The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
By Jeffers, Honoree Fanonne
The great scholar, W. E. B. Du Bois, once wrote about the Problem of race in America, and what he called "Double Consciousness," a sensitivity that every African American possesses in order to survive. Since childhood, Ailey Pearl Garfield has understood Du Bois's words all too well. Bearing the names of two formidable Black Americans--the revered choreographer Alvin Ailey and her great grandmother Pearl, the descendant of enslaved Georgians and tenant farmers--Ailey carries Du Bois's Problem on her shoulders.
Ailey is reared in the north in the City but spends summers in the small Georgia town of Chicasetta, where her mother's family has lived since their ancestors arrived from Africa in bondage. From an early age, Ailey fights a battle for belonging that's made all the more difficult by a hovering trauma, as well as the whispers of women--her mother, Belle, her sister, Lydia, and a maternal line reaching back two centuries--that urge Ailey to succeed in their stead.
To come to terms with her own identity, Ailey embarks on a journey through her family's past, uncovering the shocking tales of generations of ancestors--Indigenous, Black, and white--in the deep South. In doing so Ailey must learn to embrace her full heritage, a legacy of oppression and resist
By Cosby, S. a.
Edgar Allan Poe Awards (2021)
*INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER* New York Times Notable Book - NPR's Best Books of 2021 - Washington Post's Best Thriller and Mystery Books of the Year - TIME Magazine's 100 Must-Read Books of 2021 - New York Public Library's Best Books of the Year - Goodreads Choice Award Nominee - Book of the Month's Book of the Year Finalist
"Provocative, violent -- beautiful and moving, too." --Washington Post
"Superb...Cuts right to the heart of the most important questions of our times." --Michael Connelly
"A tour de force - poignant, action-packed, and profound." --Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A Black father. A white father. Two murdered sons. A quest for vengeance.
Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.
The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah's white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss.
Derek's father Buddy Lee was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed of his father's criminal record. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.
Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys.
Provocative and fast-paced, S. A. Cosby's Razorblade Tears is a story of bloody retribution, heartfelt change - and maybe even redemption.
By Everett, Percival
An uncanny literary thriller addressing the painful legacy of lynching in the US, by the author of Telephone
Percival Everett's The Trees is a page-turner that opens with a series of brutal murders in the rural town of Money, Mississippi. When a pair of detectives from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation arrive, they meet expected resistance from the local sheriff, his deputy, the coroner, and a string of racist White townsfolk. The murders present a puzzle, for at each crime scene there is a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till.
The detectives suspect that these are killings of retribution, but soon discover that eerily similar murders are taking place all over the country. Something truly strange is afoot. As the bodies pile up, the MBI detectives seek answers from a local root doctor who has been documenting every lynching in the country for years, uncovering a history that refuses to be buried. In this bold, provocative book, Everett takes direct aim at racism and police violence, and does so in a fast-paced style that ensures the reader can't look away. The Trees is an enormously powerful novel of lasting importance from an author with his finger on America's pulse.
By Johnson, Sadeqa
A Best Book of 2021 by NPR and Christian Science Monitor
Called "wholly engrossing" by New York Times bestselling author Kathleen Grissom, this "fully immersive" (Lisa Wingate, #1 bestselling author of Before We Were Yours) story follows an enslaved woman forced to barter love and freedom while living in the most infamous slave jail in Virginia.
Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Delores Brown has lived a relatively sheltered life. Shielded by her mother's position as the estate's medicine woman and cherished by the Master's sister, she is set apart from the others on the plantation, belonging to neither world.
She'd been promised freedom on her eighteenth birthday, but instead of the idyllic life she imagined with her true love, Essex Henry, Pheby is forced to leave the only home she has ever known. She unexpectedly finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil's Half Acre, a jail in Richmond, Virginia, where the enslaved are broken, tortured, and sold every day. There, Pheby is exposed not just to her Jailer's cruelty but also to his contradictions. To survive, Pheby will have to outwit him, and she soon faces the ultimate sacrifice.
