In a season chock-full of “Top 2015” lists from hottest celebrities to best political moments, we must not forget the literature we came across this year that transformed the way we felt, thought, viewed and experienced life.
Here are the top books of 2015, brought to you by Roland Martin and NewsOne Now:
A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life by Allyson Hobbs
Between the eighteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, countless African-Americans passed as white, leaving behind families and friends, roots and community. It was, as Allyson Hobbs writes, a chosen exile, a separation from one racial identity and the leap into another. This revelatory history of passing explores the possibilities and challenges that racial indeterminacy presented to men and women living in a country obsessed with racial distinctions. It also tells a tale of loss. Read more …
Stunts: The How To Handbook: Secrets From an Award Winning Hollywood Stunt Woman by Angela Meryl
A tried and proven “How To” guide for men and women interested in beginning or advancing a successful career in Hollywood. Performing stunts professionally, told by award winning, veteran stuntwoman–Angela Meryl.
Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman
Berman brings the struggle over voting rights to life through meticulous archival research, in-depth interviews with major figures in the debate, and incisive on-the-ground reporting. In vivid prose, he takes the reader from the demonstrations of the civil rights era to the halls of Congress to the chambers of the Supreme Court. At this important moment in history, Give Us the Ballot provides new insight into one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time.
Reach: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading, and Succeeding by Ben Jealous, Trabian Shorters
In this timely and important collection of personal essays, black men from all walks of life share their inspiring stories and ultimately how each, in his own way, became a source of hope for his community and country. Read more …
Teach Your Daughter to Fly! by Bishop Corletta J. Vaughn
The book is a guide, offering fathers and single mothers the right tools to raise their daughters and prepare them for greatness. She believes that “father hunger” and the relationship a daughter has with her father affects every aspect of her life, starting with self-esteem and self worth.
Reset Your Life: Make A New Life (Live Different) by Bishop Joseph Waker
In Reset Your Life: Make a New Start, Joseph W. Walker III uses eight “R’s” (Reset, Return, Review and Recalculate, Reclaim, Redirect, Reinvigorate and Revive, Reinvest, and Reinvent) to teach how you can have a new beginning through faith in God.
Destiny: Step into Your Purpose by Bishop T. D. Jakes
Whether you are just starting out, starting over, or wondering if there is greater success than what you’ve already accomplished, now is the time to reset your inner compass. Clear your path of distractions and disruptions. Correct places where you have veered off course. Get unstuck. Embrace your God-given purpose and, with this revelatory guide from T.D. Jakes, dare to pursue the unseen order in your life circumstances that is your DESTINY.
This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible by Charles Cobb
Drawing on his experiences in the civil rights movement and giving voice to its participants, Cobb lays bare the paradoxical relationship between the nonviolent civil rights struggle and the long history and importance of African Americans taking up arms to defend themselves against white supremacist violence.
I am Charlie Wilson by Charlie Wilson
Here, in the memoir fans have been demanding, is the story of how love and faith carried him through not only his addiction, but also prostate cancer. Here, too, is the story of his work in the music business, including a career resurgence that saw collaborations with some of the most sought-after artists of today, including Pharrell and Justin Timberlake.
Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868 by Cokie Roberts
Cokie Roberts marks the sesquicentennial of the Civil War by offering a riveting look at Washington, D.C. and the experiences, influence, and contributions of its women during this momentous period of American history.
Black Man In A White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections On Race And Medicine by Damon Tweedy, M.D.
One doctor’s passionate and profound memoir of his experience grappling with race and the unique health problems of black Americans.
Leveling the Playing Field: The Story of the Syracuse Eight by David Marc
Leveling the Playing Field tells the story of the African American members of the 1969-70 SU football team who petitioned for racial equality on their team.
Debra Peek-Haynes’ Healing Kitchen: The Beginners Guide to Healthy Living by Debra Peek-Haynes
With the soaring rates of chronic diseases within the western culture that include high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and obesity, Debra Peek-Haynes has created a comprehensive collection of meals with a healthier twist on traditional southern-comfort foods. Debra has mastered preparation of rich culinary traditions, such as collard greens which are a rich source of vitamins and minerals that feed your mind, body and spirit, to the savory taste of sweet potatoes that are that are rich in Vitamin A and beta carotene for eyesight. Read more …
The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist
As historian Edward Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told, the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. Read more …
Black Resonance: Iconic Women Singers and African American Literature by Emily Lordi
Focusing on two generations of artists from the 1920s to the 1970s, Black Resonance reveals a musical-literary tradition in which singers and writers, faced with similar challenges and harboring similar aims, developed comparable expressive techniques. Drawing together such seemingly disparate works as Bessie Smith’s blues and Richard Wright’s neglected film of Native Son, Mahalia Jackson’s gospel music and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, each chapter pairs one writer with one singer to crystallize the artistic practice they share: lyricism, sincerity, understatement, haunting, and the creation of a signature voice.
