Adopt-a-Book: African American History and Culture

Adopt-a-Book table
Cover of Biohistory of 19th-century Afro-Americans

A Biohistory of 19th-Century Afro-Americans

Adoption Amount: $250
Upon the discovery of a long-forgotten cemetery in Philadelphia, excavation and study exposed the remains of a Baptist church cemetery and its African-American inhabitants. Thorough research of the skeletons and surrounding area shed light on the living conditions of the African Americans in 19th-century Philadelphia and its environs. This book is important to scientists and curators studying 19th-century American life and physical remains of 19th century Africa -Americans. Read More
Separate Cinema

A Separate Cinema

Adoption Amount: $250
The gift of a single poster has swelled into a respected and comprehensive collection of more than 25,000 rare film posters, lobby cards, and photographs, resulting in what is now the Separate Cinema Archive. Started in 1972 and collected and maintained by the archive’s founder and professional photographer, John Kisch, the collection chronicles the historic and blustery journey of the Black film industry, Black actors and directors, and the struggle for African-American equality. Kisch collaborated with film historian Dr. Edward Mapp to create this companion book for the Archive in 1991.... Read More
African Americans on stamps

African Americans on Stamps

Adoption Amount: $250
At over two hundred pages long, this hardback book is basically an encyclopedia of African American heroes on postage stamps, both from the United States and around the world. Arranged alphabetically by last name, it provides short bios, followed by black and white illustrations of each postage stamp. The stamps are numbered, and references to the numbered stamps are in the bios. For example, Michael Jordan, illustration #289, Tanzania postage stamp. In the center of the book, to the reader’s delight, are sixteen pages of color plates, which vividly depict the United States Postal Service's... Read More
African Americans on stamps

African Americans on Stamps: A Celebration of African-American Heritage

Adoption Amount: $250
This thin, thirty-paged color booklet was published by the United States Postal Service thirteen years ago. The Black Heritage stamp series began in 1978, and ever since then, African American heroes and heroines have been honored on postage stamps. The Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee, CSAC, votes on which candidate will be the next postage stamp. Harriet Tubman was the first Black Heritage postage stamp. This booklet is arranged alphabetically from A to Z beginning with the dancer Alvin Ailey and ending with Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Whitney Moore Young. Read More
Cover of African-American Pioneers in Anthropology

African-American Pioneers in Anthropology

Adoption Amount: $250
This book highlights the lives, works, and accomplishments of African American scholars in recent history whose work is influential in the field of anthropology. The contributions of these scholars vary, ranging from the cultural impacts of Zora Neale Hurston’s field works and writings to Caroline Bond Day and her research in physical anthropology. Each chapter focuses on a specific person, discussing both their biography and their scholarly work. This book is important to the collection as documentation of the diversity within anthropology, as well as a thorough biographical resource on... Read More
Cover of Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect

Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect

Adoption Amount: $250
This is a new edition of Turner's original 1949 masterpiece, which was a seminal work in Afrocentric linguistics. Arranged like a dictionary, it has Gullah words on the left side of each page, and the corresponding West African words on the right side. Gullah is a language spoken by the eponymous people descended from former slaves in the coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia. Pioneering linguist Lorenzo Dow Turner also uses this book to discuss the distinctively Gullah way of writing. Examining this book, a reader can easily see how the African languages changed into Gullah, a form... Read More
Cover of Afro-Americans in Dentistry

Afro-Americans in Dentistry

Adoption Amount: $450
African American dental practices were first documented in 18th century, when dentistry was a crude trade learned by apprenticeship to perform necessary extractions. Extramural dentistry is the practice of exercising dental expertise outside of the institution and bringing dental care and education into the community. In this book, Clifford O. Dummett, D.D.S., and Lois Doyle Dummett, B.A., thread together the milestones and contributions of African American dental history. This historical overview addresses such issues as race, segregation, education, and how community dentistry is a... Read More
Henry Tanner - Disciples See Christ Walking on the Water

