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Strange Fruit, Volume I: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History

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Strange Fruit, Volume I is a collection of stories from African American history that exemplifies success in the face of great adversity. This unique graphic anthology offers historical and cultural commentary on nine uncelebrated heroes whose stories are not often found in history books. Among the stories included are: Henry "Box" Brown, who escaped from slavery by mailing Strange Fruit, Volume I is a collection of stories from African American history that exemplifies success in the face of great adversity. This unique graphic anthology offers historical and cultural commentary on nine uncelebrated heroes whose stories are not often found in history books. Among the stories included are: Henry "Box" Brown, who escaped from slavery by mailing himself to Philadelphia; Alexander Crummel and the Noyes Academy, the first integrated school in America, established in the 1830s; Marshall "Major" Taylor, a.k.a. the Black Cyclone, the first black champion in any sport; and Bass Reeves, the most successful lawman in the Old West. Written and illustrated by Joel Christian Gill, the diverse art beautifully captures the spirit of each remarkable individual and opens a window into an important part of American history.


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Strange Fruit, Volume I is a collection of stories from African American history that exemplifies success in the face of great adversity. This unique graphic anthology offers historical and cultural commentary on nine uncelebrated heroes whose stories are not often found in history books. Among the stories included are: Henry "Box" Brown, who escaped from slavery by mailing Strange Fruit, Volume I is a collection of stories from African American history that exemplifies success in the face of great adversity. This unique graphic anthology offers historical and cultural commentary on nine uncelebrated heroes whose stories are not often found in history books. Among the stories included are: Henry "Box" Brown, who escaped from slavery by mailing himself to Philadelphia; Alexander Crummel and the Noyes Academy, the first integrated school in America, established in the 1830s; Marshall "Major" Taylor, a.k.a. the Black Cyclone, the first black champion in any sport; and Bass Reeves, the most successful lawman in the Old West. Written and illustrated by Joel Christian Gill, the diverse art beautifully captures the spirit of each remarkable individual and opens a window into an important part of American history.

30 review for Strange Fruit, Volume I: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Most people are struck by the title Strange Fruit. It brings back horrific memories of America's sordid past. But Gill is not focused on that narrative. His purpose is to uplift those that rose in the face of oppression and were able to "cut the rope" that lynched them. Told in vignettes that celebrate unsung heroes of times past, Strange Fruit is a compilation of graphic stories fit for the entire family. I used this book as bedtime stories for my children. Before I knew it my husband was drifting in and Most people are struck by the title Strange Fruit. It brings back horrific memories of America's sordid past. But Gill is not focused on that narrative. His purpose is to uplift those that rose in the face of oppression and were able to "cut the rope" that lynched them. Told in vignettes that celebrate unsung heroes of times past, Strange Fruit is a compilation of graphic stories fit for the entire family. I used this book as bedtime stories for my children. Before I knew it my husband was drifting in and out of the room listening in. As a family we are looking forward to sharing more of Joel Christian Gill's work. Joel Christian Gill "Are there are any carmel colored indigenous tribes in West Africa? Probably not. There are, however, countless accounts of the wholesale rape and torture of black women. That means for black people the very violence that is embedded in American history is also embedded in our blackness; our light skin, and soft features are from years of rape. It is rather depressing, but also empowering, because it means that in the history of my skin tone there was a woman who survived, and thrived in the place where unspeakable things happened to her. There are those who will say that I shouldn’t think like that, or that I should not be so focused on race. The problem is that if I never look in a mirror, or at a photo of myself, or I become truly blind to the color of my skin it will not matter to the world; because America will remind me. But, that reminder will also cause me to be aware of the fact that I am the product of perseverance in the face of tragedy." - Joel Christian Gill

