Reviews of Punch Me Up to the Gods, My Remarkable Journey, and Somebody’s Daughter

Book covers of Punch Me Up to the Gods by Brian Broome, My Remarkable Journey by Katherine Johnson, and Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley Ford
Book covers of Punch Me Up to the Gods by Brian Broome, My Remarkable Journey by Katherine Johnson, and Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley Ford

The last three books that I read were all forthcoming memoirs by Black authors. Three very different stories about being Black in America. Clint Smith in his discussion with Ashley Ford, author of Somebody’s Daughter, states that the role of the Black memoir is to be a window into a set of experiences that people would not be familiar with and to be a mirror for Black readers to see themselves in experiences that they would not have seen themselves in before. All three of these…


There are many unsung heroes of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Charles Person, the author of Buses Are A Comin’, is one of them. Person is one of two original Freedom Riders that are still living today (alongside Hank Thomas). He was the youngest member of this group of activists who rode buses from Washington, D.C. to the Deep South to test whether two Supreme Court cases that outlawed segregation on buses and bus stations were going to be enforced. …


A statistical analysis of historical data

Image by analogicus from Pixabay

Last year, I introduced a historical statistical model which I used to predict which movie would win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The model gave the film 1917 the highest chance but the Academy bucked historical trends and chose Parasite as the winner. In my opinion, the Academy got it right, Parasite was the better choice. Read the articles below for more information.

Since last year I have added the 2020 Best Picture nominees to the dataset and added a few more independent variables to make the model more interesting. I added whether…


I first heard about this book when I read Stony the Road by Henry Louis Gates Jr. Gates mentioned that The Betrayal of the Negro and Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction in America were the two books that shaped his views on the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction periods. I bought both books last year and read Du Bois’s first. Rayford Logan’s book is a good follow-up to Du Bois because it picks up with the end of Reconstruction and covers the period of time from 1877 to 1920.


Richard Wright’s books have a way of sticking with you long after you finish reading them. This was true for me when I read Native Son in college and is also true after I recently read his unpublished novel The Man Who Lived Underground. The novel tells the story of a Black man in his late 20s named Fred Daniels. One day he gets picked up by the police and is accused of murder and armed robbery. Fred tells the police he did not do it but they do not believe him. The officers beat him continuously until he confesses…


I have read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius three times. I read the Gregory Hays translation published in 2002 twice and then I recently finished the forthcoming 2021 translation by Robin Waterfield. Meditations is simply a 1,800 year old journal written by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, broken into 12 books or notebooks. The text consist of passages that are as short as one sentence or as long as several paragraphs, you don’t have to read the passages in sequential order. His purpose in writing in his journal was to critically examine himself and his inner life. He used this journal…


In the January/February 2009 issue of The Atlantic, the writer Hua Hsu wrote an article titled “The End of White America?”. It was displayed on the cover of the magazine beside a large picture of then-President Barack Obama. I don’t remember much about the article but I do remember it made the argument that America was changing into a majority-minority nation in just a few decades. For many White Americans, that is a fearful prospect. Heather McGhee, former president of the think tank Demos, starts off her new book showing how White Americans, regardless of their political ideology, became more…


Henry Louis Gates Jr. has written a great book on the history of the Black Church in America. This book covers the Black religious tradition from the days of slavery to our current moment during the coronavirus pandemic. Along the way, Gates tells how important the Black Church has been as a source of spiritual renewal and political power for centuries.

This book is a historical survey of the Black Church, meaning it covers a lot of broad topics as it relates to the Black American religious experience. Many of the topics could and probably have their own standalone books…


Photo by Oladimeji Odunsi on Unsplash

Below you will find one piece of wisdom for you to reflect on each day in the month of February from a notable person of African descent. This collection of quotes features historical and contemporary figures. These 28 individuals consist of activists, singers, athletes, politicians, thespians, ministers, scholars, and writers. These quotes have been beneficial to me, I hope they do the same for you. Happy Black History Month!

This is the second annual list. You can read the first one here:


The years between 1891 and 1899 were fitful years in the history of North Carolina.” -Helen Edmonds

I first became aware of this book in 2019 when I read an advanced copy of David Zucchino’s book Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy. Zucchino referenced that Edmonds wrote the first book that gave a more truthful account of the 1898 Wilmington Coup. Edmonds’s 1951 book is about more than the coup, it is a story of coalitional politics and its backlash. It covers the Fusion era which was a short period of time between…

Raymond Williams, PhD

Political Scientist, Book Blogger, Opinions are my own.

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