Sunday, August 12, 2012

The local bookstore you save must be your own

White Over Black by
Wintjrop Jrodan
Stories abound in the media including on this blog about the closing of beloved bookstores around the country, both corporate and independent. The most recent news that circulated widely in the media concerning African American books was Hue-Man Bookstore. the ten-year
old Black bookstore in Harlem which closed at the end of July.

Hue-Man opened its doors with an attractive range of titles by Black authors on its shelves; I remember my first visit to the store, seeing a deep selection of African world history titles, by Dr. ben Jochanan and J.A. Rogers, for instance, as well as titles by contemporary Black authors such as Benilde Little, Mary Monroe (no relation -- I don't think!) and Pearl Cleage.

Hue-Man's selecton was impressive, but increasingly trends in the bookselling business 
required more than just good books to sustain walk-in customers, ironically enough. Many
brick-and-mortars bookstores, including Hue-Man, adapted their marketing
strategies in order to increase walk-in traffic, or at least sustain their local and
devoted customer bases, which nonetheless were being drained by competitive online sellers.

The economic collapse that hit the U.S. in 2008 only steepened the slope that bookstores
(nearly all commercial entities) had to climb in order to survive, let alone thrive.

Independent bookstores adopted new strategies to sustain themselves: expanding their product
base, (products and/or adding eateries), hosting (more) author events, specializing in a
genre, even adding online selling, but like Hue-Man, many of these stores still closed
their doors.

So, what does it take in the current digital media environment for brick-and-mortar
bookstores to be able to serve their communities and be profitable?

A mix of the some of the strategies named above and as many as are effective in a local
community of readers. That's the other part, though--a community of readers has to be
committed to the bookstore culture. Readers have to want the bookstore culture, like the
bookstore culture, and be willing "to do bookstore culture," which means to take the walk or
15 minute ride to the store. Like we used to do and spend time and money there.

I am not chastising, but merely saying that the online selling industry has nearly
perfected the means that readers get books by delivering them directly to our doors. Can
it be that part of the answer to how bookstores survive is that readers collaborate with
many new ways to keep bookstore open, useful to the community and profitable?

In the last three weeks I have collaborated with a local bookstore, blackPrint Bookstore in New Haven, holding informal discussions around a civic curricula my sister and I created that has our group reading the U.S. Constitution and other founding documents of our country. Quite a rich discussion to have in a store filled with African-centered books and images. The discussion is enriched by the surroundings, and the events bring new visitors to the store and expand its branding as a venue for learning.

Holding a reading group in a bookstore, I know, is not new, but it is a way that I can commit to support my local bookstore, even as I pursue my own online bookselling.

The Huffington Post published an article that suggests 20+ ideas a bookstore/ community can
adopt to sustain its local bookstore, among them some very good ideas. Let me know, let
everyone know, if you recommend these to your local bookstore and if the store owners implement them, how things work out.

Revised July 11, 2013

Thursday, August 9, 2012

McDaniel and McQueen, in their own voices

An item in The Hollywood Reporter, July 31, 2012, noted that "a 1938 copy of Gone With the Wind signed by nearly the entire cast of the film sold for $135,300 ($110,000 plus $25,300 buyer's premium) ...."

Signatures of Hattie McDaniel who played "Mammy" in the movie, and Thelma "Butterfly McQueen," who played, "Prissy," are pictured below.

Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar in 1940 for best supporting actress in Gone With the Wind, which was released in theaters in 1939.  Ms. McDaniel was the first African American actor to win an Oscar. Her acceptance speech was the epitome of dignity and self-possession. Hattie McDaniel's acceptance speech

In 1989, Thelma "Butterfly" McQueen was interviewed about "Prissy," the controversial maidservant she portrayed in Gone With the Wind. In the video, McQueen talks with dignity and frankness about her battle to overcome the toll that Hollywood stereotyping of Black women took on her career and personal life.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Save Black bookstores

News of Hue-Man Bookstore's closing later this month in Harlem continues to evoke dismay among readers and book lovers about the loss of that landmark store, in particular, and the loss of Black bookstores around the country. Recognizing the impact of bookstore closings on the Black community, L'Heureux Lewis-McCoy, an assistant professor of Sociology and Black Studies at the City College of New York, published a piece in Ebony, "Why We Must Save Black Bookstores."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Education reform before the school bell rings

Dr. Camika Royal, a teacher and teacher coach of urban communities, spoke the unvarnished truth to about 700 soon to be Teach for America educators who will enter classrooms and hopefully serve as gateways to knowledge for students in need of inspiration, wisdom, and knowledge in the Philadelphia public schools. Here is an excerpt of her speech published in the Huffington Post.

