GET STARTED – READ THESE BOOKS
Although I have tried to present the very complicated background of the pre-Civil war and Civil War days in Missouri, sharing again that I am not a historian, I would strongly recommend the following book (soft cover, not too long) be read to gain a fabulous understanding as to why the Civil War was all so doubly awful in Missouri and why racism still prevails. . Don’t let the title scare you – in general its very readable.
The book is, The Civil War’s First Blood, Missouri, 1854-1866 by James Denny and John Bradbury published by Missouri Life, Boonville, Mo.
To continue with your education read Guerrillas in Civil War Missouri by James W. Erwin. The violence and depredation is mind boggling. Guerrilla war is perhaps the most brutal of wars, This was Missouri’s war: a war of ceaseless retaliation, mutilated dead and few prisoners. During the Civil War, Missouri was in constant turmoil from raids by heavily armed bands of marauders loosely affiliated with the Confederate Army. Federal troops fought more than one thousand battles in Missouri – mostly with guerrillas.
Now here we go with all the other recommended books:
Mostly paperback and some very short and I guarantee it, you will never be the same!! Statements in parenthesis are Dr. Harlan’s comments.
What is it like, really like, to be a negro in the Deep South? Novelist John Howard Griffin darkened his skin and set out to discover by personal experience the night side of American Life. This is his startling report.
In the Deep South of the 1950s, journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross the color line. Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man. His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity-that in this new millennium still has something important to say to every American. (order on Amazon)
2. Black Rage by William H. Grier and Price M. Cobbs
Profoundly disturbing, intensely eloquent, overwhelming. – New York Times
The first book to examine the full range of black life from the vantage point of psychiatry, this widely acclaimed work has established itself as the classic statement of the desperation, conflicts, and anger of black life in America today. Black Rage tells of the insidious effects of the heritage of slavery; describes love, marriage, and the family; addresses the sexual myths and fears of blacks and whites; chronicles how the schools fail the black child; examines mental illness among black people and the psychic stresses engendered by discrimination; and, finally, focuses on the miasma of racial hatred that envelops this country, why it exists, and what will surely happen if it is not soon dispelled. (Order on Amazon)
It speaks for itself!! ( Pictures of Blacks being burned alive!)
4. Sons of Mississippi by Paul Hendrickson
They stand as unselfconscious as if the photograph were being taken at a church picnic and not during one of the pitched battles of the civil rights struggle. None of them knows that the image will appear in Life magazine or that it will become an icon of its era. The year is 1962, and these seven white Mississippi lawmen have gathered to stop James Meredith from integrating the University of Mississippi. One of them is swinging a billy club.
More than thirty years later, award-winning journalist and author Paul Hendrickson sets out to discover who these men were, what happened to them after the photograph was taken, and how racist attitudes shaped the way they lived their lives. But his ultimate focus is on their children and grandchildren, and how the prejudice bequeathed by the fathers was transformed, or remained untouched, in the sons. Sons of Mississippi is a scalding yet redemptive work of social history, a book of eloquence and that tracks the movement of racism across three generations and bears witness to its ravages among both black and white Americans. (order on Amazon)
A required reading for various courses and curriculums on the plight of the African American. (order on Amazon)
6. Barack Obama and the Burden of Race by Thomas J. Sugrue
The Past isn’t dead and buried – in fact it’s not even past!”( So sad, but so true! That is why we are here!)
Barack Obama, in his acclaimed campaign speech discussing the troubling complexities of race in America today, quoted William Faulkner’s famous remark “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” In Not Even Past, award-winning historian Thomas Sugrue examines the paradox of race in Obama’s America and how President Obama intends to deal with it.
Obama’s journey to the White House undoubtedly marks a watershed in the history of race in America. Yet even in what is being hailed as the post-civil rights era, racial divisions–particularly between blacks and whites–remain deeply entrenched in American life. Sugrue traces Obama’s evolving understanding of race and racial inequality throughout his career, from his early days as a community organizer in Chicago, to his time as an attorney and scholar, to his spectacular rise to power as a charismatic and savvy politician, to his dramatic presidential campaign. Sugrue looks at Obama’s place in the contested history of the civil rights struggle; his views about the root causes of black poverty in America; and the incredible challenges confronting his historic presidency.
Does Obama’s presidency signal the end of race in American life? In Not Even Past, a leading historian of civil rights, race, and urban America offers a revealing and unflinchingly honest assessment of the culture and politics of race in the age of Obama, and of our prospects for a postracial America. (Order on Amazon)
(Didn’t think you were racist – try reading this. An eye opener and harsh discovery!)
