The Plot Against Hip Hop

Nelson George

The Plot Against Hip Hop is a noir novel set in the world of hip hop culture. The stabbing murder of esteemed music critic Dwayne Robinson in a Soho office building is dismissed by the NYPD as a gang initiation. But his old friend, bodyguard and security expert D Hunter, suspects there are larger forces at work.
D Hunter’s investigation into his mentor’s murder leads into a parallel history of hip hop, a place where renegade government agents, behind-the-scenes power brokers, and paranoid journalists know a truth that only a few hardcore fans suspect. This rewrite of hip hop history mixes real-life figures with characters pulled from the culture’s hidden world, including Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Russell Simmons.

“George is an ace at interlacing the real dramas of the world . . . the book’s slim length and flyweight depth could make it an artifact of this particular zeitgeist in American history. Playas and haters and celebrity cameos fuel a novel that is wickedly entertaining while being frozen in time.”
–”Kirkus Reviews”
“This hard-boiled tale is jazzed up with authentic street slang and name-dropping (Biggie, Mary J. Blige, Lil Wayne, and Chuck D) . . . George’s tightly packaged mystery pivots on a believable conspiracy . . . and his street cred shines in his descriptions of Harlem and Brownsville’s mean streets.”
–”Library Journal”
“George is a well-known, respected hip-hop chronicler . . . Now he adds crime fiction to his resume with a carefully plotted crime novel peopled by believable characters and real-life hip-hop personalities.”
“The most accomplished black music critic of his generation.”
–”The Washington Post Book World”
“Perhaps one of the greatest books ever written. It has the realness of “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” the warmth “of The Color Purple,” and the page count of “Tuesdays with Morrie.” It’s a must-read.”
–Chris Rock on “City Kid”



Randall Robinson

On the eve of the Civil Rights Movement, while struggling to survive the emotional vacuum of his family, young Gray March escapes into the safe and magical world of his grandmother Makeda’s tiny parlor. There his life is transformed by his visits to the aging matriarch, a woman blind since birth but who has always dreamed in color. She begins to confide in Gray the things she “sees” and remembers from her dream state, and a story starts to emerge, a story that becomes increasingly more detailed, layered with descriptions and historical accuracy beyond the scope of Makeda’s elementary school education. Gradually, Gray begins to make a connection . . . a connection between his grandmother’s dream and the epic life of an African queen described in the Bible. . .
Part coming-of-age story, part spiritual journey, and part love story, Makeda is a universal tale of family, heritage, and the ties that bind. It is about the people who help to shape and mold us, and lead us into the light. Appealing to the deepest sense of who we are, Randall Robinson plumbs the hearts of grandmother Makeda and her grandson, Gray, and summons our collective blood memories, taking the reader on an unforgettable journey of the soul that will linger long after the last page has been turned.


The Friendship

Mildred D. Taylor

Cassie Logan and her brothers have been warned never to go to the Wallace store, so they know to expect trouble there. What they don’t expect is to hear Mr. Tom Bee, an elderly Black man, daring to call the white storekeeper by his first name. The year is 1933, the place is Mississippi, and any child knows that some things just aren’t done . . .

Paper 4.99
Cloth 16.99

Show Way

Jacqueline Woodson

Reaching into her own family history, Woodson presents the stirring story of generations of African-American women who inspired each other with their strength, family traditions, and determination.

“This is the first time I’ve written a book based on some of my own family history. ’Show Ways”, or quilts, once served as secret maps for freedom-seeking slaves. This is the story of seven generations of girls and women who were quilters and artists and freedom fighters. It begins in Virginia and ends right here in Brooklyn.The story began in my grandmother’s living room in the Bushwick section of Broolyn. I wrote it here in Park Slope, Brooklyn mostly. After my grandmother died and my daughter was born, I wanted to figure out a way to hold on to all the amazing history in our family.
I wanted a Show Way for my own daughter.” Jacqueline Woodson

Cloth 16.99

Mis-Education of the Negro

Carter G. Woodson

“When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his “proper place” and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His question of education makes it necessary.”

“The race will free itself from exploiters just as soon as it decides to do so. No one else can accomplish this task for the race. It must plan and do for itself.”  — Carter G. Woodson

The Miseducation of the Negro describes the plight of our schools like no other book. He makes it plain. Woodson says that either you are taught to value yourself primarily, or are taught to value someone else primarily. You are taught to be concerned with satisfying the needs of your community or trained to satisfy another’s. Education gives you backbone or teaches you to lean. Carter G. Woodson is the Father of Black History and “Black history is your history.” — James Baldwin

Paper 9.99

Road to Memphis

Mildred Taylor

Set in Mississippi in 1941, The Road to Memphis describes three harrowing, unforgettable days in the life of an African-American high school girl dreaming of law school. Caught up in the center of tense racial dramas unfolding around her, Cassie Logan is forced to confront the adult world as never before. A Black youth, sadistically teased by two White boys in rural Mississippi, severely injures one of them with a tire iron and enlists Cassie’s help in trying to flee the state.

