Celebrating Black History Month

Western Libraries celebrates Black History Month by highlighting the people, history, and stories from the Black Diaspora. The materials below are available to check-out  from our collection.  Be sure to check out the events for Black History Month at Western.

Adrian Piper : a retrospective

cover of Adrian Piper : a retrospective
by Piper, Adrian, 1948-; Fisher, Jean, 1942-2016.; Berger, Maurice, 1956-2020.; New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York, N.Y.); University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Fine Arts Gallery.

Publication Date: 1999

Material Type: Book

Summary:

Content: Styles of radical will : Adrian Piper and the indexical present / Maurice Berger -- Breath between words / Jean Fisher -- Decentering and recentering : Adrian Piper's spheres of influence / Kobena Mercer -- "Autobiography" of Adrian Piper / Laura Cottingham -- Critique of pure racism : an interview with Adrian Piper / Maurice Berger -- Plates -- MEDI(t)Ations : Adrian Piper's videos, installations, performances and soundworks, 1968-1992 / Dara Meyers-Kingsley, Adrian Piper -- Personal chronology / Adrian Piper -- Exhibition checklist.

America, goddam : violence, Black women, and the struggle for justice

cover of America, goddam : violence, Black women, and the struggle for justice
by Lindsey, Treva B., 1983- author.

Publication Date: 2022

Material Type: Book

Summary:

America, Goddam explores the combined force of anti-Blackness, misogyny, patriarchy, and capitalism in the lives of Black women and girls in the United States today. Through personal accounts and hard-hitting analysis, Black feminist historian Treva B. Lindsey starkly assesses the forms and legacies of violence against Black women and girls, as well as their demands for justice for themselves and their communities. America Goddam powerfully demonstrates that the struggle for justice begins with reckoning with the pervasiveness of violence against Black women and girls in the United States. Combining history, theory, and memoir, America Goddam renders visible the gender dynamics of anti-Black violence. Black women and girls occupy a unique status of vulnerability to harm and death, while the circumstances and traumas of this violence go underreported and understudied. Lindsey also shows that the sanctity of life and liberty for Black men has been a galvanizing rallying cry within Black freedom movements. But Black women--who have been both victims of anti-Black violence as well as frontline participants in it, and quite often architects to these freedom movements--are rarely the focus. Black women have led movements demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Toyin Salau, Riah Milton, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, and countless other Black women and girls whose lives have been curtailed by numerous forms of violence. Across generations and centuries, their refusal to remain silent about violence against them led many to envisioning and building toward Black liberation through organizing and radical politics. Echoing the energy of Nina Simone's searing protest song which inspired the title, America, Goddam is a call to action in our collective journey toward just futures--

Awakening the ashes : an intellectual history of the Haitian Revolution

cover of Awakening the ashes : an intellectual history of the Haitian Revolution
by Daut, Marlene, author.

Publication Date: 2023

Material Type: Book

Summary:

The Haitian Revolution was a powerful blow against colonialism and slavery, and as its thinkers and fighters blazed the path to universal freedom, they forced anticolonial, antislavery, and antiracist ideals into modern political grammar. The first state in the Americas to permanently abolish slavery, outlaw color prejudice, and forbid colonialism, Haitians established their nation in a hostile Atlantic World. Slavery was ubiquitous throughout the rest of the Americas and foreign nations, and empires repeatedly attacked Haitian sovereignty. Yet Haitian writers and politicians successfully defended their independence while planting the ideological roots of egalitarian statehood. In Awakening the Ashes, Marlene L. Daut situates famous and lesser-known eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Haitian revolutionaries, pamphleteers, and political thinkers within the global history of ideas, showing how their systems of knowledge and interpretation took center stage in the Age of Revolutions. While modern understandings of freedom and equality are often linked to the French Declaration of the Rights of Man or the US Declaration of Independence, Daut argues that the more immediate reference should be to what she calls the 1804 Principle that no human being should ever again be colonized or enslaved, an idea promulgated by the Haitians who, against all odds, upended French empire--

Bayard Rustin : A Legacy of Protest and Politics.

cover of Bayard Rustin : A Legacy of Protest and Politics.
by Long, Michael G.

