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AALBC.com’s Bestselling Books May/June 2015news-bestsellers-may2015We’ve made two significant to the best sellers list this period. First, we’ve removed our dependence on the Amazon tool, by building our own database. This allows us to more easily create and maintain our best sellers lists. This change also facilitated our second enhancement, the introduction of a children’s best sellers list.

Authors You Should Know

new-johnaJohn A. Williams

AALBC.com mourns the passing of John Alfred Williams, author of the classic, The Man Who Cried I Am, which was on our book club’s reading list back in 1998. This is how I discovered Williams’ work. Over a decade ago, Williams took an interest in AALBC.com and supported us (read: supported me) in a number of ways. That level of support from an author of his stature is exceedingly rare. I will always remember and miss him for it. Williams passed on July 3, 2015, at the age of 89, from complications due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Also check out a terrific article Williams wrote, for Ebony Magazine, covering the Black literary scene back in 1963, “Negro in Literature Today.”

news-claudiiaClaudia Alexander, Ph.D.,

AALBC.com also mourns the loss of Claudia Alexander, who lost her battle with breast cancer at the age of 56 on July 11, 2015. Alexander was a scientist on the Rosetta Project, which landed a spacecraft on a comet (67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko) in November of 2014. She just 56 years old.

Alexander also published her own children’s science-learning books and her alter-ego, E.L. Celeste is a lady astronomer, and captain of space-ready aerocraft to the planets and beyond. By night she re-imagines the universe. She has written a number of steampunk short stories and a full length elf-punk novel.

news-bebeBebe Moore Campbell

Campbell, who passed back in 2006, was the author of three New York Times best sellers: Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Comeback Choir, and What You Owe Me, which was also a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001. Her other works include the novel Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and the winner of the NAACP Image Award for literature. Campbell’s titles frequently made AALBC.com bestsellers lists as well.

Campbell was also spokesperson for mental illness a condition which her daughter, actress Maia Campbell, battled.

new-ursulaUrsula Rucker

Ursula Rucker is one of the premiere spoken word recording artists in the music industry today. As a poet and performance artist, Ursula has enchanted critics and fans across the globe with her diverse repertoire, captivating vocals and accessible poetic verse.

Since 1994, Ursula has shared her songwriting talent and mesmerizing voice with an array of recording artists and producers including King Britt, 4 Hero, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Josh Wink and The Roots. Each was drawn to the soft spoken eloquence and undeterred honesty which have become Ursula’s signature.

news-maritaMarita L. Kinney

Kinney is a best-selling author with over 25 books published. As a published author, life coach, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur, Marita has inspired thousands of people to overcome adversity with triumph through faith and perseverance. While facing several life changing challenges herself, Marita had enough faith to conquer tribulations, coming out victorious.

She is best known for her Christian Fiction novellas and heart felt inspirational books. Loving God with her whole heart, she has vowed to live a life of transparency winning souls to Christ with the realness of her journey and the relatability of her testimony. In March of 2009 Marita published her debut book, The Unspoken Walk. Capturing the true essence of what it means to turn “lemons into lemonade”, she has taken the harsh lessons of life and developed a plan for successfully living.

Book Reviews

newbetween-the-world-and-meBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates garnered national attention a year ago when he published “A Case for Reparations” in the Atlantic Monthly magazine. Now, the progressive pundit is back with Between the World and Me an equally-incendiary assessment of the state of race relations in the United States.

The book is basically designed as an open letter from Ta-Nehisi to his 15 year-old only-child, Samori. The author fears the boy might suffer the same horrific fate as African-American youngsters like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis who were killed on a whim by white men for the “crimes” of walking home while black and listening to loud music, respectively (Spiegel & Grau, July 17, 2015, debuted at #1 on the New York Times best-sellers list).

news-stand-your-ground (1)Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God by Kelly Brown Douglas

The author opens the opus with a history lesson, tracing the source of the problem back hundreds of years to the birth of “Exceptionalism” in Anglo-Saxon England. Reserved for whites, that notion enabled Caucasians to adopt the concept of “Manifest Destiny” that led to the extermination of Native Americans (relying on the rallying cry “The only good Indian is a dead Indian”) and to the wholesale subjugation of Africans as property.

She sees today’s Stand Your Ground law as a logical extension of the supremacist philosophy that sustained slavery, Jim Crow segregation, lynching and other institutionalized forms of color-coded oppression. Apparently, part and parcel of that shameful scheme was a “natural law theo-ideology” hyper-valuing whiteness while denigrating the black body as “perpetually-guilty chattel” (Orbis Books, May 10, 2015).

newsnyviewMy View From The Summit by Nicole Thomas

My View From The Summit is succinct and readable, and will probably be read in one sitting. Thomas’s tone is conversational, and her writing is straightforward, accessible, and uncomplicated. Although Thomas’s life has had its many ups and downs—the loss of loved ones, the dissolution of her marriage—she never looks back with regret. She sees each moment, good or bad, as a life lesson that has helped her on her journey to be the person she wants to be.

What makes My View From The Summit appealing is that, although told from a modern perspective some vignettes are filled with age-old lessons: Letting go, not taking on more than we can handle, being grateful, understanding that we can’t control everything and shouldn’t even try. These essays could help the overworked superwoman who is trying to balance being a mother, wife, sister, daughter, employee, who is constantly on the go, and doing it all. Thomas reminds us of the small marvels of life that we should be thankful for, even in the midst of our daily grind. And that, “You can lose your sense of self trying to please other people” (CreateSpace, January 20, 2014).

news-it-all-beginsIt All Begins with ‘I’: The “New Rules” of Thinking and the Simple Secrets to Living a Rich, Joyous and Fulfilled Life by Stuart K. Robinson

You’ve probably heard most of his common sense advice before in one form or another. Take, Rule #6: “I Will Fire the Announcer.” By that, the author means ignoring that distracting, negative voice in your head capable of discouraging you via a defeatist attitude. He suggests that, instead, you “Trust your heart, because you feel it.”

Robinson’s other axioms range from “I Will Determine My Habits” to “I Will Believe in Myself” to “I Am Who I Think I Am, and I Get What I Expect.” In terms of more innovative ideas, he devotes an entire chapter to the difference between the “I” (good) and “Me” (bad) mentalities (Tallfellow Press, June 22, 2015).

9780803740860I Am Jackie Robinson by Brad Meltzer

Brad Meltzer was born in Brooklyn, which is where Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color line when he joined for the Dodgers in 1947. But that’s not what inspired the best-selling author to write I Am Jackie Robinson. Rather, the father of a daughter and identical twin boys had grown tired of watching his children admire reality-TV stars and trash-talking pro athletes as if they were true heroes.

