African American

African American

98% Funky Stuff
98% Funky Stuff ›
By Maceo Parker
Price 15.99

Published May 2016

Revealing the warm and astonishing story of an influential jazz legend, this personal narrative tells the story of a man’s journey from a Southern upbringing to a career touring the world to play for adoring fans. It tells how James Brown first discovered the Parker brothers—Melvin, the drummer, and Maceo on sax—in a band at a small North Carolina nightclub in 1963. Brown hired them both, but it was Maceo’s signature style that helped define Brown’s brand of funk, and the phrase “Maceo, I want you to blow!” became part of the lexicon of black music. A riveting story of musical education with frank and revelatory insights about George Clinton and others, this definitive autobiography arrives just in time to celebrate the 70th birthday of the author—one of the funkiest musicians alive—and will be enjoyed by jazz and funk aficionados alike.
Assata
Assata ›
By Assata Shakur, Foreword by Lennox S. Hinds
Price 18.95

Published Nov 1999

The life story of African American revolutionary Shakur, previously known as JoAnne Chesimard.
Afrofuturism
Afrofuturism ›
By Ytasha L. Womack
Price 16.95

Published Oct 2013

Comprising elements of the avant-garde, science fiction, cutting-edge hip-hop, black comix, and graphic novels, Afrofuturism spans both underground and mainstream pop culture. With a twofold aim to entertain and enlighten, Afrofuturists strive to break down racial, ethnic, and all social limitations to empower and free individuals to be themselves. This book introduces readers to the burgeoning artists creating Afrofuturist works, the history of innovators in the past, and the wide range of subjects they explore. From the sci-fi literature of Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler, and NK Jemisin to the musical cosmos of Sun Ra, George Clinton, and the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am, to the visual and multimedia artists inspired by African Dogon myths and Egyptian deities, topics range from the “alien” experience of blacks in America to the “wake up” cry that peppers sci-fi literature, sermons, and activism. Interviews with rappers, composers, musicians, singers, authors, comic illustrators, painters, and DJs, as well as Afrofuturist professors, provide a firsthand look at this fascinating movement.
I Was Born a Slave
I Was Born a Slave ›
Edited by Yuval Taylor, Foreword by Charles Johnson

Published Mar 1999

Between 1760 and 1902, more than 200 book-length autobiographies of ex-slaves were published; together they form the basis for all subsequent African American literature. I Was Born a Slave collects the 20 most significant “slave narratives.” They describe whippings, torture, starvation, resistance, and hairbreadth escapes; slave auctions, kidnappings, and murders; sexual abuse, religious confusion, the struggle of learning to read and write; and the triumphs and difficulties of life as free men and women. Many of the narratives—such as those of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs—have achieved reputations as masterpieces; but some of the lesser-known narratives are equally brilliant. This unprecedented anthology presents them unabridged, providing each one with helpful introductions and annotations, to form the most comprehensive volume ever assembled on the lives and writings of the slaves.Volume one (1770–1849) includes the narratives of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, Olaudah Equiano (Gustavus Vassa), William Grimes, Nat Turner, Charles Ball, Moses Roper, Frederick Douglass, Lewis and Milton Clarke, William Wells Brown, and Josiah Henson.
Afraid of the Dark
Afraid of the Dark ›
By Jim Myers, Foreword by Jesse Jackson
Price 13.99

Published Apr 2001

The definitive guide for anyone who has contact with people of another race—in companies, schools, neighborhoods, or other social situations—this book asserts that race is not the unfathomable mystery it is usually made out to be. In a revealing, accessible, and stimulating discussion based on little-known facts and innovative research, this book explains why many whites are uneasy about blacks and how blacks react to this, why numerous blacks suspect the worst from whites, why white explanations don't hold up, why myths about sex remain so prevalent, and what both races can do together to make their relations better.
Africa Counts
Africa Counts ›
By Claudia Zaslavsky
Price 19.99

Published Apr 1999

This fascinating study of mathematical thinking among sub-Saharan African peoples covers counting in words and in gestures; measuring time, distance, weight, and other quantities; manipulating money and keeping accounts; number systems; patterns in music, poetry, art, and architecture; and number magic and taboos. African games such as mankala and elaborate versions of tic-tac-toe show how complex this thinking can be. An invaluable resource for students, teachers, and others interested in African cultures and multiculturalism, this third edition is updated with an introduction covering two decades of new research in the ethnomathematics of Africa.
African American Humor
African American Humor ›
Edited by Mel Watkins, Foreword by Dick Gregory
Price 19.99

Published Aug 2002

This collection of anecdotes, tales, jokes, toasts, rhymes, satire, riffs, poems, stand-up sketches, and snaps documents the evolution of African American humor over the past two centuries. It includes routines and writings from such luminaries as Bert Williams, Butterbeans & Susie, Stepin Fetchit, Moms Mabley, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Redd Foxx, Ishmael Reed, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Martin Lawrence, and Chris Rock. This anthology includes classic stage routines, literary examples, and witty quotations presented in their entirety.
African Music
African Music ›
By Francis Bebey
Price 19.95

Published Aug 1999

Engaging and enlightening, this guide explores African music's forms, musicians, instruments, and place in the life of the people. A discography classified by country, theme, group, and instrument is also included.
And the Walls Came Tumbling Down
And the Walls Came Tumbling Down ›
By Ralph Abernathy
Price 19.95

Published Apr 2010

Originally published in 1989, this beautifully written autobiography of the Rev. Dr. Ralph David Abernathy—Martin Luther King Jr.'s partner and eventual successor—not only tells his own story but also expounds on the leaders he knew intimately, including King, Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young, and Lyndon Johnson, among others. Revealing the planning that went into major protests and the negotiations that brought them to a close, Abernathy chronicles a movement, recalling the bitter defeats they faced, the misery and deaths they suffered. Amidst these struggles, though, he celebrates the victories that integrated communities, gave economic and political power to the disenfranchised, and brought hope to people who had not dreamed of it. Throughout, Abernathy's close relationship with King is central to the story—and to the civil rights movement. In 1956, when Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus, it was Abernathy who enlisted King to join the protest. Together, they led the landmark bus boycott for 381 days, during which Abernathy’s house was bombed and his church dynamited. From there, the two helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and they were jailed together more than 40 times. Their protests and marches took them all over the South—Selma, Albany, Birmingham—and to Washington and Chicago as well. An unsung hero of his era, Abernathy's inspiring memoir ultimately shows how their victories, and even their setbacks, led to social and legislative changes across the entire country.
Ashamed to Die
Ashamed to Die ›
By Andrew J. Skerritt

Published Nov 2011

By focusing on a small town in South Carolina, this study of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the South reveals the hard truths of an ongoing and complex issue. Skerritt contends that the United States has failed to adequately address the threat of HIV and AIDS in communities of color and that taboos about love, race, and sexuality—combined with Southern conservatism, white privilege, and black oppression—continue to create an unacceptable death toll. The heartbreak of America’s failure comes alive through case studies of individuals such as Carolyn, a wild child whose rebellion coincided with the advent of AIDS, and Nita, a young woman searching for love and trapped in an abusive relationship. The results are most visible at the town’s segregated burial ground where dozens of young black men and women who have died from AIDS are laid to rest. Not only a call to action and awareness, this is a true story of how persons of faith, enduring love, and limitless forgiveness can inspire others by serving as guides for poor communities facing a public health threat burdened with conflicting moral and social conventions.
Black Africa
Black Africa ›
By Cheikh Anta Diop
Price 16.95

Published Jun 1987

This expanded edition continues Diop's campaign for the political and economic unification of the nations of black Africa. It concludes with a lengthy interview with Diop.
Precolonial Black Africa
Precolonial Black Africa ›
By Cheikh Anta Diop
Price 16.95

Published Aug 1988

A comparison of the political and social systems of Europe and black Africa from antiquity to the formation of modern states that demonstrates the black contribution to the development of Western civilization.
By Any Greens Necessary
By Any Greens Necessary ›
By Tracye Lynn McQuirter
Price 11.99