After Whistler

Adoption Amount: $250
Travel to Paris was a prerequisite for aspiring American painters of the late nineteenth century. Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), an African American painter born in Pittsburg, was among the throng of artists to journey there. Tanner decided to become a painter at the age of thirteen after seeing an artist painting outdoors in a park in Philadelphia. In 1897, Tanner enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where he studied under Thomas Eakins (1844-1916). By 1891, he had arrived in Paris and enrolled in the Académie Julian, his study funded by Atlanta-based patrons Bishop and... Read More
Illustration by Miguel Covarrubias

Batouala

Adoption Amount: $350
René Maran was born in Martinique, educated in France, and served as a colonial administrator in the French colonies of West Africa.  In 1921 he won the Prix Goncourt for Batouala—the first black author to be so honored.  Although in the preface he delivers a blistering critique of French colonial abuse, he asserts that the novel is a story not of black against white but simply of two men in a Banda village fighting over a woman.  The ethnographic details and perceived aesthetic portrayal of African-ness were much appreciated by the intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance, who... Read More
Birth of the Cool

Birth of the Cool

Adoption Amount: $500
Birth of the Cool is just about the coolest book you’ll ever see. In this 2008 exhibition catalog of his first retrospective, Barkley L. Hendricks distills black identity into powerful three-quarter and full-length portraits that teem with style and attitude. His sitters are unapologetic in their self-presentation, and the result is a phenomenal elevation of African Americans who would have gone otherwise unnoticed in the immediate decades following Civil Rights. The title of this catalog, edited by Trevor Schoonmaker, stems from the iconic 1957 Miles Davis album that came to... Read More
Black American Heritage Through United States Postage Stamps

Black American Heritage Through United States Postage Stamps

Adoption Amount: $250
This thin, 26-paged booklet has both color portraits and black and white pencil sketches of prominent heroes of Black History. Written by three Black doctors, it was published in Washington, D.C. Part One is arranged in chronological order based on significant events in American history. For example, two Black heroes of the American Revolution (the first Blacks to fight at Bunker Hill), three Black heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, two Black heroes in education, one hero in literature, one scientist, and two heroes in the arts. Part Two covers significant subjects, such as the Thirteenth... Read More
black aviator

Black Aviator

Adoption Amount: $250
Published by the Smithsonian, this wonderful book is an updated copy of the 1934 book entitled "Black Wings." The original was written by an African American army officer and WWI veteran, Lt. William Jenifer Powell. Released 60 years after the original, this copy includes an introduction by the Smithsonian's Curator of Russian/Soviet & African-American Aviation. To make it even more special, this exact copy was donated by the (late) second Director of the Anacostia Community Museum, Steven Newsome, who started out his career as a librarian! This small book details the life of the author... Read More
African American astronauts

Black Stars in Orbit

Adoption Amount: $250
Black Stars in Orbit is an overview of the first African Americans who were selected to be astronaut candidates, the first who worked for NASA on new technologies for mission projects, and the first to travel to space as part of the NASA Space Shuttle program. This volume is beatifully illustrated and contains brief biographical overviews. Information on Guy Bluford and Mae Jemison, the first African Americans to go to space, is included, as are the stories of astronauts Ron McNair, Charles Bolden, and Edward Dwight, the first African American selected for astronaut training. Read More
Cover of Black valor :  buffalo soldiers and the Medal of Honor, 1870-1898

Black Valor

Adoption Amount: $250
The African American soldiers who served in the Spanish-American War and the Indian Wars were known as the “Buffalo Soldiers.” Especially remarkable is that  both of these conflicts occured during the latter half of the 19th century, meaning that some of Buffalo Soldiers had been enslaved just years prior. Yet in spite of this and other obstacles, they were known for serving with valor and honor. In addition, they were tasked with the controversial job of helping to "settle" western states, including Arizona. Twenty-three of them received the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military... Read More
Black, Red, and Deadly

