Black Excellence

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Celebrate the best of black authors and figures.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 months ago
Chabi's kung fu master might not be who she thinks he is. Trouble's brewing — but can she tackle it all by herself?
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellencelast year
Writer, Caryl Phillips, explores the issue of black identity from the perspective of being a minority in Britain, and as an immigrant in America.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellencelast year
A personal history of corporate success and career progression might not sound like all that thrilling. But when you consider that it’s also the tale of a black woman triumphing over adversity, and inspiring other to do the same, it suddenly becomes a lot more interesting.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellencelast year
The New York Times and Washington Post bestseller that sparked a national conversation about America’s new progressive, multiracial majority. Updated to include data from the 2016 election.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
Evelyn, a High Society Creole woman, marries for love; her daughter, Jackie, struggles to raise a family as a single mother; and Jackie’s son T.C. later faces difficult choices in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

A New Orleans family saga spanning 70 years — one that explores the choices we make and how history repeats itself in different ways.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
After the best selling "Bad Feminist", Roxane Gay returns with Difficult Women, a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. What you get is a delivery of a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America.

TIME magazine described her writing as "simple and direct, but never cold or sterile. She directly confronts complex issues of identity and privilege, but it’s always accessible and insightful."
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
Chigozie Obioma's debut novel is nothing short of stunning. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, The Fisherman is a haunting tale of four brothers who are gripped by a prophecy that threatens to rip their family apart. Obioma's tale of not only paints a realistic picture of Nigeria in all its facets, but is also seeping with the cultural nuances of the country.

He has been called, in a New York Times book review, "the heir to Chinua Achebe." And in 2015, he was named one of "100 Global Thinkers" by Foreign Policy magazine.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
Winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2016, Paul Beatty's The Sellout is a satirical look into racism in America: a young black boy calls for segregation to be made legal again.

Paul Beatty is the first US writer to be honored with a Man Booker prize. And incidentally, he was rejected 18 times by publishers before One World Publishing picked it up. The Sellout was also awarded the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
Black Boy is Richard Wright's powerful account of his journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. It is at once an unashamed confession and a profound indictment—a poignant and disturbing record of social injustice and human suffering.

He grew up in the woods of Mississippi, with poverty, hunger, fear, and hatred. He lied, stole, and raged at those around him; at six he was a “drunkard,” hanging about taverns. Surly, brutal, cold, suspicious, and self-pitying, he was surrounded on one side by whites who were either indifferent to him, pitying, or cruel, and on the other by blacks who resented anyone trying to rise above the common lot.

He remains a mainstay in American literature, and critics believe his work helped change race relations in the United States in the mid-20th century.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
Burn This Book is a powerful collection of essays that explore the meaning of censorship and the power of literature to inform the way we see the world, and ourselves.

There's no stopping Toni Morisson, who at 85 years still continues to be a trailblazer. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye (1970), Sula (1973), Song of Solomon (1977), and Beloved (1987).

Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 and was also honored with the 1996 National Book Foundation's Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
In 2015, Misty Copeland became the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in ABT's 75-year history. If that doesn't raise a "yassss" from you, I don't know what else will.

Copeland's rise to fame didn't come easy. She never studied ballet or gymnastics formally until her teenage years, and never really had the support from her family to pursue ballet. Richard Corman's biography of her will shed some light on how hard she's work to get to where she is today.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
The Opposite House explores the thin wall between myth and reality through the alternating tales of two young women. A door to Lagos, and a door to the UK. It's a tale of migration and home, longing and loneliness, as well as memory and reality.

Helen Oyeyemi started her career at a very young age. She wrote her first novel, The Icarus Girl, while still at school studying for her A levels at Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School. In 2009 Oyeyemi was recognized as one of the women on Venus Zine's "25 under 25" list. In 2013 she was included in the Granta Best of Young British Novelists list.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
Kiese Laymon brings together subjects ranging from family, race, violence, and celebrity to music, writing and coming of age in Mississippi. Through a stirring personal narrative, Laymon dissects topics that are frequently discussed but often misunderstood, which brings light to many under-acknowledged aspects of contemporary American life.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
Through vivid poetry, Jacqueline Woodson gives emotionally charged glances into a child’s soul during her quest to find her place in the world. Set in the '60s and '70s, this young African-American girl is living with the residue of Jim Crow. As she becomes aware of herself, she is also growing increasingly aware of the civil rights movement.

Woodson has contributed much to the children's literary scene. For her lifetime contribution as a children's writer, Woodson won the Margaret Edwards Award in 2005 and was the U.S. nominee for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2014. IBBY named her one of six Andersen Award finalists on March 17, 2014. She also won the National Book Award in 2014 in the category of Young People's Literature for Brown Girl Dreaming, and was nominated in Fiction for Another Brooklyn.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
You can't bring up black literature without James Baldwin. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son, explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century America, and their inevitable if unnameable tensions. Richard Wright called him "the greatest black writer in the world". And helped shaped and inspire equally great writers like Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison.

Another Country is is an emotionally intense novel of love, hatred, race and liberal America in the 1960s. Set in Greenwhich Village, Harlem and France, this novel tells the story of the suicide of jazz-musician Rufus Scott and the friends who search for an understanding of his life and death, discovering uncomfortable truths about themselves along the way.
Another Country, James Baldwin
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
Slavery funded, built and paid the wages of professors at many of America's revered colleges and universities — including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Rutgers, Williams College and the University of North Carolina. As higher education and the slave trade nurtured each other’s growth, universities were stained in the sweat, the tears and the blood of people of color. Wilder shows how the dependence of the academy on human bondage produced the breeding grounds for the racist ideas that maintained its success.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
Claudia Rankine, whose first collection was the prize-winning Nothing in Nature is Private, creates a transfixing testimonial to a woman facing her own disease. These poems — intrepid, obsessive, and erotic — tell the story of a woman's attempt to overcome despair.

Her numerous awards and honors include the 2014 Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the 2014 Jackson Poetry Prize, as well as a 2014 Lannan Foundation Literary Award.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
In the span of four years, Jesmyn lost five beloved young men in her life, including her brother, to drugs, accidents, murder and suicide. Set in her hometown of DeLisle, Mississippi, Jesmyn’s memoir grapples with the harsh reality that these men died as a result of their identities and because their lives were rooted in a history that pitted them against racism and economic disadvantage.

Jesmyn Ward grew up in DeLisle, a small rural community in Mississippi, where she developed a love-hate relationship with after having been bullied at public school by black classmates and subsequently by white students while attending a private school paid for by her mother’s employer. Her heart wrenching autobiography was on the shortlist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award.
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Bookmateadded a book to the bookshelfBlack Excellence2 years ago
MSNBC national correspondent Joy-Ann Reid shows that despite the progress the US has made, this country is still a nation divided. And despite having elected a black president, the racial divide is still more present than ever. Reid analyzes the relationship between Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton, and how their approaches to the race issue parallel the Democratic party’s challenges. And now with Trump leading the US, how will racial politics of the US shape out?
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