"Books Every Black Person Should Read Part 1 - The Black Book
This article will be one of many to highlight books Every Black Person Should Read. There are so many books to choose from, and yet, "The Black Book" does stand out from the rest because of its unique contents.
"The Black Book" is a virtual museum captured in book form. It contains replicas of original photographs, newspaper articles from as early as the 1400's, letters, posters, drawings, and recipes to name a few. Middleton Harris was one of the collectors of the original works and is credited as an editor. It was first published in 1974. The 30th Anniversary edition includes a poem written by Toni Morrison who was also an editor.
The book starts with the shocking reference to Christopher Columbus' writing in his own reports about his voyages to America that he "discovered" Black merchants who were in possession of gold, ivory and spices. In a few pages, well placed at the beginning of the book, Morrison with a stunning 1-2-word-punch destroys the long held belief of the "discovery" of a continent by someone who was lost. From there, you will find photographs of evidence of the African presence in the Americas long before Columbus' arrival. You will find a handwritten letter by Frederick Douglass, schematic drawings of patents by Black inventors, lynching photographs with groups of people posing with the corpse to name but a few items.
The photographs show the most obtuse examples of stereotypical images along with the crowning glories of our contributions. A casual browse through the pages will bring forward a myriad of emotions due to the irrefutable nature of them. It becomes evident that inventions such as the fountain pen, telephone system, lemon squeezer, typewriter, and lantern are an unmistakable part of the legacy of Black people.
The best person to describe the impact of her own work are the actual words of Toni Morrison captured in an article she wrote for "Black World" magazine called, "Behind the Making of the Black Book," which was published in Feb. 1974.
Just after her death in 2019, a documentary came out of the life of Toni Morrison. The trailer to the film is included below. "The Black Book" is mentioned in the film. I highly recommend the movie to all.
Read the entire "Black World" magazine article here:
To purchase your own copy of the book, please visit our website at: www.afriwarebooks.com
Books on Malcolm X
Some view "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" as one of the great life-changing books of all time.
“The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley” has been long lauded as the definitive text on the life of this cultural hero, icon, father, husband, minister, and at one time, prison inmate. It is a gritty, refreshing, and revealing peak into the powerful and impactful life of The Great Malcolm X. That book was originally released on Oct. 29, 1965, approximately 8 months after his untimely assassination on Feb. 21, 1965.
“The Autobiography of Malcolm X” has been one of our long-standing best selling books at Afriware Books, Co. In the month after George Floyd’s murder, we sold over one hundred since it made the top ten list of books to read on understanding racism in America. One of the main reasons for its popularity is the miraculous transformation he went through. He turned from being “sunk to the very bottom of the American white man's society” to a model leader and teacher in The Nation of Islam, well respected by masses of Black people. To get a glimpse into his character and devotion to The Nation of Islam, the New York Public Library’s Archives & Manuscripts ( http://archives.nypl.org/scm/21896#detailed), states that Malcolm X and Alex Haley had an “author-collaborator letter of agreement" dated June 1, 1963, signed by the two parties, stipulating that the author, Malcolm X, had no desire to profit personally from this joint venture and that "any and all money representing your [Malcolm X’s] 50% share shall be made payable to Muhammad's Mosque No. 2 in Chicago.”
Historically, the last time “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” gained in popularity and increased in sales volume was in 1992 after Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” movie came out. The movie had its share of fans and critics. There was great controversy surrounding the contents of the movie when compared to the book. Many activists went on record to disagree with the depiction of Malcolm X. Some even revealed that Alex Haley rewrote some of the contents of the book provided by Malcolm X. This was alluded to in the New York Library’s Malcolm X collection in a section where Haley wrote to Malcolm X that “ ‘the changes which have occurred in your perspectives’ … would necessitate a complete rewriting of the last two chapters of the book.” These accusations certainly have raised more questions than answers into Malcolm X’s life.
And now we have, “The Dead Are Arising – The Life of Malcolm X” written by Les Payne (July 12, 1941 – March 19, 2018).
It is exciting to have the privilege of access to a newer perspective into this cultural hero’s journey. “The Dead Are Arising – The Life of Malcolm X,” is written by Les Payne (1941-2018). This book just released TODAY, Oct. 20, 2020. The author, born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and a former editor at Newsday. As one of the founders of the National Association of Black Journalists, Payne also wrote an award-winning syndicated column. Even the title of the new book seems well selected. “The Dead are [now] rising” is a phrase Malcolm X used when referring to the masses of Black people rising in conscientious support of the teachings of Elijah Muhammad (New York Public Library archives). I am not personally familiar with the author, but took note of a few of his Youtube videos which were quite intriguing and gave insight to his being a reputable researcher. “The Dead Are Arising” has been released posthumously by his daughter, Tamara Payne, who served as his “principal researcher” and now lives in New York.
