A pioneering work of Afrofuturism and antiracist fiction by the author of Black No More, about a Black scientist who masterminds a worldwide conspiracy to take back the African continent from imperial powers

A Penguin Classic


“An amazing serial story of Black genius against the world” is how Black Empire was promoted upon its original publication as a serial in The Pittsburgh Courier from 1936 to 1938. It tells the electrifying tale of Dr. Henry Belsidus, a Black scientific genius desperate to free his people from the crushing tyranny of racism. To do so, he concocts a plot to enlist a crew of Black intellectuals to help him take over the world, cultivating a global network to reclaim Africa from imperial powers and punish Europe and America for white supremacy and their crimes against the planet’s Black population.

At once a daring, high-stakes science fiction adventure and a strikingly innovative Afrofuturist classic, this controversial and fearlessly political work lays bare the ethical quandaries of exactly how far one should go in the name of justice.


* This audiobook edition includes a downloadable PDF of additional notes and information on the writings of George S. Schuyler.
“Imagine W. E. B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver and Marcus Garvey rolled into one fascist superman, and there you have Dr. Henry Belsidus. . . . [Black Empire is] an Afrocentrist’s dream.” —Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The New York Times Book Review

“Indispensable reading for anyone interested in early Afrofuturism . . . Searing in its indictment of entrenched racism . . . Rip-roaring yarns with sharp satirical points.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Fascinating . . . A proto-Afrofuturist potboiler poised between Black Panther and the works of Percival Everett . . . Lurid, pulpy fun.” ―Library Journal