Black AF History: The Un-Whitewashed Story of America

Dey Street. Sept. 2023. 432p. ISBN 9780358439165. $32.50. HIST
Political commentator Harriot mixes family and personal stories with street-savvy commentary into a stirring correction of U.S. history. This work mocks long-standing fabrications that have embedded traditions of white supremacy. Beginning in the 1400s with the Age of Discovery of European exploration, this book flips perspectives on standard historical details that shift the focus from Eurocentrism to the views of exploited and exterminated people of color. The book describes the United States’ true origin story as a settlement on lands wrenched from Indigenous peoples. The author stresses that the U.S. became wealthy from a race-based human trafficking system that enshrined the laws of property and white supremacy, which reduced people to chattel through violence. Emphasizing Black survival and resistance, Harriot simplifies complex issues into easily understandable, digestible bites. At the end of every chapter, there are “Three Little Questions,” “Key Terms,” and “Activity” sections that extend teachable moments.

CORRECTION: This review originally mispelled the author’s last name; this has been corrected. LJ regrets the error.

VERDICT With blunt, entertaining, irreverent, sarcastic, and sometimes laugh-out-loud statements, Harriot provocatively explains how the United States came to be and how money-focused, self-serving intentions made it what it is today. Contains important, noteworthy lessons for teen and adult readers.
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