African-American Studies
Featured Items
The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America
The Promised Land
The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America
Paperback      ISBN: 0679733477

A New York Times bestseller, the groundbreaking authoritative history of the migration of African-Americans from the rural South to the urban North. A definitive book on American history, The Promised Land is also essential reading for educators and policymakers at both national and local levels.

Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration
Close to the Knives
A Memoir of Disintegration
Paperback      ISBN: 0679732276

In Close to the Knives, David Wojnarowicz gives us an important and timely document: a collection of creative essays -- a scathing, sexy, sublimely humorous and honest personal testimony to the "Fear of Diversity in America." From the author's violent childhood in suburbia to eventual homelessness on the streets and piers of New York City, to recognition as one of the most provocative artists of his generation -- Close to the Knives is his powerful and iconoclastic memoir. Street life, drugs, art and nature, family, AIDS, politics, friendship and acceptance: Wojnarowicz challenges us to examine our lives -- politically, socially, emotionally, and aesthetically.

Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63
Parting the Waters
America in the King Years 1954-63
Paperback      ISBN: 0671687425

In volume one of his America in the King Years, Pulitzer Prize winner Taylor Branch gives a masterly account of the American civil rights movement.

Hailed as the most masterful story ever told of the American civil rights movement, Parting the Waters is destined to endure for generations.

Moving from the fiery political baptism of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the corridors of Camelot where the Kennedy brothers weighed demands for justice against the deceptions of J. Edgar Hoover, here is a vivid tapestry of America, torn and finally transformed by a revolutionary struggle unequaled since the Civil War.

Taylor Branch provides an unsurpassed portrait of King's rise to greatness and illuminates the stunning courage and private conflict, the deals, maneuvers, betrayals, and rivalries that determined history behind closed doors, at boycotts and sit-ins, on bloody freedom rides, and through siege and murder.

Epic in scope and impact, Branch's chronicle definitively captures one of the nation's most crucial passages.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Paperback      ISBN: 0385007051

The personal account of a fugitive slave's privation and sufferings and his campaigns for Negro emancipation

The Autobiography of Malcolm X
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Paperback      ISBN: 0345376714
ONE OF TIME'S TEN MOST IMPORTANT NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement and a man whose work was never completed but whose message is timeless. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand America.

Praise for The Autobiography of Malcolm X

"Malcolm X's autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will."--Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father

"Extraordinary . . . a brilliant, painful, important book."--The New York Times

"A great book . . . Its dead level honesty, its passion, its exalted purpose, will make it stand as a monument to the most painful truth."--The Nation

"The most important book I'll ever read, it changed the way I thought, it changed the way I acted. It has given me courage I didn't know I had inside me. I'm one of hundreds of thousands whose lives were changed for the better."--Spike Lee

"This book will have a permanent place in the literature of the Afro-American struggle."--I. F. Stone
The Days of Rondo
The Days of Rondo
Paperback      ISBN: 0873512561

In the 1930s and the 1940s Rondo Avenue was at the heart of St. Paul's largest black neighborhood. African Americans whose families had lived in Minnesota for decades and others who were just arriving from the South made up a vibrant, vital community that was in many ways independent of the white society around it.

The Days of Rondo is Evelyn Fairbanks's affectionate memoir of this lively neighborhood. Its pages are filled with fascinating people: Mama and Daddy--Willie Mae and George Edwards--who taught her about love and pride an dignity; Aunt Good, a tall and stately woman with a "queenly secretive attitude"; brother Morris, who "took the time to teach me about the street and the people I would find there"; Mrs. Neal, the genteel activist who showed her the difference between a salad fork and a dessert fork; Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, who started a girls' string band; and a whole assortment of street vendors and playmates who made up the world of her childhood

As she grew up, Fairbanks saw many different sides of her community. Her words bring to life the all-day Sunday services at the Sanctified church, the "perfect days" of her girlhood, and the ghost stories told on the porch of a soft midwestern summer evening. But she also remembers a visit to relatives in Georgia, the deaths of her Mama and Daddy, and the difficult lessons her free-wheeling brother taught her about friends and money. By the time Evelyn was a teenager, World War II was changing St. Paul and the whole world in ways that touched upon her own life. And through the years she was also discovering what it meant to grow up as a black person in Minnesota.

