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"This book evokes a time and place that no longer exists but which is central to the American experience. The main message is of how land ownership bonded a Negro family to its white neighbors in segregated southern Mississippi in the 1940s. Working the land was not all pain and hostility. "--
Betty Bobo Pearson (b. 1922), a seventh-generation, plantation-born Mississippian, defied her cultural heritage—and caused great personal pain for her parents and herself—when she became an activist in the civil rights movement. Never fearing to break the mold in her search for the “best,” in her nineties she remains a strong, effective leader with a fun-loving, generous spirit. When Betty was eighteen months old, a train smashed into the car her mother was driving, killing Betty’s beloved grandfather and severely injuring her grandmother. Thrown onto the engine’s cow catcher, Betty lived and did not remember the accident. She did, however, grow up to fulfill her grandmother’s prediction: “Betty, God reached down and plucked you from in front of that train because he has something very special he wants you to do with your life.” In 1943, twenty-one-year-old Betty, soon to graduate from the University of Mississippi, received a full tuition scholarship to Columbia Graduate School in New York City. Ecstatic, she rushed home to tell her parents. “ABSOLUTELY NOT. There is no way I’ll allow my daughter to live in Yankee Land,” her father replied. After fierce argument and much door slamming, Betty could not defy her father. But she had to show him she was her own person. Her nation was at war—so Betty joined the Marines. After the war, Betty married Bill Pearson and became mistress of Rainbow Plantation in the Delta. In 1955, she attended the Emmett Till trial (accompanied by her close friend and budding civil rights activist Florence Mars) and was shocked by the virulent degree of racism she witnessed there. Seeing her world in a new way, she became a courageous and dedicated supporter of the civil rights movement. Her activities severely fractured her close relationship with her parents. Yet, as a warm friend and bold, persuasive leader, Betty made an indelible mark in her church, in the Delta communities, in the lives of the people she employed, and in her beautiful garden at Rainbow.
Paul Beatty's hilarious and scathing debut novel is about Gunnar Kaufman, an awkward, black surfer bum who is moved by his mother from Santa Monica to urban West Los Angeles. There, he begins to undergo a startling transformation from neighborhood outcast to basketball superstar, and eventually to reluctant messiah of a "divided, downtrodden people". A bombastic coming-of-age novel that has the uncanny ability to make readers want to laugh and cry at the same time. Beatty mingles horrific reality with wild fancy in this remarkable debut novel.
“A masterwork [by] the preeminent historian of the Civil War era.”—Boston Globe Selected as a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, this landmark work gives us a definitive account of Lincoln's lifelong engagement with the nation's critical issue: American slavery. A master historian, Eric Foner draws Lincoln and the broader history of the period into perfect balance. We see Lincoln, a pragmatic politician grounded in principle, deftly navigating the dynamic politics of antislavery, secession, and civil war. Lincoln's greatness emerges from his capacity for moral and political growth.
Winner of the Newbery Medal, this remarkably moving novel has impressed the hearts and minds of millions of readers. Set in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, this is the story of one family's struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice. And it is also Cassie's story Cassie Logan, an independent girl who discovers over the course of an important year why having land of their own is so crucial to the Logan family, even as she learns to draw strength from her own sense of dignity and self-respect. * " A] vivid story.... Entirely through its own internal development, the novel shows the rich inner rewards of black pride, love, and independence." Booklist, starred review"
Limited and persecuted by racial divides in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, three women, including an African-American maid, her sassy and chronically unemployed friend and a recently graduated white woman, team up for a clandestine project against a backdrop of the budding civil rights era. Includes reading-group guide. Reissue. A #1 best-selling novel.
This oral history portrays the lives of African American women who migrated from the rural South to work as domestic servants in Washington, DC in the early decades of the twentieth century. In Living In, Living Out Elizabeth Clark-Lewis narrates the personal experiences of eighty-one women who worked for wealthy white families. These women describe how they encountered—but never accepted—the master-servant relationship, and recount their struggles to change their status from “live in” servants to daily paid workers who “lived out.” With candor and passion, the women interviewed tell of leaving their families and adjusting to city life “up North,” of being placed as live-in servants, and of the frustrations and indignities they endured as domestics. By networking on the job, at churches, and at penny savers clubs, they found ways to transform their unending servitude into an employer-employee relationship—gaining a new independence that could only be experienced by living outside of their employers' homes. Clark-Lewis points out that their perseverance and courage not only improved their own lot but also transformed work life for succeeding generations of African American women. A series of in-depth vignettes about the later years of these women bears poignant witness to their efforts to carve out lives of fulfillment and dignity.

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