In honor of Black History Month, University of Alabama Press presents these essential titles depicting aspects of the Black experience at 40% off through the end of February. Use code BHM22 at checkout when you order through our website.


The Architectural Legacy of Wallace A. Rayfield: Pioneer Black Architect of Birmingham, Alabama by Allen R. Durough

In the early 1990s, while cleaning out the barn on his property in Bessemer, Alabama, Allen Durough discovered the remnants of the lifework of African American architect Wallace A. Rayfield, including several hundred of Rayfield’s drawings, floor plans, business advertisements, family portraits, and graphic art pieces. This book gathers that priceless material legacy into a cohesive whole, reproducing 159 illustrations that document Rayfield’s life and work on two continents.


My Father’s War: Fighting with the Buffalo Soldiers in World War II by Carolyn Ross Johnston

Carolyn Ross Johnston draws on her father’s account of the war and her extensive interviews with other veterans of the 92nd Division to describe the experiences of a naïve southern white officer and his segregated unit on an intimate level. During the war, the protocol that required the assignment of southern white officers to command black units, both in Europe and in the Pacific theater, was often problematic, but Johnston seemed more successful than most, earning the trust and respect of his men at the same time that he learned to trust and respect them. Gene Johnston and the African American soldiers were transformed by the war and upon their return helped transform the nation.


Desert Rose: The Life and Legacy of Coretta Scott King by Edythe Scott Bagley with Joe Hilley

Coretta Scott King—noted author, human rights activist, and wife and partner of famed Civil Rights Movement leader Martin Luther King Jr.—grew up in the rural Alabama Black Belt with her older sister, Edythe Scott Bagley. Bagley chronicles the sisters’ early education together at the Crossroads School and later at the progressive Lincoln School in Marion. She describes Coretta’s burgeoning talent for singing and her devotion to musical studies, and the sisters’ experiences matriculating at Antioch College, an all-white college far from the rural South. Bagley provides vivid insights into Coretta’s early passion for racial and economic justice, which lead to her involvement in the Peace Movement and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Coretta’s devotion to activism, motherhood, and the movement led by her husband, and her courageous assumption of the legacy left in the wake of King’s untimely assassination, are wonderfully detailed in this intimate biography.


Keep Your Airspeed Up: The Story of a Tuskegee Airman by Harold H. Brown and Marsha S. Bordner

Keep Your Airspeed Up: The Story of a Tuskegee Airman is the memoir of an African American man who, through dedication to his goals and vision, overcame the despair of racial segregation to great heights, not only as a military aviator, but also as an educator and as an American citizen.


A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman by Charles W. Dryden

A-Train is the story of one of the black Americans who, during World War II, graduated from Tuskegee (AL) Flying School and served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps’ 99th Pursuit Squadron. Charles W. Dryden presents a fast-paced, balanced, and personal account of what it was like to prepare for a career traditionally closed to African Americans, how he coped with the frustrations and dangers of combat, and how he, along with many fellow black pilots, navigators, bombardiers, and crewmen, emerged with a magnificent war record.


Black Eagle: General Daniel “Chappie” James Jr. by James R. McGovern

Born in Pensacola, Florida, the youngest of seventeen children in a relatively poor family, “Chappie” James (1920-1978) rose to attain the rank of four-star general-the highest rank of the peacetime American military. His parents had early on imbued him with personal and national pride and a singular drive that motivated him his whole life. At Tuskegee Institute, James enrolled in the Army Air Corps unit formed to train black pilots. After combat service in World War II, James became the leader of a fighter group in the Korean War, during which he developed innovative tactics for providing close air support for advancing ground forces. He served with distinction in Vietnam and then became a public affairs officer in the Department of Defense. Between 1970 and 1974, James served as the Pentagon’s chief spokesman to youth and civic organizations.


The Divided Skies: Establishing Segregated Flight Training at Tuskegee, Alabama, 1934-1942 by Robert J. Jakeman

“Robert Jakeman has done an excellent job of giving meaning to the aviation experience. He clearly explains that the decision to create a segregated flight training program at Tuskegee Institute came about as a result of the confluence of three forces: the continued attention of African-Americans in the military, the growing interest of the community in aviation, and the emergence of civil rights as a major issue.”

The Journal of Military History


Powerful Days: Civil Rights Photography of Charles Moore by Charles Moore, Michael Durham

There are few Americans who would not recognize Charles Moore’s most famous photographs. His images of the civil rights movement have become, and remain today, internationally known icons-vivid, searing portraits of pivotal moments in the struggle for racial equality in the American South. This chronological collection of Moore’s most compelling and dramatic images, taken as the movement progressed through Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia, highlights activity from 1958 to 1965.


Constance Baker Motley: One Woman’s Fight for Civil Rights and Equal Justice under Law by Gary L. Ford Jr.