 Swift to Hear; Slow to Speak: A Message to TFA Teachers, Critics, and Education Reformers

For new teachers, understanding what is expected of them and the context in which they work is essential for their success and for the success of schools, students, and communities. It is because of this belief that I accepted the invitation to speak at the Opening Ceremonies for Teach For America's 2012 Summer Institute to train its new teachers in Philadelphia. I was asked to speak as a Teach for America alumnus but also as a Philadelphia community member. I thought this was an awesome opportunity and responsibility to speak to the more than 700 new teachers who are being trained.... read Camika Royal's the full speech in the Huffington Post.

Friday, July 6, 2012

50 books to read in the struggle

This morning I read an article in the Huffington Post, a suggestion of books that every African American should read.
The list of books, fiction and non-fiction, were chosen in the context of books that would make good summer reading on vacation, at the beach or traveling. Well enough.  
I I suppose that for me the word, "should," overwhelmed the otherwise casual context of the list. I began to think about what books I would choose for a list of "the 50 books that every African American should read."
 Preparing lists of recommended books for the community to read is rarely far from my thoughts. Since I was a child I've been creating these lists of Black classics, first in response to my grammar school readers that almost always marginalized Black characters or my young adult books that almost never listed a Black book in their "best of" lists on the back endpaper or back cover.  
Through my college and grad school experience,  literary works by Black writers were sparsely explored in most of my classes. Some professors gave balanced treatment of Black writers, but most professors (and most of my professors were white) made only superficial exploration of Black texts. I once had a professor who never met eye contact with me during the entire semester until the one day that the class was assigned to read Langston Hughes. On that day, he only looked at me as he talked about Hughes. What was the message to my all white classmates? "Black literature is for Black people; you don't have to worry about it" is the conclusion that I drew.
This longstanding dearth of Black texts in my academic experience was certainly an influence on me when I began teaching developmental writing, freshman composition and Black literature at a community college in the 1990s. 
Where the composition textbooks failed to provide models of strong writing by Black writers, I filled in the gaps. I used material by Dr. King, James Baldwin, Haki Madhubuti, poetry by Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Hayden and Paul Laurence Dunbar. My students were apprehensive and perplexed about the Declaration of Independence as assigned reading, but they understood the effectiveness of the rhetorical strategies that I pointed out, and later when we read Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech and material from the Black Panther's ten-point plan, they not only absorbed the continuity of certain rhetorical strategies in key American texts, but most importantly the content of some of those texts reflected their own cultural values and voice.  In this way, my students' (the majority of them were black) cultural identity was validated because those black texts held equal weight with the texts by white writers published in their textbooks.
[Apologizes for the errant content that appeared here in an earlier draft of this post.]
That validation was palpable. Students really got into the texts, reading closely at home, looking up words, and coming into class saying that they couldn't wait to talk about what they read. The students practiced using these writers' strategies to give voice to their own ideas. This was all very exciting for them and for me, convincing me of the importance of balancing the selection of cultural voices used to teach college writing, just as our democracy is validated and our nation is served best when diverse voices are respected in our national conversations. 
This list of books reflects the mission of Now Rise Books, to arm our community with cultural information and affirmation needed to participate in our national conversations that consider race, citizenship, cultural pride and contributions of many voices that represent contemporary America. Would appreciate hearing your comments and additional recommendations.. 
