[CLOSED] Celebrate Black History Month with 4 Eye-Opening Books

Enter for a chance to win 4 books that dive into the moving and enlightening histories of black men and women.

book giveaway: Lest We Forget; Barracoon; Franchise; Overground Railroad

Editor's note: This giveaway is now closed.

Black History Month is the time of year to go out of your way to acknowledge and bring extra attention to the often overlooked trials and triumphs of black men and women throughout history. So here at The Archive we’ve collected 4 enlightening black history books for this month’s giveaway celebrating African American history over the centuries.

One lucky winner will take home: Lest We Forget: The Passage from Africa into the Twenty-First Century by Velma Maia Thomas, Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston, Franchise by Marcia Chatelain, and Overground Railroad by Candacy Taylor. From the bountiful and beautiful lives of African people in pre-slavery cultures, to the saturation of fast food franchises in modern day black America, these books contain fascinating and unexpected nuances of history.

Enter below for your chance to win these essential historical reads!

About the Books

Buy Lest We Forget: The Passage from Africa into the Twenty-First Century at Amazon

Lest We Forget: The Passage from Africa into the Twenty-First Century

By Velma Maia Thomas

This collectible book by distinguished public historian Velma Maia Thomas offers an intimate look at black history in America with exclusive accounts, artifacts, and photographs. Presented in three parts—Lest We Forget, Freedom’s Children, and We Shall Not Be Moved—the history comes to life through five interactive items attached to the pages throughout, along with ten more pieces of removable memorabilia contained in an envelope at the back.

Based on materials from the nationally acclaimed Black Holocaust Exhibit, Lest We Forget documents the plight of an estimated 100 million Africans, from their rich pre-slavery culture to their enslavement in a foreign land. This collection of stirring historic papers, memoirs, personal effects, and photographs presented alongside moving commentary chronicles the unyielding strength of a people who refused to be broken.

Buy Barracoon at Amazon

Barracoon

By Zora Neale Hurston

In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States.

In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship. Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life. During those weeks, the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo’s past―memories from his childhood in Africa, the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilda, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War.

Based on those interviews, featuring Cudjo’s unique vernacular, and written from Hurston’s perspective with the compassion and singular style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth-century, Barracoon masterfully illustrates the tragedy of slavery and of one life forever defined by it. Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.

Buy Franchise at Amazon

Franchise

By Marcia Chatelain

From civil rights to Ferguson, Franchise reveals the untold history of how fast food became one of the greatest generators of black wealth in America.

Often blamed for the rising rates of obesity and diabetes among black Americans, fast food restaurants like McDonald's have long symbolized capitalism's villainous effects on our nation's most vulnerable communities. But how did fast food restaurants so thoroughly saturate black neighborhoods in the first place? In Franchise, acclaimed historian Marcia Chatelain uncovers a surprising history of cooperation among fast food companies, black capitalists, and civil rights leaders, who―in the troubled years after King's assassination―believed they found an economic answer to the problem of racial inequality. With the discourse of social welfare all but evaporated, federal programs under presidents Johnson and Nixon promoted a new vision for racial justice: that the franchising of fast food restaurants, by black citizens in their own neighborhoods, could finally improve the quality of black life. Synthesizing years of research, Franchise tells a troubling success story of an industry that blossomed the very moment a freedom movement began to wither.

Buy Overground Railroad at Amazon

Overground Railroad

By Candacy Taylor

The first book to explore the historical role and residual impact of the Green Book, a travel guide for black motorists. 

Published from 1936 to 1966, the Green Book was hailed as the “black travel guide to America.” At that time, it was very dangerous and difficult for African-Americans to travel because black travelers couldn’t eat, sleep, or buy gas at most white-owned businesses. The Green Book listed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses that were safe for black travelers. It was a resourceful and innovative solution to a horrific problem. It took courage to be listed in the Green Book, and Overground Railroad celebrates the stories of those who put their names in the book and stood up against segregation. It shows the history of the Green Book, how we arrived at our present historical moment, and how far we still have to go when it comes to race relations in America. 

For full details, see official rules.

Note: The sweepstakes is open to all legal residents of the 50 United States and Washington, D.C. who are 18 years of age and older by February 14, 2020.

Published on 12 Apr 2019