National Black Book Festival

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My! My! My! It's Black History Year - April

Number 63  
I wrote in last week’s blog, “Got to get one in for Black History Year,” the book by Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention Malcolm X: A Life of ReinventionpastedGraphic.pdf, now there are some disputes by various people (You know, the experts you see on the Today Show and CNN and other writers), that the allegation of Malcolm X’s Homosexuality and Infidelity in Marable book are false.  It’s a shame that years after this man’s death, a man who gave up his life for the success of African Americans, people are arguing about whether a rumor is true or not.  Read the book and other books on his life and decide for yourself.  It may be true and it may not be, but I remember when I saw the movie Malcolm X with Denzel Washington and I took my 5 year old daughter, even though thru most of the movie she slept, I saw a man who talked the talked and walked the walk thru hell and back.  I saw a man who gave us a revolution to stop taking crap from anyone who deemed us stupid or inferior or think because of the color of our skin, we are not human or worthy.  I saw a MAN.  A man born with sin and trying his best to stay on course.  He was a father, mentor and husband, and he was human.  We all are human and we make mistakes.  So if it is true, so what!  That does not take my vision and love for a man who started a revolution and to this day, I still say, “Do whatever is necessary to get the job done right and without hurting other people in the process.”  Do your best for you, your family and your race.  GOD is watching!!
It amazes me how people read and listen to what others are saying without finding out for themselves.  Yes, there are some big lies on the Internet, newspapers, TV, but we are intelligent enough to figure it out for ourselves.  I have watched the Today show a few times and first of all, their segments last only 5 to 10 minutes, then they ask that if you want any additional information, check out their website.  By the time you reach their website to look for the segment, you have to travel thru a maze of advertisements and other subjects just to find it and when you do, they have provided another website to browse or the information is not up to date. 
If you have time to search thru the maze, then search more.  But, you could have gone to the library, looked up the book on the specific subject or listen to your grandmother/grandfather or a mentor and found the answer yourself and actually enjoyed doing it.  It’s called, “The old fashioned way of finding the answer in a library or a book.”  To think, in a book, someone has written down an answer that may actually help you in your situation.  There are books to read for fun and books to learn from and it does not matter the age. 
Don’t believe everything you hear or read.  Take the time to read thru and understand both sides of the coin.  We are all we got, and I’m not going to let someone take Malcolm X or President Obama down because these men made some mistakes and are human.  I’m going to love them just like GOD does.  I’m not giving up on any of them.  We are all we got!!!
Here’s another listing of my most favorite black history books and I think you will remember, cry, become angry and remember all over again, what we as a people have gone thru and why we surely cannot give up. 
THE NARRATIVE OF SOJOURNER TRUTH – Free The Narrative of Sojourner TruthpastedGraphic_1.pdf
NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS – Free
UP FROM SLAVERY: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY – BOOKER T. WASHINGTON – Free
HARRIET ANN JACOBS - INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL WRITTEN BY HERSELF – Free Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by HerselfpastedGraphic_2.pdf
JESSIE REDMON FAUSET - Comedy: American Style - $15.37 - - - Comedy: American Style, Jessie Redmon Fauset's fourth and final novel, recounts the tragic tale of a family's destruction--the story of a mother who denies her clan its heritage. Originally published in 1933, this intense narrative stands the test of time and continues to raise compelling, disturbing, and still contemporary themes of color prejudice and racial self-hatred. Cherene Sherrard-Johnson's introduction places this classic in both the new modernist and transatlantic contexts and will be embraced by those interested in early twentieth-century women writers, novels about passing, the Harlem Renaissance, the black/white divide, and Diasporas studies.
JESSIE REDMON FAUSET - Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral - $10.63 Paperback
Written in 1929 at the height of the Harlem Renaissance by one of its most prolific authors, Plum Bun is the story of Angela Murray, a young black girl from Philadelphia who discovers she can pass for white. After the death of her parents, Angela moves to New York to escape the racism she believes is her only obstacle to opportunity. What she soon discovers is that being a woman has its own burdens that don't fade with the color of one's skin, and that love and marriage might not offer her salvation. "This novel was Fauset's call to the community to open itself to discussion and criticism and to aggressive intellectual pursuit of knowledge and experience. That call is just as necessary today. Plum Bun is a fine example of the hidden Harlem Renaissance—where the women were writers too."
You may not be aware, but Jessie Redmond Fauset taught at Dunbar High School in Washington, DC where many African American teachers taught and it was considered the most highly educated high school in the US.  She is also the creator of the “The Brownies’ Book,” a magazine for black children in the 1920s.
ANN PETRY - THE NARROWS - $10.00 for Hardback and Paperback - - - When Link Williams, a college-educated twenty-six-year-old African-American man, falls for Camilo Sheffield, a wealthy married white woman, things will never be the same in the sleepy New England town of Monmouth, Connecticut. Set in the 1950s, this unforgettable classic deftly evokes a tragic love affair and offers a window onto the powerful ways in which class, race, and love intersected in mid century America.
ANN PETRY - COUNTRY PLACE - $8.95 Paperback - - - Country Place is a departure both from Ann Petry’s first novel,The Street, and from African American literary tradition. Country Place focuses on a community of main characters who are predominantly white; the book’s minor characters are of varying ethnicity's and cultures within a small, rural New England town. The conflicts that arise between the characters, however, are conflicts of class. Petry focuses on the demarcation between the aristocratic and working classes to expose the town’s underlying foundations of bigotry and malice. (from website enotes.com)
MARGARET WALKER – JUBILEE - $9.32 Paperback - - - I read this book many years ago and while dusting and cleaning my many, many bookshelves, I ran into it and started reviewing it again.  It is beautifully written and the story written then and now, still grips me every time.  This was what they call a true classic.  It reminds me of Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind,” but this time, is a serious Black woman taking control in prewar times.  That book still echoes in my ear, even today.
Here is the classic and true story of Vyry, the child of a white plantation owner and his black mistress, a Southern Civil War heroine to rival Scarlett O'Hara. Vyry bears witness to the South's prewar opulence and its brutality, to its wartime ruin and the subsequent promise of Reconstruction. It is a story that Margaret Walker heard as a child from her grandmother, the real Vyry's daughter. The author spent thirty years researching the novel so that the world might know the intelligent, strong, and brave black woman called Vyry.

Got to Get one in for Black History Year - -
PAULE MARSHALL – THE CHOSEN PLACE, THE TIMELESS PEOPLE - 85 CENTS used in Hardback - - - Here’s a review by IsolaBlue from Boston.  "Merle Kinbona is one of the most memorable and interesting protagonists in all of West Indian literature. She is one of the strongest characters in all of the literature that emerged from the 1960s, and she reflects what was going on politically not only in the Caribbean, but also in the United States during that time. American social anthropologists have been sent to a West Indian island, Merle's homeland, with plans to help the residents. With this as a backdrop, Marshall explores race, politics, and cultural differences. She addresses the issues of immigrants, outsiders, and all those living outside of their cultures. Particularly effective are her portrayals of white male characters, proving that cross-race, cross-gender writing can work. The book may be too long, but the text is accessible, and the novel features a very real sense of place. Subtle and well-handled issues of homosexuality show that Marshall was, indeed, a woman ahead of her time."