Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Raymond Arsenault (buy)
Description:
The saga of the Freedom Rides is an improbable, almost unbelievable story. In the course of six months in 1961, four hundred and fifty Freedom Riders expanded the realm of the possible in American politics, redefining the limits of dissent and setting the stage for the civil rights movement. In this new version of his encyclopedic Freedom Riders, Raymond Arsenault offers a significantly condensed and tautly written account. With characters and plot lines rivaling those of the most imaginative fiction, this is a tale of heroic sacrifice and unexpected triumph. Arsenault recounts how a group of volunteers—blacks and whites—came together to travel from Washington DC through the Deep South, defying Jim Crow laws in buses and terminals and putting their lives on the line for racial justice. News photographers captured the violence in Montgomery, shocking the nation and sparking a crisis in the Kennedy administration. Here are the key players—their fears and courage, their determination and second thoughts, and the agonizing choices they faced as they took on Jim Crow—and triumphed.

Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Raymond Arsenault (buy)

Description:

The saga of the Freedom Rides is an improbable, almost unbelievable story. In the course of six months in 1961, four hundred and fifty Freedom Riders expanded the realm of the possible in American politics, redefining the limits of dissent and setting the stage for the civil rights movement. In this new version of his encyclopedic Freedom Riders, Raymond Arsenault offers a significantly condensed and tautly written account. With characters and plot lines rivaling those of the most imaginative fiction, this is a tale of heroic sacrifice and unexpected triumph. Arsenault recounts how a group of volunteers—blacks and whites—came together to travel from Washington DC through the Deep South, defying Jim Crow laws in buses and terminals and putting their lives on the line for racial justice. News photographers captured the violence in Montgomery, shocking the nation and sparking a crisis in the Kennedy administration. Here are the key players—their fears and courage, their determination and second thoughts, and the agonizing choices they faced as they took on Jim Crow—and triumphed.

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- The Black Library

Down to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Against Fear by Aram Goudsouzian (buy)
Description: 
In 1962, James Meredith became a civil rights hero when he enrolled as the first African American student at the University of Mississippi. Four years later, he would make the news again when he reentered Mississippi, on foot. His plan was to walk from Memphis to Jackson, leading a “March Against Fear” that would promote black voter registration and defy the entrenched racism of the region. But on the march’s second day, he was shot by a mysterious gunman, a moment captured in a harrowing and now iconic photograph.

     What followed was one of the central dramas of the civil rights era. With Meredith in the hospital, the leading figures of the civil rights movement flew to Mississippi to carry on his effort. They quickly found themselves confronting southern law enforcement officials, local activists, and one another. In the span of only three weeks, Martin Luther King, Jr., narrowly escaped a vicious mob attack; protesters were teargassed by state police; Lyndon Johnson refused to intervene; and the charismatic young activist Stokely Carmichael first led the chant that would define a new kind of civil rights movement: Black Power.

Down to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Against Fear by Aram Goudsouzian (buy)

Description: 

In 1962, James Meredith became a civil rights hero when he enrolled as the first African American student at the University of Mississippi. Four years later, he would make the news again when he reentered Mississippi, on foot. His plan was to walk from Memphis to Jackson, leading a “March Against Fear” that would promote black voter registration and defy the entrenched racism of the region. But on the march’s second day, he was shot by a mysterious gunman, a moment captured in a harrowing and now iconic photograph.

     What followed was one of the central dramas of the civil rights era. With Meredith in the hospital, the leading figures of the civil rights movement flew to Mississippi to carry on his effort. They quickly found themselves confronting southern law enforcement officials, local activists, and one another. In the span of only three weeks, Martin Luther King, Jr., narrowly escaped a vicious mob attack; protesters were teargassed by state police; Lyndon Johnson refused to intervene; and the charismatic young activist Stokely Carmichael first led the chant that would define a new kind of civil rights movement: Black Power.

