This post began as a continuation of A Celebration of Children's Books, but since I am remembering the absurdity of strict lines, this post is for anyone interested in good books.
I am rereading Narrative of Sojourner Truth. Be sure to purchase the edition that includes Margaret Washington's introduction and annotations. Washington introduces the life and times of Sojourner through historical reference to legacy, northern slavery, the African-Dutch perspective, spirituality, womanhood and sexuality.
From the introduction:
"Sojourner recruited colored troops for a Michigan regiment. . .met with Harriet Tubman, who had been on the front lines with black soldiers in South Carolina [and desegregated] the Washington, D.C. streetcars. The conductor's refusal to allow her to ride led to a successful lawsuit. It was a victory which cost Sojourner a dislocated shoulder. . ."
Shadowshaper by D.J. Older is the story of Sierra, an inquisitive, intelligent, and artistic young woman interested in understanding her spiritual DNA and her family's connection to magic. Older's books remind me of movies, his prose is expansive, visual and accessible. The story is set in Brooklyn and magic happens all over New York, including Coney Island.
Harriet A. Jacobs was born in 1813 and is one of America's most obscured heroes. For seven years, she lay on her belly in the crawlspace of her grandmother's roof. Jacobs was hiding from Dr. James Norcom, the man who owned her.
Jacobs first published her story in 1857 under the name Linda Brent. Jacobs lived with shame because of what she had been forced to endure sexually.
In my opinion, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl should be included in mandatory reading lists alongside other profound, historical accounts such as The Diary of Anne Frank.
From Jacobs' introduction:
I have my dear friend - striven faithfully to give a true and just account of my own life in Slavery. . .not to tell you what I have heard but what I have seen. . .and if there is any sympathy to give let it be given to the thousands of slave mothers still in bondage. . .let it plead for their helpless children.I have the edition edited by Jean Fagan Yellin that also includes Jacob's Introduction, illustrations (including the floor plan of Jacob's hiding place) correspondence and notes.
In the late1960's Nikki Giovanni performed her collection of poems, Truth Is On Its Way, live on PBS. She was accompanied by the New York Community Choir. This performance was a groundbreaking event, and was my introduction to political, self-love poems. I leave you with the poem Nikki Rosa. The choir is singing It Is Well, written by Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss, first published in 1876.