Wayne Action for Racial Equality

New additions to the WARE Collection at the Newark Public Library

At the end of May the Friends of the Newark Public Library received an anonymous donation earmarked for the WARE Collection, and specifically for books by historian, novelist, and journalist Joel Augustus Rogers. As a self-taught historian who sought to popularize black history, Rogers was largely ostracized from the American academic mainstream and most of his work was self-published. He debunked the pseudo-scientific and racist depictions of people of African ancestry while popularizing the history of black people around the world.

More information about J.A. Rogers and and the importance of his classic works can be found in this great article from the Atlanta Black Star: Life and Legacy of Joel Augustus Rogers: Chronicler of a Glorious African Past by Runoko Rashidi

Among these newest additions to the WARE Collection are:

Rogers, Joel Agustus, Sex and Race

In the three volume Sex and Race series, first published in the 1940s, historian Joel Augustus Rogers questioned the concept of race, the origins of racial differentiation, and the root of the “color problem.” Rogers surmised that a large percentage of ethnic differences are the result of sociological factors and in these volumes he gathered what he called “the bran of history”—the uncollected, unexamined history of black people—in the hope that these neglected parts of history would become part of the mainstream body of Western history. Drawing on a vast amount of research, Rogers was attempting to point out the absurdity of racial divisions. Indeed his belief in one race—humanity—precluded the idea of several different ethnic races. The series marshals the data he had collected as evidence to prove his underlying humanistic thesis: that people were one large family without racial boundaries. Self-trained and self-published, Rogers and his work were immensely popular and influential during his day, even cited by Malcolm X. The books are presented here in their original editions.

From Project Muse : muse.jhu.edu

Rogers, Joel Agustus, World’s Great Men of Color

A two volume comprehensive guide to the most noteworthy Black personalities in world history and their significance. J.A. Rogers spent the majority of his lifetime pioneering the field of Black studies with his exhaustive research on the major names in Black history whose contributions or even very existence have been glossed over. Well-written and informative, World’s Great Men of Color is an enlightening and important historical work.

Rogers, Joel Agustus, Africa’s Gift to America

Originally published in 1959 and revised and expanded in 1989, this book asserts that Africans had contributed more to the world than was previously acknowledged. Historian Joel Augustus Rogers devoted a significant amount of his professional life to unearthing facts about people of African ancestry. He intended these findings to be a refutation of contemporary racist beliefs about the inferiority of blacks. Rogers asserted that the color of skin did not determine intellectual genius, and he publicized the great black civilizations that had flourished in Africa during antiquity. According to Rogers, many ancient African civilizations had been primal molders of Western civilization and culture.