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More Black-Owned Bookstores Than Ever!, PW’s on Black Book Publishing - April 21, 2022


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When tracing the history of almost any major American institution of power and wealth you’ll find it was either created by Black Americans or created to control them. And now, award-winning author Clyde Ford has compiled the history of this struggle in his new book Of Blood and Sweat: Black Lives and the Making of White Power and Wealth. Incredibly researched and documented, Of Blood and Sweat is a fascinating look at the past offering broad implications for the present and invaluable insight into our understanding of Black history and the story of America. Available now from Amistad Books! Buy Now ▶


Win a Copy of Isn’t Her Grace Amazing!


Isn’t Her Grace Amazing!: The Women Who Changed Gospel Music by Cheryl Wills

At long last, Isn’t Her Grace Amazing! salutes the pioneers and present-day superstars of gospel in a lavishly illustrated and beautifully packaged book. Some talented performers such as Sister Rosetta Tharpe have faded from history, while singers such as Mary Mary and Yolanda Adams have appeared at The White House, on reality television, and sold millions of records. Many women in the gospel music industry such as Willie Mae Ford Smith often go unnoticed, unpaid, and under-appreciated for their talents. These women of song are the bedrock for songwriting, arranging, directing, and developing singers – now is their moment to shine.


Five winners will be selected, and all you have to do to be entered is click the button below.


One-Shot Harry by Gary Phillips

Los Angeles, 1963: African American Korean War veteran Harry Ingram earns a living as a news photographer and occasional process server: chasing police radio calls and dodging baseball bats. With racial tensions running high on the eve of Martin Luther King’s Freedom Rally, Ingram risks ending up one of the victims at every crime scene he photographs.


When Ingram hears a call over the police scanner to the scene of a deadly automobile accident, he recognizes the vehicle described as belonging to his good friend and old army buddy, the white jazz trumpeter Ben Kinslow, with whom he’d only just reconnected. The LAPD declares the car crash an accident, but when Ingram develops his photos there are signs of foul play. Ingram feels compelled to play detective, even if it means putting his own life on the line. Read More ▶


Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Inspired by true events and brimming with hope, Take My Hand is a stirring exploration of accountability and redemption.


“Dolen Perkins-Valdez is a brilliant writer in a class all by herself. I love her voice and how she makes the past feel immediate and relevant, because it is.” —Terry McMillan, #1 AALBC and New York Times bestselling author  “Dolen Perkins Valdez takes a moment in our history that has been hidden inside the folds of time and she brings those heinous acts back into the light. This is a riveting story of one woman’s fight against a system that believes it has the right to determine who should give birth in this country and who should not. Civil Townsend’s plight as she seeks justice is heartbreaking, but also inspiring, reminding us that one woman can stand and make a difference. Beautifully written in typical Dolen Perkins Valdez’s style, I didn’t put this book down until I closed the last page and even then, I wanted more.” —Victoria Christopher Murray, New York Times bestselling author of The Personal Librarian Read More ▶


Song for Almeyda and Song for Anninho by Gayl Jones

Gayl Jones, the novelist Toni Morrison discovered decades ago and Tayari Jones recently called her favorite writer, offers two books in one with this volume of poetry. Jones renders the saga of Palmares, a foundational tale in the annals of colonial terrorism and Black resistance, in verse, told in the voices of the characters in her epic novel Palmares.


In the late 17th century, the fugitive slave enclave of Palmares was destroyed by Portuguese colonists. Amid the flight and re-enslavement of Palmares’s inhabitants emerges the love story of Almeyda and Anninho. In Song for Anninho, Almeyda moves between a dark present, in which she is once again enslaved and abused by a terrible captor, and memories of her lover, Anninho, whom she believes to have been killed. Song for Almeyda, released now for the first time, is told in the voices of Anninho and his fellow warriors. Read More ▶


Shine Bright: A Personal History of Black Women in Pop by Danyel Smith

A weave of biography, criticism, and memoir, Shine Bright is Danyel Smith’s intimate history of Black women’s music as the foundational story of American pop. Smith has been writing this history for more than five years. But as a music fan, and then as an essayist, editor (Vibe, Billboard), and podcast host (Black Girl Songbook), she has been living this history since she was a latchkey kid listening to “Midnight Train to Georgia” on the family stereo.


Smith’s detailed narrative begins with Phillis Wheatley, an enslaved woman who sang her poems and continues through the stories of Mahalia Jackson, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, and Mariah Carey, as well as the under-considered careers of Marilyn McCoo, Deniece Williams, and Jody Watley. Read More ▶


Our popular list of Black-Owned Bookstores has had some recent updates. The biggest change is the addition of several stores in the state of Georgia. Boasting 17 Black-owned stores, Georgia has more than any state. This comes as no surprise; Atlanta, GA topped my list of “The Top Cities for Readers of African American Literature,”


While operating my own pop-up bookstore, in Tulsa, OK, a customer from Bermuda came in. I asked if they were familiar with the Nubian Nookbookstore in Bermuda. It turns out that they were related to the store’s owner, author Rosheena Beek. They also informed me Rosheena passed away and that the store was now closed. Rosheena had a lovely spirit, She will be missed, for people like her run the best bookstores.


Earlier this year we lost bookseller, Yusef Harris, who, in 1986, founded Alkebu-Lan Images Bookstore & Gift Shop in Nashville Tennessee. Harris built an institution that continues to serve the Nashville community.


Publishers Weekly’s Coverage of Black Book Publishing


Publishers Weekly recently published a variety of articles covering all aspects of Black books. Mainstream and independent publishing is covered. Most importantly the articles provide a historical context:

Black Publishing in High Cotton By Tracy Sherrod

LANGSTON HUGHES received one of the earliest book deals in publishing. Carl Van Vechten, a novelist (Nigger Heaven) who was primarily known for his photography, introduced Hughes’s work to Blanche Knopf in the 1920s. She also helped Nella Larsen, who is best known for the novel, Passing, get a book deal, practically launching the Harlem Renaissance, as Blanche was one of the few women in publishing—before women were commonly being published. Read More in PW ▶

Paul Coates: The Legacy of Marcus Garvey in Publishing and Bookselling

MORE THAN 50 years ago, poet and publisher Haki Madhubuti issued a call for independent Black book producers and sellers to unite and work for the common good of the Black community. Read More in PW ▶

Erroll McDonald: I Am Not Your BIPOC

The acronym BIPOC… is an abstraction stunning for the violence of its erasure of identity, its blithe lumping together of groups… as if their concerns were indistinguishable. Read More in PW ▶


Dear Troy,


Always remember Troy, you are why we’ve been able to make AALBC the premier online platform for books by, or about, people of African descent. Your paid subscriptions, book purchases, suggestions, engagement on the site, commenting, social sharing, and advertisements help support AALBC’s mission.

Peace and Love,

Troy Johnson
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com


This message is sponsored by Amistad
Consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated email.
★ AALBC.com eNewsletter – April 21, 2022 - Issue #357

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