Excerpt: The Life of William Apess, Pequot, by Philip F. Gura

These accounts were prefatory to what in the Puritan era would have been termed the “application” of Apess’s texts, specifically, how they served as “looking-glasses” or mirrors for white people to see themselves as they were. Look at the “reservations” in the New England states, Apess commanded, home to “the most mean, abject, miserable race of beings in the world,” places of “prodigality and prostitution” where rum corroded the inhabitants’ moral fiber, and sexual exploitation often was the result. “Agents” or overseers appointed by the state offered no help and often participated in the Natives’ exploitation, neglecting to educate them as the law required and helping themselves to wood and other cash crops on tribal lands. And why? It was because of racial prejudice, whites’ unwillingness to acknowledge the simple humanity of the Indians. “I would ask,” Apess wrote, “if there cannot be as good feelings and principles under a red skin as there can be under a white” (155–56).

Marianne Gingher: Amazing Place Is a NY Times Bestseller

It seems fitting that I should document the AMAZING PLACEment of this wonderful book on the New York Times Bestseller List. Thursday, May 7, 2015, I got word it was named #8 by the New York Times Bestseller list for the TRAVEL category.

Erin A. Smith: What Would Jesus Do?

“What Would Jesus Do About Measles?” asks Paul A. Offit, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, in the opinion pages of the New York Times. Recalling the 1991 measles epidemic in Philadelphia (1400 people were infected; 9 children died), Offit points out that the outbreak was so virulent because two fundamentalist Christian churches that discouraged vaccination were at its epicenter. Public health officials brought the epidemic under control—in part—by getting a court order to vaccinate children over their parents’ protests. Citing the current measles outbreak and the approximately 30,000 children in the United States who are unvaccinated for religious reasons, Offit makes the case for eliminating the religious vaccination exemption. Moreover, Offit thinks Jesus—who stood up for children—would get them vaccinated against measles to keep them safe and to protect others.

Marianne Gingher: ABA Winter Institute 2015

Friendliness was the vibe of my entire experience at ABA’s Winter Institute. I’d expected to meet several North Carolina-based booksellers, but I wasn’t prepared for the tremendous interest booksellers from California, Montana, Colorado, North Dakota, Michigan, Massachusetts, Texas, and Ohio expressed. The thing was, they’d come to North Carolina, seen it with their own eyes, spent time here, liked what they saw, and clearly wanted to share a sense of that experience with their patrons. “Read these folks!” I told them. “You will get all sorts of perspectives on the state, from politics to lyrical meditations on its beauty.”

Video: Celebrating 75 Years of ‘These Are Our Lives’

Contemporary documentary projects such as StoryCorps and Humans of New York thrive today in a spirit similar to that which led the vision of the Federal Writers’ Project and These Are Our Lives. They remind us that every life has a story, and every story matters.

George W. Houston: From a Trash Heap: The Mind of an Ancient Book Collector

Thrown out in the third century, rediscovered in 1906, these book rolls are finally now, in the twenty-first century, revealing to us the interests and priorities of a book collector who lived, read, and strove to understand his texts some eighteen hundred years ago.

Save 40% on ‘A History of the Book in America’ 5-volume set

The 5-volume set of ‘A History of the Book in America’ is now available in paperback at a special discounted price. Don’t miss out on this limited-time offer. Buy the set and save big!

Meet the Families Represented in ‘Tobe': A 75th Anniversary Event

To celebrate Tobe’s seventy-fifth anniversary, historian Benjamin Filene, director of public history at UNC Greensboro, will moderate a panel called “Voices of Tobe,” featuring special guest appearances by several individuals from Tobe, their descendants, and members of their community.

Excerpt: Stories of the South: Race and the Construction of Southern Identity, 1865-1915, by K. Stephen Prince

When it was published in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin quickly became the most inflammatory, explosive, and politically significant literary text of the antebellum period. Adapted to the stage shortly thereafter, Uncle Tom’s Cabin’s moral fervor, emotional power, and iconic characters soon made it a theatrical institution.

Video: Komozi Woodard on the Legacy of Amiri Baraka

Poet, playwright, and political activist Amiri Baraka passed away last Thursday at the age of 79. As one of the most significant black literary voices of his time, Baraka helped shape the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. His book Blues People: Negro Music in White America, is highly remembered as a classic chronicle on the role of jazz and the blues in American culture. Komozi Woodard, author of A Nation within a Nation: Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) and Black Power Politics, spoke on a panel about Amiri Baraka’s legacy on Democracy Now.

Twelve Years a Slave: The Narrative Behind the Film

The film tells the story of Solomon Northrup (Ejiofor), a free man and fiddle-player from New York who was drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery in Louisiana. It explores Northrup’s efforts to retain his dignity in the face of inhumanity as he longs for the family he was taken from and hopes for freedom throughout time in the employ of three different masters, ranging from a kindly preacher (Benedict Cumberbatch) to a cruel plantation owner (Fassbender). Remarkably, and horrifically, the story is a true one.

William Ferris: Comfort in My Mother’s Stories

Our daily conversations help me understand Mother’s story. Her long life is filled with tales, like a library with shelves of books. Each day we select a story that reminds me of who I am and why family and place are so important in my life.

Tobe: Charles Anderson Farrell Photographs Digitized in New Collection

Even with all the criteria Farrell needed to meet, the final product is wonderfully authentic. Farrell explained, “The children look natural and unposed because I spent far more time on the little game we played than on the photography. The photography was incidental, and I think that only a few times were the children aware of the camera.”

William Ferris: A Little Bit of Story in Everything

My grandfather loved to tell me the long, frightening story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. When he finished telling the tale, I would ask him, “Grandad, tell it again.” And he would patiently tell me the story again. No memory from my childhood burns brighter than this story and its telling by my grandfather.

Andrew Cayton: History, Romance, and Conversations with Dead People

I like the discipline of history, especially the requirements that I support what I say with evidence and that I not ignore inconvenient evidence. But I wanted to write a book with emotional as well as intellectual depth. And so, borrowing elements of form and tone from fictional personal histories, I attempted a narrative of a love affair informed by the sensibility of a novelist.

New Omnibus E-Book: Alan M. Wald’s American Literary Left Trilogy

Now available: Alan M. Wald’s American Literary Left Trilogy, Omnibus E-Book: Includes American Night, Trinity of Passion, and Exiles from a Future Time

Excerpt: Two Captains from Carolina, by Bland Simpson

In an excerpt from Bland Simpson’s nonfiction novel Two Captains from Carolina, we get a glimpse of Moses Grandy’s early career as a boatman—the freedom he felt on the water and the opportunities that lay ahead.

New Omnibus E-Book: Nell Wise Wechter’s Stories of the North Carolina Coast for Kids

Available for the first time as an Omnibus Ebook, this collection brings together two of Nell Wise Wechter’s beloved stories of young people on the North Carolina Coast. These wonderful stories will entertain and enlighten readers of all ages.

Southern Gateways: essential southern reading that makes a great gift

Our Holiday Sale is now underway! If you need some gift ideas for the folks on your list, our Southern Gateways catalog is a great place to start. Southern Gateways is where we collect of all our general interest books about this region we call home.

Barbara Sicherman: The Persistence of Little Women, or Still Timely after All These Years

Today is the 180th anniversary of Louisa May Alcott’s birth. Barbara Sicherman describes the lasting influence of her most famous work, “Little Women.”