In Part 2 of this series, I featured some of our books for sale that are about women and I noted that information about our female ancestors is much harder to come by than that for white men. This next group, in some ways, is even more difficult – researching persons of color. In this post I want to highlight three books about African American subjects and one that is a unique story of a person of Chinese heritage.
The first of these that piqued my interest is Marcus Foster and The Oakland Public Schools: Leadership in the Urban Bureaucracy by Jesse J. McCorry. I was in high school when Marcus Foster was murdered and vividly recall my choir teacher telling us about the event. Foster is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland where I have been a volunteer docent for over twenty years. The book has chapters that describe Foster’s impact on the Oakland school district and the aftermath of his killing.
Sugar in the Blood: A family’s story of slavery and empire is by Andrea Stuart. A description of the book by Jane Shilling says, “An extraordinary story … diligently researched and elegantly written, this is a family history with an ambitious range. In tracing her origins down the centuries, Andrea gives a clear, imaginative and often deeply shocking account of the dark history of the sugar trade and her ancestors’ part in it.”
Our copy of Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves by Adam Hochschild is signed by the author. This 2005 book has multiple chapters that expand on the sugar industry and the role African Americans played in it. Merle Rubin wrote, “An enthralling story, full of fascinating characters, intense drama, high adventure, deceitful manipulations, courageous truth-telling, and splendid moral fervor … A work of history that reads like a novel.”
We also have a copy of Chinese Yankee by Ruthanne Lum McCunn. This award-winning book is based on the true story of Thomas Sylvanus (Ah Yee Way). It tells a unique Civil War story of a young Chinese boy who was enslaved after coming to America to attend school and ended up running off to war to escape. This is a harrowing tale of a tenacious young man determined to survive.
These and many other books are on our For Sale shelf in the library and can be yours for a donation to the society. Contact [email protected] if you are interested. You can come into the library to pick up books or a library committee volunteer will mail them to you. Due to Covid protocols, we are not accepting cash so please make a donation via the Donation page on the CGS website. Thank you.