Tuesday, February 12, 2008

African-American History and Culture--Selected Titles

The Memphis Public Library and Information Center has a variety of books, audiovisual materials, and local history resources about the history and culture of African Americans.

Although February is Black History Month, Verjeana Hunt of the History Department recommends the following titles for your year-round edification and enjoyment:

UNCHAINED MEMORIES: Readings from the Slave Narratives (Bulfinch Press, 2002)

Selected from interviews conducted in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration, these narratives and photographs illuminate the extraordinary experiences of forty former slaves. The collection is arranged and edited to be accessible to lay people as well as scholars.

BLACK ROOTS: A Beginner's Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree by Tony Burroughs (Fireside, 2001)

Tony Burroughs is a widely-acclaimed genealogist and educator. His step-by-guide analyzes the major types of genealogical source material with an eye toward the unique history of Black Americans. He also reveals common traps and pitfalls that hamper many researchers.

HAVING OUR SAY: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years by Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth (Kodansha, 1993)

This bestselling memoir of the Delany Sisters, two spirited, opinionated and accomplished professional women, inspired a stage play and a television movie. Sadie and Bessie Delany were born into a middle-class family in late 19th Century North Carolina and later relocated to New York City. Their wit, wisdom and "pride of family" allowed them to build rewarding careers amidst racism and discrimination.

IS BILL COSBY RIGHT? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind? by Michael Eric Dyson (Basic Civitas Books, 2005)

Author and university professor Michael Eric Dyson dissects a major question for many African Americans: do the behaviors and attitudes of poor Blacks undermine their progress and the progress of the race as a whole (as Bill Cosby and others have charged)?


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