Showing posts with label African American. Show all posts
Showing posts with label African American. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Black Film History: A Reading List

Whether you want to expand your knowledge or diversify your summer reading challenge selections, here are a variety of classic film books about black film history to consider.

I didn't include any buy links. I encourage you to Google these titles (or click on my reviews if I listed them) if you want more information. If you're interested in purchasing books, I recommend contacting your favorite independent bookstore to see if they have any titles in stock or if they can order on your behalf. I recently placed an order with Larry Edmunds Bookshop that included Sidney Poitier's memoir This Life and a biography on Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.

If you want to get started with a few articles before diving into books, I have some pieces I wrote for Turner Classic Movies, DVD Netflix and The Film Detective that I recommend. Over the past year and a half I've been researching African-American film history and am really proud of the pieces that I was able to write for those outlets. Full list is at the very bottom of this post.

If you have recommendations to share, please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.


Hollywood Black
The Stars, The Films, The Filmmakers
by Donald Bogle

Other titles:

 Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks
An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films
by Donald Bogle

Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams
The Story of Black Hollywood
by Donald Bogle

Brotherhood in Rhythm
The Jazz Tap Dancing of the Nicholas Brothers
by Constance Valis Hill

The Devil Finds Work
by James Baldwin

The Many Faces of Josephine Baker
Dancer, Singer, Activist, Spy

by Peggy Caravantes


Life Beyond Measure
Letters to my Great-Grandaughter
by Sidney Poitier

The Measure of a Man
A Spiritual Autobiography
by Sidney Poitier

Photo by Sammy Davis Jr.

Stealing the Show
African American Performers and Audiences in 1930s Hollywood
by Miriam J. Petty

Stepin Fetchit
The Life and Times of Lincoln Perry
by Mel Watkins


America's Mistress
The Life and Times of Eartha Kitt
by John L. Williams

Black Oscars
From Mammy to Minny, What the Academy Awards Tell Us about African Americans
By Frederick Jr. Gooding

Dorothy Dandridge
A Biography
by Donald Bogle

Hattie McDaniel
Black Ambition, White Hollywood
by Jill Watts

Hollywood at the Intersection of Race and Identity
edited by Delia Malia Caparoso Konzett

In Black and White
The Life of Sammy Davis Jr.
by Wil Haygood

Josephine Baker
by Jose-Luis Bocquet and illustrated by Catel Muller

Mr. Bojangles
The Biography of Bill Robinson
by James Haskins and N.R. Mitgang

My One Good Nerve
by Ruby Dee

My Song: A Memoir
by Harry Belafonte with Michael Shnayerson

Oscar Micheaux
The Life of America's First Black Filmmaker
by Patrick McGilligan

Separate Cinema
The First 100 Years of Black Poster Art
by John Duke Kisch

Sing and Shout
The Mighty Voice of Paul Robeson
By Susan Goldman Rubin

Stars for Freedom
Hollywood, Black Celebrities and the Civil Rights Movement
by Emilie Raymond

Stormy Weather
The Life of Lena Horne
by James Gavin


DVD Netflix

Turner Classic Movies

Film Detective

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