The Jubilee Reader Issue 12 - July/August 2024

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The Jubilee Reader

Recent books by African American writers, writers from the African diaspora, and on related topics.

Issue 12 • July/August 2024


All We Were Promised

An enslaved housekeeper escapes to 1837 Philadelphia, where she plays servant to her whitepassing father, befriends a young abolitionist, and risks everything to help another former slave who has been brought to the city by her plantation mistress.

American Daughters

Brought together by their fathers’ friendship, Portia Washington and Alice Roosevelt — the daughters of Booker T. Washington and Theodore Roosevelt — became close friends and supported each other through marriages, pregnancies, and the turbulence of social and political upheaval.

Ash Dark as Night

After being beaten unconscious for taking a photo during the 1965 Watts riots, a crime scene photographer agrees to help a friend track down a missing business associate.

Broughtupsy by

After the death of her brother, a woman returns to her native Jamaica to reconnect with her sister and visit significant places from their childhood with their brother’s ashes.


Convergence Problems

Sixteen stories of the fantastic, including the tales of a mechanic who agrees to a procedure to increase the electrical conductivity of his skin and of a woman who races to save her brother on Mars.

A mixed-race British woman, shocked to discover that her Scottish fiancé’s family enslaved her Jamaican ancestors, embarks on a journey to uncover her history.

Double Lives

Identical twins in the Depression-era South decide to switch places when one is stifled by a passionless marriage and the other is heartbroken over losing her true love.

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Dysfunction Junction

When three women receive an unexpected phone call that leaves them reeling, they have no other choice but to reckon with a lifetime of memories they’ve long tried to bury.

The Good Ones Are Taken

by Taj

When her college best friend admits he’s in love with her, a lawyer searching for Mr. Right must choose between the perfect guy and a friendship that’s the foundation for everything she’s ever wanted.

Great Expectations

A young Black man considers questions of history, art, race, religion, and parenthood while coming to terms with his identity after accepting a job working on an Illinois senator’s campaign to be the first Black president.

Icon vs. Hardware


and the Prince by J. J. McAvoy

As the London season comes to a close, a young woman fighting society’s expectations to make a name for herself finds a flirtatious rivalry with a prince sparking genuine romance.

In this graphic novel, a time machine allows its user to right the past’s wrongs — but in correcting the past, he threatens to unleash new and dangerous forces.

James by Percival Everett

A retelling of the events of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn through the eyes of the enslaved Jim, who decides to hide after learning he is to be sold to a man in New Orleans.

Nearly All the Men in Lagos


Mad: Stories by Damilare Kuku

A collection of 12 “anti-rom-com” stories about the perils and pitfalls of dating men in Lagos, Nigeria.

No One Dies Yet


Three Americans who visit Ghana in order to explore its colonial past and experience its underground queer scene find themselves torn between their guide to Accra’s queer community and their homophobic Christian guide to the rest of the city.

One of Us Knows by Alyssa Cole

A woman with a history of dissociative identity disorder finds herself trapped on an island with a killer and has to examine her past for the truth behind a recent murder.


Against the Axe by Helen Oyeyemi

A woman on a bachelorette weekend in Prague hosted by an estranged friend finds the lines between illusion and delusion blurring when tension arising from their different accounts of the past reaches a new level.

Pride and Joy


Three generations of a Nigerian-Canadian family grapple with their matriarch’s sudden passing, while their auntie insists that her dead sister is coming back.

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The Single Dad Project

When her hot one-night-stand turns out to be the man leading the restoration project she’s been hired to photograph, a woman must decide if one wild night can become so much more.

Sisters With a Side of Greens

Two estranged sisters are forced to reunite when a forgotten spice mix recipe forces them to unpack their complicated past.

This Could be Us

When catastrophe strikes, a woman working to support her daughters rediscovers herself, as well as the possibility of love with an irresistible man.

Those Beyond the Wall

When mutilated bodies turn up in her town, an emperor’s trusted enforcer is tasked with finding and destroying the culprit — a mission that reveals unforeseen corruption that could spell doom for the entire world.

The Truth of the Aleke

In this fantasy, a 17-year-old steps forward to defend his city when a mysterious cult leader commits a massacre.