A gifted storyteller, Fairbanks has recreated the patterns of her neighborhood life in a northern city. Her story ends in the mid-1950s, a few years before the Rondo neighborhood was destroyed by freeway construction. In preserving her memories of this distinctive community, Evelyn Fairbanks has added an important dimension to our understanding of Minnesota during those years.

"Fairbanks spins yarns about St. Paul's black society with the flair of a campfire storyteller." --St. Paul Pioneer Press

"Must reading for anyone wanting a clearer understanding of the history of race relations." --Library Journal

"Narrative history at its best." --Choice

"Her prose is simple and concise and is leavened by a rich sense of humor." --Minnesota Monthly

"The Days of Rondo is an interpretive account of events in the life of a black family from the South struggling for survival and meaning in a northern city. Rich in humor and detail, it provides a well-illustrated mosaic of socioeconomic, ethnic, and class realities as seen through the eyes of a young black woman." --David V. Taylor, author of African-Americans in Minnesota

The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
The Color of Water
A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
Paperback      ISBN: 1573225789

The phenomenal New York Times bestseller for over 100 weeks is an unforgettable memoir of McBride's mother and his interracial family.

All God's Children Need Travelling Shoes
All God's Children Need Travelling Shoes
Paperback      ISBN: 067973404x

In 1962 the poet, musician, and performer Maya Angelou claimed another piece of her identity by moving to Ghana, joining a community of "Revolutionist Returnees" inspired by the promise of pan-Africanism. All God's Children Need Walking Shoes is her lyrical and acutely perceptive exploration of what it means to be an African American on the mother continent, where color no longer matters but where American-ness keeps asserting itself in ways both puzzling and heartbreaking. As it builds on the personal narrative of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Gather Together in My Name, this book confirms Maya Angelou's stature as one of the most gifted autobiographers of our time.

Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer's Activism
Anything We Love Can Be Saved
A Writer's Activism
Paperback      ISBN: 0345407962

In Anything We Love Can Be Saved, Alice Walker writes about her life as an activist, in a book rich in the belief that the world is saveable, if only we will act. Speaking from her heart on a wide range of topics--religion and the spirit, feminism and race, families and identity, politics and social change--Walker begins with a moving autobiographical essay in which she describes her own spiritual growth and roots in activism. She goes on to explore many important private and public issues: being a daughter and raising one, dreadlocks, banned books, civil rights, and gender communication. She writes about Zora Neale Hurston and Salman Rushdie and offers advice to Bill Clinton. Here is a wise woman's thoughts as she interacts with the world today, and an important portrait of an activist writer's life.

Life on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black
Life on the Color Line
The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black
Paperback      ISBN: 0452275334
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

"A triumph of storytelling as well as a triumph of spirit."--Alex Kotlowitz, award-winning author of There Are No Children Here

As a child in 1950s segregated Virginia, Gregory Howard Williams grew up believing he was white. But when the family business failed and his parents' marriage fell apart, Williams discovered that his dark-skinned father, who had been passing as Italian-American, was half black. The family split up, and Greg, his younger brother, and their father moved to Muncie, Indiana, where the young boys learned the truth about their heritage. Overnight, Greg Williams became black.

In this extraordinary and powerful memoir, Williams recounts his remarkable journey along the color line and illuminates the contrasts between the black and white worlds: one of privilege, opportunity and comfort, the other of deprivation, repression, and struggle. He tells of the hostility and prejudice he encountered all too often, from both blacks and whites, and the surprising moments of encouragement and acceptance he found from each.

Life on the Color Line is a uniquely important book. It is a wonderfully inspiring testament of purpose, perseverance, and human triumph.

"Heartbreaking and uplifting... a searing book about race and prejudice in America... brims with insights that only someone who has lived on both sides of the racial divide could gain."--Cleveland Plain Dealer