Juneteenth Recommended Reading

Juneteenth Texas: Essays in African-American Folklore
by Abernethy, Edward.

Juneteenth Texas explores African-American folkways and traditions from both African-American and white perspectives. Included are descriptions and classifications of different aspects of African-American folk culture in Texas; explorations of songs and stories and specific performers such as Lightnin’ Hopkins, Manse Lipscomb, and Bongo Joe; and a section giving resources for the further study of African Americans in Texas.

San Antonio on Parade: Six Historic Festivals
by Judith Berg-Sobré

Cities, like people, may be best known by the way they party. For nearly a century-and-a-half, San Antonio has partied well. In this fascinating look at late-nineteenth-century festivals in San Antonio, Judith Berg Sobré brings an art historian’s sensibility to accounts of the pageantry, parades, and festive events that typified a city welcoming settlers from several nations and American (read more)

Dog ghosts, and other Texas Negro folk tales
by John Mason Brewer

This book contains two volumes of African American folk tales collected by J. Mason Brewer. The stories included in Dog Ghosts are as varied as the Texas landscape, as full of contrasts as Texas weather. Among them are tales that have their roots deeply imbedded in African, Irish, and Welsh mythology; others have parallels in pre-Columbian Mexican tradition, and a few have versions that can be traced back to Chaucer’s England. All make delightful reading. The title Dog Ghosts is drawn from the unique stories of dog spirits which Dr. Brewer collected in the Red River bottoms and elsewhere in Texas. The Word on the Brazos is a delightful collection of “preacher tales” from the Brazos River bottom in Texas. J. Mason Brewer worked side by side with field hands in the Brazos bottoms; he lived in their homes, worshipped in their churches, and shared the moments of relaxation in which laughter held full sway. Many of the tales these people told were related to religion―both “good religion” and “bad religion.” Some of them concerned preachers and their families, while others were stories told in pulpits. Mr. Brewer has set all of these stories down in authentic yet easily readable dialect. They will delight all who are interested in the historic culture of rural African-American Texans, as well as those who simply enjoy fine humorous stories skillfully told.

Emancipation Proclamation: “Forever free”
by Kevin McGruder

While other volumes view the Emancipation Proclamation as a document by a great emancipator (President Abraham Lincoln) or as a triumph of military struggle (The Civil War), Emancipation Proclamation – Forever Free chronicles the people black and white, in bondage and free who created the conditions for emancipation. It is the story of those who resisted the evil of humans as property and ultimately triumphed.

Ralph Ellison and the Raft of Hope: A Political Companion to Invisible Man
by Lucas E. Morel

An important new collection of original essays that examine how Ellison’s landmark novel, Invisible Man (1952), addresses the social, cultural, political, economic, and racial contradictions of America. Commenting on the significance of Mark Twain’s writings, Ralph Ellison wrote that “a novel could be fashioned as a raft of hope, perception and entertainment that might help keep us afloat as we tried to negotiate the snags and whirlpools that mark our nation’s vacillating course toward and away from the democratic ideal.” Ellison believed it was the contradiction between America’s “noble ideals and the actualities of our conduct” that inspired the most profound literature — “the American novel at its best.”

Titles for Youth (via OverDrive)

Overdrive is celebrating the heroes who fought for equality and freedom for all. Check out this collection of titles for your next good read.