The Sweetness of Water
By Harris, Nathan
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER / AN OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK
ONE OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2021
Winner of the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence
Winner of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize
Longlisted for the 2022 Carnegie Medal for Excellence
Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
In the spirit of The Known World and The Underground Railroad, "a miraculous debut" (Washington Post) and "a towering achievement of imagination" (CBS This Morning)about the unlikely bond between two freedmen who are brothers and the Georgia farmer whose alliance will alter their lives, and his, forever--from "a storyteller with bountiful insight and assurance" (Kirkus)
A Best Book of the Year: Oprah Daily, NPR, Washington Post, Time, Boston Globe, Smithsonian, Chicago Public Library, BookBrowse, and the Oregonian
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
A July Indie Next Pick
In the waning days of the Civil War, brothers Prentiss and Landry--freed by the Emancipation Proclamation--seek refuge on the homestead of George Walker and his wife, Isabelle. The Walkers, wracked by the loss of their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm, hoping through an unexpected friendship to stanch their grief. Prentiss and Landry, meanwhile, plan to save money for the journey north and a chance to reunite with their mother, who was sold away when they were boys.
Parallel to their story runs a forbidden romance between two Confederate soldiers. The young men, recently returned from the war to the town of Old Ox, hold their trysts in the woods. But when their secret is discovered, the resulting chaos, including a murder, unleashes convulsive repercussions on the entire community. In the aftermath of so much turmoil, it is Isabelle who emerges as an unlikely leader, proffering a healing vision for the land and for the newly free citizens of Old Ox.
With candor and sympathy, debut novelist Nathan Harris creates an unforgettable cast of characters, depicting Georgia in the violent crucible of Reconstruction. Equal parts beauty and terror, as gripping as it is moving, The Sweetness of Water is an epic whose grandeur locates humanity and love amid the most harrowing circumstances.
Just as I Am
By Tyson, Cicely
"In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only succeeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of history." -President Barack Obama, 2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony
"Just as I Am is my truth. It is me, plain and unvarnished, with the glitter and garland set aside. In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage and screen for six decades. Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word. I am the teenager who sought solace in the verses of the old hymn for which this book is named. I am a daughter and a mother, a sister and a friend. I am an observer of human nature and the dreamer of audacious dreams. I am a woman who has hurt as immeasurably as I have loved, a child of God divinely guided by his hand. And here in my ninth decade, I am a woman who, at long last, has something meaningful to say." -Cicely Tyson
A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance
By Abdurraqib, Hanif
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST - A sweeping, genre-bending "masterpiece" (Minneapolis Star Tribune) exploring Black art, music, and culture in all their glory and complexity--from Soul Train, Aretha Franklin, and James Brown to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Whitney Houston, and Beyoncé
ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Dallas Morning News, Publishers Weekly
"Gorgeous essays that reveal the resilience, heartbreak, and joy within Black performance."--Brit Bennett, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Half
"I was a devil in other countries, and I was a little devil in America, too." Inspired by these few words, spoken by Josephine Baker at the 1963 March on Washington, MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellow and bestselling author Hanif Abdurraqib has written a profound and lasting reflection on how Black performance is inextricably woven into the fabric of American culture. Each moment in every performance he examines--whether it's the twenty-seven seconds in "Gimme Shelter" in which Merry Clayton wails the words "rape, murder," a schoolyard fistfight, a dance marathon, or the instant in a game of spades right after the cards are dealt--has layers of resonance in Black and white cultures, the politics of American empire, and Abdurraqib's own personal history of love, grief, and performance.
Touching on Michael Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Billy Dee Williams, the Wu-Tan Clan, Dave Chappelle, and more, Abdurraqib writes prose brimming with jubilation and pain. With care and generosity, he explains the poignancy of performances big and small, each one feeling intensely familiar and vital, both timeless and desperately urgent. Filled with sharp insight, humor, and heart, A Little Devil in America exalts the Black performance that unfolds in specific moments in time and space--from midcentury Paris to the moon, and back down again to a cramped living room in Columbus, Ohio.
The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song
By Gates, Henry Louis
The instant New York Times bestseller and companion book to the PBS series.