Count Them One by One: Black Mississippians Fighting for the Right to Vote by Gordon A. Martin (buy)
Description: 
In 1961, Forrest County, Mississippi, became a focal point of the civil rights movement when the United States Justice Department filed a lawsuit against its voting registrar Theron Lynd. While 30 percent of the county’s residents were black, only twelve black persons were on its voting rolls. United States v. Lynd was the first trial that resulted in the conviction of a southern registrar for contempt of court. The case served as a model for other challenges to voter discrimination in the South and was an important influence in shaping the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Count Them One by One is a comprehensive account of the groundbreaking case written by one of the Justice Department’s trial attorneys. Gordon A. Martin, Jr., then a newly minted lawyer, traveled to Hattiesburg from Washington to help shape the federal case against Lynd. He met with and prepared the government’s sixteen courageous black witnesses who had been refused registration, found white witnesses, and served as one of the lawyers during the trial.

Decades later, Martin returned to Mississippi to find these brave men and women he had never forgotten. He interviewed the still-living witnesses, their children, and friends. Martin intertwines these current reflections with vivid commentary about the case itself. The result is an impassioned, cogent fusion of reportage, oral history, and memoir about a trial that fundamentally reshaped liberty and the South.

Count Them One by One: Black Mississippians Fighting for the Right to Vote by Gordon A. Martin (buy)

Description: 

In 1961, Forrest County, Mississippi, became a focal point of the civil rights movement when the United States Justice Department filed a lawsuit against its voting registrar Theron Lynd. While 30 percent of the county’s residents were black, only twelve black persons were on its voting rolls. United States v. Lynd was the first trial that resulted in the conviction of a southern registrar for contempt of court. The case served as a model for other challenges to voter discrimination in the South and was an important influence in shaping the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Count Them One by One is a comprehensive account of the groundbreaking case written by one of the Justice Department’s trial attorneys. Gordon A. Martin, Jr., then a newly minted lawyer, traveled to Hattiesburg from Washington to help shape the federal case against Lynd. He met with and prepared the government’s sixteen courageous black witnesses who had been refused registration, found white witnesses, and served as one of the lawyers during the trial.

Decades later, Martin returned to Mississippi to find these brave men and women he had never forgotten. He interviewed the still-living witnesses, their children, and friends. Martin intertwines these current reflections with vivid commentary about the case itself. The result is an impassioned, cogent fusion of reportage, oral history, and memoir about a trial that fundamentally reshaped liberty and the South.

Ain’t I a Beauty Queen?: Black Women, Beauty, and the Politics of Race by Maxine Leeds Craig (buy)
Description:
"Black is Beautiful!" The words were the exuberant rallying cry of a generation of black women who threw away their straightening combs and adopted a proud new style they called the Afro. The Afro, as worn most famously by Angela Davis, became a veritable icon of the Sixties.
Although the new beauty standards seemed to arise overnight, they actually had deep roots within black communities. Tracing her story to 1891, when a black newspaper launched a contest to find the most beautiful woman of the race, Maxine Leeds Craig documents how black women have negotiated the intersection of race, class, politics, and personal appearance in their lives. Craig takes the reader from beauty parlors in the 1940s to late night political meetings in the 1960s to demonstrate the powerful influence of social movements on the experience of daily life. With sources ranging from oral histories of Civil Rights and Black Power Movement activists and men and women who stood on the sidelines to black popular magazines and the black movement press, Ain’t I a Beauty Queen? will fascinate those interested in beauty culture, gender, class, and the dynamics of race and social movements.

Ain’t I a Beauty Queen?: Black Women, Beauty, and the Politics of Race by Maxine Leeds Craig (buy)

Description:

"Black is Beautiful!" The words were the exuberant rallying cry of a generation of black women who threw away their straightening combs and adopted a proud new style they called the Afro. The Afro, as worn most famously by Angela Davis, became a veritable icon of the Sixties.

