Tag Archives: civil rights

New Releases in African American Studies

In honor of Black History Month, we’re featuring our favorite new releases in the fields of Civil Rights history and African American studies. Which ones will you read?


untitledFaith in Black Power: Religion, Race, and Resistance in Cairo, Illinois

In 1969, nineteen-year-old Robert Hunt was found dead in the Cairo, Illinois, police station. The white authorities ruled the death a suicide, but many members of the African American community believed that Hunt had been murdered—a sentiment that sparked rebellions and protests across the city.

In this vital reassessment of the impact of religion on the black power movement, Kerry Pimblott presents a nuanced discussion of the ways in which black churches supported and shaped the United Front. She deftly challenges conventional narratives of the de-Christianization of the movement, revealing that Cairoites embraced both old-time religion and revolutionary thought. Pimblott also investigates the impact of female leaders on the organization and their influence on young activists, offering new perspectives on the hypermasculine image of black power.

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untitledSelma to Saigon: The Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War

The civil rights and anti–Vietnam War movements were the two greatest protests of twentieth-century America. The dramatic escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam in 1965 took precedence over civil rights legislation, which had dominated White House and congressional attention during the first half of the decade. The two issues became intertwined on January 6, 1966, when the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) became the first civil rights organization to formally oppose the war, protesting the injustice of drafting African Americans to fight for the freedom of the South Vietnamese people when they were still denied basic freedoms at home.

Selma to Saigon explores the impact of the Vietnam War on the national civil rights movement. This powerful narrative illuminates the effects of the Vietnam War on the lives of leaders such as Whitney Young Jr., Stokely Carmichael, Roy Wilkins, Bayard Rustin, and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as other activists who faced the threat of the military draft along with race-related discrimination and violence. Providing new insights into the evolution of the civil rights movement, this book fills a significant gap in the literature about one of the most tumultuous periods in American history.

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miller_integrated_final.indd Integrated: The Lincoln Institute, Basketball, and a Vanished Tradition

In Integrated, James W. Miller explores an often-ignored aspect of America’s struggle for racial equality. He relates the story of the Lincoln Institute—an all-black high school in Shelby County, Kentucky, where students prospered both in the classroom and on the court. In 1960, the Lincoln Tigers men’s basketball team defeated three all-white schools to win the regional tournament and advance to one of Kentucky’s most popular events, the state high school basketball tournament. This proud tradition of African American schools—a celebration of their athletic achievements—was ironically destroyed by integration.

This evocative book is enriched by tales of individual courage from men who defied comfort and custom. Featuring accounts from former Lincoln Institute players, students, and teachers, Integrated not only documents the story of a fractured sports tradition but also addresses the far-reaching impact of the civil rights movement in the South.

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9780813169743Alpha Phi Alpha: A Legacy of Greatness, the Demands of Transcendence

On December 4, 1906, on Cornell University’s campus, seven black men founded one of the greatest and most enduring organizations in American history. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. has brought together and shaped such esteemed men as Martin Luther King Jr., Cornel West, Thurgood Marshall, Wes Moore, W. E. B. DuBois, Roland Martin, and Paul Robeson. “Born in the shadow of slavery and on the lap of disenfranchisement,” Alpha Phi Alpha—like other black Greek-letter organizations—was founded to instill a spirit of high academic achievement and intellectualism, foster meaningful and lifelong ties, and racially uplift those brothers who would be initiated into its ranks.

In Alpha Phi Alpha, Gregory S. Parks, Stefan M. Bradley, and other contributing authors analyze the fraternity and its members’ fidelity to the founding precepts set forth in 1906. They discuss the identity established by the fraternity at its inception, the challenges of protecting the image and brand, and how the organization can identify and train future Alpha men to uphold the standards of an outstanding African American fraternity. Drawing on organizational identity theory and a diverse array of methodologies, the authors raise and answer questions that are relevant not only to Alpha Phi Alpha but to all black Greek-letter organizations.

