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What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays
For Damon Young, existing while Black is an extreme sport. The act of possessing black skin while searching for space to breathe in America is enough to induce a ceaseless state of angst where questions such as "How should I react here, as a professional black person?" and "Will this white person’s potato salad kill me?" are forever relevant.What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker chronicles Young’s efforts to survive while battling and making sense of the various neuroses his country has given him.It’s a condition that’s sometimes stretched to absurd limits, provoking the angst that made him question if he was any good at the "being straight" thing, as if his sexual orientation was something he could practice and get better at, like a crossover dribble move or knitting; creating the farce where, as a teen, he wished for a white person to call him a racial slur just so he could fight him and have a great story about it; and generating the surreality of watching gentrification transform his Pittsburgh neighborhood from predominantly Black to "Portlandia . . . but with Pierogies."And, at its most devastating, it provides him reason to believe that his mother would be alive today if she were white.From one of our most respected cultural observers, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker is a hilarious and honest debut that is both a celebration of the idiosyncrasies and distinctions of Blackness and a critique of white supremacy and how we define masculinity.
The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father
Yang, Kao Kalia
In the Hmong tradition, the song poet recounts the story of his people, their history and tragedies, joys and losses. He keeps the past alive, invokes the spirits and the homeland, and records courtships, births, weddings, and wishes.Following her award-winning memoir The Latehomecomer, Kao Kalia Yang now retells the life of her father, Bee Yang, the song poet - a Hmong refugee in Minnesota, driven from the mountains of Laos by America’s Secret War. Bee sings the life of his people through the war-torn jungle and a Thai refugee camp. The songs fall away in the cold, bitter world of a St. Paul housing project and on the factory floor, until, with the death of Bee’s mother, they leave him for good. But before they do, Bee, with his poetry, has burnished a life of poverty for his children, polishing their grim reality so that they might shine.
On a Positive Note
Eight-time Grammy Award-winner CeCe Winans has broken new ground as a superstar of gospel. Now CeCe Winans recalls a life full of blessings in this warm and intimate memoir.
Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat
They called her Rabbit.Patricia Williams (aka Ms. Pat) was born and raised in Atlanta at the height of the crack epidemic. One of five children, Pat watched as her mother struggled to get by on charity, cons, and petty crimes. At age seven, Pat was taught to roll drunks for money. At twelve, she was targeted for sex by a man eight years her senior. By thirteen, she was pregnant. By fifteen, Pat was a mother of two.Alone at sixteen, Pat was determined to make a better life for her children. But with no job skills and an eighth-grade education, her options were limited. She learned quickly that hustling and humor were the only tools she had to survive. Rabbit is an unflinching memoir of cinematic scope and unexpected humor. With wisdom and humor, Pat gives us a rare glimpse of what it’s really like to be a black mom in America.
In 1999, after almost twenty years of symptoms, Montel Williams, a decorated naval officer and Emmy Award-winning talk show host, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Like others suffering from the devastating disease, he was struck with denial, fear, depression, and anger - but he is battling back. Climbing Higher is a no-holds-barred look at a man of fierce determination whose tumultuous life graced him with strong values, courage, and hard-won wisdom. Now he shares that wisdom in this powerful book on the divergent roads a life can take, and recounts how he rose to meet the challenges he has faced. Surprising, searing, and deeply personal, Climbing Higher is as honest and inspiring as its author.
Life on the Color Line
Williams, Gregory Howard
As a child in 1950s segregated Virginia, Gregory Howard Williams grew up believing he was white. But when his parents' marriage fell apart, Williams discovered that his dark-skinned father, who had been passing as Italian-American, was half black. The family split up, and Greg, his younger brother, and their father moved to Muncie, Indiana, where the young boys learned the truth about their heritage. Overnight, Greg Williams became black. In this extraordinary and powerful memoir, Williams recounts his remarkable journey along the color line and illuminates the contrasts between the black and white worlds. He tells of the hostility and prejudice he encountered all too often, from both blacks and whites, and the surprising moments of encouragement and acceptance he found from each.
My Life with Earth, Wind & Fire (Large Print)
The late Grammy-winning founder of the legendary pop/R&B/soul/funk/disco group tells his story and charts the rise of his legendary band in this sincere memoir that captures the heart and soul of an artist whose groundbreaking sound continues to influence music today. With an introduction by Steve Harvey and a foreword by David Foster.