"Absolutely brilliant . . . A necessary and moving work." --Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., author of Begin Again
"Engaging. . . . In Gates's telling, the Black church shines bright even as the nation itself moves uncertainly through the gloaming, seeking justice on earth--as it is in heaven." --Jon Meacham, New York Times Book Review
From the New York Times bestselling author of Stony the Road and one of our most important voices on the African American experience comes a powerful new history of the Black church as a foundation of Black life and a driving force in the larger freedom struggle in America.
For the young Henry Louis Gates, Jr., growing up in a small, residentially segregated West Virginia town, the church was a center of gravity--an intimate place where voices rose up in song and neighbors gathered to celebrate life's blessings and offer comfort amid its trials and tribulations. In this tender and expansive reckoning with the meaning of the Black Church in America, Gates takes us on a journey spanning more than five centuries, from the intersection of Christianity and the transatlantic slave trade to today's political landscape. At road's end, and after Gates's distinctive meditation on the churches of his childhood, we emerge with a new understanding of the importance of African American religion to the larger national narrative--as a center of resistance to slavery and white supremacy, as a magnet for political mobilization, as an incubator of musical and oratorical talent that would transform the culture, and as a crucible for working through the Black community's most critical personal and social issues.
In a country that has historically afforded its citizens from the African diaspora tragically few safe spaces, the Black Church has always been more than a sanctuary. This fact was never lost on white supremacists: from the earliest days of slavery, when enslaved people were allowed to worship at all, their meetinghouses were subject to surveillance and destruction. Long after slavery's formal eradication, church burnings and bombings by anti-Black racists continued, a hallmark of the violent effort to suppress the African American struggle for equality. The past often isn't even past--Dylann Roof committed his slaughter in the Mother Emanuel AME Church 193 years after it was first burned down by white citizens of Charleston, South Carolina, following a thwarted slave rebellion.
But as Gates brilliantly shows, the Black church has never been only one thing. Its story lies at the heart of the Black political struggle, and it has produced many of the Black community's most notable leaders. At the same time, some churches and denominations have eschewed political engagement and exemplified practices of exclusion and intolerance that have caused polarization and pain. Those tensions remain today, as a rising generation demands freedom and dignity for all within and beyond their communities, regardless of race, sex, or gender. Still, as a source of faith and refuge, spiritual sustenance and struggle against society's darkest forces, the Black Church has been central, as this enthralling history makes vividly clear.
Ebony: Covering the First 75 Years
By Lavette, Lavaille
In 1945, Ebony's legendary founder John H. Johnson set out to create a magazine for Black America much like that of the trailblazing Life Magazine, and that he did.
For the African American community, Ebony has been a breath of fresh air, speaking on issues and events from the Black perspective, celebrating Black standards of beauty and elevating heroes of Black America--athletes, entertainers, activists, elected officials, or some combination thereof. Ebony: Covering Black America, by Lavaille Lavette, is a celebration of the treasure trove of the magazine's rich history, glamorous covers, groundbreaking cultural impact, and authentic coverage of Black American life from the magazine's inception to the present. Ebony was Black America's social media long before the birth of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, says Lavette.
Curated by Lavette, this all-out feast of a book is packed with exclusive contributions by a host of celebrities, influencers, and cultural icons, including Common, Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade, Sean Combs, Kimora Lee Simmons, Ciara, and Venus Williams. The book also includes more than 600 covers and photographs featuring political forces such as Martin Luther King Jr., Michelle and President Barack Obama, and Congresswoman Barbara Jordan; entertainers such as Diana Ross, Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge, Oprah Winfrey, and Prince; as well as sports heroes like Serena Williams, Muhammad Ali, Russell Westbrook, and Simone Biles. Lavette has chosen select articles, features, and reportage of note, including Martin Luther King Jr.'s advice column, and Ebony Fashion Fair photo shoots, divided into categories found within the magazine, including Civil Rights & Social Justice, Love & Family, Ebony Men, Ebony Women, and Ebony Music.