Although the new beauty standards seemed to arise overnight, they actually had deep roots within black communities. Tracing her story to 1891, when a black newspaper launched a contest to find the most beautiful woman of the race, Maxine Leeds Craig documents how black women have negotiated the intersection of race, class, politics, and personal appearance in their lives. Craig takes the reader from beauty parlors in the 1940s to late night political meetings in the 1960s to demonstrate the powerful influence of social movements on the experience of daily life. With sources ranging from oral histories of Civil Rights and Black Power Movement activists and men and women who stood on the sidelines to black popular magazines and the black movement press, Ain’t I a Beauty Queen? will fascinate those interested in beauty culture, gender, class, and the dynamics of race and social movements.

The Cost of Unity: African American Agency and Education and the Christian Church, 1865-1914 by Lawrence A. Q. Burnley (buy)
Description:
Like other Protestant organizations in the United States, the Christian Church was involved in the establishment of schools for African Americans in the South following the end of the Civil War. The most widely read books offering on interpretation of the history of this church tend to relegate the role of Black people to passive recipients of White benevolence and largesse in this process of education reform. This book examines the agency of African Americans in the founding of educational institutions for Blocks associated with the Christian Church. The philosophical discourse within the Christian Church concerning the purpose, type, and control of these schools is examined as well as the prevailing racial assumptions and altitudes that informed each of these areas. African Americans within the Christian Church played an active role, both in cooperating with Disciples’ mission agencies, and acting independent of these agencies, in the conceptualization and founding of schools for their communities. In addition, contrary to Disciples reformers’ claim of being motivated by their desire to “elevate the Negro race,” the nearly exclusive application of the industrial model of education in schools established by the Disciples of Christ mission agencies for African Americans reflects an intentional effort by Whites within this movement to encumber African-American efforts to achieve socioeconomic and political advancement, autonomy, and self-determination. Finally, the conservative approach to schooling for African Americans was largely the result of Northern Disciples’ acquiescence to the demands of Southern members of the church for the sake of maintaining unity within the national church.

The Cost of Unity: African American Agency and Education and the Christian Church, 1865-1914 by Lawrence A. Q. Burnley (buy)

Description:

Like other Protestant organizations in the United States, the Christian Church was involved in the establishment of schools for African Americans in the South following the end of the Civil War. The most widely read books offering on interpretation of the history of this church tend to relegate the role of Black people to passive recipients of White benevolence and largesse in this process of education reform. This book examines the agency of African Americans in the founding of educational institutions for Blocks associated with the Christian Church. The philosophical discourse within the Christian Church concerning the purpose, type, and control of these schools is examined as well as the prevailing racial assumptions and altitudes that informed each of these areas. African Americans within the Christian Church played an active role, both in cooperating with Disciples’ mission agencies, and acting independent of these agencies, in the conceptualization and founding of schools for their communities. In addition, contrary to Disciples reformers’ claim of being motivated by their desire to “elevate the Negro race,” the nearly exclusive application of the industrial model of education in schools established by the Disciples of Christ mission agencies for African Americans reflects an intentional effort by Whites within this movement to encumber African-American efforts to achieve socioeconomic and political advancement, autonomy, and self-determination. Finally, the conservative approach to schooling for African Americans was largely the result of Northern Disciples’ acquiescence to the demands of Southern members of the church for the sake of maintaining unity within the national church.

Rising from the Rails: Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class by Larry Tye (buy)
Description:
"A lively and engaging chronicle that adds yet another dimension to the historical record."-The Boston Globe

When George Pullman began recruiting Southern blacks as porters in his luxurious new sleeping cars, the former slaves suffering under Jim Crow laws found his offer of a steady job and worldly experience irresistable. They quickly signed up to serve as maid, waiter, concierge, nanny, and occasionally doctor and undertaker to cars full of white passengers, making the Pullman Company the largest employer of African Americans in the country by the 1920s.