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alysia

    Where do I start?! Honestly, I saw the cover a few times here and there on a few blogs (very few) but did not think anything of it at all. The title was a bit of a turn-off and I had not a clue to what was behind the cover. Why was I put off by the title? Well as a Black woman the phrase "Strange Fruit" (coined by a poem Billie Holiday sang) brings the worst feelings from seeing pictures of Blacks who were hung from trees. Needless to say, I thought this book would be a downer. But when I saw th Where do I start?! Honestly, I saw the cover a few times here and there on a few blogs (very few) but did not think anything of it at all. The title was a bit of a turn-off and I had not a clue to what was behind the cover. Why was I put off by the title? Well as a Black woman the phrase "Strange Fruit" (coined by a poem Billie Holiday sang) brings the worst feelings from seeing pictures of Blacks who were hung from trees. Needless to say, I thought this book would be a downer. But when I saw the book at the library something made me pick it up. I had a "Slap-Your-Self-On-The-Forehead" surprised moment with all the humor, informative and beautiful artwork on each and every page. Black folks in the US have had a hard and long struggle just trying to make it to the American Dream. Our struggle was and is still met with opposition on all fronts by violence and hate, but I think the worst is being forgotten. This book reminds you of African-Americans who might be forgotten by history and our children if not told. (Just look at Texas trying to rewrite their children's history books. LORD!) Back to the book... I love it! I love the short but informative stories told with love and understanding and like I said humor. He even made the n-word and Jim Crow easy to swallow without taking away their meaning. The author Joel Christian Gill is a true artist in the purest form and this book should be a collectors addition to every household. A billion years ago Ebony magazine made a set of encyclopedia books about African-American history. This should (I hope) be the first book in a 100 book series. I would buy each and every single one. This is a must read! Yes go get it and read it now!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    I stumbled upon this hidden gem while doing the Read Harder challenge. The task was to read a non super hero comic that debuted in the last year. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased that someone recommended this book and that my library had an e-book copy to lend. Though I think oddly titled, the intent was to reclaim the phrase or at least to add a new interpretation. Strange fruit for me has connotations of lynching. Strange fruit here is meant to connote uncommon or unfamiliar sweet, juicy I stumbled upon this hidden gem while doing the Read Harder challenge. The task was to read a non super hero comic that debuted in the last year. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased that someone recommended this book and that my library had an e-book copy to lend. Though I think oddly titled, the intent was to reclaim the phrase or at least to add a new interpretation. Strange fruit for me has connotations of lynching. Strange fruit here is meant to connote uncommon or unfamiliar sweet, juicy stories. These are tales from the margins. Not widely know moments in African-American history (Though honestly Major Taylor is a HUGE legend among avid cyclists like me. There is an entire line of cycling jerseys designed around him and named for him.). The illustrations were really great and the stories were interesting and for the most part hopeful and positive. The book does have some glorification of violence and some abuses of trust and use of deception which might not make for the best lessons (even though they were a factual part of history). Overall, I think it's a great find and I learned a thing or two myself. 4 plus Stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bunny

    If he'd featured uncelebrated women of color, this book would've gotten the full five stars. I genuinely hope volume 2 will be for the women. This is so wonderful. So many of the stories I had to hide behind my computer screen in case my coworker saw me tearing up. At the same time, there's humor, and heart. The subject of Jim Crow is done in such a glorious way, an evil flock of crows coming after people. Two Letters was my favorite. Both the story, and the style. It probably did If he'd featured uncelebrated women of color, this book would've gotten the full five stars. I genuinely hope volume 2 will be for the women. This is so wonderful. So many of the stories I had to hide behind my computer screen in case my coworker saw me tearing up. At the same time, there's humor, and heart. The subject of Jim Crow is done in such a glorious way, an evil flock of crows coming after people. Two Letters was my favorite. Both the story, and the style. It probably did the most damage to my tear ducts. So well done. Such heart wrenching stories, told in a way that is educational and occasionally entertaining. I cannot say enough how lovely this is. Again, though, Mr. Gill. Women of color next volume, please thanks.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sesana

    Fantastic. The biographies are very well written. It took a few pages for the art to grow on me, but by the time I finished the book I loved it. And the people that Gill chose to include are somewhat unusual and obscure, as well as being incredibly interesting. Maybe the best thing is that this is volume one, and there will eventually be at least one more.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lois

    This is beautifully illustrated and extremely readable. What I like about this is it features more well known stories, like that of Henry Box Brown with less well known stories like The Malaga of Maine. I would say this is appropriate for grade school aged children

  7. 5 out of 5

    Darshil Patel

    I don't think I can review this book. I have mixed feelings regarding this book. However I suggest you to read once. It's a great read......

