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Ethnic Studies

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  1. 8.6 hrs • 9/13/2016 • Unabridged

    For an undocumented immigrant, what is the true cost of the American Dream? Julissa Arce shares her story in a riveting memoir. When she was 11 years old Julissa Arce left Mexico and came to the United States on a tourist visa to be reunited with her parents, who dreamed the journey would secure her a better life. When her visa expired at the age of 15, she became an undocumented immigrant. Thus began her underground existence, a decades long game of cat and mouse, tremendous family sacrifice, and fear of exposure. After the Texas Dream Act made a college degree possible, Julissa’s top grades and leadership positions landed her an internship at Goldman Sachs, which led to a full time position—one of the most coveted jobs on Wall Street. Soon she was a Vice President, a rare Hispanic woman in a sea of suits and ties, yet still guarding her “underground” secret. In telling her personal story of separation, grief, and ultimate redemption, Arce shifts the immigrant conversation, and changes the perception of what it means to be an undocumented immigrant.

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    My (Underground) American Dream

    8.6 hrs • 9/13/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 19.2 hrs • 8/3/2016 • Unabridged

    A sixth-generation North Carolinian, highly-acclaimed author John Ehle grew up on former Cherokee hunting grounds. His experience as an accomplished novelist, combined with his extensive, meticulous research, culminates in this moving tragedy rich with historical detail. The Cherokee are a proud, ancient civilization. For hundreds of years they believed themselves to be the “Principle People” residing at the center of the earth. But by the 18th century some of their leaders believed it was necessary to adapt to European ways in order to survive. Those chiefs sealed the fate of their tribes in 1875 when they signed a treaty relinquishing their land east of the Mississippi in return for promises of wealth and better land. The U.S. government used the treaty to justify the eviction of the Cherokee nation in an exodus that the Cherokee will forever remember as the “trail where they cried.” John McDonough narrates with thoughtful gravity. The heroism and nobility of the Cherokee shine through this intricate story of American politics, ambition, and greed.

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    Trail of Tears

    19.2 hrs • 8/3/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 10.5 hrs • 6/21/2016 • Unabridged

    This revelatory memoir by the mother of Michael Brown, the African American teenager killed by the police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, sheds light on one of the landmark events in recent history. “I wasn’t there when Mike Mike was shot. I didn’t see him fall or take his last breath, but as his mother, I do know one thing better than anyone, and that’s how to tell my son’s story and the journey we shared together as mother and son,” says Lezley McSpadden When Michael Orlandus Darrion Brown was born, he was adored and doted on by his aunts, uncles, grandparents, his father, and most of all by his sixteen-year-old mother, who nicknamed him Mike Mike. McSpadden never imagined that her son’s name would inspire the resounding chants of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, and ignite the global conversation about the disparities in the American policing system. In Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil, McSpadden picks up the pieces of the tragedy that shook her life and the country to their core and reveals the unforgettable story of her life, her son, and their truth. Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil is a riveting family memoir about the journey of a young woman triumphing over insurmountable obstacles and learning to become a good mother. With brutal honesty, McSpadden brings us inside her experiences being raised by a hardworking, single mother; her pregnancy at age fifteen and the painful subsequent decision to drop out of school to support her son; how she survived domestic abuse; and her unwavering commitment to raising four strong and healthy children, even if it meant doing so on her own. McSpadden writes passionately about the hours, days, and months after her son was shot to death by Officer Darren Wilson, recounting her time on the ground with peaceful protestors, how she was treated by police and city officials, and how she felt in the gut-wrenching moment when the grand jury announced that it would not indict the man who had killed her son. After the system failed to deliver justice for Michael Brown, McSpadden and thousands of others across America took it upon themselves to carry on his legacy in the fight against injustice and racism. Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil is a portrait of our time, an urgent call to action, and a moving testament to the undying bond between mothers and sons.