Publication Date: 2023

Material Type: Book

Summary:

Celebrates the life and legacy of Bayard Rustin, the civil rights leader behind the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and FreedomWhile we can all recall images of Martin Luther King Jr. giving his I Have a Dream speech in front of a massive crowd at Lincoln Memorial, few of us remember the man who organized this watershed nonviolent protest in eight short weeks: Bayard Rustin. This was far from Rustin's first foray into the fight for civil rights. As a world-traveling pacifist, he brought Gandhi's protest techniques to the forefront of US civil rights demonstrations, helped build the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, led the fight for economic justice, and played a deeply influential role in the life of Dr. King by helping to mold him into an international symbol of nonviolent resistance. Rustin's legacy touches many areas of contemporary life-from civil resistance to violent uprisings, democracy to socialism, and criminal justice reform to war resistance. Despite these achievements, Rustin was often relegated to the background. He was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era. With expansive, searching, and sometimes critical essays from a range of esteemed writers-including Rustin's own partner, Walter Naegle-this volume draws a full picture of Bayard Rustin: a gay, pacifist, socialist political radical who changed the course of US history and set a precedent for future civil rights activism, from LGBTQ+ Pride to Black Lives Matter.

Before the Movement : the hidden history of Black civil rights

cover of Before the Movement : the hidden history of Black civil rights
by Penningroth, Dylan C., author.

Publication Date: 2023

Material Type: Book

Summary:

The familiar story of civil rights goes like this: once, America's legal system shut Black people out and refused to recognize their rights, their basic human dignity, or even their very lives. When lynch mobs gathered, police and judges often closed their eyes, if they didn't join in. For Black people, law was a hostile, fearsome power to be avoided whenever possible. Then, starting in the 1940s, a few brave lawyers ventured south, bent on changing the law. Soon, ordinary African Americans, awakened by Supreme Court victories and galvanized by racial justice activists, launched the civil rights movement. In Before the Movement, acclaimed historian Dylan C. Penningroth brilliantly revises the conventional story. Drawing on long-forgotten sources found in the basements of county courthouses across the nation, Penningroth reveals that African Americans, far from being ignorant about law until the middle of the twentieth century, have thought about, talked about, and used it going as far back as even the era of slavery. They dealt constantly with the laws of property, contract, inheritance, marriage and divorce, of associations (like churches and businesses and activist groups), and more. By exercising these rights of everyday use, Penningroth demonstrates, they made Black rights seem unremarkable. And in innumerable subtle ways, they helped shape the law itself--the laws all of us live under today. Penningroth's narrative, which stretches from the last decades of slavery to the 1970s, partly traces the history of his own family. Challenging accepted understandings of Black history framed by relations with white people, he puts Black people at the center of the story--their loves and anger and loneliness, their efforts to stay afloat, their mistakes and embarrassments, their fights, their ideas, their hopes and disappointments, in all their messy humanness. Before the Movement is an account of Black legal lives that looks beyond the Constitution and the criminal justice system to recover a rich, broader vision of Black life--a vision allied with, yet distinct from, the freedom struggle.

Beyond the shores : a history of African Americans abroad

cover of Beyond the shores : a history of African Americans abroad
by Walker, Tamara J., 1978- author.

Publication Date: 2023

Material Type: Book

Summary:

An award-winning author charts the poignant journeys of African Americans abroad as she explores her own transatlantic family odyssey in this powerful global history of traveling while Black. Part historical exploration, part travel memoir, Beyond the Shores reveals poignant histories of a diverse group of African Americans who have left the United States over the course of the past century. Tying these tales together is Dr. Tamara J. Walker's personal account of her family's--and her own--experiences abroad, in France, Brazil, Argentina, Austria, and beyond. Together, the interwoven stories highlight African Americans' complicated relationship to the United States and world at large. Beyond the Shores is not just about where African Americans stayed or where they ate when they traveled, but about why they left in the first place and how they were treated once they reached their destinations. Drawing on years of research, Walker chronicles their experiences in atmospheric detail, taking readers from well-known capital cities to more unusual destinations like Yangiyol, Uzbekistan and Kabondo, Kenya. She follows Florence Mills, the would-be Josephine Baker of her day, in Paris, and Richard Wright, the author-turned-actor and filmmaker, in Buenos Aires. She relays tender stories of adventurous travelers, including a group of gifted Black crop scientists in the 1930s, a housewife searching for purpose in the 1950s, a Peace Corps volunteer discovering his identity in the 1970s, and her own grandfather who, after losing his eye fighting in World War II and returning to a country that showed no signs of honoring his sacrifice, set out with his wife and children on a circuitous journey that sent them back and forth across the Atlantic. By sharing the histories of those who escaped the racism of the United States to try their hands at life abroad, Beyond the Shores shines a light on the meaning of home and the search for a better life--

Black folk : the roots of the Black working class

cover of Black folk : the roots of the Black working class
by Kelley, Blair Murphy, 1973- author.