Drawing on extensive interviews with dozens of porters and their descendants, Larry Tye reconstructs the complicated world of the Pullman porter and the vital cultural, political, and economic roles they played as forerunners of the modern black middle class. Rising from the Rails provides a lively and enlightening look at this important social phenomenon.

Rising from the Rails: Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class by Larry Tye (buy)

Description:

"A lively and engaging chronicle that adds yet another dimension to the historical record."-The Boston Globe

When George Pullman began recruiting Southern blacks as porters in his luxurious new sleeping cars, the former slaves suffering under Jim Crow laws found his offer of a steady job and worldly experience irresistable. They quickly signed up to serve as maid, waiter, concierge, nanny, and occasionally doctor and undertaker to cars full of white passengers, making the Pullman Company the largest employer of African Americans in the country by the 1920s.

Drawing on extensive interviews with dozens of porters and their descendants, Larry Tye reconstructs the complicated world of the Pullman porter and the vital cultural, political, and economic roles they played as forerunners of the modern black middle class. Rising from the Rails provides a lively and enlightening look at this important social phenomenon.

The Unknown Soldiers: African-American Troops in World War I by Arthur E. Barbeau, Florette Henri (buy)
Description:
During World War I, 370,000 African Americans labored, fought, and died to make the world safe for a democracy that refused them equal citizenship at home. The irony was made more bitter as black troops struggled with the racist policies of the American military itself. The overwhelming majority were assigned to labor companies; those selected for combat were under-trained, poorly equipped, and commanded by white officers who insisted on black inferiority. Still, African Americans performed admirably under fire: the 369th Infantry regiment was in continuous combat loner than any other American unit, and was the first Allied regiment to cross the Rhine in the offensive against Germany. The Unknown Soldiers, the only full-scale examination of the subject, chronicles the rigid segregation; the limited opportunities for advancement; the inadequate training, food, medical attention, housing, and clothing; the verbal harassment and physical abuse, including lynchings; the ingratitude, unemployment, and unprecedented racial violence that greeted their return. The Unknown Soldiers is an unforgettable, searing study of those wartime experiences that forced African Americans to realize that equality and justice could never be earned in Jim Crow America, but only wrested from its strangling grip.

The Unknown Soldiers: African-American Troops in World War I by Arthur E. Barbeau, Florette Henri (buy)

Description:

During World War I, 370,000 African Americans labored, fought, and died to make the world safe for a democracy that refused them equal citizenship at home. The irony was made more bitter as black troops struggled with the racist policies of the American military itself. The overwhelming majority were assigned to labor companies; those selected for combat were under-trained, poorly equipped, and commanded by white officers who insisted on black inferiority. Still, African Americans performed admirably under fire: the 369th Infantry regiment was in continuous combat loner than any other American unit, and was the first Allied regiment to cross the Rhine in the offensive against Germany. The Unknown Soldiers, the only full-scale examination of the subject, chronicles the rigid segregation; the limited opportunities for advancement; the inadequate training, food, medical attention, housing, and clothing; the verbal harassment and physical abuse, including lynchings; the ingratitude, unemployment, and unprecedented racial violence that greeted their return. The Unknown Soldiers is an unforgettable, searing study of those wartime experiences that forced African Americans to realize that equality and justice could never be earned in Jim Crow America, but only wrested from its strangling grip.

Blood in My Eye by George L. Jackson (buy)
Description:
Blood In My Eye was completed only days before it’s author was killed. George Jackson died on August 21, 1971 at the hands of San Quentin prison guards during an alleged escape attempt. At eighteen, George Jackson was convicted of stealing seventy dollars from a gas station and was sentenced from one year to life. He was to spent the rest of his life — eleven years— in the California prison system, seven in solitary confinement. In prison he read widely and transformed himself into an activist and political theoretician who defined himself as a revolutionary.