  8. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    Joel Christian Gill accomplished his task with this graphic novel of telling the stories of 9 exceptional African Americans and their quest to always move forward. Each of these people were new to me, and told in snapshots through colorful illustrations that was both enjoyable and easy to retain. Each of them, sparked in me, the need to learn more and know more about them. The bibliography is well documented as well, making my forward quest easier in search of more about each person.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    Like Nate Powell's March series, this is a historical work focusing on African Americans, few of whom I knew about at all. The stories are about told in much depth, but they are of essentially unknown ("uncelebrated," as he says) people (vs., say, the well-known Sen John Lewis, featured in The March, Lewis's first person story) but the stories are often compelling and worth retelling, such as Henry "Box" Brown who mailed himself in a box to freedom, and lived to write a book about it. Or Henry " Like Nate Powell's March series, this is a historical work focusing on African Americans, few of whom I knew about at all. The stories are about told in much depth, but they are of essentially unknown ("uncelebrated," as he says) people (vs., say, the well-known Sen John Lewis, featured in The March, Lewis's first person story) but the stories are often compelling and worth retelling, such as Henry "Box" Brown who mailed himself in a box to freedom, and lived to write a book about it. Or Henry "Bucky" Lew, the first African American basketball player. Or Richard Potter, a magician, whose greatest illusion wasn't revealed until he was on his deathbed (I won't tell, read the book!), and Theophilus Thompson, who went from slave to chess master. Great stories, and just introductions to their stories, so you can look more deeply elsewhere, but with images to urge you along that path. And stories of both hardship and horror, not just inspirational "coffee table" stories such as happens with Rosa Parks picture books. Gill doesn't ignore the pains to focus on the gains, shall we say, though the tone is still generally light. Now, these stories are directed to a younger audience, maybe meant for teens, but the tone seems younger. Dean Gill is Associate Dean of Student Affairs at the New Hampshire Institute of Art and this indicates he's an older gentleman. I note that because I felt like the humor and dialogue moved in an older person's direction, an older person talking not to sophisticated teens but young children. The art is bold and colorful, though I wasn't in love with it generally. Gill knows composition, but this feels a little simple and cartoony for me. Again, it's part of the package, meant to seem lighter and more colorful and less oppressive than it might be. Balancing compositional principles for his audience. I get that. This is volume 1 in a long series. What a contribution to history an imagined set of ten of these would make to American classrooms. I'll read more, that's for sure.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Raina

    I really wish the illustrations on the inside matched the illustration on the cover. Based on that cover, I expected something adjacent to Rick Geary's style - instead, this reminded me of Trickster: Native American Tales and District Comics - in style, as well as form. This is a collection of underexposed nonfiction stories about Black Americans. We meet Henry "Box" Brown, the first known black magician, a black cyclist, and more and more. These stories absolutely need to be told. Person I really wish the illustrations on the inside matched the illustration on the cover. Based on that cover, I expected something adjacent to Rick Geary's style - instead, this reminded me of Trickster: Native American Tales and District Comics - in style, as well as form. This is a collection of underexposed nonfiction stories about Black Americans. We meet Henry "Box" Brown, the first known black magician, a black cyclist, and more and more. These stories absolutely need to be told. Personally, I just don't really enjoy digital illustration in quite this style. But that's a personal issue.