Publication Date: 2023

Material Type: Book

Summary:

An award-winning historian illuminates the adversities and joys of the Black working class in America through a stunning narrative centered on her forebears. There have been countless books, articles, and televised reports in recent years about the almost mythic 'white working class,' a tide of commentary that has obscured the labor, and even the very existence, of entire groups of working people, including everyday Black workers. In this brilliant corrective, Black Folk, acclaimed historian Blair LM Kelley restores the Black working class to the center of the American story.--Publisher

Black futures.

cover of Black futures.
by Drew, Kimberly, 1990- editor.; Wortham, Jenna, 1981- editor.

Publication Date: 2020

Material Type: Book

Summary:

This book is a collection of work - art, photos, essays, memes, dialogues, recipes, tweets, poetry, and more - that tells the story of the radical, imaginative, bold, and beautiful world that Black artists are producing today. The book presents a succession of brilliant and provocative pieces - from both emerging and renowned creators of all kinds - that generates an entrancing rhythm. Readers will go from conversations with hackers and street artists to memes and Instagram posts, from powerful prose to dazzling paintings and insightful infographics. This is a generational document that captures this fast-moving generation in its own dynamic and expansive language. While shaped in the tradition of other generational statements, from The New Negro to Black Fire to Toni Morrison's landmark The Black Book, this book does not have a retrospective air. It showcases the present, but it points to the future. We live at a time when Black culture - whether it's created by Ava DuVernay or Donald Glover, Kendrick Lamar or Cardi B, meme-makers or YouTubers - is opening our imaginations and offering new paths forward: a multi-voiced, utopian alternative to a world of walls and white nationalism. This book captures this expansive vision and energy and makes it available to any reader, of any color, who wants to explore this exciting cultural moment - and see the next one coming. --

Continually working : Black women, community intellectualism and economic justice in postwar Milwaukee

cover of Continually working : Black women, community intellectualism and economic justice in postwar Milwaukee
by Moten, Crystal, 1982- author.

Publication Date: 2023

Material Type: Book

Summary:

Continually Working tells the stories of Black working women who resisted employment inequality in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from the 1940s to the 1970s--

Creating their own image : the history of African-American women artists

cover of Creating their own image : the history of African-American women artists
by Farrington, Lisa E., author.

Publication Date: 2005

Material Type: Book

Summary:

Drawing on revealing interviews with numerous contemporary artists, such as Betye Saar, Faith Ringgold, Nanette Carter, Camille Billops, Xenobia Bailey, and many others, the second half of Creating Their Own Image probes more recent stylistic developments, such as abstraction, conceptualism, and post-modernism, never losing sight of the struggles and challenges that have consistently influenced this body of work. Weaving together an expansive collection of artists, styles, and periods, Farrington argues that for centuries African-American women artists have created an alternative vision of how women of color can, are, and might be represented in American culture. From utilitarian objects such as quilts and baskets to a wide array of fine arts, Creating Their Own Image serves up compelling evidence of the fundamental human need to convey one's life, one's emotions, one's experiences, on a canvas of one's own making. [from publisher description].

Cross-border cosmopolitans : the making of a Pan-African North America

cover of Cross-border cosmopolitans : the making of a Pan-African North America
by Adjetey, Wendell Nii Laryea, author.

Publication Date: 2023

Material Type: Book

Summary:

Twentieth-century African American history cannot be told without accounting for the significant influence of Pan-African thought, just as the story of U.S. policy from 1900 to 2000 cannot be told without accounting for fears of an African World. In the early 1900s, by contending that twentieth-century global Black liberation movements began within the U.S.-Canadian borderlands as cross-border, continental struggles, Cross-Border Cosmopolitans reveals the revolutionary legacies of the Underground Railroad and America's Great Migration and the hemispheric and transatlantic dimensions of this history--

Dark agoras : insurgent Black social life and the politics of place

cover of Dark agoras : insurgent Black social life and the politics of place
by Roane, J. T., author.

