Chicago-Based Book Publisher Will Offer Free E-Books For Black History Month

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Chicago-based book publisher Haymarket Books plans to offer free e-books on Black history after the College Board announced its revised Advanced Placement African American Studies course at the start of the month. 

The College Board’s revisions came just weeks after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) refused to permit the class to be taught in Florida high schools. However, College Board President David Coleman told ESSENCE in a recent interview that the final framework of the course was based on feedback from hundreds of educators and students, as well as principles that have guided the foundation of AP courses. 

“At the College Board, we don’t look to the statements of political leaders in deciding what’s in or out of a course, we look to the record of history,” Coleman told ESSENCE.

In the revised course, instructors will not teach topics such as Black Lives Matter, slavery reparations and queer theory. Instead, these topics will be included on a list that states and school districts can recommend to students for end-of-the-year projects. 

“The racist governor of Florida continues to escalate his attacks on the freedom to learn and teach history,” the publishing house said in a press release. “We at Haymarket stand in solidarity with all those in Florida and across the country who are organizing to resist. We know that books can be dangerous to those in power, especially when they are in the hands of folks who are organizing to fight for liberation. That’s why we publish them. That’s why they’re trying to ban them,” the company added.

The following e-books will be available for free download from Haymarket Books: The Black Lives Matter movement’s necessity is discussed in “From Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation” by Keeanga Yamahtta; “Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Educational Justice,” edited by Jesse Hagopian and Denisha Jones, explains how the movement has confronted institutional racism; and “1919,” a collection of poems by Eve L. Ewing that describes the 1919 Chicago race riots.

“Black people have always figured out ways to teach our history in spaces beneath, beyond, and betwixt the machinations of people like Ron DeSantis,” Ewing said. “The only thing he ever got right in his life was understanding how insurgent our stories really are, how threatening to the status quo of a nation built on theft.”

The publishing company is also working to raise funds in order to send hundreds of free books to young people in Florida. These books could be any Haymarket-published works on subjects ranging from abolition to Black politics to police and prisons to socialism and Marxism.

“The struggle is long, but we are many,” the company said.

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