Friday, December 23, 2011

BlackLitChat: Tananarive Due

I'm sorry I didn't post a heads up about this earlier, but Tananarive Due, author of the spellbinding "African Immortals", series was the host of last week's BlackLitChat. You can read a transcript of the conversation here.

I posted about Due's work back in October, (for Halloween!) but her books make terrific reading at any time of year. Even if you don't usually read horror, you should give Due a try: her books are richly atmospheric with characters you come to care about deeply. She also weaves African And African American history into each novel, lending them a strong sense of place and time. I'm re-reading My Soul to Keep and I continue to be mesmerized by her blending of history, culture, romance and the supernatural.

Friday, December 16, 2011

How many Black Americas are there?

What a wonderful group Tuesday night for The Warmth of Other Suns! I was delighted and honored to welcome so many people for such a fruitful and wide ranging discussion. If you know anyone who missed it and would like to attend the North Branch discussion on January 26th, they can call North at 847-866-0331 or register here.

Next month's book is Eugene Robinson's Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America, a fascinating look at what he sees as a fragmented African American population comprised of 4 distinct cultural communities: The Transcendents (celebrities so rich and famous that race no longer touches them); the Mainstream (think Cosby show); the Abandoned (ghetto, underclass, urban poor); and the Emergents, recent African and Caribbean immigrants and biracials. Robinson, a Washington Post columnist, observes that not only do these groups differ culturally, but that their political and social interests are no longer the same, and may in fact be in conflict. Covering everything from affirmative action to black fraternity stylings, this is an intriguing read, with much to discuss.

Registration is now open! Call 847-448-8620 or go to our online calendar to reserve a copy. See you on Tuesday January 17th!

Monday, December 12, 2011

More on The Great Migration

Tomorrow night is the big event! I am so looking forward to discussing Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns with everyone. Although Wilkerson's book has been acclaimed as the most comprehensive look yet at the Great Migration, hers is far from the only book on the subject. I've put together a list of other works on the Great Migration, including some for children. All of these are available at the Evanston Public Library. Interestingly, few of the major works (by adults) on the topic were written by African American authors.

Enjoy! And I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow night!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Celebrating African American Women in the Comics

Head over to the Madame Noire blog for some fun facts about the Ormes Society, named for Jackie Ormes, the first black woman cartoonist. There are quite a few talented sistahs drawing comics these days, and the Ormes Society promotes their work, and the inclusion of women of color as characters and creators in the comics industry.

I'd never heard of Ormes until recently. She drew and illustrated comics and editorial cartoons for African American newspapers in the 1930s-60s, using her pen to fight for black civil rights. Her beloved character Torchy Brown, who debuted as a Harlem teenager in 1937 in the series "From Dixie to Harlem" embodied the struggles and accomplishments of the Great Migration, while the wise cracking Patty Jo and Ginger commented slyly on the racial struggles of the Cold War era.You can learn more about Ormes and her creations on the Jackie Ormes website, or in this richly illustrated biography.