Publication Date: 2022

Material Type: Book

Summary:

Dark Agoras shows how Black working-class communities created distinctive practices of place and politics from the Great Migrant generations into the era of Black Power, constituting an underexamined tradition of worldmaking and urbanism--

Field theories

cover of Field theories
by Bashir, Samiya A., author.

Publication Date: 2017

Material Type: Book

Summary:

Field Theories wends its way through quantum mechanics, chicken wings, Newports, and love, melding blackbody theory (idealized perfect absorption vs. the whitebody's idealized reflection) with live Black bodies. Woven through experimental lyrics is a heroic crown of sonnets that wonders about love, intent, identity, hybridity, and how we embody these interstices--Publisher's website.

Julie Mehretu : drawing into painting

cover of Julie Mehretu : drawing into painting
by Mehretu, Julie, 1970-; Fogle, Douglas, 1964-; Walker Art Center.

Publication Date: 2003

Material Type: Book

Merze Tate : the global Odyssey of a Black woman scholar

cover of Merze Tate : the global Odyssey of a Black woman scholar
by Savage, Barbara Dianne, author.

Publication Date: 2023

Material Type: Book

Summary:

Contents: 1. "Her Own Story" : Michigan, 1905-1927 -- 2. "Distinguished Colored Men and Women" : Indianapolis-England-Europe-Washington, 1927-1932 -- 3. "Sail to the Future" : Oxford-Europe, 1932-1935 -- 4. "A Narrow Life, But a Rich One" : North Carolina-Cambridge-Baltimore, 1935-1942 -- 5. "Darker Peoples of the World" : Washington, 1942-1950 -- 6. "Roaming in Foreign Lands and Climes" : England-Europe-Egypt-India-Asia-Hawaii, 1950-1951 -- 7. "Challenges of Our Age" : Washington, 1951-1958 -- 8. "A Weary Researcher" : Hawaii-Fiji-Australia-New Zealand-Asia-Europe-USSR, 1958-1960 -- 9. "A Modern Scholar" : Washington, 1960-1972 -- 10. "The Sinews and Arteries of Empire ": Africa-Washington-Africa, 1972-1976 -- 11. "Living History" : Washington-Cambridge-Michigan, 1976-1996 -- Appendix : Published Works by Merze Tate.

Naked : the rhythm and groove of it. the depth and length to it.

cover of Naked : the rhythm and groove of it. the depth and length to it.
by Minto, Nastashia, author.

Publication Date: 2019

Material Type: Book

Summary:

In this poetic memoir, Nastashia Minto strips herself of who she used to be and gives readers permission to see her naked. Exploring topics of family, faith, race, sexuality, abuse, love, and identity, Minto's words dig up rootbound emotions in need of better soil. This collection welcomes difficult conversations and allows space for unboxing uncertainties. By making herself transparent on the page, Minto inspires readers to become naked too.

Never together : the economic history of a segregated America

cover of Never together : the economic history of a segregated America
by Temin, Peter, author.

Publication Date: 2022

Material Type: Book

Summary:

In November 2020, The New York Times asked fifteen on its columnists to 'explain what the past four years have cost America.' Not one of the columnists focused on President Trump's racism. This book seeks to redress this imbalance and bring Black Americans' role in our economy to the forefront. While all humans were created equal, economic history in the United States tells a different story. Reconstruction lasted for only a decade, and Jim Crow laws replaced it. The Civil Rights Movement lasted through the 1960s, yet decayed under President Nixon. The United States has been declining in the Social Product Index, where it now is the lowest of the G7 and 26th in the world. For health and happiness, Temin argues that we need lasting integration efforts that allow Black Americans equal opportunity. This book convincingly integrates Black and white activities into an inclusive economic history of America. -- Provided by publisher.

Our secret society : Mollie Moon and the glamour, money, and power behind the civil rights movement

cover of Our secret society : Mollie Moon and the glamour, money, and power behind the civil rights movement
by Ford, Tanisha C., author.