These attention-seeking celebrities were famous, yes. But were they worth emulating and looking up to? No. As Brad puts it, “I wanted my kids to see real heroes… and real people no different from themselves.” So, he decided to publish a series of books for young readers touching upon the real-life childhoods and achievements of such icons as Dr. Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Albert Einstein.

news-america-the-blackAmerica The Black Point of View by Tony Rose

Tony’s upbringing in Boston back in the Fifties and Sixties was way worse than merely modest, given how he and his sister were raised in a rough Roxbury ghetto they were lucky to survive.

His absentee-dad was rarely around after being caught molesting his daughter, not that the heroin addicted-pimp/Mafia hit man would have made much of a role model. Consequently, Tony’s mom was totally dependent on that bi-weekly Welfare check from the government. And up until she lost her mind in 1965, the emotionally-abusive woman was fond of routinely reminding her kids that they were “black and ugly” and that nobody wanted them (Amber Communications Group, April 28, 2015).

news-12-waysHow to Avoid the Superwoman Complex 12 Ways to Balance Mind, Body & Spirit by C. Nicole Swiner, MD

How to Avoid the Superwoman Complex bills itself as a how-to book designed to help working females at risk of spreading themselves too thin. Unfortunately, in a classic case of bait and switch, the actual advice dispensed on its pages bears little resemblance to what’s suggested by the self-help sounding title.

Instead, this opus is filled with a lot of the sort of boiler plate medical advice you might find on pamphlets in a general practitioner’s waiting room. And the author, C. Nicole Swiner, MD, just happens to be a physician with a family practice (C.Nicole Swiner, December 29, 2014).

Book Recommendations

news-ghost-summerGhost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due

“Ms. Due accomplishes the hardest thing of all with deceptive ease, creating characters we care about on their most human level.”
—Stephen King

Named one of Publishers Weekly Top 10 Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror titles for the fall! Whether weaving family life and history into dark fiction or writing speculative Afrofuturism, American Book Award winner and Essence bestselling author Tananarive Due’s work is both riveting and enlightening. In her debut collection of short fiction, Due takes us to Gracetown, a small Florida town that has both literal and figurative ghost; into future scenarios that seem all too real; and provides empathetic portraits of those whose lives are touched by Otherness. Featuring an award-winning novella and fifteen stories-one of which has never been published before-Ghost Summer: Stories, is sure to both haunt and delight. The title novella, Ghost Summer, won a Kindred Award from the Carl Brandon Society (Prime Books, September 15, 2015).

garden-of-unfortunate-souls (1)The Garden of Unfortunate Souls by Eddie Mark

In 1980s Buffalo, New York, the recession has transformed the city’s proudest African American neighborhood into a ghetto. Loretta Ford, an eccentric single mother and religious fanatic, survives for years by masquerading as the owner of a dead woman’s house. Her reclusive life is interrupted when an unlikely incident brings the mayor of Buffalo to her home in the middle of the night. Their secret meeting sets off a chain of events that will leave two families altered forever.

With all the passion of a Shakespearean tragedy and a cast of characters never to be forgotten, The Garden of Unfortunate Souls vividly depicts the consequences of violence, sex, and gender conflict in African American communities (Booktrope, April 17, 2015).

newbottle-topBottle Cap Boys Dancing On Royal Street by Rita Williams-Garcia

Tap dancing on sidewalks, especially in the city’s French Quarter, is a New Orleans tradition as familiar to some as Jazz, Creole and Cajun food and Mardi Gras. For generations, Black youngsters have danced for tourists on the streets of New Orleans some because they enjoy it, but many others to earn money for their families. Instead of dancing in store bought tap shoes, young boys and girls stamp and grind bottle caps into the soles of their sneakers until the bottle caps stay firmly in place at the toe. And they don’t miss a beat! Clickity-clack, Clack……tipity-tap, tap tap……tipity-tap, tap In Bottle Cap Boys Dancing on Royal Street, award-winning author Rita Williams-Garcia introduces two bottle cap dancers, brothers Randy and Rudy. Through rich and upbeat rhyme, Williams-Garcia gives voice to the dancing and the youngsters who keep this unique New Orleans tradition alive. Damian Ward’s exuberant illustrations are perfect complements to Williams Garcia’s perfectly pitched poetry (Marimba Books, October 15, 2015).

new-friendship9.No Fear For Freedom: The Story Of The Friendship 9

SC raised Confederate flag in 1961 to insult nine black protesters — and took it down to honor nine slain
South Carolina put Confederate flag above capitol in 1961 after 9 students held sit-in at segregated lunch counter. A peculiar historical symmetry exists between South Carolina’s decision to raise the Confederate flag in 1961.

The Friendship 9, a group of college students and activists in Rock Hill, South Carolina, claimed a rightful place in history by challenging inequality and unfair laws. In 1961, their decision to help place into motion the Jail, No Bail strategy empowered many communities (Frown-Free Publications, March 1, 2014). Watch a video of Their Story.

news-stand-your-groundStand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray

Janice Johnson is living every mother’s nightmare. Her seventeen-year-old son was murdered and the shooter has not been arrested. Can the DA and the police be trusted to investigate and do the right thing? Should Janice take advantage of the public outcry and join her husband alongside the angry protesters who are out for revenge?

Meredith Spencer is married to the man accused of the killing and she sees her husband and the situation with far more clarity than anyone realizes. What she knows could blow the case wide open, but what will that mean for her life and that of her son? Will she have the courage to come forward in time so justice can be done? Published by Touchstone, June 30, 2015.

news-mamas-boyMama’s Boy by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

When her son is in trouble, a heartbroken mother finds the courage and faith to save him, in ReShonda Tate Billingsley’s powerful family drama—a novel as timely as today’s headlines.

The breaking TV news rocks Jasper, Texas, to the core: a white police officer is fatally shot in a scuffle with three black youths—and a cellphone video captures Jamal Jones, the sixteen-year-old son of esteemed Reverend Elton Jones, escalating the tragic encounter. Now, as the national spotlight shines on a town already rife with racial tension, Jamal is a murder suspect on the run. And all of Jasper—even the Reverend’s congregation—rushes to judge the boy they thought they knew (Gallery Books, 8/30/15).

