Throughout American history black people are the only group of people to have been forbidden by law to learn to read. This expansive collection seeks to shed light on that injustice, putting some of America’s most cherished voices in a conversation in one magnificent volume that presents reading as an act of resistance.
Organized into three sections—the Peril, the Power, and the Pleasure—and featuring a vast array of contributors both classic and contemporary, Black Ink presents the brilliant diversity of black thought in America while solidifying the importance of these writers within the greater context of the American literary tradition. “This electric and electrifying collection of voices serves to open a much-needed window onto the freedom struggle of black literature. It’s a marvel, and a genuine gift for readers everywhere” (Wil Haygood, author of The Butler: A Witness to History).
Contributors include: Frederick Douglass, Solomon Northup, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King, Jr., Toni Morrison, Walter Dean Myers, Stokely Carmichael [Kwame Ture], Alice Walker, Jamaica Kincaid, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Terry McMillan, Junot Diaz, Edwidge Danticat, Colson Whitehead, Marlon James, Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Colson Whitehead.
The anthology features a bonus in-depth interview with President Barack Obama.
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|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.38(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Nikki Giovanni is one of the most decorated poets of our time. She is the recipient of seven NAACP Image Awards, a National Book Award, a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King Award, and a Grammy nomination. She is the author of three New York Times bestsellers as well as many poetry collections for children and adults. You can visit her online at Nikki-Giovanni.com.
Read an Excerpt
Yolande Cornelia “Nikki” Giovanni grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and spent her summers with her grandparents in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she was born in 1943. Giovanni graduated with honors from her grandfather’s alma mater, Fisk University. A world-renowned poet, author, commentator, activist, and educator, Giovanni has published volumes of poetry, nonfiction, essays, and children’s books.
She gained initial fame in the 1960s, as a leading voice of the Black Arts Movement, in the time of the civil rights and Black Power struggles. Awarded seven NAACP Image Awards, she has been nominated for a Grammy and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Since 1987, she has served on the faculty of Virginia Tech, where she is a university distinguished professor.
Giovanni’s literary greatness is on par with the twenty-five legendary writers included in this anthology. In the following foreword, she has graciously shared her own experiences in the tradition of the narrative of the book. She also sets the stage for what precedes the era of these writers in America—the horrific journey of the Middle Passage. While few of us ever think of it, overcoming language differences among the captured enslaved and then subsequently learning American English were among the first miracles along the path toward Black authorship as we know it today—from the peril of education to the power of literacy and then the pleasure of literature. First a moan, then a song, now a book.
Table of Contents
Foreword: Our First Stories Nikki Giovanni xiii
Introduction: Reading Matters Stephanie Stokes Oliver xvii
The Peril 1800-1900
Suspected of Having a Book Frederick Douglass 3
Nine Years Deprived of a Sheet of Paper Solomon Northup 13
A Whole Race Begins to Read Booker T. Washington 25
The Negro in Literature and Art W. E. B. Du Bois 41
The Power 1900-1968
Books and Things Zora Neale Hurston 49
Poetry Is Practical Langston Hughes 57
The Business of the Writer James Baldwin 57
Turning Point Malcolm X 73
Lessons in Living Maya Angelou 81
Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. 93
The Site of Memory Toni Morrison 99
Where Are the People of Color in Children's Books? Walter Dean Myers 111
Reading for Revolution Stokely Carmichael [Kwame Tore] 117
Twenty-One Alice Walker 127
A Temporary Library in a Small Place Jamaica Kincaid 135
What Is an African American Classic? Henry Louis Gates Jr. 143
New Black Scribe Terry McMillan 155
The Pleasure 1968-2017
Mfa vs. Poc Junot Díaz 163
Create Dangerously Edwidge Danticat 173
How to Write Colson Whitehead 187
From Jamaica to Minnesota to Myself Marlon James 193
I Once Was Miss America Roxane Gay 199
The Mecca TA-Nehisi Coates 207
The Danger of the Single Story Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 215
Bonus Feature What Books Mean to Me President Barack Obama An Interview With Michino Kakutani 225
Permissions and Credits 237