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9780813169750Black Greek-letter Organizations in the Twenty-First Century: Our Fight Has Just Begun

For much of the twentieth century, black Greek-letter organizations (BGLOs) united individuals dedicated to excellence, fostering kinship ties, and uplifting African Americans. Despite the profound influence of BGLOs, many now question the continuing relevance of these groups, arguing that their golden age has passed. Partly because of the influence of hip-hop culture, the image of BGLOs has been unfairly reduced to a stereotype—a world of hazing and stepping without any real substance. Not only does the general public know very little about these groups, but often the members themselves do not have a deep understanding of their history and culture or of the issues facing their organizations.

Gregory S. Parks has assembled an impressive group of contributors to show that the BGLOs’ most important work lies ahead. Black Greek-letter Organizations in the Twenty-first Century: Our Fight Has Just Begun provides historical context for the development of BGLOs and explores their service activities as well as their relationships with other prominent African American institutions. The book examines BGLOs’ responses to a number of contemporary issues, including non-black membership, homosexuality within membership, and the perception of BGLOs as educated gangs, in order to demonstrate that these organizations can create a positive and enduring future.

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Visit our website to explore more titles in our series, Civil Rights and the Struggle for Black Equality in the Twentieth Century.

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Nelson Mandela Prepared to Die 52 Years Ago

I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony with equal opportunities.-- Nelson Mandela, April 20, 1964

On April 20, 1964, Nelson Mandela gave his famous, three-hour “I Am Prepared to Die” speech at the Rivonia Trial in South Africa. After being imprisoned for five years and a life sentence to follow (of which he only served 27 years), Mandela’s speech was the last stand to a powerful movement that would change South African civil rights forever. Among him on trial were Ahmed Kathrada and Denis Goldberg, who both have specific memories of Mandela’s positive influence.

Ahmed Kathrada remembers smuggling Mandela’s autobiography into prison (excerpted from A Simple Freedom: The Strong Mind of Robben Island Prisoner No. 468/64):

“Once again, there’s regulations. Regulations allowed you to buy soap, toothpaste, shaving cream, blades. These were absolute necessities. In my case, whenever I got a chance I ordered things with nothing specific in mind – just with the idea that some day we might need to use them. So I ordered parchment, glue, mapping pens, rice paper. And, when we had to smuggle out the Mandela biography, the parchment was used to cover the makeshift album—constructed by Laloo Chiba—the glue was used to seal it and the mapping pens were used by Chiba and another ‘B’ section comrade Mac Maharaj to transcribe Madiba’s manuscript in tiny handwriting on to rice paper. The album containing large maps was so expertly assembled that it looked as if it was factory-made. Mac Maharaj was to be released in 1976; his task was to take out the album, which he did easily and without causing any suspicion. As planned, he sent it to London, where it eventually became the bestseller Long Walk to Freedom.”

Denis Goldberg remembers the sentencing that followed the trial a couple months later (excerpted from A Life for Freedom: The Mission to End Racial Injustice in South Africa):

“On 12 June 1964, the day of sentence, the judge read a very short statement saying that he was not imposing the ultimate sentence (death), which would be appropriate in a case that was tantamount to high treason, but as we were charged under the Sabotage Act, he could allow some leniency: the sentence was life imprisonment on each of the charges on which we were found guilty. As he spoke the faces of my comrades lit up in the most wonderful smiles of relief and joy, and we laughed out loud. I was overjoyed to live, even though it would be life behind bars. I was only thirty-one years old and I did not believe that my life was over.”

For more information on the trial and captivity, check out A Simple Freedom and A Life for Freedom:

      

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2016

A few days after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have turned 87 years old, we remember his spirit, contributions, and the tremendous impact he made on both American lives and our culture.

Last year for MLK Day, Bernard Lafayette, a cofounder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and protege of Dr. King in the the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, spoke with CBS Evening News about the continuing influence of his mentor and the continued struggle for change through nonviolence.

LaFayette, author of In Peace and Freedom: My Journey in Selma, took the directorship of the Alabama Voter Registration Project in Selma at just the age of 22. He first met Dr. King as a student in Nashville, and again in Raleigh after founding SNCC. The following description of his second meeting with Dr. King comes from his memoir, In Peace and Freedom:

"In Peace and Freedom: My Journey in Selma" by Bernard LaFayette Jr. and Kathryn Lee Johnson foreword by Congressman John Robert Lewis afterword by Raymond ArsenaultWhen I talked with Dr. King, I was always inspired by his words. I felt uplifted, buoyed by his presence. When the Nashville students and I arrived in Raleigh to join ranks with his organization, SCLC, I was bursting with youthful enthusiasm. We were also joined by some of our northern support groups with a mixture of white and black individuals, all committed to a common cause. There was electricity in the air, the desire to join with others who had been jailed or beaten. Such meetings reinforced the notion that we were not alone; this collection of college students was bonded by our experiences, dedication, and determination.”

