E-book Review: Lynching in America

“In all of the subject states, we observed that there is an astonishing absence of any effort to acknowledge, discuss, or address lynching.” Introduction, key point 5.

Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, a report of the Equal Justice Initiative.
Published online at lynchinginamerica.eji.org/report/, Montgomery, Alabama.
Accessed in July 2017.

This report walks the reader through the events surrounding racial terror lynchings in America, including case studies of individual lynchings and photographs, illustrations, legal reactions, and original source quotations.

Lynching in America image resized
Lynching in America Report Introduction. Freely available at lynchinginamerica.eji.org/report/ .

I don’t recall how this crossed my path.  Normally I prefer to read books in person, whether I purchase, checkout from the library, or borrow from a friend.  However, some popular books are easier to get from the library as ebooks and older books that are out of print can often be found online for free.

This book doesn’t fit either of those categories.  Instead, this is a report from a team led by Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy.  His book’s been on my TBR for a while now (I even had it checked out, but had to return it as there was a hold).  After reading this report, Just Mercy got bumped up on my must-reads.

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Web: Racism in America

A few articles to read.

As a side note, I would like to mention that lately it seems my timed posts are off and not all of my “likes” are sticking.  I have still been reading but just noticed these issues today (when there were ten extra scheduled posts in my queue) and am busy, so it may take some time to correct them.  My apologies.

Now on to the articles.

The Most Racist Places in America resized
“The Most Racist Places in America by Google Search” map from the Washington Post

The Most Racist Places in America, According to Google by Christopher Ingraham.

If nothing else, click to this article to see where your hometown (or a major city you’ve visited) falls in private racist opinions.  I also found the methodology of how they decided to measure for racism fascinating.

Geography of Hate: Geotagged Hateful Tweets in the US .

This one is not an article, just a series of maps using tweets to determine relative hate speech in different counties over the US.  I found this interesting as well, although it seems more easily skewed by individual users, and not all tweets are geotagged (probably accounting for the lack of hate speech in some cities).

Three Quarters of Whites Don’t Have Any Non-White Friends by Christopher Ingraham.

Another intriguing and eye-opening article from the Washington Post.  (They do limit the number of free articles you can read per month, so this will be the last I link from them.)

“The implication of these findings is that when we talk about race in our personal lives, we are by and large discussing it with people who look like us.”

How America Spreads the Disease that is Racism by not Confronting Racist Family Members and Friends by April Harter.

I feel like the most important part of this is the racism scale, but the whole article is interesting.  Personally I feel that our education system should be a primary method of confronting racism (see the previous article about social networks) but any method would work.

Todd Robertson photograph
This historic 1992 photograph by Todd Robertson captures an interaction between a young boy in KKK robes and the African-American trooper there to protect his civil liberties.

How a KKK Rally Image Found New Life 20 Years After it was Published by David Griner.

This image has been circulating widely on social media once again the past week.  It’s had a long life because this accidental image says so much about our nation.  There’s even a reflection sheet for teachers to use (PDF).  This article gives a detailed history on the photo and includes reflections from the photographer.

Photographer, Trooper from Klan Rally Image Meet by Andrew Beaujon.

More backstory on the historic image, this time from the trooper portrayed in the photograph.

Review: Bad Blood

“On the few occasions when someone did challenge the study directly, a defender invariably pointed out how long it had been going on, how much work the PHS had invested, and how science would benefit if the study continued.” page 173

Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (New and Expanded Edition) by James H. Jones.
The Free Press, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1981, my edition 1993 expanded reprint.
Adult non-fiction, 297 pages including notes and index.
Not leveled.

The true story of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment reads like a work of fiction.

Bad Blood resized

Normally I don’t read horror, but I’ll make an exception for non-fiction.  This was a chilling read, made all the more horrific by the fact that it occurred in my own country in the fairly recent past.  Sadly, some accounts of the racism and prejudice present in this study read like they could be happening today.

