Automotive Holiday Deals Books Holiday Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Black Friday egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Beauty Deals Gifts for Her Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Cyber Monday Deals Classics and Essentials in CDs & Vinyl Outdoor Deals on DOTD
Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $19.95
  • Save: $2.44 (12%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 9 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Negroes and the Gun: The ... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Never read copy! Ships by Amazon - super fast shipping and free tracking on all orders. Free super saver shipping and AMAZON PRIME! Your satisfaction 100% guaranteed! Fast Shipping. Like New condition may have a remainder mark.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms Paperback – January 14, 2014

47 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$10.06 $3.97

$17.51 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 9 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms
  • +
  • Negroes with Guns
Total price: $27.46
Buy the selected items together

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews


“America’s gun culture is often thought to be lily white. In this groundbreaking book, Nicholas Johnson shows how African Americans, from the abolitionists to the Deacons for Defense and Justice, have taken up arms time and again to fight for their rights and their lives. You’ll never look at guns and the Second Amendment in the same way again.”
—Adam Winkler, professor of law, UCLA School of Law, author of Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America

“With Negroes and the Gun, Nicholas Johnson has provided a definitive and compelling history of the importance of arms for a people who have not been able to rely on the state for protection. This is must-reading for those who are interested in the history of race in America and in the enduring controversy over the right to bear arms.”

—Robert J. Cottrol, Harold Paul Green Research Professor of Law and professor of history and sociology, the George Washington University, and author of The Long, Lingering Shadow: Slavery, Race, and Law in the American Hemisphere

“Race has always been part of the unspoken motive for gun control in the United States. Johnson provides the best, most thorough history of the topic, telling the story mainly from the perspective and voices of blacks themselves. Shattering the myth of black passivity in the face of violent racism, the book is full of inspiring stories of genuine American heroes—some of them famous and many who were not—who used their Second Amendment rights to defend the civil rights of their people. Never shying away from the hardest questions, Johnson addresses the moral and practical complexities of armed self-defense, past and present. A major contribution to cultural studies and to the history of race in America.”

—David B. Kopel, research director, Independence Institute, Denver, Colorado

“Johnson opens a window on the increasingly airless and ever more heated dispute over the Second Amendment by examining blacks’ ambiguous relationship with guns over the centuries. He demonstrates that the right to armed self-defense was critical to saving black lives and livelihoods when confronted by violent hostility. This remarkable book remembers for us a long-forgotten, or possibly selectively forgotten, black tradition of arms—one too often overlooked in current debates over civil rights and gun legislation.”

—Alexander Rose, author of American Rifle: A Biography

“A fascinating and subtle history of the black tradition of armed self-defense. Carefully weaving social with political history from slave times to the present, Johnson explores the complex relation between this legitimate tradition and the occasional fruitless temptation of armed political resistance to oppression. He concludes with a strong argument for restoring the legitimate tradition even in the face of its rejection by the black political establishment and the inescapable reality that blacks are very disproportionately found among the perpetrators and victims of gun violence today. Provocative and illuminating.” 

—Nelson Lund, University Professor, George Mason University School of Law

About the Author

Nicholas Johnson (New York, NY) is professor of Law at Fordham Law School, where he has taught since 1993. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he is the lead author of Firearms Law and the Second Amendment: Regulation, Rights, and Policy (Aspen 2012).

Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at

Product Details

  • Paperback: 379 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; 1St Edition edition (January 14, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161614839X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616148393
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nicholas J. Johnson is Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law. He is a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School. He is author of two books, NEGROES AND THE GUN: THE BLACK TRADITION OF ARMS and FIREARMS LAW AND THE SECOND AMENDMENT, Regulation Rights and Policy. His scholarship includes, Firearms Policy and the Black Community: An Assessment of the Modern Orthodoxy, Connecticut Law Review; The Statutory UCC, Catholic Law Review; Rights Versus Duties, History Department Lawyering and the Incoherence of Justice Stevens' Heller Dissent, Fordham ULJ; Supply Restrictions at the Margins of Heller and the Abortion Analogue: Stenberg Principles, Assault Weapons, and the Attitudinalist Critique , Hastings Law Journal; Imagining Gun Control in America: Understanding the Remainder Problem, Wake Forest Law Review; Taking this Right Seriously, National Law Journal; Self- Defense? George Mason Journal of Law Economics and Policy; A Second Amendment Moment: The Constitutional Politics of Gun Rights, Brooklyn Law Review; Showdown Between Federal Environmental Closure of Firing Ranges and Protective State Legislation, Indiana Law Review; The Boundaries of Extra-compensatory Relief for Abusive Breach of Contract, Connecticut Law Review; Principles and Passions: The Intersection of Abortion and Gun Rights, Rutgers Law Review; Plenary Power and Constitutional Outcasts: Federal Power, Critical Race Theory and the Second, Ninth and Tenth Amendments, Ohio State Law Journal; Regulatory Takings and Environmental Regulatory Evolution: Fordham Environmental Law Review; Shots Across No Man's Land: A response to Richard Aborn, Fordham Urban Law Journal; EPCRA'S Collision with Federalism, Indiana Law Review; Beyond the Second Amendment: An Individual Right to Arms Viewed Through the Ninth Amendment. Rutgers Law Journal; Cracks in the Foundation: Legislative Review of Agency Rule-making, Dickinson Law Review.
His papers are available at this link

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By ab on February 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is headed for college classrooms everywhere. It is a fairly progressive author’s trip down memory lane and how the facts of violent self-defense have been scrubbed from the anti-Slavery and Civil Rights movement. As a lawyer he documents the book exhaustively and as far as I can tell completely. He documents, time after, time how enslaved Africans, how fugitive Africans would fight their way to freedom with guns. How they had an underground market (gun shows) to buy, and or steal these guns. How these guns and their willingness to use them allowed many enslaved Africans to get to Free States. And once there, how many fugitive Africans would arm themselves with guns against those sent to re-captured them.

