Take a walk through the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Go inside the Black Panther Party. Integrate a school in Mississippi. See the world through the eyes of young girls living in the American South, Detroit and Nigeria. In celebration of Black History Month, we’re featuring some of Algonquin’s most noteworthy books as our Lucky Stars e-books this month. These books open our eyes and speak universal truths. We’re thrilled to share them you, all for $3.99 or less throughout the month.
Panther Baby by Jamal Joseph: In the 1960s he exhorted students at Columbia University to burn their college to the ground. Today he’s chair of their School of the Arts film division. Jamal Joseph’s personal odyssey—from the streets of Harlem to Riker’s Island and Leavenworth to the halls of Columbia—is as gripping as it is inspiring.Eddie Joseph was a high school honor student, slated to graduate early and begin college. But this was the late 1960s in Bronx’s black ghetto, and fifteen-year-old Eddie was introduced to the tenets of the Black Panther Party, which was just gaining a national foothold. By sixteen, his devotion to the cause landed him in prison on the infamous Rikers Island—charged with conspiracy as one of the Panther 21 in one of the most emblematic criminal cases of the sixties. When exonerated, Eddie—now called Jamal—became the youngest spokesperson and leader of the Panthers’ New York chapter.He joined the “revolutionary underground,” later landing back in prison. Sentenced to more than twelve years in Leavenworth, he earned three degrees there and found a new calling. He is now chair of Columbia University’s School of the Arts film division—the very school he exhorted students to burn down during one of his most famous speeches as a Panther.In raw, powerful prose, Jamal Joseph helps us understand what it meant to be a soldier inside the militant Black Panther movement. He recounts a harrowing, sometimes deadly imprisonment as he charts his path to manhood in a book filled with equal parts rage, despair, and hope.
On the Road to Freedom by Charles E. Cobb Jr.: This in-depth look at the civil rights movement goes to the places where pioneers of the movement marched, sat-in at lunch counters, gathered in churches; where they spoke, taught, and organized; where they were arrested, where they lost their lives, and where they triumphed. Award-winning journalist Charles E. Cobb Jr., a former organizer and field secretary for SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), knows the journey intimately. He guides us through Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee, back to the real grassroots of the movement. He pays tribute not only to the men and women etched into our national memory but to local people whose seemingly small contributions made an impact. We go inside the organizations that framed the movement, travel on the “Freedom Rides” of 1961, and hear first-person accounts about the events that inspired Brown vs. Board of Education. An essential piece of American history, this is also a useful travel guide with maps, photographs, and sidebars of background history, newspaper coverage, and firsthand interviews.
Clover by Dori Sanders: Clover Hill is ten years old when her father, the principal of the local elementary school, marries a white woman, Sara Kate. Just hours later, an automobile accident compels Clover to forge a relationship with the new stepmother she hardly knows in this beautiful, enduring novel about a family lost and found.
First published by Algonquin in 1990 and winner of the Lillian Smith Award for Southern literature that enhances racial awareness, Clover is a national bestseller and has been recommended reading for classrooms across the country. Now on our thirtieth anniversary we have the pleasure of republishing this Algonquin classic in trade paperback, with an original essay by the author. In the spirit of Cold Sassy Tree and The Secret Life of Bees, Clover is a witty, insightful classic for readers of all ages.
Silver Rights by Constance Curry: This is a true story from the front lines of the civil rights struggle–the story of the Carter family of Sunflower County, Mississippi. African-American sharecroppers and the parents of thirteen children, Mae Bertha and Matthew Carter accepted their school district’s 1965 “Freedom of Choice” offer at its face value and enrolled their seven school-age children in the formerly all-white schools of tiny Drew, Mississippi. Silver Rights tells what happened to them next. As noted civil rights activist and Children’s Defense Fund president, Marian Wright Edelman says in her introduction, “This deeply moving book chronicles the pain and poverty in the lives of sharecroppers, their extraordinary grit, courage, and endurance.”
The Good Negress by A. J. Verdelle: The year is 1963 and young Denise Palms has rejoined her family in Detroit where she must work to make a place for herself and prepare for the arrival of her mother’s new baby. The baby will mean the end of Denise’s after-school lessons with a stern teacher who insists that Denise learn to speak “proper” English to make herself heard. Verdelle’s intuition and ear allow her to dramatize precise moments of Denise’s self-recognition and, in the process, offer an inside look at a maturing intelligence. The Good Negress marks the arrival of an original voice in contemporary fiction.
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older brother Jaja lead a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. They live in a beautiful house, with a caring family, and attend an exclusive missionary school. They’re completely shielded from the troubles of the world. Yet, as Kambili reveals in her tender-voiced account, things are less perfect than they appear.
Although her Papa is generous and well respected, he is fanatically religious and tyrannical at home—a home that is silent and suffocating. As the country begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and Jaja are sent to their aunt, a university professor outside the city, where they discover a life beyond the confines of their father’s authority. Books cram the shelves, curry and nutmeg permeate the air, and their cousins’ laughter rings throughout the house. When they return home, tensions within the family escalate, and Kambili must find the strength to keep her loved ones together.
Purple Hibiscus is an exquisite novel about the emotional turmoil of adolescence, the powerful bonds of family, and the bright promise of freedom.
Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons: “When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy.” With that opening sentence we are introduced to the eleven-year-old heroine of this stunning novel. Ellen Foster tells her own story with honesty, perceptivity, humor, and unselfconscious heroism. Ellen takes things as they come. She judges people shrewdly and well. Her ties with her friend Starletta are beautifully revealed. Her own courage, her humor, and her wisdom are unforgettable. She takes a place in our hearts.