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Black History Month

(Librarian Selected)









African American Century
by Gates, Henry Louis; West, Cornel

9780684864143Henry Louis Gates; Cornel WestThe African-American Century: How Black Americans Have Shaped Our CountryBlack Americans are at the heart of the greatest achievements of our history, from music to law, from politics to sports, from literature to religion. Now the two leading African-American intellectuals of our day show us why the twentieth century was The African-American Century, with one hundred original profiles of the most influential African Americans from W. E. B. Du Bois to Oprah Winfrey. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Cornel West offer their personal picks of the African-American figures who did the most to shape our world. Here we find much-loved figures such as scientist George Washington Carver and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and contemporary favorites such as comedian Richard Pryor, novelist Alice Walker, and golf champion Tiger Woods. We also learn about less well known people such as jockey Jimmy Winkfield, aviator Bessie Coleman, and filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, and recognize the achievements of controversial figures such as activist Angela Davis, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, and rap artist Tupac Shakur. Each profile is a lively story in its own right. But taken as a whole, these one hundred stories offer a unique window on the history of the twentieth century. Decade by decade, we marvel at the triumphs of a people who began the century only thirty-five years "up from slavery," and ended it at the top of every field. The result is a moving testament to the humanity and genius of black Americans, both individually and together. The African-American Century reminds us that there would be no American culture without black America. Without Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, or John Coltrane, we would have no jazz. Without Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, or Toni Morrison, we would miss our greatest novels. Without Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, or Althea Gibson, we would have none of our most glorious triumphs in sports. Without Thurgood Marshall, Dr. King, or Barbara Jordan, we would be deprived of the political breakthroughs that affirm and strengthen our democracy. Whether we are laughing with Bill Cosby or dancing to rock 'n' roll, whether we are listening to a great preacher or stunned by the power of a Spike Lee film, whether we are building a business empire or fighting for justice-we are all shaped and influenced by the African-American experience. Written in a lively, accessible style and fully illustrated throughout, The African-American Century is a celebration of black achievement and a tribute to the black struggle for freedom in America that will inspire us for years to come. - Description from Syndetics
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The Black List
by Greenfield-Sanders, Timothy; Mitchell, Elvis

9781416594192Elvis Mitchell; Timothy Greenfield-SandersThe Black ListInThe Black List, twenty-five prominent African-Americans of various professions, disciplines, and backgrounds offer their own stories and insights on the struggles, triumphs, and joys of black life in America and, in the process, redefine "black list" for a new century. As seen in original portraits by renowned photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and in a series of incisive interviews conducted by award-winning journalist, critic, academic, and radio host Elvis Mitchell, this group exemplifies today's most accomplished, determined African-Americans, whose lives and careers form a trail of inspiration and example for people of all races. Spanning the arts, sports, politics, and business, the diverse accomplishments and lives of these remarkable individuals create a kaleidoscope of ideas and experiences, and provide the framework for a singular conver-sation about the influence of African-Americans on this country and on our world. The Black Listis: Slash ¥ Toni Morrison ¥ KeenEn Ivory Wayans ¥ Vernon Jordan ¥ Faye Wattleton ¥ Marc Morial ¥ Serena Williams ¥ Lou Gossett Jr. ¥ Russell Simmons ¥ Lorna Simpson ¥ Mahlon Duckett ¥ Zane ¥ Al Sharpton ¥ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ¥ William Rice ¥ Thelma Golden ¥ Sean Combs ¥ Susan Rice ¥ Chris Rock ¥ Suzan-Lori Parks ¥ Steve Stoute ¥ Richard Parsons ¥ Dawn Staley ¥ Colin Powell ¥ Bill T. Jones - Description from Syndetics
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The Oprah Phenomenon
by Harris, Jennifer; Watson, Elwood

