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Posts Tagged ‘Books

Forgotten African-American Novel Back in Print

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SOURCE: Washington Post’s Short Stacks

drumsatduskThe book came out 70 years ago as the world was sliding into war and, amid the spreading bloodshed and chaos, “Drums at Dusk,” an impassioned work by African American writer Arna Bontemps, was soon forgotten.

Bontemps was a noted novelist, poet and academic who immersed himself in the Harlem Renaissance and collaborated on several projects with Langston Hughes. “Drums at Dusk” was unusual because it focused on a slave revolt outside the United States – the Haitian uprising of 1791 – and because it was one of the few novels by an African American writer to feature a white hero. Bontemps’s most successful novel, “Black Thunder,” a tale of a slave insurrection in Virginia published three years before “Drums at Dusk,” was more accessible to readers and academics.

So “Drums at Dusk” languished out-of-print until now. The 1939 novel has been republished by Louisiana State University Press under the guidance of Michael P. Bibler of the University of Manchester in Great Britain and Jessica Adams, author of “Wounds of Returning: Race, Memory, and Property on the Postslavery Plantation.”

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Written by Symphony

August 4, 2009 at 9:58 am

Hall publishes book on African American journalists

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SOURCE: Appalachian State University

calvinhallBOONE—Calvin L. Hall, an assistant professor and faculty fellow in the Department of Communication at Appalachian State University, has published the book “African American Journalists: Autobiography as Memoir and Manifesto.”

“In the last decade of the 20th century, during a time when African Americans were starting to take inventory of the gains of the civil rights movement and its effects on the lives of black professionals in the public sphere, the memoirs of several journalists were published, a number of which became national bestsellers,” Hall said.

His book examines select autobiographies written by African American journalists in order to explore the relationship between race, class, gender, and journalism practice.

“At the heart of this study is the contention that contemporary memoirs written by African American journalists are quasi-political documents—manifestos written in reaction to and against the forces of institutionalized racism in the newsroom,” Hall said. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Symphony

July 24, 2009 at 7:13 pm

African-American romance writers come into their own

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by Patrick Hueguen, NY Daily News

Brenda Jackson author photoAnother beach-read season is upon us, but this summer’s book list reflects changes in the publishing industry. Over the past year, new efforts have been made to identify and promote the most popular – and steamiest – page-turners by African-American authors.

Until recently, mass-market books with romantic or sexual content by black writers have been lumped together under the label “African-American romance.” A look at the titles under that heading on Amazon.com reveals everything from suspense to erotica to family drama.

But as works under the “black romance” umbrella gain popularity, the book world has become more interested in collecting accurate sales data by subgenre, and promoting the works and writers that can bring in the bucks. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Symphony

May 25, 2009 at 10:27 am

Posted in Books

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Colorado Book Winner a Georgia Memoir

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by Janet Singleton, New West

kimreid1Author Kim Reid’s life intersected with one of the most famous serial homicide cases in 20th century America: the Atlanta child murders, when up to 21 black children were kidnapped and killed there between 1979 and 1981. Her tough-minded mother was a cop and a lead investigator on the case. When it began, Reid was 13, the same age group as many of the victims. Three decades later, she has turned a difficult stretch of her life into an engaging book and winner of the Colorado Book Award, No Place Safe: A Family Memoir.

Each year the state’s Center for the Book, a Library of Congress satellite, throws a grand gala to honor local literary achievers. By that night, contenders in each literary category have been reduced from several nominees to three, and the winning authors, like Oscar hopefuls, do not know they have beat the competition until their names are announced on stage. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Symphony

December 30, 2008 at 7:51 am

African-American Woman Makes History

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by Christine Le, Celebrity Cafe

gordon_reed_annetteOn Wednesday night, Annette Gordon-Reed made history when she became the first African-American woman to win the National Book Award in the nonfiction category. The 59th awards took place on Wall Street, New York, with nearly 700 attendees, according to the NY Times.

Gordon-Reed’s book, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, is the result of extensive research and interest in the biography of three generations of a slave family owned by Thomas Jefferson (NY Times). Having grown up in partially segregated East Texas with politically active parents, Gordon-Reed delved into a book on Jefferson’s life, titled Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate Portrait, immersing herself in his political philosophies. She became deeply intrigued by the relations between Jefferson and the Hemings family (NJ.com). Read the rest of this entry »

Legends and Unsung Heroes

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by Joyce Adams Burner, School Library Journal

black_history1Picture books pair up perfectly with African-American history, exquisitely depicting the determination and spirit that have marked more than two centuries of struggle against racial barriers and injustice. The emotions and humanity portrayed in the illustrations bring home the hardships and triumphs like no ordinary textbook can. Whether Eric Velasquez’s quiet charcoal drawings of marching children in Angela Johnson’s A Sweet Smell of Roses or R. Gregory Christie’s intense primitives of Sojourner Truth in Anne Rockwell’s Only Passing Through, the power of the images moves readers’ experience to a more heartfelt level.

Arranged in historically chronological sections, the books suggested here will be welcomed by students of all ages. While they are obviously useful on the elementary level for Black History Month and similar social studies units, consider incorporating Ntozake Shange’s Ellington Was Not a Street and Walter Dean Myers’s Harlem and Blues Journey into a secondary-level poetry study, or offering Kadir Nelson’s sophisticated We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball to high school sports classes. Tom Feelings’s The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo, most appropriate for teens due to its raw intensity, is a rich resource for high school art classes, as is prominent artist Romare Bearden’s Li’l Dan, the Drummer Boy: A Civil War Story. Jerry Pinkney’s intricate watercolors of the Great Migration coupled with Billie Holiday’s song God Bless the Child beg to enrich music classes, as do Brian Selznick’s sepia-toned paintings of Marian Anderson in Pam Muñoz Ryan’s When Marian Sang. Detailed author’s notes in most books provide further information about the people and events on which they are based. Creative use of picture books in the classroom will bring African-American history and heritage to life for students of all ages, interests, and backgrounds. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Symphony

December 4, 2008 at 9:56 am

African-American Market Comes of Age: A New Crop of Authors

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by Angie Kiesling, Pubishers Weekly

Within religion publishing, it’s hard to miss the surge in growth over the last several years of the African-American market. Industry professionals of all stripes—agents, authors, editors, PR gurus—will tell you the market demand is there, the desire to reach the market is there, and strong sales records of heavy-hitting backlist authors and new literary voices promise to keep demand high. But if ever a market required targeting the right way or finding the heart and soul of its people and communities, it’s this one.

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Written by Symphony

September 3, 2008 at 6:09 am

Posted in Books, religion

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