2023 Black History Month

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

Fear of a Black Republic: Haiti and the Birth of Black Internationalism in the United States 

Leslie M. Alexander

A bold exploration of Black internationalism’s origins, Fear of a Black Republic links the Haitian revolution to the global Black pursuit of liberation, justice, and social equality.

Journal of American Ethnic History 

“The Black Badge of Courage: The Politics of Recording Black Union Army Service and the Militarization of Black History in the Civil War’s Aftermath” by Jonathan Lande 

Scholars have detailed how Black activists looked to public forums to secure Black soldiers’ valor in American memory following the Civil War. This article reveals that they were not the only operators preserving African Americans’ wartime contributions. Rather than gravitating toward orations or monuments like other prominent activists, William Wells Brown and Frances Rollin constructed heroic, textual accounts of Black Civil War soldiers and their role in rescuing the Union. 

Musical Landscapes in Color: Conversations with Black American Composers 

William C. Banfield

Now available in paperback, William C. Banfield’s acclaimed collection of interviews delves into the lives and work of forty-one Black composers. Each of the profiled artists offers a candid self-portrait that explores areas from training and compositional techniques to working in an exclusive canon that has existed for a very long time.

Journal of American Folklore 

“(Re)Making the Folk: Black Representation and the Folk in Early American Folklore Studies” by Ebony L. Bailey 

This article details the origins of American folklore studies by examining how “the folk” were repeatedly equated to Black Americans and how folklore was used as a measure of African Americans’ post-emancipation “progress.” Attending to discussions of Black representation in the late nineteenth century, Bailey explores how (1) African Americans were positioned as the folk and (2) how African Americans (re)positioned themselves in discourses of “Blackness” and “folkness.” 

Reading Pleasures: Everyday Black Living in Early America

Tara A. Bynum

A daring assertion of Black people’s humanity, Reading Pleasures reveals how four Black writers experienced positive feelings and analyzes the ways these emotions served creative, political, and racialized ends.

Journal of Civil and Human Rights

“‘We Resist on the Grounds We Aren’t Citizens’: Black Draft Resistance in the Vietnam War Era” by Lauren Mottle 

Given the far reach of the Selective Service, draft resistance as a new masculine standard engaged young Black men in Black Power rhetoric, culture, and ideas, regardless of their active, or even knowing, involvement in the contemporary Black freedom struggle.

Knowing Him by Heart: African Americans on Abraham Lincoln 

Edited by Fred Lee Hord and Matthew D. Norman

A comprehensive and valuable reader, Knowing Him by Heart examines Lincoln’s still-evolving place in Black American thought.

Journal of Olympic Studies

“A Tale of Two Olympians: At the Intersection of Class, Blackness, and Amateurism in Canada, 1920s–1930s” by Ornella Nzindukiyimana *Free to Access February 2023* 

In 1928, British Guiana-born Phil Edwards earned the first of his five Olympic medals, becoming the first Black person to medal for Canada. Four years later, Ray Lewis earned his first and only Olympic medal, becoming the first Black Canadian medalist. In exploring their paths to and from the Olympics, this article enquires into the complex intersection of race and class, interrogating the Black experience and social transformation through sport. 

About Kristina Stonehill