The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 by Tim Madigan takes place in 1921. On June 1, 1921, an estimated 10,000 white citizens of Tulsa, Oklahoma, destroyed the black Greenwood neighborhood known at the time as America’s Black Wall Street. The actual number of casualties is unknown, but the cruelty and indiscriminate horror of the attack lived in the minds of the survivors, who lived in a community whose only crime was a success.
I will never know what it is like to be Black in America. In history, it has always seemed like being one of Henry VIIIs’ wives. He would put up with them as long as they were pretty and docile without opinion, and if they in any way displeased or bored him, they might lose their head. That, it seems, is a trivialization and I am sorry for making that comparison. It seems in history and now, there is burning hate and dangerous unrest in the white community. This work shook this reader. The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 should be required reading in every high-school history curriculum. I write this review with horror knowing there was no real recrimination for this vile event where the true number of casualties will never be known. Tim Madigan postulates the secrecy may be due to the fear of being very appropriately charged with murder. The least that can be done is for this horrible event to never again be an open secret. For it to be taught and treated with the same abhorrence of the awful, tragic and cruel events in history.
Better World Book Challenge Book 1 – A Book nominated for a literary prize
Difficult Women by Roxanne Gay has been nominated for the Aspen Words Literary Prize, which is in its first year. Difficult Women is a collection of short stories focusing on the highs, lows and humor of women living life.
Twelve Days In May: Freedom Ride 1961 by Larry Dane Brimner, chronicles the journey of 13 black and white Civil Rights Activists from Washington D.C. to New Orleans. The riders planned a protest of the southern states ignoring two Supreme Court rulings that segregation on buses crossing state lines was unconstitutional. The protest was meant to be peaceful and shine a light on the nonobservance of the rulings in the south. What met them on their journey was violence and hate. Continue reading Twelve Days In May: Freedom Ride 1961 by Larry Dane Brimner
The Physicists was written by the author, Friedrich Dürrenmatt in 1961. Dürrenmatt is a twentieth-century, Swiss playwright, novelist and essayist who is renowned for his philosophical crime novels (The Inspector Barlach Mysteries: The Judge and His Hangman and Suspicion) as well as in his satiric, tragic-comic dramas that are centered around post-World War II. The Physicists is his first classically constructed work and is generally considered his best play. It deals with the ethics of science. In 1963, the play was performed worldwide and was finally staged in New York in 1964. If you don’t mind spoilers, continue reading. Continue reading The Physicists by Friedrich Dürrenmatt
In 1951, Tobacco Farmer Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer. Before her death, cervical cells were harvested without her consent and became the first human cells to grow in a lab. They would grow an entire generation of new cells in a 24-hour period. Over the years those cells, known as HeLa to scientists, became a hot commodity in the scientific world standing at the forefront of some of the greatest medical breakthroughs, but Henrietta Lacks remained largely unknown. Unknown — until her daughter started looking to find out more about the mother she’d never known. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is her story. Continue reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict by Austin Reed is the nineteenth-century account of his life as a free, black man born in 1823 who spent his life between hard labor, indentured servitude and incarceration at America’s first industrial prison. The recently discovered manuscript written when Reed was still in prison was authenticated by Yale scholar, Caleb Smith and includes letters written by Reed later in his life. Continue reading The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict by Austin Reed
In Unto the Daughters: The Legacy of an Honor Killing in a Sicilian-American Family by Karen Tintori, the author writes about hints of matters that no one in the family would talk about. When the sister became the “one they got rid of” as a result of her aunt’s slip of the tongue, Tintori felt compelled to pursue the secret that her family had kept for many years. The author takes the reader on the process from innocent genealogy research to a deep secret uncovered.
If you are looking for books dealing with human rights, check out those that have been reviewed on this homepage. Our main post with an overview of books and movies were reviewed for human rights day 2016 will be published later. At the moment, enjoy the Rabid Reader’s Book List for Human Rights Day 2016 and make sure to visit this site later.
Contempt of Court: The Turn-of-the-Century Lynching That Launched a Hundred Years of Federalism by Mark Curriden & Leroy Phillips
Genre: nonfiction, human rights, political science, African-American studies
In 1906, a white woman was brutally raped in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Ed Johnson, a black man, was working at his restaurant job when the attack happened but was arrested and charged with the crime. When his lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court for a stay of execution and that stay was granted, local folks, led by officials, took the law into their own hands. In a history-changing move, the lynch mob faced federal legal repercussions. Ed Johnson cleared of the rape charges 100 years later. You can read the review of a “Contempt of Court” here.
Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Morte accidentale di un anarchico) was written by the Italian playwright, Dario Fo, following the events that took place in Italy, in the late 1960s. Dario Fo is one of Italy’s most important and well-known literary writers who is famous for employing satire and popular elements within his work. His writings deal with Italian politics and his work is able to attract people from all walks of life.
The book was released in 1970 and the play was first performed in Milan in December of the same year. In 1984, it was staged on Broadway and became Fo’s most popular work inside and outside of Italy. For theater directors, this has been the play of choice when it comes to dealing with corruption.
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