History

Another Black Like Me | ,

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This book brings together authors from different institutions and perspectives and from researchers specialising in different aspects of the experiences of the African Diaspora from Latin America. It creates an overview of the complexities of the lives of Black people over various periods of history, as they struggled to build lives away from Africa in societies that, in general, denied them the basic right of fully belonging, such as the right of fully belonging in the countries where, by choice or force of circumstance, they lived. Another Black Like Me thus presents a few notable scenes from the long history of Blacks in Latin America: as runaway slaves seen through the official documentation denouncing as illegal those who resisted captivity; through the memoirs of a slave who still dreamt of his homeland; reflections on the status of Black women; demands for citizenship and kinship by Black immigrants; the fantasies of Blacks in the United States about the lives of Blacks in Brazil; a case study of some of those who returned to Africa and had to build a new identity based on their experiences as slaves; and the abstract representations of race and color in the Caribbean. All of these provide the reader with a glimpse of complex phenomena that, though they cannot be generalized in a single definition of blackness in Latin America, share the common element of living in societies where the definition of blackness was flexible, there were no laws of racial segregation, and where the culture on one hand tolerates miscegenation, and on the other denies full recognition of rights to Blacks..

Juvenile Fiction

For Black Girls Like Me | Mariama J. Lockington

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In this lyrical coming-of-age story about family, sisterhood, music, race, and identity, Mariama J. Lockington draws on some of the emotional truths from her own experiences growing up with an adoptive white family. I am a girl but most days I feel like a question mark. Makeda June Kirkland is eleven years old, adopted, and black. Her parents and big sister are white, and even though she loves her family very much, Makeda often feels left out. When Makeda's family moves from Maryland to New Mexico, she leaves behind her best friend, Lena— the only other adopted black girl she knows— for a new life. In New Mexico, everything is different. At home, Makeda’s sister is too cool to hang out with her anymore and at school, she can’t seem to find one real friend. Through it all, Makeda can’t help but wonder: What would it feel like to grow up with a family that looks like me? Through singing, dreaming, and writing secret messages back and forth with Lena, Makeda might just carve a small place for herself in the world. For Black Girls Like Me is for anyone who has ever asked themselves: How do you figure out where you are going if you don’t know where you came from?.

Social Science

Prison of Culture | John Griffin

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The companion volume to the 50th-anniversary edition of Black Like Me, this book features John Howard Griffin’s later writings on racism and spirituality. Conveying a progressive evolution in thinking, it further explores Griffin’s ethical stand in the human rights struggle and nonviolent pursuit of equality—a view he shared with greats such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Thomas Merton. Enlightening and forthright, this record also focuses on Griffin’s spiritual grounding in the Catholic monastic tradition, discussing the illuminating meditations on suffering and the author’s own reflections on communication, justice, and dying..

Fiction

The Devil Rides Outside | John Howard Griffin

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No less a critic than Clifton Fadiman called The Devil Rides Outside a "staggering novel." The first novel of John H. Griffin, it written during the author’s decade of blindness following an injury suffered during the closing days of World War II. As Time Magazine described it, The Devil Rides Outside "has some things relatively rare in U.S. letters: energy, earnestness and unashamed religious fervor." Written as a diary, the novel relates the intellectual and spiritual battles of a young American musicologist who is studying Gregorian chant in a French Benedictine monastery. Even though he is not Catholic, he must live like the monks, sleeping in a cold stone cell, eating poor food, sharing latrine duties. His dreams rage with memories of his Paris mistress; his days are spent being encouraged by the monks to seek God. He takes up residence outside the monastery after an illness, but he finds the village a slough of greed and pettiness and temptation. Indeed, as the French proverb says, "the devil rides outside the monastery walls.".

