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African American Biographies

African Americans are at the heart of the greatest achievements of our history, from music to law, from politics to sports, from literature to religion. Below are just some of the biographies of influential Black Americans that can be found in the Canton Public Library's collection.

Reference Books

African American lives by editors, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham

The Black 100: a ranking of the most influential African -Americans, past and present by Columbus Salley

Distinguished African American scientists of the 20th century by James H. Kessler ... [et al.] ; with Sigrid Berge, portrait artist, and Alyce Neukirk, computer graphics artist

Encyclopedia of African American business by edited by Jessie Carney Smith ; consultanats: Millicent Lownes Jackson, Linda T. Wynn

Notable Black American scientists by Kristine M. Krapp, editor

Notable Black American women by Jessie Carney Smith, editor

Notable Black American women: book II by Jessie Carney Smith, editor


A. Philip Randolph and the African American labor movement by Calvin Craig Miller — Traces the life of the civil rights activist who organized the labor union for Pullman car porters and crusaded for the desegregation of the armed forces.

Alice Walker: a life by Evelyn C. White — This portrait of the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer draws on letters, journals and interviews to discuss her birth into a family of Georgia sharecroppers, her activism during the 1960s, and her literary achievements.

And the walls came tumbling down: an autobiography by Ralph David Abernathy — Autobiography of the civil rights leader and intimate friend of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Angel on my shoulder: an autobiography by Natalie Cole written with Digby Diehl — A refreshingly honest and candid autobiography of the popular singer and daughter of jazz legend Nat King Cole.

Aretha: from these roots by Aretha Franklin and David Ritz — In an intimate and inspirational memoir, America's "Queen of Soul" recounts the story of her life, from her childhood as a minister's daughter in Detroit, to her rise to success in the music industry.

The audacity of hope: thoughts on reclaiming the American dream by Barack Obama — In July 2004, Barack Obama electrified the Democratic National Convention with an address that spoke to Americans across the political spectrum. One phrase in particular anchored itself in listeners' minds, a reminder that for all the discord and struggle to be found in our history as a nation, we have always been guided by a dogged optimism in the future, or what Senator Obama called "the audacity of hope." In this work he calls for a different brand of politics - one rooted in the nobility of spirit at the heart of "our improbable experiment in democracy." He also writes about settling in as a senator, seeking to balance the demands of public service and family life, and his own deepening religious commitment.

Barack like me: the chocolate covered truth by David Alan Grier with Alan Eisenstock — From growing up in Detroit, where he marched as a ten-year-old with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to attending the inauguration of President Barack Obama, where he narrowly avoided the Purple Tunnel of Doom but still saw nothing, David Alan Grier examines how he — and America — have changed for the better and the funnier.

Bearing witness: selections from African-American autobiography in the twentieth century by edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr — A collection of memoirs written by black scholars, politicians, creative writers and journalists offering insight into the African-American experience in the 20th century.

Black profiles in courage: a legacy of African American achievement by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with Alan Steinberg ; foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr — Inspirational stories of influential African Americans, including Crispus Attucks, Frederick Douglass, and Rosa Parks.

Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the making of a Black American millionaire by Carol Jenkins and Elizabeth Gardner Hines — This compelling biography of one of America's first African-American entrepreneurs and millionaires details the life and times of this grandson of slaves, who was born into poverty in the late 19th-century South, and having built a business empire based on insurance, real estate and communications, played a key financial role in the civil rights movement.

Blind faith: the miraculous journey of Lula Hardaway, Stevie Wonder's mother by Dennis Love and Stacy Brown — The life of singer Stevie Wonder told largely from the point of view of his mother Lula Hardaway.

Born to win: the authorized biography of Althea Gibson by Frances Clayton Gray, Yanick Rice Lamb ; foreword by Bill Cosby ; afterword by Venus Williams — A biography of the first African-American woman to win both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Althea Gibson (1927-2003) was one of the most gifted athletes, male or female, of the second half of the 20th century.

Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, portrait of an American hero by Kate Clifford Larson — This definitive biography of Harriet Tubman draws on extensive genealogical resources as well as new archives and materials to capture the complex life and personality of an important historical figure — fugitive slave, conductor on the Underground Railroad, Civil War spy, nurse and soldier.

