Babatunde Olatunji's record album Drums of Passion proclaimed that the time had come for America to recognize Africa's cultural contributions to the music world. Through his many albums and live performances, the Nigerian drummer popularized West African traditional music and spread his message of racial harmony. In this long-awaited autobiography, Olatunji presents his life story and the philosophy that guided him. Olatunji influenced and inspired musicians for more than forty years—from luminaries to music students and the many ordinary people who participated in his drum circles. He writes about rhythm being "the soul of life," and about the healing power of the drum. Ultimately, The Beat of My Drum shows why at the time of his death in 2003, Olatunji had become, according to The New York Times, "the most visible African musician in the United States."
The life narratives in this collection are by ethnically diverse women of energy and ambition—some well known, some forgotten over generations—who confronted barriers of gender, class, race, and sexual difference as they pursued or adapted to adventurous new lives in a rapidly changing America. The engaging selections—from captivity narratives to letters, manifestos, criminal confessions, and childhood sketches—span a hundred years in which women increasingly asserted themselves publicly. Some rose to positions of prominence as writers, activists, and artists; some sought education or wrote to support themselves and their families; some transgressed social norms in search of new possibilities. Each woman’s story is strikingly individual, yet the brief narratives in this anthology collectively chart bold new visions of women’s agency.
Breathe Life into Your Life Story is an essential read for anyone who aspires to write a life story—but not just any story, one your family and others will actually WANT to read.
Written for both novices and experienced writers, this book presents techniques used by novelists to immerse readers into their fictional world—techniques like “showing” rather than just “telling”; creating interesting, believable characters and settings; writing at the gut level; alternating scene and narrative; beginning with a bang; generating tension, and more.
Excerpts from memoirs written by such pros as Maya Angelou, Frank McCourt, Russell Baker, and many others illustrate how best-selling authors have used these methods to hook their readers. Dozens of “Learn by Doing” exercises help readers practice and acquire the skills necessary to breathe life into their own stories.
First written in 1937 and never before published, Bridging Two Eras is the fascinating autobiography of Emily Newell Blair, a remarkable woman who successfully reconciled a productive public life with the traditional values of a housewife and mother.
Because Blair's life essentially spanned two eras, from the end of the nineteenth century through the middle of the twentieth, she thought of herself as a bridge builder. A dedicated feminist, she wanted her autobiography to help women understand what life was like during that transition time. She had moved from being a conventional, middle-class, midwestern wife and mother to becoming an acclaimed author, a nationally known feminist, and vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee only two years after women gained the right to vote. She felt that her story could encourage women to take their rightful places in public life.
Bridging Two Eras is divided into two parts. Book I is a charming evocation of life in southwest Missouri in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. It offers great insight into family relationships, class structure, and social attitudes typical of much of small-town America. Book II addresses Blair's public career and follows her progress as professional writer, suffrage activist, and partisan politician. Included are acute judgments of leading political figures, fascinating vignettes of the suffrage movement, an insider's view of the workings of the national Democratic Party in the 1920s and 1930s, and a valuable outlook on Missouri politics during the first third of the twentieth century.
Perceptive and introspective, Blair captivates her readers as she traces her own evolution. With candor, she explains her conflicts between family and career, acknowledging the difficulties and tensions she faced in pursuing a public life. Delightfully written, Bridging Two Eras provides valuable insight into all the possibilities, as well as the limitations, life then held for an American woman.
With his dynamic on-air personality and his trademark cry of "Burn, baby! BURN!" before spinning the hottest new records, Magnificent Montague was the charismatic voice of soul music in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. In this memoir Montague recounts his momentous radio career, which ran from the era of segregation to that of the civil rights movement. He also tells the broader story of a life spent in the passionate pursuit of knowledge.
Buying the Night Flight is Georgie Anne Geyer's retelling of her thrilling rise from cub reporter to foreign correspondent as she made her way into the male-dominated world of journalism. Geyer transports the reader to Guatemala, Cuba, Egypt, Russia, and Cambodia, recounting the history and politics, adventure and exhaustion of the time from a truly unique perspective. Told with brilliance and dead-on honesty, this book vividly captures the triumphs of a determined and talented young reporter.