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Letters from Black America Hardcover – February 3, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0374101091 ISBN-10: 0374101094 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (February 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374101094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374101091
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #624,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With nearly 200 letters arranged chronologically under broad rubrics (e.g., Family, Courtship and Romance, Politics and Social Justice, Across the Diaspora), Newkirk (Within the Veil) sets out to offer “a sweeping narrative history of the Black American experience.” That is too large a claim—only 16 letters precede the end of the Civil War, and Newkirk's principle of selection is unclear. Public letters (Benjamin Banneker to Thomas Jefferson, Phillis Wheatley to George Washington, James Baldwin's letter to his nephew, Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter to white clergymen) are essential, but Newkirk's bland section introductions do little to set a context for particular letters, though the head notes are generally useful. About half of the letters were written between 1900 and 1940, but the book is up-to-date on the Obama campaign with letters from Rev. Wright and Toni Morrison. This is an instructive, moving—even delightful—primer on the myriad facets of African-American private and public life.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—This superb collection of more than 200 letters ranges widely in time, subject matter, and language, and as a unit it adds immeasurably to the singular story of a people, expressing in the most intimate terms the hopes, fears, struggles, tragedies, and triumphs of African Americans. From slavery to post-9/11, from Phillis Wheatley to Barack Obama, the book gathers correspondence from politicians, writers, and academics, as well as slaves, sharecroppers, servicemen, and domestic workers. Many well-known names are included: Martin Luther King, Jr., Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker. But the most moving entries are the barely literate and astonishingly painful pleas for family, and for simple justice, by otherwise nameless individuals of the Jim Crow era. Here are people with no hope left other than the belief that death will bring the reunion in Heaven of husband and wife, mother and son. The letters are arranged chronologically within broad subject areas such as family, courtship and romance, and politics and social justice. Each section has a brief introduction by Newkirk, just enough to set the stage. There are 16 pages of well-chosen black-and-white photographs, mostly portraits and samples of correspondence. By far, the strength of this volume lies in the indispensable glimpse it provides into the hearts and minds of strong, resilient Americans.—Robert Saunderson, formerly at Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By MQBLW on February 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Dear Ms. Newkirk:

I am reading your book, and find the letters intriguing and enlightening.

As I digest the passages, I feel as though I am standing in the shoes of the writer - being taken back in time and living life during some of the most difficult days in our country's history.

I must admit that I am overcome with a sense of pride, grief and awakening all at the same time while reading the letters. Pride because we, as a people, have come so far . . . Grief because the letters display the hardships of our ancestors . . . Awakening because this treatise reinforces the need to continue the fight for what is right so that the promise of a better future is realized.

Please accept my heartfelt "Thank You" for working so hard to have this book published.

Sincerely,
MQBLW
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Imani Gunderson on February 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Dear Ms. Newkirk:
Thank you for your brilliant contribution. The writing of this book brings us a new piece of the puzzle of our history. It shows the world just how very courageous, brilliant and loving we are.
Thank You
Imani Gunderson
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I chose this book because I first read it at a library but I could not borrow it out. It was new at that time. I finally bought it, and I cried because I suspect my ancestor is one of the letter writers. I've been showing this book around the Valentine Family.
Also, the speed of delivery of this book as astounding. I recieved it in less than 5 days.
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