Today’s Friday Reads is brought to you by Library Assistant Amara Lee.
Juneteenth (a combination of June and nineteenth) is an Afrian-American holiday celebrated in 47 states in the United States. On June 19th 1865, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to ensure that all enslaved people in the state of Texas were freed. However, the Empancipation Procolomation (the historical document that outlawed slavery in the United States) was signed a full two years earlier and the only way to enforce it is if Union troops took control of Confederate states. Juneteenth is the holiday that honors the real end to slavery in the United States. Hawaii, North Dakota, and South Dakota do not recognize Juneteenth as a holiday.
Juneteenth is celebrated yearly on June 19th. In 2021, Juneteenth is on a Saturday! To celebrate Juneteenth this year I want to spotlight books that not only talk about slavery and the Great Migration, I want to spotlight other books that touch on the Black American Experience and Black Excellence.
This interview driven story chronicles 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.
In 1001 short, eminently readable essays, Jeffrey C. Stewart, Associate Professor of History at George Mason University, takes us on a journey through five hundred years of African-American history. Every important aspect is covered, from the possible discovery of America by Africans to the recent Million Man March. 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African-American History is for anyone who wants to learn more about the significant but often overlooked role that African Americans have played in American history.
Gerald comes to our fractured times as a uniquely visionary witness whose life has spanned seemingly unbridgeable divides. His story begins at the end of the world: Dallas, New Year’s Eve 1999, when he gathers with the congregation of his grandfather’s black evangelical church to see which of them will be carried off. His beautiful, fragile mother disappears frequently and mysteriously; for a brief idyll, he and his sister live like Boxcar Children on her disability checks. When Casey is recruited to play football at Yale, he enters a world he’s never dreamed of, the anteroom to secret societies and success on Wall Street, in Washington, and beyond. But even as he attains the inner sanctums of power, Casey sees how the world crushes those who live at its margins. He sees how the elite perpetuate the salvation stories that keep others from rising. And he sees, most painfully, how his own ascension is part of the scheme.
In this groundbreaking new book, the esteemed historian Thomas C. Holt challenges decades of received wisdom to tell the story of generations of African-Americans through the experiences of the people themselves, with all th4e nuance and complexity one might expect. Starting with the moment the first twenty African slaves were sold at Jamestown in 1619, each chapter focuses on a generation of individuals who shaped the course of American history, hoping for a better life for their children but often confronting the ebb and flow of their status within society.
The history of slavery is central to understanding the history of the United States. Slavery and the Making of America offers a richly illustrated, vividly written history that illuminates the human side of this inhumane institution, presenting it largely through stories of the slaves themselves. Readers will discover a wide ranging and sharply nuanced look at American slavery, from the first Africans brought to British colonies in the early seventeenth century to the end of Reconstruction. The authors document the horrors of slavery, particularly in the deep South, and describe the valiant struggles to escape bondage, from dramatic tales of slaves such as William and Ellen Craft to Dred Scott’s doomed attempt to win his freedom through the Supreme Court. We see how slavery set our nation on the road of violence, from bloody riots that broke out in American cities over fugitive slaves, to the cataclysm of the Civil War. Along the way, readers meet such individuals as “Black Sam” Fraunces, a West Indian mulatto who owned the Queen’s Head Tavern in New York City, a key meeting place for revolutionaries in the 1760s and 1770s. Indeed, the book is filled with stories of remarkable African Americans, from Sergeant William H. Carney, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery at the crucial assault on Fort Wagner during the Civil War, to Benjamin “Pap” Singleton, a former slave who led freed African Americans to a new life on the American frontier. With more than one hundred illustrations, Slavery and the Making of America is a gripping account of the struggles of African Americans against the iniquity of slavery.
In this collection of new and selected essays, Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.” But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period—and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history.
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 the course of his wanderings from a Southern Negro college to New York’s Harlem, an American black man becomes involved in a series of adventures. Introduction explains circumstances under which the book was written. Ellison won the National Book Award for this searing record of a black man’s journey through contemporary America. Unquestionably, Ellison’s book is a work of extraordinary intensity–powerfully imagined and written with a savage, wryly humorous gusto.
Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage, his mother was sold away and he was robbed of all memory of her, but gifted with a mysterious power that saves his life years later when he almost drowns in a river. This strange brush with death forces a new urgency on Hiram’s private rebellion, and so begins a journey into the war on slavery. It begins a journey that takes him from the corrupt Deep South to dangerous movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram resolves to rescue the family he left behind.