Necessary Reading: Books to Celebrate Black History Month


In our current political landscape, it’s more necessary now than ever to have a richer, deeper, and more nuanced understanding of race in the US. Books that offer a deep dive into subjects as wide-ranging as the intertwined histories of European expansionism and racism, African-American steelworkers in 1920s Indiana, a multiracial neighborhood in Queens, and the translations and reception abroad of a legendary black American poet’s work, can offer illuminating insight into the ways we think about and grapple with race today.

To that end, and to continue our celebration of Black History Month, here is a selection of just some of the books we’ve published over the years on race and African American history.

The Racial Contract by Charles W. Mills

The Racial Contract puts classic Western social contract theory to extraordinary radical use, and argues that the society we live in is a continuing white supremacist state.

Mourning in America: Race and the Politics of Loss  by David W. McIvor

In Mourning in America, McIvor addresses significant and urgent questions about how citizens can mourn traumatic events and enduring injustices in their communities.

Black Freedom Fighters in Steel: The Struggle for Democratic Unionism by Ruth Needleman

Needleman adds a new dimension to the literature on race and labor, telling the story of five men born in the South who migrated north for a chance to work the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs in the steel mills.

The Future of Us All: Race and Neighborhood Politics in New York City by Ross Sanjek

In the Elmhurst-Corona neighborhood of Queens, New York City, the area’s two-decade experience of multiracial diversity offers us an early look at the future of urban America.

Racism in Mind edited by Michael P.  Levine and Tamas Pataki

A philosophical analysis of the phenomenon of racism that addresses three interrelated questions: What is racism? What are the causes of racism? And what are the moral and political implications of racism?

The Worlds of Langston Hughes: Modernism and Translation in America by Vera M. Kutzinski

A fresh look at Hughes, not as a solitary author who wrote in a single language, but as an international figure at the heart of a global intellectual and artistic formation.


Cheryl Quimba is Publicity Manager at CUP. She’s brand new at the Press, but we think she’s great already! Follow Cheryl on Twitter @cheryl_quimba

Necessary Reading: Books to Celebrate Black History Month