Fiction

Nuni | John Howard Griffin

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After John Howard Griffin's escape from Nazi-occupied France, he was shipped to the South Pacific, where he was stationed as an isolated observer in the Solomon Islands. That experience led to his second novel, Nuni (1956). As in his first novel, The Devil Rides Outside, an American professor is confronted by an alien reality. In Nuni, that reality is a "primitive," almost Neolithic society. Yet, the professor's intellectual accomplishments are useless here, his place in both family and civilized society meaningless. He learns to cope, not so much in terms of survival as in finding a new meaning to his life. The Chicago Tribune described Nuni as "an extraordinarily interesting account of a white man's life in a savage island village of the Pacific—the greater part of the novel is concerned with the growth in the narrator, a knowledge of as well as affection for the curiously innocent people." The Dallas Times-Herald wrote: "The two greatest novels of the past decade are William Faulkner's A Fable, and John Howard Griffin's Nuni.".

Biography & Autobiography

Man in the Mirror | Robert Bonazzi

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First published by Orbis Books in 1997,Man in the Mirrortells the story behindBlack Like Me, a book that astonished America upon its publication in 1961, and remains an American classic 50 years later. In 1959 a white writer darkened his skin and passed for a time as a "Negro" in the Deep South. John Howard Griffin was that writer, and his bookBlack Like Meswiftly became a national sensation. Few readers know of the extraordinary journey that led to Griffin's risky "experiment"—the culmination of a lifetime of risk, struggle, and achievement. A native of Texas, Griffin was a medical student who became involved in the rescue of Jews in occupied France; a U.S. serviceman among tribal peoples in the South Pacific, where he suffered an injury that left him blinded for a decade; a convert to Catholicism; and, finally, a novelist and writer. All these experiences fed Griffin's drive to understand what it means to be human, and how human beings can justify treating their fellows—of whatever race or physical description—as "the intrinsic Other." After describing this journey and analyzing the text ofBlack Like Me, Robert Bonazzi treats the dramatic aftermath of Griffin's experiment and life.Man in the Mirrorprovides a fascinating look at the roots of this important book, and offers reflections on why, after all these years, it retains its impact and relevance..

Biography & Autobiography

Black Like Me | John Howard Griffin

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This American classic has been corrected from the original manuscripts and indexed, featuring historic photographs and an extensive biographical afterword..

Social Science

Black Like You | John Strausbaugh

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A refreshingly clearheaded and taboo-breaking look at race relations reveals that American culture is neither Black nor White nor Other, but a mix-a mongrel. Black Like You is an erudite and entertaining exploration of race relations in American popular culture. Particularly compelling is Strausbaugh's eagerness to tackle blackface-a strange, often scandalous, and now taboo entertainment. Although blackface performance came to be denounced as purely racist mockery, and shamefacedly erased from most modern accounts of American cultural history, Black Like You shows that the impact of blackface on American culture was deep and long-lasting. Its influence can be seen in rock and hiphop; in vaudeville, Broadway, and gay drag performances; in Mark Twain and "gangsta lit"; in the earliest filmstrips and the 2004 movie White Chicks; on radio and television; in advertising and product marketing; and even in the way Americans speak. Strausbaugh enlivens themes that are rarely discussed in public, let alone with such candor and vision: - American culture neither conforms to knee-jerk racism nor to knee-jerk political correctness. It is neither Black nor White nor Other, but a mix-a mongrel. - No history is best forgotten, however uncomfortable it may be to remember. The power of blackface to engender mortification and rage in Americans to this day is reason enough to examine what it tells us about our culture and ourselves. - Blackface is still alive. Its impact and descendants-including Black performers in "whiteface"-can be seen all around us today..

Biography & Autobiography

White Like Her | Gail Lukasik

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White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing is the story of Gail Lukasik’s mother’s “passing,” Gail’s struggle with the shame of her mother’s choice, and her subsequent journey of self-discovery and redemption. In the historical context of the Jim Crow South, Gail explores her mother’s decision to pass, how she hid her secret even from her own husband, and the price she paid for choosing whiteness. Haunted by her mother’s fear and shame, Gail embarks on a quest to uncover her mother’s racial lineage, tracing her family back to eighteenth-century colonial Louisiana. In coming to terms with her decision to publicly out her mother, Gail changed how she looks at race and heritage. With a foreword written by Kenyatta Berry, host of PBS's Genealogy Roadshow, this unique and fascinating story of coming to terms with oneself breaks down barriers..

