8 Books Published by Liveright Publishing Corporation on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Click for more detail about The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne and Tamara Payne The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X

by Les Payne and Tamara Payne
Liveright Publishing Corporation (Oct 20, 2020)
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“Les Payne’s The Dead Are Arising is a brilliant and indispensable depic≠tion of the life of Malcolm X. Payne, one of America’s most acclaimed journalists, is at the very top of his game in these pages, using the fruits of decades of interviews to bring new information and perspectives on one of the most fascinating, and often misunderstood, figures in American history.’ —Annette Gordon-Reed, professor of history, Harvard University, and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm X—all living siblings of the Malcolm Little family, classmates, street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures, FBI moles and cops, and political leaders around the world. His goal was ambitious: to transform what would become over a hundred hours of interviews into an unprecedented portrait of Malcolm X, one that would separate fact from fiction.

The result is this historic biography that conjures a never-before-seen world of its protagonist, a work whose title is inspired by a phrase Malcolm X used when he saw his Hartford followers stir with purpose, as if the dead were truly arising, to overcome the obstacles of racism. Setting Malcolm’s life not only within the Nation of Islam but against the larger backdrop of American history, the book traces the life of one of the twentieth century’s most politically relevant figures "from street criminal to devoted moralist and revolutionary."

In tracing Malcolm X’s life from his Nebraska birth in 1925 to his Harlem assassination in 1965, Payne provides searing vignettes culled from Malcolm’s Depression-era youth, describing the influence of his Garveyite parents: his father, Earl, a circuit-riding preacher who was run over by a street car in Lansing, Michigan, in 1929, and his mother, Louise, who continued to instill black pride in her children after Earl’s death. Filling each chapter with resonant drama, Payne follows Malcolm’s exploits as a petty criminal in Boston and Harlem in the 1930s and early 1940s to his religious awakening and conversion to the Nation of Islam in a Massachusetts penitentiary.

With a biographer’s unwavering determination, Payne corrects the historical record and delivers extraordinary revelations—from the unmasking of the mysterious NOI founder “Fard Muhammad,” who preceded Elijah Muhammad; to a hair-rising scene, conveyed in cinematic detail, of Malcolm and Minister Jeremiah X Shabazz’s 1961 clandestine meeting with the KKK; to a minute-by-minute account of Malcolm X’s murder at the Audubon Ballroom.

Introduced by Payne’s daughter and primary researcher, Tamara Payne, who, following her father’s death, heroically completed the biography, The Dead Are Arising is a penetrating and riveting work that affirms the centrality of Malcolm X to the African American freedom struggle.


Click for more detail about Afropessimism by Frank B. Wilderson III Afropessimism

by Frank B. Wilderson III
Liveright Publishing Corporation (Apr 07, 2020)
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Why does race seem to color almost every feature of our moral and political universe? Why does a perpetual cycle of slavery—in all its political, intellectual, and cultural forms—continue to define the Black experience? And why is anti-Black violence such a predominant feature not only in the United States but around the world? These are just some of the compelling questions that animate Afropessimism, Frank B. Wilderson III’s seminal work on the philosophy of Blackness.

Combining precise philosophy with a torrent of memories, Wilderson presents the tenets of an increasingly prominent intellectual movement that sees Blackness through the lens of perpetual slavery. Drawing on works of philosophy, literature, film, and critical theory, he shows that the social construct of slavery, as seen through pervasive anti-Black subjugation and violence, is hardly a relic of the past but the very engine that powers our civilization, and that without this master-slave dynamic, the calculus bolstering world civilization would collapse. Unlike any other disenfranchised group, Wilderson argues, Blacks alone will remain essentially slaves in the larger Human world, where they can never be truly regarded as Human beings, where, "at every scale of abstraction, violence saturates Black life."

