These books were all recommended by Ta-Nehisi Coates during an interview at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. You can read more, and see the video of the interview, by using the link below.
The Night of the Gun by David CarrFrom David Carr (1956-2015), the "undeniably brilliant and dogged journalist" (Entertainment Weekly) and author of the instant New York Times bestseller that the Chicago Sun-Times called "a compelling tale of drug abuse, despair, and, finally, hope." Do we remember only the stories we can live with? The ones that make us look good in the rearview mirror? In The Night of the Gun, David Carr redefines memoir with the revelatory story of his years as an addict and chronicles his journey from crack-house regular to regular columnist for The New York Times. Built on sixty videotaped interviews, legal and medical records, and three years of reporting, The Night of the Gun is a ferocious tale that uses the tools of journalism to fact-check the past. Carr's investigation of his own history reveals that his odyssey through addiction, recovery, cancer, and life as a single parent was far more harrowing--and, in the end, more miraculous--than he allowed himself to remember. Fierce, gritty, and remarkable, The Night of the Gun is "an odyssey you'll find hard to forget" (People).
Call Number: HV5805.C356 A3 2009
The Half Has Never Been Told by Edward E. BaptistA groundbreaking history demonstrating that America's economic supremacy was built on the backs of slaves Winner of the 2015 Avery O. Craven Prize from the Organization of American Historians Winner of the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution--the nation's original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America's later success. But to do so robs the millions who suffered in bondage of their full legacy. As historian Edward E. Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told, the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy. Told through intimate slave narratives, plantation records, newspapers, and the words of politicians, entrepreneurs, and escaped slaves, The Half Has Never Been Told offers a radical new interpretation of American history. Bloomberg View Top Ten Nonfiction Books of 2014 Daily Beast Best Nonfiction Books of 2014
Call Number: E441 .B337 2014
Battle Cry of Freedom by James M. McPhersonFilled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, Battle Cry of Freedom will unquestionably become the standard one-volume history of the Civil War.James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentousepisodes that preceded the Civil War--the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry--and then moves into a masterful chronicle of the war itself--the battles, the strategic maneuvering on both sides, the politics, and the personalities. Particularlynotable are McPherson's new views on such matters as the slavery expansion issue in the 1850s, the origins of the Republican Party, the causes of secession, internal dissent and anti-war opposition in the North and the South, and the reasons for the Union's victory.The book's title refers to the sentiments that informed both the Northern and Southern views of the conflict: the South seceded in the name of that freedom of self-determination and self-government for which their fathers had fought in 1776, while the North stood fast in defense of the Unionfounded by those fathers as the bulwark of American liberty. Eventually, the North had to grapple with the underlying cause of the war--slavery--and adopt a policy of emancipation as a second war aim. This "new birth of freedom," as Lincoln called it, constitutes the proudest legacy of America'sbloodiest conflict.This authoritative volume makes sense of that vast and confusing "second American Revolution" we call the Civil War, a war that transformed a nation and expanded our heritage of liberty.
Call Number: E470.M24 1988
Family Properties by Beryl SatterPart family story and part urban history, a landmark investigation of segregation and urban decay in Chicago-and cities across the nation The "promised land" for thousands of Southern blacks, postwar Chicago quickly became the most segregated city in the North, the site of the nation's worst ghettos and the target of Martin Luther King Jr.'s first campaign beyond the South. In this powerful book, Beryl Satter identifies the true causes of the city's black slums and the ruin of urban neighborhoods throughout the country: not, as some have argued, black pathology, the culture of poverty, or white flight, but a widespread and institutionalized system of legal and financial exploitation.In Satter's riveting account of a city in crisis, unscrupulous lawyers, slumlords, and speculators are pitched against religious reformers, community organizers, and an impassioned attorney who launched a crusade against the profiteers-the author's father, Mark J. Satter. At the heart of the struggle stand the black migrants who, having left the South with its legacy of sharecropping, suddenly find themselves caught in a new kind of debt peonage. Satter shows the interlocking forces at work in their oppression: the discriminatory practices of the banking industry; the federal policies that created the country's shameful "dual housing market"; the economic anxieties that fueled white violence; and the tempting profits to be made by preying on the city's most vulnerable population.A monumental work of history, this tale of racism and real estate, politics and finance, will forever change our understanding of the forces that transformed urban America.
Call Number: HD7288.76.U52 C434 2009
Showdown by Wil HaygoodThurgood Marshall brought down the separate-but-equal doctrine, integrated schools, and not only fought for human rights and human dignity but also made them impossible to deny in the courts and in the streets. In this stunning new biography, award-winning author Wil Haygood surpasses the emotional impact of his inspiring best seller The Butler to detail the life and career of one of the most transformative legal minds of the past one hundred years. Using the framework of the dramatic, contentious five-day Senate hearing to confirm Marshall as the first African-American Supreme Court justice, Haygood creates a provocative and moving look at Marshall's life as well as the politicians, lawyers, activists, and others who shaped--or desperately tried to stop--the civil rights movement of the twentieth century: President Lyndon Johnson; Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., whose scandals almost cost Marshall the Supreme Court judgeship; Harry and Harriette Moore, the Florida NAACP workers killed by the KKK; Justice J. Waties Waring, a racist lawyer from South Carolina, who, after being appointed to the federal court, became such a champion of civil rights that he was forced to flee the South; John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy; Senator Strom Thurmond, the renowned racist from South Carolina, who had a secret black mistress and child; North Carolina senator Sam Ervin, who tried to use his Constitutional expertise to block Marshall's appointment; Senator James Eastland of Mississippi, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who stated that segregation was "the law of nature, the law of God"; Arkansas senator John McClellan, who, as a boy, after Teddy Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dinner at the White House, wrote a prize-winning school essay proclaiming that Roosevelt had destroyed the integrity of the presidency; and so many others. This galvanizing book makes clear that it is impossible to overestimate Thurgood Marshall's lasting influence on the racial politics of our nation.