9780813124261Jennifer Harris (Editor); Elwood Watson (Editor)The Oprah PhenomenonHer image is iconic: Oprah Winfrey has built an empire on her ability to connect with and inspire her audience. No longer just a name, "Oprah" has become a brand representing the talk show host's unique style of self-actualizing individualism. The cultural and economic power wielded by Winfrey merits critical evaluation. The contributors to The Oprah Phenomenon examine the origins of her public image and its substantial influence on politics, entertainment, and popular opinion. Contributors address praise from her many supporters and weigh criticisms from her detractors. Winfrey's ability to create a feeling of intimacy with her audience has long been cited as one of the foundations of her popularity. She has repeatedly made national headlines by engaging and informing her audience with respect to her personal relationships to race, gender, feminism, and New Age culture. The Oprah Phenomenon explores these relationships in detail. At the root of Winfrey's message to her vast audience is her assertion that anyone can be a success regardless of background or upbringing. The contributors scrutinize this message: What does this success entail? Is the motivation behind self-actualization, in fact, merely the hope of replicating Winfrey's purchasing power? Is it just a prescription to buy the products she recommends and heed the advice of people she admires, or is it a lifestyle change of meaningful spiritual benefit? The Oprah Phenomenon asks these and many other difficult questions to promote a greater understanding of Winfrey's influence on the American consciousness. Elwood Watson, associate professor of history at East Tennessee State University, is the editor of several books, including "There She Is, Miss America": The Politics of Sex, Beauty, and Race in America's Most Famous Pageant and Searching The Soul of Ally McBeal: Critical Essays. - Description from Syndetics
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Ella Baker: Community Organizer of the Civil Rights Movement
by Moye, J. Todd

9781442215658J. Todd Moye; John David Smith (Contribution by)Ella Baker: Community Organizer of the Civil Rights MovementElla Josephine Baker (1903-1986) was among the most influential strategists of the most important social movement in modern US history, the Civil Rights Movement, yet most Americans have never heard of her. Behind the scenes, she organized on behalf of the major civil rights organizations of her day--the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)--among many other activist groups. As she once told an interviewer, " Y]ou didn't see me on television, you didn't see news stories about me. The kind of role that I tried to play was to pick up pieces or put pieces together out of which I hoped organization might come. My theory is, strong people don't need strong leaders." Rejecting charismatic leadership as a means of social change, Baker invented a form of grassroots community organizing for social justice that had a profound impact on the struggle for civil rights and continues to inspire agents of change on behalf of a wide variety of social issues. In this book, historian J. Todd Moye masterfully reconstructs Baker's life and contribution for a new generation of readers. Those who despair that the civil rights story is told too often from the top down and at the dearth of accessible works on women who helped shape the movement will welcome this new addition to the Library of African American Biography series, designed to provide concise, readable, and up-to-date lives of leading black figures in American history. - Description from Syndetics
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African American Poets: Lives, Works, and Sources
by Pettis, Joyce Owens

9780313311178Joyce Owens PettisAfrican American Poets: Lives, Works and SourcesCovering 46 poets from more than two centuries of African American literary history, this biocritical dictionary is an important contribution to any reference collection. The poets are situated within their historical and literary context, and for each a brief biographical sketch is given, with information on the poet's personal history, education, influences, and accomplishments. Each entry examines the poet's work as a whole, with a discussion of selected important poems and their recurrent themes. Students and interested readers will gain a good appreciation for the stylistic features and artistic contributions made by these African American poets. For further research, each essay concludes with a list of the poet's published book-length works, anthologies where their poetry appears, and information on reference resources.This reference work is introduced with an insightful overview of the significant developments and contributions in African American poetry, from the 18th century poetry of Phillis Wheatley, through the major arts movements including the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts Movements of the 1960s, up to the present time. This thoughtful dictionary explores both the aesthetic and the social functions of the literary movements, as well as the individual poet's contributions to the body of poetic output. Covered here are numerous contemporary African American voices such as Maya Angelou, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Rita Dove. Alongside the names synonymous with the Harlem Renaissance, such as Gwendolyn Brooks and Langston Hughes, are lesser known poets about whom students often have trouble finding information but whose contributions are no less significant. - Description from Syndetics
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Martin's Big Words: the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Rappaport, Doreen; Collier, Bryan

9780786807147725961007140Doreen Rappaport; Bryan Collier (Illustrator)Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.This picture book biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. brings his life and the profound nature of his message to young children through his own words. Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of the most influential and gifted speakers of all time. Doreen Rappaport uses quotes from some of his most beloved speeches to tell the story of his life and his work in a simple, direct way. Bryan Collier's stunning collage art combines remarkable watercolor paintings with vibrant patterns and textures. A timeline and a lsit of additional books and web sites help make this a standout biography of Dr. King. - Description from Syndetics
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No Higher Honor
by Rice, Condoleezza

