Even More Staff Picks

Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America

The first book to explore the historical role and residual impact of The Green Book, a travel guide for black motorists. Published from 1936 to 1966, The Green Book was hailed as the "black travel guide to America." At that time, it was very dangerous and difficult for African-Americans to travel because black travelers couldn't eat, sleep, or buy gas at most white-owned businesses. The Green Book listed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses that were safe for black travelers.

Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America

Candacy Taylor
973.0496 Tay

The first book to explore the historical role and residual impact of The Green Book, a travel guide for black motorists. Published from 1936 to 1966, The Green Book was hailed as the "black travel guide to America." At that time, it was very dangerous and difficult for African-Americans to travel because black travelers couldn't eat, sleep, or buy gas at most white-owned businesses. The Green Book listed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses that were safe for black travelers. It was a resourceful and innovative solution to a horrific problem. It took courage to be listed in he Green Book, and Overground Railroad celebrates the stories of those who put their names in the book and stood up against segregation. It shows the history of the Green Book, how we arrived at our present historical moment, and how far we still have to go when it comes to race relations in America.

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Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter

This long-overdue biography reestablishes William Monroe Trotter's essential place next to Douglass, Du Bois, and King in the pantheon of American civil rights heroes. William Monroe Trotter (1872- 1934), though still virtually unknown to the wider public, was an unlikely American hero. With the stylistic verve of a newspaperman and the unwavering fearlessness of an emancipator, he galvanized black working- class citizens to wield their political power despite the violent racism of post- Reconstruction America.

Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter

Kerri Greenidge
921 Trotter Gre

This long-overdue biography reestablishes William Monroe Trotter's essential place next to Douglass, Du Bois, and King in the pantheon of American civil rights heroes. William Monroe Trotter (1872- 1934), though still virtually unknown to the wider public, was an unlikely American hero. With the stylistic verve of a newspaperman and the unwavering fearlessness of an emancipator, he galvanized black working- class citizens to wield their political power despite the violent racism of post- Reconstruction America. For more than thirty years, the Harvard-educated Trotter edited and published The Guardian, a weekly Boston newspaper that was read across the nation. Defining himself against the gradualist politics of Booker T. Washington and the elitism of W. E. B. Du Bois, Trotter advocated for a radical vision of black liberation that prefigured leaders such as Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. Synthesizing years of archival research, historian Kerri Greenidge renders the drama of turn-of-the-century America and reclaims Trotter as a seminal figure, whose prophetic, yet ultimately tragic, life offers a link between the vision of Frederick Douglass and black radicalism in the modern era.

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I Can't Talk About the Trees Without the Blood

For poet Tiana Clark, trees will never be just trees. They will also and always be a row of gallows from which Black bodies once swung. This is an image that she cannot escape, but one that she has learned to lean into as she delves into personal and public histories, explicating memories and muses around race, elegy, family, and faith by making and breaking forms as well as probing mythology, literary history, her own ancestry, and, yes, even Rihanna.

I Can't Talk About the Trees Without the Blood

Tiana Clark
811.6 Cla

For poet Tiana Clark, trees will never be just trees. They will also and always be a row of gallows from which Black bodies once swung. This is an image that she cannot escape, but one that she has learned to lean into as she delves into personal and public histories, explicating memories and muses around race, elegy, family, and faith by making and breaking forms as well as probing mythology, literary history, her own ancestry, and, yes, even Rihanna. I Can't Talk About the Trees without the Blood because Tiana cannot engage with the physical and psychic landscape of the South without seeing the braided trauma of the broken past--she will always see blood on the leaves

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The Last Negroes At Harvard

The untold story of the Harvard class of '63, whose Black students fought to create their own identities on the cusp between integration and affirmative action. In the fall of 1959, Harvard recruited eighteen "Negro" boys as an experiment, an early form of affirmative action. Four years later they would graduate as African Americans. Some fifty years later, one of these trailblazing Harvard grads, Kent Garrett, began to reconnect with his classmates and explore their vastly different backgrounds, lives,and what their time at Harvard meant.

The Last Negroes At Harvard

Kent Garrett
378.1 Garrett

The untold story of the Harvard class of '63, whose Black students fought to create their own identities on the cusp between integration and affirmative action. In the fall of 1959, Harvard recruited eighteen "Negro" boys as an experiment, an early form of affirmative action. Four years later they would graduate as African Americans. Some fifty years later, one of these trailblazing Harvard grads, Kent Garrett, began to reconnect with his classmates and explore their vastly different backgrounds, lives,and what their time at Harvard meant. Garrett and his partner Jeanne Ellsworth recount how these young men broke new ground. By the time they were seniors, they would have demonstrated against injustice, had lunch with Malcolm X, experienced heartbreak and the racism of academia, and joined with their African national classmates to fight for the right to form an exclusive Black students' group. Part journey into personal history, part group portrait, and part narrative history of the civil rights movement, this is the remarkable story of brilliant, singular boys whose identities were changed at and by Harvard, and who, in turn, changed Harvard.

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Passionate for Justice: Ida B. Wells as Prophet for Our Time

Ida B. Wells was a powerful churchwoman and witness for justice and equity from 1878-1931. Born enslaved, her witness flowed through the struggles for justice in her lifetime, especially in the intersections of African-Americans, women, and those who were poor. Her life is a profound witness for faith-based work of visionary power, resistance, and resilience for today's world, when the forces of injustice stand in opposition to progress. These are exciting and dangerous times. Boundaries that previously seemed impenetrable are now being crossed.