2. The Book of Negro Folklore (Eds. Langston Hughes & Arna Bontemps, 1958)
3. A Frances E(llen) W(atkins) Harper Reader (Frances Smith Foster, 1990)
4. Reminiscences of School Life, and Hints on Teaching (Fannie Jackson Coppin, 1913)
5. On Lynchings (Ida B. Wells-Barnett, ed. by Norm R. Allen, 2001, includes Southern Horrors, her first pamphlet on the subject. Later, after moving to Chicago and marrying lawyer Ferdinand Barnett, she brought out the pamphlets. A Red Record and Mob Rule in New Orleans)
6. Walker's Appeal, in Four Articles; Together with a Preamble, to the Coloured Citizens of the World, but in Particular, and Very Expressly, to Those of the United States of America, Written in Boston, State of Massachusetts, September 28, 1829 (David Walker, 1829)
7. Black Women in the Ivory Tower: 1850-1954: An Intellectual History (Stephanie Y. Evans, 2008)
8. Beloved (Toni Morrison, 1987)
9. Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston, 1937)
10. The Collected Poems of Sterling Brown (1990)
11.  The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (James Weldon Johnson, 1927 [1912])
12.  The Book of Negro American Poetry, Revised Edition (ed., James Weldon Johnson, including the "Preface" to the 1st edition, 1931)
13.  Notes on the State of Virginia (Thomas Jefferson, 1832)
start with this excerpt:
o   Notes on the State of Virginia --
o   Notes on the State of Virginia "Laws"The administration of justice and description of the laws?
Laws -
14.  The Declaration of Independence (Thomas Jefferson, et al, 1776)
15.  "I Have A Dream" speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (I Have A Dream, ed. James Melvin Washington, 1992)
16.  Seize The Time, (Bobby Seale, 1970) see Black Panther Party Ten Point plan announced by Bobby Seale: YouTube
17.  Black Studies in the University (eds. Armstead L. Robinson, Craig C.Foster, Donald H. Ogilvie, 1969)
18.  How Europe Underdeveloped America (Walter Rodney, 1972)
19.  The Mis-Education of the Negro (Carter G. Woodson, 1933)
20.  Brainwashed (Tom Burrell,  2011)
21.  Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey (Colin Grant, 2010)
22.  The Wretched of the Earth (Frantz Fanon, 1963 translation)
23.  Africa's Gift to America (J[oel] A[ugustus] Rogers, 1961)
24.  Jesus and the Disinherited (Howard Thurman, 1949)
25.  They Came Before Columbus (Ivan van Sertima, 1976)
26.  The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality, (Cheikh Anta Diop, 1967)
27.  The Fire Next Time (James Baldwin, 1963)
28.  Brown sugar : eighty years of America's Black female superstars (Donald Bogle, 1980)
29.  Black Men: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous?: Afrikan American families in transition : essays in discovery, solution, and hope /  (Haki Madhubuti, 1990)
31.  Before the Mayflower: A History of the Negro in America, 1619-1962 (Lerone Bennett Jr., 1962)
32.  The Black Poets (Dudley Randall, 1971)
33.  Unbought and Unbossed (Shirley Chisholm, 1970)
34.  The Emancipation Proclamation (Abraham Lincoln, 1863)
35.  Stride Toward Freedom (Martin Luther King, Jr., 1955) and Where Do We Go From Here, (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  1967)
36.  The Lonely Londoners (Sam Selvon, 1956)
37.  Hamlet (1603) and Romeo & Juliet (1597) (William Shakespeare)
38.  The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter (Katherine Anne Porter, 1984)
39.  Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization: Exploding the Myths (Anthony T. Browder, 1992)
40.  Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain, 1885)
41.  The House on Mango Street (Sandra Cisneros, 1984)
42.  Common Sense (Tom Paine, 1784)
43.  The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway, 1926)
44.  Sojourner Truth: Speech to the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, 1851
45.  Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself (Frederick Douglass, 1845)
46.  The Joy Luck Club (Amy Tan, 1989)
47.  A Different Drummer (William Melvin Kelley, 1962)
48.  A’int I a Woman: black woman and feminism (bell hooks, 1981)
49.  A Small Place (Jamaica Kincaid, 2000)
50.Brothers and Sisters (Bebe Moore Campbell, 1995)

Last updated on July 10, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Stop to start: Hue-Man Bookstore closing

Dr. Poussaint and Biil Cosby, November 2007
The news that Hue-Man Bookstore will close its doors on July 31st is reverberating throughout Harlem and across the Twittersphere. Once again, many readers are despairing the loss of a bookstore that is more than a commercial enterprise, that functions as a place that sustains culture.