Watch Where They Hide

In this sequel to As the Wicked Watch, journalist Jordan Manning delves into the case of a mother in danger and uncovers a dangerous web of secrets that could lead right to the missing woman — or put Jordan in the crosshairs of her abductors.

Weird Black Girls

A new collection of seven stories that are alternately whimsical, horrific, and fantastic, each exploring the anxieties of living while Black in a world prone to weirdness.

When I Think of You

Kaliya finally gets her chance to break into the movie business when her college boyfriend offers her a job on an upcoming film. However, scandal forces her to make a choice between the possibility of true love and the career she desires.

While We Were Burning

Reeling from the death of her best friend, a woman hires a personal assistant. The assistant has her own agenda, though, and immerses herself in her employer’s life in pursuit of answers that will change them both.

White Rat: Short Stories

A reprint of Jones’ first collection of short fiction, originally published in 1977, containing 12 tales that explore the emotional and mental terrain of a diverse cast of characters, from the innocent to the insane.

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James Oglethorpe, Father of Georgia: A Founder’s Journey From Slave Trader to Abolitionist by Michael L. Thurmond

DeKalb County CEO Thurmond traces Georgia founder Oglethorpe’s philosophical and moral evolution from slave trader to abolitionist.


Code Noir: Afro-Caribbean Stories and Recipes by Lelani Lewis

Chef and culinary activist Lewis tells the story of Caribbean cuisines with more than 80 recipes that go back to her Caribbean roots.

Food Gifts: 150+ Irresistible Recipes for Crafting Personalized Presents by Simone Elle Scott

Food stylist Simone offers an all-occasion guide to making 150 homemade, delicious food gifts.

Roots, Heart, Soul: The Story, Celebration, and Recipes of Afro Cuisine in America by Todd Richards

James Beard Award-winning author and chef Todd Richards explores the history of West African diaspora cooking in the Americas.

Supper With Love: Vibrant, Delicious, and Comforting Plant-Forward and Pescatarian Recipes for Every Day by Michelle Braxton

From Southern Instagrammer and food blogger Braxton, a debut cookbook featuring easy-to-prepare comfort food recipes that are plant-forward and pescatarian.

Vegan Mob: Vegan BBQ & Soul Food by Toriano Gordon

Gordon, the chef/owner of Oakland vegan soul food and BBQ joint Vegan Mob, shares favorites from the restaurant, as well as new recipes, including crowdpleasers like Brisket, Smackaroni, and Mobba’Q Baked Beans.


The Swans of Harlem: Five Black Ballerinas, Fifty Years of Sisterhood, and the Reclamation of Their Groundbreaking History by Karen Valby

A celebration of the historic careers and decades-long relationship between the five women who opened the doors of international ballet to Black performers.


I Curse You With Joy by Tiffany

Comedian and actress Haddish presents a collection of essays chronicling the lessons learned on her journey to superstardom, from the legacy of her childhood trauma to difficulties being a Black woman in the entertainment industry.

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I Finally Bought Some Jordans

New York Times best-selling author Arceneaux returns with a humorous collection of essays about making one’s voice heard in an increasingly noisy and chaotic world.

I Just Keep Talking: A Life in Essays

The New York Times best-selling author of The History of White People and Old in Art School presents a series of essays that span the subjects of art, politics, and the legacy of racism in America.

There’s Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension

Cultural critic Abdurraqib reflects on the golden era of 1990s basketball, explores what it means to make it, who we think deserves success, and the tensions between excellence and expectation.


Ancestral Genomics: African American Health in the Age of Precision Medicine by Constance B. Hilliard

Evolutionary historian Hilliard explores the benefits and drawbacks of racial heuristics in medicine and offers a solution to racial health disparities in the United States.


The Black Box: Writing the Race by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

In this epic story of Black self-definition in America, Gates employs the essays, speeches, novels, plays, and poems of writers who used words to create a livable world for Black people destined to live in a racist society.

Combee: Harriet Tubman, the Combahee River Raid, and Black Freedom During the Civil War by Edda L. Fields-Black

The story of the Combahee River Raid, one of Harriet Tubman’s most extraordinary accomplishments, based on original documents and written by a descendant of one of the participants.

