Join us in celebrating uniqueness! Choose from this curated selection of digital titles within Pfeiffer Library that explore African American history, conveniently located on our display case:
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Call Number: E185.6 .W685 2011 CCU
Publication Date: 2011-10-04
NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER * NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * In this beautifully written masterwork, the Pulitzer Prize-winnner and bestselling author of Caste chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves. With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties. Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an "unrecognized immigration" within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.
The Underground Railroad (Pulitzer Prize Winner) (National Book Award Winner) (Oprah's Book Club) by Colson Whitehead
Call Number: PS3573.H4768 U53 2016 CCU
Publication Date: 2016-08-02
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. Now an original Amazon Prime Video series directed by Barry Jenkins. Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood--where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned--Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. In Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor--engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. Like the protagonist of Gulliver's Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey--hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share. Look for Colson Whitehead's best-selling new novel, Harlem Shuffle!
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Call Number: PS3607.Y37 H66 2017 CCU c.2
Publication Date: 2017-05-02
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK * Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery. One of Oprah's Best Books of the Year and a PEN/Hemingway award winner, Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi's extraordinary novel illuminates slavery's troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed--and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.
The Cambridge Guide to African American History by Raymond Gavins
Call Number: E185 .G33 2016
Publication Date: 2016-02-15
This book emphasizes blacks' agency and achievements in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, notably outcomes of the Civil Rights Movement. To consider the means or strategies that African Americans utilized in pursuing their aspirations and struggles for freedom and equality, readers can consult subjects delineating ideological, institutional, and organizational aspects of black priorities, with tactics of resistance or dissent, over time and place. The entries include but are not limited to Afro-American Culture; Anti-Apartheid Movement; Anti-lynching Campaign; Antislavery Movement; Black Power Movement; Constitution, US (1789); Conventions, National Negro; Desegregation; Durham Manifesto (1942); Feminism; Four Freedoms; Haitian Revolution; Jobs Campaigns; the March on Washington (1963); March on Washington Movement (MOWM); New Negro Movement; Niagara Movement; Pan-African Movement; Religion; Slavery; Violence, Racial; and the Voter Education Project. While providing an important reference and learning tool, this volume offers a critical perspective on the actions and legacies of ordinary and elite blacks and their non-black allies.
Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
Call Number: E185.61 .K358 2016
Publication Date: 2016-04-12
The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society. Some Americans insist that we're living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America -- it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit. In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis. As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation's racial inequities. In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.
Democracy in Black by Eddie S. Glaude
Call Number: E185.615 .G548 2016
Publication Date: 2016-01-12
A powerful polemic on the state of black America that savages the idea of a post-racial society. America's great promise of equality has always rung hollow in the ears of African Americans. But today the situation has grown even more dire. From the murders of black youth by the police, to the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, to the disaster visited upon poor and middle-class black families by the Great Recession, it is clear that black America faces an emergency--at the very moment the election of the first black president has prompted many to believe we've solved America's race problem. Democracy in Black is Eddie S. Glaude Jr.'s impassioned response. Part manifesto, part history, part memoir, it argues that we live in a country founded on a "value gap"--with white lives valued more than others--that still distorts our politics today. Whether discussing why all Americans have racial habits that reinforce inequality, why black politics based on the civil-rights era have reached a dead end, or why only remaking democracy from the ground up can bring real change, Glaude crystallizes the untenable position of black America--and offers thoughts on a better way forward. Forceful in ideas and unsettling in its candor, Democracy In Black is a landmark book on race in America, one that promises to spark wide discussion as we move toward the end of our first black presidency.
Frederick Douglass by David W. Blight
Call Number: E449.D75 B557 2018
Publication Date: 2018-10-16
**Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History** "Extraordinary...a great American biography" (The New Yorker) of the most important African-American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era. As a young man Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) escaped from slavery in Baltimore, Maryland. He was fortunate to have been taught to read by his slave owner mistress, and he would go on to become one of the major literary figures of his time. His very existence gave the lie to slave owners: with dignity and great intelligence he bore witness to the brutality of slavery. Initially mentored by William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass spoke widely, using his own story to condemn slavery. By the Civil War, Douglass had become the most famed and widely travelled orator in the nation. In his unique and eloquent voice, written and spoken, Douglass was a fierce critic of the United States as well as a radical patriot. After the war he sometimes argued politically with younger African Americans, but he never forsook either the Republican party or the cause of black civil and political rights. In this "cinematic and deeply engaging" (The New York Times Book Review) biography, David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historian have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass's newspapers. "Absorbing and even moving...a brilliant book that speaks to our own time as well as Douglass's" (The Wall Street Journal), Blight's biography tells the fascinating story of Douglass's two marriages and his complex extended family. "David Blight has written the definitive biography of Frederick Douglass...a powerful portrait of one of the most important American voices of the nineteenth century" (The Boston Globe). In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Frederick Douglass won the Bancroft, Parkman, Los Angeles Times (biography), Lincoln, Plutarch, and Christopher awards and was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Time.
Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Social Class by Susan J. Ferguson (Editor)
Call Number: HT1521 .R23533 2013
Publication Date: 2012-08-10
Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Social Class: Dimensions of Inequality, edited by renowned researcher and scholar Susan Ferguson, presents a contemporary and compelling overview of race, ethnicity, gender, and social class issues in the United States today. Taking an intersectional approach, the book is organized topically, rather than focusing on specific race/ethnic subgroups. The content is framed around the themes of identity, experiences of race, class, gender or sexuality, difference, inequality, and social change or personal empowerment, with historical context threaded throughout to deepen the reader's understanding. With engaging readings and cutting-edge scholarship the collection is not only refreshingly contemporary but also relevant to students' lives.
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Call Number: KF373.S743 A3 2014 c2
Publication Date: 2015-08-18
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING MICHAEL B. JORDAN AND JAMIE FOXX * A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice--from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time. "[Bryan Stevenson's] dedication to fighting for justice and equality has inspired me and many others and made a lasting impact on our country."--John Legend NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS OF THE DECADE BY CNN * Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times * The Washington Post * The Boston Globe * The Seattle Times * Esquire * Time Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship--and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever. Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer's coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice. Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction * Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction * Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award * Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize * Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize * An American Library Association Notable Book "Every bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so . . . a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields."--David Cole, The New York Review of Books "Searing, moving . . . Bryan Stevenson may, indeed, be America's Mandela."--Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times "You don't have to read too long to start cheering for this man. . . . The message of this book . . . is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made. Just Mercy will make you upset and it will make you hopeful."--Ted Conover, The New York Times Book Review "Inspiring . . . a work of style, substance and clarity . . . Stevenson is not only a great lawyer, he's also a gifted writer and storyteller."--The Washington Post "As deeply moving, poignant and powerful a book as has been, and maybe ever can be, written about the death penalty."--The Financial Times "Brilliant."--The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Call Number: RC265.6.L24 S55 2011
Publication Date: 2011-03-08
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * "The story of modern medicine and bioethics--and, indeed, race relations--is refracted beautifully, and movingly."--Entertainment Weekly NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM HBO® STARRING OPRAH WINFREY AND ROSE BYRNE * ONE OF THE "MOST INFLUENTIAL" (CNN), "DEFINING" (LITHUB), AND "BEST" (THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER) BOOKS OF THE DECADE * ONE OF ESSENCE'S 50 MOST IMPACTFUL BLACK BOOKS OF THE PAST 50 YEARS * WINNER OF THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE HEARTLAND PRIZE FOR NONFICTION NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review * Entertainment Weekly * O: The Oprah Magazine * NPR * Financial Times * New York * Independent (U.K.) * Times (U.K.) * Publishers Weekly * Library Journal * Kirkus Reviews * Booklist * Globe and Mail Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine: The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, which are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave. Henrietta's family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family--past and present--is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of. Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family--especially Henrietta's daughter Deborah. Deborah was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Had they killed her to harvest her cells? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn't her children afford health insurance? Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
Call Number: PR9265.9.J358 B75 2014
Publication Date: 2014-10-02
Winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize One of Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 Books of the Decade One of the Top 10 Books of 2014 - Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times A "thrilling, ambitious . . . intense" (Los Angeles Times) novel that explores the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the late 1970s, from the author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf In A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James combines brilliant storytelling with his unrivaled skills of characterization and meticulous eye for detail to forge an enthralling novel of dazzling ambition and scope. On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert to ease political tensions in Kingston, seven gunmen stormed the singer's house, machine guns blazing. The attack wounded Marley, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Little was officially released about the gunmen, but much has been whispered, gossiped and sung about in the streets of West Kingston. Rumors abound regarding the assassins' fates, and there are suspicions that the attack was politically motivated. A Brief History of Seven Killings delves deep into that dangerous and unstable time in Jamaica's history and beyond. James deftly chronicles the lives of a host of unforgettable characters - gunmen, drug dealers, one-night stands, CIA agents, even ghosts - over the course of thirty years as they roam the streets of 1970s Kingston, dominate the crack houses of 1980s New York, and ultimately reemerge into the radically altered Jamaica of the 1990s. Along the way, they learn that evil does indeed cast long shadows, that justice and retribution are inextricably linked, and that no one can truly escape his fate. Gripping and inventive, shocking and irresistible, A Brief History of Seven Killings is a mesmerizing modern classic of power, mystery, and insight.
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
Call Number: PS3557.A355 L47 1994
Publication Date: 1994-05-31
From the author of A Gathering of Old Men and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman comes a deep and compassionate novel. A young man who returns to 1940s Cajun country to teach visits a black youth on death row for a crime he didn't commit. Together they come to understand the heroism of resisting.