Boston Public Library
Black Is... 1997: Personalities
Booklists for Adults

*BAD AS I WANNA BE
Dennis Rodman with Tim Keown
"I’ve been homeless, I’ve worked at 7-Eleven, I’m a real person, with real experience, not some image that somebody in the NBA office created."

BLUES ALL AROUND ME: The Autobiography of B.B. King
B.B. King with David Ritz
Also a musical history &endash; the evolution of the blues from country acoustic to urban electric.

BONE BLACK: Memories of Girlhood
bell hooks
Coming of age in the 1950s in "…a rich magical world of southern black culture that was sometimes paradisiacal and at other times terrifying.

THE COLOR OF WATER: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother
James McBride
Two stories: a mother overcomes her painful, long-buried past and a son comes to terms with his Jewish roots.

COMPOSITION IN BLACK AND WHITE: The Life of Philippa Schuyler
Kathryn Talalay
This musical prodigy never accepted her biracial identity and blamed it for limiting her career.

DIGNITY
Jean-Bertrand Aristide
His three years in exile.

DON’T BLOCK THE BLESSINGS: Revelations of a Lifetime
Patti LaBelle
Personal losses and fears have propelled her to live life to the fullest.

AN EASY BURDEN: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America.
Andrew Young
His life up to his election to Congressin 1972.

GO AND TELL PHARAOH: The Autobiography of the Reverend Al Sharpton
The Reverend Al Sharpton and Anthony Walton
"…from pulpt to prodigy to street activist to statesman."

*GOOD GIRL, BAD GIRL: An Insider’s Biography of Whitney Houston
Kevin Ammons with Nancy Bacon
An expose: why she married Bobby, why she hates Kevin Costner, Oprah, and Madonna and much more.

HIDING MY CANDY: The Autobiography of the Grand Empress of Savannah
The Lady Chablis with Theodore Bouloukos
Contains pictures, "down home" recipes, and tips for transvestite beauty and fashion.

JACKIE ROBINSON: An Intimate Portrait
Rachel Robinson with Lee Daniels
A tribute by his widow, including never before published family photographs.

JESSE: The Life and Pilgrimage of Jesse Jackson
Marshall Frady
To his detractors, a man of enormous ego and insatiable appetites. To his admirers, one of the great moral leaders of our time &endash; a study that reconciles both views.

*JOYCELYN ELDERS, M.D.: From Sharecropper’s Daughter to Surgeon General of the United States of America
M. Joycelyn Elders with David Chanoff
Her professional and private tragedies and triumphs.

LONG TIME GONE: A Black Panther’s True-Life Story of His Hijacking and Twenty-Five Years in Cuba
William Lee Brent

To escape prosecution, he hijacked an airliner and never returned.

LUSH LIFE: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn
David Hajdu
Not only the difficult life of Duke Ellington’s collaborator but also a history of New York’s black and gay artists in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

*MAMA’S GIRL
Veronica Chambers
Though she grew up amid abuse and rejection, a young woman reconciles with her cold and indifferent mother.

MISS RHYTHM: The Autobiography of Ruth Brown, Rhythm and Blues Legend
Ruth Brown with Andrew Yule
"This is the lady…who started it all. Wasn’t for Ruth Brown, there wouldn’t be no Aretha, wouldn’t be nobody." &endash; Stevie Wonder

MOUNTAIN GET OUT OF MY WAY: Life Lessons and Learned Truths
Montel Williams with Daniel Paisner
Inspirational, no nonsense guidelines for achieving success.

NO FREE RIDE: From the Mean Streets to the Mainstream
Kweisi Mfume with Ron Stodghill II
A hustler and a fighter &endash; first as a young man in Baltimore, then as the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and now as the CEO of the NAACP.

PROPHET OF RAGE: A Life of Louis Farrakhan and His Nation
Arthur J. Magida
By the editorial director of Jewish Lights Publishing

REPOSSESSING ERNESTINE: A Granddaughter Uncovers the Secret History of Her American Family
Marsha Hunt
Was Ernestine committed to a mental institution by her husband and ignored by her family for 52 years because she was too dark?

SAMMY DAVIS JR., My Father
Tracey Davis with Dolores A. Barclay
He missed her birthday parties, was late for her high school graduation and didn’t show up at all for her college graduation &endash; but he did send cash.

*SOARING ABOVE SETBACKS: The Autobiography of Janet Harmon Bragg, African-American Aviator
Janet Harmon Bragg as told to Marjorie M. Kriz
The first African-American female commercial pilot.

WE FLEW OVER THE BRIDGE: The Memoirs of Faith Ringgold
Faith Ringgold
The preeminent artist and award-winning children’s book author. Illustrated with black and white photographs and full color plates.

*Recommended for Teens

This selected list was compiled by: Moonyean Carlton, General Library, Adult Reader and Information Services; Marylou Coveney, Dudley Branch; Jacquelyn Hogan, Grove Hall/Egleston Square Branch Libraries; Sarah markell, Codman Square Branch; Marilyn Poindexter, Chairperson, General Library, Teen Services.  Boston Public Library, 1997.