  11. 5 out of 5

    A Battleground

    Joel Christian Gill’s Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives From Black History (Fulcrum) can be called many things: The paneled graphic storytelling suggests “comic book”; the real-life characters and subjects say “history book”; the simplified facial expressions and boxy drawing technique imply “children’s book” or “educational tool.” And it does qualify as all those things. But what Gill has done in this first volume of his collected Strange Fruit mini-comics is pretty remarkable. He’s infuse Joel Christian Gill’s Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives From Black History (Fulcrum) can be called many things: The paneled graphic storytelling suggests “comic book”; the real-life characters and subjects say “history book”; the simplified facial expressions and boxy drawing technique imply “children’s book” or “educational tool.” And it does qualify as all those things. But what Gill has done in this first volume of his collected Strange Fruit mini-comics is pretty remarkable. He’s infused each of these stories with a huge amount of information; humor for kid readers (“Slavery stinks”); humor for adults (when a child is born it appears to be launched out of the mother by jet propulsion, making the umbilical cord not unlike a bungee cord); and a full spectrum of comics storytelling devices. For example, Jim Crow is actually embodied by a huge black crow that shows up to wreak havoc in these characters’ lives. And whenever a situation arises in which it’s clear one of most unacceptable of racial epithets is being uttered, the word is implied by a speech balloon with a caricatured black face in it. This is a savvy bit of narrative on Gill’s part, as it allows adult readers to draw their own conclusions, yet avoids introducing that word to children. But just because he isn’t using that particular one, doesn’t mean Gill is shying away from the difficult words—“miscegenation,” “eugenics,” and “commodity” all make an appearance here, often with author-supplied definitions. He’s careful to keep the details of “lynching” and “castration” out, though. As there are so few places to learn about the Malaga Island travesty, or the Noyes Academy, or the Spottswood Rice letters, this new collection is not only welcome; it’s necessary.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    This book could have done so much more. The stories were too short and simple. I think, judging by the tone and humor, that the intended audience (tween?) could have handled more depth. It's conspicuously marked as "Volume 1" so I don't think a space argument holds water. At first I was annoyed by each story starting with a dictionary definition--a tired literary device, and annoying to be repeated every five pages--but then the author drops it about half-way through, which alters the feeling an This book could have done so much more. The stories were too short and simple. I think, judging by the tone and humor, that the intended audience (tween?) could have handled more depth. It's conspicuously marked as "Volume 1" so I don't think a space argument holds water. At first I was annoyed by each story starting with a dictionary definition--a tired literary device, and annoying to be repeated every five pages--but then the author drops it about half-way through, which alters the feeling and flow of the pattern he's set up. It should be one or the other. All that said, I think it's a good book and I had never heard many of these stories before. I especially liked the magician and the cyclist.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    I really liked the exploration of lesser-known figures from black history/american history. His cover is gorgeous but the rest of the art was a bit too simplistic for me, maybe because it is full-color, but doesn't really use color fully? Not sure.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Darth

    I was really excited to be inspired by lesser-known true stories of Black history and really enjoyed the art (although at times a bit too comic strip-like, the manifestation of Jim Crow strikes terror) and short stories until I came to the depiction of stereotyped Native Americans speaking in pictographs. "C'mon, he has to have a reason for this blatant inaccuracy", I thought to myself. He even mentions them in a note and a bibliography, but this only makes it worse by acknowledging his choice o I was really excited to be inspired by lesser-known true stories of Black history and really enjoyed the art (although at times a bit too comic strip-like, the manifestation of Jim Crow strikes terror) and short stories until I came to the depiction of stereotyped Native Americans speaking in pictographs. "C'mon, he has to have a reason for this blatant inaccuracy", I thought to myself. He even mentions them in a note and a bibliography, but this only makes it worse by acknowledging his choice of "broad representations" and citing dubious websites, which themselves offer no authoritative sources. This shakes my confidence in the accuracy of the previous stories. In a book that otherwise invites me to dive deeper into stories that are ignored or suppressed, I see the author led astray and I can't trust to follow him despite efforts at assurance.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Renata

