Black History Month

Don Perkins

Richard Melzer

Don Perkins led a life as one of the most honored athletes in the history of the University of New Mexico and the Dallas Cowboys. But Perkins's life was far more complex and, at times, controversial. He experienced the traumas of racial discrimination, death, divorce, football-related injuries, and a never-ending search for his own identity. In his search, Perkins ventured into sportscasting, public speaking, community relations, big-rig trucking, government work, and even amateur theater, where he portrayed Frederick Douglass and other famous Black leaders. Through it all, he remained a kind, unassuming, charismatic man, universally admired by family members, friends, and millions of fans. Don Perkins: A Champion's Life is the final tribute he so greatly deserves.

At the Heart of the Borderlands

Cameron D. Jones, Jay T. Harrison

At the Heart of the Borderlands is the first book-length study of Africans and Afro-descendants in the frontiers of Spanish America. While people of African descent have formed part of most borderlands histories, this study recognizes and explains their critical contribution to the formation of frontier spaces. Lack of imperial control coupled with Spain's desperation for settlers and soldiers in frontier areas facilitated the social mobility of Afro-descendants. This need allowed African descendants to become not just members of borderland societies but leaders of it as well. They were essential actors in helping to shape the limits of the Spanish empire. Africans and Afro-descendants built, opposed, and shaped Spanish hegemony in the borderlands, taking on roles that would have been impossible or difficult in colonial centers due to the socio-racial hierarchy of imperial policies and practices.

The Creole Rebellion

Bruce Chadwick

The Creole Rebellion tells the suspenseful story of a successful mutiny on board the slave ship Creole. En route for a New Orleans slave-auction block in November 1841, nineteen captives mutinied, killing one man and injuring several others. After taking control of the vessel, mutineer Madison Washington forced the crewmen to sail to the Bahamas. Despite much local hysteria upon their arrival, all of the 135 slaves aboard the ship won their freedom there.

The revolt significantly fueled and amplified the slave debate within a divided nation that was already hurtling toward a Civil War. While this is a book about the United States confronting the ugly and tumultuous issue of slavery, it is also about the 135 enslaved men and women who were unwilling to take their oppression any longer and rose up to free themselves in a bloody fight. Part history, part adventure, and part legal drama, Bruce Chadwick chronicles the most successful slave revolt in the pages of American history.

Unburied Lives

Laurie A. Wilkie

According to the accounts of two white officers, on the evening of November 20, 1872, Corporal Daniel Talliafero, of the segregated Black 9th cavalry, was shot to death by an officer's wife while attempting to break into her sleeping apartment at the military post of Fort Davis, Texas. Historians writing about Black soldiers serving in the West have long accepted the account without question, retelling the story of Daniel Talliafero, the thwarted "rapist."

In Unburied Lives Wilkie takes a different approach, demonstrating how we can "listen" to stories found in things neglected, ignored, or disparaged--documents not consulted, architecture not studied, material traces preserved in the dirt. With a focus on Fort Davis, Wilkie brings attention to the Black enlisted men and non-commissioned officers. In her archaeological accounting, Wilkie explores the complexities of post life, racialized relationships, Black masculinity, and citizenship while also exposing the structures and practices of military life that successfully obscured these men's stories for so long.

origin story

Gary Jackson

origin story outlines a family history of distant sisters, grieving mothers and daughters, and alcoholic fathers. These poems take us from Kansas to Korea and back again in an attempt to reconnect with estranged family and familial ghosts divided by years of diaspora. An interrogation of cultural and personal myths, origin story wrestles with the questions: Who will remember us? How do we deal with the failures of memory? Whose stories are told?

Commissions y Corridos

Hakim Bellamy

Hakim Bellamy's latest collection rings with the same power and grace as the people he lauds within its pages, including Nikki Giovanni and Martin Luther King Jr. He celebrates Albuquerque and New Mexico, taking the good with the bad, and reminds Burqueños that any day when you wake up along the Río Grande is a good day. As Bellamy celebrates the power of creativity and community within the city and the nation, he also demands that we face our society's faults, especially those of racism, racial profiling, and law-enforcement violence. The poems collected here insist that with the power to do right, people also have a responsibility to themselves, their loved ones, and complete strangers to be better and strive harder. Undoubtedly Bellamy is leading this charge, lighting the way for anyone ready to listen.


Dennis Herrick

When Pueblo Indians say, "The first white man our people saw was a black man," they are referring to Esteban, who came to New Mexico in 1539. After centuries of negative portrayals, this book highlights Esteban's importance in America's early history.

Books about the history of the American West have ignored Esteban or belittled his importance, often using his slave nickname, Estebanico. What little we know about Esteban comes from Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and other Spanish chroniclers, whose condescension toward the African slave has carried over into most history books. In this work Herrick dispels the myths and outright lies about Esteban. His biography emphasizes Esteban rather than the Spaniards whose exploits are often exaggerated and jingoistic in the sixteenth-century chronicles. He gives Esteban full credit for his courage and his skill as a linguist and cultural intermediary who was trusted and respected by Indians from many tribes across the continent.

African American History in New Mexico

Bruce A. Glasrud

Although their total numbers in New Mexico were never large, blacks arrived with Spanish explorers and settlers and played active roles in the history of the territory and state. Here, Bruce Glasrud assembles the best information available on the themes, events, and personages of black New Mexico history.

The contributors portray the blacks who accompanied Cabeza de Vaca, Coronado, and de Vargas and recount their interactions with Native Americans in colonial New Mexico. Chapters on the territorial period examine black trappers and traders as well as review the issue of slavery in the territory and the blacks who accompanied Confederate troops and fought in the Union army during the Civil War in New Mexico. Eventually blacks worked on farms and ranches, in mines, and on railroads, as well as in the military, seeking freedom and opportunity in New Mexico's wide open spaces. A number of black towns were established in rural areas. Lacking political power because they represented such a small percentage of New Mexico's population, blacks relied largely on their own resources and networks, particularly churches and schools.

The Black Panther Party

David Hilliard, The Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, Cornel West

The Black Panther Party represents Black Panther Party members' coordinated responses over the last four decades to the failure of city, state, and federal bureaucrats to address the basic needs of their respective communities. The Party pioneered free social service programs that are now in the mainstream of American life.

The Party's Sickle Cell Anemia Research Foundation, operated with Oakland's Children's Hospital, was among the nation's first such testing programs. Its Free Breakfast Program served as a model for national programs. Other initiatives included free clinics, grocery giveaways, school and education programs, senior programs, and legal aid programs.

Published here for the first time in book form, The Black Panther Party makes the case that the programs' methods are viable models for addressing the persistent, basic social injustices and economic problems of today's American cities and suburbs.