And while Afropessimism delivers a formidable philosophical account of being Black, it is also interwoven with dramatic set pieces, autobiographical stories that juxtapose Wilderson’s seemingly idyllic upbringing in mid-century Minneapolis with the abject racism he later encounters—whether in late 1960s Berkeley or in apartheid South Africa, where he joins forces with the African National Congress. Afropessimism provides no restorative solution to the hatred that abounds; rather, Wilderson believes that acknowledging these historical and social conditions will result in personal enlightenment about the reality of our inherently racialized existence.

Radical in conception, remarkably poignant, and with soaring flights of lyrical prose, Afropessimism reverberates with wisdom and painful clarity in the fractured world we inhabit. It positions Wilderson as a paradigmatic thinker and as a twenty-first-century inheritor of many of the African American literary traditions established in centuries past.


Click for more detail about Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America by Marcia Chatelain Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America

by Marcia Chatelain
Liveright Publishing Corporation (Jan 07, 2020)
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New York Times, "Times Critics Top Books of 2020": "Smart and capacious history…. A cautionary tale about relying on the private sector to provide what the public needs." - Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

From civil rights to Ferguson, Franchise reveals the untold history of how fast food became one of the greatest generators of black wealth in America.

Franchise is a stunning story of post-1960s urban black America, a tale of triumph and good intentions, but also of tragic consequences for race relations, poverty, and dietary health. Marcia Chatelain has done superb research and writes as a great storyteller. This is an important book, showing that civil rights successes led to burgers under black ownership as much as ballots for social change. Chatelain makes us see black capitalism in all its mixed blessings.—David W. Blight, Yale University, and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom


Click for more detail about Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter by Kerri K. Greenidge Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter

by Kerri K. Greenidge
Liveright Publishing Corporation (Nov 19, 2019)
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William Monroe Trotter (1872- 1934), though still virtually unknown to the wider public, was an unlikely American hero. With the stylistic verve of a newspaperman and the unwavering fearlessness of an emancipator, he galvanized black working- class citizens to wield their political power despite the violent racism of post- Reconstruction America. For more than thirty years, the Harvard-educated Trotter edited and published the Guardian, a weekly Boston newspaper that was read across the nation. Defining himself against the gradualist politics of Booker T. Washington and the elitism of W. E. B. Du Bois, Trotter advocated for a radical vision of black liberation that prefigured leaders such as Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. Synthesizing years of archival research, historian Kerri Greenidge renders the drama of turn- of- the- century America and reclaims Trotter as a seminal figure, whose prophetic, yet ultimately tragic, life offers a link between the vision of Frederick Douglass and black radicalism in the modern era.


Click for more detail about The World Doesn’t Require You: Stories by Rion Amilcar Scott The World Doesn’t Require You: Stories

by Rion Amilcar Scott
Liveright Publishing Corporation (Aug 20, 2019)
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Breathtakingly imaginative and unapologetically original, The World Doesn’t Require You announces a bold, generational talent.


Click for more detail about Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn Patsy

by Nicole Dennis-Benn
Liveright Publishing Corporation (Jun 04, 2019)
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From the critically acclaimed and award winning novelist Nicole Dennis-Benn comes a stirring portrait of motherhood, immigration, and the sacrifices we make in the name of love.

When Patsy gets her long-coveted visa to America, it comes after years of yearning to leave Pennyfield, a beautiful but impoverished Jamaican town where there are few opportunities for economic advancement. More than anything, Patsy wishes to be reunited with her oldest friend, Cicely, whose letters arrive from New York full of the promise of a happier life and a possible rekindling of their young love. As hard as it is for her to admit, Patsyís plans don’t include her overzealous, evangelical mother — or even her five-year-old daughter, Tru, who she is leaving behind in Jamaica.

Beating with the feverish pulse of a long-held confession, Patsy gives voice to a woman who looks to America not to give a better life to her family back home, but instead for the opportunity to choose herself first. Patsy leaves Tru with a mixture of guilt and relief but in a defiant act of self-preservation, hoping for a new start where she can be, and love whomever she wants. But when Patsy arrives in Brooklyn, she discovers with disappointment that America is not as Cicely’s treasured letters described and, to survive as an undocumented immigrant, she is forced to work a series of unexpected jobs such as bathroom attendant and nanny. Meanwhile, Tru works to build a relationship with her father back in Jamaica, as she grapples with her own questions of identity and sexuality, and tries desperately to understand her mother’s abandonment.