Blood in My Eye by George L. Jackson (buy)

Description:

Blood In My Eye was completed only days before it’s author was killed. George Jackson died on August 21, 1971 at the hands of San Quentin prison guards during an alleged escape attempt. At eighteen, George Jackson was convicted of stealing seventy dollars from a gas station and was sentenced from one year to life. He was to spent the rest of his life — eleven years— in the California prison system, seven in solitary confinement. In prison he read widely and transformed himself into an activist and political theoretician who defined himself as a revolutionary.

Growing up X by Ilyasah Shabazz, Kim McLarin (buy)
Description: 
“Ilyasah Shabazz has written a compelling and lyrical coming-of-age story as well as a candid and heart-warming tribute to her parents. Growing Up X is destined to become a classic.”
— Spike Lee

February 21, 1965: Malcolm X is assassinated in Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom. June 23, 1997: After surviving for a remarkable twenty-two days, his widow, Betty Shabazz, dies of burns suffered in a fire. In the years between, their six daughters reach adulthood, forged by the memory of their parents’ love, the meaning of their cause, and the power of their faith. Now, at long last, one of them has recorded that tumultuous journey in an unforgettable memoir: Growing Up X.
Born in 1962, Ilyasah was the middle child, a rambunctious livewire who fought for–and won–attention in an all-female household. She carried on the legacy of a renowned father and indomitable mother while navigating childhood and, along the way, learning to do the hustle. She was a different color from other kids at camp and yet, years later as a young woman, was not radical enough for her college classmates. Her story is, above all else, a tribute to a mother of almost unimaginable forbearance, a woman who, “from that day at the Audubon when she heard the shots and threw her body on [ours, never] stopped shielding her children.”

Growing up X by Ilyasah Shabazz, Kim McLarin (buy)

Description: 

“Ilyasah Shabazz has written a compelling and lyrical coming-of-age story as well as a candid and heart-warming tribute to her parents. Growing Up X is destined to become a classic.”

— Spike Lee

February 21, 1965: Malcolm X is assassinated in Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom. June 23, 1997: After surviving for a remarkable twenty-two days, his widow, Betty Shabazz, dies of burns suffered in a fire. In the years between, their six daughters reach adulthood, forged by the memory of their parents’ love, the meaning of their cause, and the power of their faith. Now, at long last, one of them has recorded that tumultuous journey in an unforgettable memoir: Growing Up X.

Born in 1962, Ilyasah was the middle child, a rambunctious livewire who fought for–and won–attention in an all-female household. She carried on the legacy of a renowned father and indomitable mother while navigating childhood and, along the way, learning to do the hustle. She was a different color from other kids at camp and yet, years later as a young woman, was not radical enough for her college classmates. Her story is, above all else, a tribute to a mother of almost unimaginable forbearance, a woman who, “from that day at the Audubon when she heard the shots and threw her body on [ours, never] stopped shielding her children.”

I’ll Find a Way or Make One: A Tribute to Historically Black Colleges and Universities by Juan Williams, Dwayne Ashley (buy)
Description: 
HBCUs have graduated such illustrious leaders as Oprah Winfrey, Thurgood Marshall, Spike Lee, W. E. B. DuBois, Debbie Allen, Alain Locke, Samuel L. Jackson, and Nikki Giovanni. This commemorative illustrated gift book is filled with photographs, historical narrative, personal memoir, archival and contemporary material, and anecdotal and resource information. It is the first of its kind - a groundbreaking retrospective that explores the dramatic development and history of America’s historically black colleges and universities.

I’ll Find a Way or Make One: A Tribute to Historically Black Colleges and Universities by Juan Williams, Dwayne Ashley (buy)

Description: 

HBCUs have graduated such illustrious leaders as Oprah Winfrey, Thurgood Marshall, Spike Lee, W. E. B. DuBois, Debbie Allen, Alain Locke, Samuel L. Jackson, and Nikki Giovanni. This commemorative illustrated gift book is filled with photographs, historical narrative, personal memoir, archival and contemporary material, and anecdotal and resource information. It is the first of its kind - a groundbreaking retrospective that explores the dramatic development and history of America’s historically black colleges and universities.

