February is Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, here is a selection of books in our collection. For assistance in accessing or using these or any resources in the Laurier Library collection, contact us through "Ask Us" in the help menu and on most Library pages. Also, take a look at previous year’s lists: 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Books: Print and Electronic

Washington Black

"I initially started reading this book after it was announced that there would be a series of 'Laurier Reads' events, the author being Laurier's Visiting Writer for 2020. I read less fiction that I would like and this would be a good excuse to do so, support a Canadian author, support these kinds of events at Laurier, and read more BIPOC works. Although I didn't finish in time to participate in the events, this was a wonderful story about the horrors of a young slave's life and how he grows and forms his own identity after getting the chance to escape those horrors. Shortlisted for several awards, this is well worth reading if you have any interest in this topic or historical fiction in general." - Matt Thomas

This book was written by Esi Edugyan, an award-winning black Canadian novelist, and published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2018.

We have one print copy in our collection, and there are a few other print copies in other Ontario academic libraries.

Brown girl in the ring

"In Nalo Hopkinson's enthralling debut novel, Ti-Jeanne survives in a post-apocalyptic urban wasteland where survivors are left to fend for themselves — re-learning how to harvest, barter and forage. And when the wealthy are in need of organs they turn to the poor, who do whatever it takes to stay alive. It's a mesmerizing tale filled with magic, mystery and folklore and featuring an unforgettable protagonist." - From CBC Canada Reads

Written by Nalo Hopkinson. Published by Warner Books in 1998.

We have one print copy in our collection, and there's one print copy in University of Waterloo's collection.


"The visionary author’s masterpiece pulls us—along with her Black female hero—through time to face the horrors of slavery and explore the impacts of racism, sexism, and white supremacy then and now." - From Penguin Random House.

Written by Octavia E. Butler, McArthur, Nebula and Hugo award-winner, and adapted as a graphic novel by John Jennings and Damian Duffy. Published by Abrams in 2017.

This is available online via EBSCOhost with no limitations on the number of people who can read it at the same time.

Afrofuturism : the world of black sci-fi and fantasy culture

"Ytasha L. Womack's book Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture is one of the most comprehensive and relevant reads in the black science fiction realm to date. I highly recommend this book as it masterfully covers the genre's humble past, its flourishing present and promising future. This is definitely a fantastically, engaging read. I couldn't put it down." — Jarvis Sheffield, The Black Science Fiction Society (via Chicago Review Press)

Written by journalist, filmmaker, and editor, Ytasha Womack. Published by Chicago Review Press in 2013.

This is available online via EBSCOhost with no limitations on the number of people who can read it at the same time.

Black software : the Internet and racial justice, from the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter

"Black Software, for the first time, chronicles the long relationship between African Americans, computing technology, and the Internet. Through new archival sources and the voices of many of those who lived and made this history, this book centralizes African Americans' role in the Internet's creation and evolution, illuminating both the limits and possibilities for using digital technology to push for racial justice in the United States and across the globe" - From the publisher

Written by Charlton D. McIlwain. Published by Oxford University Press in 2020.

We currently only have a single print copy in our collection.

Policing black lives : state violence in Canada from slavery to the present

"Policing Black Lives is a timely and much-needed exposure of historical and contemporary practices of state-sanctioned violence against Black lives in Canada. This groundbreaking work dispels many prevailing myths that cast Canada as a land of benevolence and racial equality, and uncovers long-standing state practices that have restricted Black freedom." - From the publisher.

Written by Robyn Maynard. Published by Fernwood Publishing in 2017.

We have at least one print copy in our collection and it's available in print in many other locations listed in Omni.

Freedom libraries : the untold story of libraries for African Americans in the South

"As the Civil Rights Movement exploded across the United States, the media of the time was able to show the rest of the world images of horrific racial violence. And while some of the bravest people of the 20th century risked their lives for the right to simply order a cheeseburger, ride a bus, or use a clean water fountain, there was another virtually unheard of struggle—this one for the right to read." - From the publisher's description

Written by Mike Selby. Published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2019.

This is available online via ProQuest Ebook Central but only one person can read this at a time.

Jesse, the man who outran Hitler

"A remarkable self-portrait of the black man who carried this country to greatness in the 1936 Olympics. More than a retelling of the athletic triumphs and the personal tragedy of his life, Jesse is a remarkable spiritual pilgrimage." - From the inside flap of the print book itself.

Written by Jesse Owens with Paul Neimark. Published by Fawcett Gold Medal in 1978.

This is available online via Alexander Street Press with no limitation on the number of people who can read it at the same time.

The black prairie archives : an anthology

"Karina Vernon’s anthology, The Black Prairie Archives, is readable, engaging, lively, polyphonic, political and literary, and simply impossible to reduce to simple periodization or even to a set of aesthetic values." - Ian Williams, Alberta Views

Edited by Karina Vernon, associate professor of English at the University of Toronto, where her teaching and research focus on black Canadian literature, archives, and decolonization. Published by our own Wilfrid Laurier University Press in 2020 (WLU Press' page for The Black Prairie Archives).

This is available online via Scholars Portal Books with no limitation on the number of people who can read it at the same time.

Beauty in a box : detangling the roots of Canada's black beauty culture

"One of the first transnational, feminist studies of Canada’s black beauty culture and the role that media, retail, and consumers have played in its development, Beauty in a Box widens our understanding of the politics of black hair." - From the publisher's description

Written by Cheryl Thompson, Assistant Professor in the School of Creative Industries, Faculty of Communication and Design at Ryerson University. Published by our own Wilfrid Laurier University Press in 2019 (WLU Press' page for Beauty in a Box).

This is available online via Scholars Portal Books with no limitation on the number of people who can read it at the same time.