Professor Herman L. Bennett's 'African Kings and Black Slaves' Named One of the Best Black History Books of 2018

December 20, 2018

The African American Intellectual History Society calls it "an important new book that sheds light on the first century of African-European interaction."


African-Kings-Bennett book cover

African Kings and Black Slaves: Sovereignty and Dispossession in the Early Modern Atlantic by Graduate Center Professor Herman L. Bennett (History) has been named one of the “Best Black History Books of 2018” by the African American Intellectual History Society.

The AAIHS citation, written by Bucknell University Professor Nicholas R. Jones, called African Kings and Black Slaves an important new book that sheds new light on the first century of African-European interaction. Bennett does an excellent job of centering the histories of African-descended people in West-Central Africa as well as in the Americas. His work compellingly argues for the need to recuperate African sovereignty in order to change scholarly and popular understandings of sub-Saharan African polities and political formation.”

Bennett contends that while the enslavement of Africans by Europeans unfolded over four centuries, conventional narratives often reduce that complicated history to “a singular phenomenon mediated through liberalism’s 19th century prism.” In a recent talk at The Graduate Center, Bennett said his book is intended to “disrupt” prevailing notions about slavery by focusing on encounters that started in the 15th century.

Read more about African Kings and Black Slaves here.