Of course, the decision that owner Marva Allen has made -- to abandon the traditional brick-and-mortar model bookstore in order to consider how to re-invent their bookselling presence in a technology dominated world -- is practical, proactive even. However, the decision leaves a void in the community where her store, the largest Black bookstore in Harlem, was a coveted destination.

The news is disappointing beyond Harlem, too, like here in New Haven. Lots of folks in Connecticut followed events at Hue-Man; the store was their bookstore away from home. I have hopped on the Metro-North train to travel to a number of events at Hue-Man, such as the Bill Cosby and Alvin Poussaint booksigning (pictured). I saw folks from Bridgeport, CT at the Cosby and Poussaint event that evening. I've seen folks from Connecticut on other occasions at the store, too. As I did with Liberation Bookstore, also gone now, I have made a point of visiting the Hue-Man many times when I was in the city on other business. 

In her letter to the Hue-Man patrons, Marva Allen left readers to think about how booksellers that cater to Black interests will transform themselves to serve a readership that increasingly accesses books and information across many platforms, not just through a book store. With the loss of another venue, I consider how we as readers will make new conventions to sustain the cultural exchanges that took place when we flocked to our favorite bookstore to celebrate the release of a high-profiled book, at readings and at events to talk about a pressing community issue? How will we replace the cultural and intellectual impact that the iconic Black bookstore has had in our communities?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Toni Morrison, Home

Home, Toni Morrison's new novel, will be released on Tuesday, May 8. Just in time to get on my summer reading list. Here's the first few paragraphs (below). You can follow the link to the excerpt to the audio clip read by Morrison and the print excerpt, disappointingly brief, that her publisher Random House posted on its website.

"They rose up like men. We saw them. Like men they stood.
Home, book cover
Home by Toni Morrison
We shouldn’t have been anywhere near that place. Like most farmland outside Lotus, Georgia, this here one had plenty scary warning signs. The threats hung from wire mesh fences with wooden stakes every fifty or so feet. But when we saw a crawl space that some animal had dug—a coyote maybe, or a coon dog—we couldn’t resist. Just kids we were. The grass was shoulder high for her and waist high for me so, looking out for snakes, we crawled through it on our bellies. The reward was worth the harm grass juice and clouds of gnats did to our eyes, because there right in front of us, about fifty yards off, they stood like men. Their raised hooves crashing and striking, their manes tossing back from wild white eyes. They bit each other like dogs but when they stood, reared up on their hind legs, their forelegs around the withers of the other, we held our breath in wonder. One was rust-colored, the other deep black, both sunny with sweat. The neighs were not as frightening as the silence following a kick of hind legs into the lifted lips of the opponent. Nearby, colts and mares, indifferent, nibbled grass or looked away. Then it stopped. The rust-colored one dropped his head and pawed the ground while the winner loped off in an arc, nudging the mares before him."

(Read or listen to the entire excerpt)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Poet Nikky Finney's acceptance speech at the NBA for Head Off & Split

Poet Nikky Finney won the 2011 National Book Award last year for Head Off & Split, a collection of impresseive poems which layer reams of meaning into meaty metaphors served up you might say in bite-sized lines of controlled meter.

