February Theme: Black History

Every February in the United States is celebrated by honoring the past and current achievements of the African Diaspora and the history of African Americans in the shaping of a nation.

Following her New York Times Book of the Year, Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten, 1925-1964, Emily Bernard has written a compelling new biography, Carl Van Vechten and the Harlem Renaissance: A Portrait in Black and White, taking the often controversial Van Vechten and illuminating his place in America’s intertwined production of art and race. On Facebook, you’ll find news about the book and online resources for further reading on Harlem Renaissance. In the digital age, it seems only fitting to celebrate Van Vechten’s legacy by collecting these 20th-century gems of American arts culture and sharing them in one place.

We’re over that period of “post-racial” speculation, so right in time for this year’s elections comes Donald R. Kinder and Allison Dale-Riddle’s The End of Race?: Obama, 2008, and Racial Politics in America, stressing how much race was an important part of the political stage in the 2008 elections, showing how “racial resentment,” a modern form of racism, has replaced our previously biological-based notions of discrimination.

Keep your eyes pealed around Presidents’ Day for more on Peter J. Hatch’s “A Rich Spot of Earth”: Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello: we’ll have fun facts, a book giveaway, and even recipes from the vegetable garden to get you ready for spring.

Media personality and Tulane professor Melissa Harris-Perry will launch her eponymous show on MSNBC on February 18. Meanwhile, we’ve made available two excerpts from her book Sister Citizen, the “Crooked Room” and “Michelle,” that speak to timely issues in today’s American political and cultural climate.

We’ll continue our coverage of recent books like David Margolick’s Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock and William G. Thomas’s The Iron Way: Railroads, the Civil War, and the Making of Modern America, along with a look into YUP’s history with Eugene O’Neill, and biographies of Joe Louis, Pearl Primus, Ralph Ellison, and more.

And whatever shall we do with the extra Leap Year day? Follow along to find out.

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