A meticulous history of a predominantly African-American town in the American South.
Hill Town, later called Strieby, grew largely out of the antebellum settlement of two families: the Hills and the Lassiters. Edward “Ned” Hill and his wife, Priscilla Mahockly were the founding couple. She was a former slave, and he may have been born a free man but maintained a relationship of some kind with a white family, the Hills. A rural town in central North Carolina, Strieby is of particular historical interest because its existence predates the abolition of slavery and experienced the benefits that followed emancipation. Not only could free African-Americans choose where to live in Strieby, they could also pursue an education. One native of the greater Randolph country took those hard-won gains so seriously, he devoted his life to their fulfillment; the Reverend Alfred Islay Walden, born an illiterate slave, left the area in 1867 to pursue an education, graduated from Howard University and the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and eventually became a minister, teacher, and accomplished poet. He returned in 1879, founded a church, helped establish a post office, and also started a school with the help of the American Missionary Association, a coalition that brought scholastic knowledge from the North to newly free Southern communities. Williams (Miles Lassiter, 2011) also chronicles the struggles with racism that still persisted during the post–Civil War years. The author’s investigative research is nothing short of astonishing—the book is an encyclopedic fount of information. Not all of the material will capture the interest of a broad audience—a considerable portion of the book catalogs generations of genealogical connections in meticulous detail. However, the principal focus of the study—the town’s historical commitment to education—is of universal appeal, and Williams offers thoughtful commentary on its development. Furthermore, the book brims with old back-and-white photographs that help capture the historical moment.
A breathtakingly thorough exploration of a historically significant town.
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").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)