Billingsley’s, Novel Let the Church Say Amen has been adapted as a film and will debut, August 30th, on BET.

news-memoirsMemoirs of a Mad Black Educator Bobby R. Dixon

A critical reflection on the education reform movement through the personal experiences of this African-American educator. Dixon fictionalizes some of his experiences to delineate the emergence of a new educational power structure, which entails the marriage of philanthropy, federal government policy, charter school operators, new forms of teacher training and administrator training programs, the profitable testing industry, mayoral control of large school districts, among other entities. This new educational power structure not only advocates the privatization of public education, but forces it down the public’s throat. The consequence is the growing obsolescence of the public school and the public school teacher. There are massive firings and layoffs of skilled, veteran teachers and principals nationwide to make way for alternatively trained teachers and principals. Likewise there are nationwide closings of schools in minority and poor communities to make way for charter schools and special school districts (CreateSpace, September 11, 2014).

newgirls-write-now-2015Voice to Voice: The Girls Write Now 2015 Anthology

From one of the nation’s top after school programs, an acclaimed collection of poetry and prose showcasing the voices of young women and their mentors in a powerful exploration of the theme of Voice to Voice. Distinguished twice by the White House as one of the top after-school arts and cultural organizations in the nation, and recently honored by Newsweek in their article on “After school programs that make a difference,” Girls Write Now works to empower underserved teen girls in New York City by pairing them with professional writing mentors (Girls Write Now, May 19, 2015).

news-raising-black-boysRaising Black Boys to Men: A Mother’s Guide to Raising Thugless Sons by Patricia Joseph

One mother’s journey: her successes, trials, and errors, in raising her three boys, in a society that glorifies thug-life. Author, Patricia Joseph, who successfully navigated the lives of her three sons, through the ever so present negative influences in society, felt compelled to write about her experience in raising thugless sons. Patricia credits much of her success to just “good, ole-fashion child rearing.”

In her book, Patricia provides simple anecdotes and tips, to help mothers faced with the challenges of raising Black boys. Patricia cleverly sprinkles humor throughout the book, and provides laughter to the role of parenting. The book is a short, quick-read, which can be read in a few hours. At the end of each chapter, Patricia provides “Mom Tips,” which are little nuggets of information, for moms to reference long after reading the book (BookBaby, December 5, 2014).

news-still-a-pygmyStill a Pygmy: The unique memoir of one man’s fight to save his identity from extinction

The unique memoir of one man’s fight to save his identity from extinction

Still a Pygmy is a story of love, pride and prejudice that traces the journey of BaTembo Pygmy Isaac Bacirongo from the forests of Central Africa, through the brutality of dictator­ship and war, to arrival and settlement in Australia’s melting pot. Isaac’s inimi­table style and voice draw readers into the heart of this memoir, his relation­ship with his wife, who survived his mother’s attempts to kill her to help Isaac through experiences of appall­ing violence. It is full of warmth, wit and wise insights about life (Finch Publishing, July 1, 2015).

Events

 

news-bcala-program9th National Conference of African American Librarians – August 5-7, 2015 – St. Louis, MO

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association is excited to return NCAAL to its original biennial conference schedule. New to NCAAL 2015, is a Wednesday through Saturday schedule, allowing conference goers to take advantage of lower transportation rates typically available on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The new schedule also provides a wonderful opportunity for attendees to stay over and explore the city of Saint Louis once the conference concludes Saturday afternoon. Black Caucus of the American Library Association 9th Conference Program is available

Exhibitors are invited to participate in the 9th National Conference. The association continues to work to make its conferences relevant and enjoyable for the hundreds of librarians who attend.

Film Reviews

news-boundBound: Africans vs. African-Americans

Bound opens with a folk tale about two loving brothers, born in the land of warm waters, Africa. Suddenly one brother is torn from the other never to be seen again. The one brother waits at the water’s edge all his life then charges his son to do the same. This goes on for generations until several hundred years later, in the land of cold winters, America, when the daughter of one brother walks towards the daughter of the other brother and with every step they get closer until they walk past each other, one never noticing the other.

How did these descendants of two loving brothers become so isolated? The journey to the answer begins with Africans and African Americans recounting personal, hurtful experiences with each other. It immediately identifies the media as the source of the negative perceptions we have of each other. Throughout its young history, celluloid has depicted people of African descent as childlike, stupid and violent, pretty much how we have come to view each other.

news-tang-negroTango Negro, The African Roots of Tango

The word “tango” mean “sun” in Congolese. Given that derivation, it comes as no surprise that the dance thought of as South American might be traced back to Africa.

That explains the mission of Tango Negro, a labor of love marking the writing and directorial debut of Dom Pedro. What makes the project of educational value is the fact that Argentina, the country most closely associated with Tango, has generally been averse to admitting its African heritage.

Related Articles & News

news-amazon-sad“Amazon has used its dominance in ways that we believe harm the interests of America’s readers…”

The Authors Guild, the American Booksellers Association, the Association of Authors’ Representatives and Authors United said in letters and statements being sent this week to the Justice Department that “Amazon has used its dominance in ways that we believe harm the interests of America’s readers, impoverish the book industry as a whole, damage the careers of (and generate fear among) many authors, and impede the free flow of ideas in our society.”

newrobert-l-johnsonRobert L. Johnson — The “Urban Movie Channel” Interview

Troy Johnson asks, do you think it would be possible for another Black owned media conglomerate, like BET, to emerge in today’s environment?

Robert L. Johnson: It’s definitely possible, but it would be very difficult to do in this environment. It was difficult when I started BET. Today, the internet makes it possible for a lot of African-American content to flow freely to the consumers since there are no gatekeepers, and it is global in terms of its accessibility. We at RLJ Entertainment are laying the foundation to be sort of a BET in the Digital Age by creating the distribution platform of the Urban Movie Channel, by licensing content from independent producers of urban content, by helping them produce that content, and by promoting the awareness of it. We believe that as a first mover in this space, RLJ Entertainment has the potential to become a success story like BET and, obviously, I have a lot of experience in making that happen.

news-black-caucusNew Self-Publishing Literary Award to Promote Diverse Books in Libraries

The Black Caucus of the ALA (BCALA) and BiblioBoard announce the creation of an annual self-publishing award. Following the model of the current BCALA Literary Awards, the new award will honor the best self-published eBooks in fiction and poetry by an African American author in the U.S.

Authors who enter the contest will have the opportunity to opt into the SELF-e program and their own Indie State module, providing them with an invaluable resource for promotion and exposure of their work. SELF-e is a partnership between BiblioBoard and the Library Journal and is aimed at finding the best self-published books and making those books seamlessly available to library patrons.

news-discussion-banner-redOur African-American Literature Discussion Forum is Now Mobile!

Join the conversation and talk about books you’ve written, or books you’ve read. You may exchange views with authors, avid readers and those who wish to learn more about Black literature and publishing. You can share rich media content without worrying about being bombarded with ads, having your privacy invaded, or having what is presented to others (or two you) determined by efforts to maximize revenue. Also read our article “Our 10 Most Popular Discussions (and Why Discussion Forums Matter)”

Authors, this is where you need to share information about your books: Since 1998, Thumper’s Corner has been a very special and popular area of our web site. In fact, each month I discover interesting books to share with our eNewsletter readers. Check out our recent conversations 

news-roscoe-flag
news-troy-signoffDear Reader,

This month as been extremely busy as I continue to rebuild AALBC.com from the ground up. This major upgrade is scheduled for completion in early 2016. It is a massive undertaking to redesign a completely new website, migrate almost 20 years of content, while keeping both sites updated (say a prayer for me).

