There is nothing more important in the Black community than self-education. More than ever before, Black voices are being amplified and published to examine and explore topics of Black life, history and culture in a manner that is thorough, thought-provoking and empowering.

Duke University Press is a leading academic publisher that has been pushing the envelope in Black non-fiction for the past decade. Their catalog becomes more robust each year by choosing Black thinkers who are ahead of the curve and experts in their fields. 

Here are five upcoming books from Duke’s 2022 catalog that will inspire readers to expand their understanding of the Black experience and engage with writers who embody the vision and talent to guide the current generation into a paradigm of information and Black pride.

“or, on being the other woman” by Simone White

Publishing date: August 2022

Literary critic and poet, Simone White offers a literary piece that combines poetry, personal narrative and essay to express her experience of the complexities of Black feminist life. White’s acute ability to weave vivid and creative prose and poetry as a form of communication and self-aware expression makes “or, on being the other woman” exciting and unique.

“Throughout this book-length poem, White writes through a hybrid of poetry, essay, personal narrative, and critical theory, attesting to the narrative complexities of writing and living as a Black woman and artist. She considers Black social life—from art and motherhood to trap music and love—as unspeakably troubling and reflects on the degree to which it strands and punishes black women.”—Duke University Press

“King’s Vibrato: Modernism, Blackness, and the Sonic Life of Martin Luther King Jr.”

Publishing date: September 2022

Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Maurice O. Wallace writes an interesting narrative on the power of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s voice, literally.

“Providing a cultural history and critical theory of the Black modernist soundscapes that helped inform King’s vocal timbre, Wallace shows how the qualities of King’s voice depended on a mix of ecclesial architecture and acoustics, musical instrumentation and sound technology, audience and song. He examines the acoustical architectures of the African American churches where King spoke and the centrality of the pipe organ in these churches, offers a Black feminist critique of the influence of gospel on King, and outlines how variations in natural environments and sound amplifications made each of King’s three deliveries of the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech unique.”—Duke University Press

“Black Disability Politics” by Sami Schalk

Publishing date: October 2022

Sami Schalk, an associate professor of Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin, writes about the history of Black disability politics, giving a deeply important view on the fight for the rights of disabled Black people in America since the 1970s. 

“She points out that this work has not been recognized as part of the legacy of disability justice and liberation because Black disability politics differ in language and approach from the mainstream white-dominant disability rights movement. Drawing on the archives of the Black Panther Party and the National Black Women’s Health Project alongside interviews with contemporary Black disabled cultural workers, Schalk identifies common qualities of Black disability politics, including the need to ground public health initiatives in the experience and expertise of marginalized disabled people so that they can work in antiracist, feminist, and anti-ableist ways.”—Duke University Press

“Ain’t But a Few of Us: Black Music Writers Tell Their Story”

Publishing date: December 2022

Jazz aficionado Willard Jenkins compiles a collection of writing by Black jazz critics in “Ain’t But a Few of Us.” The book gives voice and recognition to contemporary and historical Black jazz journalists and critics who traverse through the white male dominated field of jazz criticism.

“No major mainstream jazz publication has ever had a Black editor or publisher. ‘Ain’t But a Few of Us’ presents over two dozen candid dialogues with Black jazz critics and journalists ranging from Greg Tate, Farah Jasmine Griffin, and Robin D. G. Kelly to Tammy Kernodle, Ron Welburn, and John Murph. They discuss the obstacles to access for Black jazz journalists, outline how they contend with the world of jazz writing dominated by white men, and point out that these racial disparities are not confined to jazz and hamper their efforts at writing about other music genres as well. ‘Ain’t But a Few of Us’ also includes an anthology section, which reprints classic essays and articles from Black writers and musicians like LeRoi Jones, Archie Shepp, A.B. Spellman, Herbie Nichols, Greg Tate, and others.”—Duke University Press

“New Growth: The Art and Texture of Black Hair”

Publishing date: December 2022

Jasmine Nichole Cobb, a professor of African and African American Studies, Art History and Visual Studies at Duke University, writes a historical examination of the maintenance, style and beauty of Black hair. 

“In ‘New Growth’ Jasmine Nichole Cobb traces the history of Afro-textured coiffure, exploring it as a visual material through which to reimagine the sensual experience of Blackness. Through close readings of slave narratives, scrapbooks, travel illustration, documentary film and photography, as well as collage, craft, and sculpture, from the nineteenth century to the present, Cobb shows how the racial distinctions ascribed to people of African descent become simultaneously visible and tactile.”—Duke University Press

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