E.J. Josey, a pioneering Black librarian, activist, and former President of the American Library Association, edited the first volume of The Black Librarian in America in 1970. As Josey describes in the introduction, "We examine the role of the black librarian in America. Who is the black librarian? Why did he choose librarianship as a career? What opportunities have given him or her a chance to develop to full potential in the profession? What have been the drawbacks? What are the accomplishments in the field? What does the black librarian think of the future? These are the penetrating questions about a very large subject. The answer to these questions are found in twenty-five essays...."
Since the 1970 book, three other iterations of The Black Librarian in America have been published. Each new edition answer the original questions put forth by Josey and addresses new and pressing issues in the field.