African-American Success Stories

The last half of the twentieth century saw an amazing record of black accomplishments. These books chronicle the stories of people rising from poverty to success against a backdrop of segregation and discrimination. From Ben Carson, the gifted surgeon from the inner city, to the wisdom of the Delaney sisters, there are two dozen tales here that inspire and celebrate the human spirit.

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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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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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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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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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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Dancing Spirit: An Autobiography

By Judith Jamison

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The first black superstar of American dance shares her story. Read about her passion and will and her views about black history, about spirituality, about womanhood, about holding a vision, about carrying on.

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Chappie: America's First Black Four-Star General: The Life and Times of Daniel James, Jr.

By J. Alfred Phelps

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Read about James' inspiring life, from his days as a pioneering Tuskegee airman to the stratosphere of command of NORAD.

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Dream Makers, Dream Breakers: The World of Justice Thurgood Marshall

By Carl T. Rowan

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"According to Carl Rowan, writing this impassioned biography of Justice Thurgood Marshall was 'tantamount to trying to write the social, legal, economic, political, and moral history of this nation over most of the twentieth century.' Crucial events in American history, such as the black migration out of the postbellum South, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the Great Depression, and the African-American revolution of the 1960s are magnificently portrayed within the context of Justice Marshall's unrelenting mission to fulfill the promise of equal justice for every American."

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Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement

By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with Alan Steinberg

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Estevanico: Black Presence in the Americas -- The First Rhode Island; Peter Salem; Salem Poor; James Armistead Lafayette; Crispus Attucks -- Joseph Cinque: Black Revolt -- Frederick Douglass: Freedom on the World Stage -- Harriet Tubman: Freedom in the Shadows -- Bass Reeves: Black Individualism in the West -- Blacks in the Military -- Lewis H. Latimer: Black Intellectual Achievement -- Rosa Parks: Black Heart.

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Scatman: An Authorized Biography of Scatman Crothers

By Jim Haskins with Helen Crothers

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At the time of his death in 1986, Sherman "Scatman" Crothers had had many careers in entertainment--as a singer, songwriter, band leader, and television and film actor. In Scatman, the author of Mr. Bojangles tells the story of the man who owned "the shiniest mouth in town."

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