Call Number: KF8745.M34 H394 2015
American Slavery, American Freedom by Edmund S. Morgan; Edmund MorganThe men who came together to found the independent United States either held slaves or were willing to join hands with those who did. George Washington, hero of the Revolution, was the master of several hundred slaves. Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, owned more than 200 men, women, and children while eloquently defending the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In this classic work, originally published in 1976, through a meticulous history of Virginia from its earliest settlement through the seventeenth century boom in tobacco, the gradual replacement of servitude with slavery, and the rise of republican ideology, historian Morgan reveals the deep and interlocking relationship between these seemingly contradictory ideas--From publisher description.
Call Number: E445.V8 M67 2005
Racecraft by Karen E. Fields; Barbara J. FieldsMost people assume that racism grows from a perception of human difference- the fact of race gives rise to the practice of racism. In this myth-busting reflection, the sociologist Karen E. Fields and the 2 historian Barbara J. Fields argue the opposite- the practice of racism produces the illusion of race, through what they call 'racecraft'. And racecraft is intimately entwined with other forms of inequality in American life. So pervasive are the devices of racecraft in American history, economic doctrine, politics and everyday thinking that the presence of racecraft itself goes unnoticed. That the promised post-racial age has not dawned, the Fieldses argue, reflects the failure of Americans to develop a legitimate language for thinking about and discussing inequality. That failure should worry all who care about democratic institutions. 'A most impressive work, tackling a demanding and important topic-the myth that we now live in a post-racial society- in a novel, urgent, and compelling way. The authors dispel this myth by squarely addressing the paradox that racism is scientifically discredited but, like witchcraft before it, retains a social rationale in societies that remain highly unequal and averse to sufficiently critical engagement with their own history and traditions' Robin Blackburn
Call Number: E184.A1 F54 2014
When and Where I Enter by Paula J. GiddingsWhen and Where I Enter is an eloquent testimonial to the profound influence of African-American women on race and women's movements throughout American history. Drawing on speeches, diaries, letters, and other original documents, Paula Giddings powerfully portrays how black women have transcended racist and sexist attitudes--often confronting white feminists and black male leaders alike--to initiate social and political reform. From the open disregard for the rights of slave women to examples of today's more covert racism and sexism in civil rights and women'sorganizations, Giddings illuminates the black woman's crusade for equality. In the process, she paints unforgettable portraits of black female leaders, such as anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells, educator and FDR adviser Mary McLeod Bethune, and the heroic civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer, among others, who fought both overt and institutionalized oppression. When and Where I Enter reveals the immense moral power black women possessed and sought to wield throughout their history--the same power that prompted Anna Julia Cooper in 1892 to tell a group of black clergymen, 'Only the black woman can say "when and where I enter, in the quiet, undisputed dignity of my womanhood, without violence and without suing or special patronage, then and there the whole . . . race enters with me.'"--publisher's description.
Call Number: E185.86 .G49 2006
Ida: a Sword among Lions by Paula J. GiddingsHeralded as a landmark achievement upon publication, Ida: A Sword Among Lions is a sweeping narrative about a country and a crusader embroiled in the struggle against lynching--a practice that imperiled not only the lives of black men and women, but also a nation based on law and riven by race. At the center of the national drama is Ida B. Wells (1862-1931). Born to slaves in Mississippi, Wells began her activist career by refusing to leave a first-class ladies' car on a Memphis railway and rose to lead the nation's first campaign against lynching. For Wells, the key to the rise in violence was embedded in attitudes not only about black men, but also about women and sexuality. Her independent perspective and percussive personality gained her encomiums as a hero--as well as aspersions on her character and threats of death. Exiled from the South by 1892, Wells subsequently took her campaign across the country and throughout the British Isles before she married and settled in Chicago. There she continued her activism as a journalist, suffragist, and independent candidate in the rough-and-tumble world of the Windy City's politics. With meticulous research and vivid rendering of her subject, Giddings also provides compelling portraits of twentieth-century progressive luminaries, blacks and whites who worked with Wells during some of the most tumultuous periods in American history. In this groundbreaking work, Paula J. Giddings brings to life the irrepressible personality of Ida B. Wells and gives the visionary reformer her due.
Call Number: E185.97.W55 G53 2009
Publication Date: 2009-03-03
Out of the House of Bondage by Thavolia GlymphThe plantation household was, first and foremost, a site of production. This fundamental fact has generally been overshadowed by popular and scholarly images of the plantation household as the source of slavery's redeeming qualities, where 'gentle' mistresses ministered to 'loyal' slaves. This book recounts a very different story. The very notion of a private sphere, as divorced from the immoral excesses of chattel slavery as from the amoral logic of market laws, functioned to conceal from public scrutiny the day-to-day struggles between enslaved women and their mistresses, subsumed within a logic of patriarchy. One of emancipation's unsung consequences was precisely the exposure to public view of the unbridgeable social distance between the women on whose labor the plantation household relied and the women who employed them. This is a story of race and gender, nation and citizenship, freedom and bondage in the nineteenth century South; a big abstract story that is composed of equally big personal stories.