The top-selling nonfiction books in 2011

The bestselling nonfiction books by or about African American authors, published in 2011.

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  1. If I Should Die Before I Wake by Pat Simmons
    (, 2011-04-23, Kindle Edition)
    It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23God’s mercies are sure; His promises are fulfilled; but a dawn of a new morning is God’ grace.If you need a testimony about God’s grace, then If I Should Die Before I Wake will encourage your soul. Nothing happens in our lives by chance. If you need a miracle, God’s got that too. Trust Him. Has it been a while since you’ve had a testimony? Increase your prayer life, build your faith and walk in victory because without a test, there is no testimony. Pat Simmons is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Guilty series.

     

  2. The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
    (Tribeca Books, 2011-06-02, Paperback)
    This is a beautiful designed large format edition of the classic THE MIS-EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO by Carter G. Woodson. One of the most important books on education ever written.

     

  3. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (Vintage) by Isabel Wilkerson
    (Vintage, 2011-10-04, Paperback)
    One of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the YearIn this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves. With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.From the Hardcover edition.

     

  4. For Smart Girls Only by Marie Brewer
    (Infinity Publishing, 2011-03-08, Kindle Edition)
    This is a book of advice for girls as they grow into young ladies. Girls are delightful, kind, talented, energetic, and funny. Young girls can dip into their bowl of self-love and know that they are priceless treasures. Every girl knows that she is sweet & smart!

     

  5. Still I Rise: The Story Of Maya Angelou (HeRose & SheRose) by Jeff Biggers
    (William Gladden Press, 2011-03-25, Kindle Edition)
    Maya Angelou grew up in the deep South, a dirt-poor African-American child who experienced ruthless discrimination and segregation. At the young age of eight, one of her mother’s boyfriends raped Maya. At 16, she had a son. Maya turned to prostitution to support her son and to drugs to hide her shame. But when she became involved in the Civil Rights Movement with Reverend Martin Luther King, she turned her life around and rose above her humble and troubled beginnings to be America’s Poet Laureate. With a list of review questions and a glossary of terms, this brief publication is ideal for middle school readers and at-risk youth.

     

  6. Learning in a Burning House: Educational Inequality, Ideology, and (Dis)Integration by Sonya Douglass Horsford
    (Teachers College Press, 2011-01-28, Paperback)
    The negative consequences of school desegregation on Black communities in the United States are now well documented in education research. Learning in a Burning House is the first book to offer a historical look at the desegregation dilemma with clear recommendations for what must be done to ensure Black student success in today’s schools. This important book centers race and voice in the desegregation discourse, examining and reconceptualizing the meaning of ”equal education.” Featuring the unique perspectives of Black school leaders, Horsford provides a critical race analysis of how racism has undermined the integration ideal and the subsequent schooling of Black children. Most importantly, the book discusses how meaningful education reform must be grounded in a moral activist vision of equal education through a cross-racial commitment to racial literacy, realism, reconstruction, and reconciliation in our schools and society.

     

  7. Beyond Boundaries: The Manning Marable Reader by Manning Marable
    (Paradigm Publishers, 2011-04-30, Paperback)
    Columbia University historian and political scientist Manning Marable has been one of the preeminent public intellectuals in the social sciences for decades. A tireless and prolific voice for progressive causes, such as the abolition of prisoner disfranchisement laws, Marable has generated a tremendous body of publications on the topics of race, class and social justice in the U.S., writing scores of lively, accessible articles for popular and academic audiences alike. A pioneering intellectual in the field of black studies and the founder of Columbia’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies, Marable blends the disciplines of history, political science and sociology to address questions of racial justice, workers rights and other contemporary social issues. This new collection, a rich array of some of Marable’s best writing from the last two decades, will prove invaluable to anyone who seeks better understanding of–and creative possible solutions to–the deep and enduring race, class and gender inequity in our society.

     

  8. Incognito: An American Odyssey of Race and Self-Discovery by Michael Fosberg
    (Incognito, Inc., 2011, Paperback)
    Raised in a working-class white family by his biological mother and an adoptive father, Michael Fosberg, age thirty, upon hearing the news of their divorce, decides to search for the long-lost biological father he’s never known. Armed solely with a name and a city, he tracks him down and discovers his father’s true identity. This life-changing event leads to a remarkable journey of family and self-discovery.

     

  9. The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights by Russell Freedman
    (Sandpiper, 2011-01-03, Paperback)
    A voice like yours, celebrated conductor Arturo Toscanini told contralto Marian Anderson, “is heard once in a hundred years.” This insightful account of the great African American vocalist considers her life and musical career in the context of the history of civil rights in this country. Drawing on Anderson’s own writings and other contemporary accounts, Russell Freedman shows readers a singer pursuing her art despite the social constraints that limited the careers of black performers in the 1920s and 1930s. Though not a crusader or a spokesperson by nature, Marian Anderson came to stand for all black artists-and for all Americans of color-when, with the help of such prominent figures as Eleanor Roosevelt, she gave her landmark 1939 performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, which signaled the end of segregation in the arts.Carefully researched, expertly told, and profusely illustrated with contemporary photographs, here is a moving account of the life of a talented and determined artist who left her mark on musical and social history. Through her story, one of today’s leading authors of nonfiction for young readers illuminates the social and political climate of the day and an important chapter in American history. Notes, bibliography, discography, index.

     

  10. AFRICAN ADVENTURE STORIES by J. Alden
    (, 2011-02-07, Kindle Edition)
    This book is a facsimile reprint and may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages.

     

  11. A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis by Matt de la Pena
    (Dial, 2011-01-20, Hardcover)
    On the eve of World War II, African American boxer Joe Louis fought German Max Schmeling in a bout that had more at stake than just the world heavyweight title; for much of America their fight came to represent America’s war with Germany. This elegant and powerful picture book biography centers around the historic fight in which Black and White America were able to put aside prejudice and come together to celebrate our nation’s ideals.

     

  12. Bird in a Box by Andrea Pinkney
    (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011-04-12, Hardcover)
    Otis, Willie, and Hibernia are three children with a lot in common: they’ve all lost a loved one, they each have secret dreams, and they won’t stop fighting for what they want. And they’re also a lot like their hero, famed boxer Joe Louis. Throughout this moving novel, their lives gradually converge to form friendship, family, and love. Their trials and triumphs echo those of Joe Louis, as he fights to become the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion.Andrea Pinkney masterfully weaves in factual information about Joe Louis and actual radio commentary from his fights, enriching the narrative of this uniquely rendered and beautifully written novel.

     

  13. My Desire for History: Essays in Gay, Community, and Labor History by Allan Berube
    (The University of North Carolina Press, 2011-06-01, Paperback)
    This anthology pays tribute to Allan Berube (1946-2007), a self-taught historian and MacArthur Fellow who was a pioneer in the study of lesbian and gay history in the United States. Best known for his Lambda Literary Award-winning book Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II (1990), Berube also wrote extensively on the history of sexual politics in San Francisco and on the relationship between sexuality, class, and race. John D’Emilio and Estelle Freedman, who were close colleagues and friends of Berube, have selected sixteen of his most important essays, including hard-to-access articles and unpublished writing. The book provides a retrospective on Berube’s life and work while it documents the emergence of a grassroots lesbian and gay community history movement in the 1970s and 1980s. Taken together, the essays attest to the power of history to mobilize individuals and communities to create social change.

     

  14. Family of Freedom: Presidents and African Americans in the White House by Kenneth T. Walsh
    (Paradigm Publishers, 2011-02-01, Hardcover)
    This book examines the intertwined relationships between the presidents and the African Americans who have been an integral part of the White House since the beginning of the Republic. The book discusses the racial attitudes and policies of the presidents and shows how African Americans helped to shape those attitudes and policies over the years. The analysis starts with the early presidents who had slaves and tells the compelling stories of their interactions, with an emphasis on how these slaves dealt with bondage in the supposed citadel of American freedom and independence. The book moves through the era of Abraham Lincoln, whose views on emancipation were greatly influenced by the African Americans around him, especially by White House seamstress Elizabeth Keckley and valet William Slade. The book covers the Jim Crow era and proceeds through the political and cultural breakthroughs on civil rights accomplished by Lyndon Johnson in partnership with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. The book ends with an insightful analysis of the rise, election, and administration of Barack Obama, the first African American president, including an exclusive interview with Obama.

     

  15. Teaching Black Girls: Resiliency in Urban Classrooms–Revised edition (Counterpoints: Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education) by Venus E. Evans-Winters
    (Peter Lang Publishing, 2011-02-14, Paperback)
    In this updated volume of Teaching Black Girls: Resiliency in Urban Classrooms, Venus E. Evans-Winters uses qualitative research methods to interpret and discuss school resilience in the lives of African American female students. The book demonstrates how these girls are simultaneously one of the most vulnerable, and one of the most resilient group of students. Teaching Black Girls implements alternative approaches to the study of the intersection of race, class, and gender on schooling, deliberately highlighting how students growing up and attending schools in urban neighborhoods are educationally resilient in the face of adversity. Through dialogue and self-reflection, the author and participants in the ethnographic study documented here reconstruct and tell stories of resilience to derive practice that is both gender and culturally relevant. Teaching Black Girls has research and practice implications for graduate students, advanced pre-service teachers, and school practitioners.

