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Beyond Little Rock

The Origins and Legacies of the Central High Crisis

Based on extensive archival work, private paper collections, and oral history, this book includes eight of John Kirk’s essays, two of which have never been published before. Together, these essays locate the dramatic events of the crisis within the larger story of the African American struggle for freedom and equality in Arkansas.

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Beyond Rosie

A Documentary History of Women and World War II

More so than any war in history, World War II was a woman’s war. Women, motivated by patriotism, the opportunity for new experiences, and the desire to serve, participated widely in the global conflict. Within the Allied countries, women of all ages proved to be invaluable in the fight for victory. Rosie the Riveter became the most enduring image of women’s involvement in World War II. What Rosie represented, however, is only a small portion of a complex story. As wartime production workers, enlistees in auxiliary military units, members of voluntary organizations or resistance groups, wives and mothers on the home front, journalists, and USO performers, American women found ways to challenge traditional gender roles and stereotypes.

Beyond Rosie offers readers an opportunity to see the numerous contributions they made to the fight against the Axis powers and how American women’s roles changed during the war. The primary documents (newspapers, propaganda posters, cartoons, excerpts from oral histories and memoirs, speeches, photographs, and editorials) collected here represent cultural, political, economic, and social perspectives on the diverse roles women played during World War II.

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Black Charlestonians

A Social History, 1822-1885

This revisionist work delineates the major social and economic contours of the large black population in the pivotal Southern city of Charleston, South Carolina., historic seaport center for the slave trade. It draws upon census data, manuscript collections, and newspaper accounts to expand our knowledge of this particular community of nineteenth-century black urbanites.

Although the federal government codified the rights of African-Americans into law following the Civil War, it was the initiatives taken by black men and women that actually transformed the theoretical benefits of emancipation into clear achievement.

Because of its large free black population, Charleston provided a case study of black social class stratification and social mobility even before the war. Reconstruction only emphasized that stratification, and Powers examines in detail the aspirations and concessions that shaped the lives of the newly freed blacks, who were led by a black upper class tat sometimes seemed more inclined to emulate white social mores than act as a vanguard for fundamental social change.

Unlike most Reconstruction studies, which concentrate on politics, Black Charlestonians explores the era’s vital socioeconomic challenges for blacks as they emerged into full citizenship in an important city in the South.

Choice’s 1996 Outstanding Academic Books List

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The Boy from Altheimer

From the Depression to the Boardroom

Bill Bowen’s memoir deals with many of the most important events and years in Arkansas history in the twentieth century.

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Breaking the Jaws of Silence

Sixty American Poets Speak to the World

Sholeh Wolpé

Through the support of PEN Center USA, Iranian American poet and translator Sholeh Wolpé has brought together sixty American poets to address the world through poems that not only meditate on the principles of freedom, justice, and tolerance but also boldly and directly address specific countries. Natasha Trethewey, Robert Bly, Rita Dove, Yusef Komunyakaa, Galway Kinnell, Philip Levine, Carolyn Forché, Billy Collins, Jorie Graham, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Quincy Troupe are just some of the poets whose work is gathered in this powerful new collection. These poets speak out in the tradition of all poets who speak out in uprisings, seeking to change the landscape despite an environment of oppression, torture, and denial of basic human rights. All poems included were gifted to this anthology, which will benefit PEN Center USA’s Freedom to Write program.

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Breaking Through

John B. McLendon, Basketball Legend and Civil Rights Pioneer

John B. McLendon was the last living protégé of basketball’s inventor, Dr. James Naismith, and one of the “top ten basketball coaches of the century” in Billy Packer’s opinion. McLendon’s amazing records in college and pro basketball earned him a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame (the first black coach to be inducted), and his coaching philosophy has had a huge influence on basketball coaches. Breaking Through is also a powerful and inspirational story about segregation and a champion’s struggle for equality in 1940s and 50s America.