Published May 2010

With attitude and inspiration, this lifestyle guide shows black women how they can be healthy, hippy, and happy by eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes as part of an active lifestyle. African American women face a health crisis and explosive rates of death and disability from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and this book provides authoritative research to illustrate how a plant-based diet can reverse this trend. Encouraging readers to think about the foods they choose and what their choices mean to overall health, the manual shows that a diet of meat, fish, fowl, dairy, and refined grains is hazardous not only to human bodies but also to the planet and animals. With its much-needed nutritional analysis, the book also offers practical advice about how to transition to vegan foods; delicious and nutritious recipes; a comprehensive grocery shopping list for restocking the fridge and pantry; recommended resources; and inspirational vegetarian quotes from famous African Americans, including Oprah Winfrey, Alice Walker, Angela Bassett, Erykah Badu, Russell Simmons, and Dick Gregory.
Children of the Movement
Children of the Movement ›
By John Blake
Price 24.95

Published Jun 2004

Profiling 24 of the adult children of the most recognizable figures in the civil rights movement, this book collects the intimate, moving stories of families who were pulled apart by the horrors of the struggle or brought together by their efforts to change America. The whole range of players is covered, from the children of leading figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and martyrs like James Earl Chaney to segregationists like George Wallace and Black Panther leaders like Elaine Brown. The essays reveal that some children are more pessimistic than their parents, whose idealism they saw destroyed by the struggle, while others are still trying to change the world. Included are such inspiring stories as the daughter of a notoriously racist Southern governor who finds her calling as a teacher in an all-black inner-city school and the daughter of a famous martyr who unexpectedly meets her mother’s killer. From the first activists killed by racist Southerners to the current global justice protestors carrying on the work of their parents, these profiles offer a look behind the public face of the triumphant civil rights movement and show the individual lives it changed in surprising ways.
The African Origin of Civilization
The African Origin of Civilization ›
By Cheikh Anta Diop, Edited by Mercer Cook
Price 16.95

Published Jul 1989

Now in its 30th printing, this classic presents historical, archaeological, and anthropological evidence to support the theory that ancient Egypt was a black civilization.
Civilization or Barbarism
Civilization or Barbarism ›
By Cheikh Anta Diop, Translated by Yaa-Lengi Meema Ngemi
Price 19.95

Published Apr 1991

Challenging societal beliefs, this volume rethinks African and world history from an Afrocentric perspective.
Conversate Is Not a Word
Conversate Is Not a Word ›
By Jam Donaldson
Price 11.99

Published Jan 2010

Funny, sad, and refreshingly honest, this provocative commentary based on the author's award-winning blog explores what is wrong with black culture and what needs to be done to fix neighborhoods and improve lives. The fresh, female voice presents a new perspective—differing from so many other treatises on the subject written primarily by older men—and takes into account hip-hop and the internet without assuming a condescending tone. Continually reviewing the ongoing struggle between her own conflicting identities, she asks such questions as How can African Americans speak out about the aspects of their culture that need improvement without risking mockery and the reinforcement of negative stereotypes? and How can you improve a situation when simply calling it out is fraught with the risk of undermining your own race? By weaving her own warring viewpoints into the discussion, the author provides a window into the complex, contradictory perspectives that exist within every member of the black community while also offering comic anecdotes, making this call to action accessible as well as poignant.
Die Nigger Die!
Die Nigger Die! ›
By H. Rap Brown (Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin)
Price 14.95

Published Apr 2002

More than any other black leader, H. Rap Brown, chairman of the radical Black Power organization Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), came to symbolize the ideology of black revolution. This autobiography—which was first published in 1969, went through seven printings and has long been unavailable—chronicles the making of a revolutionary. It is much more than a personal history, however; it is a call to arms, an urgent message to the black community to be the vanguard force in the struggle of oppressed people. Forthright, sardonic, and shocking, this book is not only illuminating and dynamic but also a vitally important document that is essential to understanding the upheavals of the late 1960s. University of Massachusetts professor Ekwueme Michael Thelwell has updated this edition, covering Brown’s decades of harassment by law enforcement agencies, his extraordinary transformation into an important Muslim leader, and his sensational trial.
Do I Look Like an ATM?
Do I Look Like an ATM? ›
By Sabrina Lamb
Price 14.95

Published Mar 2013

Youth financial education is an urgent issue, and author Sabrina Lamb believes that African American parents first must reeducate themselves about finances to make sure the next generation does not fall into the spending trap that can be a family legacy. The lack of a healthy financial education has generational impact, causing families to be financially vulnerable, squander financial resources, and fail at wealth accumulation.            With step-by-step advice and exercises for parents and young people, Do I Look Like an ATM? sets out to establish new financial behavior so children will avoid the personal economic problems that have plagued the culture. The book guides parents through self-examination of their financial habits. By performing the exercises in this book and having candid discussions, parents can, together with their children, become engaged citizens in the world of money. With new financial traditions and a better understanding money and its meaning, the next generation will realize the true power of wealth and use their money wisely.
Ego-Tripping and Other Poems for Young People
Ego-Tripping and Other Poems for Young People ›
By Nikki Giovanni, Illustrated by George Ford, Foreword by Virginia Hamilton
Price 10.95

Published Nov 1993

Insightful and fun, this collection of poetry captures the essence of the African American experience for young people.
Eye of the Hurricane
Eye of the Hurricane ›
By Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, By Ken Klonsky, Foreword by Nelson Mandela
Price 26.95

Published Jan 2011

A spiritual as well as a factual autobiography, this is a self-portrait of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a 20th-century icon and controversial victim of the U.S. justice system turned spokesperson for the wrongfully convicted. Exploring Carter’s personal philosophy—born of the unimaginable duress of wrongful imprisonment and conceived through his defiance of the brutal institution of prison and a decade of solitary confinement—this work offers hope for those who have none and serves as a call to action for those who abhor injustice. Exposing the inherent flaws in the legal and penal systems, this autobiography also serves as a prison survival manual—be it a brick-and-mortar cell or the metaphorical prison of childhood abuse, racism, and despair.
Fierce Angels
Fierce Angels ›
By Sheri Parks, Foreword by Marcia Ann Gillespie
Price 18.95

Published Apr 2013

The “Strong Black Woman” has been a part of mainstream culture for centuries, as a myth, a goddess, a positive role model, a stereotype, and as a burden. In Fierce Angels, Sheri Parks explores the concept of the Strong Black Woman, its influence on people of all races, and the ways in which black women respond to and are affected by this image. Originating in the ancient Sacred Dark Feminine as a nurturing and fierce goddess, the Strong Black Woman can be found in myths from every continent. Slaves and slave owners alike brought the legend to America, where the spiritual icon evolved into the secular Strong Black Woman, with examples ranging from the slave Mammy to the poet Maya Angelou. She continues to appear in popular culture in television and movies, such as Law and Order and The Help, and as an inspirational symbol associated with the dispossessed in political movements, in particular from Africa. The book presents the stories of historical and living black women who embody the role and puts the icon in its historical and evolutionary context, presenting a balanced account of its negative and positive impact on black culture. This new paperback edition has been revised from the hardcover edition to include two new chapters that expand on the transformative Dark Feminine in alchemy and Western literature and a final chapter on the political uses and further potential of the Sacred Dark Feminine in social justice movements in the United States and abroad.
Fighting the Devil in Dixie
Fighting the Devil in Dixie ›
By Wayne Greenhaw
Price 17.95

Published Sep 2015

Examining the growth of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) following the birth of the civil rights movement, this book is filled with tales of the heroic efforts to halt their rise to power. Shortly after the success of the Montgomery bus boycott, the KKK—determined to keep segregation as the way of life in Alabama—staged a resurgence, and the strong-armed leadership of Governor George C. Wallace, who defied the new civil rights laws, empowered the Klan’s most violent members. Although Wallace’s power grew, not everyone accepted his unjust policies, and blacks such as Martin Luther King Jr., J. L. Chestnut, and Bernard LaFayette began fighting back in the courthouses and schoolhouses, as did young southern lawyers such as Charles “Chuck” Morgan, who became the ACLU’s southern director; Morris Dees, who cofounded the Southern Poverty Law Center; and Bill Baxley, Alabama attorney general, who successfully prosecuted the bomber of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church and legally halted some of Governor Wallace’s agencies designed to slow down integration. Dozens of exciting, extremely well-told stories demonstrate how blacks defied violence and whites defied public ostracism and indifference in the face of kidnappings, bombings, and murders.
First Class
First Class ›
By Alison Stewart, Foreword by Melissa Harris-Perry
Price 17.95