Impressive as Finney's achievement is in this volume, her acceptance speech for the NBA was a power-packed appetizer for the book. In her remarks, Finney put her audience on notice that she was serving up truths not always pleasing to the palate nor easily digested. However, everyone who values truth could take a seat at her table and would eat well.
Here's a link to Nikky Finney's acceptance speech well worth savoring (about 9 minutes):

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New York "Big City Book Club" will read James Baldwin's Another Country

A Time to Be Born by Dawn Powell
Another Country
This note recently appeared in the New York Times:

In honor of the long-awaited return of “Mad Men” on March 25, the Big City Book Club  [a discussion group moderated by New York Times columnist, Ginia Bellafante].is getting in the spirit of 1960s Manhattan. Our next selection is James Baldwin’s 1962 novel, “Another Country,” which chronicles the descent of the jazz drummer Rufus Scott.
Baldwin recreates the world of Greenwich Village bohemians for an examination of race, emotional denial, professional rivalry, tortured marriages and other subjects that the AMC series has mined so well. Join us for an online conversation April 4 at a new time, from 7 to 10 p.m.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

9th Annual Walter Rodney Symposium

Join Black Classic Press Director W. Paul Coates and members of the Walter Rodney Foundation next Friday, March 23 for the 9th Annual Walter Rodney Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Walter Rodney Foundation is a non-profit organization working to advance education, health, and development by promoting human rights, social justice and sustainable development.

Since 2004, an annual symposium has been held in Atlanta, Georgia to honor the work of Dr. Walter Rodney (1942-1980), Pan-Africanist historian, educator and political activist widely known for his seminal work, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, first published in 1972.  The goal of the symposium is to bring together scholars, researchers, activists, students and the community to discuss contemporary issues from a Rodney perspective.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man: Centennial

Source: The Daily Beast,
Penguin Classics, $6.10
This year marks the centennial anniversary of the publication of James Weldon Johnson's novel, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. "Daily Beast" columnist Nathaniel Rich featured Johnson's novel recently in his series, American Dreams, which looks back at works of fiction that helped to define the last American century. Rich makes the point that The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man was a pivotal work that took the bold artistic leap in 1912 to portray an African American man wrestling intellectually with his decision to cross the color line to pass as a white man. Through his character's reasoning about the impact of racial identification, Johnson depicts the ex-colored man, and by implication African Americans generally, as socially and psychologically complex. The novel, Rich says, influenced Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Claude McKay among others to write autobiographical fiction depicting realistic portraits of Black people. This move contrasted the simplistic caricatures of Blacks (such as the "happy darky") that were exported from 19th century sterotypes and that--without the assertion of realism in American fiction--threatened to dominate the lens through which African Americans would be seen for another hundred years.

Successful songwriter, poet, novelist and author of the personal narrative  (check out his autobiography, Along this Way), James Weldon Johnson was a renaissance man who not only penned lyrics that came to be embraced as the Negro national anthem but with The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man, signaled a trend to render the national character of African American people authentically, in all of our diversity and as our richly-layered selves.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Jim Haskins featured by The Brown Bookshelf

The Brown Bookshelf (BB) is conducting its annual feature, "28 Days Later," which highlights a Black writer or illustrator every day during February, Black history month.

On day 4, BB featured award-winning author, Jim Haskins. Even if you don't know him by name, you probably know of at least one of Jim Haskins's more than 200 books--most of which are non-fiction books of Black history written for children and young adults.

The last book I read by Haskins was The Geography of Hope (1999), a detailed and vivid narrative of the rugged migration that Black families made from the South into the mid-west and west, motivated by intimidation and violence of hostile White southerners. Haskins books are treasures; I'd like to see every child have one or two of his works on their home library shelves.

In case you don't know Jim Haskins, here's an opportunity to be introduced to him through the Brown Bookshelf's profile.  Then, find a Haskins books on a topic of your interest and read it. You will want to begin collecting his work for your home library, as well as to start sharing it with young people in your life.  I am working on collecting one of every book he wrote.  Would be interested to know your thoughts on Haskins work.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Liberation Bookstore owner, Una Mulzac, 88

A few days ago when my August 2010 post about Liberation Bookstore and Una Mulzac blew up with hits, I knew it was a signal that this matriarch and soldier in the army of black political struggle had, as one headline read, "joined the ancestors."