    Between this and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition, this month in the Teen Scene we've been yelling about local students not being impressed enough by our booktalks about #BlackExcellence. This is a really visually interesting volume about some lesser-known black men who accomplished great things. Each individual story is interesting and inspiring, highlighting the way these men (and they are all men--hopefully Vol 2 gets some ladies) overcame Jim Crow without focusing too much on th Between this and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition, this month in the Teen Scene we've been yelling about local students not being impressed enough by our booktalks about #BlackExcellence. This is a really visually interesting volume about some lesser-known black men who accomplished great things. Each individual story is interesting and inspiring, highlighting the way these men (and they are all men--hopefully Vol 2 gets some ladies) overcame Jim Crow without focusing too much on the tragedy.

  16. 4 out of 5

    🌚 •JR• 🌝

    Another solid short stories Graphic novel narrative of famous African-Americans in history that aren't the traditional stories we hear most often. I love that this series highlights others African-Americans who changed the world. Our school history books lead you to believe it was the only handful of blacks who influenced and invented ideas & products we use today. There were so many African-Americans who had a huge impact on American history and beyond the U.S. My favorite part about this g Another solid short stories Graphic novel narrative of famous African-Americans in history that aren't the traditional stories we hear most often. I love that this series highlights others African-Americans who changed the world. Our school history books lead you to believe it was the only handful of blacks who influenced and invented ideas & products we use today. There were so many African-Americans who had a huge impact on American history and beyond the U.S. My favorite part about this graphic novel is how kid friendly they are. The only drawback for this first volume was a bumpy transition as several of the stories are told in reverse. It was fixed it Vol.2 which I read first and loved.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Edshara

    This was pretty good. The majority of the stories were ones that I had never heard before, so I learned a lot. Some of the illustrations are a bit exaggerated but also unique. I think they fit the way the author told the stories. I also like the creative liberties he took. He was able to add a bit of fun to what was and is a harsh reality. I was left wanting to know more. I would definitely be interested in a second volume.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    What an amazing collection! As a product of public education, it didn't surprise me that I have not heard of a single person in this series. I really enjoyed his depiction of all those hateful racist as crows. The more I saw this depiction, the more I began to see it in pictures throughout history. The pictures from public lynchings, Ruby Bridge as she walked to school, those aggressors yelling at Woolworth, they all have been transformed into angry crows "CAWING". I hope there are more volumes What an amazing collection! As a product of public education, it didn't surprise me that I have not heard of a single person in this series. I really enjoyed his depiction of all those hateful racist as crows. The more I saw this depiction, the more I began to see it in pictures throughout history. The pictures from public lynchings, Ruby Bridge as she walked to school, those aggressors yelling at Woolworth, they all have been transformed into angry crows "CAWING". I hope there are more volumes to this series!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael Prier

    Short stories in graphic novel form about forgotten histories surrounding African Americans. Very interesting and informative. The artwork was okay.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jae

    Had me tearing up all over the place and left me wanting to know more. Handy bibliography in the back to help with just that.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Delightfully inventive art paired with unforgettable historical happenings, what more could you want.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Deal Joel Christian Gill, Strange Fruit, Volume I: Uncelebrated Black Narratives mixes thoroughly researched histories, and complicated adult situations into an easily read and comprehensible book that belongs in every elementary classroom library. He handles racial tension and other atrocities with tact that could easily spark critical thinking and discussions within a young reader. Jim crow is pictured as a ‘black red-eyed crow’ and anytime someone gets married and has a child---you can bet a stork is droppi Deal Joel Christian Gill, Strange Fruit, Volume I: Uncelebrated Black Narratives mixes thoroughly researched histories, and complicated adult situations into an easily read and comprehensible book that belongs in every elementary classroom library. He handles racial tension and other atrocities with tact that could easily spark critical thinking and discussions within a young reader. Jim crow is pictured as a ‘black red-eyed crow’ and anytime someone gets married and has a child---you can bet a stork is dropping off that child. Those instances do not undermine the richness of art and history that blends to tell (to the fullest detail) about nine African-American lives. Gill has my thankfulness to creating a work that could easily start a discussion whether it’s within classroom or families. I’m excited to see more non-fiction narratives being expressed as a graphic novel. This book has crossover appeal to readers of all ages, and graphic novel lovers. Appeal Characteristics: historically-obscure african-american biographies, jim crow, educator/graphic novel format, there-were-a-lot-of-storks-bringing-babies

