61 Books Published by Beacon Press on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Breathe: A Letter to My Sons

by Imani Perry
Beacon Press (Sep 17, 2019)
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Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she also teaches in the Programs in Law and Public Affairs, and in Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is a native of Birmingham, Alabama, and spent much of her youth in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Chicago. She is the author of several books, including Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry. She lives outside Philadelphia with her two sons, Freeman Diallo Perry Rabb and Issa Garner Rabb. Connect with her on Twitter (@imaniperry).


Click for more detail about Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry by Imani Perry Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry

by Imani Perry
Beacon Press (Sep 18, 2018)
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A revealing portrait of one of the most gifted and charismatic, yet least understood, Black artists and intellectuals of the twentieth century.

Lorraine Hansberry, who died at thirty-four, was by all accounts a force of nature. Although best-known for her work A Raisin in the Sun, her short life was full of extraordinary experiences and achievements, and she had an unflinching commitment to social justice, which brought her under FBI surveillance when she was barely in her twenties. While her close friends and contemporaries, like James Baldwin and Nina Simone, have been rightly celebrated, her story has been diminished and relegated to one work—until now. In 2018, Hansberry will get the recognition she deserves with the PBS American Masters documentary “Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart” and Imani Perry’s multi-dimensional, illuminating biography, Looking for Lorraine.

After the success of A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry used her prominence in myriad ways: challenging President Kennedy and his brother to take bolder stances on Civil Rights, supporting African anti-colonial leaders, and confronting the romantic racism of the Beat poets and Village hipsters. Though she married a man, she identified as lesbian and, risking censure and the prospect of being outed, joined one of the nation’s first lesbian organizations. Hansberry associated with many activists, writers, and musicians, including Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois, among others. Looking for Lorraine is a powerful insight into Hansberry’s extraordinary life—a life that was tragically cut far too short.


Click for more detail about The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism by Howard Bryant The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism

by Howard Bryant
Beacon Press (May 08, 2018)
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Following in the footsteps of Robeson, Ali, Robinson and others, today’s Black athletes re-engage with social issues and the meaning of American patriotism

For most of the twentieth century, "No News on the Sports Page" governed how sports were played and perceived in America. The ballfield was a sanctuary from real-world problems. Today, that is a naive notion.

The reasons are complex. But among them, post 9/11, sports arenas transformed into staging grounds for American patriotism and pride. As America dealt with terrorism at home, hero-worship of law enforcement took center stage. Police officers threw out first pitches; soldiers’ surprise homecomings became a staple at half time; and teams wore camouflage jerseys to honor those who served. Any critique of police or military authority looked unpatriotic, even when the authority deserved criticism.

This paradigm shift activated a long-dormant force not seen in several decades: the black athlete as a figure of resistance. In The Heritage, sports journalist Howard Bryant observes how the tradition of neutrality on the pitch has given way to a new generation of activist-athletes. It is the story of the rise, fall, and return of "athlevists" who refuse to "shut up and play." It is a heritage built by the superstardom and radical politics of Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos in the 1960s; undermined by apolitical, corporation-friendly "transcenders of race" O.J. Simpson, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods, in the following decades; and reclaimed today by the likes of LeBron James, Colin Kaepernick, and Carmelo Anthony in the wake of Ferguson and Freddie Gray. Revealing and incisive, Bryant deftly shows how sports is colliding with political culture, and how athletes, teams and leagues are melding the two.


Click for more detail about Race Matters, 25th Anniversary by Cornel West Race Matters, 25th Anniversary

by Cornel West
Beacon Press (Dec 05, 2017)
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The twenty-fifth-anniversary edition of the groundbreaking classic, with a new introduction

First published in 1993, on the one-year anniversary of the Los Angeles riots, Race Matters became a national best seller that has gone on to sell more than half a million copies. This classic treatise on race contains Dr. West’s most incisive essays on the issues relevant to black Americans, including the crisis in leadership in the Black community, Black conservatism, Black-Jewish relations, myths about Black sexuality, and the legacy of Malcolm X. The insights Dr. West brings to these complex problems remain relevant, provocative, creative, and compassionate.

In a new introduction for the twenty-fifth-anniversary edition, Dr. West argues that we are in the midst of a spiritual blackout characterized by imperial decline, racial animosity, and unchecked brutality and terror as seen in Baltimore, Ferguson, and Charlottesville. Calling for a moral and spiritual awakening, Dr. West finds hope in the collective and visionary resistance exemplified by the Movement for Black Lives, Standing Rock, and the Black freedom tradition.

Now more than ever, Race Matters is an essential book for all Americans, helping us to build a genuine multiracial democracy in the new millennium.


Click for more detail about Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun: The Life & Legacy of Gwendolyn Brooks by Angela Jackson Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun: The Life & Legacy of Gwendolyn Brooks

by Angela Jackson
Beacon Press (May 30, 2017)
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Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks is one of the great American literary icons of the twentieth century, a protege of Langston Hughes and mentor to a generation of poets, including Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, and Elizabeth Alexander.

Her poetry took inspiration from the complex portraits of black American life she observed growing up on Chicago’s Southside—a world of kitchenette apartments and vibrant streets. From the desk in her bedroom, as a child she filled countless notebooks with poetry, encouraged by the likes of Hughes and affirmed by Richard Wright, who called her work "raw and real."

Over the next sixty years, Brooks’s poetry served as a witness to the stark realities of urban life: the evils of lynching, the murders of Emmett Till and Malcolm X, the revolutionary effects of the civil rights movement, and the burgeoning power of the Black Arts Movement. Critical acclaim and the distinction in 1950 as the first black person ever awarded a Pulitzer Prize helped solidify Brooks as a unique and powerful voice.

Now, in A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun, fellow Chicagoan and award-winning writer Angela Jackson delves deep into the rich fabric of Brooks’s work and world. Granted unprecedented access to Brooks’s family, personal papers, and writing community, Jackson traces the literary arc of this artist’s long career and gives context for the world in which Brooks wrote and published her work. It is a powerfully intimate look at a once-in-a-lifetime talent up close, using forty-three of Brooks’s most soul-stirring poems as a guide.

From trying to fit in at school ("Forgive and Forget"), to loving her physical self ("To Those of My Sisters Who Kept Their Naturals"), to marriage and motherhood ("Maud Martha"), to young men on her block (""We Real Cool""), to breaking history ("Medgar Evers"), to newfound acceptance from her community and her elevation to a "surprising queenhood" ("The Wall"), Brooks lived life through her work.

Jackson deftly unpacks it all for both longtime admirers of Brooks and newcomers curious about her interior life. A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun is a commemoration of a writer who negotiated black womanhood and incomparable brilliance with a changing, restless world—an artistic maverick way ahead of her time.