Like many who lived outside of the Harlem community, and outside of NY state for that matter, I "knew" Una Mulzac and Liberation Bookstore more by reputation than by personal experience. In a wonderful culturally-conscious period between the early '80s through the mid-'90s, I heard the name of Liberation Bookstore invoked by brothers and sisters at black cultural fairs, literary conferences and black arts festivals in my hometown of Baltimore. From what these sisters and brothers said, I learned that Liberation Bookstore was a mecca where the conscious, the righteous brotherhood and sisterhood traveled to fortify themselves with black literature but also to meet up with other disciples of black culture who patronized Liberation and admired Una Mulzac.

I don't remember when I learned that the owner of Liberation Bookstore was a woman, but that news was indeed liberating for me. Una Mulzac was likely the first contemporary Black woman that I heard of who, as an entrepreneur, was dedicated to providing her community with black literature. Liberation became a destination that I kept faith to visit one day. Fortunately, I did visit several times, and listened first-hand to Una Mulzac talk about her father's dedication to the cause, and her own life devoted to freedom and human rights.

My post on Liberation Bookstore after the Harlem Bookfair in 2010 has been one of the consistently popular posts on this blog; I offer it here again in tribute to Una Mulzac, with gratitude for the example that she set for me to pursue a life devoted to books, according to my own interests, in the promotion of education and the progress of Black people.

In addition, two obituaries (you will need to sign up for accounts):
Liberation Bookstore owner, Una G. Mulzac, passes at 88, by Herb Boyd, Special to the Amsterdam News

Una Mulzac, Bookseller With Passion for Black Politics, Dies at 88, by Douglas Martin, NYT, Feb. 4, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Book Sale - Newly arrived titles

Prices are reduced 10-15% on most titles - browse below and
See more Now Rise Books on
Order more than 1 book from Now Rise Books and receive
$1.50 REFUND on SHIPPING for EACH additional book purchased in the same order.

Open Wide The Freedom Gates: A Memoir by Dorothy Height. PublicAffairs 2005. Pb. Pages: 344. Condition: Like new copy. Price penciled in on half title page. Dr. Height's autobiography chronicling her unparalled influence and contributions to African American civil rights progress from the early decades of the 20th century through the early days of President Barack Obama's administration. $8.50

David Walker's Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World by David Walker. Publisher: Penn State UP. Publication Date: 2000. Pages: 137. Condition: Very good, clean pages. Intro., annotations by Peter P. Hinks. Like new - this edition includes Blacks' responses to Walker's Appeal and text of letters revealing how Whites were alarmed by the dissemination of Walker's Appeal in Georgia and other Southern states. $11.00

Affirmative Acts by June Jordan. Anchor; 1st ed. 1998, pages: 288. Condition: Very good copy, tight binding, clean pages, tanning. Bookstore sticker on back cover; price in pencil on half title page. Jordan's essays in this volume, as in her broad body of influential work, "boldly confronts issues intersecting race, gender and class in America."

Some of Us Did NOT Die: New and Selected Essays by June Jordan. Basic Civitas Books, 2003.. Pages: 320. Condition: Clean pages, bump to top spine, minimal wear; good copy; price in pencil on half title page. Jordan's powerful work as an writer-activist, poet and scholar blaze with light and truth, in this final collection of her work before her death, June 14, 2002. $8.50

Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America by Lerone Bennett Jr. Penguin. Publication date: 1982-FIFTH revised edition. Pages: 681, heavily illustrated. Condition: tight binding; clean pages, slight tanning. Minimal wear to cover; very good copy. This edition contains the 100-page "Landmarks and Milestones" section noting Black achievement in professions, civic and social arenas; Black Firsts; selected bibliography. From "The African Past" through late '70s (mention of Ronald Reagan election, 1980.) $12.00 SOLD

Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 Through the Stono Rebellion by Peter H. Wood. Norton. Publication Date: 1996 (orig. published 1974). Pages: 346. Condition: Binding is tight and pages clean. Very good copy; price in pencil on half title page. Peter H Wood's social history of the construct of slavery in its unique development in South Carolina. Biblio. note; Appendix D reprints a newspaper commentary urging enforcement of a law regulating the "comings and goings of slaves." $8.00 

