Best of


Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime: Stories

J. California Cooper - 1995
    California Cooper has an uncanny ability to reach out to readers like an old and dear friend.  Her characters are plain-spoken and direct: simple people for whom life, despite its ever-present struggles, is always worth the journey.In Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime, Cooper's characteristic themes of romance, heartbreak, struggle and faith resonate.  We meet Darlin, a self-proclaimed femme fatale who uses her wiles to try to find a husband; MLee, whose life seems to be coming to an end at the age of forty until she decides to set out and see if she can make a new life for herself; Kissy and Buddy, both trying and failing to find them until they finally meet each other; and Aberdeen, whose daughter Uniqua shows her how to educate herself and move up in the world.These characters and others offer inspiration, laughter, instruction and pure enjoyment in what is one of J. California Cooper's finest story collections.


Beverly Jenkins - 1995
    When she is offered the chance to set up a practice in the small all Black community of Grayson Grove, Michigan she leaves her California home and heads east. The very determined Viveca is one of the few nineteenth century Black women to graduate from the prestigious Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania but she needs more than determination to face down handsome Nate Grayson, the Grove's bull-headed mayor.Nate Grayson goes to the train station expecting Dr. V. Lancaster to be a man. When the lovely dark-skinned Viveca introduces herself he is speechless, then wants her back on the train and out of his town. It's 1876 and women aren't supposed to be doctors, men are. However he isn't prepared for her stubbornness and fire, nor for the vivid way she heals, then steals his heart.

Tonight & Forever

Brenda Jackson - 1995
    Returning to her roots in Texas seems to be just what the doctor ordered...until she meets real-life physician Justin Madaris. Lorren has vowed never to give her heart to another man, but she can't stop herself from responding to the handsome widower's sensuous whispers of love...

Your Blues Ain't Like Mine

Bebe Moore Campbell - 1995
    For speaking a few innocuous words in French to a white woman, Armstrong is killed. And the precariously balanced world and its determined people--white and black--are changed, then and forever, by the horror of poverty, the legacy of justice, and the singular gift of love's power to heal.

Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales

Virginia Hamilton - 1995
    Each story focuses on the role of women--both real and fantastic--and their particular strengths, joys and sorrows. Full-color illustrations.

Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America

Nathan McCall - 1995
    "A stirring tale of transformation."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The New Yorker.

The Middle Passage: White Ships/ Black Cargo

Tom Feelings - 1995
    The Middle Passage focuses attention on the torturous journey which brought slaves from Africa to the Americas, allowing readers to bear witness to the sufferings of an entire people.

The Return of Simple

Langston Hughes - 1995
    Simple, Simple to his fans, made weekly appearances beginning in 1943 in Langston Hughes' column in the Chicago Defender. Simple may have shared his readers feelings of loss and dispossession, but he also cheered them on with his wonderful wit and passion for life.

Free at Last?

Carl F. Ellis Jr. - 1995
    shouted those words to a crowd gathered in Washington, D.C. His speech, "I Have a Dream," is now familiar, even famous. But has his dream been realized? In Free at Last? Carl Ellis offers an in-depth assessment of the state of African-American freedom and dignity within American culture today. Updating and expanding his examination (previously published as Beyond Liberation) for a new generation of readers, Ellis stresses how important it is for African-Americans to know who they are and where they have been. So he begins by tracing the growth of Black consciousness from the days of slavery to the present, noting especially the contributions of King and Malcolm X. He also pays particular attention to traces of a "theological soul dynamic," an authentic manifestation of Christianity in Black culture, which runs through American history. It is this dynamic faith, says Ellis, that promises true freedom--the realization of King's dream--for African-Americans today.

Transbluesency: Selected Poems, 1961-1995

Amiri Baraka - 1995
    Starting with Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note and concluding with recent limited-edition chapbooks and broadsides, this selection traces the more than thirty year career of a major writer who - along with Ezra Pound - may be one of the most significant, and least understood, American poets of our century. Edited by noted poet and translator Paul Vengelisti, Transbluesency offers an ample selection of works from every period of Baraka's extraordinarily innovative, often controversial struggle as a serious and ideologically committed American artist - from Beat to Black Nationist to Maxist-Leninist. This volume reveals a writer shaping a body of poetry that is well a body of knowledge; a passionate reflection upon the cultural, political, and aesthetic questions of his time.

One More River To Cross: An African American Photograph Album

Walter Dean Myers - 1995
    Celebrated are the courageous achievements of men and women whose defiant rejection of inequality and subjugation put their own lives at risk.