Click for more detail about Spare the Kids: Why Whupping Children Won’t Save Black America by Stacey Patton Spare the Kids: Why Whupping Children Won’t Save Black America

by Stacey Patton
Beacon Press (Mar 07, 2017)
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Click for more detail about Like One of The Family by Alice Childress Like One of The Family

by Alice Childress
Beacon Press (Jan 24, 2017)
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A new edition of Alice Childress’s classic novel about African American domestic workers, featuring a foreword by Roxane Gay

First published in Paul Robeson’s newspaper, Freedom, and composed of a series of conversations between Mildred, a black domestic, and her friend Marge, Like One of the Family is a wry, incisive portrait of working women in Harlem in the 1950’s. Rippling with satire and humor, Mildred’s outspoken accounts vividly capture her white employers’ complacency and condescension and their startled reactions to a maid who speaks her mind and refuses to exchange dignity for pay.

Upon publication the book sparked a critique of working conditions, laying the groundwork for the contemporary domestic worker movement. Although she was critically praised, Childress’s uncompromising politics and unflinching depictions of racism, classism, and sexism relegated her to the fringe of American literature. Like One of the Family has been long overlooked, but this new edition, featuring a foreword by best-selling author Roxane Gay, will introduce Childress to a new generation.


Click for more detail about The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation by Daina Ramey Berry The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation

by Daina Ramey Berry
Beacon Press (Jan 24, 2017)
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Groundbreaking look at slaves as commodities through every phase of life, from birth to death and beyond, in early America

In life and in death, slaves were commodities, their monetary value assigned based on their age, gender, health, and the demands of the market. The Price for Their Pound of Flesh is the first book to explore the economic value of enslaved people through every phase of their lives—including preconception, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, the senior years, and death—in the early American domestic slave trade. Covering the full “life cycle,” historian Daina Ramey Berry shows the lengths to which enslavers would go to maximize profits and protect their investments. Illuminating “ghost values” or the prices placed on dead enslaved people, Berry explores the little-known domestic cadaver trade and traces the illicit sales of dead bodies to medical schools.

This book is the culmination of more than ten years of Berry’s exhaustive research on enslaved values, drawing on data unearthed from sources such as slave-trading records, insurance policies, cemetery records, and life insurance policies. Writing with sensitivity and depth, she resurrects the voices of the enslaved and provides a rare window into enslaved peoples’ experiences and thoughts, revealing how enslaved people recalled and responded to being appraised, bartered, and sold throughout the course of their lives. Reaching out from these pages, they compel the reader to bear witness to their stories, to see them as human beings, not merely commodities.

A profoundly humane look at an inhumane institution, The Price for Their Pound of Flesh will have a major impact how we think about slavery, reparations, capitalism, nineteenth-century medical education, and the value of life and death.


Click for more detail about Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America’s Diverse Families by Lori Tharps Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America’s Diverse Families

by Lori Tharps
Beacon Press (Oct 04, 2016)
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Weaving together personal stories, history, and analysis, Same Family, Different Colors explores the myriad ways skin-color politics affect family dynamics in the United States. Colorism and color bias the preference for or presumed superiority of people based on the lighter color of their skin is a pervasive but rarely openly discussed phenomenon, one that is centuries old and continues today. In Same Family, Different Colors journalist Lori Tharps, the mother of three mixed-race children with three distinct skin colors, uses her own family as a starting point to explore how skin-color difference is dealt with in African American, Latino, Asian American, and mixed-race families and communities. Along with intimate and revealing stories and anecdotes from dozens of diverse people from across the United States, Tharps adds a historical overview and a contemporary cultural critique. Same Family, Different Colors is a solution-seeking journey to the heart of identity politics, so this more subtle cousin to racism, in the author s words, will be acknowledged, understood, and debated.


Click for more detail about The Radical King (King Legacy) by Martin Luther King, Jr. The Radical King (King Legacy)

by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Beacon Press (Jan 12, 2016)
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A revealing collection that restores Dr. King as being every bit as radical as Malcolm X

“The radical King was a democratic socialist who sided with poor and working people in the class struggle taking place in capitalist societies. . . . The response of the radical King to our catastrophic moment can be put in one word: revolution—a revolution in our priorities, a reevaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life, and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens. . . . Could it be that we know so little of the radical King because such courage defies our market-driven world?” —Cornel West, from the Introduction

Every year, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is celebrated as one of the greatest orators in US history, an ambassador for nonviolence who became perhaps the most recognizable leader of the civil rights movement. But after more than forty years, few people appreciate how truly radical he was.

Arranged thematically in four parts, The Radical King includes twenty-three selections, curated and introduced by Dr. Cornel West, that illustrate King’s revolutionary vision, underscoring his identification with the poor, his unapologetic opposition to the Vietnam War, and his crusade against global imperialism. As West writes, “Although much of America did not know the radical King—and too few know today—the FBI and US government did. They called him ‘the most dangerous man in America.’ . . . This book unearths a radical King that we can no longer sanitize.”


From the Hardcover edition.


Click for more detail about One Righteous Man: Samuel Battle and the Shattering of the Color Line in New York by Arthur Browne One Righteous Man: Samuel Battle and the Shattering of the Color Line in New York

by Arthur Browne
Beacon Press (Jun 30, 2015)
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Winner of the Christopher Award and the New York City Book Award A history of African Americans in New York City from the 1910’s to 1960, told through the life of Samuel Battle, the New York Police Department’s first black officer.

When Samuel Battle broke the color line as New York City’s first African American cop in the second decade of the twentieth century, he had to fear his racist colleagues as much as criminals. He had to be three times better than his white peers, and many times more resilient. His life was threatened. He was displayed like a circus animal. Yet, fearlessly claiming his rights, he prevailed in a four-decade odyssey that is both the story of one man’s courageous dedication to racial progress and a harbinger of the divisions between police and the people they serve that plague twenty-first-century America. By dint of brains, brawn, and an outsized personality, Battle rode the forward wave of African American history in New York. He circulated among renowned turn-of-the-century entertainers and writers. He weathered threatening hostility as a founding citizen of black Harlem. He served as godfather to the regiment of black soldiers that won glory in World War I as the Hellfighters of Harlem. He befriended sports stars like Joe Louis, Jesse Owens, and Sugar Ray Robinson, and he bonded with legendary tap dancer Bill Bojangles Robinson. Along the way, he mentored an equally smart, equally tough young man in a still more brutal fight to integrate the New York Fire Department. At the close of his career, Battle looked back proudly on the against-all-odd journey taken by a man who came of age as the son of former slaves in the South. He had navigated the corruption of Tammany Hall, the treachery of gangsters like Lucky Luciano and Dutch Schultz, the anything-goes era of Prohibition, the devastation of the Depression, and the race riots that erupted in Harlem in the 1930s and 1940s. By then he was a trusted aide to Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and a friend to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Realizing that his story was the story of race in New York across the first half of the century, Battle commissioned a biography to be written by none other than Langston Hughes, the preeminent voice of the Harlem Renaissance. But their eighty-thousand-word collaboration failed to find a publisher, and has remained unpublished since. Using Hughes’s manuscript, which is quoted liberally throughout this book, as well as his own archival research and interviews with survivors, Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Arthur Browne has created an important and compelling social history of New York, revealed a fascinating episode in the life of Langston Hughes, and delivered the riveting life and times of a remarkable and unjustly forgotten man, setting Samuel Battle where he belongs in the pantheon of American civil rights pioneers.


