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What's your favorite book about African American history?

Share your favorite book about African American history and let's see how many new books we can find or what we have in common.

AARPTeri
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Conversationalist

Today August 28, 2020, the 65th anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till and 57 years after the first "March on Washington", seeking justice and job, we march again today  seeking justice and jobs. As we mourn the lost of so many George Floyd 's while holding prayer for Jacob Blake a black man who was shot in the back 7 times by a white police, I'm re-reading:

 

Between the World and Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates

 

In a letter to his son, Coates tells the history of violence against blacks, how black men are vulnerable to wrongful arrest, police brutality and mass incarceration. It's powerful raw emotion. As I read this, I feel as if I'm sitting at the kitchen table having a conversation and he is putting it all out there. Great read.

 
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Conversationalist

As I reflect on the lives and legacies of three civil rights icons, Congressman John Lewis, Rev C.T. Vivian who passed July 17, 2020 and Rev Joseph Lowery who pass away, March 27, 2020, I'm reading/rereading books/articles and listening to audios of speeches that focus on their struggles, contributions and dedication to the movement and racial justice and equality for black Americans.

 

Currently, I'm re-reading "Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement" by John Lewis. And currently it is my favorite book about African American history.

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Regular Contributor

This book is essentially about great leadership, in my opinion (and many others), the greatest basketball player to ever play the game with no disrespect to all the others. 

Here's why:  

Sure, others had better stats although he did have excellent overall stats.  He was considered to be a small center compared to Chamberlain and others.  Russell was unselfish and his entire focus was on team success which dovetailed with quarterbacking the fast-break and terrific defense. Russell's real strength was leadership, intelligence, character, hard work, ferocity, self-discipline and sacrifice.  Do they have stats to cover those qualities and do they really matter?  See below:

 

Won college championship at SF State and 11 of 13 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics.  (The 2 years, they didn't win championships was because Russell didn't play because of injury.)

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Newbie

Summary of The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander - Includes Analysis

Preview:

 

The New Jim Crow argues that the ongoing "War on Drugs" and the resulting mass incarceration of African Americans is the moral equivalent of Jim Crow.

 

Beginning in the seventeenth century, institutions emerged in colonial America that contributed to the creation of a racial caste system. America's current racial caste system builds upon the legacy of both chattel slavery that existed in the United States prior to the Civil War and on the system of Jim Crow laws that designated African Americans to second-class citizenship in many parts of the American South prior to the civil rights movement.

 

This racial caste system is perpetuated across the country by members of both political parties. It has resulted in a large number of African American men who cannot vote, serve on juries, or find employment and housing. Discrimination against convicts is legally accepted and widespread...

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Contributor

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” was published on 2/2/2010.

 

She was a black tobacco farmer from southern Virginia who got cervical cancer in 1951 when she was 30. On 8/8/1951, she was admitted to Johns Hopkins where a doctor took a piece of her tumor without telling her and sent it down the hall to scientists there who had been trying to grow tissues in culture for decades without success. No one knows why, but her cells never died. Henrietta remained at the hospital until her death on October 4, 1951.

 

Those cells, called HeLa (Henrietta Lacks) cells, quickly became invaluable to medical research. They were used to develop the Polio Vaccine; went to outer space; and used in HIV, TB, and Ebola studies. One vial of HeLa cells costs $700.

 

The book is now assigned reading at hundreds of colleges and medical schools. Oprah Winfrey secured the movie rights and stars as Deborah Lacks in the 2017 HBO film.

 

Literary awards: Ambassador Book Award for American Studies (2011), Audie Award for Nonfiction (2011), Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction (2010), Wellcome Book Prize (2010), Puddly Award for Nonfiction (2011), Goodreads Choice Award for Nonfiction and Debut Author and Nominee for Favorite Book (2010), AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books for Young Adult Science Book

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Contributor

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

 by Rebecca Skloot  

 

Bravo! I was just about to post this as my favorite...it covers aspects of medical, social and human interest. But that's just my opinion. A wonderful heart breaking, and soul restoring read!

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Newbie

The Painted House by John Grisham : My 1st book that opened my eyes about the injustice  and hardships of how African Americans were treated when I was growing up. Wonder fully written and I could not put it down till I was finished!  It gives you a new perspective of life and how we must embrace it with each other. Life is too short for prejudices.

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"FREEDOM CALLING" AND "THE EDGE OF FREEDOM" ARE TWO RECENTLY WRITTEN BOOKS ABOUT HOW A RUNAWAY SLAVE  DURING THE CIVIL WAR FOUND FREEDOM AND A NEW LIFE IN AMERICA,   BOTH NOVELS  VIVIDLY  DESCRIBE LIFE DURING THE CIVIL WAR WITH HISTORICAL ACCURACY.  THE PLOT, DESCRIPTIVE WORDS, AND CREATIVE STYLE OF THE AUTHOR MAKE THESE  BOOKS A MUST READ!!!

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My favorite book about African American history is Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.  I was always aware of unjust racial discrimination, but when I read this book (at the age of 24) my eyes were opened and the injustice that was placed on Uncle Tom and other slaves moved my spirit.  I have taught our daughters and grandchildren that discrimination is wrong!  We are all children of a loveing Heavenly Father - his Son, Jesus Chirst, never taught hatred and that 'white' people are above any other peoples of color.  Heck, I am a decendant of Welch, Danish, Scottish, and British.  I say I am of European Persuasion.  Why we use color to seperate people is beyond my understanding.  Try this to all European Persuasions - Hold a peace of type paper up to your arm or face.- all you 'white;?  NO you are not.  