Up from Slavery
Washington, Booker T.
Vividly recounting Washington's life - his childhood as a slave, struggle for education, founding and presidency of the Tuskegee Institute, and meetings with the country's leaders, this book reveals the conviction he held that the black man's salvation lay in education, industriousness and self-reliance.
What It Is: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man's Blues
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Do Me Twice: My Life After Islam
Do Me Twice is the triumphant life story of the highly intelligent, courageous, and charismatic Sonsyrea Tate as she breaks the cultural and religious molds set in place by her upbringing. A former African-American Muslim, Tate has raised awareness for that community by bringing personal and enlightening answers to a curious audience. Who are African-American Muslims? What do they stand for and why? How far-reaching are their lifestyle choices? With the global focus on terrorism and interest in the Islamic state, readers are hungry for answers that aren't influenced by government or spin or newscast ratings. They will find those answers here. Do Me Twice inspires young women while exploring Tate's conscious separation from Islam, her abusive husband, and the prejudices and stereotypes set on her by others' misconceptions.
Grime Kids: The Inside Story of the Global Grime Takeover
A group of kids in the 90s had a dream to make their voice heard - and this book documents their seminal impact on today's pop culture.DJ Target grew up in Bow under the shadow of Canary Wharf, with money looming close on the skyline. The 'Godfather of Grime' Wiley and Dizzee Rascal first met each other in his bedroom. They were all just grime kids on the block back then, and didn't realise they were to become pioneers of an international music revolution. A movement that permeates deep into British culture and beyond. Household names were borne out of those housing estates, and the music industry now jumps to the beat of their gritty reality rather than the tune of glossy aspiration. Grime has shaken the world and Target is revealing its explosive and expansive journey in full, using his own unique insight and drawing on the input of grime's greatest names.
Parallel Time: Growing Up in Black and White
"Poignant...rewarding...vividly realized...A writer of edifying elegance....Staples reveals a resolutely distinct voice as he negotiates the treacherous shoals of racial identity in American culture." --The New York Times. SC, 274 pages.
A Stone of Hope
St. Germain, Jim
Born into abject poverty in Haiti, young Jim St. Germain moved to Brooklyn’s Crown Heights, into an overcrowded apartment with his family. He quickly adapted to street life and began stealing, dealing drugs, and growing increasingly indifferent to despair and violence. By the time he was arrested for dealing crack cocaine, he had been handcuffed more than a dozen times. At the age of fifteen the walls of the system were closing around him.But instead of prison, St. Germain was placed in "Boys Town," a nonsecure detention facility designed for rehabilitation. Surrounded by mentors and positive male authority who enforced a system based on structure and privileges rather than intimidation and punishment, St. Germain slowly found his way, eventually getting his GED and graduating from college. Then he made the bravest decision of his life: to live, as an adult, in the projects where he had lost himself, and to work to reform the way the criminal justice system treats at-risk youth.A Stone of Hope is more than an incredible coming-of-age story; told with a degree of candor that requires the deepest courage, it is also a rallying cry. No one is who they are going to be—or capable of being—at sixteen. St. Germain is living proof of this. He contends that we must work to build a world in which we do not give up on a swath of the next generation.Passionate, eloquent, and timely, illustrated with photographs throughout, A Stone of Hope is an inspiring challenge for every American, and is certain to spark debate nationwide.
Melville in Love: The Secret Life of Herman Melville and the Muse of Moby-Dick
In Melville in Love, Pulitzer Prize finalist Michael Shelden tells the story of Melville's passionate, obsessive, and clandestine affair with a married woman named Sarah Morewood, whose libertine impulses encouraged and sustained his own. Filled with the rich detail and immense drama of Melville's secret life, Melville in Love shows us, for the first time, how one of our greatest novelists found his muse and restores Sarah Morewood to her rightful place in the story of Moby-Dick's creation.
Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America
At the age of 12, Sharmila Sen emigrated from India to the U.S. The year was 1982, and everywhere she turned, she was asked to self-report her race - on INS forms, at the doctor's office, in middle school. Never identifying with a race in the India of her childhood, she rejects her new "not quite" designation - not quite white, not quite black, not quite Asian -- and spends much of her life attempting to blend into American whiteness. But after her teen years trying to assimilate--watching shows like General Hospital and The Jeffersons, dancing to Duran Duran and Prince, and perfecting the art of Jell-O no-bake desserts--she is forced to reckon with the hard questions: What does it mean to be white, why does whiteness retain the magic cloak of invisibility while other colors are made hypervisible, and how much does whiteness figure into Americanness?Part memoir, part manifesto, Not Quite Not White is a searing appraisal of race and a path forward for the next not quite not white generation --a witty and sharply honest story of discovering that not-whiteness can be the very thing that makes us American.
An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography
The remarkable life story of the man who inspired the film Hotel Rwanda Readers who were moved and horrified by Hotel Rwanda will respond even more intensely to Paul Rusesabagina’s unforgettable autobiography. As Rwanda was thrown into chaos during the 1994 genocide, Rusesabagina, a hotel manager, turned the luxurious Hotel Milles Collines into a refuge for more than 1,200 Tutsi and moderate Hutu refugees, while fending off their would-be killers with a combination of diplomacy and deception. In An Ordinary Man, he tells the story of his childhood, retraces his accidental path to heroism, revisits the 100 days in which he was the only thing standing between his “guests” and a hideous death, and recounts his subsequent life as a refugee and activist.
Mighty Justice: My Life in Civil Rights
Roundtree, Dovey Johnson
In Mighty Justice, trailblazing African American civil rights attorney Dovey Johnson Roundtree recounts her inspiring life story that speaks movingly and urgently to our racially troubled times. From the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, to the segregated courtrooms of the nation’s capital; from the male stronghold of the army where she broke gender and color barriers to the pulpits of churches where women had waited for years for the right to minister - in all these places, Roundtree sought justice. At a time when African American attorneys had to leave the courthouses to use the bathroom, Roundtree took on Washington’s white legal establishment and prevailed, winning a 1955 landmark bus desegregation case that would help to dismantle the practice of "separate but equal" and shatter Jim Crow laws. Later, she led the vanguard of women ordained to the ministry in the AME Church in 1961, merging her law practice with her ministry to fight for families and children being destroyed by urban violence.Dovey Roundtree passed away in 2018 at the age of 104. Though her achievements were significant and influential, she remains largely unknown to the American public. Mighty Justice corrects the historical record.
No Justice: One White Police Officer, One Black Family, and How One Bullet Ripped Us Apart
NO JUSTICE is the harrowing story of Robbie Tolan, who early on one New Year's Eve morning, found himself being rushed to the hospital. A white police officer had shot him in the chest after mistakenly accusing him of stealing his own car...while in his own driveway.In a journey that took nearly a decade, Tolan and his family saw his case go before the United States Supreme Court in a groundbreaking decision, while Tolan struggled with how to put his life back together. Holding him together through this journey was the strength of his mother and father, his faith in God, and an impenetrable belief that he deserved justice like any other American who'd been wronged.NO JUSTICE is the story about what happened after the cameras and social media protests went away. Robbie Tolan was left with the physical and mental devastation from having his body violated by someone who was supposed to serve and protect him. His story reminds us that police brutality is not a theoretical talking point in a larger nationwide argument. This story is about Robbie Tolan courageously picking up the pieces of his life, even as he fights for justice for all.