Published Aug 2015

Combining a fascinating history of the first U.S. high school for African Americans with an unflinching analysis of urban public-school education today, First Class explores an underrepresented and largely unknown aspect of black history while opening a discussion on what it takes to make a public school successful. In 1870, in the wake of the Civil War, citizens of Washington, DC, opened the Preparatory High School for Colored Youth, the first black public high school in the United States; it would later be renamed Dunbar High and would flourish despite Jim Crow laws and segregation. Dunbar attracted an extraordinary faculty: its early principal was the first black graduate of Harvard, and at a time it had seven teachers with PhDs, a medical doctor, and a lawyer. During the school’s first 80 years, these teachers would develop generations of highly educated, successful African Americans, and at its height in the 1940s and ’50s, Dunbar High School sent 80 percent of its students to college. Today, as in too many failing urban public schools, the majority of Dunbar students are barely proficient in reading and math. Journalist and author Alison Stewart—whose parents were both Dunbar graduates—tells the story of the school’s rise, fall, and possible resurgence as it looks to reopen its new, state-of-the-art campus in the fall of 2013.
Frederick Douglass for Kids
Frederick Douglass for Kids ›
By Nancy Sanders
Price 16.95

Published Jun 2012

Few Americans have had as much impact on the United States as Frederick Douglass, and this guide follows his footsteps, from his birth into slavery to his becoming a friend and confidant of presidents and the leading African American of his day. This American hero became a bestselling author, an outspoken newspaper editor, a brilliant orator, a tireless abolitionist, and a brave civil rights leader. To better appreciate Frederick Douglass and his times, young readers will form a debate club, cook a meal similar to the one Douglass shared with John Brown, make a Civil War haversack, participate in a microlending program, and more. This valuable resource also includes a time line of significant events, a list of historic sites to visit or explore online, and web resources for further study.
America's Black Founders
America's Black Founders ›
By Nancy Sanders
Price 17.99

Published Jan 2010

Celebrating the lesser known but significant lives and contributions of our nation’s early African American leaders, this multicultural complement to most children’s books on the American Revolution covers a wide spectrum of subjects, including military, art, religion, and science. Weaving the histories of dozens of men and women—soldiers, sailors, ministers, poets, merchants, doctors, and other community leaders—to properly recognize them among the founders of the United States of America, this text gives a better sense of what these individuals accomplished and the times in which they lived. Activities include celebrating Constitution Day, cooking colonial foods, publishing a newspaper, petitioning their government, and more. This valuable resource also includes a time line of significant events, a list of historic sites to visit or explore online, and Web resources for further study.
A Kid's Guide to African American History
A Kid's Guide to African American History ›
By Nancy Sanders
Price 16.95

Published Jun 2007

What do all these people have in common: the first man to die in the American Revolution, a onetime chief of the Crow Nation, the inventors of peanut butter and the portable X-ray machine, and the first person to make a wooden clock in this country? They were all great African Americans. For parents and teachers interested in fostering cultural awareness among children of all races, this book includes more than 70 hands-on activities, songs, and games that teach kids about the people, experiences, and events that shaped African American history. This expanded edition contains new material throughout, including additional information and biographies. Children will have fun designing an African mask, making a medallion like those worn by early abolitionists, playing the rhyming game "Juba," inventing Brer Rabbit riddles, and creating a unity cup for Kwanzaa. Along the way they will learn about inspiring African American artists, inventors, and heroes like Harriet Tubman, Benjamin Banneker, Rosa Parks, Langston Hughes, and Louis Armstrong, to name a few.
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington ›
By Stephanie Crease

Published Feb 2009

Celebrating one of the most influential figures in jazz, this comprehensive biography incorporates the legendary Duke Ellington’s talents into engaging activities for children. Enlisting the musician’s gifts as a pianist, composer, and band leader, this interdisciplinary approach shows how to create a ragtime rhythm, make a washtub bass, write song lyrics, dance the Lindy Hop, and even design an album cover. Exploring Ellington’s life and career, this activity guide includes information on additional topics such as the Harlem Renaissance, the musical evolution of jazz, and how technology has changed over the years—from piano rolls and record albums to CDs, television, and portable music devices. A time line, glossary, selected bibliography, and extensive resources—including Ellington’s greatest recordings, related websites, and recommendations for further study—are also included.
Lightnin' Hopkins
Lightnin' Hopkins ›
By Alan Govenar
Price 28.95

Published May 2010

Based on scores of interviews with the artist’s relatives, friends, lovers, producers, accompanists, managers, and fans, this brilliant biography reveals a man of many layers and contradictions. Following the journey of a musician who left his family's poor cotton farm at age eight carrying only a guitar, the book chronicles his life on the open road playing blues music and doing odd jobs. It debunks the myths surrounding his meetings with Blind Lemon Jefferson and Texas Alexander, his time on a chain gang, his relationships with women, and his lifelong appetite for gambling and drinking. This volume also discusses his hard-to-read personality; whether playing for black audiences in Houston’s Third Ward, for white crowds at the Matrix in San Francisco, or in the concert halls of Europe, Sam Hopkins was a musician who poured out his feelings in his songs and knew how to endear himself to his audience—yet it was hard to tell if he was truly sincere, and he appeared to trust no one. Finally, this book moves beyond exploring his personal life and details his entire musical career, from his first recording session in 1946—when he was dubbed Lightnin’—to his appearance on the national charts and his rediscovery by Mack McCormick and Sam Charters in 1959, when his popularity had begun to wane and a second career emerged, playing to white audiences rather than black ones. Overall, this narrative tells the story of an important blues musician who became immensely successful by singing with a searing emotive power about his country roots and the injustices that informed the civil rights era.
Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass ›
By Frederick Douglass, Edited by Philip S. Foner, Edited by Yuval Taylor
Price 35.00

Published Apr 2000

One of the greatest African American leaders and one of the most brilliant minds of his time, Frederick Douglass spoke and wrote with unsurpassed eloquence on almost all the major issues confronting the American people during his life—from the abolition of slavery to women’s rights, from the Civil War to lynching, from American patriotism to black nationalism. Between 1950 and 1975, Philip S. Foner collected the most important of Douglass’s hundreds of speeches, letters, articles, and editorials into an impressive five-volume set, now long out of print. Abridged and condensed into one volume, and supplemented with several important texts that Foner did not include, Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings presents the most significant, insightful, and elegant short works of Douglass’s massive oeuvre.
Freedom's Journey
Freedom's Journey ›
Edited by Donald Yacovone, Foreword by Charles Fuller
Price 21.95

Published Feb 2004

The men and women represented in this book had the extraordinary opportunity of witnessing the end of a 200-year struggle for freedom: the Civil War. Gathered here are the stirring testimonies of many African Americans including slaves who endured their last years of servitude before escaping from their masters, soldiers who fought for the freedom of their brethren and for equal rights, and reporters who covered the defeat of their oppressors. These African American voices include the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass on the meaning of the war; Martin R. Delany on his meeting with Lincoln to gain permission to raise an army of African Americans; Susie King Taylor on her life as laundress and nurse to a Union regiment in the deep South; Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln’s seamstress, on Abraham Lincoln’s journey to Richmond after its fall; Elijah P. Marrs on rising from slave to Union sergeant while fighting for his freedom in Kentucky; and letters from black soldiers to black newspapers. Each testimony is presented unabridged, allowing the full flavor of these voices to be heard, and each is supplemented with introductions and notes that provide rich context.
Growing Up in Slavery
Growing Up in Slavery ›
Edited by Yuval Taylor
Price 9.99

Published Feb 2007

Ten slaves—all under the age of 19—tell their stories of enslavement, brutality, and dreams of freedom in this collection. Culled from full-length autobiographies, these accounts were selected to help teenagers relate to the horrific experiences of slaves their own age in the not-so-distant past. Included are stories of young slaves, all under the age of 19, torn from their mothers and families, suffering from starvation, and being whipped and tortured. But these are not all tales of deprivation and violence. Teenagers will see themselves in these accounts as the slaves challenge authority, play games, tell jokes, and fall in love. These stories cover the range of the slave experience, from the passage in slave ships across the Atlantic to daily life as a slave both on large plantations and in small city dwellings, and from escaping slavery to fighting in the Civil War. The writings of Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Harriet Jacobs, Elizabeth Keckley, and other less famous slaves are included.
How to Rent a Negro
How to Rent a Negro ›
By damali ayo

