Africa Reading List

The African Slave Trade

Basil Davidson, Little Brown
All of Basil Davidson’s work on Africa is excellent.  This book in particular shows how far-reaching the effects of the slave trade were, on everything that followed in Africa, on the economies, polities, relations with Europe, and internal relations. 

The Wretched of the Earth

Frantz Fanon, Penguin Books
Everything by Fanon is recommended for anyone who wants to learn about Africa.  Fanon was a psychologist and active in the Algerian independence movement.  His books draw out the strategic lessons and in that sense read like a ‘how-to’ for an anticolonial resistance.  But he also talks a lot about the psychological impact of colonial oppression.


How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

Walter Rodney, Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications
This is a classic.  It’s an analysis of capitalism, colonialism, and the long-term effects of both on Africa.  

The Debt: What America Owes Blacks

Randall Robinson, Dutton, New York
This is a beautifully written book.  It’s primarily about reparations for Blacks in the US, but I list it here because it talks a lot about Africa.  It talks about the importance of Africa to the historical memory of Blacks everywhere, and it talks about the importance of historical memory to the survival of peoples.  Slavery and colonialism stole the memory of African Americans away.  Robinson argues for a kind of restitution that will help to repair that destruction.  By making the argument, he shows that such repair is possible.  By presenting the case, he already starts to resurrect the historical memory and connections to Africa.


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