Thursday, June 11, 2020

Some Books Worth Your Time

Just some books that might be worth your time reading, they come from my collection. The one above "The African-American Odyssey" volumes 1 and 2 tell the story what it is meant to be black in America and how African-American history is truly woven into American history.

Here are some others:

The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery is amazing work as it is a series of essays by African American writers talking about how post slavery life has been for African-Americans. I was lucky enough to meet Rochelle and talk to her about the book and she autographed my copy.

Before the Mayflower is one of the first truly books that I learned about my history-African-American history when I first read in junior high school 38 years ago. First published in 1962, it is about the black experience in America starting with West Africa in 1619 and going up to 1961. It is a truly amazing read.

This is a little local-Howard Thurman was a minster. In 1944, he started church with a white pastor Dr. Alfred Fisk called The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco. In the early 2000's, I used to attend services there for about two years. The church was first interracial, interdenominational church in the United States. Thurman was friends with Gandhi and took Gandhi's message of non-violence resistance back to the states. In 1953, he was made Dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University. He mentored a former classmate's son and became the son's Spirtual Advisor, Martin Luther King Jr.

The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader is the hisory through firsthand accounts of the Civil Rights Era.

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Death of Innocence is about the murder of Emmett Till in 1955.

Port Chicago 50 is another local book. It is about the explosion at Port Chicago, Ca (about 30 miles) from my house that killed more than 300 sailors (most of them African-American). More than 244 others refused to go back in loaded ammo on the ships citing unsafe conditions. 50 were charged with munity. The book is about the injustice that African-Americans faced during WWII and the interesting thing was that they were serving their country and didn't have the basic civil rights in this country.

Another local book, it is about the history of African-Americans in San Francisco. I went to a professional development where the author spoke and gave out his book to teachers.

This one is very local. Brian Copeland is an African-American comedian. He is five years older than me, so we both grew up in the same area in roughly the same time'  He describes growing up in San Leandro , Ca during the 1960's, 70's and 80's.

On the north, San Leandro borders Oakland which has a large African-American community, on the south it borders Hayward, my hometown (and the place I still live in) with its very diverse population. San Leandro remained lilly white even though the towns around it had much color in them. I do remember the San Leandro police would have one car on Mission Blvd/E14 St (the main drag) on the Oakland border and one car on the Hayward border when I was in high school and they would pull people of color over who were entering San Leandro.

 According to family legend, my parental units lived in San Leandro when they adopted me at birth (1969) and basically were forced to move out after death threats and other stuff after I was brought home. Basically, people of color where not welcomed until the last 20 years or so. Copeland describes growing up in San Leandro when it was pretty bad.

He turned the book into a one-man play (which I have seen a couple of times) and it has  played Off-Broadway  700 times over 30 cities between 2004-2011.

So there are a couple of books that might be worth your time to read. 


  1. I love that some books that were once overlooked is going to be more attention with people seeing the need to expand our usual bubbles we're in.

  2. Thanks, this is a great selection of must read books, thank you for sharing at the #TrafficJamWeekend

  3. Thank you so much for this insightful list of books! It's a step in the right direction towards educating myself on the human & civil rights issues that are currently taken place in the world toady.

  4. Patrick, this is a fascinating collection of books. I definitely need to check some of these out. And that family legend you shared just astonished me. You see, these are the stories that privileged white people need to hear to better understand. Thanks for sharing this post and linking up with me.


  5. I'm so glad you shared these fascinating books about African Americans. Reading "Before the Mayflower" years ago, changed my life! I look forward to reading some of the titles you shared.

  6. hi patrick, i had not made my way to this post yet! thank you for sharing. does the book "before the mayflower" describe the tulsa massacre? i am so upset that i did not learn about this event!

  7. Thanks for sharing these books! I'm always looking for more books to read about the real history that wasn't recorded in our white-washed history books.


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