9780307587862Condoleezza RiceNo Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in WashingtonFrom one of the world's most admired women, this is former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's compelling story of eight years serving at the highest levels of government.  In her position as America's chief diplomat, Rice traveled almost continuously around the globe, seeking common ground among sometimes bitter enemies, forging agreement on divisive issues, and compiling a remarkable record of achievement.   A native of Birmingham, Alabama who overcame the racism of the Civil Rights era to become a brilliant academic and expert on foreign affairs, Rice distinguished herself as an advisor to George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign.  Once Bush was elected, she served as his chief adviser on national-security issues - a job whose duties included harmonizing the relationship between the Secretaries of State and Defense.  It was a role that deepened her bond with the President and ultimately made her one of his closest confidantes.   With the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Rice found herself at the center of the Administration's intense efforts to keep America safe.  Here, Rice describes the events of that harrowing day - and the tumultuous days after.  No day was ever the same.  Additionally, Rice also reveals new details of the debates that led to the war in Afghanistan and then Iraq.   The eyes of the nation were once again focused on Rice in 2004 when she appeared before the 9-11 Commission to answer tough questions regarding the country's preparedness for - and immediate response to - the 9-11 attacks.  Her responses, it was generally conceded, would shape the nation's perception of the Administration's competence during the crisis.  Rice conveys just how pressure-filled that appearance was and her surprised gratitude when, in succeeding days, she was broadly saluted for her grace and forthrightness. From that point forward, Rice was aggressively sought after by the media and regarded by some as the Administration's most effective champion.   In 2005 Rice was entrusted with even more responsibility when she was charged with helping to shape and carry forward the President's foreign policy as Secretary of State.  As such, she proved herself a deft crafter of tactics and negotiation aimed to contain or reduce the threat posed by America's enemies.  Here, she reveals the behind-the-scenes maneuvers that kept the world's relationships with Iran, North Korea and Libya from collapsing into chaos.  She also talks about her role as a crisis manager, showing that at any hour -- and at a moment's notice -- she was willing to bring all parties to the bargaining table anywhere in the world.   No Higher Honor takes the reader into secret negotiating rooms where the fates of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Lebanon often hung in the balance, and it draws back the curtain on how frighteningly close all-out war loomed in clashes involving Pakistan-India and Russia-Georgia, and in East Africa.    Surprisingly candid in her appraisals of various Administration colleagues and the hundreds of foreign leaders with whom she dealt, Rice also offers here keen insight into how history actually proceeds.  In No Higher Honor , she delivers a master class in statecraft  -- but always in a way that reveals her essential warmth and humility, and her deep reverence for the ideals on which America was founded. - Description from Syndetics
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Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr
by Williams, Michael Vinson

9781557289735Michael Vinson WilliamsMedgar Evers: Mississippi MartyrCivil rights activist Medgar Wiley Evers was well aware of the dangers he would face when he challenged the status quo in Mississippi in the 1950s and '60s, a place and time known for the brutal murders of Emmett Till, Reverend George Lee, Lamar Smith, and others. Nonetheless, Evers consistently investigated the rapes, murders, beatings, and lynching's of black Mississippians and reported the horrid incidents to a national audience, all the while organizing economic boycotts, sit-ins, and street protests in Jackson as the NAACP's first full-time Mississippi field secretary. He organized and participated in voting drives and nonviolent direct-action protests, joined lawsuits to overturn state-supported school segregation, and devoted himself to a career that cost him his life. This biography of a lesser-known but seminal civil rights leader draws on personal interviews from Myrlie Evers-Williams (Evers's widow), his two remaining siblings, friends, grade-school-to-college schoolmates, and fellow activists to elucidate Evers as an individual, leader, husband, brother, and father. Extensive archival work in the Evers Papers, the NAACP Papers, oral history collections, FBI files, Citizen Council collections, and the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission Papers, to list a few, provides a detailed account of Evers's NAACP work and a clearer understanding of the racist environment that ultimately led to his murder. Selfless dedication marked the life of Medgar Evers, and while this remains his story, it is also a testament to the important role that grassroots activism played in exacting social change during some of America's most turbulent and violent times. - Description from Syndetics
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