Click for more detail about Black Prophetic Fire by Cornel West Black Prophetic Fire

by Cornel West
Beacon Press (Oct 07, 2014)
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An unflinching look at nineteenth- and twentieth-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies.

In an accessible, conversational format, Cornel West, with distinguished scholar Christa Buschendorf, provides a fresh perspective on six revolutionary African American leaders: Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X, and Ida B. Wells. In dialogue with Buschendorf, West examines the impact of these men and women on their own eras and across the decades. He not only rediscovers the integrity and commitment within these passionate advocates but also their fault lines.

Black Prophetic Fire with his bookWest, in these illuminating conversations with the German scholar and thinker Christa Buschendorf, describes Douglass as a complex man who is both “the towering Black freedom fighter of the nineteenth century” and a product of his time who lost sight of the fight for civil rights after the emancipation. He calls Du Bois “undeniably the most important Black intellectual of the twentieth century” and explores the more radical aspects of his thinking in order to understand his uncompromising critique of the United States, which has been omitted from the American collective memory. West argues that our selective memory has sanitized and even “Santaclausified” Martin Luther King Jr., rendering him less radical, and has marginalized Ella Baker, who embodies the grassroots organizing of the civil rights movement. The controversial Malcolm X, who is often seen as a proponent of reverse racism, hatred, and violence, has been demonized in a false opposition with King, while the appeal of his rhetoric and sincerity to students has been sidelined. Ida B. Wells, West argues, shares Malcolm X’s radical spirit and fearless speech, but has “often become the victim of public amnesia.”

By providing new insights that humanize all of these well-known figures, in the engrossing dialogue with Buschendorf, and in his insightful introduction and powerful closing essay, Cornel West takes an important step in rekindling the Black prophetic fire so essential in the age of Obama.


Click for more detail about Place, Not Race: A New Vision of Opportunity in America by Sheryll Cashin Place, Not Race: A New Vision of Opportunity in America

by Sheryll Cashin
Beacon Press (May 06, 2014)
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From a nationally recognized expert, a fresh and original argument for bettering affirmative action

Race-based affirmative action had been declining as a factor in university admissions even before the recent spate of related cases arrived at the Supreme Court. Since Ward Connerly kickstarted a state-by-state political mobilization against affirmative action in the mid-1990s, the percentage of four-year public colleges that consider racial or ethnic status in admissions has fallen from 60 percent to 35 percent. Only 45 percent of private colleges still explicitly consider race, with elite schools more likely to do so, although they too have retreated. For law professor and civil rights activist Sheryll Cashin, this isn’t entirely bad news, because as she argues, affirmative action as currently practiced does little to help disadvantaged people. The truly disadvantaged black and brown children trapped in high-poverty environs are not getting the quality schooling they need in part because backlash and wedge politics undermine any possibility for common-sense public policies. Using place instead of race in diversity programming, she writes, will better amend the structural disadvantages endured by many children of color, while enhancing the possibility that we might one day move past the racial resentment that affirmative action engenders. In Place, Not Race, Cashin reimagines affirmative action and champions place-based policies, arguing that college applicants who have thrived despite exposure to neighborhood or school poverty are deserving of special consideration. Those blessed to have come of age in poverty-free havens are not. Sixty years since the historic decision, we’re undoubtedly far from meeting the promise of Brown v. Board of Education, but Cashin offers a new framework for true inclusion for the millions of children who live separate and unequal lives. Her proposals include making standardized tests optional, replacing merit-based financial aid with need-based financial aid, and recruiting high-achieving students from overlooked places, among other steps that encourage cross-racial alliances and social mobility.

A call for action toward the long overdue promise of equality, Place, Not Race persuasively shows how the social costs of racial preferences actually outweigh any of the marginal benefits when effective race-neutral alternatives are available.


Click for more detail about A Time to Break Silence: The Essential Works of Martin Luther King, Jr., for Students (King Legacy) by Martin Luther King, Jr. A Time to Break Silence: The Essential Works of Martin Luther King, Jr., for Students (King Legacy)

by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Beacon Press (Nov 05, 2013)
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The first collection of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s essential writings for high school students and young people—with eighteen selections including "I Have a Dream," "Letter from Birmingham Jail," and "What Is Your Life’s Blueprint?"
 
“[Students] are in reality standing up for the best in the American dream. . . . One day historians will record this student movement as one of the most significant epics of our heritage.”
—from “The Time for Freedom Has Come”
 
A Time to Break Silence presents the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most important writings and speeches—carefully selected by teachers across a variety of disciplines—in an accessible and user-friendly volume for students. Arranged thematically in six parts, the collection includes eighteen selections and is introduced by award-winning author Walter Dean Myers. Included are some of Dr. King’s most well-known and frequently taught classic works, like “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and “I Have a Dream,” as well as lesser-known pieces such as “The Sword that Heals” and “What Is Your Life’s Blueprint?,” which speak to issues young people face today.
 
Teachers guide and companion curriculum developed by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University available online through www.thekinglegacy.org/teachers


Click for more detail about The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

by Jeanne Theoharis
Beacon Press (Jan 29, 2013)
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The definitive political biography of Rosa Parks examines her six decades of activism, challenging perceptions of her as an accidental actor in the civil rights movement

Presenting a corrective to the popular notion of Rosa Parks as the quiet seamstress who, with a single act, birthed the modern civil rights movement, Theoharis provides a revealing window into Parks’s politics and years of activism. She shows readers how this civil rights movement radical sought—for more than a half a century—to expose and eradicate the American racial-caste system in jobs, schools, public services, and criminal justice.

Book Review

Click for more detail about "In a Single Garment of Destiny": A Global Vision of Justice (King Legacy)

by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Beacon Press (Jan 15, 2013)
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An unprecedented and timely collection that captures the global vision of Dr. King—in his own words
 
Too many people continue to think of Dr. King only as “a southern civil rights leader” or “an American Gandhi,” thus ignoring his impact on poor and oppressed people around the world. "In a Single Garment of Destiny" is the first book to treat King’s positions on global liberation struggles through the prism of his own words and activities.
 