As always if there is a feature you’d like to see on the new website me know by emailing me or posting a comment on our discussion forum.

Remember, your support is absolutely mandatory for AALBC.com to continue. A paid subscription to our eNewsletter is a great way to help and lets me know there is indeed demand for the information covered in this eNewsletter and on our website.

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Peace & Love,
Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com
Support AALBC.com, Support this eNewsletter

AALBC.com eNewsletter – July 30, 2015 – Issue #227

Black Women Lead the Way Promoting Black Culture through Books

“Where a woman rules, streams run uphill.” —Ethiopian proverb

AALBC.com’s Bestselling Books – January to February 2015

news-jan-feb-2015-bestsellerThe #1 selling book on AALBC.com, for January and February 2015, was Against All Odds: From The Projects to the Penthouse by Mahisha Dellinger (Brown Girls Publishing, February 2015). In fact, six of the top ten bestselling books, for this period, were published by Brown Girls Books. The Tithing Hoax: Exposing the Lies, Misinterpretations & False Teachings about Tithing (Lulu, March 2014), tops the nonfiction titles and has been a frequent AALBC.com bestseller since the original version was published in 2012.

Authors You Should Know

new-audre-lordeAudre Lorde

Lorde (1934-1992) was a recipient of many distinguished honors and awards, including honorary doctorates from Hunter, Oberlin, and Haverford Colleges. She was also named New York State Poet Laureate.

If you have not seen the video of Angela Davis speaking about Black-lesbian-feminist-mother-warrior-poet, Audre Lorde, during the “Audre Lorde: A Burst of Light Symposium” held at Medgar Evers College in March of 2014, please check it out. You will not be disappointed. More ▶

news-tiya-milesTiya Miles

Miles has published various personal essays on race, feminism and identity as well as academic articles on women’s history and black and Native interrelated experiences. In 2011, she was the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Miles latest novel The Cherokee Rose, is about about the importance of the past to three women’s lives in the present day. The main characters — a wealthy African American interior designer from Atlanta, A biracial (black-white) journalist from Minneapolis, and a Native American historian from Oklahoma — all take different paths to the same place: a nineteenth-century plantation home in the state of Georgia on land that once belonged to Cherokee slaveholders. More ▶

news-dorothy-koomsonDorothy Koomson

Koomson has degrees in psychology and journalism from Leeds University. She has written for a number of women’s magazines and newspapers, as well as having had seven successful novels published in the UK and US. Her books have been translated into more than 28 languages across the world.

She is also the 2014 winner of the Go On Girl! Book Club Author of the Year Award, which will be presented at the 2015 Award Ceremony in Seattle, WA. More ▶

news-valerieValerie J Lewis Coleman

The bestselling author of Blended Families An Anthology, Valerie J. Lewis Coleman has helped thousands of families navigate the challenges of child support, visitation, discipline and more. With over twenty years of experience in family and relationships, she has given advice on various issues including baby-momma drama, defiant children and disapproving in-laws.

Valerie has helped women find relational fulfillment by identifying the four types of male hunters, avoiding seventy percent of men who only want the goody box and winning the heart of Mr. Right-For-You. She explains how in her novel The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box! More ▶

news-casey-curryCasey Curry

Casey Curry is the Director of Creative Writing at a fine arts magnet school in Tampa, Florida. She teaches poetry and fiction five days a week. The mother of four daughters, Casey spends her time writing, cooking with her retired husband.

Her first novel, Promises (Ellarose Publishing, July 2014), tells the story of Pamela Sloane who meets a young Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, and embarks on a thirty year journey of desire, death, determination and deliverance. More ▶

news-fannie-louFannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer was an voting rights activist, civil rights leader, and philanthropist. She was instrumental in organizing Mississippi’s Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and later became the vice-chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

Hamer did not write any books, but many have been written about her. Most of us are aware of the impassioned testimony Hamer gave at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. But Hamer also gave speeches at the 1968 and 1972 conventions, and even spoke with Malcolm X in Harlem. Learn more about this powerful activist ▶

Book Reviews

loving-donovan_1_Loving Donovan by Bernice L. McFadden

McFadden continues to embellish her literary reputation and mastery of storytelling with her novel, Loving Donovan. In this tale McFadden focuses on the participants of a romantic relationship rather than the relationship itself—a refreshingly different perspective from what is displayed in most commercial fiction targeted toward African-American readers. Rather than the play-by-play Loving Donovan features the color and analysis part of the relationship. This is an insightful and engaging novel.

Loving Donovan (Akashic Books, February 2015, 2nd ed.) features a new introduction by Terry McMillan. More ▶

news-loneliness-black-republicanThe Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power

The author’s cites the “Paradox of the Black Republican,” as contributing factors to the “confusion and chaos” and “colossal failures” of a group not only ostracized by their own race, but never fully embraced by white Republicans either. The problem ostensibly emanates from the fact that the present-day GOP “bears little resemblance to the Party of Lincoln” that freed slaves flocked to in droves in the 1860s.

Yet, some black families have stubbornly remained Republicans for generations, despite the party’s ideological shift to the far right. Thus, this insightful opus poses the probing question, what does it mean to be conservative and black? More ▶

news-risingRising Up From the Blood: A Legacy Reclaimed A Bridge Forward: The Autobiography of Sarah Washington O’Neal Rush, The Great-Granddaughter of Booker T. Washington

Despite being a direct descendant of Booker T. Washington, Sarah Washington O’Neal wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Quite the contrary, she and her big brother James were raised on a rough side of Oakland, California by a single-mother who never mentioned their famous forebear. Perhaps she was ashamed by her relatively-lowly station and having to hold two jobs just to keep a roof over their heads after being abandoned by her husband. More ▶

Book Recommendations

news-bcala-2015First presented in 1994, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s Literary Awards acknowledge outstanding works of fiction and nonfiction for adult audiences by African American authors. Recipients of this award offer outstanding depictions of the cultural, historical or sociopolitical aspects of the Black Diaspora and embody the highest quality of writing style and research methodology. The Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc. (BCALA) will announce the awards will be presented in San Francisco, CA during ALA’s Annual Conference in June 2015. Discover all the award winning titles ▶

pleasantville_1_Pleasantville by Attica Locke

Attica Locke is a screenwriter who has written movie and television scripts for Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, HBO, Dreamworks and most recently the new Fox TV show, Empire.