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    Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil by Lezley McSpadden

    Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil

    By Lezley McSpadden, with Lyah Beth LeFlore
    10.5 hrs • 6/21/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 5.7 hrs • 4/14/2016 • Unabridged

    Generations of American history students grew up believing that slave rebellion was relatively rare, that slaves accepted their lot and became attached to their masters, and that they were ultimately liberated with little or no effort of their own. Liberally sprinkled with quotations from Civil War era blacks, both slave and free, Breaking the Chains gives readers a well-researched look at the lives of real slaves. From their African abductions, through their brave resistance to harsh plantation owners, to their roles in the Civil War, their own indomitable spirits shine through as the driving force behind their emancipation. Written by a teacher, world lecturer, and consultant to the Smithsonian Institution, this compelling look at history is an educational eye-opener for history buffs of all ages. Peter Francis James' vivid narration gives listeners the impression of being in the presence of first-hand witnesses to one of the most turbulent periods of U.S. history.

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    Breaking the Chains

    5.7 hrs • 4/14/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 9.0 hrs • 4/5/2016 • Unabridged

    National Book Award winner James McBride goes in search of the “real” James Brown—and his surprising journey illuminates the ways in which our cultural heritage has been shaped by Brown’s legacy. A product of the complicated history of the American South, James Brown was a cultural shape-shifter who arguably had the greatest influence of any artist on American popular music. Brown was long a figure of fascination for James McBride, a noted professional musician as well as a writer. When he received a tip that promised to uncover the man behind the myth, McBride set off to follow a trail that revealed the personal, musical, and societal influences that created this immensely troubled, misunderstood, and complicated soul genius. Kill ’Em and Leave is more than a book about James Brown. Brown’s rough-and-tumble life, through McBride’s lens, is an unsettling metaphor for American life: the tension between North and South, black and white, rich and poor. McBride’s travels take him to forgotten corners of Brown’s never-before-revealed history: the country town where Brown’s family and thousands of others were displaced by America’s largest nuclear power bomb-making facility; a South Carolina field where a long-forgotten cousin reveals, in the dead of night, a fuller history of Brown’s sharecropping childhood, which until now has been a mystery. McBride seeks out the American expatriate in England who cocreated the James Brown sound, visits the trusted right-hand manager who worked with Brown for forty-one years, and sits at the feet of Brown’s most influential nonmusical creation, his “adopted son,” the Reverend Al Sharpton. He reveals the stirring visit of Michael Jackson to the Augusta, Georgia, funeral home where the King of Pop sat up all night with the body of his musical godfather, spends hours talking with Brown’s first wife, and reveals the Dickensian legal contest over James Brown’s valuable estate, a fight that has destroyed careers, cheated children out of their educations, cost Brown’s estate millions in legal fees, sent Brown’s trusted accountant, David Cannon, to jail for a crime for which he was not convicted, and has left James Brown’s body to lie for more than eight years in a gilded coffin on his daughter’s front lawn in South Carolina. James McBride is one of the most distinctive and electric literary voices in America today, and Kill ’Em and Leave is a song unearthing and celebrating James Brown’s great legacy: the cultural landscape of America today.

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    Kill ’Em and Leave

    9.0 hrs • 4/5/16 • Unabridged
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  6. 14.4 hrs • 2/20/2016 • Unabridged

    Stunning and powerful, Like Judgment Day is the hauntingly true story of the Rosewood massacre. Michael D'Orso's compelling journalistic prose reads like the most vivid novel as he describes the earth-shattering events of January 1923 and its survivors' patient, 70-year quest for justice. When a black man was accused of attacking a white woman in a rural Florida town, a tinderbox of racial hatred was ignited. On New Year's Day 1923, Rosewood, a town of hard-working, middle class African Americans was burned to the ground by an angry mob of whites. After hiding in frigid nearby swamps for days, the few survivors never returned. The town's existence vanished like a mirage until 1982 when a local journalist-writing an article on weekend getaways-stumbled upon the Rosewood secret. Narrator Richard M. Davidson's rich voice enhances D'Orso's masterful rendering of one of contemporary American history's most shameful tragedies.

