Allen B. Ballard, Professor of History and Africana Studies at SUNY-Albany, holds an undergraduate degree, Phi Beta Kappa, from Kenyon College in Ohio and a Ph.D. degree in government from Harvard University.
He taught government at City College of New York for many years and was the founder of the SEEK program, the first Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) program in the nation. For five years he served as Dean of Faculty of the City University where he was instrumental in the creation of the Open Admissions program for that university.
In addition to the novel Where I'm Bound, Dr. Ballard has published two nonfiction books, The Education of Black People (Harper and Row, 1973) and One More Day's Journey: The Story of a Family and a People (McGraw Hill, 1984). His articles have appeared in scholarly and popular journals, including the New York Times Magazine.
Breaching Jericho's Walls: A
Twentieth-century African American Life
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Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: State University of New York Press (March 2011)
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
An award-winning African American historian and novelist
takes the reader on an exciting journey from a segregated Philadelphia
childhood in the 1930s to midcentury Paris, Moscow, Cambridge, and
A rich narrative recounting the life story of award-winning African American historian and novelist Allen B. Ballard, Breaching Jericho's Walls takes its readers on an exciting journey from a segregated Philadelphia community in the 1930s to midcentury Paris, Moscow, Cambridge, and Manhattan. The author reflects on his own pioneering role as he expands his horizons as one of the first African American students attending Kenyon College in Ohio, studying abroad in France and sharing a caf' table with Richard Wright and James Baldwin, serving in the military in the American South, and attending graduate school at Harvard University.
As one of the nation's first black Russian specialists, Ballard studied in post-Stalinist Russia for a year, where, among other adventures, he spent a month with Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa, on a Soviet farm. Though he tells his own personal story within Breaching Jericho's Walls, Ballard also portrays the experiences of those northern African Americans whose generations bridged the gap from the legacy of slavery to the breakdown of the segregated system in the 1950s and 1960s. Along the way, he reveals the crucial role that individuals like civil rights leader Paul Robeson, Olympic athletes Jesse Owens and 'Long John' Woodruff, and scholar Alain Locke played in inspiring the hopes of an oppressed and downtrodden race. A memoir filled with entertaining anecdotes and insightful reflection, Breaching Jericho's Walls offers Ballard's compelling personal story and reveals how, brick by brick, African Americans built the road that led to the election of President Obama in 2008.
Carried by Six
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Publisher: Seaforth Books (2009)
Obie Bullock, leader of a Philadelphia antiviolence group (the Mau-Mau), returns home from his janitors job early one morning and stumbles upon a crime scenesomeone has just slit the throat of a police officer. Armed with the officers recovered revolver, Obie, an Iraq War vet, corners and kills the masked assassin, who turns out to be the youngest brother of Son Teagle, a powerful but imprisoned drug dealer. Angered, Teagle vows revenge upon Obie, his beautiful wife, Dora Lee, and their two teenage children. Fearful of Teagle, many members of the Mau-Mau desert, and the pressures upon the crusading Bullock family become unbearable. Their marriage founders when Dora Lee takes the children and flees with them to the South to seek refuge with relatives. Then comes the word to Obie that Son Teagle has broken out of prison!
Where I'm Bound
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Format: Hardcover, 316pp.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Trade
Pub. Date: October 2000
Where I'm Boundwas selected by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association as the best first novel of the year 2000!
Where I'm Bound was chosen for the CWMYB Online Book Club's Reading list (Reading List December 2001)
"Built around the campaigns of the 3rd U.S. Colored Cavalry Regiment; the Civil War explodes through dimensions of history bypassed by a horde of historians. Now Allen B. Ballard has drawn back the curtain on yet another marvelous and moving epoch of the Black experience of that time in Where I'm Bound."
' John A. Williams, author of The Man Who Cried I Am
Where I'm Bound, a stunning and engaging Civil War novel, is the first work of fiction to focus solely on the soldiers of an African-American regiment. Throughout the war, more than 180,000 African-American men fought for the Union Army. Many were escaped slaves, others were freed men; yet all voluntarily enlisted for one cause: freedom. For the first time in fiction, their experiences are successfully portrayed in a manner befitting the grandeur and scope of their contributions. Inspired by the true story of a black cavalry unit in Mississippi, renowned African-American historian Allen Ballard weaves factual events with the fictional account of an escaped slave, Joe Duckett, who flees to join the Northern Army.
When Duckett escapes his life of bondage to become a cavalry scout, he grows to be more than a free man ' he becomes a hero. Duckett and his hard-riding regiment roam the Mississippi Delta, freeing slaves and keeping vital waterways open for the Union. As the war approaches its final, tragic days, Duckett embarks on his most dangerous mission yet: to return to the plantation from which he escaped in order to reunite with his wife and daughter.
More than just an account of the Civil War, Where I'm Bound is an affecting portrayal of the psychological effects of war. Through the character Duckett, some of war's greatest tragedies are painfully evoked ' the agonizing separation from family, the horrendous mission of having to kill another man, and the cruelty and moral corruption that occur when men's passions are their greatest weapons against one another. This story of one man's ability to meet such overwhelming challenges brings to life the noble fight for freedom as displayed by African-American soldiers as well as the effects of that fight on an entire country and culture.
Dr. Ballard's first work of fiction is a striking blend of historical fact and dramatic storytelling brilliantly illustrating the accomplishments of African-American Civil War soldiers. Where I'm Bound is destined to become a classic novel of the Civil War.
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: IUniverse (May 6, 2004)
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.4 inches
The Education of Black Folk chronicles the history of African-American education and the beginnings of affirmative action in American colleges and universities. Considered to be a classic by many, on can find no better introduction to this important topic.
One More Day's Journey: The Making
of Black Philadelphia
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Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: iUniverse (April 27, 2004)
Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
One More Day's Journey chronicles the movement of African Americans from South Carolina to Philadelphia during the Great Migration. Alex Haley said, "It is informative and emotionally moving, and I recommend it." Ralph Ellison said, " I recommend it highly to all who would add to their knowledge of American History." Originally published by Institute for the Study of Human Issues (1987)
An old folk song that I love: “Red River Valley”
“This year two really outstanding young Negro men have applied for admission in 1948, one of them from Central High School in Philadelphia, and the other from Steubenville. Both are athletes and have unusually promising social and personal records as well as high academic records; both have applied for and received scholarships.”—Kenyon College,President Gordon Keith Chalmers (1948)
In retrospect, it is clear that -with some exceptions- our existence on that campus was defined not by us but by the constant necessity to be everything that negated the white man's concept of niggers. We were, in fact, forced to suppress our natural inner selves so as to conform to the mores of a campus dominated by upper-middle-class Americans. For eighteen hours a day, our manners, speech, style of walking were on trial before white America. Classes, particularly in the freshman and sophomore years, although sometimes intellectually rewarding, seemed frequently to us tests to prove to both teachers and students that Jefferson's views on the Black mentality were incorrect.”—Allen B. Ballard, from The Education of Black Folk
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