As a bookseller, I am excited to have another look into the life of this historical giant. His complex life is deserving of an intense study to uncover more about how he navigated a world where racism is its preferred psychological, economic, political, and environmental weapon of choice. He was an expert psychological surgeon, who was able to positively correct our perspective on cultural identity. Ever since I read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and watched videos of interviews and speeches, he has been one of my cultural heroes and serves as a constant inspiration. His willingness to utilize lessons learned and apply them directly to his life, was one of his strongest suits. And when asked about changes in his ideology, he would admit when he was wrong. This is the epitome of Black manhood. Malcolm X has my highest respect for this alone. He demonstrates that when we know better, we can and will do better.
I invite you to do your own research and dig deeper by reading a mix of titles by and about Malcolm X. I personally recommend starting with his own words. Then branch out to find out how others interpret his words. You can then compare their views with the opinion you've already formed about him. You can then discuss and grow with time. It's a beautiful journey.
“The Dead Are Arising – The Life of Malcolm X” is available at Afriware Books, Co at the link here: https://www.afriwarebooks.com/store/p1695/THE-DEAD-ARE-ARISING-THE-LIFE-MALCOLM-X-LES-PAYNE.html#/
List of books written by Malcolm X (in print or online)
The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley 10/29/1965
The Diary of Malcolm X: El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz 1964 11/15/13
The End of White World Supremacy: Four Speeches by Malcolm X 2/11/20
Feb. 1965: The Final Speeches by Malcolm X, 1/1/1992
Malcolm X: The Last Speeches of Malcolm X, 2/1989
Malcolm X Talks to Young People, by Malcolm X, 1/1/1969
List of Books about Malcolm X
Malcolm X – The Man and his Times Edited by Dr. John Henrik Clarke 9/1/1991
The Awakening of Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz, (1/5/2021)
Malcolm X: A Little Book of Essential Quotes on Life, Racism and Power from Little Books of Wisdom 6/7/2020
Malcolm X by Harry Lime 3/7/20
By Any Means Necessary: Malcolm X: Real, Not Reinvented Edited by Herb Boyd, 2/28/2012
Malcolm X: Get to Know the Civil Rights Activist Ebony Joy Wilkins, 1/1/20
Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary by Walter Dean Myers 12/26/19
Malcolm X: A Life from Beginning to End by Hourly History 11/13/18
Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X, Ilyasah Shabazz, 1/7/2014
The Hadith of Malcolm X aka El Hajj Malik Shabazz by James Brother
Any Means Necessary: The Life and Legacy of Malcolm X by Charles River Editors 1/1/2013
The Portable Malcolm X Reader: A Man who Stands for Nothing Will Fall for Anything by Manning Marable 1/16/13
Malcolm X: The FBI File by Clayborne Carson 2/1/12
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable, 12/28/11
X: A Biography of Malcolm X (Graphic Library) by Jessica Gunderson , 12/1/10
The Cambridge Companion to Malcolm X by Robert Terrill, 4/30/10
Blood Bath: The True Teachings of Malcolm X Seldom Told by Elijah Muhammad, 11/2008
On the Side of My People: A Religious Life of Malcolm X by Louis Decaro, Jr. 8/1/1997
Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm by Michael Eric Dyson 1/25/95
Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements by George Breitman 1/11/95
By Any Means Necessary by Malcolm X, 1/1/1995
The Last Year of Malcolm X by George Breitman, 1/1/1967
Malcolm X Talks to Young People by Malcolm X, 1/2/2002
Malcolm X for Beginners by Aquina Bernard Doctor, 8/21/2007
Racism in the Autobiography of Malcolm X by Candice Mancini 9/1/2008
X: a Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz 4/1/2015
Black Minded: The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X by Michael E Sawyer 3/20/20
Growing Up X: A Memoir by the Daughter of Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz 1/14/2003
The Dead Are Arising – The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne, 10/20/20
If you are interested in obtaining any of the titles list above, check our website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To this day, I don't use the N-word.
I'll never forget THAT "Talk." A conversation I had with one of my white co-workers when I was in corporate America as a System Engineer many moons ago.
One day, he asked, "hey, why can't we use the N-word? After all, you all use it."