From the pages of this extraordinary collection, King emerges not only as an advocate for global human rights but also as a towering figure who collaborated with Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert J. Luthuli, Thich Nhat Hanh, and other national and international figures in addressing a multitude of issues we still struggle with today—from racism, poverty, and war to religious bigotry and intolerance. Introduced and edited by distinguished King scholar Lewis Baldwin, this volume breaks new ground in our understanding of King.


Click for more detail about A Queer History of the United States (ReVisioning American History) by Michael Bronski A Queer History of the United States (ReVisioning American History)

by Michael Bronski
Beacon Press (May 15, 2012)
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Winner of a 2012 Stonewall Book Award in nonfiction

A Queer History of the United States is more than a “who’s who” of queer history: it is a book that radically challenges how we understand American history. Drawing upon primary-source documents, literature, and cultural histories, scholar and activist Michael Bronski charts the breadth of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, from 1492 to the 1990s.


Click for more detail about "All Labor Has Dignity" (King Legacy)

by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Beacon Press (Jan 10, 2012)
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An unprecedented and timely collection of Dr. King’s speeches on labor rights and economic justice
 
Covering all the civil rights movement highlights—Montgomery, Albany, Birmingham, Selma, Chicago, and Memphis—award-winning historian Michael K. Honey introduces and traces Dr. King’s dream of economic equality. Gathered in one volume for the first time, the majority of these speeches will be new to most readers. The collection begins with King’s lectures to unions in the 1960s and includes his addresses made during his Poor People’s Campaign, culminating with his momentous "Mountaintop" speech, delivered in support of striking black sanitation workers in Memphis. Unprecedented and timely, "All Labor Has Dignity" will more fully restore our understanding of King’s lasting vision of economic justice, bringing his demand for equality right into the present.


Click for more detail about MLK: A Celebration in Word and Image by Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK: A Celebration in Word and Image

by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Beacon Press (Oct 25, 2011)
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 MLK: A Celebration in Word and Image is an unprecedented collection of black-and-white photographs combined with stirring quotations by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
This treasured collection includes images by legendary photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bob Adelman, and Flip Schulke, and is an unparalleled photobiography  that presents intimate moments from King’s personal and public journey. We see King in all his manifestations—as a new father and doting husband, as a civil rights champion leading racial protests, and as a charismatic speaker preaching electrifying sermons. Triumphant events like King delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech and marching in Montgomery are beautifully captured,  as are private moments of him reflecting on his Nobel Peace Prize or working in his study.
 
Threaded together, these words and  images chronicle how Dr. King was not only a driving force  for change but also  a continually evolving individual. A collection to savor and celebrate, these great photographs are an enduring testament to the life and legacy of an international icon.


Click for more detail about Nobody Turn Me Around: A People’s History of the 1963 March on Washington by Charles Euchner Nobody Turn Me Around: A People’s History of the 1963 March on Washington

by Charles Euchner
Beacon Press (Jul 12, 2011)
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On August 28, 1963, over a quarter-million people—two-thirds black and one-third white—held the greatest civil rights demonstration ever. In this major reinterpretation of the Great Day—the peak of the movement—Charles Euchner brings back the tension and promise of the march. Building on countless interviews, archives, FBI files, and private recordings, this hour-by-hour account offers intimate glimpses into the lives of those key players and ordinary people who converged on the National Mall to fight for civil rights in the March on Washington.


Click for more detail about Raceball: How The Major Leagues Colonized The Black And Latin Game by Rob Ruck Raceball: How The Major Leagues Colonized The Black And Latin Game

by Rob Ruck
Beacon Press (Mar 01, 2011)
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The colliding histories of black and Latin ballplayers in the major leagues have traditionally been told as a story of their shameful segregation and redemptive integration. Jackie Robinson jumped baseball’s color line to much fanfare, but integration was painful as well as triumphal. It gutted the once-vibrant Negro Leagues and often subjected Latin players to Jim Crow racism.
 
Today, Major League Baseball tightens its grasp around the Caribbean’s burgeoning baseball academies, while at home it embraces—and exploits—the legacy of the Negro Leagues. Award-winning historian Rob Ruck explains the catalyst for this sea change while breaking down the consequences that cut across society. By looking at this history from the vantage point of black America and the Caribbean, Raceball unveils a fresh and stunning truth: baseball has never been stronger as a business, never weaker as a game.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Morning Haiku by Sonia Sanchez Morning Haiku

by Sonia Sanchez
Beacon Press (Jan 25, 2011)
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From a leading writer of the Black Arts Movement, poems of commemoration and loss for readers of all ages
 
A collection of haiku that celebrates the gifts of life and mourns the deaths of revered African American figures in the worlds of music, literature, art, and activism.


Click for more detail about Why We Can’t Wait (King Legacy) by Martin Luther King, Jr. Why We Can’t Wait (King Legacy)

by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Beacon Press (Jan 11, 2011)
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Dr. King’s best-selling account of the civil rights movement in Birmingham during the spring and summer of 1963
 
On April 16, 1963, as the violent events of the Birmingham campaign unfolded in the city’s streets, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., composed a letter from his prison cell in response to local religious leaders’ criticism of the campaign. The resulting piece of extraordinary protest writing, “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” was widely circulated and published in numerous periodicals. After the conclusion of the campaign and the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, King further developed the ideas introduced in the letter in Why We Can’t Wait, which tells the story of African American activism in the spring and summer of 1963. During this time, Birmingham, Alabama, was perhaps the most racially segregated city in the United States, but the campaign launched by King, Fred Shuttlesworth, and others demonstrated to the world the power of nonviolent direct action.
 
Often applauded as King’s most incisive and eloquent book, Why We Can’t Wait recounts the Birmingham campaign in vivid detail, while underscoring why 1963 was such a crucial year for the civil rights movement. Disappointed by the slow pace of school desegregation and civil rights legislation, King observed that by 1963—during which the country celebrated the one-hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation—Asia and Africa were “moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence but we still creep at a horse-and-buggy pace.”
 
King examines the history of the civil rights struggle, noting tasks that future generations must accomplish to bring about full equality, and asserts that African Americans have already waited over three centuries for civil rights and that it is time to be proactive: “For years now, I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’”


Click for more detail about Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos Or Community? (King Legacy) by Martin Luther King, Jr. Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos Or Community? (King Legacy)

by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Beacon Press (Jan 01, 2010)
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In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., isolated himself from the demands of the civil rights movement, rented a house in Jamaica with no telephone, and labored over his final manuscript. In this significantly prophetic work, which has been unavailable for more than ten years, we find King’s acute analysis of American race relations and the state of the movement after a decade of civil rights efforts. Here he lays out his thoughts, plans, and dreams for America’s future, including the need for better jobs, higher wages, decent housing, and quality education. With a universal message of hope that continues to resonate, King demanded an end to global suffering, powerfully asserting that humankind-for the first time-has the resources and technology to eradicate poverty.


