CRRL Picks: African American Success Stories
Annotation:This collection of interviews with successful black men and women, taken from the ``Opinion and Inquiry'' pages of USA Today, provides insight into the challenges and frustrations which each individual has faced. Maya Angelou, Bill Cosby, Alex Haley, Coretta Scott King, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Oprah Winfrey are among those interviewed. School Library Journal
Annotation:In President Obama's second book he shares personal views on faith and values and offers a vision of the future that involves repairing a "political process that is broken" and restoring a government that has fallen out of touch with the people.
Annotation:Hasse charts the musical career of jazz giant Edward Kennedy ``Duke'' Ellington (1899-1974). He admiringly describes Ellington's accomplishments as a composer and bandleader, and includes an account of Ellington's formative years in Washington D.C., his breakthrough at New York's Cotton Club, and his heyday during the 1930s and 1940s.
Annotation:Russell focuses on 24 men and nine women, among them Duke Ellington, Romare Bearden, Ralph Ellison, Cheryl McAfee, Paul Robeson, Gordon Parks, Cornel West, Toni Morrison, Bob Moses, Elma Lewis, and Albert Murray in a refreshing narrative style with recommended readings and notes on his sources.
Annotation:Retired basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has adapted the idea of celebrating courageous people in U.S. history. Kareem celebrates blacks in U.S. history who have had an impact on the development of the nation, such as the little-known explorer Estevanico and the resistance fighter Joseph Cinque, as well as the well-known Frederick Douglass and Rosa Parks.
Annotation:An account of the author's youth in Zimbabwe and in violent Philadelphia street gangs explores how his life was shaped by his father's absence, his brother's imprisonment, and his mother's and sister's struggles with mental illness.
Annotation:Wil Haygood blends the political with the personal in this portrait of White House butler Eugene Allen. Allen, an African-American, served eight US presidents (from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan) for 34 years – a span of time that included remarkable gains in civil rights. The Christian Science Monitor
Annotation:Cooking with Grease is a powerful, behind-the-scenes memoir of the life and times of a tenacious political organizer and the first African-American woman to head a major presidential campaign.
Annotation:This is the story of Condoleezza Rice-- her early years growing up in the hostile environment of Birmingham, Alabama, her rise in the ranks at Stanford University to become the university's second-in-command and an expert in Soviet and Eastern European Affairs, and finally, in 2000, her appointment as the first Black woman to serve as Secretary of State.
Annotation:Ben Carson, M.D., works medical miracles.In Gifted Hands, he tells of his inspiring odyssey from his childhood in inner-city Detroit to his position as director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital at age 33.
Annotation:In this remarkable and charming oral history, two lively and perspicacious sisters, aged 101 and 103, reflect on their rich family life and their careers as pioneering African American professionals. Publishers Weekly
Annotation:As a youth, Carl Hart didn't realize the value of school; he studied just enough to stay on the basketball team. At the same time, he was immersed in street life. Today he is a cutting-edge neuroscientist--Columbia University's first tenured African American professor in the sciences--whose landmark, controversial research is redefining our understanding of addiction.
Annotation:Colin Powell, one of America's most admired public figures, reveals the principles that have shaped his life and career in this inspiring and engrossing memoir.
Annotation:King Peggy is the charming real-life fairy tale of an American secretary who discovers she has been chosen king of an impoverished fishing village on the west coast of Africa.
Annotation:103-year-old George Dawson, a slave's grandson who learned to read at age 98, reflects on his life and offers valuable lessons in living as well as a fresh, firsthand view of America during the twentieth century.
Annotation:Williams' memoir is a moving story of growing up on both sides of the nation's racial thicket. Williams' mother was white and his father was able to pass as white, so their children, growing up in northern Virginia, thought they were Italian. The parents split up in the mid-1950s, and Buster Williams' alcoholism drove him into bankruptcy, so the charming ne'er-do-well took his two older boys to his darker-skinned family in Muncie, Indiana.
Annotation:Some memoirs are heartfelt, some are informative and some are even important. Few, however, are all three. . . . As rare as it is for a book to be heartfelt, well written and inspirational, it’s even rarer for a critic to say that a book should be required reading. This ought to be included in high school curricula—for the kids in the suburbs who have no idea what life is like in the inner cities, and for the kids in the inner cities to know that there is a way out.—The Star-Ledger
Annotation:Sidney Poitier, a true American icon, looks back on his celebrated life and career. His body of work is arguably the most morally significant in cinematic history, and the power and influence of that work are indicative of the character of the man behind the many storied roles. Sidney Poitier here explores these elements of character and personal values to take his own measure--as a man, as a husband and a father, and as an actor.
Annotation:Washington Post writer Liza Mundy paints a revealing and intimate portrait of the Obamas: Michelle, the highly organized, sometimes intimidating, list-making pragmatist; and Barack, the introspective political charmer who shoots for the stars. In this carefully reported biography, drawing upon interviews with more than one hundred people, including one with Michelle herself, Mundy captures the complexity of Michelle and the life she has lived.
Annotation:The celebrated author shares the intimate story of her relationship with her mother, relating the events that prompted her mother to send young Angela to Arkansas to live with her grandmother and the complicated fallout that shaped their family life.
Annotation:Condoleezza Rice discusses her service as national security adviser and then secretary of state, with special emphasis on 9/11 and the subsequent decision to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Annotation:870 children waited in fear as their elementary school rushed into lockdown mode. As the nation faced yet another Sandy Hook story of tragedy, one woman rewrote the ending.Yet the story doesn't start with those first steps Michael Hill took into that Atlanta elementary school. It starts with Antoinette Tuff, a woman who faced her own pain, hurt, and rejection, yet held onto grace, faith, and hope. A hope that anchored her in the most high-stakes moments, a grace that allowed her to empathize with a hurting young man, and a faith that gave her the courage to love him back from the brink.
Annotation:This book examines Northup's life as a slave and reveals details of his life after he regained his freedom, relating how he traveled around the Northeast giving public lectures, worked with an Underground Railroad agent in Vermont to help fugitive slaves reach freedom in Canada, and was connected with several theatrical productions based upon his experiences. The tale of Northup's life demonstrates how the victims of the American system of slavery were not just the slaves themselves, but any free person of color--all of whom were potential kidnap victims, and whose lives were affected by that constant threat.
Annotation:In this inspiring memoir, the award-winning playwright and bestselling author of What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day reminisces on the art of juggling marriage, motherhood, and politics while working to become a successful writer.
Annotation:Perhaps the best written of all the slave narratives, Twelve Years a Slave is a harrowing memoir about one of the darkest periods in American history. It recounts how Solomon Northup, born a free man in New York, was lured to Washington, D.C., in 1841 with the promise of fast money, then drugged and beaten and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity on a Louisiana cotton plantation. After his rescue, Northup published this exceptionally vivid and detailed account of slave life.
Annotation:Since the 1960s, civil rights activist Vernon Jordan has provided leadership to organizations such as the NAACP, the United Negro College Fund, and the National Urban League. Here, he describes his life including his work registering black voters in the South, his survival of an assassination attempt, and his relationships with American presidents and business leaders. Book News Inc.
Annotation:Ever since 1758, when Sarah Madden was born to an unmarried Irish woman and an unknown black father, the Maddens have been free, escaping--and sometimes defying--the laws and customs that condemned other African Americans to slavery in their native state of Virginia. "A deeply personal account of an extraordinary American family."--Newsweek.
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These books chronicle the stories of people rising from poverty to success against a backdrop of segregation and discrimination. They celebrate African American heritage, tradition, and achievement.