Her next novel Pleasantville (Harper, April 2015), is a sophisticated thriller which catches up with, lawyer Jay Porter, hero of Locke’s bestseller Black Water Rising. Porter returns to fight one last case, only to become embroiled once again in a dangerous game of shadowy politics and a witness to how far those in power are willing to go to win. More ▶

balm_1_Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

The Civil War has ended, and Madge, Sadie, and Hemp have each come to Chicago in search of a new life.

The New York Times bestselling author of Wench returns to the Civil War era to explore the next chapter of history—the trauma of the War and the end of slavery—in Balm (Amistad, May 2015) a powerful story of love and healing about three people who struggle to overcome the pain of the past and define their own future. More ▶

news-toward-anToward an Intellectual History of Black Women

Despite recent advances in the study of black thought, black women intellectuals remain often neglected. This collection of essays by fifteen scholars of history and literature establishes black women’s places in intellectual history by engaging the work of writers, educators, activists, religious leaders, and social reformers in the United States, Africa, and the Caribbean. Dedicated to recovering the contributions of thinkers marginalized by both their race and their gender, these essays uncover the work of unconventional intellectuals, both formally educated and self-taught, and explore the broad community of ideas in which their work participated.

Contributors are Jon Sensbach, Arlette Frund, Natasha Lightfoot, Mia E. Bay, Alexandra Cornelius, Corinne T. Field, Farah J. Griffin, Kaiama L. Glover, Thadious Davis, Maboula Soumahoro, Judith Byfield, Cheryl Wall, Sherie Randolph, Barbara D. Savage, and Martha S. Jones. (The University of North Carolina Press, April 2015) More ▶

spectacle_1_Spectacle by Pamela Newkirk

Newkirk, an award-winning journalist, reveals a little-known and shameful episode in American history, when an African man was used as a human zoo exhibit—a shocking story of racial prejudice, science, and tragedy in the early years of the twentieth century in the tradition of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and Medical Apartheid.

In 1904, Ota Benga, a young Congolese “pygmy”—a person of petite stature—arrived from central Africa and was featured in an anthropology exhibit at the St. Louis World’s Fair. Two years later, the New York Zoological Gardens displayed him in its Monkey House, caging the slight 103-pound, 4-foot 11-inch tall man with an orangutan. The attraction became an international sensation, drawing thousands of New Yorkers and commanding headlines from across the nation and Europe. More ▶

news-octavia-broodThe visionary tales of Octavia’s Brood

Whenever we envision a world without war, without prisons, without capitalism, we are producing speculative fiction. Organizers and activists envision, and try to create, such worlds all the time. Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown have brought twenty of them together in the first anthology of short stories to explore the connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change. The visionary tales of Octavia’s Brood (AK Press, April 2015) span genres—sci-fi, fantasy, horror, magical realism—but all are united by an attempt to inject a healthy dose of imagination and innovation into our political practice and to try on new ways of understanding ourselves, the world around us, and all the selves and worlds that could be. The collection is rounded off with essays by Tananarive Due and Mumia Abu-Jamal, and a preface by Sheree Renée Thomas. More ▶

ordinary-light_1_Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith

From the dazzlingly original Pulitzer Prize-winning poet hailed for her “extraordinary range and ambition” (The New York Times Book Review): a quietly potent memoir that explores coming-of-age and the meaning of home against a complex backdrop of race, faith, and the unbreakable bond between a mother and daughter.

The youngest of five children, Tracy K. Smith was raised with limitless affection and a firm belief in God by a stay-at-home mother and an engineer father. But just as Tracy is about to leave home for college, her mother is diagnosed with cancer, a condition she accepts as part of God’s plan. Ordinary Light is the story of a young woman struggling to fashion her own understanding of belief, loss, history, and what it means to be black in America. More ▶

news-vintage-black-glamourVintage Black Glamour

Using rarely accessed photographic archives and private collections, inspired by her family history, Nichelle Gainer has unearthed a revealing treasure trove of historic photographs of famous actors, dancers, writers, and entertainers who worked in the 20th-century entertainment business, but who rarely appeared in the same publications as their white counterparts.

Alongside the familiar images and stories of renowned performers such as Eartha Kitt, Lena Horne and Aretha Franklin are photos of literary legends such as Lorraine Hansberry and Maya Angelou as well as images of less well-remembered figures such as Bricktop, Pearl Primus, Diana Sands. Vintage Black Glamour (Rocket 88 Books, February 2015) is a unique, sumptuous and revealing celebration of the lives and indomitable spirit of Black women of a previous era. More ▶

news-children-of-sabaChildren of Saba: Epic of Aphrike Book 1 by N.K. Read

Born in Kenya, and now living between Nairobi and Sydney, Australia, N.K Read is a storyteller and journalist who has written for several publications and news outlets in Kenya, Sydney and the UK. She has also directed three documentary films.

“I discovered the link between the tribe of my birth, the Meru of Kenya, with the enigmatic Meroë who once ruled Nubia, were integral in the ancient Kingdom of Sheba and are connected further back in time with the ancient and mysterious ‘First Race’, I sought to bring their story to life. Thus Children of Saba was born.” (Afrikkana Books, March 2014, 2nd ed.) More ▶

Interviews

news-april-obamaApril D. Ryan Veteran Journalist and White House correspondent

Ryan, as a White House correspondent for the past 18 years, has covered the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations. She is also the authors of The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America.

Here she answers, quite candidly, several questions, posed by AALBC.com Founder, Troy Johnson, about the Obama Presidency including, “What has been your biggest disappointment?” Read the Full Interview ▶

news-gloria-rolandoAfro-Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando

Afro-Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando is best known for her documentaries on the African diaspora in the Caribbean, and her latest film, Reshipment (2014) continues this theme.

It reveals the complex story of Haitians lured by the tens of thousands to work in Cuba’s sugarcane fields during World War I. These early 20th century immigrants were enticed to leave their island nation—home of the only successful slave revolt in the Americas—for the promise of a better life. Some of them were fleeing the oppressive U.S. occupation. Others were seeking better economic conditions. But what awaited most of them in Cuba was racism and strife. Read Rolando’s the full interview with cultural journalist Nicole Crawford-Tichawonna ▶

Events

Blogger Week 2015 Networking Mixer & Unconference – May 1-2, 2015 – Washington, DC

news-black-blogger-weekBlogger Week, the brain-child of Jessica Ann Mitchell, is a multicultural festival of bloggers, journalists & social media mavens. In-person events take place May 1st & 2nd at the University of the District of Columbia & Impact Hub in Washington, DC.

