A stunningly thorough and poignant study of African-Americans.

IF THESE STONES COULD TALK

AFRICAN AMERICAN PRESENCE IN THE HOPEWELL VALLEY, SOURLAND MOUNTAIN, AND SURROUNDING REGIONS OF NEW JERSEY.

A debut history book focuses on a New Jersey cemetery while exploring the whole spectrum of the black experience in the region. 

Buck and Mills both have deep familial ties to the Stoutsburg Cemetery near Hopewell, New Jersey. They have jointly served as trustees of the cemetery’s association for more than 30 years. In 2006, someone distraught over the possibility that a nearby but unofficial burial ground would soon be bulldozed contacted Buck. The authors immersed themselves in research in order to find documentary evidence of the land’s hallowed purpose, a task that begat this extended “detective-labor-of-love.” The result is a panoramic history of the African-American experience in New Jersey and the region, concentrating on the Stoutsburg Cemetery, a powerful reminder of the segregation that persisted long after the demise of slavery. In fact, a state law made it criminal to bury blacks and whites on the same grounds; it was finally overturned in 1884. The historical landscape traversed is expansive. The authors discuss the centrality of the church for African-Americans in the area, the history of the black population’s military service, and the nature of black landownership, which provided “real power and sovereignty” for otherwise disenfranchised citizens. They also dispel the myth that slavery in the North was more humanely practiced than in the South. New Jersey was in fact a brutal participant in and advocate of slave ownership. At the heart of this moving chronicle is the authors’ impassioned desire to “break the cycle of America’s historical omissions” regarding its black citizens, whose significant contributions have often been consigned to oblivion. “The challenges that African Americans face in proving their family history is a direct result of the lack of primary documentation—records of accomplishments or achievements in their lives,” the authors assert. The study is meticulously documented and written in prose that is always lucid and often stirring. The authors tend to confront readers with mountains of detail—family genealogies and even recipes are provided—but given the mission to disinter a buried history, it’s hard to quibble with their zeal. 

A stunningly thorough and poignant study of African-Americans.  

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-941948-08-8

Page Count: 374

Publisher: Wild River Consulting and Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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