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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns

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NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER - NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - In this beautifully written masterwork, the Pulitzer Prize-winnner and bestselling author of Caste chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.

From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.

With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.

Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an "unrecognized immigration" within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.

This Is What Democracy Looked Like

This Is What Democracy Looked Like

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This Is What Democracy Looked Like, the first illustrated history of printed ballot design, illuminates the noble but often flawed process at the heart of our democracy. An exploration and celebration of US ballots from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this visual history reveals unregulated, outlandish, and, at times, absurd designs that reflect the explosive growth and changing face of the voting public. The ballots offer insight into a pivotal time in American history--a period of tectonic shifts in the electoral system--fraught with electoral fraud, disenfranchisement, scams, and skullduggery, as parties printed their own tickets and voters risked their lives going to the polls.
Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom

Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom

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This beautifully written book, now in its second edition, tells the haunting saga of a quintessentially American family. In the late 1790s, Shoe Boots, a famed Cherokee warrior and successful farmer, acquired an African slave named Doll. Over the next thirty years, Shoe Boots and Doll lived together as master and slave and also as lifelong partners who, with their children and grandchildren, experienced key events in American history―including slavery, the Creek War, the founding of the Cherokee Nation and subsequent removal of Native Americans along the Trail of Tears, and the Civil War. This is the gripping story of their lives, in slavery and in freedom.

Meticulously crafted from historical and literary sources,
Ties That Bind vividly portrays the members of the Shoeboots family. Doll emerges as an especially poignant character, whose life is mostly known through the records of things done to her―her purchase, her marriage, the loss of her children―but also through her moving petition to the federal government for the pension owed to her as Shoe Boots's widow. A sensitive rendition of the hard realities of black slavery within Native American nations, the book provides the fullest picture we have of the myriad complexities, ironies, and tensions among African Americans, Native Americans, and whites in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Updated with a new preface and an appendix of key primary sources, this remains an essential book for students of Native American history, African American history, and the history of race and ethnicity in the United States.
To Walk About in Freedom

To Walk About in Freedom

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Priscilla Joyner was born into the world of slavery in 1858 North Carolina and came of age at the dawn of emancipation. Raised by a white slaveholding woman, Joyner never knew the truth about her parentage. She grew up isolated and unsure of who she was and where she belonged--feelings that no emancipation proclamation could assuage.

Her life story--candidly recounted in an oral history for the Federal Writers' Project--captures the intimate nature of freedom. Using Joyner's interview and the interviews of other formerly enslaved people, historian Carole Emberton uncovers the deeply personal, emotional journeys of freedom's charter generation--the people born into slavery who walked into a new world of freedom during the Civil War. From the seemingly mundane to the most vital, emancipation opened up a myriad of new possibilities: what to wear and where to live, what jobs to take and who to love.

Although Joyner was educated at a Freedmen's Bureau school and married a man she loved, slavery cast a long shadow. Uncertainty about her parentage haunted her life, and as Jim Crow took hold throughout the South, segregation, disfranchisement, and racial violence threatened the loving home she made for her family. But through it all, she found beauty in the world and added to it where she could.

Weaving together illuminating voices from the charter generation, To Walk About in Freedom gives us a kaleidoscopic look at the lived experiences of emancipation and challenges us to think anew about the consequences of failing to reckon with the afterlife of slavery.

toil & trouble

toil & trouble

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​​A celebration of magical women and nonbinary people in American history, from Salem to WitchTok.

Meet the mystical women and nonbinary people from US history who found strength through the supernatural--and those who are still forging the way today. From the celebrity spirit mediums of the nineteenth century to contemporary activist witches hexing the patriarchy, these icons have long used magic and mysticism to seize the power they're so often denied.

Organized around different approaches women in particular have taken to the occult over the decades--using the supernatural for political gain, seeking fame and fortune as spiritual practitioners, embracing their witchy identities, and more--this book shines a light on underappreciated magical pioneers, including:

Dion Fortune, who tried to marshal a magical army against Adolf Hitler
Bri Luna, the Hoodwitch, social media star and serious magical practitioner
Joan Quigley, personal psychic to Nancy Reagan
Marie Laveau, voodoo queen of New Orleans
Elvira, queer goth sex symbol who defied the Satanic Panic
✦ And many more!

Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance FREE SHIPPING

Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance FREE SHIPPING

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Winner of the Bancroft Prize
Winner of the David J. Langum Prize
Winner of the OAH Liberty Legacy Foundation Award
A New York Times Critics' Top Book of the Year

"This extraordinary book is a powerful addition to the history of travel segregation. Traveling Black reveals how travel discrimination transformed over time from segregated trains to buses and Uber rides. Mia Bay shows that Black mobility has always been a struggle."
--Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist

A riveting, character-rich account of racial segregation in America that reveals just how central travel restrictions were to the creation of Jim Crow laws--and why "traveling Black" has been at the heart of the quest for racial justice ever since.

From Plessy v. Ferguson to #DrivingWhileBlack, African Americans have fought for over a century to move freely around the United States. Curious as to why so many cases contesting the doctrine of "separate but equal" involved trains and buses, Mia Bay went back to the sources with some basic questions: How did travel segregation begin? Why were so many of those who challenged it in court women? How did it move from one form of transport to another, and what was it like to be caught up in this web of contradictory rules?

From stagecoaches and trains to buses, cars, and planes, Traveling Black explores when, how, and why racial restrictions took shape and brilliantly portrays what it was like to live with them. "There is not in the world a more disgraceful denial of human brotherhood than the 'Jim Crow' car of the southern United States," W. E. B. Du Bois famously declared. Bay unearths troves of supporting evidence, rescuing forgotten stories of undaunted passengers who made it back home despite being insulted, stranded, re-routed, or ignored.