Black, Red, and Deadly

Adoption Amount: $250
You may know the names of Jesse James, Billy the Kid, or Pat Garrett. But what about Buss Luckey, the Rufus Buck Gang, the Lighthorsemen, or Zeke Miller? Although whites dominate popular depictions of the lawless west, Black, Red and Deadly presents the sagas of African-American and American Indian outlaws and bona fide law enforcers in Indian Territory. Luckey was an African American convicted bandit who dynamited a train carrying $60,000 in gold bullion. On the good side, there were Cherokee, Choctaw, and Creek Lighthorse units who served as mounted police; and, Miller was a deputy... Read More
Blue roots

Blue Roots

Adoption Amount: $250
At less than 200 pages, this small paperback book is filled with black and white photographs depicting Gullah life. Gullahs are the descendants of slaves, specifically from the Lowcountry regions of the United States, including Georgia and South Carolina. The author is from South Carolina Gullah country. This book is about roots that can be used for healing, curses, good luck, bad luck, etc. The author’s dad was the county coroner, so he is familiar with death. Folk magic permeates Gullah culture, in a way very similar to voodoo. Haunts, spells, suffering roots, hexes, goofer dust (... Read More
African American pilots

Blue Skies, Black Wings

Adoption Amount: $250
A detailed and riveting history of early African Americans and aviation written by one of the Tuskegee pilots who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. This book details the stories of those first aviation pioneers and their contributions that aided in the founding of the Tuskegee program and its success. It is unsparing in detailing the realties and risks they faced to achieve their goals. Read More
Cover of Coming together: celebrations for African American families

Coming Together

Adoption Amount: $250
This book discusses numerous traditions of African American families, including Kwanzaa, Christmas, naming ceremonies, and family reunions. The book also shares traditional recipes and tips for how the reader can document their own family events. By taking a deeper look into these unique and timeless celebrations, Cole and Pinderhughes allow their curious readers a peek into how important celebrations like these are in African American families, and the essential role they play in keeping families “dynamic, powerful, and close-knit.” Read More
Controversy and Hope

Controversy and Hope

Adoption Amount: $250
Controversy and Hope is an immersion into not only the 54-mile Voting Rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, but also a view into a range of civil rights events from 1960 to 1965. Photojournalist James Karales was also an acquaintance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and had exclusive access to him and the events that took place surrounding the 1965 demonstrations against racist segregation and repression that had disenfranchised many African Americans. The 93 plates in this book, some of which share personal insights into the life of Dr. King, grant a view into the Civil... Read More
Cooking the Gullah Way

Cooking the Gullah Way

Adoption Amount: $250
Mrs. Sallie Ann Robinson is the Gullah Diva chef. Raised in South Carolina Gullah country on an island only accessible by boat, she is used to eating what can easily be farmed, hunted, or caught. At about one hundred fifty pages, this cookbook is divided into three sections: morning, noon, and night. They correspond with breakfast recipes, lunch recipes, and supper recipes. The beginning of the book has black and white photos of Gullah life. The Gullah are descendants of slaves in the Lowcountry regions of the United States, specifically South Carolina and Georgia. At the end are about... Read More
Inside Dark Companion

Dark Companion

Adoption Amount: $300
Dark Companion chronicles the polar expedition of African American explorer, Matthew Henson. Born in 1866, four years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, Henson went on to triumph as one of the first men to “stand on top of the world." On April 6, 1909 Henson, along with Robert Peary, co-discovered the North Pole. Hundreds had previously attempted, and failed, to reach the elusive polar ice cap. Peary declared that the success of their expedition would not have been possible without the expertise and intelligence of his companion, the man the Eskimos fondly referred to... Read More
Title Page of Fifty Years in Chains

Fifty Years in Chains

Adoption Amount: $250
Fifty years in chains: or, the life of an American slave is an abridged and unauthorized 1858 reprint of the 1836 Slavery in the United States: a narrative of the life and adventures of Charles Ball... . As one of the earliest slave narratives, its influence on later works is a well-established phenomenon.  Not only is Charles Ball's simply stated verbal account of his life an inspiring story of courage and perseverance, his observations described within of his experience with planters and slaveholders is a valuable primary resource for 19th century Southern... Read More
Cover of Fight for Freedom

