February 27,2023— Today, Kaepernick Publishing, Haymarket Books, and Marguerite Casey Foundation (MCF) announce a partnership for publication of a book, “Our History Has Always Been Contraband,” that will bring together writings from scholars and thinkers of the Black radical tradition whose work is under attack. The book will initially be published as an e-book, available for free, with plans for a print edition to follow later this spring.
“White supremacists are attempting to control our people's future by erasing our past. But we won't let them,” said Colin Kaepernick, founder of Kaepernick Publishing. “The centuries-long attack on Black history represents a strike against our very worth, brilliance, and value. We're ready to fight back. And when we fight, we win.”
Co-published by Kaepernick Publishing and Haymarket Books, “Our History Has Always Been Contraband: In Defense of Black Studies” will collect critical voices from the Black radical tradition. Edited by Robin D.G. Kelley, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, and Colin Kaepernick, “Our History Has Always Been Contraband” will give students and non-students alike access to a history and tradition that must be protected and preserved.
“Black studies is a crucial field that examines the history and contemporary realities of Black life throughout the world,” shared co-editor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. “That search for knowledge and understanding is not for its own sake, but is a means to prepare those who oppose racism, oppression and exploitation on global scales, to contribute to movements that intend to change those conditions.”
"We are not surprised that fascists want to ban our work,” said co-editor Robin D. G. Kelley. “Black studies was born of resistance and grew up in a state of fugitivity, as a critique of a world that built counterfeit democracies on slavery, dispossession, colonialism, racism, and violence. And we remain, seeking hard truths, refusing indoctrination, and creating knowledge intended to free us all."
“Now is the time for bold publishing that stands up to those who want to sanitize history, roll back hard won gains of past social movements, and deprive youth of vital tools to understand our history and our present,” said Anthony Arnove, editorial director of Haymarket Books.
“Political leaders across the country are introducing laws to remove work by scholars from classrooms and libraries. Marguerite Casey Foundation is working towards a country where our government prioritizes the needs of excluded and underrepresented people,” shared Carmen Rojas, president and CEO of MCF. “Offering these critical writings plants the seed in people’s minds that our government should be supporting the representation of all of us in our history books, critical examination, and literature and not picking the most privileged among us to tell our collective story.”
Haymarket Books is a radical, independent, nonprofit book publisher based in Chicago. Our mission is to publish books that contribute to struggles for social and economic justice. We strive to make our books a vibrant and organic part of social movements and the education and development of a critical, engaged, and internationalist Left. www.haymarketbooks.org
Founded by Colin Kaepernick in 2019, Kaepernick Publishing strives to elevate a new generation of writers with diverse views and voices through the creation of powerful works of all genres that can build a better and more just world. See www.KaepernickPublishing.com for more information.
Marguerite Casey Foundation supports leaders, scholars, and initiatives focused on shifting the balance of power in society — building power for communities that continue to be excluded from shaping how society works and from sharing in its rewards and freedoms. Our board members, leadership, and staff are committed to building a just economy and fully realized democracy, and to providing unfettered support to the bold strategies and leadership that are required to bring about major change in our lifetime.