Legend of the Mantamaji by Eric Dean Seaton
Television director Eric Dean Seaton’s first graphic novel series is a tale exploding with brilliant art, action-packed adventure, true-to-life characters, and a smart and twisting plot line. Elijah Alexander, New York’s hottest, cockiest, and most media-hungry Assistant District Attorney, is about to learn something shocking: he is not even human.
Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You? by George Clinton
In this seminal music memoir, Father of Funk George Clinton talks four decades of hit songs, drug abuse, the evolution of pop, rock, and soul music, his legal pitfalls, and much much more.
Hope Beyond Fibroids: Stories of Miracle Babies & the Journey to Motherhood by Gessie Thompson
In Hope Beyond Fibroids: Stories of Miracle Babies & the Journey to Motherhood you can read Gessie’s full story of her inspiring journey to motherhood; her refusal to give up on her dream; and the heroic walk of faith she and her beloved husband Marc traveled. Read more …
The Shred Diet Cookbook by Ian Smith, PhD
Dr. Ian’s first-ever cookbook, he’s deliciously answering the question so many of those dieters have asked: “Can I eat that on SHRED?” In THE SHRED DIET COOKBOOK, you’ll enjoy tasty recipes and nutritional information.
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae
Now, in this debut collection of essays written in her witty and self-deprecating voice, Rae covers everything from cyber-sexting in the early days of the Internet to deflecting unsolicited comments on weight gain, from navigating the perils of eating out alone and public displays of affection to learning to accept yourself—natural hair and all.
Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press by James McGrath Morris
Acclaimed biographer James McGrath Morris brings into focus the riveting life of one of the most significant yet least known figures of the civil rights era—pioneering journalist Ethel Payne, the “First Lady of the Black Press”—elevating her to her rightful place in history at last.
After the Dance: My Life with Marvin Gaye by Jan Gaye
A riveting cautionary tale about the ecstasy and dangers of loving Marvin Gaye, a performer passionately pursued by all—and a searing memoir of drugs, sex, and old school R&B from the wife of legendary soul icon Marvin Gaye. Read more …
Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America by Jeff Chang
Who We Be remixes comic strips and contemporary art, campus protests and corporate marketing campaigns, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Trayvon Martin into a powerful, unusual, and timely cultural history of the idea of racial progress.
Princeless Volume 1 by Jeremy Whitley
Still waiting for your prince to come? Tired of spending night after night locked in a secluded tower? Princeless is the story of Princess Adrienne, one princess who’s tired of waiting to be rescued. Still waiting for your prince to come? Tired of spending night after night locked in a secluded tower? Princeless is the story of Princess Adrienne, one princess who’s tired of waiting to be rescued.
Dark Places of the Earth. The Voyage of The Slave Ship Antelope by Jonathan M. Bryant
Set against the backdrop of a city in the grip of both the financial panic of 1819 and the lingering effects of an outbreak of yellow fever, Dark Places of the Earth vividly recounts an eight-year legal conflict during which time the Antelope’s human cargo were mercilessly put to work on the plantations of Georgia, even as their freedom remained in limbo.
All In: How Our Work-First Culture Fails Dads, Families, and Businesses–And How We Can Fix It Together by Josh Levs
In All In, he explores the changing face of fatherhood and what it means for our individual lives, families, workplaces, and society.
Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide by Joy Ann Reid
Fracture traces the party’s makeup and character regarding race from the civil rights days to the Obama presidency.
Exonerated: A Brief and Dangerous Freedom by Joyce King
Exonerated vividly details the instant bond James and Joyce shared as soul mates and the challenges that arose when their disparate worlds collided. This riveting account serves as a blueprint for how to navigate innocence and avoid the painful lessons they learned about justice, freedom, power, and love.
Becoming Belafonte: Black Artist, Public Radical (Discovering America) by Judith E. Smith
In Becoming Belafonte, Judith E. Smith presents the first full-length interpretive study of this multitalented artist. She sets Belafonte’s compelling story within a history of American race relations, black theater and film history, McCarthy-era hysteria, and the challenges of introducing multifaceted black culture in a moment of expanding media possibilities and constrained political expression.
The Valley of the Shadow of Death A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption by Kermit Alexander
In this heart-wrenching memoir, former NFL star Kermit Alexander tells the devastating true story of the horrific massacre of his family and his subsequent years of despair, followed by a spiritual renewal that showed him a way to rebuild his family and reclaim his life.