Black travelers never stopped challenging these humiliations and insisting on justice in the courts. Traveling Black upends our understanding of Black resistance, documenting a sustained fight that falls outside the traditional boundaries of the civil rights movement. A masterpiece of scholarly and human insight, this book helps explain why the long, unfinished journey to racial equality so often takes place on the road.

Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad

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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, this #1 New York Times bestseller chronicles a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. The basis for the acclaimed original Amazon Prime Video series directed by Barry Jenkins.

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. An outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is on the cusp of womanhood--where greater pain awaits. And so when Caesar, a slave who has recently arrived from Virginia, urges her to join him on the Underground Railroad, she seizes the opportunity and escapes with him.

In Colson Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor: engineers and conductors operate a secret network of actual tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight from one state to the next, encountering, like Gulliver, strange yet familiar iterations of her own world at each stop.

As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the terrors of the antebellum era, he weaves in the saga of our nation, from the brutal abduction of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is both the gripping tale of one woman's will to escape the horrors of bondage--and a powerful meditation on the history we all share.

Look for Colson Whitehead's bestselling new novel, Harlem Shuffle!

UNRECONCILED: FAMILY, TRUTH, A

UNRECONCILED: FAMILY, TRUTH, A

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER

WINNER of the 2022 Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Non-Fiction

A GLOBE AND MAIL BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

Unreconciled is one hell of a good book. Jesse Wente's narrative moves effortlessly from the personal to the historical to the contemporary. Very powerful, and a joy to read.
--Thomas King, author of The Inconvenient Indian and Sufferance

A prominent Indigenous voice uncovers the lies and myths that affect relations between white and Indigenous peoples and the power of narrative to emphasize truth over comfort.

Part memoir and part manifesto, Unreconciled is a stirring call to arms to put truth over the flawed concept of reconciliation, and to build a new, respectful relationship between the nation of Canada and Indigenous peoples.

Jesse Wente remembers the exact moment he realized that he was a certain kind of Indian--a stereotypical cartoon Indian. He was playing softball as a child when the opposing team began to war-whoop when he was at bat. It was just one of many incidents that formed Wente's understanding of what it means to be a modern Indigenous person in a society still overwhelmingly colonial in its attitudes and institutions.

As the child of an American father and an Anishinaabe mother, Wente grew up in Toronto with frequent visits to the reserve where his maternal relations lived. By exploring his family's history, including his grandmother's experience in residential school, and citing his own frequent incidents of racial profiling by police who'd stop him on the streets, Wente unpacks the discrepancies between his personal identity and how non-Indigenous people view him.

Wente analyzes and gives voice to the differences between Hollywood portrayals of Indigenous peoples and lived culture. Through the lens of art, pop culture, and personal stories, and with disarming humour, he links his love of baseball and movies to such issues as cultural appropriation, Indigenous representation and identity, and Indigenous narrative sovereignty. Indeed, he argues that storytelling in all its forms is one of Indigenous peoples' best weapons in the fight to reclaim their rightful place.

Wente explores and exposes the lies that Canada tells itself, unravels the two founding nations myth, and insists that the notion of reconciliation is not a realistic path forward. Peace between First Nations and the state of Canada can't be recovered through reconciliation--because no such relationship ever existed.

Until Justice Be Done: America's First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction

Until Justice Be Done: America's First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction

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The half-century before the Civil War was beset with conflict over equality as well as freedom. Beginning in 1803, many free states enacted laws that discouraged free African Americans from settling within their boundaries and restricted their rights to testify in court, move freely from place to place, work, vote, and attend public school. But over time, African American activists and their white allies, often facing mob violence, courageously built a movement to fight these racist laws. They countered the states' insistences that states were merely trying to maintain the domestic peace with the equal-rights promises they found in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They were pastors, editors, lawyers, politicians, ship captains, and countless ordinary men and women, and they fought in the press, the courts, the state legislatures, and Congress, through petitioning, lobbying, party politics, and elections. Long stymied by hostile white majorities and unfavorable court decisions, the movement's ideals became increasingly mainstream in the 1850s, particularly among supporters of the new Republican party. When Congress began rebuilding the nation after the Civil War, Republicans installed this vision of racial equality in the 1866 Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment. These were the landmark achievements of the first civil rights movement.

Kate Masur's magisterial history delivers this pathbreaking movement in vivid detail. Activists such as John Jones, a free Black tailor from North Carolina whose opposition to the Illinois "black laws" helped make the case for racial equality, demonstrate the indispensable role of African Americans in shaping the American ideal of equality before the law. Without enforcement, promises of legal equality were not enough. But the antebellum movement laid the foundation for a racial justice tradition that remains vital to this day.

Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All

Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All

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The epic history of African American women's pursuit of political power -- and how it transformed America.

In the standard story, the suffrage crusade began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. But this overwhelmingly white women's movement did not win the vote for most black women. Securing their rights required a movement of their own.

In Vanguard, acclaimed historian Martha S. Jones offers a new history of African American women's political lives in America. She recounts how they defied both racism and sexism to fight for the ballot, and how they wielded political power to secure the equality and dignity of all persons. From the earliest days of the republic to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and beyond, Jones excavates the lives and work of black women--Maria Stewart, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Fannie Lou Hamer, and more--who were the vanguard of women's rights, calling on America to realize its best ideals.