In Peace and Freedom is now available in paperback, and Lafayette is coeditor of the forthcoming The Chicago Freedom Movement: Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights Activism in the North.

The Sale is on!

2015_HOLIDAY

We hope you enjoyed our Halloween ghost stories all week, but now that the ghoulish night is over, we can move on to more exciting things like The Holidays! Personally, this is my favorite time of the year. When else can you get amazing food, spend much-needed quality time with loved ones, and find the best shopping deals? We know you guys can take care of the first two things in that list, but if you find yourself asking, “What awesome shopping deals?”, you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve got you covered there!

Every year, UPK hosts their annual Holiday Sale where we discount books left and right for your holiday reading and gift-giving pleasures. This year, we’re featuring over 1500 books in our sale! We know that number can be a bit overwhelming and you may not know where to begin, so we’ve created a “Best of the Books on Sale” list that features the highlights from multiple categories of book genres. Whether you’re shopping for a history buff, local foodie, or poetry fanatic, this guide will help you find the perfect gift.

The way the holiday sale works is when you order from our website, you will enter a code (either “FHOL” or “FSNO”) at the time of check out and you will receive either 20% or 80% off your purchase depending on the title. In order to ensure that your package arrives before Christmas, all books should be ordered before December 4, 2015.

BEST OF THE BOOKS ON SALE:

Military History: Kentucky Maverick: The Life and Adventures of Colonel George M. Chinn
20% off
Colonel George M. Chinn’s (1902–1987) life story reads more like fiction than the biography of a Kentucky soldier. A smart and fun-loving character,Chinn attended Centre College and played on the famous “Praying Colonels” football team that won the 1921 national championship. After graduation, he returned to his home in Mercer County and partnered with munitions expert “Tunnel” Smith to dynamite a cliff. The resulting hole became Chinn’s Cave House—a diner that also functioned as an underground gambling operation during Prohibition. He even served as Governor A. B. “Happy” Chandler’s bodyguard before joining the Marine Corps in 1943.

Biographies: My Life as a Mankiewicz: An Insider’s Journey through Hollywood80% off
The son of famed director and screenwriter Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve [1950], Guys and Dolls [1955], Cleopatra [1963]) and the nephew of Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, Tom Mankiewicz was genuine Hollywood royalty. He grew up in Beverly Hills and New York, spent summers on his dad’s film sets, had his first drink with Humphrey Bogart, dined with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, went to the theater with Ava Gardner, and traveled the world writing for Brando, Sinatra, and Connery. Although his family connections led him to show business, Tom “Mank” Mankiewicz forged a career of his own, becoming a renowned screenwriter, director, and producer of acclaimed films and television shows. He wrote screenplays for three James Bond films—Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Live and Let Die (1973), and The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)—and made his directorial debut with the hit TV series Hart to Hart (1979–1984). My Life as a Mankiewicz is a fascinating look at the life of an individual whose creativity and work ethic established him as a member of the Hollywood writing elite.

Classic Film: Rex Ingram: Visionary Director of the Silent Screen
20% off
In Rex Ingram, Ruth Barton explores the life and legacy of the pioneering filmmaker, following him from his childhood in Dublin to his life at the top of early Hollywood’s A-list and his eventual self-imposed exile on the French Riviera. Ingram excelled in bringing visions of adventure and fantasy to eager audiences, and his films made stars of actors like Rudolph Valentino, Ramón Novarro, and Alice Terry—his second wife and leading lady. With his name a virtual guarantee of box office success, Ingram’s career flourished in the 1920s despite the constraints of an increasingly regulated industry and the hostility of Louis B. Mayer, who regarded him as a dangerous maverick.

