The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois is a powerful intergenerational, feminist, and womanist novel. Honorée Jeffers tells the racial and class history of this country through this book, not with a lot of facts and dates although they are there you are not inundated with it. But she tells this history through the human relationships of her characters past and present. The novel spans from the pre-slavery era of the 1700s to the late 20th Century covering themes such as: racism, colorism, feminism, classism, and intergenerational trauma.

The novel is centered around the character of Ailey Garfield…


Jim Crow in North Carolina is an accessible legal academic book that tells the history of the laws that instituted de jure discrimination in the state of North Carolina. In this book, Richard Paschal a lawyer and political scientist by training, collected a list of discriminatory laws and laws promoting equality among the races from 1865–1920. (The list of laws is included in the back of the book in two tables.) Paschal’s primary focus is on those discriminatory laws. He finds, first, that the NC government began enacting these laws as soon as the Civil War was over which is…


Over the past three years I’ve read quite a few books on Reconstruction, Andrew Johnson’s impeachment, and Frederick Douglass*. I thought I wouldn’t learn anything new when I began reading The Failed Promise, I was wrong. Robert Levine’s new book focuses on the mostly unexamined role that Frederick Douglass and other Black leaders played during the time of the Johnson presidency and his subsequent impeachment.

The title The Failed Promise has a double meaning, Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction were both failed promises. Many Radical Republicans and Black leaders had high hopes that Andrew Johnson would be a more progressive and…


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

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…

Raymond Williams, PhD

Political Scientist, Book Blogger, Opinions are my own. https://linktr.ee/raymondwilliams

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