Reading List: National Museum of African American History and Culture

This Saturday the Smithsonian will open its newest branch, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), in Washington DC. The building itself is an architectural wonder, modeled after a wooden sculpture by the Yoruba artist Olowe of Ise. Inside, galleries detail the African American experience, from the slave trade to the Civil War, the Harlem Renaissance to lunch counter sit-ins, Rodney King to Barack Obama. You can learn more about the NMAAHC at the Huffington Post and the New York Times.

UNP always makes an effort to recognize the important contributions that African Americans have made to the history of this great nation. Here are just a few of our books you might want to read, if you haven’t already:


She Can Bring Us Home: Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee, Civil Rights Pioneer by Diane Kiesel

“She Can Bring Us Home expertly recovers the life of this forgotten giant in advocacy of civil rights, health care, women’s rights, and educational equality.”—Cassandra Newby-Alexander, Virginia Magazine


African Americans on the Great Plains: An Anthology edited and with an introduction by Bruce A. Glasrud and Charles A. Braithwaite

The first book to give evidence to the presence and importance of of African Americans in the unfolding of the western frontier.


Black Print with a White Carnation: Mildred Brown and the Omaha Star Newspaper, 1938-1989 by Amy Helene Forss

Within the context of African American and women’s history studies, this book examines the impact of the black press through the narrative of Brown’s life and work.


A Regiment of Slaves: The 4th United States Colored Infantry, 1863-1866 by Edward G. Longacre

“A much-needed, long overdue piece of the complex mosaic which makes up the Gettysburg story. No Civil War library should be without it.”—Military Images


The Struggle in Black and Brown: African American and Mexican Relations during the Civil Rights Era edited and with an introduction by Brian D. Behnken

This book of essays provides key perspectives to understanding the development of America’s ethnic and sociopolitical landscape.


Invisible Men: Life in Baseball’s Negro Leagues by Don Rogosin
This memorable narrative, filled with the memories of many surviving Negro League players, pulls the veil off these “invisible men” who were forced into the segregated leagues.
If You Don’t Go, Don’t Hinder Me: The African American Sacred Song Tradition by Bernice Johnson Reagon
“As a cultural historian who now serves as a curator emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution and as a distinguished professor of history at American University, Reagon challenges conventional historical methods as useful tools to seek out the deeper meanings of black musical spirituality.”—Washington Post
Obama’s America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity by Ian Reifowitz
Reifowitz explores Obama’s belief that strengthening our common bonds will encourage Americans to rectify the injustices and heal the racial divisions that still plague our country.

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