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Review: I’ll Scream Later

“In February of 1987 when I went on Nightline to discuss Gallaudet University’s controversial Deaf President Now movement, the show was captioned for the first time. Anchor Ted Koppel used most of the intro to explain to the audience about the captioning they would see – technically open captioning, since anyone could see it – interpreters they would hear, signing they would also see.” page 182

I’ll Scream Later by Marlee Matlin, with Betsy Sharkey.
Originally published 2009 Handjive Productions, my edition Gallery Books, Simon and Schuster, New York, 2010.
Autobiography/memoir, 327 pages.
Not leveled.

Marlee Matlin is one of the few Deaf performers well-known to hearing audiences, but there are also many other aspects of her life and self.  She was catapulted to fame with a Best Actress Oscar on Children of a Lesser God.  Now twenty years later, she’s written a tell-all memoir about drug addiction, abusive relationships, and more.

I'll Scream Later resized

This was a book full of surprises.  I was moved by what an important part her Jewish faith has played in her life, especially how her childhood synagogue was fully inclusive as a hearing/Deaf worship space, with a signing rabbi.  How beautiful that her early use of language included a rich religious environment where she was able to learn about God through her own language, ASL.

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Sign: It’s NOT All the Same

Sign isn’t universal and English-speaking countries each have different versions of visual, signed language!

I’ve had an interest in sign language for a long time and have been (mostly informally) learning ASL for almost a decade.

wonderstruck-fingerspell-book-cropped
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, learn to fingerspell your name or other words in ASL at http://www.scholastic.com/wonderstruck/signs.html

One aspect that many people who aren’t aware of Deaf culture often misunderstand is that there are different types of sign, just like there are different spoken languages.

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Review: Gloria Rising

“Maybe the people in line behind us thought Dr. Street and I were mother and daughter having a serious conversation, because they left some space around us.” page 13

Gloria Rising by Ann Cameron, illustrated by Lis Toft.
Stepping Stones, Random House Children’s Books, 2002.
Realistic fiction, 98 pages.
Lexile:  640L  .
AR Level:  3.9 (worth 1.0 points)  .
NOTE: Technically part of the Julian/Huey/Gloria series, but works as a stand-alone.

Before the start of fourth grade, Gloria has an unexpected encounter with a celebrity astronaut who looks like her and answers all her questions about space!  But at school, her teacher doesn’t believe she met Dr. Street, and worse, thinks she’s a troublemaker.

Gloria Rising

I got this book at the dollar store back when I first started reading diverse.  That was part of the reason that I grabbed it, as was the cover.  A young black girl in space with an onion?  So many questions.  I regret to inform you that this book is not science fiction (as the cover would indicate).  However, it’s still worth reading!

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Review: Dave the Potter

“To us / it is just dirt, / the ground we walk on. / Scoop up a handful. / The gritty grains slip / between your fingers.” page 3

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier.
Little, Brown, and Company Hachette Book Group, New York, 2010.
Picture book biography, 40 pages including end notes.
Winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, 2011.
2011 Caldecott Honor recipient.
Lexile:  AD1100L (What does AD mean in Lexile?)
AR Level:  6.0 (worth 0.5 points) .

Dave the Potter was a real-life African-American slave and artist.  He must have been incredibly strong, because he was able to successfully make pots as large as forty gallons.  He knew how to read and write, because he marked poems into the sides of some of his pots.  Beyond that we may never know many of the details of his life.

Dave the Potter Cover resized

This book came up several times before I bought it.  The first time, it was mistakenly labeled as fiction.  Later I realized it was non-fiction and added it to the bottom of my TBR.  After reading When the Beat Was Born by the same author, I decided to purchase this book, knowing that the writing would be excellent.  And I loved it!

Since so little is definitively known about Dave, this book focuses on the process of making his pottery that Dave would likely have gone through, using sparse poetry, detailed and realistic images of the process, and collage backgrounds imagining the world he inhabited.

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