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  • Letters from Black America
  • Edited by Pamela Newkirk
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780807001158
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Letters from Black America

Intimate Portraits of the African American Experience

Edited by Pamela NewkirkAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Pamela Newkirk

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Synopsis|Excerpt|Table of Contents

Synopsis

The first-ever narrative history of African Americans told through their own letters
 
Letters from Black America fills a literary and historical void by presenting the spectrum of African American experience in the most intimate way possible—through the heartfelt correspondence of those who lived through monumental changes and pivotal events, from the American Revolution to the war in Iraq, from slavery to the election of Obama.

Excerpt

Hannah Grover to Cato, June 3, 1805
     "My dear son Cato, I long to see you in my old age. I live in Caldwell with Mr. Grover the Minister of that place. Now my dear son I pray you to come and see your dear old Mother - Or send me twenty dollars and I will come and see you in Philadelphia - And if you cant come to see your old Mother pray send me a letter and tell me where you live, what family you have and what you do for a living. I am a poor old  servant. I long for freedom - And my Master will free me if any body will ingage to maintain me so that I do not come upon him - I love you Cato, you love your Mother - You are my only son

This from your affectionate Mother -

Hannah Van Buskerk now - Hannah Grover

Abream Scriven, September  19, 1858

    
"My Dear Wife, I take the pleasure of writing you these few with much regret to inform you that I am sold to a man by the name of Peterson a Trader and stays in New Orleans. I am here yet But I expect to go before long but when I get there I want to send you some things but I don't know who to send them by but I will try to get them to you and my children. Give my love to my father and mother and tell them good bye for me and if we Shall not meet in this world I hope to meet in heaven. My dear wife for you and my children my pen cannot express the griffe I feel to be parted from you all. I remain your truly husband until death.
Abream Scriven

Roscoe Conkling Bruce to Clara Burrill:
January 3, 1903
Dear heart, I have missed you a very great deal - how much no mortal but me can quite realize. (You, dearie, are an immortal!) I think of you literally all of the time. In my office my mind refuses to bind itself to routine duties and insists upon planning dresses and tomes and receptions and the Lord knows what for you. I love you, darling, with all my soul. My life you are. I pray that we may be always the creatures of poetry and romance that now we are; I pray that I may make you always happy; I pray that your life will not be narrowed by marriage but enlarged: I pray that we may be useful and worthy always. Let us, whatever comes, never forsake our scholarly interests; let us never degrade our ideals; let us always live on the summits of experience; and let us always be simple and noble and sensible and just..

Your devoted, Ros

Clara: to Roscoe

Undated

My darling,
    
So busy have I been during the last few days that I haven't had time to write to my darling but I have thought of him continually. Indeed, dearie, I have found difficulty in studying for my exams so wholly have all my thoughts been with you. You may be surprised to hear it, but I find more pleasure in thinking of you than I do in studying for mid-year exams ...
    
Oh dearie I shall be so happy when I am with you always. And, dearie, let's do all in our power to make others happy. Let us not be selfish in our love. Let us not leave our mothers alone and have them feel that in their last days they are unloved .I want Mama to feel that as long as we have a home she has one too. I hope you'll let her know.

Your own Clara

W.E.B. Du Bois to Yolande Du Bois,


October 29, 1914

Dear Little Daughter:
     
I have waited for you to get well settled before writing. By this time I hope some of the strangeness has work off and that my little girl is working hard and regularly.
     
Of course, everything is new and unusual. You miss the newness and smartness of America. Gradually, however, you are going to sense the beauty of the old world: its calm and eternity and you will grow to love it.
     
