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Spanning over 250 years of history, Black Ink traces black literature in America from Frederick Douglass to Ta-Nehisi Coates in this masterful collection of twenty-five illustrious and moving essays on the power of the written word.
Throughout American history black people are the only group of people to have been forbidden by law to learn to read. This unique collection seeks to shed light on that injustice and subjugation, as well as the hard-won literary progress made, putting some of America’s most cherished voices in a conversation in one magnificent volume that presents reading as an act of resistance.
Organized into three sections, the Peril, the Power, and Pleasure, and with an array of contributors both classic and contemporary, Black Ink presents the brilliant diversity of black thought in America while solidifying the importance of these writers within the greater context of the American literary tradition. At times haunting and other times profoundly humorous, this unprecedented anthology guides you through the remarkable experiences of some of America’s greatest writers and their lifelong pursuits of literacy and literature.
The foreword was written by Nikki Giovanni. Contributors include: Frederick Douglass, Solomon Northup, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King, Jr., Toni Morrison, Walter Dean Myers, Stokely Carmichael [Kwame Ture], Alice Walker, Jamaica Kincaid, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Terry McMillan, Junot Diaz, Edwidge Danticat, Colson Whitehead, Marlon James, Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Colson Whitehead.
The anthology features a bonus in-depth interview with President Barack Obama.
About the Author
Stephanie Stokes Oliver is the author of Daily Cornbread: 365 Secrets for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Spirit; Seven Soulful Secrets for Finding Your Purpose & Minding Your Mission; and Song for My Father: Memoir of an All-American Family. Formerly the editor of Essence, and founding editor-in-chief of Heart & Soul, she started her magazine career at Glamour. For more information, see StephanieStokesOliver.com.
Nikki Giovanni is one of the most decorated poets of our time. She is the recipient of seven NAACP Image Awards, a National Book Award, a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King Award, and a Grammy nomination. She is the author of three New York Times bestsellers as well as many poetry collections for children and adults. You can visit her online at Nikki-Giovanni.com.
“An informative overview of African-American literature. Revelatory. . . moving. . . impressive.”
— Kirkus Review
“Black writers have used writing and reading to create, find and sometimes save their lives. Stephanie Stokes Oliver invites the reader into a black magic circle of incendiary, replenishing and inspiring ideas, memories and meditations on the power of literacy and imagination by the writers we treasure. It was a pleasure to re-read established classics and discover new classic arguments for the power of the written and read word.”
— Marita Golden
“This electric and electrifying collection of voices serves to open a much needed window onto the freedom struggle of black literature. It’s a marvel, and a genuine gift for readers everywhere.”
— Wil Haygood
"A breathtaking anthology celebrating the power of the written word to forge change."
— O, the Oprah Magazine