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Posts Tagged ‘Books

Honoring the Best in African American Poetry

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By Jane Ammeson, NWI.com

While working on “The 100 Best African–American Poems” (Sourcebooks MediaFusion 2010; $22.99), award-winning poet Nikki Giovanni decided to cheat.

“Including just one hundred would only get me to the 1970s,” says Giovanni, a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech. “I definitely wanted to get some younger voices in too so there are actually 220 poems but they’re only numbered from one to a hundred.”

And so Giovanni’s diverse collection of poetic voices includes poems not only by Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks and Mari Evans but also Tupac Shakur.

“Anybody who knows anything about me knows that I love Tupac and I’m not the only one,” says Giovanni. “This is an incredibly important young man. Tupac’s been dead 10 years and people still treat him as if they know him. Because of the power of that young man, we had to include him. My admiration is based on his talent. How could we not honor him?”

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Written by Symphony

November 23, 2010 at 8:01 pm

African-American workers were key to Atlantic City’s success, new book argues

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By Chuck Darrow, Philadelphia Inquirer

WHEN IT comes to the history of Atlantic City, Nelson Johnson literally sees things in black and white.

Johnson, an Atlantic County Superior Court judge from Hammonton, N.J., is the author of Boardwalk Empire, which plotted Atlantic City’s storied tale by focusing on the white power structure from the town’s founding in 1854 through the current casino era. The chapter about early-20th-century political and underworld boss Enoch “Nucky” Johnson was the inspiration for the HBO series of the same name.

Tomorrow, Medford, N.J.-based Plexus Publishing releases Johnson’s The Northside, a parallel history of AyCee’s African-American community.

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November 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Temple history professor reveals the overlooked legacy of black women

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SOURCE: Temple University

The story behind Temple historian Bettye Collier-Thomas’s latest book began more than 20 years ago with a discovery in the dusty basement of a Baltimore church.

While sifting through church minutes from the late 1800s she found discussions about sex-segregated seating in the sanctuary and debates about women’s religious suffrage.

“I literally stumbled over major black women leaders who were unknown,” she said.

Collier Thomas would spend the next two decades carefully reconstructing the histories of African-American organizations and individuals in preparation for what she calls “the next chapter” of her life: researching and writing a book that would demonstrate the significant role of religion in the lives of black women in American history and weave their long-hidden stories into the nation’s larger historical narrative.

Jesus, Jobs, and Justice: African American Women and Religion, Collier-Thomas’s seventh book, has been greeted with the warmest of reviews. The Philadelphia Inquirer called it a “must-read” and a “tour de force for the study of women in religion.” A reviewer in the New York Times praised Jesus, Jobs, and Justice as “authoritative” and wrote that the “women in the book are heroic and their stories are moving.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Symphony

September 8, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Book Fair draws crowds to cultural heart of black L.A.

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By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times

Strolling down an aisle with hands clasped behind his back at the fourth annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair, Otis Wright noticed significant changes in the event as it unfolded Saturday in a neighborhood known as the cultural heartbeat of black Los Angeles.

Like similar literary festivals across the nation, the fair featured fiction, nonfiction, poetry and children’s literature by 150 African American writers, as well as readings, panel discussions and performances by singers, including a Lena Horne impersonator. The thousands of visitors who turned out had plenty of opportunities to meet authors and celebrities such as Oscar winner Lou Gossett Jr.

But Wright, 72, a real estate broker and minister who has lived in the Leimert Park Village area for 55 years, was particularly pleased by what he described as “progress: more people, a younger crowd this year, and lots more children. I like that.”

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June 27, 2010 at 9:52 am

Journalism professor recognized for latest book

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By Trent Goldston, The Lariat
Photo credit, Shanna Taylor

Dr. Mia Moody, Journalism professor, has been receiving great reviews for her latest book, “‘Black and Mainstream Press’ Framing of Racial Profiling: A Historical Perspective,” most notably from the publication Journalism and Mass Communication.

Will Crockett, public relations director for the College of Arts and Sciences, said Moody’s recognition from J&MC is monumental.

“This is the flagship journal of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and a premier journal in the field,” Crockett said. “The journal provides leadership in developing theory and introducing new concepts to its readership.”

Dr. Clark Baker, chairman of the journalism department said he was very pleased to hear about Moody’s work being recognized.

“It’s great. We are very proud of her,” Baker said.

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November 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Kansas City author features black children series at Big Read

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by Kenya Vaughn, St. Louis American

rubyandthebookerboysRamona Quimby changed my life – and she wasn’t even a real person.

Ramona was a fictional character from Beverly Cleary. Through a series of books, Ramona’s life appeared to run parallel with mine.

We were both 10 years old and had a big sister who worked our nerves. Both of us even had grandmothers who were proud owners of Chevrolet station wagons.

It was the first time I completely related to a character in a book. As much as we were alike, there was one big difference (and plenty of smaller ones). You can probably guess what it was.

But Ramona was the closest thing I had to a “shero,” so I took it and ran with it. I fell in love with reading and writing and never looked back.

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Written by Symphony

October 9, 2009 at 6:23 am

New reference book is the A to Z of black theater in the U.S.

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by Misha Berson, Seattle Times

africanamericantheaterbookOn the cover of the new “Historical Dictionary of African American Theater” is a glossy photograph of two young, strikingly attractive actors, Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee, in a scene from the landmark black drama “A Raisin in the Sun,” by Lorraine Hansberry.

But flip through this chunky, 500-plus-page volume compiled by two Seattle natives, and you’ll find so much more on the subject at hand — from the stage credits of other black movie stars to the efforts of pre-Civil War African Americans to integrate our nation’s theatrical life.

Along with an introductory essay and a timeline, the volume contains some 600 entries devoted to performers, playwrights, directors, designers, composers, companies and others engaged in black theater in the U.S. from the early 1800s to the present day.

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Written by Symphony

August 25, 2009 at 12:12 pm