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The Broken Vase

A Novel Based On the Life of Penina Krupitsky, a Holocaust Survivor

The Broken Vase is a roman à clef ("novel with a key," or novel based on real life) written by Phillip H. McMath based upon research done by his co-author, Emily Matson Lewis, and in close collaboration with Holocaust survivor Penina Krupitsky, who appears in the novel as the fictional Miriam Kellerman. With the help of the World Jewish Organization, Mrs. Krupitsky emigrated from the Soviet Union with her family to the United States and now lives in Arkansas. Born to middle-class parents in July 1924 in North Bukovina, Romania (now Chernivtsi, Ukraine), Miriam Kellerman grows up in an atmosphere of culture and privilege that is interrupted when her country is invaded—first by Stalin in July 1940, then by Hitler in June 1941. Fearing for their lives, Jews like Miriam begin to flee into the Soviet Union to escape the German advance. Separated from her parents, Deborah and Max, and later from her fiancé, Isaac, Miriam finds herself alone and on foot, trudging ever eastward. This novel's compelling narrative chronicles her incredible struggle to stay alive as World War II rages. Mrs. Krupitsky lives in Little Rock with her husband, children, and grandchildren. She remains active in Holocaust remembrance organizations around the world and says that she wants The Broken Vase "to help young people and become an inspiration to them. It will teach them how to build a world of love and not of hatred."

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Brother Bill

President Clinton and the Politics of Race and Class

As President Barack Obama was sworn into office on January 20, 2009, the United States was abuzz with talk of the first African American president. At this historic moment, one man standing on the inaugural platform, seemingly a relic of the past, had actually been called by the moniker the “first black president” for years.

President William Jefferson Clinton had long enjoyed the support of African Americans during his political career, but the man from Hope also had a complex and tenuous relationship with this faction of his political base. Clinton stood at the nexus of intense political battles between conservatives’ demands for a return to the past and African Americans’ demands for change and fuller equality. He also struggled with the class dynamics dividing the American electorate, especially African Americans. Those with financial means seized newfound opportunities to go to college, enter the professions, pursue entrepreneurial ambitions, and engage in mainstream politics, while those without financial means were essentially left behind. The former became key to Clinton’s political success as he skillfully negotiated the African American class structure while at the same time maintaining the support of white Americans. The results were tremendously positive for some African Americans. For others, the Clinton presidency was devastating.

Brother Bill examines President Clinton’s political relationship with African Americans and illuminates the nuances of race and class at the end of the twentieth century, an era of technological, political, and social upheaval.

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Camp Nine

A Novel

Vivienne Schiffer

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the secretary of war to prescribe military zones “from which any or all persons may be excluded.” Eventually this order was applied to one-third of the land area in the United States, mostly in the West, clearing the way for the relocation of 120,000 people with “Foreign Enemy Ancestry,” in other words, those of Japanese descent. This time of fear and prejudice (the U.S. government formally apologized for the relocations in 1982 after determining they were not a military necessity) and the Arkansas Delta are the setting for Camp Nine. The novel’s narrator, Chess Morton, lives in Rook, a place that is rural Arkansas in the extreme, a town too tiny to have a bank, a library, a restaurant, or even a church. Chess’s days are quiet and secluded until the appearance of a relocation center built for what was in effect the imprisonment of thousands of Japanese Americans. Chess’s life becomes intertwined with those of two young internees, Henry and David Matsui, and that of an American soldier mysteriously connected to her mother’s past. As Chess watches the struggles and triumphs of these strangers and sees her mother seek justice for these people who came briefly and involuntarily to call the Arkansas Delta their home, she discovers surprising and disturbing truths about her family’s painful past.

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Cenotaph

Poems

Finalist, 2016 Miller Williams Poetry Prize

Out of the contradiction, paradox, loss, and strange beauty of contemporary warfare, Brock Jones brings us Cenotaph, a collection of poems that have as their genesis Jones’s deployments to Iraq in 2003 and 2005, when he was in the US Army.

These are war poems, but also love poems and hate poems, poems about dying and living, poems about hope and hopelessness. These are poems that beautifully reflect Jones’s resignation to and rejection of the impossibility of saying anything definitive or honest about war.

These are poems that strive to do what poet Bruce Weigl described as the poet’s job: to find “some kind of miraculous way that if you work hard enough to get the words right, that which you call ‘horrific and wrong’ is defeated.”

Cenotaph is a poet doing the poet’s work: trying, hoping to get the words right.

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