African Americans

The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography

By Sidney Poitier

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I have no wish to play the pontificating fool, pretending that I've suddenly come up with the answers to all life's questions. Quite that contrary, I began this book as an exploration, an exercise in self-questing. In other words, I wanted to find out, as I looked back at a long and complicated life, with many twists and turns, how well I've done at measuring up to the values I myself have set.
--Sidney Poitier

"In this luminous memoir, a true American icon looks back on his celebrated life and career. His body of work is arguably the most morally significant in cinematic history, and the power and influence of that work are indicative of the character of the man behind the many storied roles. Sidney Poitier here explores these elements of character and personal values to take his own measure--as a man, as a husband and a father, and as an actor.

"Poitier credits his parents and his childhood on tiny Cat Island in the Bahamas for equipping him with the unflinching sense of right and wrong and of self-worth that he has never surrendered and that have dramatically shaped his world. 'In the kind of place where I grew up,' recalls Poitier, 'what's coming at you is the sound of the sea and the smell of the wind and momma's voice and the voice of your dad and the craziness of your brothers and sisters...and that's it.' Without television, radio, and material distractions to obscure what matters most, he could enjoy the simple things, endure the long commitments, and find true meaning in his life. Poitier was uncompromising as he pursued a personal and public life that would honor his upbringing and the invaluable legacy of his parents. Just a few years after his introduction to indoor plumbing and the automobile, Poitier broke racial barrier after racial barrier to launch a pioneering acting career. Committed to the notion that what one does for a living articulates to who one is, Poitier played only forceful and affecting characters who said something positive, useful, and lasting about the human condition. Here is Poitier's own introspective look at what has informed his performances and his life."

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The Conversation: How Black Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships

By Hill Harper

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"Why does so much misinformation and mistrust exist between the sexes? Hill addresses the stereotypes that have developed in the Black community, in the hope that by addressing the challenges, Black men and women can find their way to common ground. The Conversation aims to open up the lines of communication, and offers inspiration to those who want to take control of this crisis and start building successful, sustainable relationships."

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Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington

By John Edward Hasse

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No one led a band like Duke Ellington, no one led a life like Duke Ellington, and no one wrote music like Duke Ellington. One of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, Ellington was acclaimed in his lifetime as a bandleader, but this biography explores his skill as a composer and musical "problem-solver." The author also guides the reader through the bewildering array of Ellington recordings, selecting and commenting on the most essential ones from each period of Ellington's career.

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The Blueprint: A Plan for Living above Life's Storms

By Kirk Franklin

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The gospel artist describes the family challenges that hampered his youth, his dedication to helping others, and his street-wise perspectives on such topics as faith, family responsibilities, and African-American identity.

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Soul Food and Living Water: Spiritual Nourishment and Practical Help for the Black Family

By Yoland Powell and William J. Powell

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"As God-conscious families, we all struggle to maintain a vibrant faith that will lead to strength and happiness in the midst of declining social values and daily challenges. Marital commitment, child rearing, financial stewardship and family harmony are problems that can become intensely magnified, draining our joy and ability to sufficiently thrive. Overflowing with Biblical teaching, practical examples and real encouragement, Soul Food and Living Water provides the spritual nourishment you and your family need. Written in culturally sensitive language, reflecting the rich heritage and strong's faith of African Americans, Soul Food and Living Water refreshes and equips families for today's challenges."

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True Vine: A Young Black Man's Journey of Faith, Hope, and Clarity

By John W. Fountain

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John Fountain grew up surrounded by a caring, religious family who believed in him, but that didn't stop him from finding the familiar track of early fatherhood and college drop-out. His family's faith brought him out of the spiral and on the road to becoming an award-winning journalist for the New York Times.

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The Miracles of Mentoring: How to Encourage and Lead Future Generations

By Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., and The 100 Black Men of America, Inc.

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This thoughtful and practical guide to mentoring is based on the program implemented by the 100 Black Men of America organization. They give advice on the most effective ways volunteers can affect young lives including starting programs in schools, neighborhoods and workplaces.

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Jazz: A History of America's Music

By Geoffrey C. Ward

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This book, written with Ken Burns, accompanies the PBS TV series of the same name. It traces the evolution of jazz from its birth in New Orleans through big band, swing, bebop, fusion, acid, and avant-garde. Covered also are the well-known and the not-so-known musicians of jazz - black and white. The photographs that accompany the text are fascinating.

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Freedom: A Photographic History of the African American Struggle

By Manning Marable and Leith Mullings

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This photographic journey of the African-American struggle for equality chronicles the battle to eliminate slavery up to the Civil Rights era and beyond. The 600 images include blacks and whites, heroes and the unheralded, public acts of protest and private moments of victory.

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Black Genius and the American Experience

By Dick Russell

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Offering inspiring and surprising results, and interweaving past and present, this book explores the roots of black achievement in America. It includes portraits of people such as Wynton Marsalis, Ralph Ellison, Paul Robeson, and Muhammad Ali.

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