Fight for Freedom

Adoption Amount: $250
This quick read is directed at teenagers. It is full of powerful black and white sketches. This book shares the fascinating story of Frederick Douglass's young life as well as trials that today's teens can relate to: young Fred’s early life, the deaths of his loved ones, changing his last name to avoid being tracked, learning to stand up for himself and fight, and learning about the importance of education. This biographic work is a classic coming of age true story.  Read More
Cover of Frederick Douglass: Freedom's Voice

Frederick Douglass: Freedom's Voice

Adoption Amount: $250
This book was written by Dr. Gregory Lampe, a retired provost and vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, and emeritus communications professor at Michigan State University. Since Douglass was an orator, it seems fitting for a communications and speech professor to write about his oratory and rhetoric. Now, after reading this book, you have to go to freedomarchives.org to listen to a recording of Frederick Douglass's voice. His speeches are fiery, and spirit-filled, and he doesn’t just speak, but he preaches about abolition as if it were a sermon, moving today's modern listener to... Read More
Cover of Freedom in my Heart

Freedom in my Heart

Adoption Amount: $250
Written by Dr. Cynthia Carter, former director of Africare and current Chief Development Officer at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, this richly illustrated book uses artifacts, images, and documents to trace the history of slavery in North America, from ancient Africa to the suffering still experienced by African Americans today. Freedom in My Heart contains the voices,  art, letters, stories, and cultural contributions of slaves, demonstrating how African Americans developed their strong culture despite adversity.  Each of the ten chapters has a... Read More
Freedom just around the corner

Freedom Just Around the Corner

Adoption Amount: $250
This pocket sized exhibition booklet contains a chronicle of the African American experience told through the unique lens of stamps and mail. At around 100 pages long, it is full of beautiful color illustrations of stamp art. The National Postal Museum's exhibition opened to the public in the middle of Black History Month 2015, and ended in the middle of Black History Month 2016. Museum visitors learned about letters carried by slaves, mail to and from civil rights leaders, and original artwork from the USPS Black Heritage stamp series. This exhibition made history as the National Postal... Read More
Cover of God's trombones

God's Trombones

Adoption Amount: $300
Seven sermons, written in verse, inspired by memories of sermons by black preachers heard by Mr. Johnson in childhood.  They are titled: Listen, Lord; a prayer; The creation; The prodigal son; Go down death; A funeral sermon; Noah built the ark; The crucifixion; Let my people go; and The judgment day.   The book is illustrated by Aaron Douglas, who was best known for his depiction of African-Americans in the 1920s-1930s notably a four panel mural for the New York Public Library entitled “Aspects of Negro Life” in 1934 for the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP).   Read More
Cover of Gullah Culture in America

Gullah Culture in America

Adoption Amount: $250
The book’s purpose is to take us behind-the-scenes so we can see what it’s like to grow up and live life in the Gullah community. Sayings such as “dog got four feet but can’t walk but one road” are uniquely Gullah. This translates to “you can only do one thing at a time.” The book has black adn white photos of Gullah people fishing, riding on horseback, boating, and playing music. One of the co-authors is of South CarolinaGullah heritage: Dr. Emory Campbell, President of Gullah Heritage Consulting Services. The Gullah community is made up of descendants of freed slaves living in the coastal... Read More
Cover of Gullah Images

Gullah Images

Adoption Amount: $250
This beautiful coffee table book book is signed by the author, Jonathan Green of South Carolina. It contains 108 color portraits and paintings, with captions describing each work of art. The first thirty pages share a biography of the artist and describe his life’s work. The rest of the book is devoted entirely to nothing but beautiful art. The images depict the artist’s upbringing. He was raised on a farm in Gullah country, the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia, inhabited by the descendants of freed slaves from the area.  Read More
Cover of I Have a Dream

I Have a Dream

Adoption Amount: $250
Each page of this short, beautifully illustrated book is packed with information about Black Heritage Series postage stamps. From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Frederick Douglass to Harriet Tubman to Jesse Owens, twenty-eight African American heroes are described in this book. Each chapter has a portrait of the subject (painted by Thomas Blackshear), followed by an extensive biography and an image of their postage stamp, including its date of issue. Read More
Title page of Jamaica in 1850