Redemption: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Last 31 Hours
At 10:33 a.m. on April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., landed in Memphis on a flight from Atlanta. A march that he had led in Memphis six days earlier to support striking garbage workers had turned into a riot, and King was returning to prove that he could lead a violence-free protest.King’s reputation as a credible, non-violent leader of the civil rights movement was in jeopardy just as he was launching the Poor Peoples Campaign. He was calling for massive civil disobedience in the nation’s capital to pressure lawmakers to enact sweeping anti-poverty legislation. But King didn’t live long enough to lead the protest. He was fatally shot at 6:01 p.m. on April 4 in Memphis.Redemption is an intimate look at the last thirty-one hours and twenty-eight minutes of King’s life. King was exhausted from a brutal speaking schedule. He was being denounced in the press and by political leaders as an agent of violence. He was facing dissent even within the civil rights movement and among his own staff at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In Memphis, a federal court injunction was barring him from marching. As threats against King mounted, he feared an imminent, violent death. The risks were enormous, the pressure intense.On the stormy night of April 3, King gathered the strength to speak at a rally on behalf of sanitation workers. The “Mountaintop Speech,” an eloquent and passionate appeal for workers’ rights and economic justice, exhibited his oratorical mastery at its finest.Redemption draws on dozens of interviews by the author with people who were immersed in the Memphis events, features recently released documents from Atlanta archives, and includes compelling photos. The fresh material reveals untold facets of the story including a never-before-reported lapse by the Memphis Police Department to provide security for King. It unveils financial and logistical dilemmas, and recounts the emotional and marital pressures that were bedeviling King. Also revealed is what his assassin, James Earl Ray, was doing in Memphis during the same time and how a series of extraordinary breaks enabled Ray to construct a sniper’s nest and shoot King.Original and riveting, Redemption relives the drama of King’s final hours.
Barbara Jordan: American Hero
Rogers, Mary Beth
In "Barbara Jordan," Mary Beth Rogers deftly explores the forces that shaped the moral character and quiet dignity of this extraordinary woman. Revealed here are the seeds of Jordan's trademark stoicism, as Rogers recaptures the essence of a black woman entering politics just as the civil rights movement exploded across the nation. Celebrating Jordan's eloquence, passion, and patriotism, this illuminating portrayal gives new depth to our understanding of one of the most influential women of our time - a woman whose powerful convictions and flair for oratorical drama changed the political landscape of America's twentieth century.
King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero
There were mythic sports figures before him - Jack Johnson, Babe Ruth, Joe Louis, Joe DiMaggio - but when Cassius Clay burst onto the sports scene from his native Louisville in the 1950s, he broke the mold. He changed the world of sports and went on to change the world itself. As Muhammad All, his would become the most recognized face on the planet. All was a transcendent athlete and entertainer, a heavyweight Fred Astaire, a rapper before rap was born. He was a mirror of his era, a dynamic figure in the racial and cultural battles of his time. This unforgettable story of his rise and self-creation, told by a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, places Ali in a heritage of great American originals.
The Wind in the Reeds: A Storm, A Play, and the City That Would Not Be Broken
On the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina barreled into New Orleans, devastating many of the city's neighborhoods, including Pontchartrain Park, the home of Wendell Pierce's family and the first African American middle-class subdivision in New Orleans. The hurricane breached many of the city's levees, and the resulting flooding submerged Pontchartrain Park under as much as 20 feet of water. Katrina left New Orleans later that day, but for the next three days the water kept relentlessly gushing into the city, plunging eighty percent of New Orleans under water. Nearly 1,500 people were killed. Half the houses in the city had four feet of water in them - or more. There was no electricity or clean water in the city; looting and the breakdown of civil order soon followed. Tens of thousands of New Orleanians were stranded in the city, with no way out; many more evacuees were displaced, with no way back in. Pierce and his family were some of the lucky ones: They survived and were able to ride out the storm at a relative's house 70 miles away. When they were finally allowed to return, they found their family home in tatters, their neighborhood decimated. Heartbroken but resilient, Pierce vowed to help rebuild, and not just his family's home, but all of Pontchartrain Park. In this powerful and redemptive narrative, Pierce brings together the stories of his family, his city, and his history, why they are all worth saving and the critical importance art played in reuniting and revitalizing this unique American city.
Martin Luther King, Jr. on Leadership: Inspiration and Wisdom for Challenging Times
Phillips, Donald T
Donald T. Phillips has created a detailed and absorbing chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s leadership during the most tumultuous period in America's recent past. Under King's guidance, the unfathomable goal of abolishing federal and state-sanctioned segregation and discrimination was accomplished in only a few short years. From public speaking to peaceful persuasion, from imaginative solutions in changing times to the power of hope, optimism, nonviolence, and the need for a great dream, this valuable study is a comprehensive tool for taking courageous action under even the most difficult of circumstances.
Last Man Standing: The Tragedy and Triumph of Geronimo Pratt
With the epic scope of A Civil Action, "Last Man Standing" is an unforgettable chronicle of the twenty-seven-year struggle to break a conspiratorial abuse of power and free one of America's most famous political prisoners.
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