  23. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Overall, I enjoyed the book. I really love all the historical graphic novels that have been coming out. The premise of "uncelebrated narratives" appeals to me and it's sad that so many stories are lost to history. I appreciate the author's intent to shed light on these men's stories. A few things did annoy me though. As my friend Miri mentioned in her review, no women are chronicled in this graphic novel. Hopefully in volume 2 but that is yet to be seen. Second, I did quick online searches on mo Overall, I enjoyed the book. I really love all the historical graphic novels that have been coming out. The premise of "uncelebrated narratives" appeals to me and it's sad that so many stories are lost to history. I appreciate the author's intent to shed light on these men's stories. A few things did annoy me though. As my friend Miri mentioned in her review, no women are chronicled in this graphic novel. Hopefully in volume 2 but that is yet to be seen. Second, I did quick online searches on most of the stories, and he does take some liberties- some things are implied that are wrong (that Henry Brown got his family back after achieving his freedom), some things are exaggerated (Theophilus Thompson didn't all of the sudden disappear, he just faded from public life and the rumor of his lynching isn't likely to be true. I still would recommend this book and plan on introducing it to my son when he is older.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Joel Christian Gill is a powerful storyteller. Of course, these are powerful stories about people making it in the face of impossible odds. So many of these stories are as horrifying as they are inspiring. You can't read these powerful stories in a single sitting. You have to read one and ruminate on such courage in the face of insurmountable obstacles. And listen to Billie Holiday singing Strange Fruit while reading at least part of this comic. Though Nina Simone has a pretty fantastic, version Joel Christian Gill is a powerful storyteller. Of course, these are powerful stories about people making it in the face of impossible odds. So many of these stories are as horrifying as they are inspiring. You can't read these powerful stories in a single sitting. You have to read one and ruminate on such courage in the face of insurmountable obstacles. And listen to Billie Holiday singing Strange Fruit while reading at least part of this comic. Though Nina Simone has a pretty fantastic, version, too. I love the use of definitions in Out-of-the-Box Thinking: Henry "Box" Brown to narrate the story. (Especially irony). Two Letters was powerful; The Shame just horrifying. And the book ends on a great story: Bass Reeves: Lawman. Highly recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dolores

    So happy that this is Volume I, because I would very much like to read more. These biographies in comic form were captivating and informative. I was vaguely familiar with only a couple of these stories; most of them were totally new to me. The only thing I didn't like was that several of the stories ended kind of abruptly, but that is understandable given that there's no further documented history for these folks. Every year my students do a historical timeline. They choose a historical characte So happy that this is Volume I, because I would very much like to read more. These biographies in comic form were captivating and informative. I was vaguely familiar with only a couple of these stories; most of them were totally new to me. The only thing I didn't like was that several of the stories ended kind of abruptly, but that is understandable given that there's no further documented history for these folks. Every year my students do a historical timeline. They choose a historical character to research and then perform a monologue, in costume, for an audience of parents. We are always looking for obscure characters to shed light on. Hopefully, Volume II will include some female heroes.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Leann

