Monthly Archives: February 2015

Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill

Someone Knows My NameAminata Diallo takes the British offer of freedom in exchange for service during the U.S. Revolutionary War. As a scribe of the Book of Negroes, which lists who gains freedom, she sees harsh politics at work. What will she find in Nova Scotia, Sierra Leone, and London after the war?
Aminata gets a unique perspective interacting with a variety of people. Among them are a wise slave named Georgia, abolitionist Sir Stanley Hastings, and rebel tavern keeper Sam Fraunces. Aminata ponders how slavery is justified by ignorance of Africa and slavery’s brutalities. She witnesses exploitation of freedom and the beginning efforts of London abolitionists. Someone Knows My Name offers a personal look at African American life during the 18th century and at African American loyalists.
Want more books like Someone Knows My Name?
Roots, by Alex Haley, gives a portrayal of African American life in the 18th century and beyond.
Cese Mwakale fights for the British and against former master George Washington in Washington and Caesar by Christian Cameron.
Hill consulted books such as The Black Loyalists: The Search for a Promised Land in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, 1783-1870 by James W. St. G. Walker.
Note: Someone Knows My Name has been made into a BET miniseries The Book of Negroes.


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February 28, 2015 · 8:00 am

Driving the King by Ravi Howard

Driving the King: A NovelNat Weary saved Nat King Cole’s life during a Montgomery show and paid for it with ten years in prison. He becomes Cole’s driver and they find Hollywood doesn’t remove the memory of that ended show. There’s no other choice but to return to Montgomery and try again. Can they succeed?

Nat Weary’s friendship with Cole gives a behind the scenes portrayal of the famous singer. Cole bravely faces the challenges of stardom and racism. Cole and Weary both have pride, loyalty, and ‘deal with it’ calm. They need those traits in two cities, Hollywood and Montgomery, linked together by having racism in common. Weary’s point of view shows the courage of the boycott. Some chapters skipping in time show how events and the cities are interconnected. Driving the King is a portrayal of African Americans in show business and a look at African American life 1940s-1950s.

Want other books like Driving the King?

An African American comedian tries to make it to stardom and onto the Ed Sullivan show in A Conversation with the Mann by John Ridley.

Brewster McAtee wants to focus on his carpentry business in the Montgomery area but racism denies him peace in Seven Laurels by Linda Busby Parker.

Learn about Nat King Cole by checking out biographies such as Nat King Cole by Daniel Mark Epstein.

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Roots by Alex Haley

Roots: The Saga of an American Family

Alex Haley wondered how his family came to be in America. He found a story of strength, desire for freedom, and family. A story that begins with an African stolen away from the Gambia.

Each generation, from stubborn Kunta Kinte to intellectual Bertha, strives for a better life in a hostile land. Haley shows the effects of slavery on the spirit. Masters were hostile at the hint of rebellion and easily broke up families. Haley’s characters provide a heart wrenching look at the white and African American dynamic during and after slavery. Roots is an African American family saga, a look at African American life during slavery and beyond, and a tale of a person learning of their family’s past.

Want more books like Roots?

An elderly woman looks back at her life from the Civil War to Civil Rights in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman by Earnest J. Gaines.

Slavery and beyond is seen through four generations of an African American family in Cane River by Lalita Tademy.

A Civil Rights activist looks back on her family’s history after the Civil War in Proud Shoes by Pauli Murray.

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The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman by Ernest J. Gaines

Autobiography of Miss Jane PitmanShe was a child slave who searched for a better life after the Civil War. She endured Reconstruction and lost loved ones to inequality. During the Civil Rights era she decides if she will make a stand. This is the story of Jane Pitman.

Jane’s sass and wise bluntness her make her feel real. Her story is fictional but could have been lived. She lives the turmoil of Reconstruction and sees people she loves killed in the battle for equality. The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman shows African American life from during slavery to the Civil Rights period.

Want more books like The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman?

A slave child of her master’s mistress experiences the turmoil of the Civil War and after in Jubilee by Margaret Walker.

The 1830s-1930s is seen through the eyes of four generations of the Tademy family in Cane River by Lalita Tademy.

Books such as To Tell the Truth Freely: The Life of Ida B. Wells by Mia Bay provide a nonfiction look at African American women in U.S. history.

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman was made into a movie of the same name.

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