Buck Leonard: the black Lou Gehrig by Buck Leonard with James A. Riley — Leonard's autobiography traces his life from humble beginnings to becoming an accomplished baseball player in the Negro Leagues. The backbone of the Homestead Grays' dynasty of the late 1930s and 1940s, he led the team to the League championship nine years in a row.

Charlotte Forten: a Black teacher in the Civil War by Peter Burchard — Based on her diaries and letters, this is a compelling account of the Civil War from the point of view of black woman living an independent life when neither women nor African-Americans had many freedoms.

Clemente: the passion and grace of baseball's last hero by David Maraniss — Born near rural Carolina, Puerto Rico in 1934 — at a time when there were no blacks or Puerto Ricans playing organized ball in the United States — Clemente went on to become the greatest Latino player in the major leagues. During his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he won four batting titles and led his team to championships in 1960 and 1971, but insisted that his responsibilities extended beyond the playing field. In his final years, his motto was that if you have a chance to help others and fail to do so, you are wasting your time on this earth. He belted his 3000th hit only months before taking off on a fatal mission of mercy from his native Puerto Rico to earthquake-ravaged Nicaragua.

The collected autobiographies of Maya Angelou by Angelou, Maya — This single volume omnibus edition features Angelou's celebrated autobiographies. The collection contains I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Gather Together in My Name, Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas, The Heart of a Woman, All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes, and A Song Flung Up to Heaven.

Created equal: the lives and ideas of Black American innovators by James Michael Brodie — This compendium of African-American accomplishments discusses the inventions of more than 60 African-Americans, including blood bank pioneer Charles Drew and surgeon Daniel Hale Williams.

Dancing spirit: an autobiography by Judith Jamison with Howard Kaplan — An interesting chronicle of a major figure on the American dance scene. Best known as the leading lady of Alvin Ailey's dance troupe, she has also been a choreographer, teacher and artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Days of grace: a memoir by Arthur Ashe, Arnold Rampersad — A moving testament from the champion athlete who died from AIDS after contracting the disease from a blood transfusion following open-heart surgery.

Dorothy Dandridge: a biography by Donald Bogle — An ambitious and carefully researched account of the film star and chanteuse.

Dream boogie: the triumph of Sam Cooke by Peter Guralnick — A portrait of the influential gospel singer and songwriter covers his early experiences as a choir boy, the impact of the civil rights movement on his career, and the mystery surrounding his death.

Dreams from my father: a story of race and inheritance by Barack Obama — The Democratic senator from Illinois — and future President of the United States — the son of an African father and white American mother, discusses his childhood in Hawaii, his struggle to find his identity as an African American, and his life accomplishments.

Dust tracks on a road: an autobiography by Zora Neale Hurston ; with a foreword by Maya Angelou — First published in 1942 at the height of her popularity, Zora Neale Hurston's candid, funny, bold and poignant autobiography is an imaginative and exuberant account of her rise from childhood poverty in the rural South to a prominent place among the leading artists and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance.

Finding fish: a memoir by Antwone Quenton Fisher ; with Mim Eichler Rivas — Fisher rose above the abuse of a dismal foster care childhood in Cleveland to success as a screenwriter and producer in Hollywood. The film, Antwone Fisher, is based on this compelling biography.

Frederick Douglass by William S. McFeely — An incisive biography of the former slave who became a renowned orator, journalist and revolutionary.

Freedom's daughters: the unsung heroines of the civil rights movement from 1830 to 1970 by Lynne Olson — A comprehensive history of the women — black and white — who made major contributions to the civil rights movement.

A gentleman of color: the life of James Forten by Julie Winch — Presents the life and times of James Forten (1766-1842), an entrepreneur, social reformer, Revolutionary War patriot, and gentleman, who was one of the most influential and well-known African Americans of his day.

Gonna do great things: the life of Sammy Davis, Jr. by Gary Fishgall — An honest, yet sympathetic portrait of the performer's extraordinary life and work, drawing from Davis' autobiography, Yes I Can.

