Category: Biography / Autobiography

A Womanist Reading of “Service: Panel 8—Dr. King and Ralph Abernathy” or “Anna Julia Cooper and Willa Player”

On July 26, a mural named SERVICE was dedicated at UNC’s School of Government in the Knapp-Sanders Building. The mural depicts a gathering of African-American leaders at the counter of a diner, painted by Colin Quashie as a creative interpretation of the historical 1960 Greensboro, North Carolina sit-in. We are featuring each of the eight panels in a series, highlighting… Continue Reading A Womanist Reading of “Service: Panel 8—Dr. King and Ralph Abernathy” or “Anna Julia Cooper and Willa Player”

Paulo Freire, Lula, and the Next Step for Brazil

We welcome a guest post today from Andrew J. Kirkendall, author of Paulo Freire and the Cold War Politics of Literacy. In his political biography of Freire (1921-97), a native of Brazil’s impoverished northeast who developed adult literacy training techniques that remain influential today, Kirkendall gives new perspectives on the history of the Cold War, the meanings of radicalism, and… Continue Reading Paulo Freire, Lula, and the Next Step for Brazil

The Story of SERVICE, Part 2

On July 26, a mural entitled SERVICE was dedicated at UNC’s School of Government in the Knapp-Sanders Building. The mural depicting a gathering of African-American figures from throughout North Carolina’s history seated at the counter of a diner was painted by Colin Quashie as a creative interpretation of the historic 1960 Greensboro, North Carolina sit-in. We’ll be posting about a… Continue Reading The Story of SERVICE, Part 2

Jefferson’s Gardens

Anne Raver of The New York Times takes a stroll through the gardens of Monticello, where director of gardens and grounds Peter Hatch reveals some of Thomas Jefferson’s trial-and-error (and error, and trial, and error) gardening history. The folks at Monticello restored Jefferson’s original 2-acre kitchen garden about thirty years ago, and have returned to some of the former president’s… Continue Reading Jefferson’s Gardens

Happy Birthday, Walker Percy

“I have two comments: Number 1, if you’re going to be a writer, don’t go to school to be a writer. Get a pencil and a piece of paper and start writing. Secondly, if there’s anything in this world you can do, do it rather than be a writer. It’s the loneliest, most depressing work in the world.” – Walker… Continue Reading Happy Birthday, Walker Percy

When Janey Comes Marching Home – Photo exhibit now in Arlington, Va.

When Janey Comes Marching Home: Portraits of Women Combat Veterans is more than a book we’ve just published — it’s a multimedia project based on interviews with dozens of female military veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The book juxtaposes 48 photographs by Sascha Pflaeging with oral histories collected by Laura Browder to provide a dramatic portrait of… Continue Reading When Janey Comes Marching Home – Photo exhibit now in Arlington, Va.

Septima Clark, Freedom’s Teacher

It is night. A lone black woman walks through a cornfield in South Carolina. The stars wink above her. Crickets and cicadas grow quiet as she passes and then resume their orchestral humming, now punctuated by the sound of rustling leaves a little farther off. She moves toward an unpainted one-room building. When she gets there, she will have to… Continue Reading Septima Clark, Freedom’s Teacher

His Accidency

A Virginian, whose father was friends with Thomas Jefferson An accomplished orator, known for his sweet voice and famously  aquiline nose Fathered fifteen children Named his estate on the James River “Sherwood Forest” after the setting of the Robin Hood tales, because he saw himself as a political renegade and outlaw Voted for Virginia’s secession and was a representative-elect to… Continue Reading His Accidency

Happy birthday, Lillian Wald

Today we celebrate the birthday of Lillian Wald (1867-1940), founder of Henry Street Settlement on New York’s Lower East Side as well as the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Wald was a second-generation German Jewish immigrant who developed close associations with Jewish New York even as she consistently dismissed claims that her work emerged from a fundamentally Jewish calling.… Continue Reading Happy birthday, Lillian Wald

Louisa May Alcott and the Godmother of Punk

We love it when new UNC Press books seem to be in conversation with other books of the moment.  Take Patti Smith’s acclaimed new memoir, Just Kids (HarperCollins 2010), which offers an inside look at the punk pioneer’s artistic influences and collaborations, including Arthur Rimbaud, Robert Mapplethorpe, Bruce Springsteen, Sam Shepard, and Fred “Sonic” Smith–all men. However, right there on… Continue Reading Louisa May Alcott and the Godmother of Punk

