Five Rare Books for Collectors: African Americana

Langdon Manor Books

We Also Serve: 10 per cent of a Nation Working and Fighting for Victory, 1944. This is a scarce and highly visual publication celebrating the efforts and achievements of African Americans during World War II. It has an emphasis on Black progress in the San Francisco Bay Area, particularly within the shipbuilding industry and was also printed by a notable Black printer.

Highlights from Langdon Manor Books’ latest catalogue African Americana include:

* Glimpses of Africa by Charles Spencer Smith, 1895. This is a travelogue of a late nineteenth century journey to Africa written by an African American minister and educator, C.S. Smith. Part historical treatise, part personal diary, the book relates information and observations about Africa with a focus on European colonization.

* We Also Serve: 10 per cent of a Nation Working and Fighting for Victory, 1944. This is a scarce and highly visual publication celebrating the efforts and achievements of African Americans during World War II. It has an emphasis on Black progress in the San Francisco Bay Area, particularly within the shipbuilding industry and was also printed by a notable Black printer.

* Afrika, by Claude Barnett and Etta Moten. This is a collection of over 200 photographs and items of ephemera gathered by Claude and Etta Moten Barnett on trips to Africa, beginning with their first in 1947. The images document various industries and native populaces of several countries in Africa, and the ephemera enliven a sense of direct connection to the Barnetts' first trip to the continent. The impetus of that first trip, along with their experiences in Africa, ultimately led to Claude and Etta acting as important envoys and advocates for emerging independent African nations and their dealings with the United States.

* Talks For The Times by William Henry Crogman, 1896.This is a collection of speeches by W.H. Crogman, a noted African American educator and orator, many of which were addressed to white audiences. The book was inscribed to Black civil rights leader, suffragist, political organizer and author Addie Waites Hunton.

* Martin and Morris Gospel Songbook of the Singing Caravans No. 23 by Sallie Martin and Kenneth Morris 1955. This is a rare songbook of music by an African American woman-led gospel group, the Singing Caravans, better known to history as the “Caravans.” It was issued by the oldest continuously operating Black gospel music publisher in the United States, the Martin & Morris Music Company (MMMC).