I had high expectations for “The Coming” by Daniel Black. Over the past few years, I’ve read several books about slavery and this book caught my eye because of its focus on the Middle Passage. Positive reviews and high ratings praised “The Coming” for capturing the emotions that enslaved Africans might have felt being snatched from their villages, enduring a grueling voyage, and finding themselves traded like chattel in a strange land.
The details may differ but the story of Fred Hampton is unfortunately not uncommon. Fred Hampton is one in a long list of Black activists murdered during the turbulent 1960’s. His death stands apart from most others as it was proven to have been the result of a concerted effort by the FBI and Chicago police. I won’t go into the details of the murder here as “The Assassination of Fred Hampton” by Jeffrey Haas does an excellent job of explaining the raid on Hampton’s apartment, shootout, and trials.
The Book of Harlan by Bernice McFadden tells the story of a Black musician from Harlem who travels to Paris around the time the city falls to the Nazis. But it’s about much more. It also covers moments from the Black experience from about the 1920’s to the 1960’s/1970’s.
Ain’t I a Woman by Bell Hooks explores the impact of racism and sexism on Black women. Not as separate factors but through the lens of intersectionality. The book charts the history of how “sexism operates both independently of and simultaneously with racism to oppress us” (Black women).
Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody is the story of a young Black woman coming of age in rural Mississippi during the 40’s and 50’s. The book begins with Anne Moody’s early life as the eldest child of sharecroppers on a large plantation. Her father, Daddy, is a womanizer and gambler. While her mother, Mama, struggles to maintain stable committed relationships with her husbands/lovers.