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    Like Judgment Day

    14.4 hrs • 2/20/16 • Unabridged
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  7. 10.2 hrs • 1/26/2016 • Unabridged

    The earliest known prison memoir by an African American writer—recently discovered and authenticated by a team of Yale scholars—sheds light on the longstanding connection between race and incarceration in America. In 2009, scholars at Yale University came across a startling manuscript: the memoir of Austin Reed, a free black man born in the 1820s who spent most of his early life ricocheting between forced labor in prison and forced labor as an indentured servant. Lost for more than one hundred and fifty years, the handwritten document is the first known prison memoir written by an African American. Corroborated by prison records and other documentary sources, Reed’s text gives a gripping first-person account of an antebellum Northern life lived outside slavery that nonetheless bore, in its day-to-day details, unsettling resemblances to that very institution. Now, for the first time, we can hear Austin Reed’s story as he meant to tell it. He was born to a middle-class black family in the boomtown of Rochester, New York, but when his father died, his mother struggled to make ends meet. Still a child, Reed was placed as an indentured servant to a nearby family of white farmers near Rochester. He was caught attempting to set fire to a building and sentenced to ten years at Manhattan’s brutal House of Refuge, an early juvenile reformatory that would soon become known for beatings and forced labor. Seven years later, Reed found himself at New York’s infamous Auburn State Prison. It was there that he finished writing this memoir, which explores America’s first reformatory and first industrial prison from an inmate’s point of view, recalling the great cruelties and kindnesses he experienced in those places and excavating patterns of racial segregation, exploitation, and bondage that extended beyond the boundaries of the slaveholding South, into free New York. Accompanied by fascinating historical documents (including a series of poignant letters written by Reed near the end of his life), The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict is a work of uncommon beauty that tells a story of nineteenth-century racism, violence, labor, and captivity in a proud, defiant voice. Reed’s memoir illuminates his own life and times—as well as ours today.

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    The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict

    Edited and with an introduction by Caleb Smith
    Foreword by David W. Blight and Robert B. Stepto
    10.2 hrs • 1/26/16 • Unabridged
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  8. 13.0 hrs • 1/26/2016 • Unabridged

    More than 27 million Americans today can trace their lineage to the Scots, whose bloodline was stained by centuries of continuous warfare along the border between England and Scotland, and later in the bitter settlements of England’s Ulster Plantation in Northern Ireland. Between 250,000 and 400,000 Scots-Irish migrated to America in the eighteenth century, traveling in groups of families and bringing with them not only long experience as rebels and outcasts but also unparalleled skills as frontiersmen and guerrilla fighters. Their cultural identity reflected acute individualism, dislike of aristocracy, and a military tradition, and, over time, the Scots-Irish defined the attitudes and values of the military, of working class America, and even of the peculiarly populist form of American democracy itself. Born Fighting is the first book to chronicle the full journey of this remarkable cultural group, and the profound, but unrecognized, role it has played in the shaping of America. Written with the storytelling verve that has earned his works such acclaim as “captivating . . . unforgettable” (the Wall Street Journal on Lost Soliders), Scots-Irishman James Webb, Vietnam combat veteran and former Naval secretary, traces the history of his people, beginning nearly two thousand years ago at Hadrian’s Wall, when the nation of Scotland was formed north of the Wall through armed conflict in contrast to England’s formation to the south through commerce and trade. Webb recounts the Scots’ odyssey—their clashes with the English in Scotland and then in Ulster, their retreat from one war-ravaged land to another. Through engrossing chronicles of the challenges the Scots-Irish faced, Webb vividly portrays how they developed the qualities that helped settle the American frontier and define the American character. Born Fighting shows that the Scots-Irish were 40 percent of the Revolutionary War army; they included the pioneers Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark, Davy Crockett, and Sam Houston; they were the writers Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain; and they have given America numerous great military leaders, including Stonewall Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Audie Murphy, and George S. Patton, as well as most of the soldiers of the Confederacy (only five percent of whom owned slaves, and who fought against what they viewed as an invading army). It illustrates how the Scots-Irish redefined American politics, creating the populist movement and giving the country a dozen presidents, including Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. And it explores how the Scots-Irish culture of isolation, hard luck, stubbornness, and mistrust of the nation’s elite formed and still dominates blue-collar America, the military services, the Bible Belt, and country music. Both a distinguished work of cultural history and a human drama that speaks straight to the heart of contemporary America, Born Fighting reintroduces America to its most powerful, patriotic, and individualistic cultural group—one too often ignored or taken for granted.

