Before Harriet Tubman or Martin Luther King was identified with Moses, African Americans identified those who challenged racial oppression in America with Samson. In Black Samson: The Untold Story of an American Icon, Nyasha Junior and Jeremy Schipper tell the story of how this biblical character became an icon of African American literature. Along the way, Schipper and Junior introduce readers to a cast of historical characters — many of whom became American icons themselves — including Fredrick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton and others. From stories of slave rebellions to the Harlem Renaissance to the civil rights era and the Black Power movement, invoking the biblical character of Samson became a powerful way for African American intellectuals, activists, and artists to voice strategies and opinions about race relations in America. As this provocative book reveals, the story of Black Samson became the story of our nation's contested racial history.