Vivid and engaging, Silent Racism persuasively demonstrates that silent racism – racism by people who classify themselves as “not racist” – is instrumental in the production of institutional racism. Trepagnier argues that heightened race awareness is more important in changing racial inequality than judging whether individuals are racist. The collective voices and confessions of “non-racist” white women heard in this book help reveal that all individuals harbor some racist thoughts and feelings. Trepagnier uses vivid focus group interviews to argue that the oppositional categories of racist/not racist are outdated. The oppositional categories should be replaced in contemporary thought with a continuum model that more accurately portrays today’s racial reality in the United States. A shift to a continuum model can raise the race awareness of well-meaning white people and improve race relations. Offering a fresh approach, Silent Racism is an essential resource for teaching and thinking about racism in the twenty-first century. (Order on Amazon)
Know what it’s like to travel and not be able to stop for a restroom break – for gas in the car – for food – for a safe night’s rest!! just because your skin was black!! Read this – and find out.
The epic story of Americas’ Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson. Winner of the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for Non -fiction. Oral histories of the blacks who migrated out of the South Powerful and moving.
From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.
With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.
Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic. (Order on Amazon)
9. The Negro Traveler’s Green Book by Victor Green
First published in 1936 by Victor H. Green, a Black Retired Postal Worker to enable Black Motorists, who often faced danger and violent discrimination, to locate safe, comfortable lodgings, car maintenance and travel accommodations. Presented with the compliments of “The Esso Man”. (Unbelievable to realize how hard it was for Blacks to travel. Something us Whites probably just take for granted. Several homes in Sedalia were listed as taking “lodgers”.
The Negro Travelers’ Green Book was a travel guide series published from 1936 to 1964 by Victor H. Green. It was intended to provide African American motorists and tourists with the information necessary to board, dine, and sightsee comfortably and safely during the era of segregation.
A custom Google Map compiles placemarks for over 1500 listings from the Spring 1956 Green Book. A larger interactive map with search options is available on a separate page linked below.
The original Green Book is also viewable and searchable as a digital object, and contains all of the Spring 1956 listings (including those that do not appear on the map). (Read digital copy here)
For more historical knowledge, try these
10. Life and Labor in the Old South by Ulrich B. Phillips
1929. With illustrations and maps. Contents: The Land of Dixie; The Old Dominion; The Younger Colonies; Redskins and Latins; From the Backwoods to the Bluegrass; The Cotton Belt; Staple Economy; Traffic; The Peculiar Institution; The Costs of Labor; Life in Thraldom; Some Virginia Masters; Southeastern Plantations; Planters of the Southwest; Overseers; Homesteads; The Plain People; and The Gentry. (Order from Amazon)
11. From Slavery to Freedom by John Hope Franklin and Alfred A. Moss, Jr.
The book deals in considerable detail with the period after slavery, including the arduous struggle for first-class citizenship that has extended into the twentieth century. Many developments in recent African American history are examined, including demographic change; educational efforts; literary and cultural changes; problems in housing, health, juvenile matters, and poverty; the expansion of the black middle class; and the persistence of discrimination in the administration of justice.
All who are interested in African Americans’ continuing quest for equality will find a wealth of information based on the recent findings of many scholars. Professors Franklin and Moss have captured the tragedies and triumphs, the hurts and joys, the failures and successes, of blacks in a lively and readable volume that remains the most authoritative and comprehensive book of its kind. (Order on Amazon)
An updated account of reconstruction by an eminent historian. (Serious reading!)
An updated account of reconstruction by an eminent historian. Ever since its original publication in 1961, Reconstruction after the Civil War has been praised for cutting through the controversial scholarship and popular myths of the time to provide an accurate account of the role of former slaves during this period in American history.
Now Franklin has updated his work to acknowledge the enormous body of research and scholarship that followed in the wake of the first edition. New are Franklin’s references to important, later texts that enrich the original narrative. In addition, the extensive bibliography has been thoroughly revised.
What has not changed, however, is the foundation Franklin has laid. Still compelling are his arguments concerning the brevity of the North’s military occupation of the South, the limited amount of power wielded by former slaves, the influence of moderate southerners, the flaws of the constitutions drawn up by the Radical state governments, and the reasons for the downfall of Reconstruction. (Order on Amazon)
Splendidly researched, cogently articulated. May well represent the finest single piece of published scholarship on the American Civil Rights Movement.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Julia Cass (Ms. Cass, a journalist took a year off from her job and moved to Selma to interview Attorney Chestnut for approximately a year to write this book. Eye-opening reading!
