Posts filed under ‘African and African American’

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: The Top Common Reading Book of 2011 and 2012

Winner of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine’s Communication Award for Best Book
Winner of the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction
Winner of the Wellcome Trust Book Prize

Named by more than 60 critics as one of the best books of 2010, including: Best Book of the Year at: O, The Oprah Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Bookmarks Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Entertainment Weekly, East Bay Express, and Kansas City Star, A Discover Magazine 2010 Must Read, National Public Radio, Best of the Bestsellers

In 1951, an African American woman named Henrietta Lacks, stricken with cervical cancer, became an involuntary donor of cells from her cancerous tumor, which were propagated by scientist George Otto Gey to create an immortal cell line for medical research. These cells are now known worldwide as HeLa. In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, award-winning science writer Rebecca Skloot brilliantly weaves together the Lacks’s story–past and present–with the story of the birth of bioethics, the story of HeLa cells, and the dark history of experimentation on African Americans. Important, powerful, and compassionate, this is a remarkable work of science and social journalism.  (more…)

March 12, 2013 at 1:03 am 4 comments

Jay-Z now a Course Taught at Georgetown: “Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z”

This fall, Georgetown University has announced that noted educator, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, will be teaching a course revolving around hip hop mogul Jay Z and his book Decoded. For the millions who know him as the greatest rapper alive and an unparalleled cultural and business icon, Decoded is the story of the legendary Jay-Z, told through lyrics, images, and a powerful and surprising personal narrative. This is an intimate, first-person portrait of the life and art of Jay-Z, organized around a “decoding” of his most famous and provocative lyrics.

Prof. Dyson describes the course as follows: “We look at his incredible body of work, we look at his own understanding of his work, we look at others who reflect upon him, and then we ask the students to engage in critical analysis of Jay-Z himself.”  For more information on the course, see video at: http://rapfix.mtv.com/2011/10/10/michael-eric-dyson-on-jay-z-georgetown-university-course/

“Compelling. . . . Part autobiography, part lavishly illustrated commentary on the author’s own work, Decoded gives the reader a harrowing portrait of the rough worlds Jay-Z navigated in his youth, while at the same time deconstructing his lyrics. . . . [P]rovocative, evocative. . . .” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times (more…)

October 18, 2011 at 6:27 pm Leave a comment

Raritan Valley Community College’s English Dept. Assigns The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates

Two boys named Wes Moore were born in the same neighborhood of the same American city only a year apart. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, army officer, White House Fellow, and a top young business leader—the other is serving a life sentence in prison. Through an unlikely friendship, the two Wes’s discovered all of the similarities in their stories, and also the dramatic points of inflection—involving incidents of sudden violence, luck, uninformed choices, and powerful mentors—where their stories fatefully diverged. Here is their dramatic twinned story, set against the larger story of the persistent challenges— and new possibilities—facing young men in America.

“Moving and inspiring, The Other Wes Moore is a story for our times.”—Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here (more…)

September 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm Leave a comment

A Nuanced Narrative: SOMALIS IN MAINE

SOMALIS IN MAINE

Below is a note from, Kimberly A. Huisman, one of the co-editors of the new book Somalis in Maine.

Somalis are among those refugees who have witnessed many horrors and suffered great losses. Despite their relatively small numbers as refugees and immigrants, Somalis have attracted media attention nearly everywhere the global diaspora has taken them. Many of these media stories about Somalia are replete with images of starving women and children, the violence of the civil war, the lawlessness of piracy off the Somali coast, and alleged links to al-Qaeda. The media reports about Somali immigrants to North America have centered on social problems involving race, religion, and economic tensions in cities, schools, and work settings. Lewiston, Maine, for example, was a site of national and international media attention in 2002 when the mayor of Lewiston published a letter in the local newspaper asking Somalis to please stop moving to Maine. These powerful and monolithic portrayals of Somalis—as either victims or social problems—have left little room in our public imagination for more nuanced narratives about the lives and experiences of Somali immigrants.

(more…)

July 15, 2011 at 8:45 pm Leave a comment

Author Rebecca Skloot Shares Inspiration Behind The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The phenomenal story behind a woman named Henrietta Lacks, or better known as HeLa by scientists worldwide, is grabbing the attention of teachers and students alike.

Henrietta was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years.

In the following video clip, author Rebecca Skloot shares her inspiration for writing the book and how one woman’s life changed the world and came to be The  Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Author website: www.rebeccaskloot.com

To read an excerpt, click here

To order an examination copy, click here (more…)

January 27, 2011 at 4:21 pm Leave a comment

Recommended for Course Adoption: Power in Words: The Stories behind Barack Obama’s Speeches, from the State House to the White House, by Two Political Insiders

Professors: Be one of the first to assign Power in Words for your course. Email rhacademic@randomhouse.com to request a free copy. Mention that you saw it at “Make Me Required Reading.”

“In the long sweep of history, readers will be able to refer to this work to better understand and appreciate the power of words of our forty-fourth president of the United States.”–Dana Perino, former White House press secretary

In his foreword, Ted Sorensen, former special counsel and adviser to President John F. Kennedy, suggests that President Obama’s campaign speeches place him with the oratorical greats, “the first indication that he would rank with Jefferson, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Kennedy.” In Power in Words, political insiders Mary Frances Berry and Josh Gottheimer introduce Obama’s most memorable speeches, from his October 2002 speech against the war in Iraq and his November 2008 election-night victory speech to “A More Perfect Union,” his March 2008 response to the Reverend Wright controversy, and lesser-known but revealing speeches, such as one given in Nairobi, Kenya, in August 2006. Berry and Gottheimer include a rich introduction to every speech that features political analysis and provides insight and historical context. Power in Words includes commentary from Jon Favreau, Obama’s chief speechwriter, as well as former presidential speechwriters such as Michael Waldman (Bill Clinton) and Michael Gerson (George W. Bush). (more…)

October 12, 2010 at 7:54 pm Leave a comment

This Just In: Oakland Community College Adopts Tracy Kidder’s Strength in What Remains for Its Fall Course

By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, this book, now in paperback, recounts the story of Deo, a young man from war-torn Burundi, who endures homelessness before pursuing an education at Columbia University and going on to medical school.

“A tale of ethnocide, exile and healing by a master of narrative nonfiction. . . . Terrifying at turns, but tremendously inspiring. . . . a key document in the growing literature devoted to postgenocidal justice.” —Kirkus Reviews

Strength in What Remains has been selected for course reading at Oakland Community Collge, Flagler University, and other colleges. It has also been selected for Common Reading at Caldwell College, Penn State Berks, Stanford University, and University of Delaware.

Author Website: www.tracykidder.com (more…)

September 20, 2010 at 5:44 pm 1 comment

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