A Coretta Scott King Author Award Book.
“An engrossing, capably written picture of fine young people endeavoring to find the right way in a world that persistently wrongs them.”

Paper 6.99

Little Rock Nine

Marshall Poe

Sixteen-year-old William McNally and fifteen-year-old Thomas Johnson both live in Little Rock, Arkansas, in the summer of 1957. They both love baseball and teasing their little sisters. There’s just one big difference — William is White, and Thomas, the son of William’s family’s maid, is Black. After the Supreme Court rules in favor of desegregating public schools, Little Rock Central High School prepares to enroll its first nine African-American students, and William and Thomas are caught in the center of a storm.

Paper 7.99

Indaba My Children: African Folktales

Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa

As a young man, Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, a Zulu from the South African province of Natal, was determined to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and become a tribal historian in order to keep the rich oral tradition of his culture alive. In this book, begun in response to the injustices against South Africans and their culture during a heavier apartheid period than now, he set these legends down in writing. The previous edition of this book was entitled Indaba My Children: The Oral History of the Zulu.Why the subtitle was changed to Indaba, My Children: African Folk Tales, I do not know, but I do know that this is one of the greatest things I’ve ever read.

Dr. Raye Richardson, co-founder of Marcus Bookstores, was using this book as a text for her Humaniites class at San Francisco State University, Department of Black Studies. She told me how beautiful it is. It seems like thousands of years of history compressed into a diamond, condensed into metaphors thick and deep. The super powerful beings are plentiful and believable; the stories, spellbinding.

Mr. Mutwa spent ten years memorizing the history to pass it on. There are many, many chapters, told in cliffhangers. One of my many favorites is the story of Marimba. She is half-goddess, half mortal and Queen of the Wakambi. In her captivating chapters she invents song, dance, the drum, and xylophone, among other things. She’s incredibly beautiful, loving and carries a curse from her mother’s rival: whomever she marries will die within three moons. It’s difficult because she is also part mortal with mortal needs and urges. Well, two or three late husbands into her story, in a cave, Marimba explains to her son, Kahawa, why she’s considering surrendering herself to Nangai, the leader of the forces that are attacking her peoples: “It seems that when he was driven out of the land of the gods he was grievously wounded by an arrow of Mulungu, the Father of Light, and he has been almost completely eaten away by the poison from Mulungu’s arrow and he is dying the slow death of an immortal god. In order to survive he needs the living flesh of another immortal, a human immortal, to consume raw. He must drink a little of that immortal’s blood every day. And I happen to be the only immortal within reach.”
Kahawa loved no one on earth more than he loved his mother and it did not matter if the whole Wakambi nation were wiped out, as long as his mother was safe. As she almost exists the cave, he knocks her unconscious, gently lays her out and holes her up in the cave, rolling a huge boulder to seal the opening. Nangai shows up, his flesh constantly sloughing off him. He is in command of huge fire-breathing flying dragons that gather handfuls of scattering townspeople and devour them between fire-breathing assaults.
Kahawa bravely “confronts” Nangai who has one of his creatures ready to poke an enormous talon into the kid’s defiant stomach, when Marimba appears and surrenders to the evil leader to save her son and her people. Once Nangai kisses her, he is instantly healed but she turns into a kind of cabbage-head, her wits dimmed. Only then does he realize the value of the beauty he has damaged and takes Marimbe to live in a beautiful underground chamber made of crystal with its’ own pure river, where he will spend a thousand years, if necessary, soothing her, trying to make up for what he’s done to her.

Raye explained to me that this is the story of marriage.

Paper 18.00

Legend of Bass Reeves: Being the True and Fictional Account of the Most Valiant Marshall in the West

Gary Paulsen

Born into slavery, Bass Reeves became the most successful US Marshal of the Wild West.
Many “heroic lawmen” of the Wild West, familiar to us through television and film, were actually violent scoundrels and outlaws themselves. But of all the sheriffs of the frontier, one man stands out as a true hero: Bass Reeves.
He was the most successful Federal Marshal in the US in his day. True to the mythical code of the West, he never drew his gun first. He brought hundreds of fugitives to justice, was shot at countless times, and never hit.
Bass Reeves was a Black man, born into slavery. And though the laws of his country enslaved him and his mother, when he became a free man he served the law, with such courage and honor that he became a legend.

Cloth 15.95
Paper 6.50
CD 19.99