To Redeem the Soul of America looks beyond the towering figure of Martin Luther King, Jr., to disclose the full workings of the organization that supported him. As Adam Fairclough reveals the dynamics within the Southern Christian Leadership Conference he shows how Julian Bond, Jesse Jackson, Wyatt Walker, Andrew Young, and others also played a hand in the triumphs of Selma and Birmingham and the frustrations of Albany and Chicago. Joining a charismatic leader with an inspired group of activists, the SCLC built a bridge from the black proletariat to the white liberal elite and then, finally, to the halls of Congress and the White House. (Order on Amazon)
14. Black in Selma by Julia Cass and J.L. Chestnut, Jr.
Politics and Power in a Small Southern American Town , powerful reading.) by J.L.Chestnut, Jr. and Julia Cass (Ms. Cass, a journalist, took a year off from her job and moved to Selma to interview Attorney Chestnut for approximately a year to write this book. . Eye-opening reading!
Black in Selma is the expansive autobiography of J. L. Chestnut Jr., a key figure of the civil rights movement in Selma, Alabama.
Born in Selma in 1930, Chestnut left home to study law at Howard University in Washington, DC. Returning to Selma, Chestnut was the town’s first and only African American attorney in the late 1950s. As the turbulent struggle for civil rights spread across the South, Chestnut became an active and assiduous promoter of social and legal equality in his hometown. A key player on the local and state fronts, Chestnut accrued deep insights into the racial tensions in his community and deftly opened paths toward a more equitable future.
Though intimately involved in many events that took place in Selma, Chestnut was nevertheless often identified in history books as simply “a local attorney.” Black in Selma reveals his powerful yet little-known story. (order on Amazon)
15. Lay Bare the Heart by James Farmer
Founder of C O R E (Congress of Racial Equality)( Mr. Farmer, son of a Methodist minister an eloquent, forceful speaker with an imposing size worked tirelessly from the 1940’s until his death from complications from diabetes.) Must reading!!
In Lay Bare the Heart Farmer tells the story of the heroic civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. This moving and unsparing personal account captures both the inspiring strengths and human weaknesses of a movement beset by rivalries, conflicts and betrayals. Farmer recalls meetings with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Jack and Bobby Kennedy, Adlai Stevenson (for whom he had great respect), and Lyndon Johnson (who, according to Farmer, used Adam Clayton Powell Jr., to thwart a major phase of the movement).
James Farmer has courageously worked for dignity for all people in the United States. In this book, he tells his story with forthright honesty. (order on Amazon)
Now you are ready to increase your knowledge even more. Before long, you will want to join our efforts in Missouri!!
A Survivor’s Story from a lynching mob.
On a dark summer night in 1930, three young men were arrested. Two were soon lynched. The third, James Cameron, with a noose around his neck and an angry mob calling for his blood, was spared. This is his story, told 64 years later with anger, insight, and reflection. (Order on Amazon)
Now you are ready to increase your knowledge even more. Before long, you will want to join our efforts in Missouri!!
17. Life Upon These Shores by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
The pre-eminent black scholar of negro history. (You may remember him from the “beer summit” with President Obama, Vice-President Biden and the white police officer who had arrested Dr. Gates for unlocking the front door going into his own home in Washington, D. C. pretty pitiful).
The pre-eminent black scholar of negro history. (You may remember him from the “beer summit” with President Obama and the white police officer who had arrested Dr. Gates for going into his own home in Washing, D.C. Pretty pitiful!)
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., gives us a sumptuously illustrated landmark book tracing African American history from the arrival of the conquistadors to the election of Barack Obama.
Informed by the latest, sometimes provocative scholarship and including more than seven hundred images—ancient maps, fine art, documents, photographs, cartoons, posters—Life Upon These Shores focuses on defining events, debates, and controversies, as well as the signal achievements of people famous and obscure. Gates takes us from the sixteenth century through the ordeal of slavery, from the Civil War and Reconstruction through the Jim Crow era and the Great Migration; from the civil rights and black nationalist movements through the age of hip-hop to the Joshua generation. By documenting and illuminating the sheer diversity of African American involvement in American history, society, politics, and culture, Gates bracingly disabuses us of the presumption of a single “black experience.”
