The Black Book: Books Every Black Person Should Read
This article will be one of many to highlight books Every Black Person Should Read. There are so many books to choose from, and yet, "The Black Book" does stand out from the rest because of its unique contents.
"The Black Book" is a virtual museum captured in book form. It contains replicas of original photographs, newspaper articles from as early as the 1400's, letters, posters, drawings, and recipes to name a few. Middleton Harris was one of the collectors of the original works and is credited as an editor. It was first published in 1974. The 30th Anniversary edition includes a poem written by Toni Morrison who was also an editor.
The book starts with the shocking reference to Christopher Columbus' writing in his own reports about his voyages to America that he "discovered" Black merchants who were in possession of gold, ivory and spices. In a few pages, well placed at the beginning of the book, Morrison with a stunning 1-2-word-punch destroys the long held belief of the "discovery" of a continent by someone who was lost. From there, you will find photographs of evidence of the African presence in the Americas long before Columbus' arrival. You will find a handwritten letter by Frederick Douglass, schematic drawings of patents by Black inventors, lynching photographs with groups of people posing with the corpse to name but a few items.
The photographs show the most obtuse examples of stereotypical images along with the crowning glories of our contributions. A casual browse through the pages will bring forward a myriad of emotions due to the irrefutable nature of them. It becomes evident that inventions such as the fountain pen, telephone system, lemon squeezer, typewriter, and lantern are an unmistakable part of the legacy of Black people.
The best person to describe the impact of her own work are the actual words of Toni Morrison captured in an article she wrote for "Black World" magazine called, "Behind the Making of the Black Book," which was published in Feb. 1974.
Just after her death in 2019, a documentary came out of the life of Toni Morrison. The trailer to the film is included below. "The Black Book" is mentioned in the film. I highly recommend the movie to all.
Read the entire "Black World" magazine article here:
To purchase your own copy of the book, please visit our website at: www.afriwarebooks.com
My name is Nzingha Nommo, Owner/Founder of Afriware Books, Co. I've been in business over 27 years. Thought I could share a few things along the way that may be of use to others thinking about or currently in the book business..