-plus math activities and number games help kids to think critically about math instead of just memorizing rules. The emphasis is on the underlying relationships between numbers and the process of manipulating them. Kids get together and play games with odd and even numbers, prime and composite numbers, factors, divisors, and multiples of numbers, common and decimal fractions. Children learn the history of numbers—finger counting, number symbols in various cultures, and different ways of calculating. The book is full of riddles, puzzles, number tricks, and calculator games. Kids develop skills in estimation and computation as they become familiar with the characteristics and behavior of numbers. They will gain math confidence and be ready to take chances, find their own errors, and challenge their peers.


Click for more detail about Lay This Body Down: The 1921 Murders of Eleven Plantation Slaves by Gregory A. Freeman Lay This Body Down: The 1921 Murders of Eleven Plantation Slaves

by Gregory A. Freeman
Chicago Review Press (Sep 01, 1999)
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The John S. Williams plantation in Georgia was operated largely with the labor of slaves?and this was in 1921, 56 years after the Civil War. Williams was not alone in using ?peons,” but his reaction to a federal investigation was almost unbelievable: he decided to destroy the evidence. Enlisting the aid of his trusted black farm boss, Clyde Manning, he began methodically killing his slaves. As this true story unfolds, each detail seems more shocking, and surprises continue in the aftermath, with a sensational trial galvanizing the nation and marking a turning point in the treatment of black Americans.

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Click for more detail about Africa Counts: Number and Pattern in African Cultures by Claudia Zaslavsky Africa Counts: Number and Pattern in African Cultures

by Claudia Zaslavsky
Chicago Review Press (Apr 01, 1999)
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This fascinating study of mathematical thinking among sub-Saharan African peoples covers counting in words and in gestures; measuring time, distance, weight, and other quantities; manipulating money and keeping accounts; number systems; patterns in music, poetry, art, and architecture; and number magic and taboos. African games such as mankala and elaborate versions of tic-tac-toe show how complex this thinking can be. An invaluable resource for students, teachers, and others interested in African cultures and multiculturalism, this third edition is updated with an introduction covering two decades of new research in the ethnomathematics of Africa.


Click for more detail about Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson by George Jackson Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson

by George Jackson
Chicago Review Press (Sep 01, 1994)
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A collection of Jackson’s letters from prison, Soledad Brother is an outspoken condemnation of the racism of white America and a powerful appraisal of the prison system that failed to break his spirit but eventually took his life. Jackson’s letters make palpable the intense feelings of anger and rebellion that filled black men in America’s prisons in the 1960s. But even removed from the social and political firestorms of the 1960s, Jackson’s story still resonates for its portrait of a man taking a stand even while locked down.


Click for more detail about Ego-Tripping And Other Poems For Young People by Nikki Giovanni Ego-Tripping And Other Poems For Young People

by Nikki Giovanni
Chicago Review Press (Nov 01, 1993)
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Insightful and fun, this collection of poetry captures the essence of the African American experience for young people.


Click for more detail about Civilization Or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology by Cheikh Anta Diop Civilization Or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology

by Cheikh Anta Diop
Chicago Review Press (Apr 01, 1991)
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Challenging societal beliefs, this volume rethinks African and world history from an Afrocentric perspective.


Click for more detail about The African Origin Of Civilization: Myth Or Reality by Cheikh Anta Diop The African Origin Of Civilization: Myth Or Reality

by Cheikh Anta Diop
Chicago Review Press (Jul 01, 1989)
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Read more about this important work

The Black Egyptians are the original settlers of KMT. "The native Sudanese are one of the original pigmented Arabs in that region. They are members of the same ethnic family with the ancient Egyptians, the Ethiopians, the Southern Arabians, and the primitive inhabitants of Babylon. All founders and sustainers of the mighty Nilotic civilization we still admire today.  They are very great nation of Blacks, who did rule almost over all Africa and Asia in a very remote era, in fact beyond the reach of history of any of our records


Click for more detail about Precolonial Black Africa by Cheikh Anta Diop Precolonial Black Africa

by Cheikh Anta Diop
Chicago Review Press (Aug 01, 1988)
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This comparison of the political and social systems of Europe and black Africa from antiquity to the formation of modern states demonstrates the black contribution to the development of Western civilization.


Click for more detail about Black Africa: The Economic And Cultural Basis For A Federated State by Cheikh Anta Diop Black Africa: The Economic And Cultural Basis For A Federated State

by Cheikh Anta Diop
Chicago Review Press (Jun 01, 1987)
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This expanded edition continues Diop’s campaign for the political and economic unification of the nations of black Africa. It concludes with a lengthy interview with Diop.