Great time coming: the life of Jackie Robinson, from baseball to Birmingham by David Falkner — The first African-American to play major league baseball, Robinson was a superb athlete in football and track as well as baseball. This detailed portrait explores his lifelong influences, the pressures he had to bear, and the contributions he made to the cause of integration, including his famous battle with the army over segregation.

Groovin' high: the life of Dizzy Gillespie by Alyn Shipton — This comprehensive biography of the jazz great contains interviews with many of his associates, including Dave Brubeck and Milt Hinton.

Harriet Jacobs: a life by Jean Fagan Yellin — Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl was one of the most widely read slave narratives of all time. In this story of the life and times of one of the most important black women writers of the 19th century, author Jean Fagan Yellin recounts the full adventures of Jacobs, before and after slavery. Drawing upon decades of original research with never-before-seen archival sources, Yellin creates a complete picture of the events that inspired Incidents and offers the first rounded picture of Jacobs's life.

Harriet Tubman: the road to freedom by Catherine Clinton — Clinton brings her deep immersion in Southern history, women's history and African-American history to this first full-scale biography of Tubman.

Hattie McDaniel: Hollywood odyssey by Jill Watts — Best known for her Oscar-winning performance as Mammy in Gone With the Wind, Hattie McDaniel blazed a trail for black film actors, even as she drew criticism for portraying domestic servants. In this biography, the author examines various aspects of McDaniel's life and career, including her dealings with Hollywood power brokers and black political organizations.

Have no fear: the Charles Evers story by Charles Evers and Andrew Szanton — The brother of civil rights great Medgar Evers — who was murdered in 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi — Charles Evers was an activist in his own right. He succeeded his brother as head of the Mississippi NAACP and became the first black mayor in the state since Reconstruction.

A hungry heart: a memoir by Gordon Parks — The eminent photographer, composer, filmmaker and writer reflects on his personal life and professional achievements, describing his disadvantaged childhood on a Kansas prairie, his Depression-era years on the brink of starvation, and the prestigious awards he has received.

If the creek don't rise: my life out West with the last Black widow of the Civil War by Rita Williams — When Rita Williams was four, her mother died in a Denver boarding house. This death delivered Rita into the care of her Aunt Daisy, the last surviving African American widow of a Union soldier and a maverick who had spirited her share-cropping family out of the lynching South and reinvented them as ranch hands and hunting guides out West.

In black and white: the life of Sammy Davis, Jr. by Wil Haygood — A moving and exhaustive biography of one of America's greatest entertainers.

In search of our roots: how 19 extraordinary African Americans reclaimed their past by Henry Louis Gates, Jr — In this companion book to the PBS series African American Lives, the author combines rigorous historical research with DNA analysis to recreate the family trees of African-American celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones, as well as intellectuals, authors, comedians, musicians and athletes.

James Baldwin: a biography by David Leeming — An intimate biography of the great novelist and essayist who was born into poverty in Harlem and went on to become the 20th century's most influential black writer.

James Earl Jones: voices and silences by James Earl Jones and Penelope Niven — An engaging autobiography, telling of the celebrated actor's childhood, sources of strength and inspiration and the course of his career on stage and in film.

Jesse Jackson: a biography by Roger Bruns — The story of Jackson's rise from obscurity in South Carolina through his civil rights work with Martin Luther King, his social and political leadership, and his international diplomacy. It also covers his personal and family life and includes commentary from those who have known him.

Josephine: the hungry heart by Jean-Claude Baker and Chris Chase — Written by one of Baker's "adopted" sons (from her famous "Rainbow Tribe" of children from different social backgrounds) this is a frank and fond portrait of the chanteuse and Resistance heroine.

King of the world: Muhammad Ali and the rise of an American hero by David Remnick — The story of the transformation of a young boxer into an internationally renowned athlete, and a central figure in the 20th century's social, cultural and racial conflicts.

Langston Hughes: a biography by Laurie F. Leach — Chronicles the life of the 20th-century African-American poet, writer, journalist and leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance who incorporated African-American speech and culture into his poems.

The life of Benjamin Banneker: the first African- American man of science by Silvio A. Bedini — An engrossing, carefully researched biography of the 18th century mathematician and astronomer.

