This is a list of readings and resources on Black people in Hawai‘i, and associated themes, to contextualize our cultural and political realities, and to hold space for us to imagine a Hawai‘i, a Pacific, and a world where we are free. 

Black Indigeneity and Movement

  • Shona N. Jackson. 2014. “Humanity beyond the Regime of Labor: Antiblackness, Indigeneity, and the Legacy of Colonialism in the Caribbean" Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, & Society.

  • Saidiya Hartman. 2007.  Lose Your Mother: A journey along the Atlantic slave route (Prologue & Chapter 1 “Afrotopia” (3-48)

  • Stuart Hall. 1993.  “Cultural Identity and Diaspora” In Williams, Patrick & Laura Chrisman eds. Colonial Discourse & Postcolonial Theory: A Reader.  

  • Amos Beyan. 1991. The American Colonization Society & the Creation of the Liberian State: A Historical Perspective 1822-1900. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America.

  • Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o 1986. Decolonising the Mind.

  • George Yancey. 2003. Who is White: Latinos, Asians, and the New Black/Nonblack Divide. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Pub.

The Black Pacific

Settler/Indigenous Constructs

  • Haunani-Kay Trask. 2000. “Settlers of Color and ‘Immigrant’ Hegemony: ‘Locals’ in Hawai’i.” Amerasia Journal 26 (2): 1–24. 
  • Jonathan Y. Okamura. 2008.  Ethnicity and Inequality in Hawai‘i. Temple University Press. https://muse.jhu.edu/book/9695.

  • Maile Arvin. 2014. “Possessions of Whiteness: Settler Colonialism and Anti-Blackness in the Pacific.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, & Society.

Locating Blackness in Moana Nui

Black Hawai‘i

Local Hawai‘i lenses on Blackness

  • Hina Wong-Kalu. 2018. "Understanding the use of pōpolo, haole, and māhū." Community Perspectives. Civil Beat.

  • Randolph L. Chambliss. 1982. “The Blacks.” Social Process in Hawaii 29: 113–15.

  • David Yoo, Russell Leong, Keith Camacho, & Nitasha Tamar Sharma.  2011. Pacific Revisions of Blackness: Blacks Address Race and Belonging in Hawai‘i. Amerasia Journal, 37, 43-60.

  • Ibrahim Aoude, Amy Agbayani, Faye Kennedy, and Ty Tengan. 2016. Island Connections: Ethnic Studies, African Americans, and UHM. Recorded on March 11, 2016.

  • Andrew Weintraub. 1993. "Jawaiian and Local Cultural Identity in Hawaii." Perfect Beat 1(2): 78-89.

  • Knowlton, Jr. “Cabo Verde, West Africa, and Hawai’i.” They Followed the Trade Winds, Social Process in Hawaii, 43 (June 2004): 89

  • Kathryn Waddell Takara. 1977. “Who is the Black woman in Hawaii?”

  • Peppo’s Pidgin to Da Max. 1981. “Popolo.”

  • Pidgin to Da Max . 1984. "Popolo Suntan Lotion." Aired November 1984 on KGMB TV in Honolulu.

  • Ebony Magazine. 1968. “The Negro in Hawaii.” September Issue: Pages 26—35.

  • Women's Voices, Women Speak. 2016. "10 Reasons Black Lives Matter in the Hawaiian Kingdom."

  • Joy Enomoto. 2017. Where will you be? Why Black Lives Matter in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

  •  Steve Okino. 2010. Holding Fast the Dream: Hawaii’s African American Experience. Documentary.

  • Janet Mock. 2014. Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More.  Atria Books.

  • Popolo-Offical Film trailer. 2014.

  • King Zelee, Bianca Toubilino, and Quintae Love. 2014. ThinkTech HawaiiInterview on Popolo—A Martial Arts Indie film. 

  • Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada. 2014. “Dear Ferguson”

Black people & 19th Century Hawai‘i

Mixed-race Black people

  • Teresa Kay Williams and Michael C. Thornton. 1998. “Social Construction of Ethnicity Versus Personal Experience: The Case of Afro-Amerasians.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 29 (2): 255–67.

  •  Teresa Kay Williams and Michael C. Thornton. 1998. “Social Construction of Ethnicity Versus Personal Experience: The Case of Afro-Amerasians.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 29 (2): 255–67.

  • Nitasha Tamar Sharma. (In progress) “Black Hawaiians and Race in Hawai‘i.” In Beyond Paradise: New Politics of Race in Hawai‘i. Rudy Guevarra, Camilla Fojas, and Nitasha Sharma, eds. University of Hawai‘i Press.

Black people in US Military

  • Mady Wechsler Segal, Meridith Hill Thanner, Meredith Hill Thanner, and David R. Segal. 2007. “Hispanic and African American Men and Women in the U.S. Military: Trends in Representation.” Race, Gender & Class 14 (3/4): 48–64.

  •  Kimberley L. Phillips. 2012. War! What Is It Good For?: Black Freedom Struggles and the U.S. Military from World War II to Iraq. University of North Carolina Press.

  • Wendy M. Christensen. 2016. “The Black Citizen-Subject: Black Single Mothers in US Military Recruitment Material.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 0 (0): 1–19.

  • Amy Lutz. 2008. “Who Joins the Military?: A Look at Race, Class, and Immigration Status.” Journal of Political and Military Sociology 36 (2): 167-188.

Black military personnel and families in Hawai‘i

Hawai‘i in the Age of Obama

Obama's identity as a commentary on Hawai‘i racial politics

  • Maraniss, David. "Though Obama had to leave to find himself, it is Hawai‘i that made his rise possible." The Washington Post (2008).

  • Thanawala, Sudhin. 2008. “In Multiracial Hawai‘i, Obama Faced Discrimination.” Associated Press, May 19.

  • Kirtley, William. “Kama‘āina Hawai‘i-born: President Barack Obama’s Early Years in Hawai‘i." In National Social Science Proceedings Volume 46# 2 National Technology and Social Science Conference, 2011, p. 123.

  • Glauberman, Stu, and Jerry Burris. The dream begins: How Hawai'i shaped Barack Obama. Watermark Pub, 2009.


The #PopoloSyllabus is an invitation to add to this collection. In the spirit of crowd sourcing and popular participatory education, the #PopoloSyllabus is a curated, living document. To contribute sources, contact projectpopolo@gmail.com or @PopoloProject on Twitter.