Publications

    Just Us: An American Conversation
    Rankine, Claudia. Just Us: An American Conversation. Minneapolis, MN: Graywolf Press, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "At home and in government, contemporary America finds itself riven by a culture war in which aggression and defensiveness alike are on the rise. It is not alone. In such partisan conditions, how can humans best approach one another across our differences? Taking the study of whiteness and white supremacy as a guiding light, Claudia Rankine explores a series of real encounters with friends and strangers - each disrupting the false comfort of spaces where our public and private lives intersect, like the airport, the theatre, the dinner party and the voting booth - and urges us to enter into the conversations which could offer the only humane pathways through this moment of division. Just Us is an invitation to discover what it takes to stay in the room together, and to breach the silence, guilt and violence that surround whiteness. Brilliantly arranging essays, images and poems along with the voices and rebuttals of others, it counterpoints Rankine's own text with facing-page notes and commentary, and closes with a bravura study of women confronting the political and cultural implications of dyeing their hair blonde."--Publisher's description.
    Letters to My White Male Friends
    Ross, Dax-Devlon. Letters to My White Male Friends. First edition. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "In A Letter to My White Male Friends, Dax-Devlon Ross speaks directly to the millions of middle-aged white men who are suddenly awakening to race and racism. Finally, white men are realizing that simply not being racist isn't enough to end racism. These men want deeper insight not only into how racism has harmed black people, but, for the first time, into how it has harmed them. They are beginning to see that racism warps us all. A Letter to My White Male Friends promises to help the millions of white men who have said they are committed to change and develop the capacity to see, feel and sustain that commitment so they can help secure racial justice for us all. In part 1, Dax-Devlon Ross helps readers understand what it meant to be America's first generation raised after the civil rights era. He explains how we were all educated with colorblind narratives and symbols that typically, albeit implicitly, privileged whiteness and denigrated blackness. He provides the context and color of his own experiences in white schools so that white men can revisit moments in their lives where racism was in the room even when they didn't see it enter. In part 2, Ross shows how learning to see the harm that racism did to him, and forgiving himself, gave him the empathy to see the harm it does to white people as well. In part 3, he offers white men direction so that they can take just action in their workplace, community, family, and, most importantly, in themselves, especially in the future when race is no longer in the spotlight"-- Provided by publisher.
    How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America
    Smith, Clint. How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "'How the Word is Passed' is Clint Smith's revealing, contemporary portrait of America as a slave owning nation. Beginning in his own hometown of New Orleans, Smith leads the reader through an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks - those that are honest about the past and those that are not - that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nations collective history, and ourselves."-- Provided by publisher.
    The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations
    Morrison, Toni. The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstract
    Arguably the most celebrated and revered writer of our time now gives us a new nonfiction collection-a rich gathering of her essays, speeches, and meditations on society, culture, and art, spanning four decades. The Source of Self-Regard is brimming with all the elegance of mind and style, the literary prowess and moral compass that are Toni Morrison's inimitable hallmark. It is divided into three parts: the first is introduced by a powerful prayer for the dead of 9/11; the second by a searching meditation on Martin Luther King Jr., and the last by a heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin. In the writings and speeches included here, Morrison takes on contested social issues: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, "black matter(s)," and human rights. She looks at enduring matters of culture: the role of the artist in society, the literary imagination, the Afro-American presence in American literature, and in her Nobel lecture, the power of language itself. And here too is piercing commentary on her own work (including The Bluest Eye, Sula, Tar Baby, Jazz, Beloved, and Paradise) and that of others, among them, painter and collagist Romare Bearden, author Toni Cade Bambara, and theater director Peter Sellars. In all, The Source of Self-Regard is a luminous and essential addition to Toni Morrison's oeuvre.
    Home
    Morrison, Toni. Home. Vintage International Ser. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "When Frank Money joined the army to escape his too-small world, he left behind his cherished and fragile little sister, Cee. After the war, he journeys to his native Georgia with a renewed sense of purpose in search of his sister, but it becomes clear that their troubles began well before their wartime separation. Together, they return to their rural hometown of Lotus, where buried secrets are unearthed and where Frank learns at last what it means to be a man, what it takes to heal, and—above all—what it means to come home." – Provided by publisher.
    Paradise
    Morrison, Toni. Paradise. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "The acclaimed Nobel Prize winner challenges our most fiercely held beliefs as she weaves folklore and history, memory and myth into an unforgettable meditation on race, religion, gender, and a far-off past that is ever present—in prose that soars with the rhythms, grandeur, and tragic arc of an epic poem.“They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they can take their time.” So begins Toni Morrison's Paradise, which opens with a horrifying scene of mass violence and chronicles its genesis in an all-black small town in rural Oklahoma. Founded by the descendants of freed slaves and survivors in exodus from a hostile world, the patriarchal community of Ruby is built on righteousness, rigidly enforced moral law, and fear. But seventeen miles away, another group of exiles has gathered in a promised land of their own. And it is upon these women in flight from death and despair that nine male citizens of Ruby will lay their pain, their terror, and their murderous rage." - Publisher description.