Louis Armstrong: an extravagant life by Laurence Bergreen — An astute character analysis of the renowned trumpet player and American musical icon, describing his poverty-stricken youth, his struggle to become a successful jazz musician, and his dramatic influence on American music and culture.

Martin Luther King, Jr. by Marshall Frady — Traces King's rise to fame, his relationship with the Kennedy brothers, the attempts on his life, and J. Edgar Hoover's relentess pursuit of him.

The measure of a man: a spiritual autobiography by Sidney Poitier — A conversational and endearingly self-critical memoir about the value of integrity and commitment, faith and forgiveness, and the virtues of simplicity in the life of the Academy Award-winning actor.

Mirror to America: the autobiography of John Hope Franklin by John Hope Franklin — The author, an eminent African-American scholar, recalls a century of memories as a tireless advocate for civil rights, from his attempts to make the Roosevelt administration respond to the Cordie Creek lynching in Tennessee through his subsequent involvement in the Civil Rights movement.

My American journey by Colin L. Powell with Joseph E. Persico — The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State recalls his youth in the South Bronx, his military service in Germany and Korea, his tours in Vietnam, and his journey to the highest military position in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave by Frederick Douglass. & Incidents in the life of a slave girl / by Harriet Jacobs ; introduction by Kwame Anthony Appiah ; notes and biographical note by Joy Viveros — Born into slavery, Douglass became the preeminent spokesman for his people during his life; his narrative is an unparalleled account of the dehumanizing effects of slavery and Douglass's own triumph over it.

Nat King Cole by Daniel Mark Epstein — The story of the satin-voiced singer, detailing his Alabama childhood, his family's turbulent move to Chicago, his rise as a teen jazz sensation, to his success as the most beloved pop balladeer of the 1950s.

Nina Simone: the biography by David Brun-Lambert ; [translation by Paul Morris & Isabelle Villancher] — The first full-length biography of one of jazz's greatest performers.

On her own ground: the life and times of Madam C.J. Walker by A'Lelia Bundles — Lively portrait of the pioneering American businesswoman. A freeborn child of slaves, she rose from poverty to establish a successful hair-care business, subsequently becoming one of the wealthiest women in the U.S., and devoting herself to a life of activism and philanthropy toward racial and feminist issues.

Open wide the freedom gates: a memoir by Dorothy Height ; with a foreword by Maya Angelou — The president of the National Council of Negro Women recounts her life and work in civil and human rights.

An original man: the life and times of Elijah Muhammad by Claude Andrew Clegg III — An absorbing reconstruction of the life of the "Messenger of Allah" who led the Nation of Islam for more than four decades until his death in 1975.

Otis!: the Otis Redding story by Scott Freeman — Celebrates the life of the "King of Soul", from his 1967 appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival before a predominately white audience, to his tragic death in a plane crash at the peak of his career.

Pierre Toussaint by Arthur Jones — A detailed portrait of the 19th-century American, describing his birth in Haiti, his devout Catholic upbringing as the child of a plantation slave, and his flight to New York City, where he devoted his life to helping former slaves and the Catholic Church.

Pops: a life of Louis Armstrong by Terry Teachout — A gripping portrait of the man, his world, and his music.

The power and the darkness: the life of Josh Gibson in the shadows of the game by Mark Ribowsky — A compelling examination of the life of the "Babe Ruth of the Negro Leagues" of baseball.

Q: the autobiography of Quincy Jones by Jones, Quincy, 1933- — Jones reveals all, from the glamour of the high life and his string of glittering achievements, to his private pain and struggles.

Queen Bess: daredevil aviator by Doris L. Rich — The extraordinary life of the first African-American to earn an international pilot's license.

Ray Charles: man and music by Michael Lydon — A portrait of one of merica's most influential musicians, describing his birth into a life of poverty, his long battle with heroin addiction, and his legendary fifty-year career.

Richard Wright: the life and times by Hazel Rowley — a sweeping biography of the celebrated author who grew up on a poor sharecropper's farm in Mississippi amid the terrifying violence of the segregationist South.

