African American Studies is a cornerstone of the University of Illinois Press. While we celebrate Black history all year round, this month we’re celebrating with some of our latest and forthcoming Black history titles.

Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement

Naomi André

Naomi André draws on the experiences of performers and audiences to explore opera’s resonance with today’s listeners. Interacting with creators and performers, as well as with the works themselves, André reveals how black opera unearths suppressed truths. These truths provoke complex, if uncomfortable, reconsideration of racial, gender, sexual, and other oppressive ideologies.




Black Public History in Chicago: Civil Rights Activism from World War II into the Cold War

Ian Rocksborough-Smith

Ian Rocksborough-Smith’s meticulous research and adept storytelling provide the first in-depth look at how these committed individuals leveraged Chicago’s black public history. Their goal: to engage with the struggle for racial equality. Rocksborough-Smith shows teachers working to advance curriculum reform in public schools, while well-known activists Margaret and Charles Burroughs pushed for greater recognition of black history by founding the DuSable Museum of African American History.


Dockworker Power: Race and Activism in Durban and the San Francisco Bay Area

Peter Cole

Dockworkers have power. Often missed in commentary on today’s globalizing economy, workers in the world’s ports can harness their role, at a strategic choke point, to promote their labor rights and social justice causes. Peter Cole brings such overlooked experiences to light in an eye-opening comparative study of Durban, South Africa, and the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Path-breaking research reveals how unions effected lasting change in some of the most far-reaching struggles of modern times.


Glory in Their Spirit: How Four Black Women Took On the Army during World War II 

Sandra M. Bolzenius

Women Army Corps (WAC) privates Mary Green, Anna Morrison, Johnnie Murphy, and Alice Young enlisted to serve their country, improve their lives, and claim the privileges of citizenship long denied them. Promised a chance at training and skilled positions, they saw white WACs assigned to those better jobs and found themselves relegated to work as orderlies. In 1945, their strike alongside fifty other WACs captured the nation’s attention and ignited passionate debates on racism, women in the military, and patriotism.


James Baldwin and the 1980s: Witnessing the Reagan Era

Joseph Vogel

By the 1980s, critics and the public alike considered James Baldwin irrelevant. Yet Baldwin remained an important, prolific writer until his death in 1987. Indeed, his work throughout the decade pushed him into new areas, in particular an expanded interest in the social and psychological consequences of popular culture and mass media.




Mayor Harold Washington: Champion of Race and Reform in Chicago

Roger Biles

Raised in a political family on Chicago’s South Side, Harold Washington made history as the city’s first African American mayor. His 1983 electoral triumph, fueled by overwhelming black support, represented victory over the Chicago Machine and business as usual. Yet the racially charged campaign heralded an era of bitter political divisiveness that obstructed his efforts to change city government.



To Turn the Whole World Over: Black Women and Internationalism

Keisha N. Blain and Tiffany M. Gill

Black women undertook an energetic and unprecedented engagement with internationalism from the late nineteenth century to the 1970s. In many cases, their work reflected a complex effort to merge internationalism with issues of women’s rights and with feminist concerns. To Turn the Whole World Over examines these and other issues with a collection of cutting-edge essays on black men’s internationalism in this pivotal era and beyond.

Available March 2019


Read on JSTOR From the Journal of Civil and Human Rights, edited by Michael Ezra

From Colored Cosmopolitanism to Human Rights: A Historical Overview of the Transnational Black Freedom Struggle 

By Nico Slate

Black Power, Gender, and Transformational Politics

By Premilla Nadasen




Read on JSTOR from Women, Gender, and Families of Color, edited by Jennifer Hamer

That’s Not Me I See on TV . . . : African American Youth Interpret Media Images of Black Females 

By Valerie N. Adams-Bass, Keisha L. Bentley-Edwards, Howard C. Stevenson

An Introduction to Race, Gender, and Disability: Intersectionality, Disability Studies, and Families of Color 

By Liat Ben-Moshe, Sandy Magaña





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