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The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

By Remnick, David

2010-04 - Knopf Publishing Group

9781400043606 Check Our Catalog

From New Yorker editor Remnick a world-ranging, eye-opening, comprehensive life to date of the 44th President of the United States

Michelle Obama: A Life

By Slevin, Peter B.

2015-04 - Knopf Publishing Group

9780307958822 Check Our Catalog

An inspiring story of a modern American icon, here is the first comprehensive account of the life and times of Michelle Obama. With disciplined reporting and a storyteller's eye for revealing detail, Peter Slevin follows Michelle to the White House from her working-class childhood on Chicago's largely segregated South Side. He illuminates her tribulations at Princeton University and Harvard Law School during the racially charged 1980s and the dilemmas she faced in Chicago while building a high-powered career, raising a family and helping a young community organizer named Barack Obama become president of the United States. From the lessons she learned in Chicago to the messages she shares as one of the most recognizable women in the world, the story of this First Lady is the story of America. Michelle Obama: A Life is a fresh and compelling view of a woman of unique achievement and purpose.

Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree

By Burroughs, Tony

2001-02 - Touchstone Books

9780684847047 Check Our Catalog

"In Black Roots", Tony Burroughs--who traced his own family back seven generations--addresses the particular obstacles African Americans face in genealogical research, including the legacy of slavery and segregation. Burroughs describes what types of records to look for, where to find them, and how to analyze them. He offers problem-solving techniques, and tips on organizing records, interviewing family members, and writing the history itself. Maps. Documents.

Negro League Baseball

By Decaneas, Antony

2005-01 - ABRAMS

9780810955851 Check Our Catalog

This treasure trove of images by Withers, the unofficial team photographer for the Memphis Red Sox, captures the peak of Negro League action through the years of groundbreaking integration, as well as the community in which black baseball was played.

With Billie

By Blackburn, Julia

2005-04 - Pantheon Books

9780375406102 Check Our Catalog

From Julia Blackburn, an author whose ability to conjure lives from other times and places is so vivid that one suspects she sees ghosts, here is a portrait of a woman whose voice continues to haunt anyone who hears it.
Billie Holiday's life is inseparable from an account of her troubles, her addictions, her arrests, and the scandals that would repeatedly put her name in the tabloid headlines of the 1940s and 1950s. Those who knew her learned never to be surprised by what she might do. Her moods and faces were so various that she could seem to be a different woman from one moment to the next. Volatile, unpredictable, Billie Holiday remained, even to her friends, an elusive and perplexing figure.
In "With Billie, we hear the voices of those people-piano players and dancers, pimps and junkies, lovers and narcs, producers and critics, each recalling intimate stories of the Billie they knew. What emerges is a portrait of a complex, contradictory, enthralling woman, a woman who knew what really mattered to her. Reading "With Billie, one is convinced that she has only just left the room but will return shortly.

Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century's Most Photographed American

By Stauffer, John

2015-11 - Liveright Publishing Corporation

9780871404688 Check Our Catalog

Picturing Frederick Douglass is a work that promises to revolutionize our knowledge of race and photography in nineteenth-century America. Teeming with historical detail, it is filled with surprises, chief among them the fact that neither George Custer nor Walt Whitman, and not even Abraham Lincoln, was the most photographed American of that century. In fact, it was Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), the ex-slave turned leading abolitionist, eloquent orator, and seminal writer whose fiery speeches transformed him into one of the most renowned and popular agitators of his age. Now, as a result of the groundbreaking research of John Stauffer, Zoe Trodd, and Celeste-Marie Bernier, Douglass emerges as a leading pioneer in photography, both as a stately subject and as a prescient theorist who believed in the explosive social power of what was then just a nascent art form.

Indeed, Frederick Douglass was in love with photography. During the four years of Civil War, he wrote more extensively on the subject than any other American, even while recognizing that his audiences were "riveted" by the war and wanted a speech only on "this mighty struggle." He frequented photographers' studios regularly and sat for his portrait whenever he could. To Douglass, photography was the great "democratic art" that would finally assert black humanity in place of the slave "thing" and at the same time counter the blackface minstrelsy caricatures that had come to define the public perception of what it meant to be black. As a result, his legacy is inseparable from his portrait gallery, which contains 160 separate photographs.

At last, all of these photographs have been collected into a single volume, giving us an incomparable visual biography of a man whose prophetic vision and creative genius knew no bounds. Chronologically arranged and generously captioned, from the first picture taken in around 1841 to the last in 1895, each of the images--many published here for the first time--emphasizes Douglass's evolution as a man, artist, and leader. Also included are other representations of Douglass during his lifetime and after--such as paintings, statues, and satirical cartoons--as well as Douglass's own writings on visual aesthetics, which have never before been transcribed from his own handwritten drafts.

The comprehensive introduction by the authors, along with headnotes for each section, an essay by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and an afterword by Kenneth B. Morris, Jr.--a direct Douglass descendent--provide the definitive examination of Douglass's intellectual, philosophical, and political relationships to aesthetics. Taken together, this landmark work canonizes Frederick Douglass through a form he appreciated the most: photography.