AALBC.com’s Troy Johnson will co-host an Unpanel: “How Bloggers Can Help Each Other Drive Traffic,” with Candice VanWye, the founder and editor of Brown Girl Bloggers. Also, check out Jessica’s interview with Troy held Thursday, April 2 on Twitter #BloggerWeek.

Go On Girl! Book Club 23rd Annual Awards Weekend – May 29-31, 2015 – Seattle, WA

news-advertise-go-on-girlWith over 30 chapters in 14 states, Go On Girl! Book Club is the largest national reading organization in the U.S. for black women. Founded in 1991, members meet face to face in their respective cities to discuss the club’s monthly reading selection. Feedback on each book is shared with the authors and publishers. Each year GOG hosts an Author Awards event to honor established writers and provide writing awards and scholarships to new talent.

Check out the print advertising opportunities in the Go On Girl! Book Club Magajournal which is given to all members of Go On Girl! Book Club and attendees of the Annual Author Awards Weekend. The Magajournal is also distributed at book fairs, GOG membership drives, street fairs, church gatherings, and more. Deadline for ads is April 10th. Learn more ▶

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Related Articles & News

news-are-negro-girls-getting-prettierAre Negro Girls Getting Prettier?

“Gone, …are the spindly legs, sagging bosoms, unruly rumps and ungroomed heads that marred many a potential lovely of yesteryear.”

This article appeared in the April 1966 issue of Ebony magazine, Ebony shared several letters to the editor in reaction to “Are Negro Girls Getting Prettier?” article. Some of the letters published, to Ebony’s credit, were quite scathing. The reaction, from some, 49 years ago was completely inline with the reaction one would expect if the article were published today. more ▶

Get Your “Mug Shot” on AALBC.comnews-aalbc-mug-shots
If you are one of the first five people to send us a photo with your AALBC.com mug, we’ll put your photo in our next eNewsletter. If you are an author feel free to include your book in the photo too!

news-troy

Women lead the way, as we close Women’s History Month by highlighting some of the many ways women nourish our minds, as publishers, novelists, journalists, critics, filmmakers, and supporters of literature.

This issue is also dedicated all of the women, too numerous to name individually, who have joined hands with AALBC.com in support of Black culture, in all of its diversity, through the written word. Without your financial support, your moral support, and all you do to share information about AALBC.com’s efforts, this site could not survive.

Peace & Love,
troy_signature_1_
Troy Johnson
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com

AALBC.com eNewsletter – March 31, 2015 – Issue #224
Read our eNewsletter Archives

ankh

Enrich Your Life; Read a Good Book – August 2014 eNewsletter

You may receive this eNewsletter directly in your email-box by subscribing. It may also be read on your Kindle ebook reader, or any device by downloading a PDF version. Enjoy our previous eNewsletters. Consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated mailing.

This month’s eNewsletter is sponsored by Grand Central Publishing

The Choir Director 2 In this sequel to Carl Weber’s New York Times bestseller The Choir Director, the faith and friendship of two men will be tested in ways they never thought possible…

Three years ago, the unlikely duo of Bishop TK Wilson and choir director Aaron Mackie saved First Jamaica Ministries from financial ruin with their successful church choir. Now, jealousy and lies has both men’s lives spiraling out of control and the lines TK and Aaron might have to cross will force them to choose between faith and friendship, or as TK puts it, “between heaven and hell.”

RT Book Reviews named The Choir Director 2 (Grand Central Publishing, 8/19/2014) a Top Pick, calling it “a tale so captivating, thrilling, sexy and insane that it’s enough to make a preacher curse.” Visit CarlWeber.net to buy it now!


Power List Best Selling Books — Summer 2014

Power List Best Selling Books — Summer 2014In an era when the NY Times Bestsellers list can go several months without a single novel written by a Black person, it is increasingly important for us to recognize and celebrate the most popular books written by Black writers. This is this is not just for the benefit of Black authors or Black readers; this is for the benefit of everyone who loves a wide range of literature. Spread the word. Added Bonus all Power List best selling books are available for 20% off list when purchased using the MahoganyBooks links on powerlist.info!


Authors You Should Know

news-george-moses-hortonGeorge Moses Horton — 1st African American to publish any book in the South

George Moses Horton (ca. 1797-1883), was born in Northampton County, North Carolina. A slave for sixty-eight years, Horton spent much of his life on a farm near Chapel Hill, and in time he fostered a deep connection with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The “Colored Bard of North Carolina” was the only man to publish volumes of poetry while in bondage and the first African American to publish any book in the South. More >


news-mona-lisa-saloyMona Lisa Saloy — Poet, Author, Educator, Folklorist

Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy is professor of English at Dillard University. She previously published Red Beans & Ricely Yours, which won the 2005 T. S. Eliot Prize and the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Prize in 2006. Saloy’s literary voice represents the African-American and the New Orleans Creole cultural experience.

Saloy is a noted speaker and storyteller, who consults to the Louisiana Endowment for the

Humanities (LEH), the Louisiana Division of the Arts (LDOA), and is an active member of the Louisiana Folklore Society. Also, Saloy composed a praise song & performed for two presidents. Read a review of her latest, Second Line Home: New Orleans Poems.


news-ishmael-beahIshmael Beah — Child Soldier Pens his 1st Novel

Ishmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980. He moved to the United States in 1998 and finished his last two years of high school at the United Nations International School in New York. In 2004 he graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in political science. He is a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Division Advisory Committee and has spoken before the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities (CETO) at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, and many other NGO panels on children affected by the war. Read about Beah’s new novel, Radiance of Tomorrow.


Drusilla Dunjee Houston — Foremother of Africana Historical Writing and Research Drusilla Dunjee Houston — Foremother of Africana Historical Writing and Research

“Like many African American women writers swallowed up and languishing in the historical gap, Houston is one of the most prolific and all but forgotten African American women writers of the 20th century.

Houston burst on the historical literary scene in 1926 with Volume I of her magnum opus Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire Book 1: Nations of the Cushite Empire, Marvelous Facts from Authentic Records thought to represent the crowning achievement of Drusilla Dunjee Houston’s literary life. With this work, Houston is remembered as the earliest known and possibly the only African American woman to write a multi-volume study of ancient Africa where she boldly proclaimed in 1926, an African origin of civilization and culture during one of the most turbulent periods for black Americans in American history.” —Peggy Brooks-Bertram Learn More about Drusilla Dunjee Houston.


news-essex-hemphillEssex Hemphill — Poet, Writer, Activist

Born in Chicago in 1957, Essex Hemphill was raised in Washington, D.C. before settling in Philadelphia. Cleis Press calls Hemphill, “one of the most provocative African American gay authors since James Baldwin.” Winner of the 1993 American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Book Award, Ceremonies (Plume, 1992) tackles cultural controversy with remarkable force and clarity. Whether he is addressing love between men, AIDS in the African American community, racism among white gay artists, coming home or coming out, Hemphill’s insights give voice to a generation of men silenced by fears of reprisal and rejection. Hemphill passed in November of 1995. More >


news-sister-bettyPat G’Orge-Walker — Christian Author and Comedienne

“The First Lady of Gospel Comedy,” is an accomplished Christian author and comedienne with a talent for turning her observations of church and black church life, in particular, into gems of sidesplitting humor. It is her own special gift from God that enables G’Orge-Walker to depict the often ridiculous antics of church folk. She does it without subverting the Good News or watering down the potency of its message. More >


Book Recommendations

news-what-i-know-for-sureWhat I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

An AALBC.com Book of the Month! for September 2014: The 1st 50 customers that purchase this book will receive a FREE copy of The Ditchdigger’s Daughter. No code needed.