Black Odyssey: The African-American Ordeal in Slavery by Nathan Irvin Hare. Vintage, 1990. Pb. [Orig. published, 1977.] Pages: 336. Condition: Very good copy, binding is tight and pages clean. Price in pencil on half title page. Huggins' book is a classic work on the Atlantic slave trade and how Black and Whites were impacted by the system of slavery--"an enduring contribution to the study of American history." $8.00

God's Trombones; Seven Negro Sermons in Verse  by James Weldon Johnson. The Viking press 1942 Hardback, 1941. Pages: 56. illustrations by Aaron Douglass. Condition: Excellent condition of the 1941 EDITION, ninth printing. Dust jacket near fine in mylar cover, very soft smudges in some areas of cream cover. Binding tight, endpapers intact; light wear to board edges; small tear to letter "G" in title on front cover. Pages are clean, deckle edges. Johnson's classic "seven Negro sermons in verse" captures the linguistic stylings and cultural ethos of Black American society." $32.00

A Hard Road to Glory, Arthur Ashe Jr.  ed.. Warner Books; 2nd Printing, 1st ed.1988. Hardback. w/ photos, charts and tables. Pages: 571. Condition: Dust jacket and book,very good, clean, DJ minor edgewear, crease on back inside cover. Publisher mark on bottom text block; price on half title page. The third volume of tennis great Arthur Ashe's groundbreaking history of Blacks in sports. $11.00

Willie Stargell: An Autobiography by Willie Stargell. HarperCollins; 1st ed. 1984 Hardback Harper & Row, 1984, pgs. 247. Condition: Dust jacket and book very clean--minor edgewear to DJ. Price penciled in on half title page. An "open hearted" memoir by Willie Stargell, whose 20-year baseball career (retired 1982) is remembered for his accomplishments as a slugger and World Champion and a beloved figure of the Pittsburgh Pirates. $9.50  

Joe Morgan: A Life in Baseball by Joe Morgan. W W Norton, 1st edition,  1993. Hardback
First Edition; w/ photos. Pages: 303.  Condition: Dust jacket very good, book binding tight, pages very clean--minor edgewear to DJ. Sticker states baseball card included, but it is not in this book. Price on half title page. Hall-of-famer Joe Morgan tells inside baseball story of his days from little league to Cincinnati Reds championships. $8.50

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Open Wide the Freedom Gates

Taking in new inventory, yesterday, I came across the memoir recounting the extraordinary life of Dr. Dorothy Height...blessed with longevity, her life was an indefatigable and unwavering force directed at advocating for equality and opportunity for African Americans during most of the 20th century. I read her book a few years ago, while convalescing at home, and for a while it sat face out on the bottom shelf of a bookcase, so that every morning when I awoke, one of my first sights was Dr. Height's stately countenance and the uncompromising title of her book, which I felt was an imperative for my own life, going forward: Dr. Height's memoir is entitled, "open wide the freedom gates." I have acted on the imperative since then, but not as diligently as I might have had I kept the words at the forefront of my thoughts. So now reminded of that imperative, I have another guiding principle to help me to redeem my days, by looking for ways to expand opportunities for someone who needs access or information or something material to improve their lives, and that's just the inspiration I received from reading the title of Dr. Height's book. Thank you, Dr. Heights.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Books On Sale: Newly Arrived non-fiction, biography and fiction at Now Rise

Greetings dear friends -- and those of you who have just discovered Now Rise Books!

I am writing to say, "Thank you," to everyone who visited our storefront and purchased books from Now Rise in 2011.  Your confidence and loyalty means so much.  You have made this venture rewarding for me by sustaining Now Rise as a resource for readers and writers who value great books by and about the experience of people of African descent.  I look forward to finding wonderful titles to offer this year and blogging about good books and interesting issues.

After completing inventory at the end of 2011, I am starting 2012 by announcing a sale on many of my regular stock.  I hope the sale prices will encourage you to buy more books and to buy multiple books at one time--so that more of you will take advantage of our reduced shipping on multiple books in one order.  I also hope the sale prices will motivate you to buy sooner than you might otherwise.  I have an unsuspecting selfish motive: a successful sale will free up space in my very tiny storage unit so that I can bring into inventory more books that are recently purchased or that will be purchased in buying trips planned in the near future.

