October 14, 1964 - Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Have you ever wondered about the Nobel Prizes? We all know them as a mark of prestige, but where did those world-famous awards come from and who decides the winners? Check out The Nobel Prize : A History of Genius, Controversy, and Prestige and wonder no more. Burton Feldman relates the lively history of the awards, touring their century-long existence forward from the will of dynamite mogul Alfred Nobel. Readers will learn about the quirky preferences of the award committees, winners who really didn't deserve to win, losers that should have been winners, and amusing bits of Nobel trivia (like the awarding of the prize in medicine to the inventor of the lobotomy). For details on Martin Luther King, Jr. and his award, the AADL has a GIANT collection of MLK materials for you to peruse. Enjoy!

August 11th - Happy Birthday Alex Haley!

Alex Haley, AuthorAlex Haley, Author

Alexander Murray Palmer Haley was born on August 11, 1921 in Ithaca, New York. As a young boy, Alex Haley learned of his African ancestor, Kunta Kinte, by listening to the family stories of his maternal grandparents while spending his summers in Henning, Tennessee. According to family history, Kunta Kinte landed with other Gambian Africans in "Naplis" (Annapolis, Maryland) where he was sold into slavery. Alex Haley's quest to learn more about his family history resulted in his writing the Pulitzer Prize winning book Roots. The book has been published in 37 languages, and was made into the first week-long television mini-series, viewed by an estimated 130 million people. Roots also generated widespread interest in genealogy and eventually helped spawn the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation.
Other Haley publications include many well received Playboy interviews (including Martin Luther King, Jr.), his first major book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, A Different Kind of Christmas, a 1990 book about the underground railroad, and Queen, the story of Haley's paternal ancestors. Perhaps one of Alex Haley's greatest gifts was in speaking. He was a fascinating teller of tales. In great demand as a lecturer, both nationally and internationally, he was on a lecture tour in Seattle, Washington when he suffered a heart attack and died in February 1992.

Too Little Too Late

Victoria Christopher Murray’s book, Too Little Too Late, is a story about Jasmine Bush. Jasmine has only one mission and one mission only: to keep all of her secrets hidden. The story begins with Jasmine and her husband Hosea renewing their wedding vows. For him, it’s a chance to start their marriage fresh, to get past his shock and betrayal when Jasmine informed him 18 months earlier that he wasn’t the father of their daughter, Jacqueline. He’d left her that day, walking away from both his wife and daughter. But he came back, explaining that since God had put them together, he was obligated to forgive her and make things work. Unfortunately, Jasmine has many more secrets she’s hiding from her husband.
Too Little Too Late is a tale of a marriage threatened by lies, deception and betrayal.

Maya Angelou is eighty today.

Today is the eightieth birthday of Maya Angelou. It is also the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King. Ms. Angelou and Dr. King were close friends, and for years she refused to celebrate her birthday.

After a turbulent and traumatic childhood, Ms Angelou went on to develop an extraordinary career as a poet, singer, memoirist, actress and civil rights leader. Her most well-known work, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was nominated for a National Book Award. She was the first poet since Robert Frost to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration: “On the Pulse of Morning” at the first Clinton inauguration. Despite the critical acclaim she received, she tried to remain close to ordinary women, becoming Oprah Winfrey’s mentor and even appearing on her show several times.

The assassination of Dr. King is especially being covered this year on cable channels. CNN had a special documentary about it last night, and the History Channel is also having a special Sunday night.

New African-American Teen Lit & Author visit!

In anticipation of local Ann Arbor, teen author, Cassandra Carter's upcoming appearance at AADL (TUESDAY, MARCH 18 | 7:00-8:00 PM | MC ) be sure to read her latest book, Fast Life. When her single mother is offered a job in the Caribbean away from her Chicago neighborhood where drugs, gang violence, and fast money rule, sixteen-year-old Kyra finally realizes that there is more to life than Gucci, Prada and "ghetto-fabulous bling." Read the book to find out what happens to Kyra... If you're looking for some complicated romance than check out Stacie & Cole by Johnson, R.M.: Cole, who is feeling abandoned by his father and tired of being harassed by his friends for being a virgin, is ready to take his relationship with his girlfriend Stacie to the next level, but Stacie is not sure that she is ready.

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance [AUDIOBOOK-CD]

Dreams from My Father by "Barack Obama", is one of the best audiobook memoirs about race and exploration of one's identity and family history I have ever listened to. Obama's father (Barack Obama Sr.) was black from Kenya and his mother (Stanley Ann Dunham) was white from Kansas. His descriptions of the struggle to figure out who he is and who his relatives are, are compelling. The whole scenario regarding racial concerns is very informative; it exposes the world to this reality and at the same time teaches us to be more considerate. I really enjoyed listening to such a wonderful Audio Biography of a smart, well-intentioned and accomplished man; as well as, the interesting Memoirs of his past, present and future life in the great land of freedom and opportunities--USA.

Bethel AME Church

Bethel AME imageBethel AME image

This month Bethel AME Church of Ann Arbor celebrates 150 years as a congregation. That’s pretty amazing when you consider there were few black folks in Ann Arbor at the time. Check out this vintage photo of Bethel AME’s Sunday school class circa 1930. There’s also a beautiful pictorial book, Soul Sanctuary depicting African American worship around the country. Go Bethel! It’s your birthday!

Waking With Enemies by Eric Jerome Dickey

Waking With Enemies is the ideal sequel to Sleeping With Strangers. Eric Jerome Dickey effortlessly picks up right where Sleeping With Strangers left off--something that sequels rarely do. The sequel answers many questions that were left unanswered in Sleeping With Strangers. EJD provides many unique twists and turns throughout this story. In this fast paced drama, nothing is what it appears to be so it is important to pay attention to all of the little details. Note: in order to fully understand Waking With Enemies you should read Sleeping With Strangers first.

If you don’t know, now you know

Check out Tyrell by Coe Booth, the winner of the 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Fiction. Fifteen-year-old Tyrell lives in a South Bronx homeless shelter with his mother and seven-year-old brother Troy. His mother refuses to find a job, his father is in jail, and his little brother is smart as a whip but stuck in special education classes so his mother can continue to collect Social Security checks. He wants to stay faithful to Novisha but how can he with Jasmine knocking on his door? Tyrell needs to make money to appease his mother, make sure his brother gets the education he deserves, stay faithful to Novisha, and help Jasmine realize her potential. And he wants to do it all without hustling. I can't put this book down! I hope there will be a sequel.

Already read it? What did you think? How unique to the Bronx is Tyrell’s situation?

African Lit 101

Interested in African literature (that is, novels by people from Africa about people in Africa)? The following should get you started:

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria)
Xala by Ousmane Sembène (Senegal)
A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong'o (Kenya)
The House of Hunger by Dambudzo Marechera (Zimbabwe/Rhodesia)
Butterfly Burning by Yvonne Vera (Zimbabwe)
A Sleepwalking Land by Mia Couto (Mozambique)
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah (Ghana)
The Famished Road by Ben Okri (Nigeria)

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