Life Upon These Shores is a book of major importance, a breathtaking tour de force of the historical imagination. (Order on Amazon)
18. Slavery in Missouri 1804 – 1865 by Harrison Anthony Trexler
A dissertation submitted to Johns Hopkins University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy 1914. (Highly thought of as the eminent source of slavery information in Missouri)
Leopold Classic Library is delighted to publish this classic book as part of our extensive collection. As part of our on-going commitment to delivering value to the reader, we have also provided you with a link to a website, where you may download a digital version of this work for free. Many of the books in our collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public. Whilst the books in this collection have not been hand curated, an aim of our publishing program is to facilitate rapid access to this vast reservoir of literature. As a result of this book being first published many decades ago, it may have occasional imperfections. These imperfections may include poor picture quality, blurred or missing text. While some of these imperfections may have appeared in the original work, others may have resulted from the scanning process that has been applied. However, our view is that this is a significant literary work, which deserves to be brought back into print after many decades. While some publishers have applied optical character recognition (OCR), this approach has its own drawbacks, which include formatting errors, misspelt words, or the presence of inappropriate characters. Our philosophy has been guided by a desire to provide the reader with an experience that is as close as possible to ownership of the original work. We hope that you will enjoy this wonderful classic book, and that the occasional imperfection that it might contain will not detract from the experience. (Order on Amazon)
An in-depth account of the settling of Pettis County, Missouri in which Sedalia lies.
This book profiles an American Community in the nineteenth century to show the large process by which the nation was transformed from a life close to the frontier to that characteristic of industrial capitalism – With graceful and moving prose, Cassity focuses on the process of social change, the pains that change generated, and the resistance to it.
20. The First One Hundred Years – A History of the City of Sedalia, Missouri 1860-1960 by General George Rappeen Smith, Founder of Sedalia
A History of the City of Sedalia, Missouri, 1860-1960 and General George Rappeen Smith, Founder of Sedalia” (Some “ originals” of Sedalia. Lots of old-time names, organizations and information)
21. Fire in a Cane Break by Laura Wexler
In Walton County, Georgia a mob of white men commit one of the most heinous racial crimes in America’s history: the shotgun murder of four black sharecroppers – two men and two women at Moor’s Ford Bridge.” Fire in a Canebrake”, the term locals used to describe the sound of the fatal gunshots. – More than a half century later, the lynchers identities still remain unknown.
Now, more than a half century later, Laura Wexler offers the first full account of the Moore’s Ford lynching, a murder so brutal it stunned the nation and motivated President Harry Truman to put civil rights at the forefront of his national agenda. With the style of a novelist, the authority of a historian, and the tenacity of a journalist, Wexler recounts the lynching and the resulting four-month FBI investigation. Drawing from interviews, archival sources, and an uncensored FBI report, she takes us deep into the landscape of 1946 Georgia, creating unforgettable portraits of sharecroppers, sheriffs, bootleggers, the victims, and the men who may have killed them. (order on Amazon)
22. The Nature of Prejudice by Gordon W. Allport
The classic study of the roots of discrimination. Over 500,000 sold. It required years of labor and billions of dollars to gain the secret of the atom. It will take a still greater investment to gain the secrets of man’s irrational nature.
Though a little aged (1954) this book is still highly regarded and well worth the time it takes to read it. You will emerge much the wiser!
With profound insight into the complexities of the human experience, Harvard psychologist Gordon Allport organized a mass of research to produce a landmark study on the roots and nature of prejudice. First published in 1954, The Nature of Prejudice remains the standard work on discrimination. Now this classic study is offered in a special unabridged edition with a new introduction by Kenneth Clark of Columbia University and a new preface by Thomas Pettigrew of Harvard University.Allport’s comprehensive and penetrating work examines all aspects of this age-old problem: its roots in individual and social psychology, its varieties of expression, its impact on the individuals and communities. He explores all kinds of prejudice-racial, religious, ethnic, economic and sexual-and offers suggestions for reducing the devastating effects of discrimination.The additional material by Clark and Pettigrew updates the social-psychological research in prejudice and attests to the enduring values of Allport’s original theories and insights. (Order on Amazon)
23. Free at Last edited by Ira Berlin
A documentary history of slavery, freedom and the civil war. (I saved the best for last! If you have become a student of history you will want to read this.
Widely recognized as “one of the nation’s foremost scholars on the slave era” (Boston Globe), Bancroft Prize-winning historian Ira Berlin has changed the way we think about African American life in slavery and freedom. This classic volume, now available in a handsome new edition, is an indispensable resource for educators and general readers alike.