    Tar Baby
    Morrison, Toni. Tar Baby. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1981. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "Jadine Childs is a Black fashion model with a white patron, a white boyfriend, and a coat made out of ninety perfect sealskins. Son is a Black fugitive who embodies everything she loathes and desires. As Morrison follows their affair, which plays out from the Caribbean to Manhattan and the deep South, she charts all the nuances of obligation and betrayal between Blacks and whites, masters and servants, and men and women." - Publisher description.
    God Help the Child
    Morrison, Toni. God Help the Child. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "This fiery and provocative novel from the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult. At the center: a young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love. There is Booker, the man Bride loves, and loses to anger. Rain, the mysterious white child with whom she crosses paths. And finally, Bride's mother herself, Sweetness, who takes a lifetime to come to understand that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget.” - Publisher description.
    Toni Morrison: The Last Interview and Other Conversations
    Morrison, Toni. Toni Morrison: The Last Interview and Other Conversations. Brooklyn, NY: Melville House, 2020. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "In this wide-ranging collection of thought-provoking interviews -- including her first and last -- Toni Morrison (whom President Barrack Obama called a "national treasure") details not only her writing life, but also her other careers as a teacher, and as a publisher, as well as the gripping story of her family. In fact, Morrison reveals here that her Nobel Prize-winning novels, such as Beloved and Song of Solomon, were born out of her family's stories -- such as those of her great-grandmother, born a slave, or her father, escaping the lynch mobs of the South. With an introduction by her close friend, poet Nikki Giovani, Morrison hereby weaves yet another fascinating and inspiring narrative -- that of herself." - Publisher description.
    Sula
    Morrison, Toni. Sula. New York: Vintage International, 2004. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "Two girls who grow up to become women. Two friends who become something worse than enemies. This brilliantly imagined novel brings us the story of Nel Wright and Sula Peace, who meet as children in the small town of Medallion, Ohio. Nel and Sula's devotion is fierce enough to withstand bullies and the burden of a dreadful secret. It endures even after Nel has grown up to be a pillar of the black community and Sula has become a pariah. But their friendship ends in an unforgivable betrayal—or does it end? Terrifying, comic, ribald and tragic, Sula is a work that overflows with life." - Publisher description.
    Song of Solomon
    Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. As Morrison follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family's origins, she introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized Black world." - Publisher description.
    A Black Women's History of the United States
    Berry, Daina Ramey, and Kali Nicole Gross. A Black Women's History of the United States. Boston: Beacon Press, 2020. eBook @ Harvard Library [Harvard Key required]Abstract
    A vibrant and empowering history that emphasizes the perspectives and stories of African American women to show how they are—and have always been—instrumental in shaping our countryIn centering Black women's stories, two award-winning historians seek both to empower African American women and to show their allies that Black women's unique ability to make their own communities while combatting centuries of oppression is an essential component in our continued resistance to systemic racism and sexism. Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross offer an examination and celebration of Black womanhood, beginning with the first African women who arrived in what became the United States to African American women of today.A Black Women's History of the United States reaches far beyond a single narrative to showcase Black women's lives in all their fraught complexities. Berry and Gross prioritize many voices: enslaved women, freedwomen, religious leaders, artists, queer women, activists, and women who lived outside the law. The result is a starting point for exploring Black women's history and a testament to the beauty, richness, rhythm, tragedy, heartbreak, rage, and enduring love that abounds in the spirit of Black women in communities throughout the nation. (From the publisher.)
    Heir to the Crescent Moon
    Abdur-Rahman, Sufiya. Heir to the Crescent Moon. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2021. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "From age five, Sufiya Abdur-Rahman, the daughter of two Black Power-era converts to Islam, feels drawn to the faith even as her father, a devoted Muslim, introduces her to and, at the same time, distances her from it. He and her mother abandoned their Harlem mosque before she was born and divorced when she was twelve. Forced apart from her father--her portal into Islam--she yearns to reconnect with the religion and, through it, him. In Heir to the Crescent Moon, Abdur-Rahman's longing to comprehend her father's complicated relationship with Islam leads her first to recount her own history with it. Later, as she seeks to discover what both pulled her father to and pushed him from the mosque and her mother, Abdur-Rahman delves into the past. She journeys from the Christian righteousness of Adam Clayton Powell Jr.'s 1950s Harlem, through the Malcolm X-inspired college activism of the late 1960s, to the unfulfilled potential of the early-'70s' black American Muslim movement. When a painful reminder of the reason for her father's inconsistent ties to his former mosque appears to threaten his life, Abdur-Rahman's search nearly ends. She's forced to come to terms with her Muslim identity, and learns how events from generations past can reverberate through the present. Told, at times, with lighthearted humor or heartbreaking candor, Abdur-Rahman's story of adolescent Arabic lessons, fasting, and Muslim mosque, funeral, and eid services speaks to the challenges of bridging generational and cultural divides and what it takes to maintain family amidst personal and societal upheaval. Writing with quiet beauty but intellectual force about identity, community, violence, hope, despair, and faith, Abdur-Rahman weaves a vital tale about a family: black, Muslim, and distinctly American"-- Provided by publisher.
    Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts
    Hall, Rebecca. Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Part graphic novel, part memoir, "Wake" is an imaginative tour de force that tells the story of women-led slave revolts and chronicles scholar Rebecca Hall's efforts to uncover the truth about these warriors who, until now, have been left out of the historical record. Women warriors planned and led slave revolts on ships during the Middle Passage. They fought their enslavers throughout the Americas. And then they were erased from history. "Wake" tells the story of Dr. Rebecca Hall, a historian, granddaughter of slaves, and woman haunted by the legacy of slavery. The accepted history of slave revolts has always told her that enslaved women took a back seat to men in fighting for freedom. But Rebecca decided to look deeper, and her journey takes her through old court records, slave ship captains' logs, crumbling correspondence, and even the forensic evidence from the bones of enslaved women from the "African burial ground" uncovered in Manhattan. She finds women warriors everywhere. Using in-depth archival research and a measured approach to historical imagination, Rebecca constructs the likely pasts of women rebels who fought for freedom during the Middle Passage, as well as the stories of women who led slave revolts in colonial New York. We also follow Rebecca's own story as the legacy of slavery shapes her life, both during the time as an attorney and later as a historian seeking the past that haunts her. The exploration of both a personal and national legacy, "Wake" is a powerful reminder that while the past is gone, we still live in its wake." – jacket summary., "An historical and imaginative tour-de-force, WAKE brings to light for the first time the existence of enslaved black women warriors, whose stories can be traced by carefully scrutinizing historical records; and where the historical record goes silent, WAKE reconstructs the likely past of two female rebels, Adono and Alele, on the slave ship The Unity. WAKE is a graphic novel that offers invaluable insight into the struggle to survive whole as a black woman in today's America; it is a historiography that illuminates both the challenges and the necessity of uncovering the true stories of slavery; and it is an overdue reckoning with slavery in New York City where two of these armed revolts took place. It is, also, a transformative and transporting work of imaginative fiction, bringing to three-dimensional life Adono and Alele and their pasts as women warriors. In so doing, WAKE illustrates the humanity of the enslaved, the reality of their lived experiences, and the complexity of the history that has been, till now, so thoroughly erased"– Provided by publisher
    Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir
    Mohabir, Rajiv. Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir. Brooklyn, New York: Restless Books, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Rajiv Mohabir's Antiman is an impassioned, genre-blending memoir that navigates the fraught constellations of race, sexuality, and cultural heritage that have shaped his experiences as an Indo-Guyanese queer poet and immigrant to the United States."–Amazon.com.
    Bless me, Ultima
    Anaya, Rudolfo A. Bless me, Ultima. New York: Warner Books, 1994. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "Antonio Marez is six years old when Ultima comes to stay with his family in New Mexico. She is a curandera, one who cures with herbs and magic. Under her wise wing, Tony will probe the family ties that bind and rend him, and he will discover himself in the magical secrets of the pagan past--a mythic legacy as palpable as the Catholicism of Latin America. And at each life turn there is Ultima, who delivered Tony into the world... and will nurture the birth of his soul." - Publisher description
    The House on Mango Street
    Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. Vintage contemporaries. New York: Vintage Books, 1991. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Told in a series of vignettes-sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous-Sandra Cisneros'masterpiece is a classic story of childhood and self-discovery. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers." - Publisher description.
    The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Mathematician
    Huchu, Tendai. The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Mathematician. Maestro, the magistrate and the mathematician. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2016. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    This novel follows three Zimbabwean men as they struggle to find places for themselves in a new society. As he wanders Edinburgh to a constant loop of the music from home, the Magistrate–once a judge, now a health aide–tries to find meaning in his new surroundings. The depressed and quixotic Maestro–gone AWOL from his job at a grocery store–escapes into books. And the youthful Mathematician enjoys a carefree graduate school life, until he can no longer ignore the struggles of his fellow expatriates. Huchu deploys satire to thoughtful end in what is quickly becoming his signature mode. Shying from neither the political nor the personal, he creates a humorous but increasingly somber picture of love, loss, and belonging in the Zimbabwean diaspora.
    The Book Keeper: A Memoir of Race, Love, and Legacy
    Munemo, Julia McKenzie. The Book Keeper: A Memoir of Race, Love, and Legacy. Athens: Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 2020. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "When a stack of pulpy paperback novels written by her long-dead father landed on Julia McKenzie Munemo's kitchen table, she - a white woman - had been married to a black man from Zimbabwe for six years and their first son was a toddler. Her alarm at the covers, which promised interracial pornography set during slavery-some of it even taking place in Africa-was matched only by her shame about her father's secret career. All she'd previously known about him was that he'd suffered from depression and delusions and had killed himself when she was five. So she did what she always did with details about her dad, and hid the books from herself, and from her growing mixed-race family. But then, a decade later, when police shootings of African American men were more and more in the public eye, she realized that understanding her own legacy seemed like the only way to begin to understand what was happening in her country. The Book Keeper is equal parts love story, family interrogation, and racial reckoning as Munemo comes to terms with her whiteness, and with her history." - Publisher description.

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