Black Genius: Inspirational Portraits of African-American Leaders

Overview

Intimate, in-depth portraits, interviews, and essays of America's black leaders—from the founding of the nation and Frederick Douglass to the 2008 presidential race and Barack Obama. Each figure is interconnected with the next, exploring themes of family and intergenerational community, spirituality, and diligence, activism, and struggle. These remarkable portraits reveal the true spirit of the American pioneers who forged much of the heart of this nation, but whose achievements...

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Black Genius: Inspirational Portraits of African-American Leaders

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Overview

Intimate, in-depth portraits, interviews, and essays of America's black leaders—from the founding of the nation and Frederick Douglass to the 2008 presidential race and Barack Obama. Each figure is interconnected with the next, exploring themes of family and intergenerational community, spirituality, and diligence, activism, and struggle. These remarkable portraits reveal the true spirit of the American pioneers who forged much of the heart of this nation, but whose achievements have been largely overlooked.

New York Times bestselling author Dick Russell examines the lives of musicians, civil rights leaders, philosophers, writers, and actors including Duke Ellington, Will Marion Cook, Louis Armstrong, Wynton Marsalis, Albert Murray, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and Romare Bearden. Concluding with a list of sources and suggested reading, this fascinating and vibrant look at American history is a must for any collection.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“African-American studies. The connection he makes between James Baldwin and Fredrick Douglass, for example, is both relevant and highly perceptive. -- David Leeming, author of James Baldwin

“Dick Russell melds exhaustive historical research with fresh and revealing contemporary interviews. The combination creates a window on African-American genius and geniuses that has never been opened. This is an astonishing book. --Richard Newman, Fellows Officer of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University and author of Everybody Say Freedom: Everything You Need to Know About African-American History

“tribute to the spirit and achievement of the black community, is at once a chronicle of and an oral recital by many of the African-American creators who stoked and influenced American culture. Mr. Russell does not beleaguer that oft-maligned term "genius", instead, crisscrossing disciplines and time, he offers an eloquent tapestry that weaves historical account, critical assessments, anecdotes, and a chorus of personal observations and testaments from living artists that dispels any doubt about his community. Working and reworking his central theme, Russell has created a vibrant narrative composition in which the stirring voices of black intellectuals and artists echo like soloists in an eloquent Ellington suite. --Mel Watkins, author of On the Real Side: The History of African-American Humor

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602393691
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/2/2009
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 806,880
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dick Russell is a nationally respected activist, environmentalist, and author of critically acclaimed books, including, with Jesse Ventura, The New York Times bestsellers 63 Documents the Government Doesn't Want You to Read and American Conspiracies. He is also the author of On the Trail of the JFK Assassins and The Man Who Knew Too Much. Russell has been published in many of the nation's top magazines and has been a guest on numerous national TV and radio programs, including the NBC Nightly News.
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Table of Contents

Prologue v

Foreword xix

Introduction: Bearing Witness 1

Part 1 A Certain Heritage 11

1 Ancestors-Ellington's Mentor: Will Marion Cook 13

2 Albert Murray and Louis Armstrong 22

3 The Craft of Ralph Ellison 37

4 From Duke Ellington to Wynton Marsalis 50

5 Variations on a Theme: Romare Bearden, Artist 70

Part 2 Creation Under Fire 81

6 Ancestors-Meta Warrick Fuller, Sculptor 83

7 The Painters: Lois Mailou Jones and Jacob Lawrence 89

8 All the World's Their Stage: Paul Robeson and Ira Aldridge 115

9 Gordon Parks: A Lens on Humanity 141

10 Ancestors-Mary McLeod Bethune, Educator 169

11 A Teacher's Mission: Elma Lewis 177

12 The Philosophers: Cornel West and the Du Bois/Locke Legacy 200

13 Toni Morrison: Nobel Prize for Literature 227

14 Timeless Voices, Parallel Realities: James Baldwin and Frederick Douglass 247

Part 3 Builders of America: Science, Invention, Mathematics and Architecture 287

15 Ancestors-Lewis Latimer and the Early Black Inventors 289

16 The Laser Physicist and the Computer Wizard: Earl and Alan Shaw 306

17 Bob Moses and the Algebra Project 326

18 Ancestors-The Astronomer/Surveyor: Benjamin Banneker 344

19 The Architects: Charles and Cheryl McAfee 355

Part 4 Healers of Body and Spirit 373

20 Ancestors-The Physicians: Louis Tompkins Wright and Jane Cooke Wright 375

21 Byllye Avery and the National Black Women's Health Project 389

22 Ancestors-Sojourner Truth and the Nineteenth-Century Visionaries 406

23 Howard Thurman, Benjamin Mays, and the Martin Luther King Legacy 421

Afterword 451

Acknowledgments 453

Notes on Sources 457

Selected Bibliography477

Index 483

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