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Books for changing the world

Haymarket Books by Black Women, for Liberation

“If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free.” 
Combahee River Collective Statement

Here we present a reading list of books by Black women who are engaged in the work of history-making, radical imagining, and movement building. All of these books are currently 40% off.

Long out of print, Black Women Writers at Work is a vital contribution to Black literature in the 20th century. 

This beautiful new edition of Angela Davis’s classic Autobiography features an expansive new introduction by the author.

Abolition. Feminism. Now. is a celebration of freedom work, a movement genealogy, a call to action, and a challenge to those who think of abolition and feminism as separate—even incompatible—political projects.

What if social transformation and liberation isn’t about waiting for someone else to come along and save us? What if ordinary people have the power to collectively free ourselves? In this timely collection of essays and interviews, Mariame Kaba reflects on the deep work of abolition and transformative political struggle.

From New York Times Bestselling Author Mariame Kaba, a poignant, beautifully illustrated story of a little girl’s worries when her Mama goes to jail, and the love that bridges the distance between them.

In this brave and devastatingly beautiful anthology, the illustrious poet and editor Aracelis Girmay gathers complex and intimate pieces that illuminate the nuances of personal and collective histories, analyses, practices, and choices surrounding pregnancy. 

“For feminists of all kinds, astute scholars, or anyone with a passion for social justice, How We Get Free is an invaluable work.” Ethnic and Racial Studies Journal

“Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor's searching examination of the social, political and economic dimensions of the prevailing racial order offers important context for understanding the necessity of the emerging movement for black liberation.” —Michelle Alexander 

“Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson embody and express how practice makes different. This necessary book is a model—through the shared process of two brilliant thinkers it gifts us clarity to see rehearsals otherwise and elsewhere.” —Ruth Wilson Gilmore

“Donna Murch is one of the sharpest, most incisive, and elegant writers on racism, radicalism, and struggle today.” —Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

In the 1920s & 30s, Stephanie St. Clair, a self-made Black woman, ran one of New York City’s many illegal gambling rings, known colloquially as "the numbers." She was successful, rich, beautiful, and tough as nails. 

In this unforgettable memoir, Emerald Garner recounts her father’s cruel and unjust murder, the immense pain that followed, the pressures of an exploitative media, and her difficult yet determined journey as an activist against police violence.

An illuminating biography of the bold, principled, and fiercely independent woman who defied convention to make her own mark on the world.

Diamond Sharp’s Super Sad Black Girl is a love letter to her hometown of Chicago, where the speaker finds solace and community with her literary idols in hopes of answering the question: What does it look like when Black women are free? 

All the Blood Involved in Love is an urgent and evocative collection—featuring complex and compelling poems about the choices we make surrounding home, freedom, healing, partnership, and family. 

The Billboard is about a fictional Black women’s clinic in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood on the South Side and its fight with a local gadfly running for City Council who puts up a provocative billboard: “Abortion is genocide. The most dangerous place for a Black child is his mother’s womb,” spurring on the clinic to fight back with their own provocative sign: “Black women take care of their families by taking care of themselves. Abortion is self-care. #Trust Black Women.”

Featuring 30 poems, 30 artworks, an author statement and an interview, Too Much Midnight draws on Pan African histories, Black Surrealism, Afrofuturism, pop culture, art history, and the historical and present-day micro-to-macro violence inflicted upon Black people and other people of color.

A collection of compelling narratives highlighting the struggles of feminist warriors in the Global South whose voices are too often marginalized.

Activist, teacher, author, and Black Power icon Angela Y. Davis talks Ferguson, Palestine, and prison abolition.

Poet and scholar Eve L. Ewing reflects on race, class, violence, segregation, and the hidden histories that shape our divided urban landscape.

An imaginative exploration of Black girlhood and womanhood through poetry, visual art, and narrative prose.

In Her Word Is Bond, Psalm One tells her own story, from growing up in Englewood, Chicago through her life as a chemist, teacher, and legendary rapper. Intrinsically feminist, this story is a celebration of the life and career of one artist who blazed the trail for women in hip hop.

Undivided Rights highlights the evolving and too often unknown activist history of women of color organizing for reproductive justice on their own behalf.

A sweeping collection of the most vital and representative writings by Black Panther Party members, including a section devoted to the contributions of Black Panther women.

Mahogany L. Browne’s evocative book-length poem explores the impacts of the prison system on both the incarcerated and the loved ones left behind.  

Powerhouse, world-renowned queer poet and spoken-word artist Staceyann Chin curates the first full-length collection of her poems.

The Body Family is a song of memory and revelation; it is the sublime unearthing of what has been hidden by silence and erasure. This lyrical and imagistic poetry collection tells the story of a family’s journey to flee the murderous reign of Uganda’s Idi Amin only to land in a racist American landscape.

Award-winning poet Cheryl Boyce-Taylor pays tribute to her departed son Malik ‘Phife Dawg’ Taylor of the legendary hip-hop trio A Tribe Called Quest in this intimate collection. 

A BreakBeat Poets anthology to celebrate and canonize the words of Black women across the diaspora.

Longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award for poetry, Build Yourself a Boat redefines the language of collective and individual trauma through lyric and memory.

A refreshing, unapologetic intervention into ongoing conversations about the line between sexual freedom and sexual exploitation.

Poet Aja Monet's ode to mothers, daughters, and sisters—the tiny gods who fight to change the world.

Faculty and instructors interested in adopting Haymarket titles for their courses can request Exam and Desk copies directly from our distributor, here