Black AF History: The Un-Whitewashed Story of America

Written by:
Michael Harriot
Narrated by:
Michael Harriot

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
September 2023
15 hours 42 minutes
From acclaimed columnist and political commentator Michael Harriot, a searingly smart and bitingly hilarious retelling of American history that corrects the record and showcases the perspectives and experiences of Black Americans.

America’s backstory is a whitewashed mythology implanted in our collective memory. It is the story of the pilgrims on the Mayflower building a new nation. It is George Washington’s cherry tree and Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin. It is the fantastic tale of slaves that spontaneously teleported themselves here with nothing but strong backs and negro spirituals. It is a sugarcoated legend based on an almost true story.

It should come as no surprise that the dominant narrative of American history is blighted with errors and oversights—after all, history books were written by white men with their perspectives at the forefront. It could even be said that the devaluation and erasure of the Black experience is as American as apple pie.

In Black AF History, Michael Harriot presents a more accurate version of American history. Combining unapologetically provocative storytelling with meticulous research based on primary sources as well as the work of pioneering Black historians, scholars, and journalists, Harriot removes the white sugarcoating from the American story, placing Black people squarely at the center. With incisive wit, Harriot speaks hilarious truth to oppressive power, subverting conventional historical narratives with little-known stories about the experiences of Black Americans. From the African Americans who arrived before 1619 to the unenslavable bandit who inspired America’s first police force, this long overdue corrective provides a revealing look into our past that is as urgent as it is necessary. For too long, we have refused to acknowledge that American history is white history. Not this one. This history is Black AF. 

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.
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Johnpaul M.

The title to this book accurately describes it more than just about any other I’ve read. This is the history of America, the black (af) history of America, and, as author Michael Harrington points out: Black history is American history. When the story of black America is downplayed, minimized, or erased all together the result becomes almost fiction, like the time Shaq starred in Kazaam. I mean, he did lead the Lakers to multiple championships and was genie like in his absolute power but his music career wasn’t based in reality... wait, where was I? How can we improve our society if we don’t learn (and teach) the truth about our history? Answer, we can’t. We will be too busy fighting over, “states rights, or “which party loves slavery the most”. This book is full of some ugly truths (white people have done some terrible things), inspiring lessons (don’t ever take a black woman for granted), heartwarming personal anecdotes (can you get uncle rob a podcast of his own?), and best of all, the truth (told through the traditional black narrative of humor, sarcasm, and hilarious references). If you haven’t had the chance to study US history from a black author and want a great overview of what you weren’t taught in school: this is it. If you have studied and want a recap that will keep you laughing in between your anger at the brutality of white supremacy this is it. If you just want to read a good, entertaining book for no reason at all: this is it.

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