Envy of the World: On Being a Black Man in America by Ellis Cose (buy)
Description: 
"Black men have never had more opportunity for success than they do today. Yet, as Ellis Cose bluntly puts it, "We are watching the largest group of black males in history stumbling through life with a ball and chain wrapped around their legs. If brought together in one incorporated region, the population of black males behind bars would instantly become the twelfth largest urban area in America." Add to that the ravages of AIDS, murder, poverty, and illiteracy, the raging anger between many black men and women, and the widening gap separating the black elite from the so-called underclass, and you have a prescription for a paralyzing pessimism." "But even as he acknowledges the systemic obstacles that confront black men of all social strata, Ellis Cose refuses to accept them as reasons for giving up or giving in. In powerful and stirring prose, Cose rails against the historical worldview that has categorized academic achievement as a source of shame instead of pride in many black communities; he also outlines steps black males can take to enhance their odds for success." With anecdotes about a broad range of black men - from Franklin Raines, the first black man to run a Fortune 500 company, to unlettered ex-prisoners - Cose documents the amazing journey the black race has made and contemplates the challenges ahead. Both a warning of the vast social tragedy that is wasted black potential and a vital call to arms that can enable black men to reclaim their destiny, The Envy of the World is an honest and important book for anyone concerned about the future of America.

Envy of the World: On Being a Black Man in America by Ellis Cose (buy)

Description: 

"Black men have never had more opportunity for success than they do today. Yet, as Ellis Cose bluntly puts it, "We are watching the largest group of black males in history stumbling through life with a ball and chain wrapped around their legs. If brought together in one incorporated region, the population of black males behind bars would instantly become the twelfth largest urban area in America." Add to that the ravages of AIDS, murder, poverty, and illiteracy, the raging anger between many black men and women, and the widening gap separating the black elite from the so-called underclass, and you have a prescription for a paralyzing pessimism." "But even as he acknowledges the systemic obstacles that confront black men of all social strata, Ellis Cose refuses to accept them as reasons for giving up or giving in. In powerful and stirring prose, Cose rails against the historical worldview that has categorized academic achievement as a source of shame instead of pride in many black communities; he also outlines steps black males can take to enhance their odds for success." With anecdotes about a broad range of black men - from Franklin Raines, the first black man to run a Fortune 500 company, to unlettered ex-prisoners - Cose documents the amazing journey the black race has made and contemplates the challenges ahead. Both a warning of the vast social tragedy that is wasted black potential and a vital call to arms that can enable black men to reclaim their destiny, The Envy of the World is an honest and important book for anyone concerned about the future of America.

Afro-Orientalism by Bill V. Mullen (buy)
Description: 
As early as 1914, in his pivotal essay “The World Problem of the Color Line,” W. E. B. Du Bois was charting a search for Afro-Asian solidarity and for an international anticolonialism. In Afro-Orientalism, Bill Mullen traces the tradition of revolutionary thought and writing developed by African American and Asian American artists and intellectuals in response to Du Bois’s challenge. Afro-Orientalism unfolds here as a distinctive strand of cultural and political work that contests the longstanding, dominant discourse about race and nation first fully named in Edward Said’s Orientalism. Mullen tracks Afro-Asian engagement with U.S. imperialism-including writings by Richard Wright, Grace and James Boggs, Robert F. Williams, and Fred Ho-and companion struggles against racism and capitalism around the globe. To this end, he offers Afro-Orientalism as an antidote to essentialist, race-based, or narrow conceptions of ethnic studies and postcolonial studies, calling on scholars in these fields to reimagine their critical enterprises as mutually constituting and politically interdependent.