Constance Baker Motley was an African American woman; the daughter of immigrants from Nevis, British West Indies; a wife; and a mother who became a pioneer and trailblazer in the legal profession. She broke down barriers, overcame gender constraints, and operated outside the boundaries placed on black women by society and the civil rights movement. In Constance Baker Motley: One Woman’s Fight for Civil Rights and Equal Justice under Law, Gary L. Ford Jr. explores the key role Motley played in the legal fight to desegregate public schools as well as colleges, universities, housing, transportation, lunch counters, museums, libraries, parks, and other public accommodations.


To Raise Up the Man Farthest Down: Tuskegee University’s Advancements in Human Health, 1881–1987 by Dana R. Chandler and Edith Powell

Alabama’s celebrated, historically black Tuskegee University is most commonly associated with its founding president, Booker T. Washington, the scientific innovator George Washington Carver, or the renowned Tuskegee Airmen. Although the university’s accomplishments and devotion to social issues are well known, its work in medical research and health care has received little acknowledgment. Tuskegee has been fulfilling Washington’s vision of “healthy minds and bodies” since its inception in 1881. In To Raise Up the Man Farthest Down, Dana R. Chandler and Edith Powell document Tuskegee University’s medical and public health history with rich archival data and never-before-published photographs. Chandler and Powell especially highlight the important but largely unsung role that Tuskegee University researchers played in the eradication of polio, and they add new dimension and context to the fascinating story of the HeLa cell line that has been brought to the public’s attention by popular media.


Doc: The Story of a Birmingham Jazz Man by Frank “Doc” Adams and Burgin Mathews

Doc tells the story of an accomplished jazz master, from his musical apprenticeship under John T. “Fess” Whatley and his time touring with Sun Ra and Duke Ellington to his own inspiring work as an educator and bandleader.


The Blues Muse: Race, Gender, and Musical Celebrity in American Poetry by Emily Ruth Rutter

The Blues Muse: Race, Gender, and Musical Celebrity in American Poetry focuses on five key blues musicians and singers—Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Robert Johnson, and Lead Belly—and traces the ways in which these artists and their personas have been invoked and developed throughout American poetry. This study spans nearly one hundred years of literary and musical history, from the New Negro Renaissance to the present.


A Fire You Can’t Put Out: The Civil Rights Life of Birmingham’s Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth by Andrew M. Manis

When Fred Shuttlesworth suffered only a bump on the head in the 1956 bombing of his home, members of his church called it a miracle. Shuttlesworth took it as a sign that God would protect him on the mission that had made him a target that night. Standing in front of his demolished home, Shuttlesworth vigorously renewed his commitment to integrate Birmingham’s buses, lunch counters, police force, and parks. The incident transformed him, in the eyes of Birmingham’s blacks, from an up-and-coming young minister to a virtual folk hero and, in the view of white Birmingham, from obscurity to rabble-rouser extraordinaire.


The House by the Side of the Road: The Selma Civil Rights Movement by Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson

On Sunday, March 7, 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. and six hundred followers set out on foot from Selma, Alabama, bound for Montgomery to demand greater voting rights for African Americans. As they crossed the city’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, state and local policemen savagely set on the marchers with tear gas and billy clubs, an event now known as “Bloody Sunday” that would become one of the most iconic in American history. King’s informal headquarters in Selma was the home of Dr. Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson and their young daughter, Jawana. The House by the Side of the Road is Richie Jean’s firsthand account of the private meetings King and his lieutenants, including Ralph David Abernathy and John Lewis, held in the haven of the Jackson home.


A Time to Speak: The Story of a Young American Lawyer’s Struggle for His City—and Himself by Charles Morgan Jr., With a New Foreword by Senator Doug Jones

On September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young Black girls. The very next day, a prominent white lawyer named Charles Morgan Jr. was scheduled to speak at a luncheon held by the Young Men’s Business Club of Birmingham. A well-regarded figure in the city’s legal and business establishment, Morgan had been mentioned frequently as a candidate for political office. To the shock of his longtime friends and associates, Morgan deviated from his planned remarks, instead using his platform to place the blame for the murder of the four young girls squarely on the shoulders of the city’s white middle-class establishment, those seated before him.


This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight by Maria Gitin

This Bright Light of Ours offers a tightly focused insider’s view of the community-based activism that was the heart of the civil rights movement. A celebration of grassroots heroes, this book details through first-person accounts the contributions of ordinary people who formed  the nonviolent army that won the fight for voting rights.


Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days by Sheyann Webb, Rachel West Nelson, Frank Sikora

Sheyann Webb was eight years old and Rachel West was nine when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. arrived in Selma, Alabama, on January 2, 1965. He came to organize non-violent demonstrations against discriminatory voting laws. Selma, Lord, Selma is their firsthand account of the events from that turbulent winter of 1965–events that changed not only the lives of these two little girls but the lives of all Alabamians and all Americans. From 1975 to 1979, award-winning journalist Frank Sikora conducted interviews with Webb and West, weaving their recollections into this luminous story of fear and courage, struggle and redemption that readers will discover is Selma, Lord, Selma.