I love the picture of Harriet Tubman one of the "conductors" of the underground railroad which helped enslaved Africans get to Canada (primarily) standing with a rifle. People claim she never used the rifle she was always pictured with, however the woman scouted for the Union army invading the south.

This book appears to mainly for liberals, progressives and those active in, or study about the Civil Rights struggle, thus its language is in their nomenclature. It is a useful book for conservatives to read and understand for discussion with liberals, progressives and people who have a deep respect for the civil rights era. The history of the fight against slavery and the civil rights struggle has been modified and right of self-defense, political violence has been minimized. The truth is (as you would expect) there were people who used violence and there were many more people who used non-violence. Both were useful at times and under difference circumstances.

"The True Remedy for the Fugitive Slave Bill is a good revolver, a steady hand, and a determination to shoot down any man attempting to kidnap." - Frederick Douglass, 1854
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T.DeLeone on February 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An enjoyable and thought provoking romp through the Black Tradition of Arms. Wonderful, with comprehensively researched stories, told in a fluid style. The final final chapter will hopefully provoke meaningful discussions about the right to gun ownership in our inner cities.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By dwood78 on May 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Today when one pictures a Black man with a gun, one often pictures a thug terrorizing an inter city neighborhood. Yet as it turns out historically, people of color used their 2nd Amendment rights to protect them & their loved ones from White mobs during the Jim Crow Era.

This book has historical accounts of Black people using guns to protect themselves from racist mobs & such. Not surprisingly the 1st gun controls (dating back to colonial times) limit the rights people of color to bear arms- after all, it’s easier to control & terrorize a group of people if they can’t protect themselves. Sadly, this is largely forgotten today esp. among Black Americans who often support gun control despite the fact that areas with the strictest gun laws have the highest rates of homicide from them since all the laws is encourage a Black market for them.

Overall, this is a great read. A real page turner. This is great book for either Black History or for a the study on the 2nd Amendment.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Purple Dragon on February 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book really is quite illuminating. Self-Defense is seen to be an innate human characteristic common to all societies. Blacks have always engaged in self-defense. The gun was a means that allowed many blacks either to avoid mobs and extra-judicial lynching as well as personally directed violence. This book highlights the value of this gun possession to support the civil rights movements in the fifties and sixties. The book also highlights the futility of using the gun to elicit social and political change, especially considering the minority status of blacks. "Non-Violence" was a tactical and philosophical choice of the Civil Rights and not incompatible with self-defense. The book shows that our current thinking about the development of the civil rights movement is incomplete and filled with more complexities than was previously appreciated.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By AL on March 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
How can I begin? This book shows how Black Americans used firearms for personal self defense and to get their freedom. The civil rights movement has been taken over by EXTREMELY left wing social justice people who are more interested in carrying a narrative than giving students a truthful all around honest look at history from the good to the bad.

I doubt this book will be given much attention at most colleges but I hope it will. Everyone might not respect your ethnic heritage but everyone respects a gun.

I would like to thank Professor Johnson for writing this much needed and eye opening book which tells our stories as Americans of African descent.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Walker on September 29, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Exceptional. Changes the popular narrative of the civil rights movement. Reconciles the basic belief in peaceful change with the real world reality of the need to protect one's self and family from violent forces. The Author offers an unemotional, yet compelling, well documented collection that does history a favor in preserving.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Bruscke on October 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are several good books on this topic (that I've read); this one is likely the best. It traces the Tradition to the colonial period and takes care to fully develop the narrative throughout the post-bellem through pre-Civil Rights era. Other books concentrate on the Civil Rights era. As such, it much more fully develops the Tradition as compared to its siblings.
Significantly, the author attributes the demise of the Tradition largely to the ascendancy of Black politicians. The dis-empowered vs. the empowered have always had a love vs. hate relationship to arms. Arms possession by the commoner implied the threat of disorder (as well as the order of self-defense). Once Black politicians secured control of municipal power they faced the same threat of disorder that their white predecessors struggled with. Snuffing out the Tradition became an important tactic in the attempt to maintain control.
Overcoming the history, oral and recorded, of the Tradition was a significant accomplishment. We might wonder how it was accomplished. It's achievement was largely based on overlaying the carefully-restrained Tradition of arms exclusively for self-defense with the legitimate history of Non-Violance. The prominence of the latter buried the former. Yet, the story that remains falls short of a full history.
The reader is left with a legitimate question: Would the velvet glove of Non-Violance have achieved the Civil Rights revolution had it not contained an iron fist not-so-completely hidden within? Did the possibility of a TWO-way shooting war play an important role in compelling Washington to finally intervene in the social affairs of the South?
Is the Civil Rights revolution a legitimate successor to the history of the common man rising up to challenge the crown? Does it follow in the footsteps of the British Glorious Revolution and the American war for independence?
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms
This item: Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms
Price: $17.51
Ships from and sold by

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: riot points, the black rifle