  • Contributions from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Kenneth B. Morris, Jr. (a direct Douglass descendent)
  • 160 separate photographs of Douglass--many of which have never been publicly seen and were long lost to history
  • A collection of contemporaneous artwork that shows how powerful Douglass's photographic legacy remains today, over a century after his death
  • All Douglass's previously unpublished writings and speeches on visual aesthetics

A Song Flung Up to Heaven

By Angelou, Maya

2002-04 - Random House

9780375507472 Check Our Catalog

The culmination of a unique achievement in modern American literature: the six volumes of autobiography that began more than thirty years ago with the appearance of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
A Song Flung Up to Heaven opens as Maya Angelou returns from Africa to the United States to work with Malcolm X. But first she has to journey to California to be reunited with her mother and brother. No sooner does she arrive there than she learns that Malcolm X has been assassinated.
Devastated, she tries to put her life back together, working on the stage in local theaters and even conducting a door-to-door survey in Watts. Then Watts explodes in violence, a riot she describes firsthand.
Subsequently, on a trip to New York, she meets Martin Luther King, Jr., who asks her to become his coordinator in the North, and she visits black churches all over America to help support King's Poor People's March.
But once again tragedy strikes. King is assassinated, and this time Angelou completely withdraws from the world, unable to deal with this horrible event. Finally, James Baldwin forces her out of isolation and insists that she accompany him to a dinner party--where the idea for writing I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is born. In fact, A Song Flung Up to Heaven ends as Maya Angelou begins to write the first sentences of Caged Bird.

The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement

By Branch, Taylor

2013-01 - Simon & Schuster

9781451678970 Check Our Catalog

Branch's three-volume history endures as a masterpiece of storytelling on American race, violence, and democracy. With this brief volume, which brings to life the pivotal scenes, he relates the dramatic story of how the Movement evolved from a bus strike to a political revolution, and brings this historic achievement to a wider audience.

Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice

By Arsenault, Raymond

2006-01 - Oxford University Press

9780195136746 Check Our Catalog

The author offers a meticulously researched account of the Freedom Rides, one of the most compelling chapters in the history of civil rights. The book paints a harrowing picture of the outpouring of hatred and violence that greeted the Freedom Riders in Alabama and Mississippi.

Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year

By Smiley, Tavis

2014-09 - Little Brown and Company

9780316332767 Check Our Catalog

A revealing and dramatic chronicle of the twelve months leading up to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination
Martin Luther King, Jr. died in one of the most shocking assassinations the world has known, but little is remembered about the life he led in his final year. New York Times bestselling author and award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley recounts the final 365 days of King's life, revealing the minister's trials and tribulations -- denunciations by the press, rejection from the president, dismissal by the country's black middle class and militants, assaults on his character, ideology, and political tactics, to name a few -- all of which he had to rise above in order to lead and address the racism, poverty, and militarism that threatened to destroy our democracy.
Smiley's DEATH OF A KING paints a portrait of a leader and visionary in a narrative different from all that have come before. Here is an exceptional glimpse into King's life -- one that adds both nuance and gravitas to his legacy as an American hero.

Voices of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s Through the 1980s

By Hampton, Henry

1991-02 - Bantam

9780553352320 Check Our Catalog

In this monumental volume, Henry Hampton, creator and executive producer of the acclaimed PBS series "Eyes on the Prize, and Steve Fayer, series writer, draw upon nearly one thousand interviews with civil rights activists, politicians, reporters, Justice Department officials, and hundreds of ordinary people who took part in the struggle, weaving a fascinating narrative of the civil rights movement told by the people who lived it.
Join brave and terrified youngsters walking through a jeering mob and up the steps of Central High School in Little Rock.
Share in the pivotal confrontation between the Freedom Riders and Klansmen.
Sit in on the founding of the Black Panther party with Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.
Listen to the vivid voices of the ordinary people who manned the barricades, the laborers, the students, the housewives without whom there would have been no civil rights movements at all.
Read the memorable words of Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Tom Hayden, Walter Mondale, Muhammad Ali, Angela Davis, Jessie Jackson, and many more.
This remarkable oral history brings to life country's great struggle for civil rights as no conventional narrative can. You will hear the voices of those who defied the blackjacks, who went to jail, who witnessed and policed the movement; of those who stood for and against it - voices from the heart of America.
Marches and murders, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, JFK and LBJ--from the bus boycott in Montgomery to busing in Boston, from the marches on Selma to the riots in Miami, Voices of Freedom illuminates the long, impassioned, sometimes painful and sometimes joyful struggle for a truly democratic society thatcontinues today.

African American Lives

By Higginbotham, Evelyn Brooks

2004-04 - Oxford University Press, USA

9780195160246 Check Our Catalog

A BookPage Notable Title
In the long-awaited successor to the "Dictionary of American Negro Biography," the authors illuminate history through the immediacy of individual experience, with authoritative biographies of some 600 noteworthy African Americans.

Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories from the Underground Railroad

By DeRamus, Betty

2005-02 - Atria Books

9780743482639 Check Our Catalog

Gleaned by Pulitzer Prize finalist Betty De Ramus from unpublished memoirs, Civil War records, and from descendants of runaway slave couples, "Forbidden Fruit "is a fascinating collection of true and largely untold stories from the Underground Railroad.

African-American Firsts: Famous, Little-Known and Unsung Triumphs of Blacks in America

By Potter, Joan

1999-10 - Pinto Press

9780963247612 Check Our Catalog

From Josephine Baker to Shonda Rhimes, from Arthur Ashe to President Barack Obama, this completely revised and updated volume explores and celebrates African-American accomplishment in a variety of fields.

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo

By Reiss, Tom

2012-09 - Crown Publishing Group (NY)

9780307382467 Check Our Catalog

Born to a black slave mother and a fugitive white French nobleman in present-day Haiti, Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but then made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy.

Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family

By Rice, Condoleezza

2010-10 - Crown Archetype

9780307587879 Check Our Catalog

Former Secretary of State Rice reveals for the first time her childhood growing up in Birmingham, Alabama--the story of a young woman trying to find her place in a sometimes hostile world and of two exceptional parents, and an extended family and community, that made all the difference.

Becoming Beyonce: The Untold Story

By Taraborrelli, J. Randy

2015-10 - Grand Central Publishing

9781455516728 Check Our Catalog

A Billboard Must-Read Fall 2015 Music Book
The first comprehensive biography ever published about America's favorite living pop icon, Beyonce, from New York Times bestselling biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli.

Beyonce Knowles is a woman who began her career at the age of eight performing in pageant shows and talent contests, honing her craft through her teenage years until, at the age of 16, she had her first number one record with Destiny's Child. That hit-making trio launched Beyonce's successful solo career, catapulting her, as of 2014, to #1 on Forbes annual list of most wealthy celebrities--the same year she made the cover of Time. BECOMING BEYONCE is not only the story of struggle, sacrifice, and what it takes to make it in the cut-throat record industry, it's the story of the great rewards of such success and the devastating toll it often takes on the human spirit.

Baldwin's Harlem: A Biography of James Baldwin

By Boyd, Herb

2008-01 - Atria Books

9780743293075 Check Our Catalog

Baldwin's Harlem is an intimate portrait of the life and genius of one of our most brilliant literary minds: James Baldwin. Perhaps no other writer is as synonymous with Harlem as James Baldwin (1924-1987). The events there that shaped his youth greatly influenced Baldwin's work, much of which focused on his experiences as a black man in white America. Go Tell It on the Mountain, The Fire Next Time, Notes of a Native Son, and Giovanni's Room are just a few of his classic fiction and nonfiction books that remain an essential part of the American canon. In Baldwin's Harlem, award-winning journalist Herb Boyd combines impeccable biographical research with astute literary criticism, and reveals to readers Baldwin's association with Harlem on both metaphorical and realistic levels. For example, Boyd describes Baldwin's relationship with Harlem Renaissance poet laureate Countee Cullen, who taught Baldwin French in the ninth grade. Packed with telling anecdotes, Baldwin's Harlem illuminates the writer's diverse views and impressions of the community that would remain a consistent presence in virtually all of his writing. Baldwin's Harlem provides an intelligent and enlightening look at one of America's most important literary enclaves.

Alex Haley: And the Books That Changed a Nation: And the Books That Changed a Nation

By Norrell, Robert J.

2015-11 - St. Martin's Press

9781137279606 Check Our Catalog

It is difficult to think of two twentieth century books by one author that have had as much influence on American culture when they were published as Alex Haley's monumental bestsellers, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965), and Roots (1976). They changed the way white and black America viewed each other and the country's history. This first biography of Haley follows him from his childhood in relative privilege in deeply segregated small town Tennessee to fame and fortune in high powered New York City. It was in the Navy, that Haley discovered himself as a writer, which eventually led his rise as a star journalist in the heyday of magazine personality profiles. At Playboy Magazine, Haley profiled everyone from Martin Luther King and Miles Davis to Johnny Carson and Malcolm X, leading to their collaboration on The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Roots was for Haley a deeper, more personal reach. The subsequent book and miniseries ignited an ongoing craze for family history, and made Haley one of the most famous writers in the country. Roots sold half a million copies in the first two months of publication, and the original television miniseries was viewed by 130 million people.

Haley died in 1992. This deeply researched and compelling book by Robert J. Norrell offers the perfect opportunity to revisit his authorship, his career as one of the first African American star journalists, as well as an especially dramatic time of change in American history.

A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your African-American Ancestors: How to Find and Record Your Unique Heritage

By Smith, Franklin Carter

2002-12 - Betterway Books

9781558706057 Check Our Catalog

Tracing one's African-American ancestry can be uniquely challenging. This guide helps overcome the obstacles and pitfalls of specialized research by offering a proven, three-part approach.