Published Jul 2005

A hilarious and satirical look at race relations that is almost too close for comfort, this pseudo-guidebook gives both renters and rentals "much-needed" advice and tips on technique. Reframing actual stories, techniques, requests, and responses gathered from the author's more than 30 years of research and experience, tips are provided in step-by-step outlines for renters to get the most for their money, and how rentals can become successful and wealthy, what they should wear, and topics of conversation to avoid. The book also serves up photo-dramatizations of some of the popular approaches covered in the book, handy tip-boxes, frequently asked questions for renters and rentals, a "How do I know if I'm being rented" quiz, a glossary of important terms, and "quickie" insta-rentals for those who need to rent on the go. Punctuated by quotes from former renters, and featuring rental diaries based on real encounters, this satire shocks and amuses, presenting a strikingly stark mirror of human relationships.
I Dare to Say
I Dare to Say ›
Edited by Hilda Twongyeirwe
Price 17.95

Published Feb 2012

Featuring the real-life experiences of contemporary African women who tell of atrocities, pain, motherhood, marriage, love, and courage in their daily life, this gripping collection brings greater awareness to a continuing struggle. Denied a voice by their own culture for centuries, these women speak out for the first time, sharing poignant tales of abuse and womanhood robbed, revealing their methods of survival, and divulging their dreams for themselves and their children. A girl describes hiding under a blanket from the Lord’s Resistance Army in search of child brides; a woman speaks of her family abuse and rejection followed by the deaths of her child and partner only to learn later that the father of her child was already married with eight children and had AIDS. Dramatic, sometimes heartbreaking, often inspiring, this is the first book to truly show what it means to be a 21st-century African woman.
I Didn't Work This Hard Just to Get Married
I Didn't Work This Hard Just to Get Married ›
By Nika C. Beamon, Foreword by Bella DePaulo
Price 14.95

Published May 2009

Through lively and revealing interviews with women from various walks of life, this account speaks directly to the single black woman's experience, addressing unique challenges such as income discrepancies between genders, the high rate of male incarceration, and the "Baby Mama Syndrome." Women discuss the false expectations they face from men, from families, and from friends as well as reevaluate dating, single home ownership, career choices, having children—or not—and caring for aged parents. Their conclusion: singlehood, whether temporary or permanent, and sometimes challenging, is a fulfilling state.
I Was Born a Slave
I Was Born a Slave ›
Edited by Yuval Taylor, Foreword by Charles Johnson

Published Mar 1999

Between 1760 and 1902, more than 200 book-length autobiographies of ex-slaves were published; together they form the basis for all subsequent African American literature. I Was Born a Slave collects the 20 most significant “slave narratives.” They describe whippings, torture, starvation, resistance, and hairbreadth escapes; slave auctions, kidnappings, and murders; sexual abuse, religious confusion, the struggle of learning to read and write; and the triumphs and difficulties of life as free men and women. Many of the narratives—such as those of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs—have achieved reputations as masterpieces; but some of the lesser-known narratives are equally brilliant. This unprecedented anthology presents them unabridged, providing each one with helpful introductions and annotations, to form the most comprehensive volume ever assembled on the lives and writings of the slaves.Volume two (1849–1866) includes the narratives of Henry Bibb, James W. C. Pennington, Solomon Northup, John Brown, John Thompson, William and Ellen Craft, Harriet Jacobs (Linda Brent), Jacob D. Green, James Mars, and William Parker.
Keep On Pushing
Keep On Pushing ›
By Denise Sullivan
Price 16.95

Published Jul 2011

Author Denise Sullivan explores the bond between music and social change and traces the evolution of protest music over the past five decades. The marriage of music and social change didn't originate with the civil rights and black power movements of the 1950s and 1960s, but never before had the relationship between the two been so dynamic. Black music altered the road to liberation for minorities, sparking creativity and resulting in a genre-encompassing poetry, jazz, folk, and rock along with a new brand of prideful and political soul and funk. Through extensive research and exclusive interviews with musician-activists such as Yoko Ono, Richie Havens, Janis Ian, and Buffy Sainte-Marie, this chronicle details the struggle that went into the creation of liberation music. A bittersweet narrative covering more than 50 years of fighting oppression through song, Keep On Pushing defines the soundtrack to revolution and the price paid to create it.
Last Chance for Justice
Last Chance for Justice ›
By T. K. Thorne
Price 26.95

Published Sep 2013

Revealing the story of the reopening of the case of the Birmingham, Alabama, church bombing of 1963, this insider’s account divulges the ins and outs of the investigation led by detective Ben Herren of the Birmingham Police Department and special agent Bill Fleming of the FBI. For more than a year, they analyzed the original FBI files on the bombing and activities of the Ku Klux Klan, then began a search for new evidence. Their first interview—with Klansman Bobby Frank Cherry—broke open the case, but not in the way they expected. Herren and Fleming unearthed lost evidence and convinced long-silent witnesses to tell their stories. With tenacity, humor, dedication, and some luck, the pair encountered the worst and best in human nature on their journey to find justice, and perhaps closure, for the citizens of Birmingham.
Lay This Body Down
Lay This Body Down ›
By Gregory A. Freeman
Price 11.99

Published Jul 2002

The John S. Williams plantation in Georgia was operated largely with the labor of slaves—and this was in 1921, 56 years after the Civil War. Williams was not alone in using “peons,” but his reaction to a federal investigation was almost unbelievable: he decided to destroy the evidence. Enlisting the aid of his trusted black farm boss, Clyde Manning, he began methodically killing his slaves. As this true story unfolds, each detail seems more shocking, and surprises continue in the aftermath, with a sensational trial galvanizing the nation and marking a turning point in the treatment of black Americans.
The Insurrectionist
The Insurrectionist ›
By Herb Karl
Price 15.99

Published Feb 2017

A compelling historical novel, The Insurrectionist follows the militant abolitionist John Brown from his involvement in Bleeding Kansas to the invasion of Harpers Ferry and the dramatic conclusion of his subsequent trial. Meticulous historical detail blends with dramatic personal descriptions to reveal critical episodes in Brown's life, illuminating his character and the motives that led up to the Harpers Ferry invasion, giving readers a complete picture of the man who has too often been dismissed as hopelessly fanatical. Brown's friendship with Frederick Douglass and their ongoing debate on how to end slavery, his devoted family who stands by him despite the danger, and his struggles to secure funding and political favor for his cause against deeply entrenched politicians, makes for a surprisingly contemporary story of family, passion, race, and politics.
Miles on Miles
Miles on Miles ›
Edited by Paul Maher, Edited by Michael Dorr
Price 24.95

Published Nov 2008

Gathering the 30 most vital Miles Davis interviews—on his music, his life, and his philosophy—this collection reveals the jazz icon as a complex and contradictory man, secretive at times but extraordinarily revealing at others. Miles was not only a musical genius, but an enigma, and nowhere else was he so compelling, exasperating, and entertaining as he was in his interviews, which vary from polite to outrageous, from straight-ahead to contrarian. Many were conducted by leading journalists like Leonard Feather, Stephen Davis, Ben Sidran, Mike Zwerin, and Nat Hentoff; while others have never before been printed, and are newly transcribed from radio and television shows—making this the definitive source for anyone wanting to really encounter the legend in print.
Coltrane on Coltrane
Coltrane on Coltrane ›
Edited by Chris DeVito
Price 18.95

Published Apr 2012

Spanning a body of work that stands with the greatest of the 20th century, this autobiographical perspective of John Coltrane reveals the quiet man behind the fiery music through interviews, liner notes, personal correspondence, and more. As complete a record as possible, this book includes every known Coltrane interview—many in new and more accurate transcriptions and several previously unpublished—as well as articles, reminiscences, liner notes, and personal correspondence with fans and journalists. A truly intimate portrait of a dedicated musician, this compilation of his wise words on improvisation, music, and life show why the man and his music continue to inspire devotion, adoration, and joy nearly 50 years after his death.
Hendrix on Hendrix
Hendrix on Hendrix ›
Edited by Steven Roby
Price 19.99

