African-American Studies
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Richard Wright's Travel Writings: New Reflections
Richard Wright's Travel Writings
New Reflections
Hardcover      ISBN: 1578063477

Attracted to remote lands by his interest in the postcolonial struggle, Richard Wright (1908-1960) became one of the few African Americans of his time to engage in travel writing. He went to emerging nations not as a sightseer but as a student of their cultures, learning the politics and the processes of social transformation.

When Wright fled from the United States in 1946 to live as an expatriate in Paris, he was exposed to intellectual thoughts and challenges that transcended his social and political education in America. Three events broadened his world view- his introduction to French existentialism, the rise of the Pan-Africanist movement to decolonize Africa, and Indonesia's declaration of independence from colonial rule in 1945. During the 1950s as he traveled to emerging nations his encounters produced four travel narratives-Black Power (1953), The Color Curtain (1956), Pagan Spain (1956), and White Man, Listen (1957). Upon his death in 1960, he left behind an unfinished book on French West Africa, which exists only in notes, outlines, and a draft.

Written by multinational scholars, this collection of essays exploring Wright's travel writings shows how in his hands the genre of travel writing resisted, adapted, or modified the forms and formats practiced by white authors. Enhanced by nine photographs taken by Wright during his travels, the essays focus on each of Wright's four separate narratives as well as upon his unfinished book and reveal how Wright drew on such non-Western influences as the African American slave narrative and Asian literature of protest and resistance. The essays critique Wright's representation of customs and people and employ a broad range of interpretive modes, including the theories of formalism, feminism, and postmodernism, among others.

Wright's travel books are proved here to be innovative narratives that laid down the roots of such later genres as postcolonial literature, contemporary travel writing, and resistance literature.

Virginia Whatley Smith is an associate professor of English at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Her work has appeared in African American Review, Mississippi Quarterly, and MLA Approaches to Teaching Wright's 'Native Son.'

Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History
Civic Ideals
Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History
Hardcover      ISBN: 0300069898

Tracing the political struggles over American citizenship laws from the colonial period through to the Progressive era, this text shows that for much of the nation's history, most adults were legally denied access to full citizenship solely because of their race, ethnicity or gender.

Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation
Amazing Grace
The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation
Paperback      ISBN: 0060976977

The children in this book defy the stereotypes of urban youth too frequently presented by the media. Tender, generous and often religiously devout, they speak with eloquence and honesty about the poverty and racial isolation that have wounded but not hardened them.

The book does not romanticize or soften the effects of violence and sickness. One fourth of the child-bearing women in the neighborhoods where these children live test positive for HIV. Pediatric AIDs, life-consuming fires and gang rivalries take a high toll. Several children die during the year in which this narrative takes place.

A gently written work, Amazing Grace asks questions that are at once political and theological. What is the value of a child's life? What exactly do we plan to do with those whom we appear to have defined as economically and humanly superfluous? How cold -- how cruel, how tough -- do we dare be?

All about Love: New Visions
All about Love
New Visions
Paperback      ISBN: 0060959479

The acclaimed first volume in feminist icon bell hooks' Love Song to the Nation," All About Love is a revelation about what causes a polarized society and how to heal the divisions that cause suffering. Here is the truth about love, and inspiration to help us instill caring, compassion, and strength in our homes, schools, and workplaces.

"The word 'love' is most often defined as a noun, yet we would all love better if we used it as a verb," writes bell hooks as she comes out fighting and on fire in All About Love. Here, at her most provocative and intensely personal, renowned scholar, cultural critic and feminist bell hooks offers a proactive new ethic for a society bereft with lovelessness--not the lack of romance, but the lack of care, compassion, and unity. People are divided, she declares, by society's failure to provide a model for learning to love.

As bell hooks uses her incisive mind to explore the question "What is love?" her answers strike at both the mind and heart. Razing the cultural paradigm that the ideal love is infused with sex and desire, she provides a new path to love that is sacred, redemptive, and healing for individuals and for a nation. The Utne Reader declared bell hooks one of the "100 Visionaries Who Can Change Your Life." All About Love is a powerful, timely affirmation of just how profoundly her revelations can change hearts and minds for the better.

Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940
Making Whiteness
The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940
Paperback      ISBN: 0679776206
Making Whiteness is a profoundly important work that explains how and why whiteness came to be such a crucial, embattled--and distorting--component of twentieth-century American identity. In intricately textured detail and with passionately mastered analysis, Grace Elizabeth Hale shows how, when faced with the active citizenship of their ex-slaves after the Civil War, white southerners re-established their dominance through a cultural system based on violence and physical separation. And in a bold and transformative analysis of the meaning of segregation for the nation as a whole, she explains how white southerners' creation of modern "whiteness" was, beginning in the 1920s, taken up by the rest of the nation as a way of enforcing a new social hierarchy while at the same time creating the illusion of a national, egalitarian, consumerist democracy.

By showing the very recent historical "making" of contemporary American whiteness and by examining how the culture of segregation, in all its murderous contradictions, was lived, Hale makes it possible to imagine a future outside it. Her vision holds out the difficult promise of a truly democratic American identity whose possibilities are no longer limited and disfigured by race.
The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African-American Culture
The Hip-Hop Generation
Young Blacks and the Crisis in African-American Culture
Paperback      ISBN: 0465029795
The Hip Hop Generation is an eloquent testament for black youth culture at the turn of the century. The only in-depth study of the first generation to grow up in post-segregation America, it combines culture and politics into a pivotal work in American studies. Bakari Kitwana, one of black America's sharpest young critics, offers a sobering look at this generation's disproportionate social and political troubles, and celebrates the activism and politics that may herald the beginning of a new phase of African-American empowerment.
All Our Kin
All Our Kin
Paperback      ISBN: 0061319821

"This landmark study debunked the misconception that poor families were unstable and disorganized. Here is the chronicle of a young white woman's sojourn into The Flats, an African-American ghetto comm"

Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors
Lanterns
A Memoir of Mentors
Paperback      ISBN: 0060958596

As president of the Children's Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman has been at the heart of this century's most dramatic civil rights and child advocacy struggles. In this memoir, she pays tribute to those who helped shape her life, and shows how crucial their influences were.

George Washington Carver: In His Own Words
George Washington Carver
In His Own Words
Paperback      ISBN: 0826207855

George Washington Carver (1864-1943), best known for his work as a scientist and a botanist, was an anomaly in his own time--a black man praised by white America.

This selection of his letters and other writings reveals both the human side of Carver and the forces that shaped his creative genius. They show us a Carver who was both manipulated and manipulative who had inner tensions and anxieties. But perhaps more than anything else, these letters allow us to see Carver's deep love for his fellow man, whether manifested in his efforts to treat polio victims in the 1930s or in his incredibly intense and emotionally charged friendships that lasted a lifetime.

The editor has furnished commentary between letters to set them in context.

Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now
Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 0679427430

Wisdom from a remarkable woman of many talents--a writer who captured America's heart on Inauguration Day.