Let Your Motto be Resistance: African American Portraits

Brethren, arise, arise! Strike for your lives and liberties. Now is the day and the hour. Let every slave throughout the land do this, and the days of slavery are numbered. You cannot be more oppressed than you have been- you cannot suffer greater cruelties than you have already. Rather die freemen than live to be slaves. Remember that you are four million! … Awake, awake! Let your motto be resistance, resistance, resistance!

As this quote by Henry Highland Garnett, and the quote from which the exhibit, Let Your Motto Be Resistance, derives its name from, states, resistance has been seen as a way for underrepresented and oppressed persons to take power over their lives. But resistance comes in many forms and looks differently depending on the angle it is approached from. Resistance can be overt, the in your face resistance of Malcolm X or Angela Davis, two resistance fighters on the frontline of black power and empowerment movements, or the more subtle defiance of Marian Anderson, the first black person to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in NY, or Toni Morrison who uses words to empower and uplift. Be it loud or quiet resistance is resistance.

This bibliography which goes along with the exhibition Let Your Motto Be Resistance at MoAD (Museum of the African Diaspora) is designed to speak to resistance in African American History, to highlight the lives of the persons featured in the exhibition, but also take the researcher, young or old, beyond the faces in the exhibit to further exploration of famous lives in African American history that spoke up, out and made a difference in the lives of others.

Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits MoAD 2009 exhibition of 70 modern prints selected from the National Portrait Gallery’s collections highlighting 150 years of African American resistance in the U.S. Materials can be found throughout the SFPL’s 27 branches as well as at the Main Library. You will especially want to check out the African American Center on the third floor of the Main Library as well as the Bayview Branch Library.

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Book cover Book cover Book cover Book cover Book cover

The African-American century: how Black Americans have shaped our country
Gates, Henry Louis

In a highly original and historic celebration of black Americans and their contributions to culture, the authors select 100 outstanding men and women and use their lives and accomplishments to create a fascinating portrait of the last century.

704.0396 B38h
African American lives
Gates, Henry Louis

African American Lives offers up-to-date, authoritative biographies of some 600 noteworthy African Americans. These 1,000-3,000 word biographies, selected from over five thousand entries in the forthcoming eight-volume African American National Biography, illuminate African-American history through the immediacy of individual experience.

973.0496 Af8242
Black men in their own words
edited by Hinds, Patricia M. and Taylor, Susan

From ESSENCE Books comes an exquisitely designed collection of essays and photographs from some of today’s most influential, respected, and recognized Black men, who speak candidly and eloquently about their lives and passions.

920.7108 B5616
Distinguished African American political and governmental leaders
Haskins, James

James Haskins profiles the lives and accomplishments of more than 100 remarkable African Americans in politics and government. These profiles cover the period from 1810 to the present.

973.0496 H2738d
Facts on File encyclopedia of Black women in America
Hine, Darlene Clark

The eleven-volume Facts On File Encyclopedia of Black Women in America set collects the profiles of more than 1,000 African-American women and institutions. Spanning four centuries, these inspirational profiles capture the perseverance, courage, and the personal will to succeed that each of these women shared on their way to one common goal: improvement through change.

920.7208 F1198 11 vols.
50 of the most inspiring African-Americans
edited by Hinds, Patricia M.

This extraordinary commemorative book of dynamic photos and biographies, takes an inside look at some of today's most inspiring African-Americans.

920.0092 F4666
Let your motto be resistance; the life and thought of Henry Highland Garnet
Hutchinson, Earl Ofari

IBiography of Henry Highland Garnett, abolitionist and clergyman, from which the name of the exhibition was taken.

B G187o
100 greatest African Americans: a biographical encyclopedia
Asante, Molefi K.

Presenting short biographies of 100 extraordinary African Americans; Asante profiles individuals who overcame great difficulty to make a contribution towards social and political equality for African Americans.

920.0092 As13o


African American breakthroughs: 500 years of Black firsts
Pederson, Jay P.

Students researching African American achievements will find fascinating details on hundreds of "firsts. The volume is arranged in subject categories, and entries summarize events and include succinct biographies of many pioneers in African American history. Illustrations, a timeline of firsts and a thorough subject index are also included.

J973.0496 Afri
African American inventors
Sullivan, Otha Richard

Meet the black inventors who lived their dreams - Benjamin Banneker, Andrew Jackson Beard, George E. Carruthers, Ph.D., George Washington Carver, Charles Richard Drew, M.D., Meredith Gourdine, Ph.D., Claude Harvard Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., Frederick McKinley Jones, Percy Lavon Julian, Ph.D., and Ernest Everett Just, Ph.D.

j609.2396 SuLL
The Black Americans: a history in their own words, 1619-1983
Meltzer, Milton

Black Americans covers three and a half centuries of black life in the United States, consisting of source materials: letters, speeches, newspaper articles, and book excerpts. From this collage a vivid picture emerges of the power, passion, and pride of black life.

J973.0496 Blac
The encyclopedia of African American heritage
Altman, Susan

Offers a wealth of information on both African and African American history, politics, culture, people, and places.

J973.0496 Altm
Extraordinary African-Americans
Altman, Susan

This series meets National Curriculum Standards for: Science: History and Nature of Science Science and Technology Science as Inquiry Science in Personal and Social Perspectives.

J920.0092 Altm


The African American audio experience

The leading voices of African-American letters come together in this essential collection of poems, prose and theater performance.

CD 810.8 AFRI
The Duke Ellington Carnegie Hall concerts, December 1947
Ellington, Duke
CD 781.66 ELL
Essential Hughes
Hughes, Langston

Rare and exceptional recording of Langston Hughes reading his own poetry, as well as his own commentary and reflections.

CD 811.52 HUGH
Harlem roots. Vol. 1. The big bands
DVD 781.66 HARL
Harlem roots Vol. 2. The headliners
DVD 781.66 HARL
Lorraine Hansberry audio collection
Hansberry, Lorraine

Here, for the first time, is gathered many of Hansberry’s plays, interviews, and speeches into one unforgettable collection.

The voice of Langston Hughes
Hughes, Langston

A collection of twenty-one poems, songs, and stories by Langston Hughes.

CD 811.52 HUGH
Voices of Black America: historical recordings of poetry, humor & drama, 1908-1947

This unique collection, features original recordings from 1908-1946 of Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Exposition Address, the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Langston Hughes, rarely heard humor of Charley Case, readings from God's Trombones by James Weldon Johnson, and so much more.


Tips on finding what you need:

*Using the library catalog

Subject Search
Some subjects headings that might be of interest include:

Names of individual celebrities- last name first (ex. Hughes, Langston)

Keyword Search
(keyword searching allows you to search when you aren’t sure of the correct subject headings used by the library, or your searched for words don’t come up as subjects).

For more information on any subject listed here, check the San Francisco Public Library Catalog or ask a librarian for further research help. This bibliography on African American resistance in the United States was put together by the San Francisco Public Library, African American Center for the opening of the exhibition Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits from April 4, 2009 – June 14, 2009 at the Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission Street, SF, CA 94105, www.moadsf.org. This bibliography is part of a collaboration between SFPL and MoAD that encourages further education and reading on topics pertaining to African American history, arts and culture.

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