Book Buying on Vacation

I’ll admit it. I’m a bookstore addict. Whether in New Orleans or on vacation, I can’t seem to stay out of bookstores, preferably those that specialize in used and rare volumes. However, as the staff member who oversees the collection development of the library and periodical collections at the Amistad Research Center, spending hours combing a store’s shelves for titles to add to the Center’s collections can be time well spent (and fun!). Such was the case on a recent trip to Cincinnati, Ohio, to visit family.

Thanks to a day of browsing, the Center expanded its holdings of African American literature with recent and older titles by Ishmael Reed, Maya Angelou, Derek Walcott, Rita Dove, Alice Walker, Sapphire, Nikki Giovanni, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Frank X. Walker. Additional titles include the anthology Until Uhuru: For US Colored Folks, edited by Cincinnati poet Kommon Knowledge, and Paul Alkebulan’s Survival Pending Revolution: The History of the Black Panther Party.

A number of additions to the Center’s Comics and Graphic Novels Collection were also acquired, including a full run of the seven issue, limited edition Truth: Red, White, and Black by Robert Morales and Kyle Baker, which overlays the Tuskegee Experiments on the history of Captain America. Also of interest are superhero/action titles such as Blood Syndicate and Icon, written by Dwayne McDuffie, one of the co-founders of Milestone Media, which was founded in the early 1990s by McDuffie and other African American writers and artists as a way to expand the representation of underrepresented peoples in comics. Joining key reference books on comic art at the Center is Fredrik Stromberg’s Comic Art Propaganda: A Graphic History, which contains a chapter on racial stereotypes in comics.

All in all, a wonderful way to expand the excellent printed holdings at the Amistad Research Center.

Posted by Christopher Harter

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