Click for more detail about The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became A Black Disease by Jonathan Metzl The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became A Black Disease

by Jonathan Metzl
Beacon Press (Jan 01, 2010)
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A powerful account of how cultural anxieties about race shaped American notions of mental illness

The civil rights era is largely remembered as a time of sit-ins, boycotts, and riots. But a very different civil rights history evolved at the Ionia State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Ionia, Michigan. In The Protest Psychosis, psychiatrist and cultural critic Jonathan Metzl tells the shocking story of how schizophrenia became the diagnostic term overwhelmingly applied to African American protesters at Ionia—for political reasons as well as clinical ones. Expertly sifting through a vast array of cultural documents, Metzl shows how associations between schizophrenia and blackness emerged during the tumultuous decades of the 1960s and 1970s—and he provides a cautionary tale of how anxieties about race continue to impact doctor-patient interactions in our seemingly postracial America.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (King Legacy) by Martin Luther King, Jr. Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (King Legacy)

by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Beacon Press (Jan 01, 2010)
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Martin Luther King, Jr.’s account of the first successful large-scale application of nonviolence resistance in America is comprehensive, revelatory, and intimate. King described his book as "the chronicle of fifty thousand Negroes who took to heart the principles of nonviolence, who learned to fight for their rights with the weapon of love, and who, in the process, acquired a new estimate of their own human worth." It traces the phenomenal journey of a community, and shows how the twenty-six-year-old Dr. King, with his conviction for equality and nonviolence, helped transformed the nation-and the world.


Click for more detail about Inheriting the Trade: A Northern Family Confronts Its Legacy as the Largest Slave-Trading Dynasty in U.S. History by Thomas Norman DeWolf Inheriting the Trade: A Northern Family Confronts Its Legacy as the Largest Slave-Trading Dynasty in U.S. History

by Thomas Norman DeWolf
Beacon Press (Jan 01, 2009)
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In 2001, Thomas DeWolf discovered that he was related to the most successful slave-trading family in U.S. history, responsible for transporting at least ten thousand Africans. This is his memoir of the journey in which ten family members retraced their ancestors’ steps through the notorious triangle trade route—from New England to West Africa to Cuba—and uncovered the hidden history of New England and the other northern states.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Can We Talk About Race?: And Other Conversations In An Era Of School Resegregation by Beverly Daniel Tatum Can We Talk About Race?: And Other Conversations In An Era Of School Resegregation

by Beverly Daniel Tatum
Beacon Press (Apr 01, 2008)
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Major new reflections on race and schools—by the best-selling author of “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?“

A Simmons College/Beacon Press Race, Education, and Democracy Series Book

Beverly Daniel Tatum emerged on the national scene in 1997 with “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?,“ a book that spoke to a wide audience about the psychological dynamics of race relations in America. Tatum’s unique ability to get people talking about race captured the attention of many, from Oprah Winfrey to President Clinton, who invited her to join him in his nationally televised dialogues on race.

In her first book since that pathbreaking success, Tatum starts with a warning call about the increasing but underreported resegregation of America. A selfdescribed “integration baby“—she was born in 1954—Tatum sees our growing isolation from each other as deeply problematic, and she believes that schools can be key institutions for forging connections across the racial divide.

In this ambitious, accessible book, Tatum examines some of the most resonant issues in American education and race relations:

  • The need of African American students to see themselves reflected in curricula and institutions
  • How unexamined racial attitudes can negatively affect minority-student achievement
  • The possibilities—and complications—of intimate crossracial friendships

Tatum approaches all these topics with the blend of analysis and storytelling that make her one of our most persuasive and engaging commentators on race.

Can We Talk About Race? launches a collaborative lecture and book series between Beacon Press and Simmons College, which aims to reinvigorate a crucial national public conversation on race, education and democracy.


Click for more detail about On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-first Century by Sherrilyn A. Ifill On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-first Century

by Sherrilyn A. Ifill
Beacon Press (Feb 15, 2007)
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Nearly 5,000 black Americans were lynched between 1890 and 1960. Over forty years later, Sherrilyn Ifill’s On the Courthouse Lawn examines the numerous ways that this racial trauma still resounds across the United States. While the lynchings and their immediate aftermath were devastating, the little-known contemporary consequences, such as the marginalization of political and economic development for black Americans, are equally pernicious.

On the Courthouse Lawn investigates how the lynchings implicated average white citizens, some of whom actively participated in the violence, while many others witnessed the lynchings but did nothing to stop them. Ifill observes that this history of complicity has become embedded in the social and cultural fabric of local communities, who either supported, condoned, or ignored the violence. She traces the lingering effects of two lynchings in Maryland to illustrate how ubiquitous this history is and issues a clarion call for American communities with histories of racial violence to be proactive in facing this legacy today.

Inspired by South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as by techniques of restorative justice, Ifill provides concrete ideas to help communities heal, including placing gravestones on the unmarked burial sites of lynching victims, issuing public apologies, establishing mandatory school programs on the local history of lynching, financially compensating those whose family homes or businesses were destroyed in the aftermath of lynching, and creating commemorative public spaces. Because the contemporary effects of racial violence are experienced most intensely in local communities, Ifill argues that reconciliation and reparation efforts must also be locally based in order to bring both black and white Americans together in an efficacious dialogue.

A landmark book, On the Courthouse Lawn is a much-needed and urgent road map for communities finally confronting lynching’s long shadow by embracing pragmatic reconciliation and reparation efforts.