Literary Collections

Black Like Us | Devon Carbado

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Winner of the 2003 Lambda Literary Award for Fiction Anthology Showcasing the work of literary giants like Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, and writers whom readers may be surprised to learn were "in the life," Black Like Us is the most comprehensive collection of fiction by African American lesbian, gay, and bisexual writers ever published. From the Harlem Renaissance to the Great Migration of the Depression era, from the postwar civil rights, feminist, and gay liberation movements, to the unabashedly complex sexual explorations of the present day, Black Like Us accomplishes a sweeping survey of 20th century literature..

Biography & Autobiography

Between the World and Me | Ta-Nehisi Coates

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • NAMED ONE OF TIME’S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE • PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST • ONE OF OPRAH’S “BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH” • NOW AN HBO ORIGINAL SPECIAL EVENT Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race” (Rolling Stone) NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS OF THE DECADE BY CNN • NAMED ONE OF PASTE’S BEST MEMOIRS OF THE DECADE • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • O: The Oprah Magazine • The Washington Post • People • Entertainment Weekly • Vogue • Los Angeles Times • San Francisco Chronicle • Chicago Tribune • New York • Newsday • Library Journal • Publishers Weekly In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward..

Social Science

I'm Still Here | Austin Channing Brown

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • REESE’S BOOK CLUB X HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK PICK • From a leading voice on racial justice, an eye-opening account of growing up Black, Christian, and female that exposes how white America’s love affair with “diversity” so often falls short of its ideals. “Austin Channing Brown introduces herself as a master memoirist. This book will break open hearts and minds.”—Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Untamed Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age seven, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker, and expert helping organizations practice genuine inclusion. In a time when nearly every institution (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claims to value diversity in its mission statement, Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice. Her stories bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric—from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations. For readers who have engaged with America’s legacy on race through the writing of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michael Eric Dyson, I’m Still Here is an illuminating look at how white, middle-class, Evangelicalism has participated in an era of rising racial hostility, inviting the reader to confront apathy, recognize God’s ongoing work in the world, and discover how blackness—if we let it—can save us all..

Social Science

Self-Made Man | Norah Vincent

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A journalist’s provocative and spellbinding account of her eighteen months spent disguised as a man. Norah Vincent became an instant media sensation with the publication of Self-Made Man, her take on just how hard it is to be a man, even in a man’s world. Following in the tradition of John Howard Griffin (Black Like Me), Vincent spent a year and a half disguised as her male alter ego, Ned, exploring what men are like when women aren’t around. As Ned, she joined a bowling team, took a high-octane sales job, went on dates with women (and men), visited strip clubs, and even managed to infiltrate a monastery and a men’s therapy group. At once thought-provoking and pure fun to read, Self-Made Man is a sympathetic and thrilling tour de force of immersion journalism..

Biography & Autobiography

When I Was White | Sarah Valentine

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The stunning and provocative coming-of-age memoir about Sarah Valentine's childhood as a white girl in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, and her discovery that her father was a black man. At the age of 27, Sarah Valentine discovered that she was not, in fact, the white girl she had always believed herself to be. She learned the truth of her paternity: that her father was a black man. And she learned the truth about her own identity: mixed race. And so Sarah began the difficult and absorbing journey of changing her identity from white to black. In this memoir, Sarah details the story of the discovery of her identity, how she overcame depression to come to terms with this identity, and, perhaps most importantly, asks: why? Her entire family and community had conspired to maintain her white identity. The supreme discomfort her white family and community felt about addressing issues of race–her race–is a microcosm of race relationships in America. A black woman who lived her formative years identifying as white, Sarah's story is a kind of Rachel Dolezal in reverse, though her "passing" was less intentional than conspiracy. This memoir is an examination of the cost of being black in America, and how one woman threw off the racial identity she'd grown up with, in order to embrace a new one..

Biography & Autobiography

Out Of America | Keith B. Richburg,B Richburg

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In this provocative and unvarnished account of his three years on the continent of his ancestors, Richburg takes us on an extraordinary journey that sweeps from Somalia to Rwanda to Zaire and finally to South Africa, and shows how he was forced to confront the divide within himself between his African racial heritage and his American cultural identity..