Winfrey, the nation’s only African-American billionaire, has been awarded both an honorary degree by Harvard University and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. From all her experiences, she has gleaned life lessons—which, for fourteen years, she’s shared in O, The Oprah Magazine’s widely popular “What I Know For Sure” column, a monthly source of inspiration and revelation.

Now, for the first time, these thoughtful gems have been revised, updated, and collected in What I Know For Sure, a beautiful cloth bound book with a ribbon marker, packed with insight and revelation from Oprah. (Flatiron Books 9/2/14)


news-act-like-a-success

Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success: Discovering Your Gift and the Way to Life’s Riches by Steve Harvey

Countless books on success tell you what you need to get that you don’t already possess. In Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success, Steve Harvey tells you how to achieve your dreams using the gift you already have. Every one of us was born with a gift endowed by our creator—something you do the best at with very little effort. While it can be like someone else’s, your gift is yours alone. No one can take it away. You are the only one who can use it—or waste it. (Amistad, 9/9/14)


news-in-the-slow-goInto the Go-Slow by Bridgett M. Davis

“…Davis writes about two hot-button locations—Detroit and Lagos, yet she explores these settings without nostalgia or exoticism. She understands that these are REAL PLACES where REAL PEOPLE live. I connected all the characters, Angie, especially. Her pain so so vivid, but so is her big-hearted love for the people in her life.

…She asks whether or not African Americans can ever really go ‘home’ to Africa. The love story contained on these pages will break your heart, and mend it too. There’s so much going on, but you never take your mind off the big question: What happened to Angie’s sister, Ella? Will Angie ever find out? Who can she trust? Does she really want to know the truth? …get this novel. You will love it.” —Award Winning Author, Tayari Jones (The Feminist Press at CUNY, 9/9/14)


news-bed-rock-faithBedrock Faith by Eric Charles May

After fourteen years in prison, Gerald “Stew Pot” Reeves, age thirty-one, returns home to live with his mom in Parkland, a black middle-class neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. A frightening delinquent before being sent away (his infamies included butchering a neighbor’s cat, torching another neighbor’s garage, and terrorizing the locals with a scary pit bull named Hitler), his return sends Parkland residents into a religiously infused tailspin, which only increases when Stew Pot announces that he experienced a religious awakening in prison. With uncompromising fervor (and with a new pit bull named John the Baptist), Stew Pot appoints himself the moral judge of Parkland. He discovers that a woman on his block is a lesbian and outs her to the neighborhood, after a mild threat from the block club president, Stew Pot reveals a secret that leaves the president’s marriage in ruin… (Akashic Books, 3/4/14)


news-oh-gadOh Gad! by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Oh Gad! is a stirring novel about a woman facing cross-cultural odds and redefining everything she understands about her family, herself, and the country she’s never really been able to call home.

Nikki Baltimore was born in Antigua but grew up with her dad in the United States. With each year, she’s grown further apart from her mother and maternal siblings, potters in rural Antigua.

Listen to Elizabeth Nunez’s, recommendation for the novel _Oh Gad!_ (Strebor Books, 4/17/12)


news-our-children-can-soarOur Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change by Michelle Cook

Rosa sat so
Martin could march.
Martin marched so
Barack could run.
Barack ran so
Our children can soar.

This is the seed of a unique picture book that is part historical, part poetry, and entirely inspirational. It takes the reader through the cumulative story of the US Civil Rights Movement, expanding the popular slogan beyond these three heroes to include more key players in the struggle for equality. Spare prose and vivid imagery make this a truly moving and accessible picture book to be savored by readers of all ages. (Bloomsbury USA Childrens 4/14/09)


Book Reviews

news-bill-t-jonesStory/Time: The Life of an Idea by Bill T. Jones

Jones has choreographed for everyone from Alvin Ailey to the Boston Ballet to the Berlin Opera. And among his many accolades are a couple of Tony Awards, an Obie Award, a MacArthur Genius Fellowship, the National Medal of Arts, and induction into the National Museum of Dance Hall of Fame.

Story/Time is an ethereal memoir emblematic of this iconoclastic trailblazer’s unpredictable approach to everything he does. The book is basically an attempt to reduce to writing and photographs a trio of multi-media talks Jones delivered at Princeton University as part of the prestigious Toni Morrison Lecture Series. More >


news-second-line-homeSecond Line Home: New Orleans Poems by Mona Lisa Saloy

Mona Lisa Saloy’s refreshing, Second Line Home (2014) is a poetic memoir of her post-Katrina experiences—from her evacuation with friends and neighborhoods to her return, through efforts to rebuild and reoccupy her 7th Ward home handed down to her by her Black Creole father.

$100,000 cost to elevate it and termite eaten wood
Nixed keeping our family place
(“From Lament to Hope”) More >


news-growingup-in-the-nations-capitalGrowing Up in the Nation’s Capital: We Made it, but it Took an Entire Village by Carrolyn Pichet

Her story will remind us of a time in neighborhoods when doors were left unlocked, and neighbors were extended family picking up the slack for each other wherever it was needed. That reason alone makes Pichet’s book a good, nostalgic read even if her past reads nothing like ours. We will connect to the sense of pride and purpose she grew up with in her family and her community, and how it illustrates the African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child. “Back then, if a neighbor lent a cup of sugar to my mother, she paid back the loan with a cup of flour, a stick of butter or a slice of homemade cake or pie. Since our neighbors were extended family, the doors were never locked. There was no shame in bartering or exchanging amongst us. We were all struggling to make ends meet, and every one of us was willing and eager to render some service. More >


news-finding-your-rootsFinding Your Roots by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Most black people hit a dead end when trying to trace their lineage, because their ancestors were considered fungible goods during slavery, meaning they were merely personal property to be bought and sold, and whipped and shipped at the will of their owners. While in bondage, they couldn’t marry, start a family or even raise their own offspring.