     

  16. BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian by Bob Avakian
    (RCP Publications, 2011-04-05, Paperback)
    You can’t change the world if you don’t know the BAsics.BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian is a book of quotations and short essays that speaks powerfully to questions of revolution and human emancipation. BAsics concentrates more than 30 years of Avakian’s work. BAsics can not only introduce many more people to the thinking of the author who has put communism back on the agenda as a vital and viable force – it can play a major role in bringing forward and forging a new wave of revolutionaries. To look at the table of contents…is to look at the key questions that present themselves to someone agonizing over the question of whether and how they can actually change the world in a fundamental and meaningful way.What people are saying about BAsics. From a prisoner: “I wanted to congratulate everyone on the upcoming publication of BAsics. In today’s world the need for the independent press and works by the people and for the people is needed more than ever at this crucial time especially here in the heart of the imperialist beast.Although I am unable to be there with you all to celebrate just knowing that the people will be out there enjoying the Revolutionary Culture brings a smile and upraised fist to the cage I am held in. Yes I said cage, but I tell you this not to bring down the people’s spirit by telling you I am one of the 2+ million held in the Koncentration camps across America rather I tell you this because it is within these dungeons that are being intended to destroy one’s will to resist that the people are waking up and using these dungeons as schools of liberation!! Prisoners in America are drawn to revolutionary ideas, it is only through publications like we will find in BAsics that prisoners will taste that most elusive ideal of “equality” that the prisoner in America grows up exempt from in the barrios and ghettos nationwide.”

     

  17. The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison (Modern Library Classics) by John Callahan
    (Modern Library, 2011-06-01, Kindle Edition)
    Compiled, edited, and newly revised by Ralph Ellison’s literary executor, John F. Callahan, this Modern Library Paperback Classic includes posthumously discovered reviews, criticism, and interviews, as well as the essay collections Shadow and Act (1964), hailed by Robert Penn Warren as “a body of cogent and subtle commentary on the questions that focus on race,” and Going to the Territory (1986), an exploration of literature and folklore, jazz and culture, and the nature and quality of lives that black Americans lead. “Ralph Ellison,” wrote Stanley Crouch, “reached across race, religion, class and sex to make us all Americans.”

     

  18. African American Inventors (Black Stars) by Otha Richard Sullivan
    (Wiley, 2011-04-19, Paperback)
    For more than three centuries, African American inventors have been coming up with ingenious ideas. In fact, it is impossible to really know American history without also learning about the contributions of black discoverers. This collection brings their stories to life.In every era, black inventors have made people’s lives safer, more comfortable, more convenient, and more profitable. This inspiring, comprehensive collection shines history’s spotlight on these courageous inventors and discoverers. One by one, they persevered, despite prejudice and obstacles to education and training. These stories show you how:
    * Benjamin Montgomery, born a slave, invented a propeller that improved steamboat navigation.
    * Jan Earnst Matzeliger, the son of a Dutch engineer, invented a machine that revolutionized the shoe manufacturing industry.
    * Madame C. J. Walker, born two years after the Civil War emancipated her parents, invented a product that helped make her a millionaire.
    * Dr. George E. Carruthers, an astrophysicist, invented the lunar surface ultraviolet camera/spectrograph for Apollo 16.
    * Dr. Jane Cooke Wright, a third-generation physician and pioneer in the field of cancer research discovered a method for testing which drugs to use to fight specific cancers. Dr. Wright became the first woman elected president of the New York Cancer Society and the first African American woman to serve as dean of a medical college.
    This outstanding collection brings to light these and dozens of other exciting and surprising tales of inventors and discoverers who lived their dreams.

     

  19. Shadow and Act by Ralph Ellison
    (Vintage, 2011-06-01, Kindle Edition)
    With the same intellectual incisiveness and supple, stylish prose he brought to his classic novel Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison examines his antecedents and in so doing illuminates the literature, music, and culture of both black and white America. His range is virtuosic, encompassing Mark Twain and Richard Wright, Mahalia Jackson and Charlie Parker, The Birth of a Nation and the Dante-esque landscape of Harlem – “the scene and symbol of the Negro’s perpetual alienation in the land of his birth.” Throughout, he gives us what amounts to an episodic autobiography that traces his formation as a writer as well as the genesis of Invisible Man. On every page, Ellison reveals his idiosyncratic and often contrarian brilliance, his insistence on refuting both black and white stereotypes of what an African American writer should say or be. The result is a book that continues to instruct, delight, and occasionally outrage readers thirty years after it was first published.

     

  20. Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
    (Balzer + Bray, 2011-09-27, Hardcover)

     

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