Joan Waugh on Grant v. Reagan (yes, as in Ulysses S. and Ronald)

Have you heard? Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) has sponsored a bill to replace U.S. Grant on the $50 bill with Ronald Reagan. In an op-ed for the LA Times, Grant biographer Joan Waugh offers a brief history lesson in defense of the Union general and 18th President of the United States and cautions against further erosion of Grant’s legacy. An… Continue Reading Joan Waugh on Grant v. Reagan (yes, as in Ulysses S. and Ronald)

An NAACP Anniversary: Looking Back at Ella Baker

Today, February 12th, 2010, marks the 101st anniversary of one of the nation’s most important organizations, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Because of today’s important nature, we want to focus on someone central to the organization’s success, as well as many more victories in the civil rights movement. Born in 1903, Ella Baker was involved in… Continue Reading An NAACP Anniversary: Looking Back at Ella Baker

Charron Discusses the Life of Septima Clark on the State of Things today

In the mid-1950s, Septima Poinsette Clark (1898-1987), a former public school teacher, developed a citizenship training program that enabled thousands of African Americans to register to vote and then to link the power of the ballot to concrete strategies for individual and communal empowerment. In Freedom’s Teacher: The Life of Septima Clark, Katherine Mellen Charron demonstrates Clark’s crucial role–and the… Continue Reading Charron Discusses the Life of Septima Clark on the State of Things today

UNC Press Goes West (And Likes It)

First, let’s set the scene: A little closer… Last Sunday, UNC Press held a book party at the historic Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.  The event celebrated three of our fall 2009 titles: Foy Allen Edelman, author of SWEET CAROLINA, spent six years traveling every inch of North Carolina to collect the best in local dessert recipes; the result… Continue Reading UNC Press Goes West (And Likes It)

Happy Birthday, Annie Oakley

A guest post today from Laura Browder, author of Her Best Shot: Women and Guns in America and the forthcoming (May 2010) When Janey Comes Marching Home: Portraits of Women Combat Veterans, which features photographs by Sascha Pflaeging. Let’s take a moment today to celebrate the 149th birthday of Annie Oakley.  But let’s remember her not as just a great… Continue Reading Happy Birthday, Annie Oakley

Michael Jackson and a Lifetime of Celebrity

Last month, the passing of Michael Jackson sent people all across the globe into mourning. From his most loyal listeners to even those too young to remember Jackson the musician but instead Jackson the punchline to jokes, the outpouring of respect for one person was unparalleled in this decade.  In the following guest post, Charles Ponce de Leon, author of… Continue Reading Michael Jackson and a Lifetime of Celebrity

A world without E. Lynn Harris (1955-2009)

Last week best-selling fiction writer E. Lynn Harris died at the age of 54. Harris’s closeted and openly gay black characters paved the way for a new and vibrant genre of popular literature with widespread appeal. Personally, Harris was a kind and generous man who sought to encourage and support other gay black writers, including E. Patrick Johnson, author of… Continue Reading A world without E. Lynn Harris (1955-2009)

SIBA book award finalists include Holy Smoke & biography of Susie Sharp

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance is narrowing in on the year’s best southern books. Here’s how they describe the process: Each year, hundreds of booksellers across the South vote on their favorite hand-sell books of the year. These are the Southern books they have most enjoyed selling to customers; the ones that they couldn’t stop talking about; the ones most… Continue Reading SIBA book award finalists include Holy Smoke & biography of Susie Sharp

In memoriam, Archie Green (1917-2009)

I wrote briefly last week (in rather vague terms) about some of Archie Green’s accomplishments. Over the weekend, the New York Times and Los Angeles Times both published lengthy obituaries. I wanted to offer a more personal glimpse of him here from a longtime friend and colleague of Green’s, Robert Cantwell. In 2001 UNC Press published Green’s collection Torching the… Continue Reading In memoriam, Archie Green (1917-2009)

Remembrances for Franklin abound

Our hearts are warmed by the outpouring of remembrances for John Hope Franklin. We’ve been blogging about it the past couple of days (here and here), but there’s no letting up yet. In a New York Times editorial, Brent Staples cites John Hope’s “groundbreaking work on free Negroes in antebellum North Carolina” (that would be JHF’s first book, The Free… Continue Reading Remembrances for Franklin abound