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    Born Fighting

    13.0 hrs • 1/26/16 • Unabridged
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  9. 2 reviews 0 5 4.7 4 out of 5 stars 4.7/5 (2)
    6.2 hrs • 12/1/2015

    Agnes Baker Pilgrim, known to most as Grandma Aggie, is in her nineties and is the oldest living member of the Takelma Tribe, one of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz. A descendant of both spiritual and political tribal leaders, Grandma Aggie travels tirelessly around the world to keep traditions alive, to help those in need, and to be a voice for the voiceless, helping everyone to remember to preserve our Earth for animals and each other in a spiritual environment. Considered an excellent speaker, she has mesmerized her audience wherever she appears, and now her wit, wisdom, memories, advice, stories and spirituality have been captured for all to hear. Honored as a “Living Cultural Legend” by the Oregon Council of the Arts, Grandma Aggie here speaks about her childhood memories, about her tribe and her life as a child growing up in an area that often didn’t allow Indians and dogs into many public places, as well as about such contemporary issues as bullying, teen suicide, drugs and alcohol, Pope Francis, President Obama, water conservation, climate change, and much more. This is an amazing recording of one of the oldest and most important voices of the First Nation and of the world. Her stories and advice will mesmerize and captivate you, as well as provide a blueprint for how all the inhabitants of the earth can live together in harmony, spirituality, and peace.

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    Grandma Says: Wake Up, World! by Agnes Baker Pilgrim

    Grandma Says: Wake Up, World!

    6.2 hrs • 12/1/15
    2 reviews 0 5 4.7 4 out of 5 stars 4.7/5 (2)
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  10. 8.0 hrs • 12/1/2015 • Unabridged

    At once incendiary and icy, mischievous and provocative, celebratory and elegiac—here is a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, and American culture through the prism of Margo Jefferson’s rarefied upbringing and education among a black elite concerned with distancing itself from whites and the black generality while tirelessly measuring itself against both. Born in upper-crust black Chicago—her father was for years head of pediatrics at Provident, at the time the nation’s oldest black hospital; her mother was a socialite—Margo Jefferson has spent most of her life among (call them what you will) the colored aristocracy, the colored elite, the blue-vein society. Since the nineteenth century, they have stood apart, these inhabitants of Negroland, “a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty.” Reckoning with the strictures and demands of Negroland at crucial historical moments—the civil rights movement, the dawn of feminism, the fallacy of postracial America—Margo Jefferson brilliantly charts the twists and turns of a life informed by psychological and moral contradictions. Aware as it is of heartwrenching despair and depression, this book is a triumphant paean to the grace of perseverance.

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    Negroland by Margo Jefferson

    Negroland

    8.0 hrs • 12/1/15 • Unabridged
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  11. 14.8 hrs • 10/27/2015 • Unabridged

    For readers of Unbroken and The Boys in the Boat comes the inspirational, untold story of impoverished children who transformed themselves into world-class swimmers.In 1937, a schoolteacher on the island of Maui challenged a group of poverty-stricken sugar plantation kids to swim upstream against the current of their circumstance. The goal? To become Olympians. They faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The children were Japanese-American, were malnourished and barefoot and had no pool; they trained in the filthy irrigation ditches that snaked down from the mountains into the sugarcane fields. Their future was in those same fields, working alongside their parents in virtual slavery, known not by their names but by numbered tags that hung around their necks. Their teacher, Soichi Sakamoto, was an ordinary man whose swimming ability didn’t extend much beyond treading water. In spite of everything, including the virulent anti-Japanese sentiment of the late 1930s, in their first year the children outraced Olympic athletes twice their size; in their second year, they were national and international champs, shattering American and world records and making headlines from LA to Nazi Germany. In their third year, they’d be declared the greatest swimmers in the world, but they’d also face their greatest obstacle: the dawning of a world war and the cancellation of the Games. Still, on the battlefield, they’d become the twentieth century’s most celebrated heroes, and in 1948, they’d have one last chance for Olympic glory. They were the Three-Year Swim Club. This is their story.

