The history of Black Americans and Black human beings of the diaspora is layered, rich and full of wisdom regarding resilience; migrational adaption; the navigation of systemic structures; and countless stories of family, pride, ancestry and lineage. In America, millions of people were forced onto this land, but as the centuries unfolded and Black American received their freedom and autonomy, people from African countries began to migrate and settle into the country as immigrants. The weaving of our experiences, of birthright and bloodline, can and should be explored well into the future so we as a people may understand the purpose of our presence on American soil.

Three books, either recently published or soon to be released, document, examine and celebrate the multifaceted substratum of the Black experience.

Africans in Harlem: An Untold New York Story by Boukary Sawadogo (Fordham University Press)

Author of “Africans in Harlem,” Boukary Sawadogo, assistant professor of cinema studies and Black studies at the City College of New York, has carefully crafted the history of African immigration in Harlem. Fordham University Press says: “‘Africans in Harlem’ reveals how African immigrants have transformed Harlem economically and culturally as they too have been transformed. It is also a story about New York City and its self-renewal by the contributions of new human capital, creative energies, dreams nurtured and fulfilled, and good neighbors by drawing parallels between the history of the African presence in Harlem with those of other ethnic immigrants in the most storied neighborhood in America.” 

Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation by Linda Villarosa (Doubleday)

Linda Villarosa, author, journalist and former executive editor of Essence magazine, has written a vital text about the under-examined effects of racism on the health of the Black community. Doubleday says: “Black people live in dirtier, more polluted communities due to environmental racism and neglect from all levels of government. And, most powerfully, Villarosa describes the new understanding that coping with the daily scourge of racism ages Black people prematurely. Anchored by unforgettable human stories and offering incontrovertible proof, ‘Under the Skin’ is dramatic, tragic and necessary reading.” 

Trailblazers, Black Women Who Helped Make America Great: American Firsts/American Icons by Lyah Beth LeFlore-Ituen (2Leaf Press)

Trailblazers is an expansive and enlightening collection that highlights the accomplishments of Black women leaders and visionaries. 2Leaf Press says: “The second volume of the [six-part] ‘Trailblazers’ series features women who are visual artists, women who served their country as elected officials or working in government, and composers, songwriters, and conductors. Each of these sections is preceded by an introduction, which provides insight into these women’s stories in a historical timeline. This volume includes biographical essays of eighty-five women, illuminating the significant role each have played in shaping America’s greatness, accompanied by powerful photographs that help illustrate who they are.”

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *