AALBC.com LogoCopyright © 1997-2017, All Rights Reserved — https://aalbc.com — troy@aalbc.com — Tel: 347-692-2522

Book Review: The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America

The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America
by April Ryan



Publication Date: Feb 15, 2015
List Price: $24.95 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Nonfiction
Page Count: 176
ISBN13: 9781442238411
Imprint: Rowman & Littlefield
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Parent Company: Rowman & Littlefield


Read Rowman & Littlefield’s description of The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America

Book Reviewed by Kam Williams


“[This book] gives readers a compelling behind-the-scenes look at race relations from the epicenter of American power and policy making—the White House—April Ryan’s beat since 1997. Ryan tells us what it was like for a pioneering African American female reporter to become a respected member of the White House Press Corps, one of the greatest old boy networks in the nation’s capital… With humor, grace, and determination, Ryan shares the highs and lows of a sometimes lonely battle, to keep questions of race and the lives of her inner-city listeners on the national stage.” —Excerpted from the Bookjacket

When a reporter asks Barack Obama a pointed question about race during a Presidential press conference, odds are that it’s coming from April Ryan in her capacity as the White House correspondent for the American Urban Radio Networks. For the past 18 years, this gifted black woman from Baltimore has been among the handful of seasoned journalists afforded rare access to the hallowed halls of the nation’s seat of power.

In this intimate memoir, April dedicates a chapter to each of the three Presidents she’s covered, Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, as well as several discussing the issue of race. In one entitled, “The Presidential Race Report Cards,” she gives Clinton and Obama a grade of B+ on race, while Bush only earned a C-overall, including an F for his handling of Hurricane Katrina and a D for his failure to generate jobs.

Specifically for this opus, April asked Obama to “share something you have not discussed publicly, a moment or moments you were discriminated against because of your color.” He did respond, but I suppose it would be unfair to the author for me to spoil the book by revealing his interesting response in this review.

Besides reflecting upon her time assigned to the White House beat, April also devotes space to the building’s history. For instance, she points out that, “like the Capitol” it “was built with slave labor.” Furthermore, “many presidents brought slaves to live with them as cooks, housekeepers, personal maids, and servants.” In fact, the second baby ever born in the White House was a slave belonging to Thomas Jefferson.

How ironic is that, given how the White House has come to be such an iconic symbol for freedom and liberty?










☆ Mission
To Celebrate Black Culture Through Literature and Literary Nonfiction to Readers of all Backgrounds and Ages; and Advocate for Independent Media

☥ About Us
Started in 1997, AALBC.com (African American Literature Book Club) is the largest, most frequently visited web site of its kind. More
Customer Service
Advertising Rates
Advertiser Login
Contact Us – FAQ
Give Us Feedback
AALBC on Pinterest AALBC on Facebook AALBC on Twitter
AALBC RSS Feed AALBC on Youtube Email AALBC