Thursday, April 4, 2019

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The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism

Howard Bryant

It used to be that politics and sports were as separate from one another as church and state. The ballfield was an escape from the world's worst problems, top athletes were treated like heroes, and cheering for the home team was as easy and innocent as hot dogs and beer. "No news on the sports page" was a governing principle in newsrooms.

That was then.

Today, sports arenas have been transformed into staging grounds for American patriotism and the hero worship of law enforcement. Teams wear camouflage jerseys to honor those who serve; police officers throw out first pitches; soldiers surprise their families with homecomings at halftime. Sports and politics are decidedly entwined.

But as journalist Howard Bryant reveals, this has always been more complicated for black athletes, who from the start, were committing a political act simply by being on the field. In fact, among all black employees in twentieth-century America, perhaps no other group had more outsized influence and power than ballplayers. The immense social responsibilities that came with the role is part of the black athletic heritage. It is a heritage built by the influence of the superstardom and radical politics of Paul Robeson, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos through the 1960s; undermined by apolitical, corporate-friendly "transcenders of race," O. J. Simpson, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods in the following decades; and reclaimed today by the likes of LeBron James, Colin Kaepernick, and Carmelo Anthony.

The Heritage is the story of the rise, fall, and fervent return of the athlete-activist. Through deep research and interviews with some of sports' best-known stars—including Kaepernick, David Ortiz, Charles Barkley, and Chris Webber—as well as members of law enforcement and the military, Bryant details the collision of post-9/11 sports in America and the politically engaged post-Ferguson black athlete.

Nonfiction. Call number: 306.483 Bry. View in our catalog

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The Writer's Practice: Building Confidence in Your Nonfiction Writing

John Warner

After a decade of teaching writing using the same methods he'd experienced as a student many years before, writer, editor, and educator John Warner realized he could do better. Drawing on his classroom experience and the most persuasive research in contemporary composition studies, he devised an innovative new framework: a step-by-step method that moves the student through a series of writing problems, an organic, bottom-up writing process that exposes and acculturates them to the ways writers work in the world.

The time is right for this new and groundbreaking approach. The most popular books on composition take a formalistic view, utilizing "templates" in order to mimic the sorts of rhetorical moves academics make. While this is a valuable element of a writing education, there is room for something that speaks more broadly. The Writer's Practice invites students and novice writers into an intellectually engaging, active learning process that prepares them for a wider range of academic and real-world writing and allows them to become invested and engaged in their own work.

Nonfiction. Call number: 808.02 War. View in our catalog

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An Unconditional Freedom

Alyssa Cole

Daniel Cumberland, born free in Massachusetts, studied law with dreams of helping his people—dreams that died the night he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. Daniel is rescued, but he's a changed man. When he's offered entry into the Loyal League, the covert organization of Black spies who helped free him, he seizes the opportunity for vengeance against the Confederacy and those who support it.

When the Union Army occupies the Florida home of Cuban Janeta Sanchez, daughter of an enslaved woman and the plantation owner who married her, her family's wealth does not protect her father from being imprisoned. Under duress and blaming herself for the arrest, Janeta agrees to infiltrate a group called the Loyal League as a double agent—and finds a cause truly worth the sacrifice.

Daniel is aggravated by the headstrong and much too observant new detective he's paired with, and Janeta is intrigued by the broken but honorable man she is tasked with betraying. As they embark on a mission to intercept Jefferson Davis and thwart European meddling, their dual hidden agendas are threatened by the ghosts of their pasts and a growing affection that could strengthen both the Union and their souls—or lead to their downfall.

Fiction. Call number: FIC Col. View in our catalog

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On a Sunbeam

Tillie Walden

A ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together. Two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love, only to lear the pain of loss. With interwoven timelines and stunning art, award-winning graphic novelist Tillie Walden creates an inventive world, breathtaking romance, and an epic quest for love.

Teen graphic novel. Call number: YA GN On A Sunbeam. View in our catalog

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Right as Rain

Lindsey Stoddard

It's been almost a year since Rain's brother Guthrie died, and her parents still don't know it was all Rain's fault. In fact, no one does—Rain buried her secret deep, no matter how heavy it weighs on her heart.

So when her mom suggests moving the family from Vermont to New York City, Rain agrees. But life in the big city is different. She's never seen so many people in one place—or felt more like an outsider.

With her parents fighting more than ever and the anniversary of Guthrie's death approaching, Rain is determined to keep her big secret close to her heart. But even she knows that when you bury things deep, they grow up twice as tall.

Youth fiction, ages 8-12. Call number: J FIC Sto. View in our catalog

Descriptions and images provided by the publishers.

© 2018 William P. Faust Westland Public Library