“Forty Million Dollar Slaves” by William C. Rhoden tells the history of Black athletes navigating the racist efforts to limit their participation in sports. Largely focused on athletes in America, the book begins in the 1700s and continues into the 2000s. Through the stories of various athletes, Rhoden presents his case for how organized Black athleticism as a means of control was first cultivated on plantations and shows how that mentality continues into the present.
Category: Book Reviews
A review of “Under the Udala Trees” by Chinelo Okparanta, which begins during the Biafra War in Nigeria in the late 1960s. The book tells the story of Ijeoma, a middle-class girl living with her parents while trying to survive air raids and food shortages. And her journey to define and accept herself following the end of the war.
A review of “The Mother of Black Hollywood”, a memoir in which Jenifer Lewis tells the story of her life from being a young kid growing up in Kinloch, MO to a working actress in New York and Los Angeles.
“Born a Crime” is about Trevor Noah’s life and how the coupling of his Black Xhosa mother and White Swiss-German father was against the law during apartheid. How his appearance as a mixed child meant his parents had to disguise their relationship to him when in public. And then how he later navigated growing up in South Africa during a major period of change. The book is about Noah’s coming of age but it’s also about South Africa, apartheid, and the period in time when Black people began to receive and exercise their rights as citizens.
I was actually a bit surprised when I finally picked up “We’re Going to Need More Wine” and began reading. Now it’s not “War and Peace” but “We’re Going to Need More Wine” touches on several deep issues with regards to gender, race, sexual assault, and sexuality among other topics that I really didn’t expect to be covered. Granted there’s also the expected discussion of dating, Hollywood gossip, tales of life on set. What you might expect from a Hollywood memoir but the book isn’t nearly as superficial as I assumed it would be.