Each February we’re pleased to find a crop of new audiobooks that chronicle Black History and celebrate lives of African Americans. Two important history titles in our reviews this week look at the city of Detroit: BLACK DETROIT: A People’s History of Self-Determination by Herb Boyd, which looks at the rich cultural tapestry of the city, and DAWN OF DETROIT: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits by Tiya Miles, professor of History and African-American Studies at the University of Michigan. She looks at the entwined African American and Native American communities in the 18th century. Before jumping into this 10-hour immersion, The New York Times review has some interesting background.
Seeing that prominent historian, educator, and filmmaker Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the author of 100 AMAZING FACTS ABOUT THE NEGRO made me dig beyond the unlikely title. Gates updated an earlier compendium from 1934 and 1957 (hence the startling title) by Joel A. Rogers. This audiobook is more along the lines of “fun facts” than the scholarly histories above, but narrator Dominic Hoffman illuminates the rich histories for listeners. I explored more of Gates’s work to find the current FINDING YOUR ROOTS series, and the 2016 PBS film, BLACK AMERICA SINCE MLK: AND STILL I RISE. Talk about history—I reviewed a collection of Maya Angelou’s poems, AND STILL I RISE, released on cassette, no less, in 1996.
Here’s the great lady, reading “Still I Rise.”
For young listeners, a new audiobook just reviewed: A CHILD’S INTRODUCTION TO AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY : The Experiences, People, and Events That Shaped Our Country by Jabari Asim and narrated by Dion Graham. One of my all-time favorite Black History titles for families is the stunning ensemble production of 28 DAYS: Moments in Black History That Changed the World. We were so excited by these portraits of Black Americans that we worked with Arnie and Debra Cardillo, publishers of Live Oak Media, to present 28 DAYS by releasing one profile a day.
You can listen from AudioFile’s SoundCloud playlist.