Rediscover the History. Redefine the Narrative.
Jan. 27, 2023

E1 Allow Me to Retort: Supplemental Reading List

E1 Allow Me to Retort: Supplemental Reading List

I hope you enjoyed the inaugural episode of Staying On Code. The Constitution of the United States is central to American history and identity. It outlines the fundamental principles that have guided the nation since its founding, and it continues to shape the way we live today. The relationship between Black people and the Constitution is often overlooked. 

Despite being included in the Constitution as property rather than citizens and being excluded from many of its protections for centuries, Black people have played a vital role in shaping the interpretation and application of the Constitution.

To better understand this dynamic relationship, here are a few reading resources to supplement this episode's book selection.  

If you decide to purchase these books, please buy them from Black-owned bookstores, when possible. 

We the People: Documents and Writings of the Founding Fathers:This is a comprehensive collection of the most important documents and writings from the early years of the United States from the key figures of the American Revolution. The book includes a wide range of materials, including the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other important documents. It also includes letters, speeches, and other writings from figures such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.
A Documentary History of the United States by Richard Heffner and Alexander Heffner:is a book that presents a collection of primary source documents that chronicle the history of the United States from its founding to the present day. The book covers a wide range of topics and time periods, including the American Revolution, the Civil War, the civil rights movement, and contemporary issues. It provides a comprehensive look at the key events and ideas that have shaped the United States throughout its history, highlighting the voices of the people who lived through those times. It covers a wide range of perspectives and viewpoints, providing a balanced and nuanced understanding of the nation's history.
he Constitution of the United States of America: The Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights (a pocket-sized copy which you can find on Amazon)
The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution" by Eric Foner:examines how the Constitution was fundamentally changed during and after the Civil War. The book argues that the Civil War and the period of Reconstruction that followed it represented a second founding of the United States in which the Constitution was amended to abolish slavery and extend rights to formerly enslaved people. It also looks at the political and social movements that emerged during this period, such as the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups, and the resistance of Southern states to the implementation of these amendments. He also discusses the impact of these amendments on the development of American democracy and how they were interpreted over time.

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II: The book explores the little-known history of how many thousands of African Americans were re-enslaved in the United States after the Civil War through a system of forced labor known as peonage. Blackmon shows how government officials, politicians, and business leaders effectively re-enslaved many African Americans, particularly in the South, under the guise of criminal charges, fines, and fees, and provides a detailed account of how the system operated and how it was used to keep large numbers of Black people in forced labor, primarily on farms and in mines, under conditions that were little different from slavery.