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Untold Glory: African Americans in Pursuit of Freedom, Opportunity, and Achievementby Alan Govenar
Synopses & Reviews
Untold Glory offers a fresh perspective on one of the most fundamental elements of American history—the conquest of new frontiers. In twenty-seven fascinating first-person accounts, African Americans from different eras, backgrounds, and occupations explore and reflect on the meaning of frontier, both literally and metaphorically.
This collection chronicles the search for freedom and opportunity and the achievement of success in a wide variety of fields. The contributors all pushed beyond self-imposed or culturally enforced boundaries to pursue their dreams and ambitions. They include Mark Dean, an IBM vice president and member of the Inventors Hall of Fame, who holds three of the original patents upon which the personal computer is based; the civil-rights attorney Oliver W. Hill, one of the architects of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case; the classical pianist and museum founder Josephine Love; and L. Douglas Wilder, the grandson of slaves who became the first African American governor of Virginia.
Illustrated with black-and-white photographs and featuring an incisive introduction by Alan Govenar, Untold Glory is both an important addition to the field of African American history and an engaging, eye-opening look at some of the nations most daring, innovative, and influential pioneers.
"This collection of 27 alphabetically arranged interviews focuses on the power of determination in confronting and overcoming discrimination. With birth dates ranging from 1907 to 1957, these ordinary people provide a cumulative picture of the changing decades. (Most of the interviews took place in 2005, although several are from the late '90s, and one dates to 1980). Among them are a bank president, baseball player, welfare rights organizer, tap dancer, engineer and blues musician. Most of the subjects are not well known (with the exception of painter Jacob Lawrence and former governor, now mayor Douglas Wilder), since Govenar is interested in untold stories. Unfortunately, few of them break out of the author's rigid format, which focuses on the impact of discrimination and segregation in their lives, lending sameness to each conversation. Still, there are some fresh moments: an entrepreneur's bout with sickle cell anemia offers a graphic portrait of that illness; a mathematician's early life as a nun and an actor's picture of Hollywood in the '30s provide fascinating glimpses of those milieus. By the end, Govenar's voices offer an eye-opening corrective for familiar stereotypes of African-Americans." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
ALAN GOVENAR is the author of numerous books, including Meeting the Blues, Portraits of Community, Stompin' at the Savoy and Extraordinary Ordinary People. He is the president and founder of Documentary Arts, Inc., a non-profit organization that seeks to present new perspectives on diverse cultures. He lives in Dallas, Texas.
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