African-American Success Stories

Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family

By Condoleezza Rice

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This is the story of Condoleezza Rice-- her early years growing up in the hostile environment of Birmingham, Alabama; her rise in the ranks at Stanford University to become the university's second-in-command and an expert in Soviet and Eastern European Affairs; and finally, in 2000, her appointment as the first Black woman to serve as Secretary of State.

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Finding Fish: A Memoir

By Antwone Quenton Fisher

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Baby Boy Fisher was raised in institutions from the moment of his birth in prison to a single mother. He ultimately came to live with a foster family, where he endured near-constant verbal and physical abuse. In his mid-teens he escaped and enlisted in the navy, where he became a man of the world, raised by the family he created for himself. Finding Fish shows how, out of this unlikely mix of deprivation and hope, an artist was born -- first as the child who painted the feelings his words dared not speak, then as a poet and storyteller who would eventually become one of Hollywood's most sought-after screenwriters.

Later made into an award-winning film.

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Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story

By Ben Carson, M.D., with Cecil Murphey

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Ben Carson, M.D., works medical miracles. Today, he's one of the most celebrated neurosurgeons in the world. In Gifted Hands, he tells of his inspiring odyssey from his childhood in inner-city Detroit to his position as director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital at age 33. Ben Carson is a role model for anyone who attempts the seemingly impossible as he takes you into the operating room where he has saved countless lives. Filled with fascinating case histories, this is the dramatic and intimate story of Ben Carson's struggle to beat the odds -- and of the faith and genius that make him one of the greatest life-givers of the century.

Made into a film starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.

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Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years

By Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany

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"Warm, feisty, and intelligent, the Delany sisters speak their mind in a book that is at once a vital historical record and a moving portrait of two remarkable women who continued to love, laugh, and embrace life after over 100 years of living side by side. Their sharp memories show readers the post-Reconstruction South and Booker T. Washington; Harlem's Golden Age and Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, and Paul Robeson. Bessie breaks barriers to become a dentist; Sadie quietly integrates the New York City system as a school teacher."

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Jackie's Nine: Jackie Robinson's Values to Live By

By Sharon Robinson

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"I once had a conversation with Jesse Jackson about why my father's legacy lives on. He talked with me about the difference between a champion and a hero. A champion, said Reverend Jackson, wins a World Series or an Olympic event and is hoisted on the shoulders of the fans. A hero carries the people on his shoulders."

To millions of people, Jackie Robinson is a sports and civil rights hero. To Sharon Robinson, he was all that -- and Dad. From the unique perspective that only a daughter could have, she serves as a personal tour guide through the nine heartfelt, hard-won values that helped Jackie achieve his goals. Sharon Robinson explores these values -- courage, justice, teamwork, citizenship, determination, integrity, persistence, commitment, and excellence -- through a wonderful, richly diverse collection of writings. The anthology includes compelling autobiographical passages by both Robinsons and powerful profiles of people like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Marian Wright Edelman, Christopher Reeve, and Oprah Winfrey, who carry on Robinson's valuable legacy.

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Laughing in the Dark: From Colored Girl to Woman of Power - A Journey from Prison to Power

By Patrice Gaines

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"An award-winning Washington Post reporter explores the twisted path she traveled to find her place as a confident black female in a world that values whiteness and maleness. Here is a rich and insightful story of a life lived on the edge by a woman formerly preoccupied with pleasing everyone but herself."

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Life Is So Good: One Man's Extraordinary Journey through the 20th Century and How he Learned to Read at Age 98

By George Dawson and Richard Glaubman

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"In this remarkable book, 103-year-old George Dawson, a slave's grandson who learned to read at age 98, reflects on his life and offers valuable lessons in living as well as a fresh, firsthand view of America during the twentieth century. Richard Glaubman captures Dawson's irresistible voice and view of the world, offering insights into humanity, history, hardships, and happiness. From segregation and civil rights, to the wars, presidents, and defining moments in history, George Dawson's description and assessment of the last century inspires readers with the message that-through it all-has sustained him: 'Life is so good. I do believe it's getting better.'"

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Life on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black

By Gregory Howard Williams

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Williams tells the story of his very unusual youth. Of mixed-race parentage, he was raised as a white in Virginia and as a black in Ohio. We experience with him his pain, his struggles, and his triumphs.

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On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker

By A'Lelia Bundles

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The daughter of slaves, Madam C. J. Walker was orphaned at seven, married at 14, and widowed at 20. On Her Own Ground is a comprehensive biography of an unusual entrepreneur and philanthropist. Contains personal letters, records, and rare photographs from the family collection.

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On My Own at 107: Reflections on Life without Bessie

By Sarah L. Delany with Amy Hill Hearth

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The surviving sister of the pair whose story was told in Having Our Say recounts her transition from mourning the loss of her sister, Bessie, to a renewed zest for life, symbolized by Bessie's flower garden.

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