Unique in the quality of its photographs and contributors and chronicling everything from fashion and food to politics and social change, to sports and entertainment, Ebony: Covering Black America is a monumental milestone in African-American history and culture, and will be a treasured volume for the magazine's legion of loyal readers.
Black Girl, Call Home
By Mans, Jasmine
A Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by Oprah Magazine - Time - Vogue - Vulture - Essence - Elle - Cosmopolitan - Real Simple - Marie Claire - Refinery 29 - Shondaland - Pop Sugar - Bustle - Reader's Digest
"Nothing short of sublime, and the territory [Mans'] explores...couldn't be more necessary."--Vogue
From spoken word poet Jasmine Mans comes an unforgettable poetry collection about race, feminism, and queer identity.
With echoes of Gwendolyn Brooks and Sonia Sanchez, Mans writes to call herself--and us--home. Each poem explores what it means to be a daughter of Newark, and America--and the painful, joyous path to adulthood as a young, queer Black woman.
Black Girl, Call Home is a love letter to the wandering Black girl and a vital companion to any woman on a journey to find truth, belonging, and healing.
I Am the Rage
By McGowan, Martina
I am the Rage is not just a poetry book. It is a call-to-action.
This evocative collection of thirty poems puts readers in the position of feeling, reflecting, and empathizing with what it means to be Black in America today. Dr. Martina McGowan, a doctor and grandmother who has been a victim of and an advocate against social, racial, and sexual injustices, uses powerful free verse poetry to express the range of emotions, thoughts, and grief she had following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests, and the ongoing attacks against the Black community.
For those who are moved by the poetry of Amanda Gorman and Maya Angelou, Dr. McGowan's poems are a glimpse into the Black experience and will stay with you long after you've read them. Her unforgettable words are brought to life through powerful illustrations by Diana Ejaita, whose work has been featured in Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and The New York Times, making it a beautiful poetry gift book for women and men.
Praise for I am the Rage
I am The Rage is a timely look at generations of trauma and inaction.--Bustle
A raw and searing examination of America's reckoning with racism.--POPSUGAR
These poems reverberate with the powerful grief of a woman who speaks the vulnerability of living in a world where being black makes you a target.--Pamala A. Thiede, Amazon customer review
Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019
By Kendi, Ibram X.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A chorus of extraordinary voices tells the epic story of the four-hundred-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present--edited by Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, and Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on Fire.
FINALIST FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL - NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post, Town & Country, Ms. magazine, BookPage, She Reads, BookRiot, Booklist - "A vital addition to [the] curriculum on race in America . . . a gateway to the solo works of all the voices in Kendi and Blain's impressive choir."--The Washington Post
"From journalist Hannah P. Jones on Jamestown's first slaves to historian Annette Gordon-Reed's portrait of Sally Hemings to the seductive cadences of poets Jericho Brown and Patricia Smith, Four Hundred Souls weaves a tapestry of unspeakable suffering and unexpected transcendence."--O: The Oprah Magazine
The story begins in 1619--a year before the Mayflower--when the White Lion disgorges "some 20-and-odd Negroes" onto the shores of Virginia, inaugurating the African presence in what would become the United States. It takes us to the present, when African Americans, descendants of those on the White Lion and a thousand other routes to this country, continue a journey defined by inhuman oppression, visionary struggles, stunning achievements, and millions of ordinary lives passing through extraordinary history.
Four Hundred Souls is a unique one-volume "community" history of African Americans. The editors, Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, have assembled ninety brilliant writers, each of whom takes on a five-year period of that four-hundred-year span. The writers explore their periods through a variety of techniques: historical essays, short stories, personal vignettes, and fiery polemics. They approach history from various perspectives: through the eyes of towering historical icons or the untold stories of ordinary people; through places, laws, and objects. While themes of resistance and struggle, of hope and reinvention, course through the book, this collection of diverse pieces from ninety different minds, reflecting ninety different perspectives, fundamentally deconstructs the idea that Africans in America are a monolith--instead it unlocks the startling range of experiences and ideas that have always existed within the community of Blackness.
This is a history that illuminates our past and gives us new ways of thinking about our future, written by the most vital and essential voices of our present.