In celebration of Black History Month, we invite you to check out recent books as well as select titles from our backlist in Pacific Northwest, African American, and Black Diaspora historical studies that speak to the profound legacy of Black Americans and this year’s theme of Black resistance.
Black Lives in Alaska: A History of African Americans in the Far Northwest
Centering the agency and diversity of Black Alaskans, this book chronicles how Alaska’s Black population, though small, has had an outsized impact on the culture and civic life of the region. Alaska’s history of race relations and civil rights reminds the reader that the currents of discrimination and its responses—determination, activism, and perseverance—are American stories that might be explored in the unlikeliest of places.
The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle’s Central District from 1870 through the Civil Rights Era
University of Washington Emeritus Professor of American History Quintard Taylor’s meticulously researched account is essential to understanding the history and present of the largest black community in the Pacific Northwest. The second edition features a new foreword and afterword.
Revolution to Evolution: The Story of the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity at the University of Washington
Born from a national movement in the late 1960s seeking to address structural and cultural racism, the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D) started as a core group of Black Student Union leaders at the UW who demanded changes in how the school served students of color. In a new book releasing February 21, legendary founding member Emile Pitre shares deep insight into the making of the institution through candid interviews, letters, and reflections of those who participated across decades.
Emerald Street: A History of Hip Hop in Seattle
In this rich narrative, Daudi Abe draws on interviews with artists and journalists to trace how hip hop flourished in the Seattle scene. He shows how Seattle hip-hop culture goes beyond art and music, influencing politics, the relationships between communities of color and law enforcement, the changing media scene, and youth outreach and educational programs.
The Portland Black Panthers: Empowering Albina and Remaking a City
Combining histories of the city and its African American community with interviews with former Portland Panthers and other key players, this long-overdue account adds complexity to our understanding of the protracted civil rights movement throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Black Women in Sequence: Re-Inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime
Beginning with the 1971 appearance of the first Black female superheroine in a comic book—the Skywald Publications character “the Butterfly”—artist, curator, and writer Deborah Elizabeth Waley examines the representation, production, and transnational circulation of women of African descent in the sequential art world.
Migrating the Black Body: The African Diaspora and Visual Culture
How is the travel of black bodies reflected in reciprocal black images? How is blackness forged and remade through diasporic visual encounters and reimagined through revisitations with the past? This volume brings together an international group of scholars and artists who explore these questions in visual culture for the historical and contemporary African diaspora.
Love for Liberation: African Independence, Black Power, and a Diaspora Underground
Through interviews with activists, extensive archival research, and media analysis, Robin Hayes reveals how Black Power and African independence activists created a diaspora underground, characterized by collaboration and reciprocal empowerment. Together, they redefined racial discrimination as an international human rights issue and laid the groundwork for future transnational racial justice movements, such as Black Lives Matter.
Louisiana Creole Peoplehood: Afro-Indigeneity and Community
Over the course of more than three centuries, the diverse communities of Louisiana have engaged in creative living practices to forge a vibrant, multifaceted, and fully developed Creole culture. Engaging themes as varied as foodways, queer identity, health, historical trauma, language revitalization, and diaspora, this volume explores vital ways a specific Afro-Indigenous community asserts agency while promoting cultural sustainability, communal dialogue, and community reciprocity against the backdrop of ongoing anti-Blackness and Indigenous erasure.
Barbara Earl Thomas: The Geography of Innocence
Artist Barbara Earl Thomas’s body of work collected here offers a reexamination of Black portraiture and the preconceived dichotomies of innocence and guilt and sin and redemption, and the ways in which these notions are assigned and distorted along cultural and racial lines.