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Memories of Arkansas Slavery Narratives from the 1930s WPA Collections
These oral histories were first published in the 1970s in a thirty-nine-volume series organized by state, and they transformed America's understanding of slavery. They have offered crucial evidence on a variety of other topics as well: the Civil War, Reconstruction, agricultural practices, everyday life, and oral history itself.
A Correspondent’s Adventures with the New York Times
This witty, wide-ranging memoir from Roy Reed—a native Arkansan who became a reporter for the New York Times—begins with tales of the writer’s formative years growing up in Arkansas and the start of his career at the legendary Arkansas Gazette. Reed joined the New York Times in 1965 and was quickly thrust into the chaos of Alabama, witnessing first hand the Selma protest movement and the historical interracial march to Montgomery. His story moves from days of racial violence to the political combat of Washington. Reed covered the Johnson White House and the early days of the Nixon administration as it wrestled with the competing demands of black voters and southern resistance to a new world. The memoir concludes with engaging postings from New Orleans and London and other travels of a correspondent always on the lookout for new people, old ways, good company, and fresh outrages.
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.
Sixty American Poets Speak to the World
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.
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.
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.
In her first book, Chord Box, Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers envisions a world where each place is best known by its sound. Weaving complex junctions between music, speech, the body, and sexuality, these poems trace the arc of adolescence and early adulthood, rooting themselves in gritty landscapes of the South and Appalachia, China and its borderlands. Part narrative and part lyric, Rogers’s poems make use of the whole field of the page, assembling an innovative poetic vocabulary that includes word, character, and symbol. By calling on figures from the recent as well as the distant past, this coming-of-age collection asks us to consider history, both personal and political. Whether struggling to make vibrato on the guitar or stringing together her first sentences in Mandarin, the speaker of these poems assumes the role of the eager student, edging her way toward an understanding with both fierceness and a sense of humility. Chord Box is exquisitely crafted and rich with feeling, a dazzling debut collection.
In many of the poems in The Coal Life, Adam Vines, an avid outdoorsman and former professional landscaper for nearly twenty years, explores the cultural landscape of Alabama coal-mining camps in the first half of the twentieth century and how the industry can shape and distort a cultural text similar to the way it contorts and upturns the physical landscape.
The Civil War Memoir of Joseph M. Bailey
Joseph M. Bailey’s memoir, Confederate Guerrilla, provides a unique perspective on the fighting that took place behind Union lines in Federal-occupied northwest Arkansas during and after the Civil War. This story—now published for the first time—will appeal to modern readers interested in the grassroots history of the Trans-Mississippi war.