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4 Must-Own Black Culture & History Books

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Black culture is rich, varied, and full of stories that everyone deserves to hear. It should come as no surprise, then, that our history is collected in a number of amazing volumes that make for excellent additions to any personal library.

Here are four you should consider adding to your “must-own” list.

Soul R&B Funk Photographs: 1972-1982

 Image Name Few will deny that the 1970s were an intriguing time for genres like soul, funk, and R&B. This book from Bruce Talamon takes a look at legends of the era, including Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan (and many others), providing some insight into the minds behind this influential period in American music.

The Image of the Black in Western Art

 Image Name This 390-page tome, edited by David Bindman and Henry Louis Gates Jr., provides an “illustrated history of people of African descent” in art throughout the ages, complete with the kind of insightful commentary and high quality photographs that make it the perfect choice for a coffee table book on black culture.

Civil Rights Chronicle

 Image Name Also known as “The African-American Struggle for Freedom,” this hardcover masterpiece from Mark Bauerlein details exactly that — the story behind the American Civil Rights Movement. It includes more than 900 photographs, covering the days of slavery through the early 2000s, and even includes a foreword from Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of notable civil rights advocate Medgar Evers.

Black Dance: From 1619 to Today

 Image Name Black culture and the art of dance are inexorably linked. Black Dance by Lynne Fauley Emery looks at how black culture has exerted its influence over the artform, touching on ballet, tap, jazz, disco, and more. It breaks down important figures over the ages, from individual dancers to notable choreographers, and has plenty of pictures to  illustrate the majesty of these varied dance stylings.