Over the next six weeks--beginning with this list at the Dr. King holiday through Black History Month--I will update this blog with books recently acquired--many at sale prices 15% less than what they would regularly be priced.  So buy soon and keep checking Now Rise for newly added selections.  Sign in on the mailing list of this blog to get notices of new titles added.  Please tell your friends and colleagues about us and, you know, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Warm regards to you all,

Lisa Monroe
Now Rise Books

View Now Rise Books on sale:
  • Click on each title below to see more details about the book OR 
  • Browse all books posted so far at Now Rise Books on [Update: our books are still on sale at Amazon, but we stopped paying for a dedicated page--the cost of doing business! Aug. 2012]   Our regular inventory is on sale - most books are now reduced up to 15%.
  • SAVE MONEY: Take advantage of our discounted shipping when you purchase multiples titles in the same order!

Just arrived NON-FICTION from $3.75
The Mis-Education of the Negro   Carter G. Woodson (African American Images 2000 PB $3.75)

  Martin Luther King Jr. (HarperSan Francisco 1992 PB $5)

The FBI and Martin Luther King Jr: From "Solo" to Memphis   David J. Garrow (Norton 1981 PB $4)

Rehearsal for Reconstruction: The Port Royal Experiment   Jethro Koller Lieberman (Oxford UP 1976 PB $7.45)

The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925   Herbert George Gutman (Putnam 1976 HB $13.99)

Slaves Without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South   Ira Berlin (Oxford UP 1981 PB $7.95)

Just arrived BIOGRAPHY / AUTOBIOGRAPHY from $4
Keep the Faith: A Memoir   Faith EvansGrand Central Publishing 2008 HB $7.95)
John Adams   David McCullough (Simon & Schuster 2001 HB $11.25)

Nigger   Dick Gregory Pocket Books 1990 Mass Market $4)

Magic Johnson: My Life   Earvin Johnson (Random House 1992 HB $7)

Angels Along the Way   Della Reese (Putnam 1997 HB $7.95)

Secrets of a Sparrow   Diana Ross (Villard 1993 HB $8.25)

For Us, the Living   Myrlie Evers-Williams (U of Mississippi 1996 HB $7) SOLD

Epic Lives: One Hundred Black Women Who Made a Difference   Jessie Carney Smith (Visible Ink 1992 PB $9)

Just arrived FICTION & LITERATURE from $7.95

The Norton Anthology of African American Literature   Nellie Y. McKay (Norton 2004 CD-Rom attached PB $16) SOLD

The Good Negress: A Novel   A. J. Verdelle (Algonquin 1995 HB $7.95)

Dark Symphony: Negro Literature in America   James A Emanuel (The Free Press 1968 HB $8.75)

God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse   James Weldon Johnson (Viking 1941 ninth printing HB $32) SOLD

This page was updated on August 18, 2012.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Canadian Esi Edugyan's novel is off the charts

Last year, the literary world just north of the U.S. border took notice of Edugyan Esi's novel, Half-Blood Blues. Esi, a 34 year-old Canadian-born author, won the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada's highest literary honor. The honor is sweetened by its accompanying $50,000 cash award. If that were not enough, Esi also found herself on the very select short list for the Man Booker award last year, Britain's most distinguished literary honor.
Half-Blood Blues has been called a "bold and original exploration of black jazz musicians in Hitler's Germany."
A recent article in The Vancouver Sun noted that "Half-Blood Blues quickly blossomed into one of Canadian literature's great success stories. Publisher Patrick Crean of Thomas Allen Publishers says his company printed 3,000 copies in August."
Esi's novel was off the charts of Canadian fiction sales: the article also says that "there are now 115,000 copies of Half-Blood Blues in print in Canada. In one week alone, 9,000 copies sold here. Such numbers are remarkable in a country where, if a book sells 5,000 copies, it is deemed a bestseller."
Picador will publish a U.S. edition of Half-Blood Blues in February.