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Collection Spotlight: Black History

For help finding more books, email us at refdesk@columbiasc.edu.

 

Trailblazer

Dorothy Butler Gilliam, whose 50-year-career as a journalist put her in the forefront of the fight for social justice, offers a comprehensive view of racial relations and the media in the U.S. Most civil rights victories are achieved behind the scenes, and this riveting, beautifully written memoir by a "black first" looks back with searing insight on the decades of struggle, friendship, courage, humor and savvy that secured what seems commonplace today-people of color working in mainstream media. Told with a pioneering newspaper writer's charm and skill, Gilliam's full, fascinating life weaves her personal and professional experiences and media history into an engrossing tapestry. When we read about the death of her father and other formative events of her life, we glimpse the crippling impact of the segregated South before the civil rights movement when slavery's legacy still felt astonishingly close. We root for her as a wife, mother, and ambitious professional as she seizes once-in-a-lifetime opportunities never meant for a "dark-skinned woman" and builds a distinguished career. We gain a comprehensive view of how the media, especially newspapers, affected the movement for equal rights in this country. And in this humble, moving memoir, we see how an innovative and respected journalist and working mother helped provide opportunities for others. With the distinct voice of one who has worked for and witnessed immense progress and overcome heart-wrenching setbacks, this book covers a wide swath of media history -- from the era of game-changing Negro newspapers like the Chicago Defender to the civil rights movement, feminism, and our current imperfect diversity. This timely memoir, which reflects the tradition of boot-strapping African American storytelling from the South, is a smart, contemporary consideration of the media.

March

Book one of a graphic novel trilogy.
This graphic novel is a first-hand account of Congressman John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book one spans Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall. HIs commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper's farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington D.C., and from receiving beatings from state troopers, to receiving the Medal of Freedom awarded to him by Barack Obama, the first African-American president -- From cover flaps.
Coretta Scott King Author Honor, 2014.

Fifty Black Women Who Changed America

From former slaves, housewives and college professors to Nobel Award-, Pulitzer Prize- and Olympic Gold-winners, this compelling anthology offers vivid and inspiring portraits of fifty black women who made monumental contributions to the world, including Sojourner Truth, Hattie McDaniel, Ella Fitzgerald, Oprah Winfrey, Tina Turner and many more women - both famous and little-known.

Epic Lives: One hundred Black women who made a difference

"After 20 years of research and loving dedication, author Jessie Carney Smith presents this tribute to 100 African-American women of achievement. Their strength, courage, determination, and style have made a tremendous impact in a variety of fields - from aeronautics to civil rights to the arts and entertainment. Many of these women will be familiar to you, but many more are unsung heroes whose stories you will discover for the first time. As Dr. Smith told the Chicago Tribune, "I want people to feel that these are women they can look up to, be inspired by, or remember in some small way.""--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Hidden Figures


The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. 

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.

Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.

Powerful Black Women

A first in its own right, this compelling new book honors the pride, heritage and remarkable contributions of Latinos, today's fastest-growing ethnic group. Nicolas Kanellos, a leading editor and publisher of Hispanic literature, offers a rare glimpse into 1,500 historically significant achievements in a wide range of fields, including Arts and Entertainment, Politics, Science and Education. The book's focus is contemporary, but selected events prior to the 20th century are also covered. Here are just a few of the firsts you'll read about: - 1551 -- The first university in North America is founded by the Spaniards: The University of Mexico, in Mexico City - 1937 -- New York's Teatro Hispano, the first Hispanic theater, is founded. - 1962 -- Cesar Chavez begins organizing the first successful farm workers union in history. - 1973 -- Roberto Clemente is the first Puerto Rican player named to the Baseball Hall of Fame. - 1992 -- Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Hispanic author Clarissa Pinkola Estes, makes The New York Times bestseller list just five weeks after publication. - 1996 -- Rudy Galindo is the first Hispanic to

In Her Footsteps

A wonderful compendium of written snapshots of 101 black women from the Queen of Sheba to Queen Latifah who have made a difference in a variety of fields

The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

2014 NAACP Image Award Winner- Outstanding Literary Work - Biography / Auto Biography 2013Letitia Woods Brown Award from the Association of Black Women Historians Choice Top 25 Academic Titles for 2013 The definitive political biography of Rosa Parks examines her six decades of activism, challenging perceptions of her as an accidental actor in the civil rights movement Presenting a corrective to the popular notion of Rosa Parks as the quiet seamstress who, with a single act, birthed the modern civil rights movement, Theoharis provides a revealing window into Parks's politics and years of activism. She shows readers how this civil rights movement radical sought-for more than a half a century-to expose and eradicate the American racial-caste system in jobs, schools, public services, and criminal justice.