I said, "I don't use it. I find it offensive." Then our conversation was interrupted by another co-worker regarding a topic relating to the project we worked on together.
I was bracing myself for a long drawn out back and forth as we had done before where in the end I was exhausted and he was no closer to understanding my position than before. I had to think, "is today the day I lose my job..."
Then a miracle happened weeks later. I overheard him talking with another white co-worker casually using the term "redneck." Patiently and calmly, I waited until the co-worker left and asked, "forgive me for overhearing your conversation, but, I noticed you used the word "redneck."
"Would it be ok for me to use the term?"
"Now do you understand why you can't use the N-word?"
exhale... some days, you win, and some, you just wait for the best time to make your point. And some days... there's no telling what may happen.
Congratulations to Just Us Books for publishing an important book for these times.
Thirty diverse, award-winning authors and illustrators invite you into their homes to witness the conversations they have with their children about race in America today in this powerful call-to-action that invites all families to be anti-racists and advocates for change.
As long as racist ideas persist, families will continue to have the difficult and necessary conversations with their young ones on the subject. In this inspiring collection, literary all-stars such as Renée Watson (Piecing Me Together), Grace Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon), Meg Medina (Merci Suárez Changes Gears), Adam Gidwitz (The Inquisitor's Tale), and many more engage young people in frank conversations about race, identity, and self-esteem. Featuring text and images filled with love, acceptance, truth, peace, and an assurance that there can be hope for a better tomorrow, The Talk is a stirring anthology and must-have resource published in partnership with Just Us Books, a Black-owned children's publishing company that's been in operation for over thirty years. Just Us Books continues its mission grounded in the same belief that helped launch the company: Good books make a difference.
So, let's talk.
Featured contributors: Selina Alko, Tracey Baptiste, Derrick Barnes, Natacha Bustos, Cozbi A. Cabrera, Raul Colón, Adam Gidwitz, Nikki Grimes, Rudy Gutierrez, April Harrison, Wade Hudson, Gordon C. James, Minh Lê, E. B. Lewis, Grace Lin, Torrey Maldonado, Meg Medina, Christopher Myers, Daniel Nayeri, Zeke Peña, Peter H. Reynolds, Erin K. Robinson, Traci Sorell, Shadra Strickland, Don Tate, MaryBeth Timothy, Duncan Tonatiuh, Renée Watson, Valerie Wilson Wesley, Sharon Dennis Wyeth
The go-to book for talking to kids about race and privilege. Thoughtful. Thought-provoking. A must-read for every family. --Ellen Oh, editor of Flying Lessons & Other Stories and cofounder of We Need Diverse Books
The ingredients are all here. May this magnificent collection inspire us to move from dialogue to deep action. --Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
#blackperspective #blackauthors #blackbooks #thetalk #wadehudson #afriwarebooks
It was an honor and a pleasure to be a part of the Grand Re-opening of Mahogany Gallery & Artspace by Scott Terry on 9/12/20. The vibes were high at this delightful evening. Mahogany Gallery & Artspace by Scott Terry is the first Black-owned Art Gallery in Racine. Owner, Scott Terry started off with an official ribbon cutting ceremony and gave the crowd a warm welcome. Friends, family and community came from all around to join him on this historic occasion. In addition to exhibiting Black artists, he mentioned the space would be used for art education/instruction for all ages, book clubs, spoken word and poetry nights. The opening art exhibit is called, "Supreme Tones" and features Racine native Rosy Petri, a fabric artist who is one of the winners of the 2020 Artist of the year in the city of Milwaukee. AfriWare Books, Gifts & Cultural Events partnered with Mahogany Gallery & Artspace by Scott Terry to curate the book collection in the space. Mr. Terry received the "Heart of the Artist" Appreciation Award from the Racine Arts Council for the work he did with the mural for Racine Black Humanity Now Project. A true force in the community. We join the community in supporting this important resource!
#mahoganygallery #racinewisconsin #blackart #blackowned #blackwisconsin #scottterry #blackbooks #afriwarebooks #workingtogetherfortomorrow #blackbiz #blackculture
Afriware Books is inviting students ages 8-16 to share their poetry about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on this website as a response to this blog post. The first 10 students to post can come in the store to receive a free African-centered accessory. To add your post, click on the "comments" link in the upper right hand corner of this post to enter your poem. AfriWare will check for the post when the student stops in the store, and the student will pick from three items. Please keep in mind that this is a public forum, so your poem could be shared on a number of social media sites, and should be family friendly. Our regular hours are Thu.-Fri. 10-6, Saturday 10-5:30pm. We will also be open January 18, 2016 from 10-3pm at 1701 S. 1st Ave., Suite 503, Maywood, IL 60153. Thank you in advance for your sharing your creative writings with us.
