Black Authors in February
It’s a mashup, I admit that. This February during Black History Month, over in the Fediverse, I’m sharing a recommendation a day on Black authors whose work I love. So, for all you folks not on Mastodon, I’ll occasionally re-share here these Black authors in February recs. If you follow this blog, some you’ll be familiar with. Other’s might be new. Starting now!
I’ll start with American fiction writer Charles Himes. He’s best known for his Harlem detective series with Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson. But I’d like to recommend his short stories, which you can find in the Collected Stories of Charles Himes. They portray the lives of Black Americans in an acutely racist time and do it with the most vivid stories imaginable.
February 2: Today, it’s Deesha Philyaw. You can read my review of SECRET LIVES OF CHURCH LADIES at the link. Each story in this collection is a jewel. Read one, you’ll flip back to the beginning to see how she did what she did. The epigraph tells you what you need to know:
Let it be known: I did not fall from grace.
Ansel Elkins, Autobiography of Eve
February 3: To experience the effect of Critical Race Theory, read Derrick Bell’s short stories in Faces at the Bottom of the Well. Yes, fiction. The stories appeared as law review notes, if you can believe it—I love to imagine people coming across the stories in typically dry law journals. The impact will vary by reader: give up or fight on? But, man, do they get the point across.
February 4: Jarvis DeBerry was the columnist at the Times-Pic for decades. His collection of columns is “I Feel to Believe.” I’m not sure I can recommend a better book for someone seeking a picture of New Orleans. Reading the columns one after another, their power comes through in the power of the personal. Each one, you’re learning something about New Orleans, DeBerry, and the human propensity.
Black Authors in February To Be Continued….