?Professor Ifill has written a sobering and eye-opening book on one of America’s darkest secrets. On the Courthouse Lawn offers a compelling examination of lynchings and describes the failure of people and institutions to adequately address one of America’s tragedies. Racial amnesia would suggest we forget this history. Professor Ifill assures us that we cannot?and should not?forget it. This is a must read for anyone willing to examine our history carefully and learn from it.” ?Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice

?On the Courthouse Lawn is an elegantly written and persuasively argued case for local communities to confront their history of lynching and racial violence as a means of healing race relations. Explaining how Truth and Reconciliation worked in South Africa, Ifill explores the possibilities and offers concrete advice on how it could be widely employed in the United States. It is certainly worth trying.” ?Mary Frances Berry, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and professor of History, University of Pennsylvania

?In calm, objective but no less moving detail, Sherrilyn Ifill’s book provides the stories that illuminate the photographs and postcards of lynchings, the punishment meted out to some 5,000 black people deemed guilty without trial for matters large and small during the first half of the twentieth century. Too late for justice for the victims of lynch law, Professor Ifill urges that an American version of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission could bring long-denied acknowledgment to whites and a measure of consolation to blacks.” ?Derrick Bell, author of Faces at the Bottom of the Well and Ethical Ambition


Click for more detail about African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Beyond the Silence and the Shame by Anne C. Bailey African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Beyond the Silence and the Shame

by Anne C. Bailey
Beacon Press (Jan 01, 2006)
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It’s an awful story. It’s an awful story. Why do you want to bring this up now?—Chief Awusa of Atorkor

For centuries, the story of the Atlantic slave trade has been filtered through the eyes and records of white Europeans. In this watershed book, historian Anne C. Bailey focuses on memories of the trade from the African perspective. African chiefs and other elders in an area of southeastern Ghana-once famously called "the Old Slave Coast"-share stories that reveal that Africans were traders as well as victims of the trade.

Bailey argues that, like victims of trauma, many African societies now experience a fragmented view of their past that partially explains the blanket of silence and shame around the slave trade. Capturing scores of oral histories that were handed down through generations, Bailey finds that, although Africans were not equal partners with Europeans, even their partial involvement in the slave trade had devastating consequences on their history and identity. In this unprecedented and revelatory book, Bailey explores the delicate and fragmented nature of historical memory.


Click for more detail about Kindred by Octavia Butler Kindred

by Octavia Butler
Beacon Press (Feb 01, 2004)
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Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana's life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.


Click for more detail about Age Ain't Nothing But a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife

by Carleen Brice
Beacon Press (May 16, 2003)
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Maya Angelou, J. California Cooper, Pearl Cleage, Nikki Giovanni, Susan L. Taylor, Alice Walker, and more.

Finally, a collection that celebrates, considers, contemplates, even criticizes' midlife' from a black woman's point of view. Age Ain't Nothing but a Number ranges over every aspect of black women's lives: personal growth, family and friendship, love and sexuality, health, beauty, illness, spirituality, creativity, financial independence, work, and scores of other topics.

Midlife today isn't your grandmother's' change of life.' Today, black women call hot flashes 'power surges,' and menopause, the 'pause that refreshes.' These days, middle-aged women may be newlyweds or new mothers, as well as grandmothers or widows. They may experience the empty-nest syndrome and then the 'return-to-the-nest syndrome' as adult children move back home. They may navigate the field of Internet dating, travel the world, teach homeless women, take up pottery, or study international business.


Click for more detail about Summer Snow: Reflections from a Black Daughter of the South by Trudier Harris Summer Snow: Reflections from a Black Daughter of the South

by Trudier Harris
Beacon Press (Apr 15, 2003)
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A wide-ranging, spirited collection of personal essays about growing up black and Southern

Like Maya Angelou and bell hooks before her, Trudier Harris explores her complicated identity as a black woman in the American South. By turns amusing and probing, Summer Snow lays out in a series of linked essays the formative experiences that shaped Harris into the writer and intellectual she has become.

With passion and eloquence, Harris writes about the creation of her unique first name, how porch-sitting is in fact a creative Southern tradition, and how insecurities over her black hair ("the ubiquitous hair") factored into her self-image. She writes about being a "black nerd" as a child, and how the black church influenced her in her early years. But she also writes about more troubling topics, such as the price blacks have paid for integration, and the "staying power of racism." In one moving piece, Harris remembers a white teenager propositioning her for sex in exchange for five dollars. Unflinching in her assessment of white Southern culture, yet deeply attached to a South
many black intellectuals have abandoned, Harris in Summer Snow takes readers on a surprising tour of one woman’s life, loves, and lessons.

Trudier Harris is the author of numerousbooks, including Saints, Sinners, Saviors: Strong Black Women in African American Literature and Fiction and Folklore: The Novels of Toni Morrison. She is currently a professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Praise for Summer Snow:

"Stimulating and provocative, SUMMER SNOW resonates with folkloric energy and vividly evocative prose. Trudier Harris’s presence and voice vibrate through this journey, guiding her reader with the sheer force of her rigor, grace, and intelligence as well as a goodly amount of wry humor and wit. A reader’s dream-book, reminding us all of the resonant claim of southern spaces."
— Karla Holloway, William Kenan Professor of English at Duke University, author of numerous books, including Passed On.

"Trudier Harris speaks of the "cotton-pickin’ authority" of those in her childhood who earned respect because of their life-long backbreaking labors in the fields. Harris has translated that authority into one of her own, the authority of her words. Because of this author, we see, feel, understand and celebrate our people, who created—through sheer wit and will—a culture that defeated the dehumanization of slavery by keeping us, body and soul alive. A wonderful book you have to read to believe."
—Toi Derricotte, author of The Black Notebooks.

"Noon can be as blinding as midnight; snow no less than sun can cause a
vision distortion. Like Zora Neale Hurston, another great daughter of
the South, Harris lets her vision be tempered by her love. And make no
mistake, the South of Black Americans, is a love story. SUMMER SNOW
reminds us of that… causes us to remember that… lets us celebrate
that."
—Nikki Giovanni

"SUMMER SNOW is the classic we have been waiting for—the classic that
only a "Black daughter of the South" could have written. It has dance and song, color and texture, pathos and humor, analysis and introspection, and a gallery of fascinating women and men
we can never forget."
—Gloria Wade Gayles, author of PUSHED BACK TO STRENGTH

Book Review

Click for more detail about The Cruel Years: American Voices at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century by William L. Katz The Cruel Years: American Voices at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century

by William L. Katz
Beacon Press (Apr 15, 2003)
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The Cruel Years provides readers with a vivid picture of what life was like a hundred years ago, not for the rich and famous but for ordinary working Americans. The story is told in the words of twenty-two fascinating people who lived by laboring long hours at farms and factories and mines. A preface by Howard Zinn and an introduction by William Loren Katz provide an easy-to-follow historical map that places these hard-hitting, first-person narratives in the context of their troubled times and within the larger picture of U.S. growth and development.

Here are the no-nonsense words of a young immigrant trying to survive as a sweatshop operator in New York City, a hard working farmer’s wife who has writing ambitions; a black southern sharecropper seeking fulfillment under a new system of slavery; a young Puerto Rican passing the Statue of Liberty and ready for new challenges; a Chinese immigrant, a Mexican immigrant, and a Japanese immigrant struggling to rise from lower rungs on the social and economic ladder; an Irish girl of sixteen deciding to become a political agitator; a black southern woman trying to fend off the hurts of Jim Crow; a coal miner telling of the lethal dangers of his work; and a black cowhand rejoicing in the thrill of the cattle trails.