Black Youth of Chicago are ALIVE! How proud I feel to see them taking the lead in the protests starting with Black Friday and continuing forward. Black youth and what Harold Washington used to call the “Rainbow Coalition” have put the Mayor and entire administration on defense…they seem to be scrambling to put together a believable story. But, like the light snow we’ve had in Chicago to date, it won’t stick. #WVON deserves special high praise for staying on the ground and giving a megaphone to the voice of the people… Change is in the air and in the heart of the people…and, it feels like spring. Only in Chicago… #blacklivesmatter #alllivesmatter
There’s so much to be excited about regarding the upcoming luncheon with Dr. Nnedi Okorafor on Sunday, July 19, 2015, 2-4pm @ Yassa’s African Restaurant in Chicago.
First of all, it’s so much more than just a luncheon; it is in fact an example of the unification of 3 parts of the African diaspora coming together to celebrate one of our shining stars!
The author, Dr. Okorafor was born in America, and has Nigerian parentage. Madieye Gueye of Yassa’s African Restaurant was born in Senegal. I was born in America and so were my parents. While we are all of African heritage, we got to this place by different paths. How exciting for this gathering of our diaspora on a business and personal level to celebrate the successful writing career of Dr. Okorafor.
Building on this synergy between us, we are also destroying some myths that are present in our community.
Some still hold the impression that Africans from the continent that come to America do not socialize with those that are here, or that “they don’t come to the South Side.” Sure, there may be some like this, but isn’t it more productive to focus and build upon those that are. When I approached Mr. Gueye, he was instantly in agreement to it. The timing couldn’t have been better. Dr. Okorafor has been a longtime supporter of his restaurant, and, she is a highly successful author, and, she happened to be in town for back-to-back releases of her latest African Sci-fi novels. Thanks to some close friends, I have expanded my reading selections from rigidly non-fiction to the imagination cultivating fiction realm. In reflection, I’ve shocked myself by the change, but after reading Okorafor’s “Zahrah, the Windseeker”, a whirlwind of adventure, magic and African seasoned prose, I was hooked. Lastly, Yassa’s restaurant has moved to the Bronzeville area! His previous location in the heart of a crime ridden area had a fire and forced him to move. The new location is beautiful, has on the street parking and a lot in the back. In other words, the many puzzle pieces that could have kept this event from materializing, instead, aligned like the Dogon observed Sirius B constellation of stars in the sky (seen every 50 years) thus making this the right event at this particular time. This is a beautiful representation of how we need to proceed as a people.
How wonderful, and how exciting I feel in looking forward to the community’s participating in this historic event. Please join us in this important celebration! For details and registration, visit the events tab: https://www.afriwarebooks.com/events.html
I remember when I first decided to get in business. I actually started off volunteering for an artist who sold greeting cards. It was so much fun to think of ways to assist with sales. I was an artist's agent representing professionals who had a side interest/hobby. Some made dolls, quilts, or crocheted. Some drew or painted. I recall how much it surprised me when a technical manager would share their love for sewing for example. The two seemed at odds with each other but they actually served as a source of pride and joy to balance out the stress of the day. Oftentimes the artists didn't have the time to promote their work; bingo, there's a niche that I decided to fill. At first I had people over for mini business expos to showcase the work. This then graduated to attending art/craft shows and setting up a booth. The experience was fun through it all while I was picking up valuable information about how to do business along the way. And all of this for free. In some instances it seemed I should be paying for this "free" education in business, but I was in turn sharing my valuable time as well; after all, I too was a professional engineer.
The main reason I'm sharing this story is because I know there are those out there thinking about starting their own business and I want them to get a different view of how they may start. You don't have to have an unlimited bank account. You just need to have a tenacious willing spirit to try. Don't overthink the situation and focus on the fun of it all. Believe me, those doing it for years STILL don't know what to do. If you keep an open mind, you will get the guidance you need from those who you come in contact with. The joy is in the journey and your growth along the way, I know I've grown alot, and will grow a lot more. You may have to think of it this way; once you try, at worst you'll just know what NOT to do the next time, brush yourself off and adjust.
My name is Nzingha Nommo, Owner/Founder of Afriware Books, Co. I've been in business over 27 years. Thought I could share a few things along the way that may be of use to others thinking about or currently in the book business..