Jamaica in 1850

Adoption Amount: $250
John Bigelow (1817-1911), born into a prominent New England family, was a newspaper writer and editor at the New-York Evening Post, under the leadership of William Cullen Bryant. An opponent of slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War, Bigelow travelled to Jamaica in 1850 to study the island’s economics following the abolition of slavery. His book soundly repudiated the assertion that freed slaves were incapable of self-governance and is still considered an authoritative analysis. It has been reprinted more than once in modern times, but this is the original publication. Our... Read More
Let your motto be resistance :

Let Your Motto be Resistance

Adoption Amount: $250
“Let your motto be resistance! resistance! resistance! No oppressed people have ever secured their liberty without resistance. What kind of resistance you had better make, you must decide by the circumstances that surround you, and according to the suggestion of expediency.”  --This powerful quote from Henry Highland Garnet inspired the title of this book. Dr. Deborah Willis--photographer, African American photography historian, African American culture curator, and member of the Scholarly Advisory Committee for the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)--assembles... Read More
Cover of Liberation Sojourn

Liberating Sojourn

Adoption Amount: $250
The book discusses the transatlantic partnership of the abolitionist movement by describing how Frederick Douglass got an early start in the abolitionist movement overseas. His 1845 trip to what is known today as the United Kingdom changed his life forever. This book is a set of essays written by ten different scholars (professors of American and African American studies) from both the United States and the United Kingdom.  Read More
Cover of Lorenzo Dow Turner

Lorenzo Dow Turner

Adoption Amount: $250
This fascinating biography of celebrated linguist Dr. Lorenzo Dow Turner, appropriately written by a linguistics professor, features eight plates of black and white photos of Dr. Turner and his family from different stages of his life. The author is Director of the Linguistics Program at SUNY-New Paltz, and was the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in linguistics from NYU. Dr. Turner’s widow, Lois, contributed the introduction to the book. A Harvard graduate, Dr. Turner performed seminal research on the Gullah language, used uniquely by descendants of freed slaves in the coastal... Read More
Love Across Color Lines

Love Across Color Lines

Adoption Amount: $250
This book is a tragic love story. One of Frederick Douglass’ friends from Germany, feminist Ottilie Assing, traveled to the United States, interviewed him, and translated his autobiography into German. She was a journalist by profession. They were about the same age. She fell in love with him, but he said he was wary of the racial divide in the United States. After the death of her sister, Ottilie returned to Europe to settle the family estate. During this trip, she found out via newspaper that Frederick Douglas had married another woman seven months prior. Already diagnosed with breast... Read More
Madman's Drum Cover

Mad Man's Drum, a Novel in Woodcuts

Adoption Amount: $450
This beautiful book, a wordless novel, tells a story of the African slave trade and one slave trader’s obsession and tragic downfall—all in one-hundred-and twenty-eight powerful woodcuts that combine Art Deco and Expressionist styles. Lynd Ward was one of America’s finest wood engravers, and the detailed, complicated plates in this book show him as a master craftsman and illustrator who could also reveal psychological anguish through his art. The plates in this second edition copy are reproduced photographically; the front and back covers are bound in papers showing a woodcut-style design... Read More
Cover of Maya Angelou: The Iconic Self

Maya Angelou: The Iconic Self

Adoption Amount: $250
Maya Angelou (1928-2014) is best remembered as a prominent African American poet and civil rights activist. But she was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award, and was the recipient of multiple Grammy Awards as well as the Mother Teresa Award, showing her wide range of talents. Her famous works include I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which was her first autobiography at age 17, and also the related poem, The Heart of a Woman, which was critically acclaimed as it continued the theme of a strong woman who will not be put down or tamed.... Read More
Title page of Music is My Mistress, with photo of Duke Ellington