Click for more detail about You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train: A Personal History Of Our Times by Howard Zinn You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train: A Personal History Of Our Times

by Howard Zinn
Beacon Press (Sep 05, 2002)
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Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, tells his personal stories about more than thirty years of fighting for social change, from teaching at Spelman College to recent protests against war.

A former bombardier in WWII, Zinn emerged in the civil rights movement as a powerful voice for justice. Although he’s a fierce critic, he gives us reason to hope that by learning from history and engaging politically, we can make a difference in the world.


Click for more detail about The Condemnation of Little B. by Elaine Brown The Condemnation of Little B.

by Elaine Brown
Beacon Press (Feb 18, 2002)
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Through the story of a thirteen-year-old black boy condemned to life in prison, Elaine Brown exposes the "New Age" racism that effectively condemns millions of poor African-Americans to a third world life. The story of "Little B" is riveting, a stunning example of the particular burden racism imposes on black youths. Most astonishing, almost all of the officials involved in bringing him to "justice" are black.

Michael Lewis was officially declared a ward of the state at age eleven, and then systematically ignored until his arrest for murder. Brown wondered how this boy could possibly have aroused so much public resentment, why he was being tried (and roundly condemned, labeled a "super-predator") in the press. Then she met Michael and began investigating his case on her own. Brown adeptly builds a convincing case that the prosecution railroaded Michael, looking for a quick, symbolic conviction. His innocence is almost incidental to the overwhelming evidence that the case was unfit for trial. Little B was convicted long before he came to court, and effectively sentenced years before, when the "safety net" allowed him to slip silently down. Brown cites studies and cases from all over America that reveal how much more likely youth of color are to be convicted of crimes and to serve long—even life—sentences, and how deeply the new black middle class is implicated in this devastating reality.


Click for more detail about Mother to Mother (Bluestreak) by Sindiwe Magona Mother to Mother (Bluestreak)

by Sindiwe Magona
Beacon Press (Sep 15, 2000)
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Sindiwe Magona’s novel Mother to Mother explores the South African legacy of apartheid through the lens of a woman who remembers a life marked by oppression and injustice. Magona decided to write this novel when she discovered that Fulbright Scholar Amy Biehl, who had been killed while working to organize the nation’s first ever democratic elections in 1993, died just a few yards away from her own permanent residence in Guguletu, Capetown. She then learned that one of the boys held responsible for the killing was in fact her neighbor’s son. Magona began to imagine how easily it might have been her own son caught up in the wave of violence that day. The book is based on this real-life incident, and takes the form of an epistle to Amy Biehl’s mother. The murderer’s mother, Mandisi, writes about her life, the life of her child, and the colonized society that not only allowed, but perpetuated violence against women and impoverished black South Africans under the reign of apartheid. The result is not an apology for the murder, but a beautifully written exploration of the society that bred such violence.


Click for more detail about Song For Anninho by Gayl Jones Song For Anninho

by Gayl Jones
Beacon Press (Apr 30, 2000)
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This exquisite book-length poem is set in colonial Brazil, following the destruction of Palmares, the last of seven fugitive slave enclaves beset by the Portuguese. Amid the flight and reenslavement of its inhabitants emerges the love story of Anninho and Almeyda, former African slaves. Song for Anninho offers readers some of Gayl Jones’s very best verse.


Click for more detail about Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems (Bluestreak) by Sonia Sanchez Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems (Bluestreak)

by Sonia Sanchez
Beacon Press (Apr 07, 2000)
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An extraordinary retrospective covering over thirty years of work, Shake Loose My Skin is a stunning testament to the literary, sensual, and political powers of the award-winning Sonia Sanchez.


Click for more detail about Mosquito by Gayl Jones Mosquito

by Gayl Jones
Beacon Press (Feb 01, 2000)
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Bury those easy-to-read Black romance books. Mosquito is where African-American literature is heading as we approach the twenty-first century.—E. Ethelbert Miller, Emerge


Click for more detail about Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral by Jessie Redmon Fauset Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral

by Jessie Redmon Fauset
Beacon Press (Dec 15, 1999)
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Written in 1929 at the height of the Harlem Renaissance by one of the movement’s most important and prolific authors, Plum Bun is the story of Angela Murray, a young black girl who discovers she can pass for white. After the death of her parents, Angela moves to New York to escape the racism she believes


Click for more detail about Iola Leroy by Frances E. W. Harper Iola Leroy

by Frances E. W. Harper
Beacon Press (Dec 10, 1999)
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Iola Leroy was originally published in 1892, during a time of black disenfranchisement, lynching, and Jim Crow laws. It is the story of a "refined mulatto" raised to believe she’s white until she and her mother are sold into slavery. Iola becomes an outspoken advocate for her people and a critic of race-mixing. Her story offers an important portrait of black life during the Civil War and Reconstruction.


Click for more detail about Restoring Hope: Conversations on the Future of Black America by Cornel West Restoring Hope: Conversations on the Future of Black America

by Cornel West
Beacon Press (Jan 27, 1999)
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’Cornel West is one of the most authentic, brilliant, prophetic, and healing voices in America today’ —Marian Wright Edelman

Nine of America’s most influential artists, scholars, and public figures-Maya Angelou, Bill Bradley, Harry Belafonte, Patricia Williams, Wynton Marsalis, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, James Washington, James Forbes, and Haki Madhubuti-talk with Cornel West about their political awareness, art and politics, and the possibility of hope among African-Americans today.


Click for more detail about The Healing by Gayl Jones The Healing

by Gayl Jones
Beacon Press (Jan 01, 1999)
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Gayl Jones’s special gift is to shape experience and make it seem unshaped. -John Alfred Avant, The New Republic

Gayl Jones’s first novel, Corregidora, won her recognition as a writer whose work was gripping, subtle, and sure. It was praised, along with her second novel, Eva’s Man, by writers and critics from all over the nation: John Updike, Maya Angelou, John Edgar Wideman, and James Baldwin, to name a few. The publication of The Healing, her first novel in over twenty years, is a literary event.

Harlan Jane Eagleton is a faith healer, traveling by bus to small towns, converting skeptics, restoring minds and bodies. But before that she was a minor rock star’s manager, and before that a beautician. She’s had a fling with her rock star’s ex-husband and an Afro-German horse dealer; along the way she’s somehow lost her own husband, a medical anthropologist now traveling with a medicine woman in Africa. Harlan tells her story from the end backwards, drawing us constantly deeper into her world and the mystery at the heart of her tale-the story of her first healing.