Rosa Parks by Douglas Brinkley — This portrait of the woman immortalized for refusing to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger, examines who Rosa Parks was before, during, and after her historic act.

Rosa Parks: my story by Rosa Parks with Jim Haskins — The woman whose name is synonymous with the civil rights movement discusses her role in the Montgomery bus boycott, Martin Luther King, Jr., and much more.

Satchel: the life and times of an American legend by Larry Tye — Boston Globe reporter Tye offers the first biography on Satchel Paige, the premier pitcher of the Negro Leagues.

Silent gesture: the autobiography of Tommie Smith by Tommie Smith ; with David Steele — The autobiography of Olympic athlete Tommie Smith, who along with teammate John Carlos raised a black-gloved fist on the victory stand after receiving their gold and bronze medals in the 1968 games. Smith tells the story of that moment, how it came to be, and where it led him.

Sojourner Truth: a life, a symbol by Nell Irvin Painter — An absorbing and enlightening study of the well known feminist and antislavery activist who - although herself born into slavery - championed the disadvantaged, both black and white.

Soldier: the life of Colin Powell by Karen DeYoung — In this comprehensive biography, the author takes us from Powell's Bronx childhood and meteoric rise through the military ranks to his formative roles in Washington's corridors of power and his controversial tenure as secretary of state.

A song flung up to heaven by Maya Angelou — The final volume of Angelou's autobiography that began nearly 30 years ago with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Spike Lee: that's my story and I'm sticking to it by as told to Kaleem Aftab — The provocative filmmaker describes his early achievements in the 1986 film, She's Gotta Have It, through his contributions to such movies as Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X, in a personal portrait complemented by numerous firsthand accounts that also discuss the role of race in his work and his relationships with famous stars.

Stormy weather: the life of Lena Horne by James Gavin — An incisive look at legendary singer Lena Horne.

A stranger in my own house: the story of W.E.B. Du Bois by Bonnie Hinman — The life of the African American scientist, scholar and leader who helped establish the NAACP and devoted his life to gaining equality for all people.

Sweet thunder: the life and times of Sugar Ray Robinson by Wil Haygood — An illuminating narrative in which the author explores one of the 20th-century's most iconic figures of the fight game, Sugar Ray Robinson.

This little light of mine: the life of Fannie Lou Hamer by Kay Mills — This biography of the woman who was beaten when she tried to register to vote in the South illustrates the resolve that led her to found the National Women's Political Caucus.

Thurgood Marshall: American revolutionary by Juan Williams — The story of Marshall's successful desegregation of public schools in the U.S. with his victory in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, followed by his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1967 for a 24-year term.

To keep the waters troubled: the life of Ida B. Wells by Linda O. McMurry — An unforgettable account of the fearless African-American journalist, activist and passionate crusader for civil rights in the 1880s.

Triumph: the untold story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics by Jeremy Schaap — In 1936, against a backdrop of swastikas flying and storm troopers goose-stepping, an African-American son of sharecroppers won a staggering four Olympic gold medals and single-handedly crushed Hitler's myth of Aryan supremacy. The story of Jesse Owens at the 1936 games is not only that of a high-profile athlete giving a performance that transcends sports, but it is also the intimate and complex tale of the courage of one remarkable man.

Unforgivable blackness: the rise and fall of Jack Johnson by Geoffrey C. Ward — An engaging and well-researched popular biography of the first black man to win the world heavyweight championship. Ken Burns' documentary (DVD) includes Johnson's struggles in and out of the ring, and demonstrates why he was a lightning rod for controversy in early 20th-century America.

Up from history: the life of Booker T. Washington by Robert J. Norrell — A compelling biography of the tireless educator and founder of Alabama's Tuskegee Institute.

Vernon can read!: a memoir by Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. ; with Annette Gordon-Reed — The accomplished civil rights leader and businessman recalls his upbringing in a loving family, his years at a white college and at Howard University Law School, and his role in the struggle for civil rights as leader of the National Urban League.

Voices in the mirror: an autobiography by Gordon Parks — a writer, poet, musician, composer, filmmaker and photographer.