Free at Last brings together some of the most remarkable correspondence ever written by Americans. These letters, personal testimonies, official transcripts, and other records convey the struggle of black men and women to overthrow the slave system, to aid the Union cause, and to give meaning to their newly won freedom in a war-torn nation. Drawn from the landmark reference volumes of Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, this “work of deep significance for all Americans” (Washington Post Book World) offers a unique way of understanding emancipation. (Order on Amazon)
24. On Slavery’s Border by Diane Mutti Burke
On Slavery’s Border is a bottom-up examination of how slavery and slaveholding were influenced by both the geography and the scale of the slaveholding enterprise. Missouri’s strategic access to important waterways made it a key site at the periphery of the Atlantic world. By the time of statehood in 1821, people were moving there in large numbers, especially from the upper South, hoping to replicate the slave society they’d left behind.
Diane Mutti Burke focuses on the Missouri counties located along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to investigate small-scale slavery at the level of the household and neighborhood. She examines such topics as small slaveholders’ child-rearing and fiscal strategies, the economics of slavery, relations between slaves and owners, the challenges faced by slave families, sociability among enslaved and free Missourians within rural neighborhoods, and the disintegration of slavery during the Civil War. Mutti Burke argues that economic and social factors gave Missouri slavery an especially intimate quality. Owners directly oversaw their slaves and lived in close proximity with them, sometimes in the same building. White Missourians believed this made for a milder version of bondage. Some slaves, who expressed fear of being sold further south, seemed to agree.
Mutti Burke reveals, however, that while small slaveholding created some advantages for slaves, it also made them more vulnerable to abuse and interference in their personal lives. In a region with easy access to the free states, the perception that slavery was threatened spawned white anxiety, which frequently led to violent reassertions of supremacy. (Order on Amazon)
25. Caught Between Three Fires (Cass County, Mo., Chaos and Order No. 11, l860-1865). by Tom Rafiner
The author’s Cass County family ties stretch back 160 years. For 11 years, astride the Missouri-Kansas border, Cass County endured the vortex of our nation’s most violent conflict. Citizens struggled between three raging fires, Secessionism, Unionism and an undying Border War – for the first time, “Caught Between Three Fires” reconstructs a lost history, erased by total destruction, Order No. 11, and times purposeful neglect.
For 11 years, astride the Missouri-Kansas border, Cass County endured the vortex of our nation’s most violent conflict. Citizens struggled between three raging fires, Secessionism, Unionism, and an undying Border War. Cass County’s uncivil war, intimate, cruel, and total, suffered no man, woman or child to escape loss or injury – their individual stories weave history’s fabric. Violent circumstances forged leaders who shaped Missouri’s political and military history. Caught Between Three Fires, for the first time, reconstructs a lost history, erased by total destruction, Order No. 11, and time’s purposeful neglect. (Order on Amazon)
And last, but certainly not least is Dr. Gary Kremer’s book on negro history in Missouri, “Race and Meaning”. Dr. Kremer has been a long time force in negro history in Missouri. Taught at Lincoln University for many years, including teaching black history to Penitentiary inmates and continues on as Director of the Missouri Historical Society. Hats off to Dr. Kremer!!
No one has written more about the African American experience in Missouri over the past four decades than Gary Kremer, and now for the first time fourteen of his best articles on the subject are available in one place with the publication of Race and Meaning: The African American Experience in Missouri.By placing the articles in chronological order of historical events rather than by publication date, Kremer combines them into one detailed account that addresses issues such as the transition from slavery to freedom for African Americans in Missouri, all-black rural communities, and the lives of African Americans seeking new opportunities in Missouri’s cities.
Originally written in 1980 by the late Lorenzo J. Greene, Gary R. Kremer, and Antonio F. Holland, Missouri’s Black Heritage remains the only book-length account of the rich and inspiring history of the state’s African American population. It has now been revised and updated by Kremer and Holland, incorporating the latest scholarship into its pages. This edition describes in detail the struggles faced by many courageous African Americans in their efforts to achieve full civil and political rights against the greatest of odds.
Documenting the African American experience from the horrors of slavery through present-day victories, the book touches on the lives of people such as John Berry Meachum, a St. Louis slave who purchased his own freedom and then helped countless other slaves gain emancipation; Hiram Young, a Jackson County free black whose manufacturing of wagons for Santa Fe Trail travelers made him a legendary figure; James Milton Turner, who, after rising from slavery to become one of the best-educated blacks in Missouri, worked with the Freedmen’s Bureau and the State Department of Education to establish schools for blacks all over the state after the Civil War; and Annie Turnbo Malone, a St. Louis entrepreneur whose business skills made her one of the state’s wealthiest African Americans in the early twentieth century.
A personal reminiscence by the late Lorenzo J. Greene, a distinguished African American historian whom many regard as one of the fathers of black history, offers a unique view of Missouri’s racial history and heritage. (Order on Amazon)