Biography & Autobiography

Scattered Shadows | John Howard Griffin

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This never before published memoir by the author of Black Like Me is an extraordinary chronicle of the triumph of the human spirit..

Humor

How to Be Black | Baratunde Thurston

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New York Times Bestseller Baratunde Thurston’s comedic memoir chronicles his coming-of-blackness and offers practical advice on everything from “How to Be the Black Friend” to “How to Be the (Next) Black President”. Have you ever been called “too black” or “not black enough”? Have you ever befriended or worked with a black person? Have you ever heard of black people? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this book is for you. It is also for anyone who can read, possesses intelligence, loves to laugh, and has ever felt a distance between who they know themselves to be and what the world expects. Raised by a pro-black, Pan-Afrikan single mother during the crack years of 1980s Washington, DC, and educated at Sidwell Friends School and Harvard University, Baratunde Thurston has more than over thirty years' experience being black. Now, through stories of his politically inspired Nigerian name, the heroics of his hippie mother, the murder of his drug-abusing father, and other revelatory black details, he shares with readers of all colors his wisdom and expertise in how to be black. “As a black woman, this book helped me realize I’m actually a white man.”—Patton Oswalt.

Biography & Autobiography

Follow the Ecstasy | John Howard Griffin

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In 1969, one year after Thomas Merton's tragic (and suspicious) death, John Howard Griffin was invited to write a biography of America's most famous monk, a monk who strangely had become a best-selling theologian. The result was Follow the Ecstasy: The Hermitage Years of Thomas Merton (1983). Both Merton and Griffin were converts to Catholicism, and they had become fast friends during Griffin’s occasional retreats to the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemani where Merton was cloistered. As Robert Bonazzi writes in his Foreword, "With natural humility and intense spirituality, they taught each other by example and silence." Merton and Griffin were both photographers as well as writers. Griffin wrote about Merton's painting and photography in A Hidden Wholeness: The Visual World of Thomas Merton (1970). They also shared a fascination with the French theologian Jacques Maritain, as well as French modernists Pierre Reverdy, George Braque, and Albert Camus. Griffin fell ill before he could finish his biography of Merton, and the mantle of official biographer passed to Michael Mott, author of The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton, an essential compendium of the monk's life. Yet Follow the Ecstasy gets closer to the man—a portrait made by one who shared not only personal histories and interests with Merton, but an "intuitive perspective of solitude.".

Fiction

Black Leopard, Red Wolf | Marlon James

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"A fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made." —Neil Gaiman "Gripping, action-packed....The literary equivalent of a Marvel Comics universe." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times In this epic, internationally bestselling novel from Marlon James, the Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings, myth, fantasy and history merge in the stunning story of a mercenary's quest to find a missing child. Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: "He has a nose," people say. Hired to find a mysterious boy who has disappeared, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group assembled to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as the Leopard. As Tracker follows the boy's scent, he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he fights for survival, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep the boy from being found? And perhaps most important of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying? Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a saga of breathtaking adventure that's also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, the excesses of ambition, and our need to understand them all..

Social Science

The Future of the Race | Henry Louis Gates, Jr.,Cornel West

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Almost one-hundred years ago, W.E.B. Du Bois proposed the notion of the "talented tenth," an African American elite that would serve as leaders and models for the larger black community. In this unprecedented collaboration, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Cornel West--two of Du Bois's most prominent intellectual descendants--reassess that relationship and its implications for the future of black Americans. If the 1990s are the best of times for the heirs of the Talented Tenth, they are unquestionably worse for the growing black underclass. As they examine the origins of this widening gulf and propose solutions for it, Gates and West combine memoir and biography, social analysis and cultural survey into a book that is incisive and compassionate, cautionary and deeply stirring. "Today's most public African American intellectual voices...West and Gates have made a valuable contribution."--Julian Bond, Philadelphia Inquirer "Brilliant...a social, cultural and political blueprint...that attempts to illumine the future path for blacks and American democracy."--New York Daily News "Henry Louis Gates., Jr., and Cornel West are among the most renowned American intellectuals of our time."--New York Times Book Review.