Published Nov 2016

Though many books have chronicled Jimi Hendrix’s brilliant but tragically brief musical career, this is the first to use his own words to paint a detailed portrait of the man behind the guitar. With selections carefully chosen by one of the world’s leading Jimi Hendrix historians, this work includes the most important interviews from the peak of his career, 1966 to 1970. In this authoritative volume, Hendrix recalls for reporters his heartbreaking childhood, his concept of "Electric Church Music" (intended to wash people’s souls and give them a new direction), and his wish to be remembered as not just another guitar player. While Hendrix never wrote a memoir, with new transcriptions from European papers, the African American press, counterculture newspapers, radio and TV interviews, and previously unpublished court transcripts, this book gives music fans the next best thing to a Hendrix autobiography.
Music Is the Weapon of the Future
Music Is the Weapon of the Future ›
By Frank Tenaille, Photographs by Akwa Betote
Price 18.95

Published Aug 2002

From the unique voice of Salif Keita and the hard funk of Fela Kuti to the poignant blues of Cesaria Evora and the upbeat swing of South African township jazz, African music has shaken the planet. This book traces its history through 30 portraits. Instead of offering biographical summaries, Tenaille plunges straight to the deepest, most intimate, and most significant aspects of the life and work of each musician. In a compact form, this retrospective imparts all the information essential to understanding these complex pop stars, while putting them in a political and cultural context and spicing up the mix with generous helpings of anecdote.
My Times in Black and White
My Times in Black and White ›
By Gerald M. Boyd, Afterword by Robin D. Stone
Price 26.95

Published Feb 2010

A rags-to-riches story of the climb from urban poverty to the New York Times, this insider’s view of struggle and change at the nation’s premier newspaper reconstructs the most controversial period in the paper’s history and records how journalists reported and edited the biggest events of the past two decades. A candid discussion on race, this memoir is the inspirational story of a man who covered presidents, documented extraordinary social and cultural challenges, led his team to an unprecedented number of Pulitzers, stumbled disastrously during an unjust scandal, and in the end discovered the true value of his life.
Nine Lives of a Black Panther
Nine Lives of a Black Panther ›
By Wayne Pharr
Price 26.95

Published Jul 2014

In the early morning hours of December 8, 1969, hundreds of SWAT officers engaged in a violent battle with a handful of Los Angeles–based members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP). Five hours and 5,000 rounds of ammunition later, three SWAT team members and three Black Panthers lay wounded. For the Panthers and the community that supported them, the shootout symbolized a victory, and a key reason for that victory was the actions of a 19-year-old rank-and-file member of the BPP: Wayne Pharr. Nine Lives of a Black Panther tells Pharr’s riveting story of life in the Los Angeles branch of the BPP and gives a blow-by-blow account of how it prepared for and survived the massive attack. He illuminates the history of one of the most dedicated, dynamic, vilified, and targeted chapters of the BPP, filling in a missing piece of Black Panther history and, in the process, creating an engaging and hard-to-put-down memoir about a time and place that holds tremendous fascination for readers interested in African American militancy.
No Fear
No Fear ›
By Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Foreword by Noam Chomsky, Afterword by Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy
Price 27.95

Published Sep 2011

Retracing the steps of the first civil rights and whistleblower act of the 21st century, this chronicle follows young, black, MIT-educated social scientist Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, shortly after she landed her dream job at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The account illustrates how the author attempted to convince the government to investigate allegations surrounding a multinational corporation, suspecting that they were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of South Africans who were mining vanadium—a vital strategic mineral. Documenting Coleman-Adebayo’s shocking discovery that the EPA itself was the first line of defense for the corporation in question, this record depicts how the agency stonewalled, prompting the author to expose them. The agency’s brutal retaliation is captured in detail, revealing their use of every racist and sexist trick in their playbook, costing the protagonist her career, endangering her family, and sacrificing more lives in the vanadium mines of South Africa. Finishing on a hopeful note, the recollection concludes with the upwelling of support the author received from others in the federal bureaucracy, detailing how her subsequent grassroots struggle to protect future whistleblowers ended in victory.
Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat
Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat ›
By Stephanie Covington Armstrong
Price 11.99

Published Aug 2009

Describing her struggle as a black woman with an eating disorder that is consistently portrayed as a white woman's problem, this insightful and moving narrative traces the background and factors that caused her bulimia. Moving coast to coast, she tries to escape her self-hatred and obsession by never slowing down, unaware that she is caught in downward spiral emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Finally she can no longer deny that she will die if she doesn't get help, overcome her shame, and conquer her addiction. But seeking help only reinforces her negative self-image, and she discovers her race makes her an oddity in the all-white programs for eating disorders. This memoir of her experiences answers many questions about why black women often do not seek traditional therapy for emotional problems.
The Many Faces of Josephine Baker
The Many Faces of Josephine Baker ›
By Peggy Caravantes
Price 12.99

Published Feb 2018

A complete biographical look at the complex life of a world-famous entertainer With determination and audacity, Josephine Baker turned her comic and musical abilities into becoming a worldwide icon of the Jazz Age. The Many Faces of Josephine Baker: Dancer, Singer, Activist, Spy provides the first in-depth portrait of this remarkable woman for young adults. Author Peggy Caravantes follows Baker’s life from her childhood in the depths of poverty to her comedic rise in vaudeville and fame in Europe. This lively biography covers her outspoken participation in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, espionage work for the French Resistance during World War II, and adoption of 12 children—her “rainbow tribe.” Also included are informative sidebars on relevant topics such as the 1917 East St. Louis riot, Pullman railway porters, the Charleston, and more. The lush photographs, appendix updating readers on the lives of the rainbow tribe, source notes, and bibliography make this is a must-have resource for any student, Baker fan, or history buff.
On the Real Side
On the Real Side ›
By Mel Watkins
Price 21.99

Published May 1999

This comprehensive history of black humor sets it in the context of American popular culture. Blackface minstrelsy, Stepin Fetchit, and the Amos ’n’ Andy show presented a distorted picture of African Americans; this book contrasts this image with the authentic underground humor of African Americans found in folktales, race records, and all-black shows and films. After generations of stereotypes, the underground humor finally emerged before the American public with Richard Pryor in the 1970s. But Pryor was not the first popular comic to present authentically black humor. Watkins offers surprising reassessments of such seminal figures as Fetchit, Bert Williams, Moms Mabley, and Redd Foxx, looking at how they paved the way for contemporary comics such as Whoopi Goldberg, Eddie Murphy, and Bill Cosby.
Party Music
Party Music ›
By Rickey Vincent, Foreword by Boots Riley
Price 19.95

Published Oct 2013

Examining the culture and politics of the Black Power era of the late 1960s, this book explores the relationship of soul music to the Black Power movement from the vantage point of the musicians and black revolutionaries themselves. The 1960s were a turbulent time for race relations in the United States, but no other area in the country epitomized the radical social change that was taking place more than the San Francisco Bay Area—the epicenter of the Black Panthers movement. This social history introduces fans of soul music and 20th-century U.S. history enthusiasts to the Black Panthers' own band, the Lumpen, a group comprised of rank-and-file members of the Oakland, California–based Party. During their year-long tenure, the Lumpen produced hard-driving rhythm-and-blues that asserted the revolutionary ideology of the Black Panthers. Through his rediscovery of the Lumpen, and based on new interviews with Party and band members, author Rickey Vincent provides an insider’s account of Black Power politics and soul music aesthetics in an original narrative that reveals more detail about the Black Revolution than ever before.
Post Black
Post Black ›
By Ytasha L. Womack, Foreword by Derek T. Dingle
Price 16.95

Published Jan 2010

Highlighting certain socioeconomic and cultural trends, this exploration discloses the new dynamics shaping contemporary lives of African Americans. Using information from conversations with mavericks within black communities—such as entrepreneurs, artists, scholars, and activists as well as members of both the working and upper classes—this powerful examination gives voice to what the author has deemed “post black” approaches to business, lifestyles, and religion that are nowhere else reflected as part of black life. The argument states that this new, complex black identity is strikingly different than the images handed down from previous generations and offers new examples of behavior, such as those shown by President Obama, gays and lesbians, young professionals, and black Buddhists. Contending that this new generation feels as unwelcome in traditional churches as in hip-hop clubs, this dynamic provocation dispels myths about current, popular black identity.
Radical Disciple
Radical Disciple ›
By Robert McClory
Price 15.99