Civil Rights: The Antislavery Movement in Kentucky
80% off
As one of only two states in the nation to still allow slavery by the time of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, Kentucky’s history of slavery runs deep. Based on extensive research, The Antislavery Movement in Kentucky focuses on two main antislavery movements that emerged in Kentucky during the early years of opposition. By 1820, Kentuckians such as Cassius Clay called for the emancipation of slaves—a gradual end to slavery with compensation to owners. Others, such as Delia Webster, who smuggled three fugitive slaves across the Kentucky border to freedom in Ohio, advocated for abolition—an immediate and uncompensated end to the institution. Neither movement was successful, yet the tenacious spirit of those who fought for what they believed contributes a proud chapter to Kentucky history.

Bourbon: The Birth of Bourbon: A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries
20% off
More than two hundred commercial distilleries were operating in Kentucky before Prohibition, but only sixty-one reopened after its repeal in 1933. As the popularity of America’s native spirit increases worldwide, many historic distilleries are being renovated, refurbished, and brought back into operation. Unfortunately, these spaces, with their antique tools and aging architecture, are being dismantled to make way for modern structures and machinery. In The Birth of Bourbon, award-winning photographer Carol Peachee takes readers on an unforgettable tour of lost distilleries as well as facilities undergoing renewal, such as the famous Old Taylor and James E. Pepper distilleries in Lexington, Kentucky. This beautiful book also includes spaces that well-known brands, including Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, and Buffalo Trace, have preserved as a homage to their rich histories.

Politics: Writing Southern Politics: Contemporary Interpretations and Future Directions
80%
In Writing Southern Politics, leading scholars review the key research and writing on southern politics since World War II. This essential volume covers topical areas such as civil rights, public opinion, political behavior, party development, population movement, governors, legislatures, and women in politics.
“Provides the most comprehensive overview of the southern politics literature. The subfield has been crying out for a volume such as this … it will likely become required reading for both students and scholars of southern politics.” — Jonathan Knuckey, University of Central Florida

Cultural Studies: Virtual Afterlives: Grieving the Dead in the Twenty-First Century
20%
Virtual Afterlives investigates emerging popular bereavement traditions. Author Candi K. Cann examines new forms of grieving and evaluates how religion and the funeral industry have both contributed to mourning rituals despite their limited ability to remedy grief. As grieving traditions and locations shift, people are discovering new ways to memorialize their loved ones. Bodiless and spontaneous memorials like those at the sites of the shootings in Aurora and Newtown and the Boston Marathon bombing, as well as roadside memorials, car decals, and tattoos are contributing to a new bereavement language that crosses national boundaries and culture-specific perceptions of death.

Food: Eating as I Go: Scenes from America and Abroad
80%
What do we learn from eating? About ourselves? Others? In this unique memoir, Doris Friedensohn takes eating as an occasion for inquiry. Munching on quesadillas and kimchi in her suburban New Jersey neighborhood, she reflects on the meanings of cultural inclusion and what it means to our diverse nation. Enjoying couscous in Tunisia and khatchapuri (cheese bread) in the Republic of Georgia, she explores the ways strangers maintain their differences and come together. Friedensohn’s subjects range from Thanksgiving at a Middle Eastern restaurant to fried grasshoppers in Oaxaca. Her wry dramas of the dining room, restaurant, market, and kitchen ripple with geopolitical, economic, psychological, and spiritual tensions. Eating as I Go is Friedensohn’s distinctive combination of memoir, traveler’s tale, and cultural commentary.

Poetry: Many-Storied House
20%
Collectively, the poems tell the sixty-eight-year-long story of the house, beginning with its construction by Lyon’s grandfather and culminating with the poet’s memories of bidding farewell to it after her mother’s death. Moving, provocative, and heartfelt, Lyon’s poetic excavations evoke more than just stock and stone; they explore the nature of memory and relationships, as well as the innermost architecture of love, family, and community. A poignant memoir in poems, Many-Storied House is a personal and revealing addition to George Ella Lyon’s body of work.

