10 Books by Black and & Afro-Indigenous Authors on Black History, Liberation and Futurism

February 10, 2023

10 Books by Black and & Afro-Indigenous Authors on Black History, Liberation and Futurism

A list curated by Afro-Indigenous Staff at NDN Collective in honor of Black History Month.

In honor of Black History Month, NDN Collective curated the following list of books by Black and Afro-Indigenous authors that speaks to Black history, Black liberation and Black futurism. Compiled by Afro-Indigenous staff at NDN Collective, the list captures a glimpse of the experiences of our Black Relatives, prompting us to continue listening, learning and leaning into kinship efforts that uplift our joint struggles toward liberation and sovereignty.

To assist with your purchase of these amazing titles, we’ve also provided a list of 4 Black-owned bookstores, which you’ll find these at the end of the list.

1. An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States

By Kyle T. Mays (Saginaw Anishinaabe)

The first intersectional history of the Black and Native American struggle for freedom in our country that also reframes our understanding of who was Indigenous in early America.

Beginning with pre-Revolutionary America and moving into the movement for Black lives and contemporary Indigenous activism, Afro-Indigenous historian Kyle T. Mays argues that the foundations of the US are rooted in antiblackness and settler colonialism, and that these parallel oppressions continue into the present. (Read the full synopsis HERE.)

Mays compels us to rethink both our history as well as contemporary debates and to imagine the powerful possibilities of Afro-Indigenous solidarity.

– Beacon Press

2. Farming While Black

By Leah Penniman & Karen Washington

Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices have roots in African wisdom. Yet, discrimination and violence against African-American farmers has led to their decline from 14 percent of all growers in 1920 to less than 2 percent today, with a corresponding loss of over 14 million acres of land.  Further, Black communities suffer disproportionately from illnesses related to lack of access to fresh food and healthy natural ecosystems. (Read the Full Synopsis HERE.)

An extraordinary book…part agricultural guide, part revolutionary manifesto.

– VOGUE

3. Black Disability Politics

By Sami Schalk

In Black Disability Politics Sami Schalk explores how issues of disability have been and continue to be central to Black activism from the 1970s to the present. 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. (Read the Full Synopsis HERE.)

Schalk shows how Black people have long engaged with disability as a political issue deeply tied to race and racism.

– Duke University Press

4. Climate Justice: Black & Native Attention as Miracle

By Loam, Edited By Kailea Frederick (Tāłtān and Kaska)

Created in collaboration with a constellation of Black, Native, and Afro-Indigenous contributors, this immersive and in-depth magazine looks to the movements for Black Liberation and Indigenous Sovereignty for guidance on how to organize, reimagine, and transform in the midst of disaster and revolution. (Read the Full Synopsis HERE.)

This immersive and in-depth magazine looks to the movements for Black Liberation and Indigenous Sovereignty for guidance on how to organize, reimagine, and transform in the midst of disaster and revolution.

– Loam

5. We Will Not Cancel Us

By Adrienne Maree Brown

Published in 2020 after adrienne wrote an essay called “Unthinkable Thoughts: Call Out Culture in the Age of Covid-19” which went viral. The book calls for discernment, care, transformative justice and to learn from the mushrooms about composting toxins. (Read the Full Synopsis HERE.)

Brown explores the question from a Black, queer, and feminist viewpoint that gently asks, how well does this practice serve us? Does it prefigure the sort of world we want to live in? And, if it doesn’t, how do we seek accountability and redress for harm in ways that reflect our values?

– AK Press

6. The Vanishing Half

By Brit Bennett

From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white. (Read the Full Synopsis HERE.)

Bennett’s tone and style recalls James Baldwin and Jacqueline Woodson, but it’s especially reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s 1970 debut novel, The Bluest Eye.

– Kiley Reid, Wall Street Journal

7. Rest as Resistance

By Tricia Hersey

From the founder and creator of The Nap Ministry, Rest Is Resistance is a battle cry, a guidebook, a map for a movement, and a field guide for the weary and hopeful. This book is rooted in spiritual energy and centered in Black liberation, womanism, somatics, and Afrofuturism. (Read the Full Synopsis HERE.)

Disrupt and push back against capitalism and white supremacy. In this book, Tricia Hersey, aka The Nap Bishop, encourages us to connect to the liberating power of rest, daydreaming, and naps as a foundation for healing and justice.

– Tricia Hersey

8. Haben: The deafblind woman who conquered Harvard Law

By Haben Girma

Haben was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she currently lives. Her memoir takes readers on adventures around the world, including her parents’ homes in Eritrea and Ethiopia, building a school under the scorching Saharan sun, training with a guide dog in New Jersey, climbing an iceberg in Alaska, fighting for blind readers at a courthouse in Vermont, and talking with President Obama at The White House. (Read the Full Synopsis HERE.)

Haben takes readers through a thrilling game of blind hide-and-seek in Louisiana, a treacherous climb up an iceberg in Alaska, and a magical moment with President Obama at The White House.

– Amazon Books

9. Caste

By Isabel Wilkerson

A book steeped in empathy and insight, Caste explores, through layered analysis and stories of real people, the structure of an unspoken system of human ranking and reveals how our lives are still restricted by what divided us centuries ago. (Read the Full Synopsis HERE.)

The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.

– Random House Books

10. Working the Roots: Over 400 Years of Traditional African American Healing

By Michele Elizabeth Lee

African American traditional medicine is an American classic that emerged out of the necessity of its people to survive. It began with the healing knowledge brought with the African captives on the slave ships and later merged with Native American, European and other healing traditions to become a full-fledged body of medicinal practices that has lasted in various forms down to the present day. (Read the Full Synopsis HERE.)

Over 400 Years Of Traditional African American Healing is the result of first-hand interviews, conversations, and apprenticeships conducted and experienced by author Michele E. Lee

– Amazon Books

Purchase these phenomenal books and more from the following Black-owned bookstores:

March 2023 Edition

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