Published Sep 2016

Revealing the story of a white Catholic priest serving a black Chicago parish who has been criticized as a trouble-making maverick, a renegade cleric, and a publicity hound, this book is a fascinating look at the inner workings of the Catholic Church, the traditions of the black pulpit, and what it takes to change the laws in a major American city. This biography concentrates on Father Pfleger’s work at St. Sabina and covers his efforts to build up the parish, his activism, his work to rejuvenate the community, his battles with church leaders, and his strong relationship with the St. Sabina parishioners. This personal story tells how this dynamic preacher and his church community have created social changes to transform their neighborhood, change the face of a city, and inspire thousands.
Rooted in the Earth
Rooted in the Earth ›
By Dianne D. Glave
Price 15.99

Published Aug 2010

With a basis in environmental history, this groundbreaking study challenges the idea that a meaningful attachment to nature and the outdoors is contrary to the black experience. The discussion shows that contemporary African American culture is usually seen as an urban culture, one that arose out of the Great Migration and has contributed to international trends in fashion, music, and the arts ever since. But because of this urban focus, many African Americans are not at peace with their rich but tangled agrarian legacy. On one hand, the book shows, nature and violence are connected in black memory, especially in disturbing images such as slave ships on the ocean, exhaustion in the fields, dogs in the woods, and dead bodies hanging from trees. In contrast, though, there is also a competing tradition of African American stewardship of the land that should be better known. Emphasizing the tradition of black environmentalism and using storytelling techniques to dramatize the work of black naturalists, this account corrects the record and urges interested urban dwellers to get back to the land.
Simeon's Story
Simeon's Story ›
By Simeon Wright, By Herb Boyd
Price 12.95

Published Sep 2011

A modern tragedy, this story has had a great impact on race relations in America. Emmett Till's kidnapping and murder, a grotesque crime in a Southern backwater that became the catalyst for the civil rights movement, is explained in this dramatic narrative by the cousin who was present every step of the way. Simeon Wright saw and heard his cousin Emmett whistle at Caroline Bryant at a grocery store and slept in the same bed with him when her husband came in and took Emmett away; he was there during the aftermath of the murder, and at the trial, where his father testified. This gripping coming-of-age memoir may not bring closure to the Till case, whose perpetrators were left unpunished, but it will set the facts straight about that life-changing incident in 1955.
Soledad Brother
Soledad Brother ›
By George Jackson, Introduction by Jean Genet, Foreword by Jonathan Jackson, Jr.
Price 18.95

Published Sep 1994

A collection of Jackson's letters from prison, Soledad Brother is an outspoken condemnation of the racism of white America and a powerful appraisal of the prison system that failed to break his spirit but eventually took his life. Jackson's letters make palpable the intense feelings of anger and rebellion that filled black men in America's prisons in the 1960s. But even removed from the social and political firestorms of the 1960s, Jackson's story still resonates for its portrait of a man taking a stand even while locked down.
Stokely Speaks
Stokely Speaks ›
By Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), Introduction by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Price 16.95

Published Feb 2007

In the speeches and articles collected in this book, the black activist, organizer, and freedom fighter Stokely Carmichael traces the dramatic changes in his own consciousness and that of black Americans that took place during the evolving movements of Civil Rights, Black Power, and Pan-Africanism. Unique in his belief that the destiny of African Americans could not be separated from that of oppressed people the world over, Carmichael's Black Power principles insisted that blacks resist white brainwashing and redefine themselves. He was concerned not only with racism and exploitation, but with cultural integrity and the colonization of Africans in America. In these essays on racism, Black Power, the pitfalls of conventional liberalism, and solidarity with the oppressed masses and freedom fighters of all races and creeds, Carmichael addresses questions that still confront the black world and points to a need for an ideology of black and African liberation, unification, and transformation.
Sweet Thunder
Sweet Thunder ›
By Wil Haygood
Price 18.95

Published Apr 2011

Sugar Ray Robinson was one of the most iconic figures in sports and possibly the greatest boxer of all time. His legendary career spanned nearly 26 years, including his titles as the middleweight and welterweight champion of the world and close to 200 professional bouts. This illuminating biography grounds the spectacular story of Robinson's rise to greatness within the context of the fighter's life and times. Born Walker Smith Jr. in 1921, Robinson’s early childhood was marked by the seething racial tensions and explosive race riots that infected the Midwest throughout the 1920s and 1930s. After his mother moved their family to Harlem, he came of age in the post-Renaissance years. Recounting his local and national fame, this deeply researched and honest account depicts Robinson as an eccentric and glamorous—yet powerful and controversial—celebrity, athlete, and cultural symbol. From Robinson’s gruesome six-bout war with Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta and his lethal meeting with Jimmy Doyle to his Harlem nightclub years and thwarted showbiz dreams, Haygood brings the champion’s story to life.
The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones
The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones ›
By Amiri Baraka
Price 24.95

Published Mar 1997

The complete autobiography of a literary legend.
The Fire of Origins
The Fire of Origins ›
By Emmanuel Dongala
Price 11.99

Published Apr 2003

This novel centers on the actions of one man, Mankunku, a “destroyer,” who is born in mysterious circumstances in a banana plantation, and whose identity is as mercurial as that of his land. Mythical, lyrical, powerful, surreal, and immensely ambitious, this novel does for Africa what One Hundred Years of Solitude did for South America.
The First Rasta
The First Rasta ›
By Hélène Lee, Introduction by Stephen Davis
Price 16.95

Published Jan 2004

Going far beyond the standard imagery of Rasta—ganja, reggae, dreadlocks—this book offers an uncensored vision of a movement with complex roots, and the exceptional journey of a man who taught an enslaved people how to be proud and impose their culture on the world. In the 1920s a handful of Jamaicans had a revelation concerning the divinity of Haile Selassie, king of Ethiopia, and founded the most popular mystical movement of the 20th century. This is the astonishing tale of Leonard Percival Howell and the first Rastas. Although jailed, ridiculed, and treated as insane, Howell, also known as the Gong, established a Rasta community of 4,500 members, the first agro-industrial enterprise devoted to producing marijuana. In the late 1950s the community was dispersed, disseminating Rasta teachings throughout the ghettos of the island. A young singer named Bob Marley adopted Howell’s message, and through Marley’s visions, reggae was ready to explode.
The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal
The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal ›
By J. Patrick O'Connor

Published May 2008

Mumia Abu-Jamal—the most famous death-row inmate in the United States—was sentenced to death in 1982 for allegedly killing police officer Daniel Faulkner. Using the preponderance of evidence to establish that Faulkner shot Abu-Jamal as he approached him and that a passenger in Abu-Jamal’s brother’s car, Kenneth Freeman, then killed Faulkner, this study convincingly shows how the Philadelphia Police Department and District Attorney’s Office framed Abu-Jamal for Faulkner’s killing. In addition, unlike any other book or article on this subject, it describes the overarching role in the case that then-mayor Frank Rizzo and a small, radical, back-to-nature cult called MOVE played.
The Girl with Three Legs
The Girl with Three Legs ›
By Soraya Miré
Price 26.95

Published Oct 2011

Having experienced firsthand the horror of female genital mutilation (FGM), Soraya Miré reveals the personal violation and immense challenges she overcame. This book is at once an intimate revelation, a testament to the empowerment of women, and an indictment of the violent global oppression of women and girls. This forthright narrative recounts what it means to grow up female in a traditional Somali family, where girls' and women's basic human rights are violated on a daily basis. Forced into an arranged marriage to an abusive older cousin, Miré was also witness to the instability of Somalia's political landscape—her father was a general in the military dictatorship of Siad Barre. In her journey to recover from the violence done to her, Miré realizes FGM is the ultimate child abuse, a ritual of mutilation handed down from mother to daughter and protected by the word “culture.” Despite the violations she endured, her words resonate with hope, humanity, and dignity. Her life story is truly one of inspiration and redemption.
Mary Wells
Mary Wells ›
By Peter Benjaminson
Price 16.99