Publication Date: 2023

Material Type: Book

Summary:

Ford illuminates the powerhouse fund-raising effort that supported the Civil Rights Movement: luncheons, galas, card parties and traveling exhibitions attended by middle-class and working class Black families, the Negro press, and titans of industry. Mollie Moon lived abroad in the 1930s but came home to fight against Jim Crow segregation in the United States. With her husband Henry Lee Moon, Mollie became half of one of the most influential couples of the civil rights era. Ford provides a searing portrait of a remarkable period in America and a strategic economic blueprint today's activists can emulate. -- adapted from jacket

Performing female blackness

cover of Performing female blackness
by Keleta-Mae, Naila, author.

Publication Date: 2023

Material Type: Book

Summary:

Performing Female Blackness examines race, gender, and nation in Black life using critical race, feminist and performance studies methodologies. This book examines what private and public performances of female blackness reveal about race, gender, and nation and considers how Canada shapes these performances. Naila Keleta-Mae proposes that performance is part of the ontology of female blackness in the public and private spaces that constitute everyday life because people who are female and Black are constantly expected to perform fantasies--be it their own or, far more commonly, those insisted on by dominant culture. By exploring Black expressive culture in familial, literary, and performance settings, the author demonstrates how people who are read as female and Black in private and public settings, are figuratively on stage regardless of the cultural, political, or historical contexts in which they find themselves. Written in poetry, prose and journal-form and drawing from the author's own life and artistic works, Performing Female Blackness is ideal for scholars, educators, and students of race, gender, performance, and Black expressive culture.--

Rooted jazz dance : Africanist aesthetics and equity in the twenty-first century

cover of Rooted jazz dance : Africanist aesthetics and equity in the twenty-first century
by Oliver, Wendy, editor.; Jones, Carlos R. A., editor.; Guarino, Lindsay, editor.; Oliver, Wendy, editor.; Jones, Carlos R. A., editor.; Guarino, Lindsay, editor.

Publication Date: 2022

Material Type: Book

Summary:

Decolonizing contemporary jazz dance practice, this book examines the state of jazz dance theory, pedagogy, and choreography in the twenty-first century, recovering and affirming the lifeblood of jazz in Africanist aesthetics and Black American culture.

The famous lady lovers : Black women and queer desire before Stonewall

cover of The famous lady lovers : Black women and queer desire before Stonewall
by Woolner, Cookie, author.

Publication Date: 2023

Material Type: Book

Summary:

Black queer women have shaped American culture since long before the era of gay liberation. Decades prior to the Stonewall Uprising, in the 1920s and 1930s, Black 'lady lovers'-as women who loved women were then called-crafted a queer world. In the cabarets, rent parties, speakeasies, literary salons, and universities of the Jazz Age and Great Depression, communities of Black lady lovers grew, and queer flirtations flourished. Cookie Woolner here uncovers the intimate lives of performers, writers, and educators such as Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Gladys Bentley, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, and Lucy Diggs Slowe, along with the many everyday women she encountered in the archives. Examining blues songs, Black newspapers, vice reports, memoirs, sexology case studies, and more, Woolner illuminates the unconventional lives Black lady lovers formed to suit their desires. In the urban North, as the Great Migration gave rise to increasingly racially mixed cities, Black lady lovers fashioned and participated in emerging sexual subcultures. During this time, Black queer women came to represent anxieties about the deterioration of the heteronormative family. Negotiating shifting notions of sexuality and respectability, Black lady lovers strategically established queer networks, built careers, created families, and were vital cultural contributors to the US interwar era--

The Garretts of Columbia : a Black South Carolina family from slavery to the dawn of integration

cover of The Garretts of Columbia : a Black South Carolina family from slavery to the dawn of integration
by Nicholson, David, 1951- author.

