Yesterday, the Association of University Presses (AUPresses) released a Statement on Equity and Anti-Racism in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless other individuals who have been victims of the systemic racism at work in the United States. The University Press of Florida joins with AUPresses in condemning police brutality and other forms of socially sanctioned racist violence. Together with AUPresses, we stand in solidarity against racism and with all who continue to seek justice, to imagine equity, and to enact a different world.

Diversity and inclusion are central values to the University Press of Florida and are critical to our mission of disseminating knowledge through excellence in book publishing. In our work, we seek to amplify the voices of scholars in groups and communities that experience marginalization and discrimination. We are especially proud of our publishing record in African American studies. As we enter a new month amid the COVID-19 pandemic and continue our “Quarantine Reads” series of free eBooks, we are pleased to present a selection of books by authors in this field.

Our collection of free eBooks for the month of June features writers whose work illuminates various aspects of the African American experience in the United States. These books reveal and analyze histories of discrimination, resistance, leadership, and activism in black lives and communities. You can read any of these ten eBooks for free on eReaders such as Kindle, Nook, and Kobo through June 30, 2020. To access them, visit our website or your preferred eBook vendor and navigate to the book of your choice.

The University Press of Florida is committed to publishing important voices from our nation’s past and present. We stand against the proponents of oppressive systems that continually suppress and silence the lives and narratives of minorities in this country. We affirm that Black Lives Matter.


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An American Beach for African Americans
Marsha Dean Phelts

Marsha Dean Phelts reconstructs the character and traditions of American Beach, a 200-acre African American community on Amelia Island, Florida. In American Beach’s heyday, when other beaches grudgingly provided only limited access, black vacationers traveled as many as 1,000 miles down the east coast of the United States and hundreds of miles along the Gulf coast to a beachfront that welcomed their business.

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Between Washington and Du Bois: The Racial Politics of James Edward Shepard
Reginald K. Ellis

Between Washington and Du Bois describes the life and work of James Edward Shepard, the founder and president of the first state-supported black liberal arts college in the South—what is today known as North Carolina Central University. Arguing that black college presidents of the early twentieth century were not only academic pioneers but also race leaders, Reginald Ellis shows how Shepard played a vital role in the creation of a black professional class during the Jim Crow era.

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Black Miami in the Twentieth Century
Marvin Dunn

Focusing on the history of African Americans in south Florida and their pivotal role in the growth and development of Miami, Black Miami in the Twentieth Century traces their triumphs, drudgery, horrors, and courage during the first 100 years of the city’s history. Firsthand accounts and over 130 photographs, many of them never published before, bring to life the proud heritage of Miami’s black community.

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Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850–1954: An Intellectual History
Stephanie Y. Evans

Stephanie Evans chronicles the stories of African American women who struggled for and won access to formal education, beginning in 1850, when Lucy Stanton, a student at Oberlin College, earned the first college diploma conferred on an African American woman. Evans argues that the experiences, ideas, and practices of these pioneering black women can inspire contemporary educators to create an intellectual democracy in which all people have a voice.

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The Challenge of Blackness: The Institute of the Black World and Political Activism in the 1970s
Derrick E. White

The Challenge of Blackness examines the history and legacy of the Institute of the Black World (IBW), one of the most important Black Freedom Struggle organizations to emerge in the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A think tank based in Atlanta, the IBW organized a broad array of leading black activists, scholars, and intellectuals to find ways to combine the emerging academic discipline of black studies with the black political agenda.

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Dancing in Blackness: A Memoir
Halifu Osumare

Dancing in Blackness is a professional dancer’s personal journey over four decades, across three continents and twenty-three countries, and through defining moments in the story of black dance in America. In this memoir, Halifu Osumare reflects on what blackness and dance have meant to her life and international career. Now a black studies scholar, Osumare uses her extraordinary experiences to reveal the overlooked ways that dance has been a vital tool in the black struggle for recognition, justice, and self-empowerment.

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Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in Florida
Tameka Bradley Hobbs

Investigating a dark period of Florida history, focusing on a rash of anti-black violence that took place during the 1940s, Tameka Hobbs explores the reasons why lynchings continued in the state when they were starting to wane elsewhere. She contextualizes the murders within the era of World War II, contrasting the desire of the United States to broadcast the benefits of its democracy abroad while at home it struggled to provide legal protection to its African American citizens.

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Furiously Funny: Comic Rage from Ralph Ellison to Chris Rock
Terrence T. Tucker

A combustible mix of fury and radicalism, pathos and pain, wit and love—Terrence Tucker calls it “comic rage,” and he shows how it has been used by African American artists to aggressively critique America’s racial divide. Tucker shows how this important art form continues to expand in new ways in the twenty-first century and how it acts as a form of resistance where audiences can engage in subjects that are otherwise taboo.

09212017133631_500x500Resistance Reimagined: Black Women’s Critical Thought as Survival
Regis M. Fox

Resistance Reimagined highlights unconventional modes of black women’s activism within a society that has spoken so much of freedom but has granted it so selectively. Looking closely at nineteenth- and twentieth-century writings by African American women that reimagine antebellum America, Regis Fox introduces types of black activism that differ from common associations with militancy and maleness.

riverf00_500x500Slavery in Florida: Territorial Days to Emancipation
Larry Eugene Rivers

This important illustrated social history tells what life was like for slaves in Florida from 1821 to 1865, filling a major gap in our knowledge of the African American experience during this era. Slavery in Florida is built upon painstaking research into virtually every source available on the subject—a wealth of historic documents, personal papers, slave testimonies, and census and newspaper reports.


The digital versions of these ten books can be accessed for free through June 30, 2020.

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