Published Apr 2016

Complete with never-before-revealed details about the sex, violence, and drugs in her life, this biography reveals the incredibly turbulent life of Motown artist Mary Wells. Based in part on four hours of previously unreleased and unpublicized deathbed interviews with Wells, this account delves deeply into her rapid rise and long fall as a recording artist, her spectacular romantic and family life, the violent incidents in which she was a participant, and her abuse of drugs. From tumultuous affairs, including one with R&B superstar Jackie Wilson, to a courageous battle with throat cancer that climaxed in her gutsiest performance, this history draws upon years of interviews with Wells’s friends, lovers, and husband to tell the whole story of a woman whose songs crossed the color line and whose voice captivated the Beatles.
The Lost Supreme
The Lost Supreme ›
By Peter Benjaminson

Published Sep 2009

In the months before she died, Florence Ballard, the spunky teenager who founded the most successful female vocal group in history—the Supremes—told her own side of the story. Recorded on tape, Flo shed light on all areas of her life, including the surprising identity of the man who raped her prior to entering the music business, the details of her love-hate relationship with Motown Records czar Berry Gordy, her drinking problem and pleas for help, a never-ending desire to be the Supremes’ lead singer, and her attempts to get her life back on track after being brutally expelled from the group. This is a tumultuous and heartbreaking story of a world-famous performer whose life ended at the age of 32 as a lonely mother of three who had only recently recovered from years of poverty and despair.
The Sixteenth Round
The Sixteenth Round ›
By Rubin "Hurricane" Carter
Price 16.95

Published Apr 2011

The survivor of a difficult childhood and youth, Rubin Carter rose to become a top contender for the middleweight boxing crown. But his career crashed to a halt on May 26, 1967, when he and another man were found guilty of the murder of three white people in a New Jersey bar. While in prison, Carter chronicled the events that led him from the ring to three consecutive life sentences and 10 years in solitary confinement. His story was a cry for help to the public, an attempt to set the record straight and force a new trial. Bob Dylan wrote a classic anthem for Carter's struggle; and Joan Baez, Muhammad Ali, Roberta Flack, and thousands more took up the cause as well. Originally published in 1974, this account is an eye-opening examination of growing up black in America, problems in the United States prison system, and Carter's own battles.
The Thunder of Angels
The Thunder of Angels ›
By Donnie Williams, By Wayne Greenhaw
Price 17.99

Published Apr 2007

The heroism of those involved in the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott is presented here in poignant and thorough detail. The untold stories of those, both black and white, whose lives were forever changed by the boycott are shared, along with a chilling glimpse into the world of the white council members who tried to stop them. In the end, the boycott brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to prominence and improved the lives of all black Americans. Based on extensive interviews conducted over decades and culled from thousands of exclusive documents, this behind-the-scenes examination details the history of violence and abuse on the city buses. A look at Martin Luther King Jr.'s trial, an examination of how black and white lawyers worked together to overturn segregation in the courtroom, and even firsthand accounts from the segregationists who bombed the homes of some of Montgomery's most progressive ministers are included. This fast-moving story reads like a legal thriller but is based solely on documented facts and firsthand accounts, presenting the compelling and never-before-told stories of the beginning of the end of segregation.
The World That Made New Orleans
The World That Made New Orleans ›
By Ned Sublette
Price 13.99

Published Jan 2008

Offering a new perspective on the unique cultural influences of New Orleans, this entertaining history captures the soul of the city and reveals its impact on the rest of the nation. Focused on New Orleans’ first century of existence, a comprehensive, chronological narrative of the political, cultural, and musical development of Louisiana’s early years is presented. This innovative history tracks the important roots of American music back to the swamp town, making clear the effects of centuries-long struggles among France, Spain, and England on the city’s unique culture. The origins of jazz and the city’s eclectic musical influences, including the role of the slave trade, are also revealed. Featuring little-known facts about the cultural development of New Orleans—such as the real significance of gumbo, the origins of the tango, and the first appearance of the words vaudeville and voodoo—this rich historical narrative explains how New Orleans’ colonial influences shape the city still today.
The Year Before the Flood
The Year Before the Flood ›
By Ned Sublette
Price 27.95

Published Sep 2009

Spending 2004–2005 in New Orleans investigating the city’s legendary past both in the archives and its living culture in the street, this account combines personal memoir, historical research, and on-the-ground reporting to trace a suspenseful arc through the last year New Orleans was whole. The perspectives of daily life and the passage of seasons in the antediluvian city are darkly comic, irreverent, passionate, and angry. Fully revealing the city’s vicious heritage of racism and its murderous poverty, this heartbreaking narrative of joy, violence, and loss features a grand parade of unforgettable characters in the town that is both America’s great music city and its homicide capital.
This Fragile Life
This Fragile Life ›
By Charlotte Pierce-Baker
Price 24.95

Published Jun 2012

Told in a mother’s own words, this is a moving story of a loving African American family that faces the daily crisis of an unpredictable mental disorder. Charlotte Pierce-Baker and her husband did everything right when raising their son Mark: providing emotional support, the best education possible, and the freedom to choose his own path. At age 25, Mark was pursuing a postgraduate degree in film, living with his fiancée, and seemingly in control of his life, so Pierce-Baker never imagined her high-achieving son would wind up handcuffed, barely clothed, dirty, mad, and in jail. Mark’s bipolar disorder manifested late and included hospitalizations, calls in the night, pleas for money, jail, lawyers, prescriptions, doctors, alcohol and drug relapses, and continuous disputes about how to live—and not live. This autobiography weaves a fascinating story of mental illness, race, family, the drive of African Americans to succeed, and a mother's love for her son.
Thurgood Marshall
Thurgood Marshall ›
Edited by Mark V. Tushnet, Foreword by Randall Kennedy
Price 24.95

Published Jul 2001

Much has been written about Thurgood Marshall, but this is the first book to collect his own words. Here are briefs he filed as a lawyer, oral arguments for the landmark school desegregation cases, investigative reports on race riots and racism in the Army, speeches and articles outlining the history of civil rights and criticizing the actions of more conservative jurists, Supreme Court opinions now widely cited in Constitutional law, a long and complete oral autobiography, and much more. Marshall’s impact on American race relations was greater than that of anyone else this century, for it was he who ended legal segregation in the United States. His victories as a lawyer for the NAACP broke the color line in housing, transportation, voting, and schools by overturning the long-established “separate-but-equal” doctrine. But Marshall was attentive to all social inequalities: no Supreme Court justice has ever been more consistent in support of freedom of expression, affirmative action, women’s rights, abortion rights, and the right to consensual sex among adults; no justice has ever fought so hard against economic inequality, police brutality, and capital punishment.
Traveling Soul
Traveling Soul ›
By Todd Mayfield, By Travis Atria
Price 28.99

Published Oct 2016

Curtis Mayfield was one of the seminal vocalists and most talented guitarists of his era, and his music played a vital role in the civil rights movement: "People Get Ready" was the black anthem of the time. In Traveling Soul, Todd Mayfield tells his famously private father's story in riveting detail. Born into dire poverty, raised in the slums of Chicago, Curtis became a musical prodigy, not only singing like a dream but growing into a brilliant songwriter. In the 1960s he opened his own label and production company and worked with many other top artists, including the Staple Singers. Curtis's life was famously cut short by an accident that left him paralyzed, but in his declining health he received the long-awaited recognition of the music industry. Passionate, illuminating, vivid, and absorbing, Traveling Soul will doubtlessly take its place among the classics of music biography.
Women in Space
Women in Space ›
By Karen Bush Gibson
Price 19.95

Published Feb 2014

Twenty-three women from 10 different countries whose careers span a half century of human spaceflight are profiled in this educational book for young readers. Women in Space features such figures as Sally Ride, the first American woman to orbit the earth; Peggy Whitson, who logged more than a year in orbit while aboard the International Space Station; Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space; and astronauts from Japan, Canada, Italy, South Korea, and France. Additional attention is paid to the women of Mercury 13, a program that trained women in the same screening tests administered to the men who became the first astronauts at NASA. Space pioneer Valentina Tereshkova, who in 1963 became the first woman to rocket into space, is also profiled. These stories of the pilots, physicists, and doctors who broke the stratospheric ceiling demonstrate the vital role women have played in the history of space exploration.
The Roughest Riders
The Roughest Riders ›
By Jerome Tuccille
Price 26.95