Above all remember, dear, that you have a great opportunity. You are in one of the world's best schools, in one of the world's greatest modern empires. Millions of boys and girls all over this world would give almost anything they possess to be where you are. You are there by no desert or merit of yours, but only by lucky chance. Deserve it, then. Study, do your work. Be honest, frank and fearless and get some grasp of the real values of life. You will meet, of course, curious little annoyances. People will wonder at your dear brown and the sweet crinkly hair. But that is simply of no importance, and will soon be forgotten. Remember that most folk laugh at anything unusual whether it is beautiful, fine or not. You however must not laugh at yourself. You must know that brown is as pretty as white or prettier and crinkly hair as straight though it is harder to comb. The main thing is the YOU beneath the clothes and skin -- the ability to do, the will to conquer, the determination to understand and know this great, wonderful, curious world.... [Don't shrink from new experiences and custom. Take the cold bath bravely. Enter into the spirit of your big bedroom. Enjoy what is and not pine for what is not. Read some good, heavy, serious books just for discipline. Take yourself in hand and master yourself. Make yourself do unpleasant things, so as to gain the upper hand of your soul.
     
Above all, remember your father loves you and believes in you and expects you to be a wonderful woman.]
     
I shall write each week and expect a weekly letter from you.

Lovingly yours,

Papa

Table of Contents

Introduction xvii
A Note on the Text xxi
 
PART I : Family
 
Hannah Grover to Her Son Cato, June 3, 1805
George Pleasant to Agnes Hobbs, September 6, 1833
Lucy Smith to Sarah Boon, May 1, 1842
Abream Scriven to Dinah Jones, September 19, 1858
James Tate to His Wife, February 4, 1863
Ann Valentine to Andrew Valentine, January 19, 1864
Mandy McCinny to George McCinny, May 11, 1864
Susanah Hart to Mark Hart, February 23, 1865
Martha Bruce to John Edward Bruce, September 23, 1887
Paul Laurence Dunbar to Matilda Dunbar, June 6, 1893
Matilda Dunbar to Paul Laurence Dunbar, June 8, 1895
Paul Laurence Dunbar to Matilda Dunbar, November 25, 1897
Matilda Dunbar to Paul Laurence Dunbar, July 5, 1901
Mary Church Terrell to Robert H. Terrell, July 9, 1902
Robert H. Terrell to Mary Church Terrell, Undated
Robert H. Terrell to Mary Church Terrell, December 30, 1913
W.E.B. Du Bois to Yolande Du Bois, March 13, 1907
W.E.B. Du Bois to Yolande Du Bois, October 29, 1914
Dr. William R. R. Granger, Sr., to Son, October 8, 1911
Dr. William R. R. Granger, Sr., to W.R.R. Granger, Jr., September 30, 1914
Dr. A. T. Granger to Dr. W.R.R. Granger, Jr., August 5, 1917
Lester B. Granger to Dr. W.R.R. Granger, Jr., July 15, 1930
Lester B. Granger to Dr. W.R.R. Granger, Jr., February 23, 1932
Madam C. J. Walker to A’Lelia Walker, May 16, 1919
Grace Nail Johnson to James Weldon Johnson, June 19, 1929
Leigh Whipper to Dr. Ionia Whipper, September 8, 1930
Robert Murphy to Matilda Dunbar, October 30, 1933
Ralph Ellison to Ida Millsap Ellison, April 20, 1937
Ralph Ellison to Ida Millsap Ellison, August 30, 1937
The Watson Children to Justice James S. Watson, Undated, 1937
James L. Watson to Justice James S. Watson, May 16, 1943
Doug Watson to Justice James S. Watson, September 29, 1947
Martin Luther King, Jr., to Martin Luther King, Sr., June 15, 1944
Julia Davis Rustin to Bayard Rustin, April 15, 1946
Martin Luther King, Jr., to Alberta King, October 1948
Edith Braithwaite to William Stanley Braithwaite, December 27, 1954
William Stanley Braithwaite to Edith Braithwaite, September 27, 1956
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., to Hazel Scott Powell, October 11, 1957
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Coretta Scott King, October 26, 1960
Medgar Evers to Myrlie Evers and Children, November 27, 1962
Urnestine Lewis to David Levering Lewis, September 7, 1963
Derrick Bell, Jr., to Derrick Bell, Sr., July 26, 1967
Joseph F. Beam to Mom and Dad, May 29, 1976
Walter J. Leonard to Angela Leonard, April 16, 1991
Walter J. Leonard to Mamie K. Singleton, November 10, 1992
Queen Esther Gupton Cheatham Jones to Renée Cheatham Neblett, March 1993
Queen Esther Gupton Cheatham Jones to Renée Cheatham Neblett, Undated, circa 1996
Thomas Allen Harris to Lyle Ashton Harris, Undated, 1998
Michael Leon Thomas to Mom and Dad, October 12, 2000
Walter J. Leonard to Angela M. Leonard, May 12, 2005
 