Publication Date: 2024

Material Type: Book

Summary:

A writer in search of his roots discovers stories of African American struggle, sacrifice, and achievement. In The Garretts of Columbia, author David Nicholson tells a multigenerational story of Black hope and resilience. Carefully researched and beautifully written, The Garretts of Columbia engages readers with stories of a family whose members believed in the possibility of America. Nicholson relates the sacrifices, defeats, and affirming victories of a cohort of stalwart men and women who embraced education, fought for their country, and asserted their dignity in the face of a society that denied their humanity and discounted their abilities. The letters of Anna Maria 'Mama' Threewitts Garrett, along with other archival sources and family stories passed down through generations, provided the framework that allowed Nicholson to trace his family's deep history, and with it a story about Black life in segregated Columbia, SC, from the years after the Civil War to World War II--

The girl who fell from the sky : a novel

cover of The girl who fell from the sky : a novel
by Durrow, Heidi W., 1969- author.

Publication Date: 2011

Material Type: Book

Summary:

After a family tragedy orphans her, Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., moves into her grandmother's mostly black community in the 1980s, where she must swallow her grief and confront her identity as a biracial woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white.

The sisterhood : how a network of Black women writers changed American culture

cover of The sisterhood : how a network of Black women writers changed American culture
by Thorsson, Courtney, 1978- author.

Publication Date: 2023

Material Type: Book

Summary:

On February 6, 1977, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Ntozake Shange, and several other Black women writers met at June Jordan's Brooklyn apartment. Naming itself The Sisterhood, the group would meet over the next two years to discuss the future of Black literary feminism, how to promote and publicize their work, and the everyday pressures and challenges of being a Black woman writer. This network of individuals, which would also come to include Audre Lorde, Paule Marshall, Toni Cade Bambara and Margo Jefferson, as well as other Black women, shaped the direction of Black women's writing and Black literary culture in the post-Civil Rights and post-Black Arts Movement era and its reception in popular culture, the literary marketplace, and the academy. Drawing on meeting notes, interviews with participants, their writings, and correspondence, Courtney Thorsson's history of The Sisterhood recounts the personal, political, and professional bonds and motivations that shaped the group's history and its dissolution. Turning to the group's legacy, she considers the critical and popular success of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison in the 1980s, the uneasy absorption of Black feminism into the academy, and the racist and misogynistic backlash these writers faced and the limits of mainstream success. Though The Sisterhood only formally existed for two years, its impact on American literature and culture, as Thorsson demonstrates, has been profound even as it reveals the limitations of its success--

To build a Black future : the radical politics of joy, pain, and care

cover of To build a Black future : the radical politics of joy, pain, and care
by Harris, Christopher Paul, author.

Publication Date: 2023

Material Type: Book

Summary:

When #BlackLivesMatter emerged in 2013, it animated the most consequential Black-led mobilization since the civil rights and Black power era. Today, the hashtag turned rallying cry is but one expression of a radical reorientation toward Black politics, protest, and political thought. To Build a Black Future examines the spirit and significance of this insurgency, offering a revelatory account of a new political culture--responsive to pain, suffused with joy, and premised on care--emerging from the centuries-long arc of Black rebellion, a tradition that traces back to the Black slave. Drawing on his own experiences as an activist and organizer, Christopher Paul Harris takes readers inside the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) to chart the propulsive trajectory of Black politics and thought from the Middle Passage to the present historical moment. Carefully attending to the social forces that produce Black struggle and the contradictions that arise within it, Harris illustrates how M4BL gives voice to an abolitionist praxis that bridges the past, present, and future, outlining a political project at once directed inward to the Black community while issuing an outward challenge to the world. -- inside front jacket flap.

William Still : the underground railroad and the angel at philadelphia

cover of William Still : the underground railroad and the angel at philadelphia
by Kashatus, William C., 1959- author.

Publication Date: 2021

Material Type: Book

Summary:

William Still coordinated the Eastern Line of the Underground Railroad and was a pillar of the Railroad as a whole. Based in Philadelphia, Still built a reputation as a courageous leader, writer, philanthropist, and guide for fugitive slaves. This monumental work details Still's life story beginning with his parents' escape from bondage in the early nineteenth century and continuing through his youth and adulthood as one of the nation's most important Underground Railroad agents and, later, as an early civil rights pioneer. Still worked personally with Harriet Tubman, assisted the family of John Brown, helped Brown's associates escape from Harper's Ferry after their famous raid, and was a rival to Frederick Douglass among nationally prominent African American abolitionists. Still's life story is told in the broader context of the anti-slavery movement, Philadelphia Quaker and free black history, and the generational conflict that occurred between Still and a younger group of free black activists led by Octavius Catto.