Afro-Orientalism by Bill V. Mullen (buy)

Description: 

As early as 1914, in his pivotal essay “The World Problem of the Color Line,” W. E. B. Du Bois was charting a search for Afro-Asian solidarity and for an international anticolonialism. In Afro-Orientalism, Bill Mullen traces the tradition of revolutionary thought and writing developed by African American and Asian American artists and intellectuals in response to Du Bois’s challenge. Afro-Orientalism unfolds here as a distinctive strand of cultural and political work that contests the longstanding, dominant discourse about race and nation first fully named in Edward Said’s Orientalism. Mullen tracks Afro-Asian engagement with U.S. imperialism-including writings by Richard Wright, Grace and James Boggs, Robert F. Williams, and Fred Ho-and companion struggles against racism and capitalism around the globe. To this end, he offers Afro-Orientalism as an antidote to essentialist, race-based, or narrow conceptions of ethnic studies and postcolonial studies, calling on scholars in these fields to reimagine their critical enterprises as mutually constituting and politically interdependent.

Conjure Times: The History of Black Magicians in America by Jim Haskins, Kathleen Benson (buy)
Description:
A lively, interesting, carefully researched look at a unique aspect of African-American history and culture that introduces the lives of black magicians, beginning with Richard Potter, “America’s First Negro Magician,” son of a plantation owner and a slave. Using black-and-white reproductions of playbills, advertisements, woodcuts, and period photographs, the history of the minstrel show and vaudeville is discussed as part of the development of theatrical magic shows. Slavery, racial discrimination, and segregation are discussed as part of the social history surrounding the lives of the performers profiled. The authors note that personal information on many performers was difficult to find, and the gaps help readers understand how much African-American history has been lost. Descriptions of popular trademark tricks are highlighted in boxes in each chapter. Budding magicians will find this book appealing, and it will be a great addition to African-American history collections.

Conjure Times: The History of Black Magicians in America by Jim Haskins, Kathleen Benson (buy)

Description:

A lively, interesting, carefully researched look at a unique aspect of African-American history and culture that introduces the lives of black magicians, beginning with Richard Potter, “America’s First Negro Magician,” son of a plantation owner and a slave. Using black-and-white reproductions of playbills, advertisements, woodcuts, and period photographs, the history of the minstrel show and vaudeville is discussed as part of the development of theatrical magic shows. Slavery, racial discrimination, and segregation are discussed as part of the social history surrounding the lives of the performers profiled. The authors note that personal information on many performers was difficult to find, and the gaps help readers understand how much African-American history has been lost. Descriptions of popular trademark tricks are highlighted in boxes in each chapter. Budding magicians will find this book appealing, and it will be a great addition to African-American history collections.

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin (buy)
Description:
Giovanni’s Room traces one man’s struggle with his sexual identity. In a 1950s Paris swarming with expatriates and characterized by dangerous liaisons and hidden violence, an American finds himself confronting secret desires that jeopardize the conventional life he envisions for himself. After meeting and proposing to a young woman, he falls into a lengthy affair with an Italian bartender and is confounded and tortured as he oscillates between the two. Now a classic of gay literature, Baldwin’s haunting and controversial second novel is his most sustained treatment of sexuality. Examining the agonizing mystery of love and passion in an intensely imagined yet beautifully restrained narrative, Baldwin creates a moving and complex story of death and desire that is revelatory in its insight.

Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin (buy)

Description:

Giovanni’s Room traces one man’s struggle with his sexual identity. In a 1950s Paris swarming with expatriates and characterized by dangerous liaisons and hidden violence, an American finds himself confronting secret desires that jeopardize the conventional life he envisions for himself. After meeting and proposing to a young woman, he falls into a lengthy affair with an Italian bartender and is confounded and tortured as he oscillates between the two. Now a classic of gay literature, Baldwin’s haunting and controversial second novel is his most sustained treatment of sexuality. Examining the agonizing mystery of love and passion in an intensely imagined yet beautifully restrained narrative, Baldwin creates a moving and complex story of death and desire that is revelatory in its insight.