Son of Virginia: A Life in America’s Political Arena by L. Doulgas Wilder
SON OF VIRGINIA by L. Douglas Wilder details the events of the author’s life to paint a portrait of the changing face of America. It will be a story of constant struggle and conflict, not only Wilder’s struggle, but also that of courageous people who stood up to decades of discrimination, corruption and greed. The book will stand as a road map for continued American progress in our elections and laws and a stark warning of what may happen if we relax our commitment to this program.
The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power (Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America by Leah Wright Rigueur
Covering more than four decades of American social and political history,The Loneliness of the Black Republican examines the ideas and actions of black Republican activists, officials, and politicians, from the era of the New Deal to Ronald Reagan’s presidential ascent in 1980.
My Authentic Self by Leroy Campbell
Celebrated visual artist and Gullah cultural ambassador Leroy Campbell embraces his African roots and the journey to self discovery with the debut of his first coffee table book, My Authentic Self.
The Book of Luke: My Fight for Truth, Justice & Liberty City by Luther Campbell
The raw and powerful true story of how one man invented Southern Hip-Hop, saved the First Amendment, and became a role model for his disenfranchised Miami neighborhood—living proof that one person can make a difference in the world.
Against All Odds: From The Projects to the Penthouse by Mahisha Dellinger
Against All Odds chronicles Mahisha’s journey from the projects to the penthouse, how she overcame an impoverished beginning to lead a life of wealth, privilege and success….doing a job she loves.
Negroland: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson
At once incendiary and icy, mischievous and provocative, celebratory and elegiac—here is a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, and American culture through the prism of the author’s rarefied upbringing and education among a black elite concerned with distancing itself from whites and the black generality while tirelessly measuring itself against both.
The DNA of Achievers: 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals by Mathew Knowles
“The DNA of Achievers: 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals is intended to be a business-oriented, motivational, and inspirational book all rolled into one. As the title suggests, it focuses on characteristics that are common among successful people from all walks of life.”
Angel Whispers: Messages of Hope and Healing From Loved Ones by Maudy Fowler, Gail Hunt
Angel Whispers shares Maudy’s conversations with angels while also focusing on the seven elements by which to live: love, honor, respect, patience, courage, forgiveness, and belief. By communicating the angels’ messages, she calms people in crisis, reaffirms their faith in the hereafter, and encourages them to move forward.
Miss Jessie’s: Creating a Successful Business from Scratch—Naturally by Miko Branch
Miss Jessie’s is a memoir and business guide rich with inspirational life lessons and unique business advice from Miko Branch, the Chief Executive Officer of the dynamic Miss Jessie’s — the company that revolutionized the hair care industry.
EJ and Sis: Time Out…Learning Tool by Natorya Nicole
A story about a kid misbehaving on the playground, needing to be sent to time out and the lessons his older sister is teaching him.
Vintage Black Glamour by Nichelle Gainer
Using rarely accessed photographic archives and private collections, inspired by her family history, Nichelle Gainer has unearthed a revealing treasure trove of historic photographs of famous actors, dancers, writers and entertainers who worked in the 20th-century entertainment business, but who rarely appeared in the same publications as their white counterparts.
The Reaper: Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipes by Nick Irving
The Reaper is the astonishing memoir of Special Operations Direct Action Sniper Nicholas Irving, the 3rd Ranger Battalion’s deadliest sniper with 33 confirmed kills, though his remarkable career total, including probables, is unknown. Read more …
Michelle Obama: A Life by Peter Slevin
An inspiring story of a modern American icon, here is the first comprehensive account of the life and times of Michelle Obama. With disciplined reporting and a storyteller’s eye for revealing detail, Peter Slevin follows Michelle to the White House from her working-class childhood on Chicago’s largely segregated South Side. Read more ..,.
New Money: Staying Rich by Phillip Buchanon
New Money: Staying Rich dispenses valuable advice, taken from first-hand experiences, to aspiring professional athletes, entrepreneurs, and anyone fortunate enough to be the beneficiary of rapid wealth. Read more …
The Microbiome Solution: A Radical New Way to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out by Robynne Chutkan, MD
Dr. Robynne Chutkan explains how the standard Western diet and lifestyle are starving our microbiome, depleting the “good bugs” that keep us healthy and encouraging overgrowth of exactly the wrong type of bacteria. The resulting imbalance makes us more prone to disease and obesity and negatively affects our metabolism, our hormones, our cravings, our immunity, and even our genes. Read more …
Shots on the Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-Up in the Wake of Katrina by Ronnie Greene
Shots on the Bridge explores one of the most dramatic cases of police violence seen in our country in the last decade—the massacre of innocent people, carried out by members of the NOPD, in the brutal, disorderly days following Hurricane Katrina.
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