Published Sep 2015

The inspiring story of the first African American soldiers to serve during the postslavery eraMany have heard how Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders charged up San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War. But often forgotten in the great swamp of history is that Roosevelt's success was ensured by a dedicated corps of black soldiers—the so-called Buffalo Soldiers—who fought by Roosevelt's side during his legendary campaign. This book tells their story. They fought heroically and courageously, making Roosevelt's campaign a great success that added to the future president's legend as a great man of words and action. But most of all, they demonstrated their own military prowess, often in the face of incredible discrimination from their fellow soldiers and commanders, to secure their own place in American history.
Double Victory
Double Victory ›
By Cheryl Mullenbach
Price 19.95

Published Jan 2013

The unique and often overlooked stories of African American women who did extraordinary things to help the Allies during World War II are revealed in this important examination. Helping lay the foundation for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s as they fought discrimination at home and abroad, a range of remarkable women—war workers, political activists, military women, volunteers, and entertainers—are profiled, offering a unique perspective on the Second World War. The book includes the accomplishments of heralded names, such as Mary McLeod Bethune and Lena Horne as well as those of lesser-known heroes, including Hazel Dixon Payne, the only woman to serve on the remote Alaska-Canadian Highway; Deverne Calloway, a Red Cross worker who led a protest at an army base in India; and Betty Murphy Phillips, the only black female overseas war correspondent. With source notes and a bibliography for further exploration, this work stands as a valuable piece of history and encourages young readers to look within their communities for the stories of the women of the "greatest generation" and to recover them before it is too late.
The Civil Rights Movement for Kids
The Civil Rights Movement for Kids ›
By Mary C. Turck
Price 18.99

Published Jun 2000

Surprisingly, kids were some of the key instigators in the Civil Rights Movement, like Barbara Johns, who held a rally in her elementary school gym that eventually led to the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court school desegregation decision, and six-year-old Ruby Bridges, who was the first black student to desegregate elementary schools in New Orleans. In The Civil Rights Movement for Kids, children will discover how students and religious leaders worked together to demand the protection of civil rights for black Americans. They will relive the fear and uncertainty of Freedom Summer and learn how northern white college students helped bring national attention to atrocities committed in the name of segregation, and they’ll be inspired by the speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X. Activities include: reenacting a lunch counter sit-in; organizing a workshop on nonviolence; holding a freedom film festival followed by a discussion; and organizing a choral group to sing the songs that motivated the foot soldiers in this war for rights.
The Seminarian
The Seminarian ›
By Patrick Parr, Foreword by David Garrow
Price 26.99

Published Apr 2018

Martin Luther King Jr. was a cautious 19-year-old rookie preacher when he left Atlanta, Georgia, to attend divinity school up north. At Crozer Theological Seminary, King, or "ML" back then, immediately found himself surrounded by a white staff and white professors. Even his dorm room had once been used by wounded Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Young ML was a prankster and a late-night, chain-smoking pool player who fell in love with a white woman while facing discrimination from locals in the surrounding town of Chester, Pennsylvania. In class, ML performed well, though he demonstrated a habit of plagiarizing that continued throughout his academic career. In his three years at Crozer between 1948 and 1951, King delivered dozens of sermons around the Philadelphia area, had a gun pointed at him (twice) and eventually became student body president. These experiences shaped him into a man ready to take on even greater challenges. The Seminarian is the first definitive, full-length account of King's years as a divinity student at Crozer Theological Seminary. Long passed over by biographers and historians, this period in King's life is vital to understanding the historical figure he soon became.

Frederick Douglass for Kids
Frederick Douglass for Kids ›
By Nancy Sanders
Price 16.95

Published Jun 2012

Few Americans have had as much impact on the United States as Frederick Douglass, and this guide follows his footsteps, from his birth into slavery to his becoming a friend and confidant of presidents and the leading African American of his day. This American hero became a bestselling author, an outspoken newspaper editor, a brilliant orator, a tireless abolitionist, and a brave civil rights leader. To better appreciate Frederick Douglass and his times, young readers will form a debate club, cook a meal similar to the one Douglass shared with John Brown, make a Civil War haversack, participate in a microlending program, and more. This valuable resource also includes a time line of significant events, a list of historic sites to visit or explore online, and web resources for further study.
America's Black Founders
America's Black Founders ›
By Nancy Sanders
Price 17.99

Published Jan 2010

Celebrating the lesser known but significant lives and contributions of our nation’s early African American leaders, this multicultural complement to most children’s books on the American Revolution covers a wide spectrum of subjects, including military, art, religion, and science. Weaving the histories of dozens of men and women—soldiers, sailors, ministers, poets, merchants, doctors, and other community leaders—to properly recognize them among the founders of the United States of America, this text gives a better sense of what these individuals accomplished and the times in which they lived. Activities include celebrating Constitution Day, cooking colonial foods, publishing a newspaper, petitioning their government, and more. This valuable resource also includes a time line of significant events, a list of historic sites to visit or explore online, and Web resources for further study.
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington ›
By Stephanie Crease

Published Feb 2009

Celebrating one of the most influential figures in jazz, this comprehensive biography incorporates the legendary Duke Ellington’s talents into engaging activities for children. Enlisting the musician’s gifts as a pianist, composer, and band leader, this interdisciplinary approach shows how to create a ragtime rhythm, make a washtub bass, write song lyrics, dance the Lindy Hop, and even design an album cover. Exploring Ellington’s life and career, this activity guide includes information on additional topics such as the Harlem Renaissance, the musical evolution of jazz, and how technology has changed over the years—from piano rolls and record albums to CDs, television, and portable music devices. A time line, glossary, selected bibliography, and extensive resources—including Ellington’s greatest recordings, related websites, and recommendations for further study—are also included.
Last Chance for Justice
Last Chance for Justice ›
By T. K. Thorne
Price 26.95

Published Sep 2013

Revealing the story of the reopening of the case of the Birmingham, Alabama, church bombing of 1963, this insider’s account divulges the ins and outs of the investigation led by detective Ben Herren of the Birmingham Police Department and special agent Bill Fleming of the FBI. For more than a year, they analyzed the original FBI files on the bombing and activities of the Ku Klux Klan, then began a search for new evidence. Their first interview—with Klansman Bobby Frank Cherry—broke open the case, but not in the way they expected. Herren and Fleming unearthed lost evidence and convinced long-silent witnesses to tell their stories. With tenacity, humor, dedication, and some luck, the pair encountered the worst and best in human nature on their journey to find justice, and perhaps closure, for the citizens of Birmingham.
African Crafts
African Crafts ›
By Lynne Garner
Price 12.95

Published Apr 2008

From spectacular clothing and masks to pottery and music of Ghana and West Africa, this guide inspires children to try these elaborate yet easy-to-make crafts for themselves. A great way to connect children to their African roots or expose them to new cultures around the world, this fully illustrated guide features step-by-step instructions and contemporary color photos that teach kids how to make their own creations. Projects include how to design and wear Adinkra block-printed clothing, coil and decorate unique pottery, create masks for special occasions, craft and play musical instruments, and weave decorative Kente cloth. This resource also includes a brief history of Ghana and West Africa and the traditions and history behind each craft, how they are made and used today, and their importance in West African society. Kids will love learning how music is often tied to certain ceremonies and how dance is believed to wash away disagreements and arguments and bring greater unity. A resource section—listing books, websites, and museums for further exploration—and an index round out this fascinating reference.
This Fragile Life
This Fragile Life ›
By Charlotte Pierce-Baker
Price 24.95

Published Jun 2012

Told in a mother’s own words, this is a moving story of a loving African American family that faces the daily crisis of an unpredictable mental disorder. Charlotte Pierce-Baker and her husband did everything right when raising their son Mark: providing emotional support, the best education possible, and the freedom to choose his own path. At age 25, Mark was pursuing a postgraduate degree in film, living with his fiancée, and seemingly in control of his life, so Pierce-Baker never imagined her high-achieving son would wind up handcuffed, barely clothed, dirty, mad, and in jail. Mark’s bipolar disorder manifested late and included hospitalizations, calls in the night, pleas for money, jail, lawyers, prescriptions, doctors, alcohol and drug relapses, and continuous disputes about how to live—and not live. This autobiography weaves a fascinating story of mental illness, race, family, the drive of African Americans to succeed, and a mother's love for her son.