Different Stories: The African-American Experience in Non-fiction

Here is a selection of books about various aspects of Black history - from slave days to the struggles of today's African-Americans. Many of these works are written from perspectives slightly different from the usual.

Who Will Cry for the Little Boy?

By Antwone Quenton Fisher

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"With the publication of Finding Fish, his memoir of a childhood spent in foster homes in and around Cleveland, Antwone Fisher shared with the world his story of perseverance, determination, and courage. And he also showed that within him beat the heart of an artist -- a major factor in his resilience and recovery. Now with Who Will Cry for the Little Boy?, his first collection of poetry, Antwone Fisher reveals the inner truths that took him from a tumultuous childhood to the man he is today.

"The powerful poems presented here range from impressions and expressions of Antwone's years growing up to the love that he has gained from the family he made for himself as an adult. From the title poem -- which is featured prominently in the movie Antwone Fisher -- a plaintive, haunting tribute to a childhood lost to abuse and neglect, to 'Azure Indigo,' the uplifting and touching poem about his daughters, many readers will find their own feelings and experiences reflected in this lyrical and passionate collection."

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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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The Good Black: A True Story of Race in America

By Paul M. Barrett

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Larry Mungin spent his life preparing to succeed in the white world. He looked away from racial inequality and hostility, believing that he'd succeed if he worked hard and played by the rules. He rose from a Queens housing project to Harvard College and Law School, and went on to the world of corporate law. But just when he should have been considered for partnership at his mostly white law firm, he sued for racial discrimination. Paul M. Barrett, Mungin's roommate at Harvard, takes readers through this fascinating case while challenging them to re-think their ideas about race.

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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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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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Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics

By Donna Brazile

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Brazile was the first African-American to head a major political campaign. In this interesting, funny, and sometimes moving book, she traces her journey, which began in a working-poor family in New Orleans.

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Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood

By Leonard Pitts, Jr.

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Some men have broken the cycle of violence and some have not. Their stories and those of their children provide an in-depth look at an important issue in American life.

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Weevils in the Wheat: Interviews with Virginia Ex-slaves

By Charles L. Perdue

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Taken from the records of the Federal Writers' Project of the 1930s, these interviews with one-time Virginia slaves provide a clear window into what it was like to be enslaved in the antebellum American South.

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