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
A brilliant look at colonialism and its effects in Antigua--by the author of Annie John
"If you go to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see. If you come by aeroplane, you will land at the V. C. Bird International Airport. Vere Cornwall (V. C.) Bird is the Prime Minister of Antigua. You may be the sort of tourist who would wonder why a Prime Minister would want an airport named after him--why not a school, why not a hospital, why not some great public monument. You are a tourist and you have not yet seen . . ."
So begins Jamaica Kincaid's expansive essay, which shows us what we have not yet seen of the ten-by-twelve-mile island in the British West Indies where she grew up.
Lyrical, sardonic, and forthright by turns, in a Swiftian mode, A Small Place cannot help but amplify our vision of one small place and all that it signifies.
Through two award-winning National Public Radio documentaries, and now this powerful book, LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman have made it their mission to be loud voices from one of this country's darkest places, Chicago's Ida B. Wells housing project. Set against the stunning photographs of a talented young photographer from the projects, Our America evokes the unforgiving world of these two amazing young men, and their struggle to survive unrelenting tragedy. With a gift for clear-eyed journalism, they tell their own stories and others, including that of the death of Eric Morse, a five-year-old who was dropped to his death from the fourteenth floor of an Ida B. Wells apartment building by two other little boys.
Sometimes funny, often painful, but always charged with their dream of Our America, LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman reach out to grab your attention and break your heart
In I Wonder as I Wander, Langston Hughes vividly recalls the most dramatic and intimate moments of his life in the turbulent 1930s.His wanderlust leads him to Cuba, Haiti, Russia, Soviet Central Asia, Japan, Spain (during its Civil War), through dictatorships, wars, revolutions. He meets and brings to life the famous and the humble, from Arthur Koestler to Emma, the Black Mammy of Moscow. It is the continuously amusing, wise revelation of an American writer journeying around the often strange and always exciting world he loves.
Navigators vividly brings to life the stories of twelve African American artists who teach music, dance, and visual arts at colleges and universities that have traditionally been viewed as White institutions. In this captivating and moving book, Theresa Jenoure shows that there's a great deal to be learned from the experience of these teachers. She explores their visions and callings as creative artists and how they function in higher education. In so doing, she presents relevant ideas about the development and sustenance of creativity.As the twelve teachers' stories unfold, they share their hearts generously and speak their minds frankly, offering kaleidoscopic glimpses into their biographies. They talk about the various paths that led them to become artists and teachers, honoring special people and incidents that have aided them along the way. They identify some of the ways they became politicized, aware, or even positioned in social and political terms, giving names to forces that have shaped their views on social group membership. These are the stories we need to hear. Their voices resonate powerfully, presenting a rare opportunity to be moved and changed. Much more than merely an objective look at African Americans and the arts, Navigators is as alive and vibrant as the music, art, and dance it describes. Jenoure includes profiles and riffs to serve as bridges between the chapters. The profiles offer closer looks at four of the teachers; and the riffs, much like highly creative jazz compositions from which the word is borrowed, are interjected between the chapters, helping to merge fact with fiction.
In Gather Together In My Name Maya Angelou continues her stunning autobiography. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, passionate and mellow, she fills the pages with both wisdom and wonder as she brings us along in her struggle and dance through life. a heroic and beautiful book. -- Cleveland Plain Dealer. This is the story of a great heroine who knows the meaning of a struggle and never loses her pride or dignity. Indeed, her story makes me proud of the human race. -- John Oliver Killens
Former slaves themselves--an important but long-neglected source of information about the institution of slavery in the United States. Who could better describe what slavery was like than the people who experienced it? And describe it they did, in thousands of remarkable interviews sponsored by the Federal Writers' Project during the 1930s. More than 170 interviews were conducted in North Carolina. Belinda Hurmence pored over each of the North Carolina narratives, compiling and editing 21 of the first-person accounts for this collection.
Belinda Hurmence was born in Oklahoma, raised in Texas, and educated at the University of Texas and Columbia University. She has written several novels for young people, including Tough Tiffany (an ALA Notable Book), A Girl Called Boy (winner of the Parents' Choice Award), Tancy (winner of a Golden Kite Award), and The Nightwalker.
She has also edited We Lived in a Little Cabin in the Yard and Before Freedom, When I Just Can Remember, companion volumes to this book. She now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.