• An African American and Latinx History of the United States

  • By: Paul Ortiz
  • Narrated by: J. D. Jackson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (445 ratings)

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An African American and Latinx History of the United States  By  cover art

An African American and Latinx History of the United States

By: Paul Ortiz
Narrated by: J. D. Jackson
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Publisher's summary

An intersectional history of the shared struggle for African American and Latinx civil rights

Spanning more than 200 years, An African American and Latinx History of the United States is a revolutionary, politically charged narrative history, arguing that the "Global South" was crucial to the development of America as we know it. Scholar and activist Paul Ortiz challenges the notion of westward progress as exalted by widely taught formulations like "manifest destiny" and "Jacksonian democracy", and shows how placing African American, Latinx, and Indigenous voices unapologetically front and center transforms US history into one of the working class organizing against imperialism.

Drawing on rich narratives and primary source documents, Ortiz links racial segregation in the Southwest and the rise and violent fall of a powerful tradition of Mexican labor organizing in the 20th century, to May 1, 2006, known as International Workers' Day, when migrant laborers - Chicana/os, Afrocubanos, and immigrants from every continent on earth - united in resistance on the first "Day Without Immigrants". As African American civil rights activists fought Jim Crow laws and Mexican labor organizers warred against the suffocating grip of capitalism, Black and Spanish-language newspapers, abolitionists, and Latin American revolutionaries coalesced around movements built between people from the United States and people from Central America and the Caribbean. In stark contrast to the resurgence of "America First" rhetoric, Black and Latinx intellectuals and organizers today have historically urged the United States to build bridges of solidarity with the nations of the Americas.

Incisive and timely, this bottom-up history, told from the interconnected vantage points of Latinx and African Americans, reveals the radically different ways that people of the diaspora have addressed issues still plaguing the United States today, and it offers a way forward in the continued struggle for universal civil rights.

2018 Winner of the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award

©2018 Paul Ortiz (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"A concise, alternate history of the United States.... A sleek, vital history that effectively shows how, ‘from the outset, inequality was enforced with the whip, the gun, and the United States Constitution.'" (Kirkus Reviews)

"A challenging and necessary approach to understanding our history. A must-read for those who want a deeper perspective than is offered in the traditional history textbook." (Library Journal)

“A welcome antidote to the poison of current reactionary attitudes toward people of color, their cultures, and place in the US.” (Booklist)

Featured Article: The Best Audiobooks That Capture American Latino History


Latinos and Latinas in the United States might find themselves questioning where they belong, whether they migrated from Latin American countries with their parents as children, arrived as adults, or were born in the USA. American history often overlooks those who don't have British or European ancestry. Dive right into this list and prepare to have an "ear-opening" experience as you learn more about what makes Latino heritage of all kinds so special.

Editorial Review

If you are interested in learning about African American and Latinx civil rights, look no further than An African American and Latinx History of the United States. This fascinating listen focuses on the experience of Black and Latinx peoples in the U.S, from the nation's founding to the present day.
Paul Ortiz is a history professor at the University of Florida who has extensively researched African American history and Latino studies. His academic credentials and expertise in these subjects make him the perfect guide for navigating the long history of African American and Latinx people in the United States.
Actor and narrator J. D. Jackson, named one of Audiofile's Golden Voices in 2020, brings this entertaining and educational listen to life.
Ortiz explores the history of the United States through the lens of emancipatory internationalism in relation to the civil rights movement, slavery, and colonialism. He delves into the forgotten history of civil rights and the key events that have shaped US history from the perspective of African Americans and Latinx Americans. This title draws close attention to events that are often missed out by teachers and textbooks.
Even the most well-versed listeners will learn a thing or two from Ortiz. Instead of focusing on what happened - from social justice movements in the U.S to revolutions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean - Ortiz focuses on why it matters. This well-researched title will leave listeners wanting to know more about how the anti-slavery struggle connects to anti-colonial struggles in the Global South. —Audible Latino Editor.