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    The Three-Year Swim Club

    14.8 hrs • 10/27/15 • Unabridged
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  12. 7.1 hrs • 9/30/2015 • Unabridged

    In The Reckoning, Randall Robinson examines the crime and poverty that grips much of urban America and urges black Americans to speak out and reach back to ensure their social and economic success in this country. With insight, compassion, and unflinching honesty, Robinson explores the twin blights of crime and poverty—the former often a symptom of the latter—and asks questions that are critical to the rebuilding of black communities: How do we create awareness of the heroic efforts already being made and how can we bring our troubled youth to safety? A product of Robinson’s work with gang members, ex-convicts, and others who have been scarred by the harshness of life in our inner cities, The Reckoning is certain to be as important and controversial as his earlier books.

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    The Reckoning

    7.1 hrs • 9/30/15 • Unabridged
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  13. 13.3 hrs • 9/14/2015 • Unabridged

    Civil rights advocate and accomplished lawyer Michelle Alexander broaches a topic worthy of national conversation. Alexander argues that criminals convicted by our justice system face the same obstacles—legal discrimination and disenfranchisement—African Americans faced during the Jim Crow era.

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    The New Jim Crow

    13.3 hrs • 9/14/15 • Unabridged
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  14. 20.0 hrs • 8/20/2015 • Unabridged

    This is a story of the unexpected. In Destined to Witness, Hans Massaquoi has crafted a beautifully rendered memoir—an astonishing true tale of how he came of age as a black child in Nazi Germany. The son of a prominent African and a German nurse, Hans remained behind with his mother when Hitler came to power, due to concerns about his fragile health, after his father returned to Liberia. Like other German boys, Hans went to school; like other German boys, he swiftly fell under the Fuhrer’s spell. So he was crushed to learn that, as a black child, he was ineligible for the Hitler Youth. His path to a secondary education and an eventual profession was blocked. He now lived in fear that, at any moment, he might hear the Gestapo banging on the door—or Allied bombs falling on his home. Ironic, moving, and deeply human, Massaquoi’s account of this lonely struggle for survival brims with courage and intelligence.

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    Destined to Witness

    20.0 hrs • 8/20/15 • Unabridged
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  15. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    10.2 hrs • 4/21/2015 • Unabridged

    Bestselling author Richard Reeves provides an authoritative account of the internment of more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese aliens during World War II. Less than three months after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and inflamed the nation, President Roosevelt signed an executive order declaring parts of four western states to be a war zone operating under military rule. The U.S. Army immediately began rounding up thousands of Japanese-Americans, sometimes giving them less than 24 hours to vacate their houses and farms. For the rest of the war, these victims of war hysteria were imprisoned in primitive camps. In Infamy, the story of this appalling chapter in American history is told more powerfully than ever before. Acclaimed historian Richard Reeves has interviewed survivors, read numerous private letters and memoirs, and combed through archives to deliver a sweeping narrative of this atrocity. Men we usually consider heroes—FDR, Earl Warren, Edward R. Murrow—were in this case villains, but we also learn of many Americans who took great risks to defend the rights of the internees. Most especially, we hear the poignant stories of those who spent years in “war relocation camps,” many of whom suffered this terrible injustice with remarkable grace. Racism, greed, xenophobia, and a thirst for revenge: a dark strand in the American character underlies this story of one of the most shameful episodes in our history. But by recovering the past, Infamy has given voice to those who ultimately helped the nation better understand the true meaning of patriotism.

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    Infamy

    10.2 hrs • 4/21/15 • Unabridged
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  16. 14.5 hrs • 2/24/2015 • Unabridged

    There is a contagious psychospiritual disease of the soul—a parasite of the mind—that is currently being acted out en masse on the world stage via a collective psychosis of titanic proportions. This mind virus, which Native Americans have called “wetiko”, covertly operates through the unconscious blind spots in the human psyche, rendering people oblivious to their own madness and compelling them to act against their own best interests. Drawing on insights from Jungian psychology, shamanism, alchemy, spiritual wisdom traditions, and personal experience, author Paul Levy shows us that hidden within the venom of wetiko is its own antidote, which once recognized can help us wake up and bring sanity back to our society.

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    Dispelling Wetiko

    14.5 hrs • 2/24/15 • Unabridged
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