As someone who has always been captivated by American culture, people, and history, I was astounded to learn how little I knew about the history of African Americans. My meagre knowledge of the Black community in America comes primarily through movies, TV shows, and documentaries.
My quest to learn about the history of slavery resulted in a year-long marathon of reading and researching the best audiobooks on African American history that reveal the life of the Black community from the colonial era to modern-day America.
Here are 8 Best Audiobooks on African American History You Must Listen to!
The Destruction Of Black Civilization, Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D., by Chancellor Williams
Those who forget history are bound to repeat it, as the saying goes. Much before the exploitation of Black life for the cotton trade in southern America, European empires colonised and exploited African civilisation.
The Destruction of Black Civilization is the outcome of 16 years of intense research and field study to reconstruct African history in a new light. Chancellor created the book during a time when black students, intellectuals, and educators were working to dispel widespread misconceptions about African history.
The book is an enthralling narrative of African civilisation that answers the age-old question, “What reasons led to the breakdown of Black civilization and exploitation in the form of slavery at the hands of European colonisers?” from the standpoint of a Black person
This book is essential reading for anybody interested not just in the history of slavery in America, but also in its origins on the African continent.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson
Isabel Wilkerson, the first African American woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize in 1994, is regarded as one of the best historical writers of the twenty-first century. She demonstrated her mettle once more with Warmth of Other Suns, a huge and masterful account of the Great Migration.
Wilkerson portrays this story via the lives of three people who moved from their homes to new states in quest of a new life and a new career. We follow these folks as they try to make a life in their new homes, seeing historical events unfold through their eyes.
The Warmth of Other Suns is a daring, astonishing, and riveting novel, as well as a magnificent portrayal of America’s ‘unrecognised immigration.’ Given the scope of its narrative, the beauty of its language, and the compelling lives of the persons represented, the book is destined to become a classic.
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, by Ibram X. Kendi
Ibram Kendi’s national best-selling book discusses how racist ideas were produced, propagated, and became firmly ingrained in American society. It is one of those novels that gets right to the heart of the issue.
Kendi’s well-researched and fast-paced tale traces the full history of anti-black racist attitudes and their startling power in America. His research reveals a stunning fact: racism is created to justify and legitimise deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation’s racial inequities, not out of ignorance or hatred.
Stamped from the Beginning, told through the lives of five renowned American philosophers, shines light on the racial inequities that exist within every stratum of American society and provides the tools we need to expose racist ideology.
Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880, by W.E.B Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois was known as the “Father of American Sociology” and one of the most prominent philosophers of the twenty-first century. Du Bois’ legacy may be seen in his groundbreaking work in a variety of fields, including the history of the post-Civil War Reconstruction period.
Black Reconstruction in America provides a comprehensive analysis and interpretation of the Reconstruction period’s twenty years from the perspective of newly liberated African Americans. Despite initial criticism, the book has since become a literary and historical classic.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colourblindness, by Michelle Alexander
In an age when we believe racism is outmoded and a thing of the past, Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow packs a powerful blow in the gut. After surviving the harsh and cruel reality of the Jim Crow era, it appears that mass incarceration of Black life on fabricated accusations has taken its place.
Michelle reveals a terrible caste-like system that has taken root in America’s criminal justice system, resulting in millions of African-Americans being put up behind bars. This system denies the very rights that the African-American community fought for during the Civil War, relegating them to a permanent second-class status.
The book has been dubbed the “Bible” of criminal justice reform, and it is a must-read if you want to grasp the relationship between slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, and racism in the United States.
The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap, by Mehrsa Baradaran
The racial economic gap, like the social imbalance against African-Americans, has been visible and has grown over time. In 1863, the Black community controlled less than 1% of the overall wealth of the United States. That figure has not moved in the more than 150 years since then.
Mehrsa Baradaran has called into question the long-held belief that Black banking and community self-help are the answer to the racial wealth disparity. She demonstrates how the banking system is designed to suck Black community money into White institutions, producing an ongoing cycle of poverty and unfairness.
The Color of Money is an essential book for understanding the operation of banking in a segregated economy in order to devise bolder and more practical policies to strengthen the Black economy.
The Autobiogrpahy of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X, Alex Haley
The Autobiography of Malcolm X was meant to be a true autobiography, without the presence of Alex Haley as a ghost writer, collaborator, or assistant.
However, with Malcolm X’s killing in Harlem, New York City on February 21, 1965, just before this book could be released, it became vital to reveal Alex Haley’s significant role in the creation of this book.
The book provides an insight into Malcolm X’s life, beginning with his birth and progressing through his life’s turning points and mission before his death. You are exposed to his point of view as well as the individuals he was associated with who inspired him to become the guy he was before his death. You’ll have a better sense of who he was and what he stood for.
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.,by Clayborne Carlson
He was a husband, a father, a preacher, and the head of a global movement that continues to transform. Martin Luther King, Jr. had one of the most amazing lives of the twentieth century.
Now, in a special presentation commissioned and authorised by his family, a comprehensive collection of texts, recordings, and documentary materials about Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s unforgettable life and legacy chronicled in his own vivid, compassionate voice. This programme is a unique combination of rare recordings of Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering sermons, talks, lectures, and addresses. I Have A Dream, Letter from a Birmingham Jail, and The Nobel Acceptance Speech are highlights.
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