BookTalk Sisters

Gathering together around books

Ira Aldridge 1 2 3

Richard Allen (1)  2.   (3) AME History

Frederick Bancroft (1

Fredrika Bremer (1

John Edward Bruce (1)  (2Prince Hall: the Pioneer of Negro 


Claude Bowers (1) 

Nannie H. Burroughs (1) (2)12 Things the Negro Must Do for Himself

T. M. Campbell (1)

---Captein (entry needed)

George Washington Carver (1) (2) American Chemical Society (3) NPR commentary

H.T. Catterall (1) Judicial Cases Involving American Slavery and the Negro

Oscar De Priest (1) United State House of Representatives (2) 

Elizabeth Donnan (1) (2) Documents Illustrative of the History of the Slave

                              Trade to America

W.E.B. DuBois (1) (2) (3)Robert W. Williams, Ph.D.'s presentation to the 

                          African American Historical Society (4) W.E.B. DuBois 

                          Research institute, Harvard University  (5) The Atlantic, Talk

                          with Raplh McGill (1965)  (6) DuBoisopedia

Alexander Dumas (1) (2) "Brief Life of the Soldier Who Inspired The Count

                               of Monte Christo:1762 - 1806"

---Geoffrey (entry needed) 

Archibald Grimke (1) (2) About The Shame of America or The Negro's Case

                              Against the Republic

James Forten (1) (2) 

T. Thomas Fortune (1) (2) NY Public Library

Marcus Garvey (1) (2) Essay: Marcus Garvey: The Negro Moses by Robert 

                            A. Hill (3) YouTube speech excerpt

            ___Gomez (entry needed) 

William Rainey Harper (1) 

Hubert H. Harrison (1) (2) Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem 

                                 Radicalism, 1883 -  1919  Presentation by author

                                Jeffrey B. Perry 

Roland Hayes (1) (2) Recording:Where You There? (3) Recording: Swing 

                         Low Sweet Chariot

            ___HAY-GOOD (entry needed) 

John Hope (1) (2) Works on Project Gutenberg

B. F. Hubert (1) 

John Jasper (1) (2) Sermon: The Sun Do Move

Mordecai W. Johnson (1) (2)

John Knox (1)

R. R. Moton (1) 

___NORTHERN (entry needed) 

Robert Purvis (1) (2) (3) Internet Archive  

Alexander Pushkin (1)  (2) British Library: Black Europeans

Charles Lenox Redmond (1) (2) Slavery As It Concerns the British

Paul Robeson (1)  (2) National Archives: The Many Faces of Paul Robeson 

                          (3) YouTube video: Singing for laboreres in Australia

Francis B. Simkins (1)

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg (1) (2) (3) Project Gutenburg: Papers

                                               of the American Negro Academy

Tarikh Es-Soudan (1) (2) Translation 

Charles Sumner (1) 

Henry O. Tanner (1) Smithsonian American Art Museum  (2)

                             (3) Painting: Flight Into Egypt

A. A. Taylor (1) (2) 

Jessie O. Thomas (1) (2) The Atlantic magazine (1901): The Undoing

                               of Reconstruction

___ VANCE (entry needed)

Robert H. Woodly (entry needed)

                   TERMS, CONCEPTS, ETC. 

Negro Makers of History

Dunning School (1) 

Freedmen's Bureau (1) National Archives

Talented Tenth

In a nation  where the highest elected office endorses alternative facts, self-defense in the form of self-education and collective study are imperative. Self-study and collective education is a tradition within the black community. As early as the late 1780’s, white legislators passed laws the made teaching black people—or black people obtaining education—illegal. However, black people by hook and crook risked their personal welfare to learn to read and write as a defensive move. Some of the revered advocates of black people’s struggle for equality and justice—Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Malcolm X, Barbara Jordan—testify that reading and writing had an uplifting influence on their self-image to counter the negative stereotypes, the shade, that white society promoted. That reading and writing had a liberating influence on their ability to imagine better circumstances for black people. That reading and writing enabled them not only to analyze conditions but also to become effective activists and representatives to improve conditions for black people and the nation. 


Since the January 20 presidential inauguration, the majority of voters—those who voted for the losing candidate—have expressed a crisis of confidence in the nation’s political leadership. One response has been to organize, to sign petitions, to march. Simultaneously, many are also individually and collectively informing themselves about America’s founding documents, especially the U.S. Constitution. Outraged voters have read the Constitution, or are reading it for the first time, in order to demand Congress to take measures to censure or impeach the president.

Public encouragement to study the U.S. Constitution began even before the 2016 presidential election. In a widely publicized moment during the DNC convention in August 2016, Khizr Kahn, the father of deceased United States Army Captain Humayun Khan, pulled from his breast


pocket his personal copy of the U.S. Constitution, offering it to candidate Donald Trump as a study aide on the criteria for American citizenship. And before the the current administration took office, a major film release riveted the public—particularly black Americans--to scrutinize the Constitution. In 2016, film director Ava DuVernay released her documentary, “13th,” which refers to the amendment of the Constitution that is famous for ostensibly abolishing slavery in 1865. However, Duvernay’s film exposes the loophole in the Thirteenth Amendment that ends slavery “except as a punishment for crime.”  DuVernay’s film educates all Americans on how a willful government contrived to hold black people in bondage, extract their free or nearly free labor, and continue to support the ever growing capitalist economy.


Resistance to the Trump presidency has spurned additional study of our constitution. How many Americans, for example, first learned of the emoluments clause, the 25th Amendment, which is designed to remove a president, albeit under conditions somewhat ambiguously stated. 

In February of this year I and a co-facilitator began planning a collective study group at a local bookstore in New Haven to answer such a question. Our motto is that “education is activism.” We are people of like interest in making sense of the present moment through collective study. In an eight-week course our dedicated group read the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and viewed part of DuVernay’s documentary. We read these documents in conjunction with the platforms issued by the Black Panther Party and the Movement for Black Lives, the words of Dr. King and Ella Baker, among others, to learn how these advocates used phrases such as the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” in their call for justice and equality over the course of black people