PART II : Courtship and Romance
 
Nicey E. Bush to Harvey Moore, September 14, 1869
Harvey Moore to Nicey E. Bush, October 26, 1869
Harvey Moore to Nicey E. Bush, December 20, 1869
Paul Laurence Dunbar to Alice Ruth Moore, March 7, 1897
Roscoe Conkling Bruce to Clara Burrill, January 3, 1903
Clara Burrill to Roscoe Conkling Bruce, Undated, 1903
Roscoe Conkling Bruce to Clara Burrill, January 31, 1903
Roscoe Conkling Bruce to Clara Burrill, February 19, [1903]
Dr. James Arthur Kennedy to A’Lelia Walker, December 8, 1921
Dr. Henry Arthur Callis to Myra Colson, December 24, 1925
Dr. Henry Arthur Callis to Myra Colson, January 7, 1926
Robert Keyes to Hattie Haynes, April 15, 1928
Fredi Washington to Lawrence Brown, June 22, 1932
Lawrence Brown to Fredi Washington, Undated
Fredi Washington to Lawrence Brown, September 29, 1934
Charles Drew to Minnie Lenore Robbins, April 9, 1939
Charles Drew to Minnie Lenore Robbins, 1939
Charles Drew to Minnie Lenore Robbins, April 21, 1939
Martin Luther King, Jr., to Coretta Scott, July 18, 1952
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Coretta Scott King, February 14, 1957
Booker T. Washington III to Joyce Dodson Washington, February 4, 1968
Walter D. Broadnax to Angel Wheelock Marshall, March 28, 1984
Francesca Momplaisir to Nnabu Gogoh, May 8, 1999
Nnabu Gogoh to Francesca Momplaisir, June 10, 2000
Nnabu Gogoh to Francesca Momplaisir, September 28, 2000
 
PART III : Politics and Social Justice
 
Phillis Wheatley to Rev. Samson Occom, February 11, 1774
Benjamin Banneker to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, August 19, 1791
Frederick Douglass to Captain Thomas Auld, September 3, 1848
Fugitive Slaves to Enslaved Brethren, November 5, 1850
Annie Davis to President Abraham Lincoln, August 25, 1864
Sojourner Truth to Rowland Johnson, November 17, 1864
Frederick Douglass to Readers, June 13, 1872
Whitefield McKinlay to Booker T. Washington, November 1, 1901
Booker T. Washington to Whitefield McKinlay, November 6, 1901
Booker T. Washington to Whitefield McKinlay, February 18, 1902
Ida B. Wells-Barnett to Anti-Lynching Bureau, January 1, 1902
Robert Smalls to Whitefield McKinlay, November 10, 1909
Robert Smalls to Whitefield McKinlay, September 12, 1912
W.E.B. Du Bois to President Woodrow Wilson, October 10, 1916
James Weldon Johnson to President Warren G. Harding, September 19, 1921
Arthur A. Schomburg to Wendell Dabney, December 12, 1933
Roy Wilkins to Eleanor Roosevelt, Undated, 1934
Walter White to Thurgood Marshall, March 1, 1935
Claude McKay to James Weldon Johnson, May 8, 1935
Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., to Eleanor Roosevelt, November 5, 1956
Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., to U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy, November 5, 1957
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to President John F. Kennedy, September 11, 1962
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to White Clergymen, April 16, 1963
James Baldwin to His Nephew James, 1963
Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., January 27, 1964
Shirley Du Bois to Langston Hughes, March 7, 1965
Jean Fairfax to Minnie and A. J. Lewis, July 23, 1965
U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke III to President Richard M. Nixon, March 27, 1969
U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke III to Secretary of State William P. Rogers, May 27, 1969
Bayard Rustin to Eldridge Cleaver, January 24, 1977
Bayard Rustin to Mayor Edward I. Koch, February 25, 1985
Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., to Jodi Kantor, March 2007
Toni Morrison to U.S. Senator Barack Obama, January 28, 2008
AliceWalker to President-Elect Barack Obama, November 5, 2008
 
