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10 James Baldwin Books to Read in Your Lifetime | The Oprah Magazine

More from the literary legend behind If Beale Street Could Talk. James Baldwin is an iconic author for our time, a writer who gave the world countless poignant essays, shorts stories, novels, plays, and poems during his 63 years. As a gay Black man coming to terms with his identity in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, Baldwin—who died on December 1, 1987—used his distinct perspective and lyrical writing to shed light on issues of race, homosexuality, and religion in a way that placed him ahead of his time when it came to social commentary. From Go Tell It on the […]

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Help combat racism. This holiday season, give the gift of a black children’s or young adult book | Daily Kos

In a time fraught with Trump- and Republican-fomented racial hate and vituperation, we move into a holiday season celebrated by 90% of the people in this divided nation. Over the years, many readers have asked for my thoughts on what can be done to change and eliminate the racial hate exhibited by a large, and mostly white, segment of the populace. My belief is that you can’t vote racism away. The only solution is education. So if you are one of the millions of people who are shopping for gifts for children or young adults in your circle of family […]

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In the 2010s, White America Was Finally Shown Itself Ta-Nehisi Coates on “Obama’s decade,” reparations, and Kaepernick. | The Intelligencer

If the racial politics of the 2010s has a definitive chronicler, it is Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose magisterial 2014 Atlantic essay “The Case for Reparations” forced Americans to reckon with slavery, Jim Crow, and redlining in ways that many of them never had. Since the essay’s publication — which eventually prompted a congressional hearing on the subject this year, at which Coates testified — the 44-year-old has won a National Book Award for his 2015 book, Between the World and Me, and was awarded a MacArthur “genius” grant. More recently, he’s been writing fiction: He scripted a run of Marvel’s Black […]

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Ernest J. Gaines, Author of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Dead at 86 | The Root

Ernest J. Gaines, a MacArthur fellow best known for the book The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, died at his home in Oscar, La., Tuesday. He was 86. In an obituary on their website, the Ernest J. Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, described the author as leaving behind a legacy that is “nothing short of brilliant.” Born Ernest James Gaines on Jan. 15, 1933 on a plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish, La., Gaines grew up the son of sharecroppers. As he told the Center in a video interview, he only attended school five to five-and-a-half months […]

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Biography of Gwendolyn Brooks, the People’s Poet | ThoughtCo

Jeffrey Somers, ThoughtCo Gwendolynn Brooks. Bettmann / Getty Images. Featured Image n many ways, Gwendolyn Brooks embodies the black American experience of the 20th century. Born into a family that moved to Chicago as part of the Great Migration of blacks to the north of the country, she made her way through school during the Great Depression and pursued a traditional role for herself; when she submitted poetry to magazines she usually listed her profession as “housewife.” In the postwar era, Brooks joined much of the black community in becoming more politically aware and active, joining the Civil Rights Movement […]

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After 136 Years, The Met will Finally Host an Opera by a Black Composer | Okayplayer

Zo, Okayplayer Henry Adebonojo. Featured Image erence Blanchard‘s heralded opera, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, is set to make its debut at The Metropolitan Opera House in NYC. Though it had plenty to choose from over the last century or so, the production will be the first-ever opera by a black composer to be hosted by The Met in the institution’s 136-year history. According to The New York Times, the opera was directed by James Robinson (who’s at the helm of The Met’s current run of The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess) with a libretto written by Kasi Lemmons. The […]

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Ta-Nehisi Coates On Magic, Memory And The Underground Railroad | NPR

Growing up in Maryland, author Ta-Nehisi Coates was enthralled by stories of Harriet Tubman, the 19th century abolitionist who operated the Underground Railroad on the state’s Eastern Shore. He read about Tubman’s efforts to lead enslaved people to freedom, and was struck by the surreal qualities of her story. “It just seemed wild,” he says. “Who is this person who has fainting spells and yet has never lost a passenger? Who is this black woman in the 19th century who, when somebody is scared and wants to turn back pulls out a gun and made threats, ‘You ain’t turning back!’? […]

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BANNED: The Bluest Eye| PBS

FROM THE COLLECTION: THE LIBRARY, PBS The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison’s first novel, was published in 1970. Set in Lorain, Ohio — where Morrison herself was born — the book tells the story of Pecola Breedlove, an eleven-year-old African American girl who is convinced that she is ugly, and yearns to have lighter skin and blue eyes. This, she believes, could change her lot in life. Pecola lives in a violent household. Her parents consistently fight, and Pecola herself becomes pregnant after being raped by her alcoholic father, Cholly. Since its publication, the book has consistently landed on the American […]

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