5 Books Published by Lyons Press on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Click for more detail about Black Men Built the Capitol: Discovering African-American History in and Around Washington, D.C. by Jesse J. Holland Black Men Built the Capitol: Discovering African-American History in and Around Washington, D.C.

by Jesse J. Holland
Lyons Press (Nov 01, 2017)
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A story most Americans don’t know. *Slaves built the Capitol, White House, and other important Washington structures *The National Mall sits on the site of the city’s once-bustling slave market *The grounds that are now Arlington National Cemetery were once a self-sustaining village for former slaves Millions of people visit the National Mall, the White House, and the U.S. Capitol each year. If they only hear the standard story, a big question remains: Where’s the black history? Packed with new information and archival photos, Black Men Built the Capitol answers this question.


Click for more detail about The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves in the White House  by Jesse J. Holland The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves in the White House

by Jesse J. Holland
Lyons Press (Jan 01, 2016)
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How did you begin researching the story?

Only one or two of the slaves who worked for the president ever had anything written—Paul Jennings wrote a memoir—but there’s very little written about these men and women enslaved by the presidents. Most of my research was done by reading between lines of presidential memoirs and piecing all of it into one coherent narrative. Presidential historians that work at Monticello and Hermitage in Tennessee, for example, want this research done; they were thrilled when someone wanted to look at these records and were able to send me a lot of materials.

What were some of the more unexpected details you can across during your research?

One of the things that surprised me is how much information was written about these slaves without calling them slaves. They were called servants, they were staff— but they were slaves. Andrew Jackson’s horse racing operation included slave jockeys. There have been things written about Andrew Jackson and horses and jockeys, but not one mentioned the word “slaves.” They were called employees in all the records. So, it’s there, once you know the words to look for. I was also surprised with how much time the presidents spent talking about their slaves in those same code words. When you start reading memoirs, ledgers, these people show up again and again and again, but they are never actually called slaves. Read the full interview at Smithsonianmag.com/.

The Invisibles Slavery Inside The White House and How It Helped Shape America is the first book to tell the story of the executive mansion’s most unexpected residents, the African American slaves who lived with the U.S. presidents who owned them. Interest in African Americans and the White House are at an all-time high due to the historic presidency of Barack Obama, and the soon-to-be-opened Smithsonian National Museum of African American Culture and History.

The Invisibles chronicles the African American presence inside the White House from its beginnings in 1782 until 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that granted slaves their freedom. During these years, slaves were the only African Americans to whom the most powerful men in the United States were exposed on a daily, and familiar, basis. By reading about these often-intimate relationships, readers will better understand some of the views that various presidents held about class and race in American society, and how these slaves contributed not only to the life and comforts of the presidents they served, but to America as a whole.


Click for more detail about An Obama’s Journey: My Odyssey Of Self-Discovery Across Three Cultures by Mark Obama Ndesandjo An Obama’s Journey: My Odyssey Of Self-Discovery Across Three Cultures

by Mark Obama Ndesandjo
Lyons Press (Sep 29, 2014)
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In this revealing and beautifully written memoir, Mark Obama Ndesandjo, recounts his complex relationship with his older half-brother, President Barack Obama, including their first meeting in Kenya over twenty years ago. The book also offers the author’s inspiring personal story about identity and multiculturalism. Rare family photos add to the book’s personal nature as does the intense recounting of domestic violence in the home of Barack Obama Sr.’s and his third wife, Ruth Baker, Mark’s Jewish-American mother.
The book also attempts to set the records straight on several points of the president’s best-selling memoir Dreams from My Father. In its connection to President Obama, Mark’s story takes on an even greater significance because it becomes all the more directly, a story of American identity and a window into the complex figure of the father they share, Barack Obama Sr., their roots in Kenya, their multicultural identities, and their relationships with America.

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Click for more detail about Sugar Of The Crop: My Journey To Find The Children Of Slaves by Sana Butler Sugar Of The Crop: My Journey To Find The Children Of Slaves

by Sana Butler
Lyons Press (Jan 23, 2009)
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"Sugar of the Crop" is the story of an unprecedented quest to find the last surviving children of slaves. In a revealing search from Los Angeles to New Orleans, from Virginia nursing homes to Alabama churches, Sana Butler provides a fascinating picture of African American life and its legacy in the post-Civil War world. What she finds will change our sense of black identity in America. Drawing on interviews she began in the summer of 1997 with the sons and daughters of slaves, Sana Butler reveals how African Americans emerged from slavery with a deep commitment to the future and a powerful energy to make the most of their opportunities, large and small. Like explorers in a new land, freed slaves faced a new America with enthusiastic hopes and dreams for their children. Impelled by a generation that exercised political power at a rate never since seen in this country, the children of slaves were raised to be independent and often fearless thinkers, laying the groundwork for what would later become the Civil Rights Movement. As it opens up a new perspective on African American history, "Sugar of the Crop" is not just about the effects of slavery, but essentially about the power of the human spirit and nurturing strength of unconditional love. It will enlighten, haunt, and inspire.

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Click for more detail about Michelle Obama: First Lady Of Hope by Elizabeth Lightfoot Michelle Obama: First Lady Of Hope

by Elizabeth Lightfoot
Lyons Press (Dec 11, 2008)
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There is no one quite like her. Michelle Obama. This is the first book to tell the astonishing story of a woman whose intellect, verbal flair, and poise are certain to make her one of the most influential First Ladies in history. A woman whose remark, “For the first time in my adult life I am really proud of my country,” did her husband’s campaign no good. A woman whose impassioned speech to the Democratic National Convention may have helped win him the Oval Office. A woman touted as a future presidential candidate herself. Readers are given a revealing and intimate look at Michelle Obama’s remarkable life?from her Chicago childhood to her education at Princeton and Harvard, from how she first met Barack Obama at the prestigious law firm where they were the only African-Americans, to her role as his closest adviser, and to her own political beliefs. For Michelle, family comes first, and?like so many women who struggle between family and career?she seriously weighed her husband’s presidential ambitions before giving her stamp of approval. Apparently she struck a hard bargain: he had to give up smoking.

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