Music is My Mistress

Adoption Amount: $250
"Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one." Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington is an American jazz legend – a talented pianist, a composer of over 3,000 songs, and a bandleader who gained national attention through his orchestra’s appearances at the famed Cotton Club in Harlem. In this book, Ellington tells the stories of his life and career. He describes growing up in Washington, D.C. in the early 1900s, when he dreamed of playing baseball, not the piano. He shares photographs of his beloved parents and other family members and friends who influenced him. Well known for his... Read More
Cover of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Adoption Amount: $250
This book is only 75 pages long, but is full of valuable information about Frederick Douglass. It is an unabridged republication of his 1845 autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. In it, Douglass describes, in unflinching honesty, the horrors of slavery. He tells of how he watched a slave mother kill her baby with a piece of wood and saw a slave get shot to death for trespassing. His heartbreaking adn disturbing tales make his own escape even more extraordinary, and his calls for abolition even more passionate.  Read More
Cover of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

Adoption Amount: $250
This autobiography/memoir covers the life of abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass. Its text is preceded by an introduction from Dr. John Blassingame: Yale graduate, Yale professor, and pioneer in the study of American slavery. After the text, there are about fifty pages of historical information, including book reviews written by people shortly after the autobiography was published. What makes this autobiography so significant is the fact that it was written only seven years after Douglass’ escape from slavery. This book added fuel to the abolitionist movement in the United... Read More
Cover of New Year Be Coming!

New Year Be Coming!

Adoption Amount: $250
This children's book is filled with colorful art on every page. It consists of twelve short poems, with each poem named after a month of the year. The author grew up in the Gullah region of South Carolina, an area on the coast populated with descendants of freed slaves. At the end of the book is a glossary of Gullah terms. Some words in the poems include puntop (on top of), bittle (food), and bex (angry). Each poem describes what life is like during the seasons of the Gullah year, in Gullah country, in Gullah language. The book also includes one recipe: Carolina Peas and Rice, also known as... Read More
Title Page of Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.

Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral

Adoption Amount: $25,000
This 1773 collection of poems was the only edition of Phillis Wheatley's work printed in her lifetime. Wheatley was first brought to the United States at age 7 or 8 to be sold into slavery. She was purchased by John Wheatley of Boston and taught to read and write. Having been tutored in the classics by Mrs. Wheatley, Wheatley began to write poetry herself and became well-known for it in Boston's domestic circles. A trip to England in 1773 brought her under the patronage of the Countess of Huntingdon who arranged for this 1773 English edition of her poetry to be published. The book became... Read More
Spiral, cover

Spiral

Adoption Amount: $500
In the lead up to 1963’s March on Washington, several of the decade’s most prominent African American artists joined together in a collective called Spiral. Their efforts culminated in a two-day exhibition in June of 1965. This catalogue is the record of that exhibition; it features an illustrated checklist with works from Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, and more, as well as a complete list of the collective’s members. This small pamphlet is held in only two other libraries in the world, but stands as an important record of an ephemeral activity in the fight for Civil Rights in the 1960s. Read More
Map from Statistical Atlas of the United States

Statistical Atlas of the United States

Adoption Amount: $1,600
In Booker T. Washington’s landmark autobiography Up From Slavery, he gives one of the earliest accounts of the "Black Belt." This term was first used geographically for the band of dark, rich soil that runs through the Deep South. But, after the Civil War, the Black Belt became descriptive of its high population of freed African Americans who stayed in the vicinity of the plantations on which they were once enslaved. The Statistical Atlas of the United States (published in 1870) depicted this demography by pioneering the use of infographics, rarely seen before this date and... Read More
Cover of The African American Tradition

The African American Tradition

Adoption Amount: $250
This gigantic "book" is actually a stack of unnumbered color plates, arranged in alphabetical order, by the last name of the African American hero featured on each. The author, Thomas Blackshear, is a contemporary African Americna artist who draws, paints, illustrates, and sculpts. Mr. Blackshear's artwork is seen on the 25c Ida B. Wells postage stamp, the 49c Dorothy Height postage stamp, the 22c Jean Baptiste Point du Sable postage stamp, five 32c Classic Movie Monsters commemorative stamps, ten 32c Jazz Musicians commemorative stamps, the 29c Joe Louis postage stamp, the 33c James Cagney... Read More
Sanford Biggers, Astronomical Way, sample of afronomix cards

