Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Duke by A major new biography of Duke Ellington from the acclaimed author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was the greatest jazz composer of the twentieth century—and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand. The grandson of a slave, he dropped out of high school to become one of the world’s most famous musicians, a showman of incomparable suavity who was as comfortable in Carnegie Hall as in the nightclubs where he honed his style. He wrote some fifteen hundred compositions, many of which, like “Mood Indigo” and “Sophisticated Lady,” remain beloved standards, and he sought inspiration in an endless string of transient lovers, concealing his inner self behind a smiling mask of flowery language and ironic charm. As the biographer of Louis Armstrong, Terry Teachout is uniquely qualified to tell the story of the public and private lives of Duke Ellington. Duke peels away countless layers of Ellington’s evasion and public deception to tell the unvarnished truth about the creative genius who inspired Miles Davis to say, “All the musicians should get together one certain day and get down on their knees and thank Duke.”
Call Number: ML410.E44 T38 2013 (Deerwood, Downtown)
Publication Date: 2013-10-17
Zora Neale Hurston by (PRINT) Chapters focus on Hurston's childhood in Eatonville, Florida, her difficult life after leaving home, her opportunities to attend school, & her life as a writer. Many students will appreciate the inclusion of quotations (documented in chapter notes). Chronology, bibliography, & index. Part of the African-American Biographies series.
Call Number: PS3515.U789 Z954 1996 (Downtown, North)
Publication Date: 1996-04-01
Richard Wright by The first full-scale biography of the author of Black Boy and Native Son -- written with the dramatic drive of a novel. "Writing," Richard Wright once said, "is my way of being a free man." In this authoritative and engaging biography, Hazel Rowley chronicles Wright's extraordinary journey from a sharecropper's shack in Mississippi to international renown as a writer, fiercely independent thinker, and outspoken critic of racism. The child of the fundamentalist South with an eighth-grade education, a self-taught intellectual in the working-class Communist Party of the 1930s, a black man married to a white woman, and an expatriate in France after World War II, Wright was always an outsider. Skillfully interweaving quotations from Wright's writings, Rowley portrays a man who transced the times in which he lived and sought to reconcile opposing cultures in his work. She draws on recently discovered material to shed new light on Wright's relationships with Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, and others, and on his self-imposed exile in France (widely blamed for his so-called decline as a writer). In this lively, finely crafted narrative, Wright -- passionate, complex, courageous, and flawed -- comes vibrantly to life.
Call Number: PS3545.R815 Z84 2001 (Deerwood, Nassau, South)
Publication Date: 2001-08-14
Pops by Louis Armstrong was the greatest jazz musician of the twentieth century and a giant of modern American culture. He knocked the Beatles off the top of the charts, wrote the finest of all jazz autobiographies - without a collaborator - and created collages that have been compared to the art of Romare Bearden. The ranks of his admirers included Johnny Cash, Jackson Pollock and Orson Welles. Offstage he was witty, introspective and unexpectedly complex, a beloved colleague with an explosive temper whose larger-than-life personality was tougher and more sharp-edged than his worshipping fans ever knew. Wall Street Journal arts columnist Terry Teachout has drawn on a cache of important new sources unavailable to previous Armstrong biographers, including hundreds of private recordings of backstage and after-hours conversations that Armstrong made throughout the second half of his life, to craft a sweeping new narrative biography of this towering figure that shares full, accurate versions of such storied events as Armstrong's decision to break up his big band and his quarrel with President Eisenhower for the first time. Certain to be the definitive word on Armstrong for our generation, Pops paints a gripping portrait of the man, his world and his music that will stand alongside Gary Giddins' Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams and Peter Guralnick's Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley as a classic biography of a major American musician.
Call Number: ML419.A75 T43 2009 (South)
Publication Date: 2009-12-02
Josephine Baker and the Rainbow Tribe by (PRINT) Creating a sensation with her risqu#65533; nightclub act and strolls down the Champs Elys#65533;es, pet cheetah in tow, Josephine Baker lives on in popular memory as the banana-skirted siren of Jazz Age Paris. In Josephine Baker and the Rainbow Tribe, Matthew Pratt Guterl brings out a little known side of the celebrated personality, showing how her ambitions of later years were even more daring and subversive than the youthful exploits that made her the first African American superstar. Her performing days numbered, Baker settled down in a sixteenth-century chateau she named Les Milandes, in the south of France. Then, in 1953, she did something completely unexpected and, in the context of racially sensitive times, outrageous. Adopting twelve children from around the globe, she transformed her estate into a theme park, complete with rides, hotels, a collective farm, and singing and dancing. The main attraction was her Rainbow Tribe, the family of the future, which showcased children of all skin colors, nations, and religions living together in harmony. Les Milandes attracted an adoring public eager to spend money on a utopian vision, and to worship at the feet of Josephine, mother of the world. Alerting readers to some of the contradictions at the heart of the Rainbow Tribe project--its undertow of child exploitation and megalomania in particular--Guterl concludes that Baker was a serious and determined activist who believed she could make a positive difference by creating a family out of the troublesome material of race.
Call Number: GV1785.B3 G88 2014 (Downtown, South)
Publication Date: 2014-04-14
Marian Anderson by Profiles the lives and careers of women whose accomplishments have contributed to our society.
Call Number: ML3930.A5 T4 1988 (North, South)
Publication Date: 1997-09-01
Josephine Baker by Born 100 years ago in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker escaped racism and a life of poverty to become one of the most celebrated women in Paris, a legendary Jazz Age entertainer, a film star, spy, and civil rights activist. This biography spotlights her story with new photographs and updated information. Baker began performing comic skits on stage at age 13, and starred in the first all-black Broadway musical in 1922. She traveled to Paris in 1925 and became an overnight sensation when she stepped onto the stage of the Folies Bergere music hall wearing nothing but a skirt made of bananas. When her beloved France was occupied by German troops in World War II, Baker joined the French Resistance, smuggling secret messages on her music sheets. Later, she became active in the civil rights movement and adopted 12 children of diverse nationalities to show that those of different races truly could be brothers and sisters. ""Josephine Baker: Entertainer"" is an outstanding introduction to the life and legacy of this extraordinary American.
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2006-09-01
James Baldwin by The recognition and study of African American (AA) artists and public intellectuals often include Martin Luther King, Jr., and occasionally Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and Malcolm X. The literary canon also adds Ralph Ellison, Richard White, Langston Hughes, and others such as female writers Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou, and Alice Walker. Yet, the acknowledgement of AA artists and public intellectuals tends to skew the voices and works of those included toward normalized portrayals that fi t well within foundational aspects of the American myths refl ected in and perpetuated by traditional schooling. Further, while many AA artists and public intellectuals are distorted by mainstream media, public and political characterizations, and the curriculum, several powerful AA voices are simply omitted, ignored, including James Baldwin. This edited volume gathers a collection of essays from a wide range of perspectives that confront Baldwin's impressive and challenging canon as well as his role as a public intellectual. Contributors also explore Baldwin as a confrontational voice during his life and as an enduring call for justice.
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2014-03-01