Black Ink: Literary Legends on the Peril, Power, and Pleasure of Reading and Writing

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Spanning over 250 years of history, Black Ink traces black literature in America from Frederick Douglass to Ta-Nehisi Coates in this masterful collection of twenty-five illustrious and moving essays on the power of the written word.

Throughout American history black people are the only group of people to have been forbidden by law to learn to read. This unique collection seeks to shed light on that injustice and subjugation, as well as the hard-won literary progress made, putting some of America’s most cherished voices in a conversation in one magnificent volume that presents reading as an act of resistance.

Organized into three sections, the Peril, the Power, and Pleasure, and with an array of contributors both classic and contemporary, Black Ink presents the brilliant diversity of black thought in America while solidifying the importance of these writers within the greater context of the American literary tradition. At times haunting and other times profoundly humorous, this unprecedented anthology guides you through the remarkable experiences of some of America’s greatest writers and their lifelong pursuits of literacy and literature.

The foreword was written by Nikki Giovanni. Contributors include: Frederick Douglass, Solomon Northup, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King, Jr., Toni Morrison, Walter Dean Myers, Stokely Carmichael [Kwame Ture], Alice Walker, Jamaica Kincaid, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Terry McMillan, Junot Diaz, Edwidge Danticat, Colson Whitehead, Marlon James, Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Colson Whitehead.

The anthology features a bonus in-depth interview with President Barack Obama.
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About the author

Stephanie Stokes Oliver is the author of Daily Cornbread: 365 Secrets for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Spirit; Seven Soulful Secrets for Finding Your Purpose & Minding Your Mission; and Song for My Father: Memoir of an All-American Family. Formerly the editor of Essence, and founding editor-in-chief of Heart & Soul, she started her magazine career at Glamour. For more information, see StephanieStokesOliver.com.

Nikki Giovanni is one of the most decorated poets of our time. She is the recipient of seven NAACP Image Awards, a National Book Award, a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King Award, and a Grammy nomination. She is the author of three New York Times bestsellers as well as many poetry collections for children and adults. You can visit her online at Nikki-Giovanni.com.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jan 30, 2018
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781501154300
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Authorship
Literary Collections / American / African American
Literary Collections / Essays
Literary Collections / General
Literary Criticism / American / African American
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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On Election Day in 1960, a classmate of Stephanie Stokes Oliver threatened to beat her up. Why? Because in their class's mock presidential election, Stephanie revealed that she would follow her father's lead and vote for Nixon over Kennedy. Stephanie realized this day that her family was different from most other African Americans at the time: They were Republicans.

Song for My Father is Stokes Oliver's memoir of her father, Charles M. Stokes, a prominent member of the National Republican Party. Known as "Stokey," this pioneering black man in the fields of law, legislation, and politics raised three children in the tumultuous 1960s and 70s, when memories of the Republican Party as the party of Abraham Lincoln -- and association of the party with the emancipation of slaves -- had faded. As Stephanie came of age, she and her father disagreed on everything -- especially politics -- but they were bound by mutual love and respect.

Born in Kansas in the early twentieth century, Charles M. Stokes established himself in his home state as a lawyer and a Republican leader before moving in 1943 to Seattle, where he was the only black attorney in private practice. He later became Seattle's first black state legislator and served as Washington State's first African-American district court judge. When he ran for lieutenant governor in 1960, Stokes was narrowly defeated in the primary, but his political race blazed a trail for other African Americans in both local and national politics.

This is Stokes Oliver's tribute to a larger-than-life father, but it is also the inspiring story of an American family who worked, struggled, dreamed, and succeeded.
"All first-rate criticism first defines what we are confronting," the late, great jazz critic Whitney Balliett once wrote. By that measure, the essays of Christopher Hitchens are in the first tier. For nearly four decades, Hitchens has been telling us, in pitch-perfect prose, what we confront when we grapple with first principles-the principles of reason and tolerance and skepticism that define and inform the foundations of our civilization-principles that, to endure, must be defended anew by every generation.

"A short list of the greatest living conversationalists in English," said The Economist, "would probably have to include Christopher Hitchens, Sir Patrick Leigh-Fermor, and Sir Tom Stoppard. Great brilliance, fantastic powers of recall, and quick wit are clearly valuable in sustaining conversation at these cosmic levels. Charm may be helpful, too." Hitchens-who staunchly declines all offers of knighthood-hereby invites you to take a seat at a democratic conversation, to be engaged, and to be reasoned with. His knowledge is formidable, an encyclopedic treasure, and yet one has the feeling, reading him, of hearing a person thinking out loud, following the inexorable logic of his thought, wherever it might lead, unafraid to expose fraudulence, denounce injustice, and excoriate hypocrisy. Legions of readers, admirers and detractors alike, have learned to read Hitchens with something approaching awe at his felicity of language, the oxygen in every sentence, the enviable wit and his readiness, even eagerness, to fight a foe or mount the ramparts.

Here, he supplies fresh perceptions of such figures as varied as Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Rebecca West, George Orwell, J.G. Ballard, and Philip Larkin are matched in brilliance by his pungent discussions and intrepid observations, gathered from a lifetime of traveling and reporting from such destinations as Iran, China, and Pakistan.

Hitchens's directness, elegance, lightly carried erudition, critical and psychological insight, humor, and sympathy-applied as they are here to a dazzling variety of subjects-all set a standard for the essayist that has rarely been matched in our time. What emerges from this indispensable volume is an intellectual self-portrait of a writer with an exemplary steadiness of purpose and a love affair with the delights and seductions of the English language, a man anchored in a profound and humane vision of the human longing for reason and justice.



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