PART IV: Education and the Art of Scholarship
 
Booker T. Washington to Emily Howland, Undated
W.E.B. Du Bois to Harvard University, October 29, 1887
W.E.B. Du Bois to the John F. Slater Fund, March 10, 1893
Booker T. Washington to W.E.B. Du Bois, July 15, 1902
W.E.B. Du Bois to Vernealia Fereira, December 14, 1904
John Hope to W.E.B. Du Bois, January 17, 1910
W.E.B. Du Bois to John Hope, January 22, 1910
Alice Dunbar to John Edward Bruce, March 23, 1914
James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey to Sadie Peterson Delaney, March 14, 1924
John Hope to W.E.B. Du Bois, November 15, 1924
W.E.B. Du Bois to John Hope, March 25, 1925
W.E.B. Du Bois to Bureau of Education Commissioner William John Cooper, December 18, 1929
Carter G. Woodson to John Hope, December 24, 1931
Alain Locke to James Weldon Johnson, March 7, 1934
Countee Cullen to James Weldon Johnson, June 7, 1934
Shirley Graham to W.E.B. Du Bois, June 23, 1934
Sterling A. Brown to W.E.B. Du Bois, January 29, 1935
Horace Mann Bond to Arthur A. Schomburg, September 19, 1936
Arthur A. Schomburg to Jacob Drachler, January 10, 1938
Kenneth B. Clark to Mr. Swift, September 17, 1940
Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., to Rev. Hugh Burr,
March 16, 1956
Jean Fairfax to U.S. Education Commissioner Francis Keppel,
March 6, 1967
Derrick Bell, Jr., to Office for Civil Rights Staff,
August 15, 1967
U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke III to President Richard M. Nixon,
June 25, 1969
Derrick Bell, Jr., to Justice Thurgood Marshall, October 2, 1969
Justice Thurgood Marshall to Derrick Bell, Jr., October 1969
Kenneth B. Clark to The New York Times, August 7, 1979
Derrick Bell, Jr., to Dean Robert Clark, April 9, 1990
Walter J. Leonard to Angela M. Leonard, July 28, 1997
Walter J. Leonard to Angela M. Leonard, November 6, 2002
Rev. Bernard Chris Dorsey to Walter Broadnax, April 17, 2007
Dr. Frank L. Douglas to Claude Canizares, MIT Vice President for Research, June 1, 2007
Dr. Frank L. Douglas to His MIT Colleagues and Friends, June 1, 2007
 
PART V: War
 
John Boston to His Wife, January 12, 1862
Lewis Douglass to Amelia Loguen, July 20, 1863
James Henry Gooding to President Abraham Lincoln, September 28, 1863
Nancy Allcorn to Missouri Provost Marshall, May 16, 1864
George Rodgers et al. to President Abraham Lincoln, August 1864 •
Roanoke Island, North Carolina, Freedmen to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, March 9, 1865
M. W. Saddler to The Freeman Newspaper, September 1899
Patrick Mason to Editor of The Gazette Newspaper, November 19, 1899
Unnamed Soldier to New York Age Editor, May 17, 1900
James A. Davis to Pecola Johnson Davis, October 1, 1918
Canute Frankson to a Dear Friend, July 6, 1937
Canute Frankson to “My Dear,” July 23, 1937
Canute Frankson to “Dearest,” April 13, 1938
Leigh Whipper to Benjamin O. Davis, January 28, 1941
Mr. and Mrs. James S. Watson to Private James L. Watson, January 23, 1943
Lenwood Waller to Pauline Perry, May 7, 1945
Bayard Rustin to Local Board No. 63, New York City, November 16, 1943
A. Philip Randolph to Bayard Rustin, April 17, 1944
A. Philip Randolph to Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall, October 30, 1950
Lester B. Granger to Navy Secretary Dan A. Kimball, October 24, 1952
U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke III to President Richard M. Nixon, October 23, 1969
U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke III to President Richard M. Nixon, May 11, 1970
Gen. Colin L. Powell to the Students of East Pike Elementary School, August 22, 1991
Gen. Colin L. Powell to Friends of Sgt. Maj. William Harrington, March 26, 1994
Capt. Eric Mitchell to Friends and Family, 2003
Maj. David Scott Harris to Lois D. Cherry, March 23, 2003
Lois D. Cherry to Maj. David Scott Harris, March 23, 2003
Maj. David Scott Harris to Lois D. Cherry, April 3, 2003
Commanding Officer Craig S. Prather, PE, MBA, to My Dalton Family, December 25, 2006
 
