Relevant Books.

Position:Book review

Stockley, Grif. Black Boys Burning: The 1959 Fire at the Arkansas Negro Boys Industrial School. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2017, pp.210, ISBN: 1496812697.

On the morning of March 5, 1959, fire had engulfed the Arkansas Negro Boys Industrial School in Wrightsville, thirteen miles outside of Little Rock. Forty-eight boys clawed their way through the windows of the dormitory to safety, however, twenty-one boys between the ages of thirteen and seventeen who burned to death. This book presents an explanation of how systemic poverty perpetuated by white supremacy sealed the fate of those students, hence, telling of the history of the school and fire, providing a fresh understanding of the broad implications of white supremacy. Thus, the book adds to an evolving understanding of the Jim Crow South, Arkansas's history, the lawyers who capitalized on this tragedy, and the African American victims.

Babb, Valerie. A History of the African American Novel. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2017, pp.485, ISBN: 9781107448773.

This volume offers an overview of the development of the novel and its major genres. In the first part of this book, the author examines the evolution of the novel from the 1850s to the present, showing how the concept of Black identity has transformed along with the art form. The second part explores the prominent genres of African American novels, such as narratives of the enslaved, detective fiction, and speculative fiction, and considers how each one reflects changing understandings of Blackness as it builds on other literary histories by including early Black print culture, African American graphic novels, pulp fiction, and the history of adaptation of Black novels to film by placing novels in conversation with other documents - early Black newspapers and magazines, film, and authorial correspondence.

Evans, Stephanie Y., Kanika Bell and Nsenga K. Burton, eds (foreword by Linda Goler Blount). Black Women's Mental Health: Balancing Strength and Vulnerability. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2017, pp.324, ISBN: 978-1-4384-6581-4.

This book offers an interdisciplinary look at the challenges and potency of Black women's struggle for inner peace and mental stability and brings together contributors from psychology, sociology, law, and medicine, and the humanities to discuss issues ranging from stress, sexual assault, healing, self-care, and contemplative practice to health-policy considerations and parenting. The book merges theory and practice with personal narratives and public policy to develop a framework for approaching Black women's wellness in order to provide tangible solutions as it reflects feminist praxis and defines womanist peace in terms that reject both "superwoman" stereotypes and "victim" caricatures.

Conyers, James L., ed. Molefi Kete Asante: A Critical Afrocentric Reader. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing Inc., 2017, pp.238, ISBN: 1433112469.

This volume presents a historical assessment that offers a constructive perspective of Afrocentricity, as it organizes Molefi Kete Asante's writings into four categories: history, mythology, ethos, and motif; hence, arranged theoretically to represent four concepts that describe and evaluate culture from an Afrocentric perspective. The book also offers an assessment of Asante's body of literature that continues to position the philosophy and ideals of the Afrocentric movement in the U.S., and around the world. In the context of being a public intellectual, the core of Asante's analysis draws inferences in locating African occurrences in place, space, and time. Advancing this idea further, the book argues that the purpose of these presages is to motivate scholars in Africology to contribute to the intellectual history of W. E. B. Du Bois, Maria Stewart, Carter G. Woodson, John Henrik Clarke, and the countless others who have advanced Africological research and writing.

Clune, John V. The Abongo Abroad: Military-Sponsored Travel in Ghana, the United States, and the World, 1959-1992. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2017, pp.346, ISBN: 0826521517.

Blending African social history with US foreign relations, the author documents how ordinary people experienced a major aspect of Cold War diplomacy. Hence, the book describes how military-sponsored international travel, especially military training abroad and United Nations peacekeeping deployments in the Sinai and Lebanon, altered Ghanaian service members and their families during the three decades after independence in 1957. Thus, as an act of faith, American military assistance policy with Ghana remained remarkably consistent despite little evidence that military education and training in the United States produced any measurable results. However, the book argues that military-sponsored travel made individual Ghanaians' outlooks on the world more international, just as military assistance planners hoped they would, but the Ghanaian state struggled to turn that new identity into political or economic progress.

Crisp, Jeff (with a new Foreword by Gavin Hilson). The Story of an African Working Class: Ghanaian Miners' Struggles 1870-1980. London, UK: Zed Books, 2017, pp.224, ISBN: 9781783609765.

This work tells the story of Ghana's gold miners, one of the oldest and most militant groups of workers in Africa, hence, a story of struggle against exploitative mining companies, repressive governments and authoritarian trade union leaders. Drawing on a wide range of original sources, including previously secret government and company records, the author explores the changing nature of life and work in the gold mines, from the colonial era into the 1980s, and examines the distinctive forms of political consciousness and organization which the miners developed. The study also provides a detailed account of the changing techniques...

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