    A collection of illustrated stories about less well-known African-American men from history, all of whom set firsts or otherwise made a mark in some unexpected way. I definitely learned a bit and I liked the art style - the author/illustrator does interesting work with speech bubbles, where an entire dialogue can be conveyed simply with an illustration instead of words in the bubble. I would have liked to see oh, maybe at least one woman? They, um, have done some remarkable stuff, too. There seems A collection of illustrated stories about less well-known African-American men from history, all of whom set firsts or otherwise made a mark in some unexpected way. I definitely learned a bit and I liked the art style - the author/illustrator does interesting work with speech bubbles, where an entire dialogue can be conveyed simply with an illustration instead of words in the bubble. I would have liked to see oh, maybe at least one woman? They, um, have done some remarkable stuff, too. There seems to be a second volume coming in 2018 that looks like it features some women, so I'll be on the lookout for that.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Corelle

    This was great! I knew a little about one slave "who had shipped himself to freedom!" So Excellent. My favorite was the first African American basketball player. Today the NBA is mostly African American. Compared that landscape to how the league like 100 years ago...during Jim Crow...you do the math... Henry Louis Gates was one of the authors of this awesome book and this is a great introduction to the things we would often look over not only in African American history, but in American history This was great! I knew a little about one slave "who had shipped himself to freedom!" So Excellent. My favorite was the first African American basketball player. Today the NBA is mostly African American. Compared that landscape to how the league like 100 years ago...during Jim Crow...you do the math... Henry Louis Gates was one of the authors of this awesome book and this is a great introduction to the things we would often look over not only in African American history, but in American history itself!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Miri

    Excellent all around, from premise to style to illustration to content. Just realized that I don't think he profiles a single woman, which is fairly lame. But I loved everything else, especially the way he illustrates Jim Crow, which is so absolutely fantastic. Some of the stories I knew, like Bass Reeves, but most I didn't, and I love nothing more than expanding our narrow Eurocentric history to include everyone else who was shut out. Loved the random pop-cultural references, too, like someone Excellent all around, from premise to style to illustration to content. Just realized that I don't think he profiles a single woman, which is fairly lame. But I loved everything else, especially the way he illustrates Jim Crow, which is so absolutely fantastic. Some of the stories I knew, like Bass Reeves, but most I didn't, and I love nothing more than expanding our narrow Eurocentric history to include everyone else who was shut out. Loved the random pop-cultural references, too, like someone standing on Platform 9 3/4 and "assistant to the regional manager" being listed in his bio.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicola Mansfield

    Excellent! Completely engrossing! Well done! The title and summary describe the contents well enough without me repeating them, so let me just say that I found the tales told here to be fascinating and Gill's voice was entertaining while his illustration is lush. They are indeed unique tales, not ones most of us have heard before, which makes them all the more entertaining. I had only heard of one man whose story is told here and that is Henry "Box" Brown, but only because my son's class went to Excellent! Completely engrossing! Well done! The title and summary describe the contents well enough without me repeating them, so let me just say that I found the tales told here to be fascinating and Gill's voice was entertaining while his illustration is lush. They are indeed unique tales, not ones most of us have heard before, which makes them all the more entertaining. I had only heard of one man whose story is told here and that is Henry "Box" Brown, but only because my son's class went to see the play that is currently touring: "Man in the Box! Great non-fiction biographical graphic!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Kelly

    I work at a library. I was flipping through this rather flippantly, (Hee Hee) when I stumbled on that story, and I started reading it. I immediately passed it to my coworker. She read it and immediately passed it to another coworker, who read it, and passed it to a library patron. A group of restless teens passed by, and I gave it to them. They turned into focused teens. THAT my friends is the power of this book and the stories it tells. Insanely amazing. The "Two Letters" tale is hea I work at a library. I was flipping through this rather flippantly, (Hee Hee) when I stumbled on that story, and I started reading it. I immediately passed it to my coworker. She read it and immediately passed it to another coworker, who read it, and passed it to a library patron. A group of restless teens passed by, and I gave it to them. They turned into focused teens. THAT my friends is the power of this book and the stories it tells. Insanely amazing. The "Two Letters" tale is heartwrenchingly beautiful. In a "you fuck with my child I will kill you" sort of beauty.

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