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Dessa Little

The Nubian Barnstormer Volume 1 Persistence

A young African American woman blazes her own path in this spirited historical novel.

Ava Odell is the only girl born into a proud, tight-knit family. While World War I rages in Europe, she's in Oklahoma trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. A resident of Greenwood, derisively called “Little Africa” by white Tulsa, she'll soon be the first Odell to graduate from college. However, a chance sighting of an airplane leads to more than a career as an elementary school teacher.


Mama and Papa don't know what to make of their normally sensible daughter's new quest. Andrew, her buddy and four years her junior, believes she can do anything she wants. The youngest boys, Artest and Aton, giggle at their silly sister. But she can always count on the support of Uncle Solomon, Aunt Pearl and her five male cousins, especially Josie, on the Odell Farm located near her alma mater.


Her college mentor, Professor Walker Adams, connects her with black newspaper publisher Otto J. Meade. Ava heads to Chicago where he and his editor, Hampton Lowell, set about helping her--and their newspaper. Meade's renowned journalist wife, Kathy Anne Dawton-Meade, inspires Ava as the epitome of a Race woman: genteel, intelligent and caring, she actively opposes bigotry of all kinds.


Ava crosses the Atlantic and resides in Paris. Besides indulging in croissants, chocolate and jazz, she immerses herself in becoming a pilot. Flying Ace Henry Shelton is her instructor. Known as the Black Hawk, the French and Negro Americans recognize him as a war hero--especially French women.


Also, she encounters Carl Hemmer, a young soldier in the colored 369th Infantry Regiment. Brilliant and annoying, he guides her around the city and encourages her to soar.


Will her family adjust to how she's changed? The return of Negro veterans further galvanizes the African American community. Will Ava and Greenwood--newly nicknamed “the Negro Wall Street”--continue to rise despite ongoing racial resentment?


This entertaining novel explores forgotten parts of of black history through the eyes of a smart and daring young black woman How do Ava and the people she loves navigate a world with many of the same issues we grapple with today? Find out in The Nubian Barnstormer, Volume 1: Persistence.
322 printed pages
Original publication
2021

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