CRRL Picks: African American Success Stories

And Still We Rise
And Still We Rise Interviews With 50 Black Role Models By Reynolds, Barbara A. Book - 1988 920 Re Available in some locations

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

The Audacity of Hope
The Audacity of Hope Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream By Obama, Barack Book - 2006 320.973 Ob Available in some locations

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.

Beyond Category
Beyond Category The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington By Hasse, John Edward Book - 1993 921 Ellin Available in some locations

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.

Black Genius and the American Experience
Black Genius and the American Experience By Russell, Dick Book - 1998 973.0496 Ru Available in some locations

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.

Black Profiles in Courage
Black Profiles in Courage A Legacy of African American Achievement By Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem Book - 1996 920 Ab Available in some locations

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.

Buck A Memoir By Asante, Molefi K. Book - 2013 921 Asant Available in some locations

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.

The Butler
The Butler A Witness to History By Haygood, Wil Book - 2013 921 Allen Available in some locations

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

Cooking With Grease
Cooking With Grease Stirring the Pots in American Politics By Brazile, Donna Book - 2004 324.7 Br Available in some locations

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.

Extraordinary, Ordinary People
Extraordinary, Ordinary People A Memoir of Family By Rice, Condoleezza Book - 2010 921 Rice Available in some locations

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.

Gifted Hands
Gifted Hands The Ben Carson Story : the Remarkable Surgeon Who Gives Children A Second Chance at Life By Carson, Ben Book - 1990 921 Carso Available in some locations

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.

Having Our Say
Having Our Say The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years By Delany, Sarah Louise Book - 1993 929.2 De Available in some locations

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

High Price
High Price A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society By Hart, Carl L. Book - 2013 362.29 Ha Available in some locations

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.

It Worked for Me
It Worked for Me In Life and Leadership By Powell, Colin L. Book - 2012 921 Powel Available in some locations

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.

King Peggy
King Peggy An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed An African Village By Bartels, Peggielene Book - 2011 921 Barte Available in some locations

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.

Life Is So Good
Life Is So Good By Dawson, George Book - 2001 921 Dawso Available in some locations

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.

Life on the Color Line
Life on the Color Line The True Story of A White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black By Williams, Gregory Howard Book - 1995 305.8 Wi Available in some locations

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.

Living and Dying in Brick City
Living and Dying in Brick City An E.R. Doctor Returns Home By Davis, Sampson Book - 2013 610.92 Da Available in some locations

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

The Measure of A Man
The Measure of A Man A Spiritual Autobiography By Poitier, Sidney Book - 2000 921 Poiti Available in some locations

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.

Michelle A Biography By Mundy, Liza Book - 2008 921 Obama Available in some locations

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.

Mom & Me & Mom
Mom & Me & Mom By Angelou, Maya Book - 2013 921 Angel Available in some locations

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.

No Higher Honor
No Higher Honor A Memoir of My Years in Washington By Rice, Condoleezza Book - 2011 921 Rice Available in some locations

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.

Prepared for A Purpose
Prepared for A Purpose The Inspiring True Story of How One Woman Saved An Atlanta School Under Siege By Tuff, Antoinette Book - 2014 371.782 Tu Available in some locations

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.

Solomon Northup
Solomon Northup The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years A Slave By Fiske, David Book - 2013 921 North Available in some locations

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.

Things I Should Have Told My Daughter
Things I Should Have Told My Daughter Lies, Lessons & Love Affairs By Cleage, Pearl Book - 2014 921 Cleag Available in some locations

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.

Twelve Years A Slave
Twelve Years A Slave By Northup, Solomon Book - 2013 921 North Available in some locations

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.

Vernon Can Read!
Vernon Can Read! A Memoir By Jordan, Vernon E. Book - 2001 921 Jorda Available in some locations

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.

We Were Always Free
We Were Always Free The Maddens of Culpeper County, Virginia : A Two-hundred-year Family History By Madden, T. O. Book - 1992 920 Ma Available in some locations

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.

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