Nature Books: Rare Wildflowers of Kentucky
80%
Rare Wildflowers of Kentucky provides an introduction to Kentucky’s signature rare plants with 220 full-color photographs by naturalist and award winning photographer Thomas G. Barnes. The book draws attention to the beauty of Kentucky’s old-growth forests, prairies, wetlands, and other habitats while focusing on the state’s endangered flora. The authors note that as of this year, 275 plant species in Kentucky are considered endangered or threatened, with more than 50 potential additions to the list. The book includes an overview of ecological communities and the ways in which they are threatened, an explanation of how various plants have become endangered, and suggestions for conservation and preservation. The Bluegrass State’s rare wildflowers take center stage with gorgeous color photography and descriptions, organized by habitat. Rare Wildflowers of Kentucky will appeal to any nature lover, and the inclusion of references, a complete list of scientific and common species names, and a list of each plant’s endangered status makes the book especially useful to gardeners and to botanists and horticultural professionals.

The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia

The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville

The editors of The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia will participate in a panel discussion this Wednesday, August 19 at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville at 6:00 pm. Sponsored by the Filson Historical Society, editors Gerald L. Smith, John Hardin, and Karen Cotton McDaniel will present individuals, events, places, organizations, movements and institutions that have shaped Kentucky’s history. Admission to the event is FREE. For more information on the event, visit FilsonHistorical.org. For more information on The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia, or to purchase the book, visit KentuckyPress.com.

from WHAS 11 Great Day Live (click for video)

WHAS Mack McCormick University Press of Kentucky Kentucky African American Encyclopedia

Q&A with Lisa Anderson Todd

We recently spoke with UPK author Lisa Anderson Todd about her newest book, For a Voice and the Vote: My Journey with the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. For a glimpse into her experience, check out our following Q&A.

UPK: Your involvement in this story doesn’t begin with your book, For a Voice and the Vote. You were present for many of the events that summer. Why have you chosen now to circle back to document this period in your life?

LAT: The summer of 1964 was a significant time in my life, but something that I did not reflect on as I focused on my legal career. I collected the books written about the Mississippi Summer Project, but did not take the time to read and evaluate them as they might pertain to my own experience. In retirement I decided to devote myself to learning more about the Mississippi civil rights movement, particularly what happened to the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) at the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City. I didn’t understand why or how the MFDP, having done all that was required to be an accredited delegation and entitled to represent all the citizens of Mississippi—black and white—was rejected by the Democratic Party. I wanted to reflect, satisfy my own curiosity, and provide a record of these important historical events from my position as a participant-observer.

UPK: What drew you, back in 1964, to volunteer for the Mississippi Summer Project?

LAT: In 1963, the summer before, I had spent time in Mississippi at a World Council of Churches work camp doing maintenance work for Tougaloo College and learning about the civil rights movement. I had not been active in the movement in college and now was seeing and hearing how black people were living as second class citizens in a segregated society. My experience made me decide to become a civil rights worker and to do what I could to help them gain their constitutional rights. My desire coincided with the plans for inviting as many as 1,000 college-age volunteers to spend the summer of 1964 working on voter registration, teaching in Freedom Schools, and helping in community centers.

UPK: As described by you, the summer of 1964 was a highly combustible and often scary situation for volunteers. Can you give us a sense of what it was like on the todd.final.inddground both for those involved locally and for outsiders like yourself who came in to volunteer?

LAT: The local people took real risks to participate in the civil rights movement: to attend mass meetings, to attempt to register to vote, to participate in demonstrations, or just to associate with the students encouraging local participation. They lost their jobs, lost credit needed to run a business or grow their crops, were arrested and beaten, had their homes shot into or firebombed, and were harassed with threatening phone calls. Outsiders could be arrested for disturbing the peace or traffic violations that did not occur. They were subject to harassment, called “communist,” and told to go back home. We found protection in the black community as we joined forces in the nonviolent struggle for freedom, equality, and justice.

UPK: After a summer spent rallying and registering voters in Mississippi, what was the mood like among those who made their way to Atlantic City for the Democratic Party Convention? Afterwards?

LAT: We were excited that finally we would draw the attention of the Democratic Party and the rest of the country to all that had happened in Mississippi during the summer. Publicity about the murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner and the activities of the predominantly white volunteers in Mississippi had made the country more aware of the plight of disenfranchised Mississippi blacks. We were optimistic that the Democratic Party would seat the MFDP in lieu of the discriminatory, all-white official delegation. At the least we believed that there would be a reasonable compromise that would recognize the efforts of the MFDP. When the leadership of the Democratic Party—without negotiations with the delegation—made the final decision to give the MFDP two seats with at-large votes, we were disappointed and disillusioned.