W.E.B. DuBois—biography of a race, 1868-1919 by David Levering Lewis — This Pulitzer Prize-winning biography chronicles the life of America's prime mover in the civil rights movement, illustrating the major impact this controversial thinker had on the country.

What I know for sure: my story of growing up in America by Tavis Smiley ; with David Ritz — This autobiography of the popular radio and television talk show host includes the author's accounts of his controversial breaks with BET and later National Public Radio. Smiley's thoughtful book emphasizes old-school values and the rewards of hard work.

Willie Mays: the life, the legend by James S. Hirsch, authorized by Willie Mays — A biography authorized by the baseball great offers a gripping account of Willie Mays's life, drawn from interviews with the icon, as well as friends, family members and teammates.

Wink: the incredible life and epic journey of Jimmy Winkfield by Ed Hotaling — This vivid portrait of African-American jockey Jimmy Winkfield describes how, after winning his second consecutive Kentucky Derby in 1902, he and other black jockeys were banned from racing. Also relates the story of his successful career in Europe, his remarkable flight from the Bolsheviks in 1917, and his life in occupied France.

Wrapped in rainbows: the life of Zora Neale Hurston by Valerie Boyd — An engrossing and powerful biography of the novelist and folklorist.

DVD Biographies

African American lives [videodisc] by a film by Kunhardt Productions ; executive producers, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., William R. Grant, Peter W. Kunhardt ; written by Henry Louis Gates. Jr. ; series producers, Graham Judd, Leslie D. Farrell ; a production of Kunhardt Productions, Inc. and Thirteen/ WNET New York — A compelling combination of storytelling and science, this series uses genealogy, oral histories, family stories and DNA to trace roots of several accomplished African Americans down through American history and back to Africa.

Citizen King [videodisc] by a ROJA Productions film for American experience ; in association with the BBC and WGBH Boston — Explores the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. from his "I have a dream" speech in 1963, to his assassination in 1968, with insight from colleagues, journalists, historians and scholars.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. [videodisc]: a historical perspective by producer, Melissa Wegman ; written and directed by Thomas Friedman — Historical overview of the struggle for racial equality in America. Focuses on the extraordinary life of Dr. King, using rare and largely unseen film footage and photographs.

Frederick Douglass [videodisc] by produced by Greystone Communications, Inc. in association with A&E Network — The story of Frederick Douglass, escaped slave, author and abolitionist orator.

Half past autumn [videodisc]: the life and works of Gordon Parks / — An examination of the photography, poetry, writing, music and life of Gordon Parks.

Jackie Robinson [videorecording] by produced by CEL Communications, Inc. in association with A&E Network — Peter Graves reviews the life of Jackie Robinson, the American hero whose accomplishments went far beyond the ballpark.

Martin Luther King Jr. [videodisc]: the man and the dream by a Black Audio Films production for BBC and A&E Network ; producer, Lina Gopaul ; writer, Edward George ; director, John Akomfrah — Rare insight into the legendary civil rights leader's personal and public life is seen using interviews and rare footage.

Sammy Davis, Jr [videodisc]: one cool cat by White Star — A fascinating and affectionate look at the life and career of an entertainment legend.

Soul survivor [videodisc]: the James Brown story by a co -production of Isis Productions, Thirteen/WNET New York, Channel 4, and Universal Music ; produced & directed by Jeremy Marre — James Brown delivers the in-depth story of his life and music, from his early years of poverty and imprisonment, to his extraordinary live shows.

Thurgood Marshall [videodisc]: justice for all by A & E Television Networks — Interviews with his sons and with the men and women who worked alongside him, put the life of the legendary jurist and civil rights activist in perspective.

Unforgivable blackness [videodisc]: the rise and fall of Jack Johnson by a Florentine Films productions ; PBS ; a film directed by Ken Burns — The story of Jack Johnson, who was the first African American boxer to win the most coveted title in all of sports — Heavyweight Champion of the World. A companion to the Book by Geoffrey C. Ward.

The world of Nat King Cole [videodisc] — This documentary includes extended interviews, with both Nat King Cole and his friends.

DVD Feature Films

Coach Carter [videodisc] by MTV Music Television Films ; Paramount Pictures presents an MTV Films production ; a Tollin/Robbins production ; a Thomas Carter film — The true-life story of high school coach Ken Carter who tries to teach his players that there's more to life than basketball. Starring Samuel L. Jackson and Debbie Morgan.

