Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Phenominal People of Color

Michelle Obama

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (born January 17, 1964) is the wife of the forty-fourth President of the United States, Barack Obama, and the first African-American First Lady of the United States.

Michelle Robinson was born and grew up on the South Side of Chicago and graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. After completing her formal education, she returned to Chicago and accepted a position with the law firm Sidley Austin, where she met her future husband. Subsequently, she worked as part of the staff of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, and for the University of Chicago Medical Center. Throughout 2007 and 2008, she helped campaign for her husband's presidential bid and delivered a keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. She is the mother of two daughters, Sasha and Malia, and is the sister of Craig Robinson, men's basketball coach at Oregon State University.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Strong Black Character's in a Novel

An unprecedented number of black characters inhabit today's mainstream fiction best-seller lists, but few of them are created by black authors. Meanwhile, a few books by African American writers manage to attract a crossover audience among white readers. Race/culture play an important part in books. Race is (often) a major component of someone's personal and cultural identity. Individually a book should be a unique experience that reflects the author's attempt to explain the human experience through his or her own creativity.

Listed below are a few authors that are Non-African American in which the main character(s) in their novels are African American.

Beulah Hill by William Heffernan - a strong black male character name Jehiel Flood, Heffernan placed him in a fabulously, complex murder mystery and examination of racial history which takes place in 1933 Vermont.
This book has received outstanding reviews from the African American community.


Barbara Hambly - Benjamin January series. They're pre-Civil War mysteries set in New Orleans, and along with solving crimes, regretting that he can't be a surgeon, and playing the piano, January also navigates through the carefully constructed racial boundaries at the time.

The Benjamin January books are the copious dedications to the Historic New Orleans Collection.

David Handler - Lieutenant Desiree 'Des' Mitry, one of only three women on the Connecticut State Police major crimes squad, the youngest of the three, and the only black. A dedicated high-ranking officer in the homicide department, She is, as well, a closet artist and a complicated and beautiful woman, and she intrigues Mitch from the start.

The Cold Blue Blood (2001)


James Patterson - Patterson has written several mystery thrillers featuring Alex Cross, a black D.C. cop with a Ph.D. in psychology who also works with the FBI as a profiler. Cross is a widower who lives with two of his three children and his paternal grandmother in the nation's capital. He is a good father, a true Southern gentleman to the ladies in his life. He is the perfect role model for males--white or black. The Cross series is immensely popular and three of the novels have been made into movies starring Morgan Freeman as Cross.

Patterson has created another African American character as part of his Women's Murder Club series. Claire Washburn, the heavyset black female medical examiner from San Francisco, joins three white female professionals to solve crimes that have stumped the system. Patterson has published several novels featuring this team. Like Cross, Washburn has a stable family and a comfortable middle-class lifestyle to put white readers at ease.

Alex Cross Series:


Clair Washburn Series:


Robert Parker - "Spenser” novels (the basis of a TV show starring Robert Urich and Avery Brooks), the character “Hawk” a heroic, mysterious black man who both embodies and serves as exception to myriad stereotypes. Hawk is Spenser's best friend a tall black man with a bald head and high cheekbones, a bodyguard and hit man. Hawk is introduced in The Promised Land (1976).

Promised Land
The Judas Goat
Looking for Rachel Wallace
Early Autumn
A Savage Place
The Widening Gyre
A Catskill Eagle
Taming a Sea Horse
Pale Kings and Princes
Crimson Joy
Double Deuce
Paper Doll
Walking Shadow
Thin Air
Small Vices
Sudden Mischief
Hush Money
Hugger Mugger
Widow's Walk
Back Story
Bad Business
Cold Service
School Days
Hundred-Dollar Baby
Now and Then
Rough Weather
Chasing the Bear: A Young Spenser Novel


George Pelecanos - who writes many detective books about Black characters in DC. They're imperfect, but he does a good job of avoiding stereotyping his main characters and developing nuanced depictions of life in a very segregated city. Derek Strange a former cop and current private investigator loves funk and soul music from the sixties and seventies, but has a secret passion for the music of old westerns

Right as Rain


Alexander McCall Smith - The African-born author of "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" mystery series were the hero of the books, Precious Ramotswe (Botswana's one and only lady private detective) is an engaging character were people come to her with all sorts of problems that need solving. This series serves not only to entertain but to explore conditions in Botswana.