Books: Non-Fiction

Our History Has Always Been Contraband: In Defense of Black Studies

Book — Non-fiction. Edited by Colin Kaepernick, Robin D. G. Kelley, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. 2023. 220 pages.
A collection of critical voices from the Black radical tradition that provides access to a history that is still being suppressed today.
Themes: African American, Education, Racism & Racial Identity

Since its founding as a discipline in 1969, Black Studies has been under constant attack by social and political forces seeking to discredit and neutralize it.

Florida is the frontline of an increasingly pitched battle taking place in schools and communities across the country. State legislatures are introducing laws to remove work by Black scholars like Angela Davis, bell hooks, Kimberlé Crenshaw, James Baldwin, and many others from classrooms, libraries, and curricula.

The assault on Black Studies is an assault on movements fighting for a better future. It signals a disturbing truth about the U.S. political landscape: the so-called “war on woke” is far from over. It’s just beginning, and it needs to be confronted head-on.

Our History Has Always Been Contraband collects critical voices from the Black radical tradition, including writings by David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Anna Julia Cooper, Zora Neale Hurston, W. E. B. Du Bois, C. L. R. James, James Baldwin, June Jordan, Angela Y. Davis, Robert Allen, Barbara Smith, Toni Cade Bambara, bell hooks, Barbara Christian, Patricia Hill Collins, Cathy J. Cohen, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Saidiya Hartman, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, and many others.

Our History Has Always Been Contraband excerpts readings that cut across and between literature, political theory, law, psychology, sociology, gender and sexuality studies, queer and feminist theory, and history. This volume also includes original essays by editors Kaepernick, Kelley, and Taylor, elucidating how we got here, and pieces by Brea Baker, Marlon Williams-Clark, and Roderick A. Ferguson detailing how we can fight back.

Edited by Robin D. G. Kelley, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, and Colin Kaepernick, Our History Has Always Been Contraband gives students and non-students alike access to a history and tradition that is being suppressed. [Adapted from publisher’s description.]

White supremacists are attempting to control our people’s future by erasing our past. But we won’t let them. The centuries-long attack on Black history represents a strike against our very worth, brilliance, and value. We’re ready to fight back. And when we fight, we win. —Colin Kaepernick

ISBN: 9798888900574 | Haymarket Books and Kaepernick Publishing

Haymarket Books currently offers the e-book version of this collection for free.

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