For that reason, Henry Louis Gates’ African-American Lives proved to be a hit on TV, since the popular PBS program profiled prominent black figures’ attempt to reconstruct their family trees with his help. Turns out some other ethnicities are just as curious about their heritage. So, Dr. Gates decided to host another show, expanding his focus this time to include a diversity of folks reflecting the full spectrum of the racial rainbow. More >


news-tony-browns journalTony Brown’s Journal is Now Available Online

The website is a resurrection of 40 years of broadcast excellence and hundreds of titles of professional-grade content with high-production values from Tony Brown’s Journal, America’s “#1-rated talk/educational TV series” (circa 1968-2008), that covers African-American history with legends such as Martin Luther King, Elijah Muhammad, and historians Dr. Chancellor Williams/The Destruction of Black Civilization and J. A. Rogers.

Tony Brown’s Journal was the first series on national television to break the story on the odious Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment on Black men and the infamous Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. There is also the famous 1974 debate between Dr. Frances Welsing and Dr. William Shockley on the issue of racial supremacy.


Related Articles & News

Huria's Map of Black Owned Book StoresMap of Black Owned Book Stores

Check out our map of Black-owned independent bookstores.

We are also making this map freely available to anyone to embed on their website or blog with just a single line of code. Help promote our cultural institutions. They thrive with our support.


news-The-Honorable-Minister-Louis-FarrakhanFarrakhan to Black Youth: Study Ferguson, MO and Gaza

The military readiness of police in Ferguson, Missouri is a warning to all Black youth in America, according to Minister Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam. In a two-hour speech Sunday, August 17 from his organization’s headquarters Mosque Maryam in Chicago, Farrakhan made a passionate plea for Black youth to see in Ferguson a tip off of what government agencies are preparing for them in the urban centers of America. As for Gaza, he said the willingness to bomb humans in tightly compact neighborhoods was a sign of how suppression could happen in Black neighborhoods here. More


news-nicholas-payton“…Hiphop, as a Whole, is Wack”

“And to those of you who say I know nothing about Hiphop, if ‘Blurred Lines’ is Hiphop, I don’t want to know anything about it. So let me officially go on record now and say that I hate Hiphop. There are certain artists who claim Hiphop that I dig, but Hiphop as a whole is wack. It’s a parasitic culture that preys on real musicians for its livelihood. I may not know anything about Hiphop, but I don’t have to. Without real artists and musicians like me, you’d have nothing to steal. I know enough about it all to know that.”

—Nicholas Payton in, An Open Letter To Pharrell Williams (Blurred Lines Vol. 3) where he castigates Pharrell over his unwillingness to knowledge that he stole Marvin Gaye’s tune, ‘Got to Give It Up.’ What do you think?


news-hiv-atlAlmost half of Black Gay Men, in Atlanta, are HIV Positive

Sullivan’s preliminary results in Atlanta confirmed the huge racial differences that persist. Among black gay men, 43 percent were HIV positive, compared to 13 percent of white gay men, even though the black gay men had fewer sex partners and less unprotected sex. Everyone also reported a tendency to date within the same race. Black gay men said that 80 percent of their partners in the past year were also black. The white gay men said that 73 percent of their partners were also white. Join the conversation


news-letterAuthors Beg Amazon for Mercy

“…[W]e encourage Amazon in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business.” —Authors United

Not all author agree, “…publishers like Hachette have a long history of treating authors and readers poorly. Amazon, on the other hand, has built its reputation on valuing authors and readers dearly. ” What do you think?


Film Reviews

ng Fela: Music is the WeaponFinding Fela: Music is the Weapon

Finding Fela tells the story of Fela Kuti’s life (1938 – 1997), his music, and his social and political importance. This in-depth look at the man who created Afrobeat (a fusion of Jazz, traditional West African rhythms, Funk, Highlife, and psychedelic rock) brings audiences close to Mr. Kuti’s fight against the dictatorial Nigerian government of the 1970s and 1980s. With his audacious music and a great deal of courage, Fela Kuti helped bring a change towards democracy in Nigeria, promoted Pan Africanist politics to the entire world and became an inspiration in the global fight for the rights of all oppressed people. More >


newsget-on-upGet on Up: The James Brown Story

“…all the producers, writers, and the director of the James Brown movie are white. No black people were hired until a few weeks before the cameras started rolling, the actors.” —Gregory Allen Howard, Award-winning screenwriter

“…the non-linear (back and forth) telling of the story limit’s the intensity of a narrative that naturally builds, but I also think the film is pretty balanced with Brown’s talents and his flaws.” —C. Liegh McInnis publisher of Black Magnolias Literary Journal

This is just some of the commentary in addition to our review.


youttube-subscribe-bannerSubscribe to AALBC.com’s YouTube channel.

You may discover a writer whose work you’ll enjoy. YouTube, for now anyway, is one of the remaining (perhaps the only) major social networking platforms that financially compensates you in return for the content contributed to their platform. They provide a service to you without trying to completely cannibalize your website’s traffic.If you subscribe to AALBC.com’s YouTube channel you will help me spread the word about Black literature. Your support matters. Promoting Black literature has always been a grassroots effort; it is not done by corporations or governments but by individuals like you and me.


Events

news-sonia-sanchez-party

The Official NYC 80th Birthday Party for Sonia Sanchez
Join us on Friday, September 19, 2014, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., in Brooklyn NY.

This will be an actual party, not a lot of speechifying. There will be performances by Ursula Rucker and jessica Care moore, music by DJ Reborn, and more. More >


news-aaliteraywardsshow2014African American Literary Awards Show

The 2014 African American Literary Awards Show will be held at the MIST, 46 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026 on September 27th.

Voting for the 2014 AALAS is open Now through September 7th, 2014.


news-baabfThe Baltimore African American Book Festival will take place October 11, 2014, from 10am to 5pm, at the Enoch Pratt Central Library, 400 Cathedral St Baltimore Md 21201. Scheduled speakers include; Trice Hickman, author of new novel Troublemaker; Sherri Booker, winner of an NAACP Image Award for her memoir Nine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner City Funeral Home; Nikki Woods, senior producer of the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” and author of the AALBC.com #1 bestseller, Easier Said Than Done ; Ella Curry, Owner of EDC Creations; and AALBC.com’s Founder, Troy Johnson. Learn More >


Dear Reader

The Baltimore African American Book Festival We need your support. Please purchase or renew your subscription to AALBC.com’s eNewsletter—less than 50 cents an issue.

If you’ve read something in our eNewsletter, that you enjoyed or felt was important, please share it. We are responsible for ensuring our stories are told, shared, and preserved.

Peace,
Troy Johnson,
Founder and Webmaster

AALBC.com eNewsletter – August 26, 2014 – Issue # 217

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