The Healing is a lyrical and at times humorous exploration of the struggle to let go of pain, anger, and even love. Slipping seamlessly back through Harlan’s memories in a language rich with the textured cadences of the black Southerner, Gayl Jones weaves her story to its dramatic-and unexpected-beginning.


Click for more detail about Like the Singing Coming off the Drums: Love Poems (Bluestreak) by Sonia Sanchez Like the Singing Coming off the Drums: Love Poems (Bluestreak)

by Sonia Sanchez
Beacon Press (Jan 01, 1999)
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Like the Singing Coming off the Drums is a dazzling exploration of the intimate and public landscapes of passion from one of our master poets. In haiku, tanka, and sensual blues, Sonia Sanchez writes of the many forms love takes: burning, dreamy, disappointed, vulnerable. With words that revel and reveal, she shares love’s painful beauty.


Click for more detail about If I Can Cook/You Know God Can (Bluestreak Series) by Ntozake Shange If I Can Cook/You Know God Can (Bluestreak Series)

by Ntozake Shange
Beacon Press (Jan 01, 1999)
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Acclaimed artist Ntozake Shange offers this delightfully eclectic tribute to black cuisine as a food of life that reflects the spirit and history of a people. With recipes such as "Cousin Eddie’s Shark with Breadfruit" and "Collard Greens to Bring You Money," Shange instructs us in the nuances of a cuisine born on the slave ships of the Middle Passage, spiced by the jazz of Duke Ellington, and shared by all members of the African Diaspora. Rich with personal memories and historical insight, If I Can Cook/You Know God Can is a vivid story of the migration of a people, and the cuisine that marks their living legacy and celebration of taste.


Click for more detail about Renaissance by Ruth Forman Renaissance

by Ruth Forman
Beacon Press (Dec 30, 1998)
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Renaissance, Ruth Forman’s second collection, speaks of the timeless themes of family, death, love, and rebirth in the inimitable voice Booklist called ’sexy, bittersweet, funny, feisty, and real.’ With poetry that conveys a defiant, enlivened spirit and has won her acclaim, Ruth Forman measures the losses and celebrates the future of a generation.


Click for more detail about Like the Singing Coming off the Drums by Sonia Sanchez Like the Singing Coming off the Drums

by Sonia Sanchez
Beacon Press (Feb 03, 1998)
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In the movie "lovejones", in "Vibe" magazine, and on rapper D-Knowledge’s CD, Sonia Sanchez’s love poems have put into words the passions of a generation. Now comes a collection of new love poems from Sanchez, dedicated to such icons of our age as Tupac Shakur and Ella Fitzgerald, that takes readers from the most intimate landscapes of passion to its public celebration National ads & publicity. .


Click for more detail about Does Your House Have Lions ? by Sonia Sanchez Does Your House Have Lions ?

by Sonia Sanchez
Beacon Press (Jan 28, 1998)
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Nominated for the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry

Recommended Reading from Emerge

An epic poem on kin estranged, the death of a brother from AIDS, and the possibility of reconciliation and love in the face of loss.


Click for more detail about Wounded in the House of A Friend (Bluestreak) by Sonia Sanchez Wounded in the House of A Friend (Bluestreak)

by Sonia Sanchez
Beacon Press (Apr 30, 1997)
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Renowned African-American poet Sonia Sanchez explores the pain, self-doubt, and anger that emerge in women’s lives: an unfaithful life partner, a brutal rape, the murder of a woman by her granddaughter, the ravages of drugs. Sanchez transforms the unspoken and sometimes violent betrayals of our lives into a liberating vision of connection in emotional redemption, compassion, and self-fulfillment.


Click for more detail about Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman Jesus and the Disinherited

by Howard Thurman
Beacon Press (Nov 30, 1996)
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In this classic theological treatise, the acclaimed theologian and religious leader Howard Thurman (1900-1981) demonstrates how the gospel may be read as a manual of resistance for the poor and disenfranchised. Jesus is a partner in the pain of the oppressed and the example of His life offers a solution to ending the descent into moral nihilism. Hatred does not empower—it decays. Only through self-love and love of one another can God’s justice prevail.


Click for more detail about My Soul is a Witness: African-American Women’s Spirituality by Gloria Wade-Gayles My Soul is a Witness: African-American Women’s Spirituality

by Gloria Wade-Gayles
Beacon Press (Oct 30, 1996)
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My Soul Is a Witness is a powerful collection of poetry, prose, reflections, prayer, and song celebrating spirituality in the lives of African-American women.


Click for more detail about Early Negro Writing - 1760-1837 by Dorothy Porter Early Negro Writing - 1760-1837

by Dorothy Porter
Beacon Press (Jun 01, 1995)
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Early Negro Writing 1760-1837 is a rare collection of writings with literary, social and historical importance. Along with narratives, poems, and essays documents from mutual aid and fraternal organization as well as arguments about emigration are also included.


Click for more detail about We Are Young Magicians by Ruth Forman We Are Young Magicians

by Ruth Forman
Beacon Press (Apr 01, 1993)
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Winner of the 1992 Barnard New Women Poets Prize


Click for more detail about Black Thunder: Gabriel’s Revolt: Virginia, 1800 by Arna Bontemps Black Thunder: Gabriel’s Revolt: Virginia, 1800

by Arna Bontemps
Beacon Press (Apr 01, 1992)
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’Gabriel Prosser’s 1800 slave revolt allowed Bontemps to warn of the rebellion that would come of poverty and racial oppression. This metaphor of revolution is at the same time a highly pertinent representation of black masculinity that will reward students of gender, slavery and the sensibilities of the 1930s.’

-Nell Irvin Painter


Click for more detail about Drugstore Cat by Ann Petry Drugstore Cat

by Ann Petry
Beacon Press (Sep 01, 1988)
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A little cat with a short temper tries to learn the difficult lesson of patience and self-restraint.


Click for more detail about Eva’s Man by Gayl Jones Eva’s Man

by Gayl Jones
Beacon Press (Mar 05, 1987)
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Imprisoned for the bizarre murder of her lover, Eva Medina Canada recalls a life tormented by sexual abuse and emotional violence. Eva’s Man is Gayl Jones’s second novel.


Click for more detail about Corregidora by Gayl Jones Corregidora

by Gayl Jones
Beacon Press (Feb 15, 1987)
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Here is Gayl Jones’s classic novel, the tale of blues singer Ursa, consumed by her hatred of the nineteenth-century slave master who fathered both her grandmother and mother.


Click for more detail about Great Slave Narratives by Arna Bontemps Great Slave Narratives

by Arna Bontemps
Beacon Press (Jan 30, 1987)
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Great Slave Narratives is a Beacon Press publication.


Click for more detail about Heredity by Patricia Storace Heredity

by Patricia Storace
Beacon Press (Jan 01, 1987)
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