PART VI : Art and Culture
 
Phillis Wheatley to Gen. George Washington, October 26, 1775
Paul Laurence Dunbar to Alice Ruth Moore, April 17, 1895
Alice Ruth Moore to Paul Laurence Dunbar, May 7, 1895
Paul Laurence Dunbar to Booker T. Washington, January 23, 1902
Claude A. Barnett to Jean Toomer, April 23, 1923
Jean Toomer to Claude A. Barnett, April 29, 1923
Countee Cullen to Langston Hughes, May 14, 1924
Countee Cullen to Langston Hughes, October 8, 1924
W.E.B. Du Bois to Roland Hayes, November 30, 1925
Roland Hayes to W.E.B. Du Bois, December 16, 1925
Alain Locke to A’Lelia Walker, October 12, 1928
Zora Neale Hurston to Langston Hughes, December 10, 1929
Jean Toomer to James Weldon Johnson, July 11, 1930
James Weldon Johnson to Jean Toomer, July 26, 1930
Langston Hughes to James Weldon Johnson, August 14, 1931
Zora Neale Hurston to James Weldon Johnson, April 16, 1934
Zora Neale Hurston to Dorothy West, Undated
Claude McKay to James Weldon Johnson, May 31, 1935
Ralph Ellison to Langston Hughes, August 24, 1936
Claude McKay to James Weldon Johnson, April 2, 1937
Ralph Ellison to Langston Hughes, April 27, 1937
Arthur A. Schomburg to Langston Hughes, January 3, 1938
Arthur A. Schomburg to Caterina Jarboro, March 21, 1938
Richard Wright to Antonio Frasconi, November 1944
Richard Wright to David L. Cohn, The Atlantic Monthly, May 1945
Langston Hughes to John Johnson, October 14, 1945
Ralph Ellison to Langston Hughes, August 25, 1947
Ralph Ellison to Kenneth Burke, August 25, 1947
Fredi Washington to Darr Smith, August 2, 1949
James Hubert “Eubie” Blake to Flournoy E. Miller, October 30, 1949
Bobby Short to Fredi Washington, May 18, 1952
Langston Hughes to Arna Bontemps, February 18, 1953
Arna Bontemps to Langston Hughes, March 4, 1953
Ralph Ellison to Mrs. Turner, March 31, 1953
James Hubert “Eubie” Blake to Flournoy E. Miller, October 9, 1954
Josephine Baker to Langston Hughes, December 23, 1964
Alice Walker to Derrick Bell, Jr., May 20, 1986
William T. Williams to David C. Driskell, October 5, 1988
Howardena Pindell to Charles Reeve, editor of Art Papers, May 30, 2002
 
PART VII : Across the Diaspora
 
Mack Nichols et al. to Rev. Alexander Crummel, October 4, 1865
George T. Downing to Alexander Crummel, May 18, 1897
Alexander Crummel to John W. Cromwell, June 15, 1897
John R. Archer to John Edward Bruce, January 17, 1914
James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey to Arthur A. Schomburg, May 28, 1918
James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey to John Edward Bruce, June 28, 1922
J. E. Casely Hayford to John Edward Bruce, November 24, 1923
W.E.B. Du Bois to Liberian President Honorable Charles Dunbar Burgess King, January 21, 1924
Marcus Garvey to Negroes of the World, February 10, 1925
W.E.B. Du Bois to Harvey S. Firestone, October 26, 1925
Louis-Marie Dantès Bellegarde to Arthur A. Schomburg, March 11, 1932
Arthur A. Schomburg to Louis-Marie Dantès Bellegarde, May 3, 1934
Marcus Garvey to Norton Cruickshank, June 10, 1937
Fredi Washington to Ademola Johnson, September 23, 1949
WilliamAlphaeus Hunton, Jr., to Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah, May 4, 1962
Charles Adjei to Lois Okudzeto, June 2003
 