On the Real Side: A History of African American Comedy

Mel Watkins - 1995
    Blackface minstrelsy, Stepin Fetchit, and the Amos ’n’ Andy show presented a distorted picture of African Americans; this book contrasts this image with the authentic underground humor of African Americans found in folktales, race records, and all-black shows and films. After generations of stereotypes, the underground humor finally emerged before the American public with Richard Pryor in the 1970s. But Pryor was not the first popular comic to present authentically black humor. Watkins offers surprising reassessments of such seminal figures as Fetchit, Bert Williams, Moms Mabley, and Redd Foxx, looking at how they paved the way for contemporary comics such as Whoopi Goldberg, Eddie Murphy, and Bill Cosby.

Tap!: The Greatest Tap Dance Stars and Their Stories, 1900-1955

Rusty E. Frank - 1995
    This book collects the voices and memories of thirty of America's best-loved tap-dance stars and two hundred rare theater, film, and publicity photographs. Here Shirley Temple recalls her magical duo with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson; Fayard Nicholas describes his days at Harlem's Cotton Club performing with Cab Calloway; Fred Kelly visits his and his brother Gene's Pittsburgh dance studio; Hermes Pan reminisces about his work with George Gershwin, Ginger Rogers, and Fred Astaire; and, in a chapter new to this edition, Toy and Wing tell about their days as the world's leading Asian tap duo. Appended with the most comprehensive listing of tap acts, recordings, and films ever compiled—newly updated for this paperback edition—Tap! brings to life the legends of one of America's most cherished and enduring art forms.

The Richer, the Poorer

Dorothy West - 1995
    Traversing the  universal themes and conflicts between poverty and  prosperity, men and women, and young and old, and  compiling writing that spans almost seventy years,  The Richer, The Poorer not only  affords an unparalleled window into the  African-American middle class, but also delves into the  richness of experience of "one of the finest writers  produced in this country during the Roaring  Twenties"(Book Page).

Picturing Us: African American Identity in Photography

Deborah Willis-Thomas - 1995
    The book’s contributors—including bell hooks, E. Ethelbert Miller, Angela Davis, and others—examine the personal and public issues embedded in family portraits and news photographs, movie stills and mug shots.

Wild Embers

Anita Bunkley - 1995
    The year is 1943, and Janelle has defied the prejudice of the white medical establishment by working in prestigious private practice. But when a wealthy old woman in her care dies, Janelle no longer can go it alone to save her career. She needs the help of Dalton Graham, a brilliant white civil rights lawyer. In a legal battle that will test her courage and scar her reputation no matter what the verdict, she finds herself fighting not only for her future but against a dangerous attraction she has for this man. Because everyone is needed for the war effort, black fighter pilots are training in Tuskegee, Alabama, and black nurses are to be employed there. Janelle makes the long journey from Ohio to the still rigidly segregated South - and discovers both the promise and the peril of being on the crest of change that is gaining momentum in the nation. In the passionate arms of Lance Fuller, a black fighter pilot and a man of dazzling charm, she overcomes her suspicions of secrets he will not reveal. And in the face of the disaster that strikes when her headstrong brother Perry is accused by the army of murder, she again must put her trust in Dalton Graham despite the forbidden feelings that flare between them. Sweeping from the sleet-covered streets of Ohio to the red clay of Alabama to the skies over North Africa, with a memorable heroine and superbly drawn characters, Wild Embers brings to life a piece of our American past that never should be forgotten. In interweaving vividly imagined people with actual watershed historical events, AnitaRichmond Bunkley again shows herself to be a storyteller of irresistible strength and artistry.

The Walter Mosley Omnibus: Devil In A Blue Dress, A Red Death, White Butterfly.

Walter Mosley - 1995
    This anthology contains: Devil in a Blue Dress; A Red Death; and White Butterfly.


Herb Boyd - 1995
    A distinguished addition to black studies."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)The purpose of this extraordinary anthology is made abundantly clear by the editors' stated intention: "to create a living mosaic of essays and stories in which Black men can view themselves, and be viewed without distortion." In this, they have succeeded brilliantly. Brotherman contains more than one hundred and fifty selections, some never before published--from slave narratives, memoirs, social histories, novels, poems, short stories, biographies, autobiographies, position papers, and essays.Brotherman books us passage to the world that Black men experience as adolescents, lovers, husbands, fathers, workers, warriors, and elders. On this journey they encounter pain, confusion, anger, and love while confronting the life-threatening issues of race, sex, and politics--often as strangers in a strange land. The first collection of its kind, Brotherman gathers together a multitude of voices that add a new, unforgettable chapter to American cultural identity.