An Emancipation of the Mind: Radical Philosophy, the War Over Slavery, and the Refounding of America by Matthew Stewart

In this history of the philosophical bonds that linked Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Theodore Parker, historian Stewart argues that the radical philosophical inspirations of the American Revolution were used to fuel the abolition movement.


American Imam: From Pop Stardom to Prison Abolition by Taymullah Abdur-Rahman

In an exploration of the contemporary Black Muslim narrative, Abdur-Rahman recounts his story, from his early success as a pop performer to his conversion to Islam.

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Be Not Afraid of My Body: A Lyrical Memoir

Knoxville poet Stewart recounts growing up Black and gay in America, and details his struggles with alcohol addiction, doomed affairs, and his eventual diagnosis with HIV.

Briefly Perfectly Human: Making an Authentic Life by Getting Real About the End

America’s preeminent death doula discusses how imagining how we wish to spend our last days can lead to a more fulfilling and meaningful life while we are still here.

By the Time You Read This

Written prior to her suicide, and then completed by her mother, this memoir recounts Miss USA winner Kryst’s struggles with mental illness.

The House of Hidden Meanings: A Memoir

International drag superstar and pop culture icon RuPaul recounts growing up Black, poor, and queer in a broken home, and discovering the power of performance, found family, and self-acceptance.


3 Shades of Blue: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and the Lost Empire of Cool

The story of how three legends — Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Bill Evans — came together in 1959 to create Kind of Blue, which is widely considered to be the greatest jazz album of time.

My Black Country: A Journey Through Country Music’s Black Past, Present, and Future

The first Black woman to cowrite a #1 country hit offers an account of her past and her search for the first family of Black country music.


Joanna says, “This is a powerful exploration of the often overlooked Black roots of country music. Randall masterfully intertwines historical narratives with her personal story, driven by a profound love for the genre and a mission to confront and correct its whitewashed history. If you were inspired by Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé’s recent country-infused album, this book offers a deeper exploration of the genre’s Black origins and the ongoing struggle for recognition. Randall’s passion for the music shines through, making this book a must-read for anyone interested in the diverse tapestry of American music.”

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Spectral Evidence by

In this new collection of poetry, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Pardlo addresses how we think about devotion, beauty, and art.


Broken: Transforming Child Protective Services

A former caseworker’s investigation of the child welfare system — from foster care to incarceration — exposes the deep-rooted biases shaping the system, witnessed through the lives of several Black families.

Wake Up America: Black Women on the Future of Democracy

Writer and scholar Blain brings together the voices of major progressive Black women politicians, grassroots activists, and intellectuals to offer critical insights on how to create a more equitable political future.


And Then We Rise: A Guide to Loving and Taking Care of Self by Common

Musical artist and actor Common offers a comprehensive program for addressing mental and physical health.

Elevate and Dominate: 21 Ways to Win On and Off the Field by Deion Sanders

Football coach and former Falcon Sanders delivers a playbook of inspiring personal stories, winning strategies, and the motivation to help readers “elevate and dominate” in all aspects of their lives.

Indivisible: How to Forge Our Differences Into a Stronger Future

DEI leader Hamilton challenges readers to move beyond current notions of diversity and inclusion to build communities, workplaces, and relationships that live up to that word.


The End of Race Politics: Arguments for a Colorblind America by Coleman Hughes

Writer, podcaster and opinion columnist Hughes examines today’s race orthodoxies, addressing topics such as race-based government policies, interpersonal interactions, and more.

Imagination: A Manifesto by Ruha Benjamin

Princeton professor Benjamin argues that individuals have the power to use their imaginations to challenge systems of oppression and to create a world in which everyone can thrive.

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Freedom: Transforming Pain Into Political and Spiritual Power

A social activist, journalist, public theologian, and international speaker offers a path to liberation and healing for people of African descent struggling in the shadows of the American Dream.

Metaracism: How Systemic Racism


Black Lives — and How We Break Free

A scholar offers a new account of what systemic racism actually is, how it works, and how individuals can fight back.

Of Greed and Glory: In Pursuit of Freedom for All

A personal exploration of the many ways in which slavery in America continues today, from the editor of the New York Times-bestselling Barracoon

You Get What You Pay For

Wedding unflinching criticism to intimate anecdotes, the author examines America’s cultural history and relationship to Black Americans through the ages.

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