african americans

White Girls

By Hilton Als
4
Rated by Melody B.K.
Jan 2, 2014

Hilton Als' essays about gender identity, race awareness, African-American gay men and masculinity will give readers severe whiplash.  He does indeed discuss several white girls, Flannery O'Connor for one, but then he also explores the white-girlness of Truman Capote, Michael Jackson and Eminem.  The chapter on Richard Pryor is my absolute favorite and is followed by a confusing and bizarre fictional rumination about Richard Pryor's sister.   Don't try to find a rhyme or reason to White Girls, just enjoy.

Oct 26, 2010

henriettalacks.jpgThis very “readable” biography should be a must-read for all biology and medical students. HeLa cells, taken from Henrietta Lacks when she was in treatment for cervical cancer in 1951, are still alive and have been used in developing the polio vaccine, in vitro fertilization, cloning, gene mapping and much more. They are still in use and it is estimated that if all the HeLa cells grown were piled together they would exceed 50 million metric tons. This is the story of Henrietta and her family. She grew up and worked the same land as her slave ancestors. The author did a massive amount of

Mar 24, 2010

If you’ve ever done genealogical (or historical) research and felt the intrigue and energy of peeling back layers of information to open windows on the past, this is a beautifully written description of the process. Ms. Gerzina embarked on a search to authenticate the story of Lucy Terry. Born a slave in pre-Revolutionary Massachusetts, Lucy Terry was reputed to have argued a case before the Supreme Court. How much of this story could be true? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to document it? And who was this woman, really?Gerzina’s research took her to small libraries, universities

Mar 18, 2010

Written in 1993, Ernest Gaines’ A Lesson Before Dying takes us back to the 1940s South and young, innocent Jefferson sitting in a Louisiana jail waiting to be executed. His Tante Lou and Godmother Miss Emma are determined that he should die like a man. Their nephew Grant, the one-room school teacher, is sent to teach the despondent prisoner the lessons of life. Gripping, gritty and heartbreaking this novel goes to the depths of the soul yet takes us up to the universal meaning of life. I read this after finishing The Help and was caught by the similarities of each in dealing with treatment of