Black Fire: The Making of an American Revolutionary

Nelson Peery - 1995
    This remarkable and highly dramatic memoir was finished when Peery was "old enough to be honest with [him]self and the typewriter." But it was started when Peery was only twenty-four, and it retains all the innocence, sauciness, and hope of a young man who fully expected the world to live up to the promises and values he fought for in World War II. Raised during the Depression, Peery is the second son of the only black family living in a rural Minnesota town, where he quickly learns about race and class. Fleeing a life of limited opportunity and following an innate sense of adventure, Peery boards a train heading west, where he is taken in by a group of hoboes. Rarely have we seen - and never through the eyes of a young black man - the extraordinary resourcefulness and camaraderie that enables these men to survive the hardships of the Depression. When the war begins Peery joins the all-black 93rd Infantry Division: he is stationed first in the Jim Crow South and ultimately in the South Pacific. Frustrated by the hypocrisy of fighting abroad for opportunities denied blacks at home, Peery prepares to do battle, with both his mind and sword. Culminating in his increasingly insurrectionary acts, this is the classic story of the making of a revolutionary. It tells of the climate and experience that convinced Peery to war against racism and classism. Though he will be compared to Eldridge Cleaver and Malcolm X, the world Peery describes is a different one - that of Ralph Ellison and Richard Wright. Like Wright, Peery was eventually drawn to communism, but one of his owninvention: a worldwide revolution of people of color - which in the heady days of 1945 Peery thought would be the way of the future. Whether he's raising hell in Minnesota, fighting racism in Louisiana, or being seditious in the Philippines, Peery's adventures, coupled with his wry,

Down the Road

Alice Schertle - 1995
    So they decide that Hetty is old enough to go by herself. Although she practices walking smoothly up the hill so she won’t break the precious eggs, she can’t help running all the way down. Young readers will hold their breath as Hetty tries her very best to get those eggs home safely. “The story is remarkable for its evocative imagery, and the loving interchange between the characters sets a charming tone. The words are perfectly complemented by Lewis’s dazzling, impressionistic watercolors that show the joyous power of love and depict a warmly supportive world in which Hetty ventures forth toward independence. A fine book that speaks straight to the heart.”--Booklist

For Always

Bette Ford - 1995
    But when she clashes with powerful Detroit attorney Quinn Montgomery about his troubled teenage daughter, Heather is unprepared for the tender yearning she senses beneath the handsome widower's commanding exterior...and for the answering hunger in her own heart.

The Preacher King: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Word That Moved America

Richard Lischer - 1995
    But at a turning point in American history, Martin Luther King, Jr., had an incalculable effect on the fabric of daily life and the laws of the nation. As no other preacher in living memory and no politician since Lincoln, he transposed the themes of love, suffering, deliverance, and justice from the sacred shelter of the pulpit into the arena of public policy. He was the last great religious reformer in America. How the man who always saw himself as "fundamentally a clergyman, a Baptist preacher" crafted his strategic vision and moved a nation to renewal is the subject of this remarkable new book.

The Multiracial Experience: Racial Borders as the New Frontier

Maria P.P. Root - 1995
    Each contribution opens with a personal sketch of the multiracial experience. Topics explored in the book include: the differences between race and ethnicity; colour, gender and sexuality in a multiracial context; and ethnicity and its role in identity formation.

Blues for Mister Charlie

James Baldwin - 1995
    With this act of violence--which is loosely based on the notorious 1955 killing of Emmett Till--James Baldwin launches an unsparing and at times agonizing probe of the wounds of race. For where once a white storekeeper could have shot a "boy" like Richard Henry with impunity, times have changed. And centuries of brutality and fear, patronage and contempt, are about to erupt in a moment of truth as devastating as a shotgun blast.In his award-winning play, Baldwin turns a murder and its aftermath into an inquest in which even the most well-intentioned whites are implicated--and in which even a killer receives his share of compassion.

Jump Up and Say!: A Collection of Black Storytelling

Linda Goss - 1995
    Collected here are family stories and moral fables, ghost stories and tales rich in humor, along with raps and rhymes, memoirs and commentaries, and songs, stories and poems about freedom, protest, and the change.

Sing Your Heart Out, Country Boy: Classic Country Songs and Their Inside Stories by the Men and Women Who Wrote Them

Dorothy Horstman - 1995
    -- Harold Woodell South Carolina Review