UPK: In this book, you build upon your own experience with a vast amount of research including taped conversations from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library that have only recently become available. What was it like to go back and reconstruct the events and impacts of the MFDP’s efforts in 1964?

LAT: It was difficult to remember what happened fifty years ago, and I knew what I could remember might not be accurate, but I wanted to reconstruct the events as best I could. I was fortunate that I kept a detailed diary during the summer of 1963 that reflected how I learned about the Mississippi civil rights movement and that my parents saved the letters I sent them during the summer of 1964. I supplemented this information with accounts of the summer from books and internet sources. This was a new and interesting process for me.

Oral interviews of principals involved with the MFDP Convention Challenge and the LBJ tapes provided me my first information of what had been going on behind the scenes in Atlantic City. We heard at the time that LBJ pressured delegates to change their votes so there would not be a floor fight, but I did not know why he was so adamantly opposed to seating the MFDP and how he managed to obtain the result he wanted. The chronology of events over the five hectic days in Atlantic City has been confused in some accounts. With the facts I was able to find in primary sources, I have tried to set the record straight. The political strength of the MFDP is apparent from the efforts the Democratic Party leadership had to take to prevent the MFDP from winning public favor and obtaining a floor vote that would disrupt the Convention and reveal the split within the Democratic Party.

UPK: You say at one point in the introduction that you often caught yourself saying, “I never knew that.” Were there revelations in this book writing process that stood out or changed how you understood that summer? Did anything you learn change your understanding of your own experience?

LAT: One surprise was that many in SNCC opposed white volunteers coming, including Charlie Cobb, a leader of the opposition who was a project director in the Greenville area where I was assigned. I did not know about this opposition or the reasons for it, but can understand now how resentful the local black leadership could be of white volunteers.

UPK: Now, some fifty years removed from the events of that summer, what is the most important thing to remember about the efforts of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party?

LAT: The dispossessed, grassroots, poor, black underclass of Mississippi found their voice as they sought the right to vote. Their efforts began long before the Mississippi Summer Project, when stalwart individuals registered to vote and began to organize politically, but even with student assistance and encouragement in the early 1960s, the process proved to be slow. The formation of a new open political party—the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party—attracted national attention. What is most important to remember is that it was the courageous actions of many local people who were willing to take risks to join and organize the MFDP. It is now time to recognize the role of the MFDP played in passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

We’re Poets and We Didn’t Even Know It

It has been a real treat for us at UPK to share with our followers some of our favorite poems from our authors including Joe Survant, Frank X Walker, and George Ella Lyon for April’s National Poetry Month. I think we can all agree that their amazing talents make writing poetry look easy. Our English professors will tell you on our behalf that it is not.

bourbon poetry

     Images via Google

That rhymes, right?

Today we are spotlighting a Hopkinsville native who has made a profound impact on the country as one of the nation’s leading intellectuals: bell hooks. As an author, activist, feminist, teacher, and artist, hooks’ works reflect her Appalachian upbringing and feature her struggles with racially integrated schools and unwelcome authority figures.

In Appalachian Elegy, bell hooks continues her work as an imagist of life’s harsh realities in a collection of poems inspired by her childhood in the isolated hills and hidden hollows of Kentucky. At once meditative, confessional, and political, this poignant volume draws the reader deep into the experience of living in Appalachia.

Appalachian Elegy

Keep reading for excerpts of this sensational book and collection of poems!

1.

hear them cry
the long dead
the long gone
speak to us
from beyond the way
guide us
that we may learn
all the ways
to hold tender this land
hard clay dirt
rock upon rock
charred earth
in time
strong green growth
will rise here
trees back to life
native flowers
pushing the fragrance of hope
the promise of resurrection

19.

all fields
of tobacco
growing here
gone now
man has made time
take them
surrendered
this harsh crop
to other lands
countries where
the spirit guides
go the way
of lush green
leaving behind
the scent of memory
tobacco leaves
green yellow brown
plant of sacred power
shining beauty
return to Appalachia
make your face known

If you’re interested in reading more from the captivating bell hooks, you can buy the book on our website or check out her Facebook page!