The Afronomical Way

Adoption Amount: $250
This limited-edition set of 43 vibrant, color printed cards housed in a custom box is parts that together comprise artist Sanford Biggers’ explorations of identity, rituals, and iconography. Divided into three sections—afronomix, fetico, and fides—the images offer moments of both intimacy and surrealism. Biggers defines the first section, afronomix, as the “Kemitic, the study of the corelationship between peoples of the African Diaspora, the cosmos, and time.” The second section, fetico, comes from Portuguese and Latin, meaning both “charm, sorcery” and “... Read More
W.E.B. DuBois, Reading

The Autobiography of W.E.B. DuBois

Adoption Amount: $250
Published five years after his death, the editor of this autobiography of W.E.B Dubois incorporated selected works related to certain passages’ subjects. Dubois (1868-1963) was a African American author and civil rights activist who focused on advancing education and representation for African Americans. The last of his three autobiographies, this work expanded on his previous essays to provide a new reflective perspective on his nine decades of life. DuBois left the reader with thoughts on how to improve America in his postlude, saying, “I know the United States… It is my country and the... Read More
Cover of The Black Holocaust

The Black Holocaust

Adoption Amount: $250
This small book, furnished with black and white pencil drawings throughout, details life on a slave ship in vivid detail. It also shares stories of life in a slave castle in Africa prior to boarding the ship. It honestly describes the horrors that enslaved Africans were forced to endure during the Middle Passage crossing from Africa to the New World. Two million kidnapped Africans who were transported across the Atlantic Ocean died during the Middle Passage. Those who survived were delivered into the hands of slavery.  Read More
Cover of The Future of the American Negro

The Future of the American Negro

Adoption Amount: $500
Born a slave on a Virginia farm in 1856, Booker T. Washington became the most prominent Black educator and an important voice on race in America during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Future of the American Negro, written by Washington in 1899, outlines his ideas on the history of enslaved and freed African American people and their need for education to advance themselves. In one chapter, the author discusses the founding of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1881, which he would lead until his death in 1915.  This 1901 edition was funded by the John F. Slater Fund for the... Read More
Inside The Hampton album

The Hampton Album

Adoption Amount: $350
The Hampton Album elegantly depicts the industrial and agricultural skills that were taught to students at the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (later Hampton Institute in 1930, and finally Hampton University in 1984), the historically black school founded in Virginia in 1868 to educate freed slaves. The original images in this album were part of a series of photographs compiled by W.E.B Du Bois for the exhibition of African American life featured at the sensational world’s fair, the Paris Exposition of 1900. Du Bois won a gold medal for his role as compiler and... Read More
Title and frontispiece of volume 2 of The History of the Maroons

The History of the Maroons

Adoption Amount: $1,000
Robert Charles Dallas (1754-1824), a British writer, was born in Jamaica and returned there after an education in England and Scotland.  In the West Indies, runaway slaves who formed communities independent from white society (often with American Indians) were called “Maroons.”  Those in Jamaica – about whom Dallas provides a first-hand account of their culture and mode of life – were considered the greatest threat to British colonists due to hostilities in the 1730s and again in the 1790s. As a result, Britain established Freetown in Sierra Leone and transported a number of Jamaican... Read More
Cover of The Japanese Flowering Cherry Trees of Washington D.C.

The Japanese Flowering Cherry Trees of Washington, D.C.

Adoption Amount: $350
This wonderful book is about the history of the famous Japanese flowering cherry trees in Washington, D.C. It’s co-authored by Roland Jefferson, the first African American botanist  at the U.S. National Arboretum (USNA), hired in 1956.  Mr. Jefferson began his career studying crabapple trees, but eventually became an international authority on flowering cherries, making many plant collecting trips to Japan. He is best remembered for beginning the preservation work to save the cherry trees along D.C.'s Tidal Basin, a project continued to this day by USNA botanists and geneticists. While... Read More
Cover of The Last Day of Slavery