Expertly evoking the rhythms of Jamaica and the bustling streets of New York, Patsy weaves between the lives of Patsy and Tru in vignettes spanning more than a decade as mother and daughter ultimately find a way back to one another.

As with her masterful debut Here Comes the Sun, Nicole Dennis-Benn once again charts the geography of a hidden world — that of a paradise lost, swirling with the echoes of lilting Patois, in which one woman fights to discover her sense of self in a world that tries to define her. Passionate, moving, and fiercely urgent, Patsy is a haunting depiction of immigration and womanhood, and the lasting threads of love stretching across years and oceans.


Click for more detail about The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela

by Nelson Mandela
Liveright Publishing Corporation (Jul 10, 2018)
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"Arrested in 1962 as South Africa’s apartheid regime intensified ... forty-four-year-old lawyer and African National Congress activist Nelson Mandela had no idea that he would spend the next twenty-seven years in jail. During his 10,052 days of incarceration, [he] ... wrote a multitude of letters to unyielding prison authorities, fellow activists, government officials, and ... his courageous wife Winnie and his five children. Now, 255 of these letters, many of which have never been published, provide ... insight into how Mandela maintained his inner spirits while living in almost complete isolation, and how he engaged with an outside world that became increasingly outraged by his plight"—


Click for more detail about Song in a Weary Throat: Memoir of an American Pilgrimage by Susan Montanari Song in a Weary Throat: Memoir of an American Pilgrimage

by Susan Montanari
Liveright Publishing Corporation (May 08, 2018)
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First published posthumously in 1987, Pauli Murray’s Song in a Weary Throat was critically lauded, winning the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and the Lillian Smith Book Award among other distinctions. Yet Murray’s name and extraordinary influence receded from view in the intervening years; now they are once again entering the public discourse. At last, with the republication of this "beautifully crafted" memoir, Song in a Weary Throat takes its rightful place among the great civil rights autobiographies of the twentieth century.

In a voice that is energetic, wry, and direct, Murray tells of a childhood dramatically altered by the sudden loss of her spirited, hard-working parents. Orphaned at age four, she was sent from Baltimore to segregated Durham, North Carolina, to live with her unflappable Aunt Pauline, who, while strict, was liberal-minded in accepting the tomboy Pauli as "my little boy-girl." In fact, throughout her life, Murray would struggle with feelings of sexual "in-betweenness"—she tried unsuccessfully to get her doctors to give her testosterone—that today we would recognize as a transgendered identity.

We then follow Murray north at the age of seventeen to New York City’s Hunter College, to her embrace of Gandhi’s Satyagraha—nonviolent resistance—and south again, where she experienced Jim Crow firsthand. An early Freedom Rider, she was arrested in 1940, fifteen years before Rosa Parks’ disobedience, for sitting in the whites-only section of a Virginia bus. Murray’s activism led to relationships with Thurgood Marshall and Eleanor Roosevelt—who respectfully referred to Murray as a "firebrand"—and propelled her to a Howard University law degree and a lifelong fight against "Jane Crow" sexism. We also read Betty Friedan’s enthusiastic response to Murray’s call for an NAACP for Women—the origins of NOW. Murray sets these thrilling high-water marks against the backdrop of uncertain finances, chronic fatigue, and tragic losses both private and public, as Patricia Bell-Scott’s engaging introduction brings to life.

Now, more than thirty years after her death in 1985, Murray—poet, memoirist, lawyer, activist, and Episcopal priest—gains long-deserved recognition through a rediscovered memoir that serves as a "powerful witness" (Brittney Cooper) to a pivotal era in the American twentieth century.