Final shot [videodisc]: the Hank Gathers story by Tribune Entertainment presents a James P. McGillen, Alexander/Enright Production — Based on the true story of Hank Gathers, an African American basketball sensation from Loyola Marymount College, who collapsed and died during a game. Starring Victor Love, Duane Davis, George Kennedy and Nell Carter.

Introducing Dorothy Dandridge [videodisc] by HBO Pictures presents an Esparza/Katz production in association with Berry/Cirrincione ; a Martha Coolidge film — Dramatization of the career of Dorothy Dandridge, who against the odds, beat out many more famous rivals for the role of "Carmen Jones", becoming the first black woman ever nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award. Starring Halle Berry who in 2001 became the first black woman to ever win the Academy Award for Best Actress.

The Jackie Robinson story [videodisc] by William Joseph Heineman presents — Brooklyn Dodgers second baseman Jackie Robinson plays himself in this film that traces his career from his college days - when he excelled as a track star at Pasadena College, and as UCLA's All-Sports record holder - to his time playing in the Negro Baseball League where his uncanny skills attract the attention of Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Anxious to break down the "color line" that exists in major-league baseball, Rickey assigns Robinson in 1946 to play for the Brooklyn farm team in Montreal, and in 1947 he graduates to the Dodgers lineup. The Dodgers win the pennant race, and slowly but surely the ban on black players vanishes in the Big Leagues. Also starring Ruby Dee and Louise Beavers.

Jasper, Texas [videodisc] by Showtime presents — This extraordinary true drama, set in the small town of Jasper, Texas in 1998, explores the aftermath of the horrible death of James Byrd, Jr., the African-American who was dragged to his death by three white men.

Malcolm X [videodisc] by Warner Brothers Pictures ; Warner Bros. presents in association with Largo International N.V. ; a 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks production ; a Marvin Worth production ; a Spike Lee Joint — The life of Malcolm X, who through his religious conversion to Islam, found the strength to rise up from a criminal past to become an influential civil rights leader. Starring Denzel Washington.

Once upon a time— when we were colored [videodisc] by Republic Pictures ; BET Pictures ; United Image Entertainment — Based on the book by Clifton L. Taulbert, this film tells the story of growing up in the segregation-era South. Starring Al Freeman, Jr. and Phylicia Rashad.

Ray [videodisc] by Universal Pictures ; Bristol Bay Productions ; Anvil Films ; Baldwin Entertainment — Despite a few dramatic embellishments of actual incidents, this award-winning film does a remarkable job of summarizing Ray Charles' strengths as a musical innovator as well as his personal weaknesses. Director Taylor Hackford gets most of the period details absolutely right as he chronicles Charles' much-deserved elevation to legendary status as one of the all-time great musicians. Starring Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington. Foxx received the 2005 Oscar for Best Actor.

Remember the Titans [videodisc] by Walt Disney Pictures presents, in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Films, a Technical Black production ; produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Chad Oman ; written by Gregory Allen Howard ; directed by Boaz Yakin — A drama of forced high school integration in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971. After leading his team to fifteen winning seasons, white football coach Bill Yoast is demoted and replaced by African-American Herman Boone - as tough, opinionated, and as different form Yoast as he could be. The two men overcome their differences and turn a group of hostile young men into champions. Starring Denzel Washington and Will Patton.

The Rosa Parks story [videodisc] by Jaffe/Braunstein Films, Ltd. ; CBS Television — A meticulously detailed biography of pioneering civil rights activist Rosa Parks. Starring Angela Bassett and Cicely Tyson.

Wilma [videodisc]: the true story of one of America's greatest Olympic athletes by Cappy Productions, Inc. ; Columbia Pictures Television — Although stricken in her youth with crippling polio, Wilma Rudolph became the first woman to win three consecutive gold medals, which she accomplished at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.


The Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences — Profiles of African American men and women who have contributed to the advancement of science and engineering.

Notable Women in Black History — An ever-expanding list of resources for learning about notable African American women.