All people are human beings with gifts, talents, feelings and the ablilty to create - We are the same.  Read Uncle Tom's cabin and see if your attitude towards your fellow man doesn't change.  Then read the 'New Testament' and read what Christ teaches.  All of us need to stop our racial bias and thsoe who have come to be haters you need to change!

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Newbie

One Drop of Blood by Scott L. Malcomson (Ed.) 

 

This is a comprehensive collection of essays about the issues facing Blacks in the U.S. from their arrival until recent times.

 

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Contributor

My favorite book about African American history is the book series, FREEDOM CALLING: A Civil War Slave Escapes By Sea and the sequel, The Edge of Freedom. Great read!!!

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They Came in Chains by Saunders Redding -- it's an older book, but it is very well documented and easy to read.

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Newbie

Recently read Rising from the Rails by Larry Tye, story of the Pullman Porters.

Well written, powerful history.

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Contributor

Jubilee by Margaret Walker

 

This is a factual account about the ancestry of the author.  It is written in reader-friendly language dealing with the complex issues of slavery.

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Contributor

THE\\SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR.

 

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Newbie

They are:

 

1. They Came Before Columbus by Ivan Van Sertima

2. The Mis-Education of The Negro by Carter G. Woodson

3. Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington

 

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Info Seeker

My Vanishing Country-A memoir

 

Bakari Sellers

 

This book is well written about growing up in the south, his family structure and how he observes his place in the family. I also really like  the way he includes close family friends that really influence his up bringing as a young black man. Also, the positive force of his father in the family and community is up lifting. This brother is smart, well educated and a true leader for his generation. Please pick this read up. I'm 100% sure you will learn   and enjoy this read.I think it could truly help white America understand just a little better what being black is in this country.. For us its a true test every single day!!!! Of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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Contributor

My favorite books are  On Her Own Ground The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker by A` Lelia Bundles and An Oral History of African American in Grant County Compiled by Barbara J. Stevenson

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Newbie

WORLD'S GREAT MEN OF COLOR Vol. I & II by J. A. Rogers

 

GREAT NEGROES PAST AND PRESENT Illustrated by Russell Adams 

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Periodic Contributor

Two non-fiction works stand out: The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader, and Toni Morrison's The Source of Self-Regard. Both are evocative, informative, and inspiring.

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Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison 

 

Ellison was a great writer, essayist. Invisible Man is just an amazing piece of literature. You journey through the life of an unnamed black male and discover why he's the "Invisible Man". 

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Social Butterfly

Great topic!

 

As old fat white woman, child of the 60s, equal-rights supporter of the 70s, "alternative" life supporter in the 80s, scared for my children mom of the 90s, gun-control supporter (post-Columbine) in 00s... now wondering how this can be repeating...

 

  • Dame/Dr Maya Angelou: "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" (1969)

    I have read this so many times, each time so inspiring to me personally. I honestly grew up  with a young woman/lady who inspired me as much next door; we never felt, although we knew, there were racial issues in America; just not for us in our neighborhood. Dr Angelou's book awoke something in both of us; unfortunately, 60+ years later, the problems seem larger and more threatening to everyone.

 

  • Tracy Marrow (Ice T): "Ice : A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption-From South Central to Hollywood"

    Ice has always been one of my favorite musicians/artists//actors, ALWAYS!. He is so genuine. Reading his first book woke me to what issues young black men face; the stigmas and traumas they survive.

    It also awoke me to the fact that character can overcome EVERYTHING! Tracy did, on his own, by himself, and continues to strive forward, and assist others, without the trashy behavior and irresponsible actions so many others who "achieve" fame (then lose it due to terrible choices).

I apologize in advance to anyone offended by this post. These are my personal thoughts and opinions.

 

#StaySafe

 

 


#VegasStrong
Phil Harris, actor and showman, to John Fogerty of CCR: “If I’d known I’d live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
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Info Seeker

Please don't apologize for anything. YES these issues are still with us because the silence of white America. This country and its so called leaders have never addressed or apologized for the evil of racism and what it has done to a large segment of this population white and black. Many white people want to move forward from this horrible ACT. Thanks for sharing and keep making people feel uncomfortable about the issue of race and the lack of action by our government.
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Newbie

What a wonderful topic.

 

My favorites are James McBride's The Color of Water and Lalita Tademy's Cane River. Both of these books are family memoirs.

McBride writes about discovering that his mother was a Jewish woman. The title comes from her answer when, the author as a boy noticed he was brown and his mother was not, he asked what color are you Mama? She replied, I am the color of water.

This book is about growing up in a New York housing complex with Christian family values. and his research to find his mother's secret ethnicity.

Tademy's book is about colorism in her Louisiana family. It traces how in her family, since slavery, black women were married to French men and the purpose was to keep the descendants very, very light skinned. It worked, and along with that look came privileges and benefits such as clothes, houses, travel and attending school. It also has photographs.  

 

I love these books. They were the foundation of my new book on my mixed race family, Mother of Orphans: The True and Curious Story of Irish Alice, a Colored Man's Widow. It is about mixed race family life over four generations and 100 years starting in 1875, including fights over school for girls and child care, in the American midwest states of Ohio and Michigan.

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Social Butterfly

My favorites are two classics:

 

Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison (1952)

 

I Wonder As I Wander

Langston Hughes (1956)

 

 

 

 

 

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Conversationalist

"Daughters of the Dream" by Tamara Lucas Copeland, is a great book about middle class African American life during the civil rights era and the amazing friendship between eight women starting in elementary school and that continues today. A great, interesting and easy read.

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Conversationalist

Please check out this blog!

www.daughtersofthedream.org

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Conversationalist

Thanks to all who recommended "The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson". A great book and a very easy read. Treat yourself and read this book.

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Contributor

The Warmth of Other Suns would definitely be on my list.

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