Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin: The Deep South of the late 1950's was another country: a land of lynchings, segregated lunch counters, whites-only restrooms, and a color line etched in blood across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. White journalist John Howard Griffin, working for the black-owned magazine Sepia, decided to cross that line. Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man. What happened to John Howard Griffin--from the outside and within himself--as he made his way through the segregated Deep South is recorded in this searing work of nonfiction. Educated and soft-spoken, John Howard Griffin changed only the color of his skin. It was enough to make him hated...enough to nearly get him killed. His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity every American should read. - Publisher
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner by Andrea Smith: Canaan Creek, South Carolina, in the 1950s is a tiny town where the close-knit African-American community is united by long-term friendships and church ties. Bonnie Wilder has lived here, on Blackberry Corner, all her life, and would be content but for her deep desire to have a child. She and her husband Naz cannot conceive, and he refuses to adopt. Even the support of her outrageous best friend Thora–to whom Bonnie tells everything–can’t help fill the emptiness inside her.
Then Naz finds a blanketed infant on the banks of Canaan Creek, and suddenly Bonnie’s life is transformed. She has found her calling. Together with Thora and the rest of the hilarious, tough, and all-too-human women from her church group, Bonnie creates an underground railroad for unwanted babies. But one of these precious gifts will come back to haunt her: a deception begun in good faith comes full circle, ultimately forcing Bonnie to find the courage to confront a difficult truth at the center of her own life.
Filled with compassion, humor, and tenacity in the face of almost insurmountable odds, here is a rich, inspiring tale of friendship and family, sisterhood and mother love...and of finding grace where you least expect it. - Publisher
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines: A Lesson Before Dying, is set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s. Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shoot out in which three men are killed; the only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins, who left his hometown for the university, has returned to the plantation school to teach. As he struggles with his decision whether to stay or escape to another state, his aunt and Jefferson's godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and his pride to Jefferson before his death. In the end, the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting—and defying—the expected. - Publisher