29 Aug

Bartography Express for August 2015, featuring Tamara Ellis Smith’s Another Kind of Hurricane

This month, one subscriber to my Bartography Express newsletter will win a copy of Another Kind of Hurricane (Schwartz & Wade) by Tamara Ellis Smith.

If you’re not already receiving Bartography Express, click the image below for a look. If you like what you see, click “Join” in the bottom right corner, and you’ll be in the running for the giveaway next Tuesday.

20150825 Bartography Express

17 Aug

See you soon, Mississippi! And thank you, Black History Channel!

I remember the excitement of the first Texas Book Festival twenty years ago, as well as my more personal enthusiasm two years later when I had the honor of shepherding Mississippi author (with deep Texas ties) Willie Morris around the annual event.

Mississippi Book Festival logo

This week, it’s Mississippi’s turn for its inaugural book festival, and I’m delighted to be attending as one of the featured authors. I hope some of you will be able to attend my panel this coming Saturday at 11:30 a.m.:

Children’s Illustrated Books – Room 113

Presented by First Commercial Bank and the Friends of University Libraries / University of Southern Mississippi

  • Ellen Ruffin, Curator de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, University of Southern Mississippi, Moderator
  • Sarah Campbell, Wolfsnail, Growing Patterns, Mysterious Patterns
  • Sarah Frances Hardy, Dress Me!
  • Susan Eaddy, Poppy’s Best Paper
  • Hester Bass, The Secret World of Walter Anderson, Seeds of Freedom
  • Lori Nichols, Maple & Willow Apart
  • Chris Barton, The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch

In the meantime, I hope you’ll have a look at the Black History Channel’s review of my book and consideration of the Reconstruction era. In a nutshell, reviewer Rita Lorraine says that The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch‘s “text and illustrations … depict the whirlwind of change, hope, and the infinite possibilities that defined this rocky time in American history.”

I truly appreciate that, Rita. Thank you for sharing my book with your readers.

bookcover-johnroylynch

02 Aug

Revisiting Reconstruction (Week of August 2, 2015)

From my book The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers; illustrated by Don Tate)

Excerpt from my book The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers; illustrated by Don Tate)

Here are the three most notable items pertaining to Reconstruction that I found this past week. Or, at least, two notable items preceded by one blatantly self-promotional one. (What did I miss? Let me know in the comments…)

In advance of this month’s inaugural Mississippi Book Festival, this interview with me from Jackson’s Clarion-Ledger:

Question: Briefly, why did Reconstruction after the Civil War fail in the South? (History seems to suggest that had it not failed, things in the South could have been very different.)

Answer: Reconstruction failed because racists in the South wanted it to fail more than the general population of the United States wanted to see it through. White terrorists and their political allies were firm in their resolve to deny civil rights and social equality to black Americans, and the will of the federal government faltered.

From Ishmael-Lateef Ahmad in the The St. Louis American:

In February 1988 I team-covered a story when then state Rep. Thomas Reed and 13 others were arrested in an attempt to scramble to the crest of the state capitol and remove the Confederate battle flag from atop the dome. They never got over an 8-foot construction fence before they were arrested and taken to jail. Flag supporters celebrated and vowed the flag would never come down. …

At the time, Reed was president of the Alabama NAACP. In 1970 he was among the first blacks elected to the Alabama state legislature since Reconstruction…

And from Will Moredock in the Charleston City Paper, writing about Mary C. Simms Oliphant, 20th century author of the South Carolina state history textbook:

Oliphant’s primary way of dealing with black people in South Carolina history was to ignore them. In her 432-page text are hundreds of illustrations, yet blacks are depicted in only nine. Of those nine, two show blacks picking cotton, one is a 19th-century engraving showing blacks running a cotton gin, while another shows blacks hauling cotton bails on the wharves in Charleston. The only black person identified by name in the entire book is Denmark Vesey, the accused organizer of a failed slave revolt in 1822.

The keepers of South Carolina’s history, archives, and monuments have been ignoring black people for generations. This weekend we begin to correct that with two days of scholarship and observances honoring Civil War hero and Reconstruction reformer Robert Smalls. It is part of the Civil War sesquicentennial observance in the city where that terrible conflict began. The organizers of this four-year series of events are determined to avoid the mistakes of the centennial observance 50 years ago. These events will be dignified and historically inclusive. This weekend’s observance will be a small step toward understanding that war and its aftermath.

bookcover-johnroylynch

25 Jul

Bartography Express for July 2015, featuring Lindsey Lane’s Evidence of Things Not Seen

This month, one subscriber to my Bartography Express newsletter will win a copy of Evidence of Things Not Seen (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by Lindsey Lane.

If you’re not already receiving Bartography Express, click the image below for a look. If you like what you see, click “Join” in the bottom right corner, and you’ll be in the running for the giveaway at the end of next week.

20150723 Bartography Express

05 Jul

The lineup for the inaugural Mississippi Book Festival…

Mississippi Book Festival logo

…is taking shape. And I’m pleased to say that I’m among the authors who will be participating in Jackson on August 22.

Where better for me to share The Amazing of Age of John Roy Lynch with the public than in the city where he began his political rise?

In 1868 the US government

“In 1868 the U.S. government appointed a young Yankee general as governor of Mississippi. The whites who had been in charge were swept out of office. By river and by railroad, John Roy traveled to Jackson to hand Governor Ames a list of names to fill those positions in Natchez. After John Roy spoke grandly of each man’s merits, the governor added another name to the list: John Roy Lynch, Justice of the Peace.”