Passionate for Justice: Ida B. Wells as Prophet for Our Time

Catherine Meeks, Nibs Stroupe
323.092 Wells-Barnett Mee

Ida B. Wells was a powerful churchwoman and witness for justice and equity from 1878-1931. Born enslaved, her witness flowed through the struggles for justice in her lifetime, especially in the intersections of African-Americans, women, and those who were poor. Her life is a profound witness for faith-based work of visionary power, resistance, and resilience for today's world, when the forces of injustice stand in opposition to progress. These are exciting and dangerous times. Boundaries that previously seemed impenetrable are now being crossed. This book is a guide for the current state of affairs in American culture, enlivened by the historical perspective of Wells' search for justice. The authors are an African-American woman and a child of white supremacy. Both have dedicated themselves to working, writing, and developing ministries oriented towards justice, equity, and mercy.

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Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights

The story of the decades-long fight to bring justice to the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, culminating in Sen. Doug Jones' prosecution of the last living bombers. On September 15, 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed. The blast killed four young girls and injured twenty-two others. The FBI suspected four particularly radical Ku Klux Klan members. Yet due to reluctant witnesses, a lack of physical evidence, and pervasive racial prejudice the case was closed without any indictments.

Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights

Doug Jones, Greg Truman
323.1196 Jon

The story of the decades-long fight to bring justice to the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, culminating in Sen. Doug Jones' prosecution of the last living bombers. On September 15, 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed. The blast killed four young girls and injured twenty-two others. The FBI suspected four particularly radical Ku Klux Klan members. Yet due to reluctant witnesses, a lack of physical evidence, and pervasive racial prejudice the case was closed without any indictments. Years later, Alabama Attorney General William Baxley reopened the case, ultimately convicting one of the bombers in 1977. Another suspect passed away in 1994, and US Attorney Doug Jones tried and convicted the final two in 2001 and 2002, representing the correction of an outrageous miscarriage of justice nearly forty years in the making.

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Conversations in Black: On Power, Politics, and Leadership

Hard-hitting, thought-provoking, and inspiring, Conversations in Black offers sage wisdom for navigating race in a radically divisive America, and, with help from his mighty team of black intelligentsia, veteran journalist Ed Gordon creates hope and a timeless new narrative on what the future of black leadership should look like and how we can get there.

Conversations in Black: On Power, Politics, and Leadership

Ed Gordon
305.896 Gordon

Hard-hitting, thought-provoking, and inspiring, Conversations in Black offers sage wisdom for navigating race in a radically divisive America, and, with help from his mighty team of black intelligentsia, veteran journalist Ed Gordon creates hope and a timeless new narrative on what the future of black leadership should look like and how we can get there. Gordon brings together some of the most prominent voices in Black America today, including Stacey Abrams, Harry Belafonte, Michael Eric Dyson, Alicia Garza, Jemele Hill, Eric Holder, Killer Mike, Maxine Waters, and so many more to answer questions about vital topics affecting our nation today, such as: Will the black vote control the 2020 election? Do black lives really matter? After the Obama's presidency, are black people better off? Are stereotypical images of people of color changing in Hollywood? How is "Black Girl Magic" changing the face of black America? Bombarded with media, music, and social media messages that enforce stereotypes of people of color, Gordon set out to dispel what black power and black excellence really looks like today and offers a way forward for all in a new age of black prosperity and pride. 

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Heads of the Colored People: Stories

Calling to mind the best works of Paul Beatty and Junot Diaz, this collection of moving, timely, and darkly funny stories examines the concept of black identity in this so-called post-racial era. A stunning new talent in literary fiction, Nafissa Thompson-Spires grapples with black identity and the contemporary middle class in these compelling, boundary-pushing vignettes. Each captivating story plunges headfirst into the lives of new, utterly original characters.

Heads of the Colored People: Stories

Nafissa Thompson-Spires
Thompso

Calling to mind the best works of Paul Beatty and Junot Diaz, this collection of moving, timely, and darkly funny stories examines the concept of black identity in this so-called post-racial era. A stunning new talent in literary fiction, Nafissa Thompson-Spires grapples with black identity and the contemporary middle class in these compelling, boundary-pushing vignettes. Each captivating story plunges headfirst into the lives of new, utterly original characters. Some are darkly humorous--from two mothers exchanging snide remarks through notes in their kids' backpacks, to the young girl contemplating how best to notify her Facebook friends of her impending suicide--while others are devastatingly poignant--a new mother and funeral singer who is driven to madness with grief for the young black boys who have fallen victim to gun violence, or the teen who struggles between her upper middle class upbringing and her desire to fully connect with black culture. Thompson-Spires fearlessly shines a light on the simmering tensions and precariousness of black citizenship. Her stories are exquisitely rendered, satirical, and captivating in turn, engaging in the ongoing conversations about race and identity politics, as well as the vulnerability of the black body. Boldly resisting categorization and easy answers, Nafissa Thompson-Spires is an original and necessary voice in contemporary fiction.

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Speak No Evil

On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, D.C., he's a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard in the fall, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer--an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders--and the one person who seems not to judge him. When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift.

Speak No Evil

Uzodinma Iweala
Iweala

On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, D.C., he's a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard in the fall, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer--an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders--and the one person who seems not to judge him. When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding toward a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed.

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Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories From the Harlem Renaissance

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture. Brought together for the first time in one volume, they include eight of Hurston’s “lost” Harlem stories, which were found in forgotten periodicals and archives.

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories From the Harlem Renaissance

Zora Neale Hurston
Hurston

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture. Brought together for the first time in one volume, they include eight of Hurston’s “lost” Harlem stories, which were found in forgotten periodicals and archives. These stories challenge conceptions of Hurston as an author of rural fiction and include gems that flash with her biting, satiric humor, as well as more serious tales reflective of the cultural currents of Hurston’s world. All are timeless classics that enrich our understanding and appreciation of this exceptional writer’s voice and her contributions to America’s literary traditions.

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