Acknowledgments
Index
Praise

Praise

“As the country enters a fresh atmosphere around our latest president, Letters from Black America strikes a vital, rich chord in which to breathe the new air.”—Karen Long, Cleveland Plain Dealer
 
“While this unique collection of letters represents a frank depiction of the black experience, the great achievement is that these writings often go far beyond race and class to simply tell the story of the human experience in America.”—Allen McGinley, Library Journal, starred review
 
“A rich array of ‘linguistic snapshots,’ more than 200 letters that range from a slave writing his wife on the eve of being sold to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail.’”—Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today
 
Letters from Black America is itself a work of art.”—Andrew Carroll, editor of Letters of a Nation and War Letters
 
“An extraordinary peek at what went on behind the closed doors of black America for nearly three hundred years. Notables are reduced to human beings, and the anonymous come to life. These extraordinary snapshots of the past will provide hours of informative pleasure and delightful reading. Wonderfully done.” —James McBride, author of The Color of Water
 
“There can’t be a better way to salute Black History Month than to read this collection. It gathers everything from the desperate letters of 19th century slaves—spouses who’d been sold, never to see each other again—to expressions of friendship between poets. . . . Drawn from two centuries, these letters are a lesson drawn from the heart of African-American history.” —Anne Stephenson, Arizona Republic
 
Letters from Black America . . . presents the pantheon of the African-American experience in a unique and intimate format, through the heartfelt correspondence of both the ordinary and extraordinary men and women who lived it.” —Joy T. Bennett, Ebony
 
“This collection offers an intimate look at the joys and concerns in the lives of ordinary and famous black Americans.” —Vanessa Bush, Booklist
 
“What makes this book powerful is not only the letters of famous people—Martin Luther King, Booker T. Washington, Alice Walker—but the missives of ordinary folks. Annie Davis, for example, wrote President Lincoln a year after the Emancipation Proclamation. ‘It is my desire to go free . . . my mistress won’t let me. You will please let me know if we are free and what I can do. I write to you for advice.’” —Billy Helton, New York Post
 
“Ah, the lure and lore of the letter! Nowadays we turn to cell phones, e-mail and instant messaging to connect, but when you crack open Pamela Newkirk’s Letters from Black America you’ll see that the pen is mightier than the thumb.” —Mika Ono, Essence
 
“An instructive, moving—even delightful—primer on the myriad facets of African-American private and public life.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“This long-overdue collection by writers from all walks of life is moving, illuminating, and difficult to put down.”—Marian Wright Edelman, president, Children’s Defense Fund
 
“When we think of great memorials and monuments, we often envision structures crafted out of steel or stone. But I believe the letters in Pamela Newkirk’s tremendous collection represent perhaps the most powerful and enduring legacy to the strength, creativity, genius, and resilience of the African American community. Letters from Black America is itself a work of art.” —Andrew Carroll, editor of Letters of a Nation and War Letters
 
“Seldom has the intimate life of a people been more variously revealed. Think of the day when there may only be downloaded e-mail, and then thank Pamela Newkirk for the enduring significance, poignancy, and delight of her Letters from Black America.”
—David Levering Lewis, Julius Silver University Professor, New York University, and author of W.E.B. Du Bois
 
“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. . . . 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. . . . Each section has a brief introduction by Newkirk, just enough to set the stage.” —Robert Saunderson, School Library Journal
 
“A unique look at the inner thoughts of many of the most notable African Americans in history. The format enables a reader to pick up the book for just a minute or two to read a particular letter. But the entries can also hold one’s interest for hours if an entire section or the whole book is read in one sitting.” —The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

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