The Last Day of Slavery

Adoption Amount: $250
This children's book tells the story of how Frederick Douglass fought his slave master  and claimed his freedom from slavery. It is based on the true story of Frederick Douglass's escape from slavery and tells of how he earned the respect of the slave masters and his fellow slaves. The book features many beautiful color illustrations, bringing to life Douglass's inspiring and enthralling story. Read More
Ibo landing

The Legacy of Ibo Landing

Adoption Amount: $250
Legend has it that in 1803, at St. Simons Island, Georgia, a group of 75 Igbo warriors from what is now Nigeria committed mass suicide by drowning rather than begin life in America as slaves. They survived the Middle Passage only to walk willingly into the sea wearing chains. A private land dispute prevents a memorial from being built at the site where this happened. This book was edited by Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Nation. This book features beautiful color paintings of Gullah life and history. Read More
Cover of the Lion of Anacostia

The Lion of Anacostia

Adoption Amount: $250
This book covers the final 18 years of Frederick Douglass’ life, when he lived in in a mansion on top of Cedar Hill in Anacostia, a neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The author is a graduate of George Washington University, a prominent university in Washington, D.C.  The books is filled with black and white pencil sketches, images, and photographs, many depicting of the interior of Douglass’ home, as well as his family life. This biography includes stories about his children and grandchildren, one of whom was earned the rank of Sergeant Major as a Civil War combat soldier  and another, who... Read More
Cover of The Weary Blues

The Weary Blues

Adoption Amount: $550
"Droning a drowsy syncopated tune; Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon..." So begins "The Weary Blues," a lyrical poem written by Langston Hughes, a leading contributor to the Harlem Renaissance movement, and one of the greatest and most prolific writers in American literary history. During his lifetime, Hughes wrote countless poetry, plays, short stories, and novels, and was known for writing about the struggles, triumphs, celebrations, and the every-day lives of African Americans in the 1920s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, right up until his death in the 1960s. Hughes also had a variety of odd... Read More
Cover of Fannie Lou Hamer biography

This Little Light of Mine

Adoption Amount: $250
On August 31, 1962, Fannie Lou Hamer rode a bus with 17 other African Americans from her hometown of Ruleville to Indianola, Mississippi to register to vote. She was refused her legal right to register. When she returned home, she was fired by her employer and her family was thrown off the land where they had been sharecroppers. This injustice lit a fire inside Mrs. Hamer and put her on a path to becoming an important leader for the Civil Rights Movement in the South. This book tells the life story of this strong, indomitable woman who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., rallied the... Read More
Cover of Unbound and Unbroken

Unbound and Unbroken

Adoption Amount: $250
This book is a treasure trove of color portraits and photographs depicting the life of Frederick Douglass. It is an inspiring work of art divided into ten chapters tracing the highlights of his life from slavery to full citizenship. Because it was published recently, the back of the book offers useful websites after the bibliography. Especially poignant is the image on the title page verso of a ball and chain being broken at the shackles, a very fitting image for this great man's life. Douglass not only escaped his chains, but went on to shatter them, along with the negative perceptions of... Read More
Cover of Wake Up Our Souls

Wake Up Our Souls

Adoption Amount: $250
This highly illustrated book is a masterpiece. Over 100 pages in length, it describes the evolution of African American artists over time. This book focuses on the late 1900s and spans through the first decade of the 21st century. This is a Smithsonian American Art Museum publication. A New York native, the author graduated from multiple Ivy League universities including Princeton University and Columbia University. Every chapter is illustrated with reprints of paintings by influential African American artists followed by an extensive bio of each artist. Read More
Where the Salmon Run

Where the Salmon Run

Adoption Amount: $250
Where the Salmon Run follows the life and activism of Billy Frank, Jr., a member of the Nisqually tribe in Washington state who became one of the most prominent American Indian activists during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and 1970s.  Frank was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 because his activism—Frank hosted fish-ins that were modeled after sit-ins—that led up to 1979 Supreme Court case United States v. Washington, commonly known as the Boldt Decision. That ruling maintained the rights of American Indians to fish in waters in the Northwest... Read More