Celebrate Black History Month with New Books from UMass Press


UMass Press continues its proud tradition of offering strong and various titles in African American studies, literature, and history. Here are some of our newest books:

Black Bostonians and the Politics of Culture, 1920-1940 by Lorraine Elena Roses

In the 1920s and 1930s Boston became a rich and distinctive site of African American artistic production, unfolding at the same time as the Harlem Renaissance. Lorraine Elena Roses employs archival sources and personal interviews to recover this artistic output.

An Abolitionist Abroad: Sarah Parker Remond in Cosmopolitan Europe by Sirpa Salenius

Sarah Parker Remond (1826–1894) left the free black community of Salem, Massachusetts, where she was born, to become one of the first women to travel on extensive lecture tours across the United Kingdom.

Measuring the Harlem Renaissance: The U.S. Census, African American Identity, and Literary Form by Michael Soto

Michael Soto examines how the U.S. Census placed persons of African descent within a rigid taxonomy of racial difference and thus defined a uniform African American identity in Harlem. Soto explores how black writers and intellectuals during the same period described a far more complex community of interracial social contact and intra-racial diversity.

The Harlem Renaissance and the Idea of a New Negro Reader by Shawn Anthony Christian

Many scholars have written about the white readers of the Harlem Renaissance, but during the period many black writers, publishers, and editors worked to foster a cadre of African American readers. Shawn Anthony Christian illustrates that the drive to develop and support black readers was central in the poetry, fiction, and drama of the era.


Remember Little Rock by Erin Krutko Devlin

In Remember Little Rock Erin Krutko Devlin explores public memories surrounding the iconic Arkansas school desegregation crisis of 1957 and shows how these memories were vigorously contested and sometimes deployed against the cause.

Ragged Revolutionaries: The Lumpenproletariat and African American Marxism in Depression-Era Literature by Nathaniel Mills

In Ragged Revolutionaries, Nathaniel Mills argues that the lumpenproletariat was central to an overlooked yet vibrant mode of African American Marxism formulated during the Great Depression by black writers on the Communist left, including Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, and Margaret Walker.

All Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn by Jason Sokol

All Eyes Are Upon Us explores the history of racial struggles in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York from World War II to the present—struggles that involve warring traditions of welcoming inclusion and violent segregation.

Webinar Opportunity

In celebration of Black History Month, join author Cheryl Knott, author of the award-winning Not Free, Not for All: Public Libraries in the Age of Jim Crow and Civil Rightsactivist Geraldine Hollis, author of Back to Mississippi;  artist Michael Crowell; and Chapel Hill Library Director Susan Brown for an engaging and educational conversation on the history of libraries and life in the Jim Crow South.

The Jim Crow laws were in effect in the U.S. South from 1890-1965. During that time, libraries were one of many segregated institutions. Geraldine Hollis (then Edwards), a student at Tougaloo College in Mississippi, was one of nine students arrested at the white public library in Jackson for attempting to read books that were not available at the colored library. The recent movie Hidden Figures highlighted several heroines from the Civil Rights era and numerous unsung heroes who contributed to the progress we’ve seen; Geraldine Hollis is one of those heroes.

The webinar is sponsored by the Freedom to Read Foundation.