Articles tagged "GRACE WILL LEAD US HOME: The Charleston Church Massacre and the Hard Inspiring Journey to Forgiveness"

An Interview with Jennifer Berry Hawes

After the tragic shootings at the Mother Emanuel AME church, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jennifer Berry Hawes knew this was a story that needed telling. In GRACE WILL LEAD US HOME: The Charleston Church Massacre and the Hard, Inspiring Journey to Forgiveness, she offers a moving portrait of the events and emotions that emerged in the massacre’s wake. Today, Hawes joins us to share more about her writing experience, to highlight a courageous librarian named Cynthia Hurd, and to talk about life as a Charlestonian since that terrible day in 2015.

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How did you decide you wanted to write a book on the massacre?

I didn’t think about writing a book until five or six months after June 17, 2015. I had been covering the aftermath of the shooting for the newspaper I work for in Charleston and had begun to realize that, while the massacre itself had caused such unimaginable pain for the survivors and the victims’ loved ones, it was only the opening chapter of a much more complex story. I have since come to think of mass shootings as akin to tossing a rock into a pond. The initial impact disrupts the surface in obvious ways. But then ripple upon ripple of disruption spreads from that impact. This is what happens after these events, and happened here, from divisions among families and the church to divisions within families grappling with so much pain. Add in critical issues to our nation–race and gun violence–and this became a much more complicated story than we could tell in our newspaper. My editors agreed. As people who live and breathe Charleston, we wanted to bear witness to this deeper narrative.

Tell us a little about the librarian, Cynthia Hurd, one of the nine people killed in the church.

To me, the lush garden of climbing roses and overflowing window boxes that Cynthia meticulously tended outside of her home beautifully illustrates her essence. She was a helper, a nurturer, a warm spirit who greeted people with a wide, toothy smile. When her sister, Jackie, was diagnosed with cancer just a couple of weeks before the shooting, Jackie called Cynthia first. “I got you,” Cynthia promised, and everyone knew she meant it. When Cynthia agreed to stay at Bible study on June 17, she had plans to go with Jackie, who lived two states away, to meet with doctors and discuss her treatment options the following week.

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Getting Ready for Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month with these new and forthcoming books:

A BOUND WOMAN IS A DANGEROUS THING: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland by DaMaris Hill
A revelatory work in the tradition of Claudia Rankine’s CITIZEN, DaMaris Hill’s searing and powerful narrative-in-verse bears witness to American women of color burdened by incarceration.

QUEEN BEY: A Celebration of the Power and Creativity of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter by Veronica Chambers
“With such a dynamic ensemble of opinions and reflections, the collection will be sweet reading not just for Beyoncé’s superfans, but also for activists, feminists, and budding vocalists. An uplifting and resounding ovation.”Kirkus Reviews 

“Entertaining and illuminating, this essay collection will please readers no matter their Beyoncé fan status level.”Publishers Weekly

DRESSED IN DREAMS: A Black Girl’s Love Letter to the Power of Fashion
by Tanisha C. Ford
From sneakers to leather jackets, a bold, witty, and deeply personal dive into Black America’s closet.

GO HIGH: The Unstoppable Presence and Poise of Michelle Obama
by M. Sweeney
A photographic celebration of the former first lady’s elegance and strength.

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February is Black History Month!

Celebrate Black History Month with these new and forthcoming books:

WHEN THEY CALL YOU A TERRORIST: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & asha bandele, with a foreword by Angela Davis
Also available in audio
A Most Anticipated Book of 2018 with three starred reviews! The emotional and powerful story about the founding of the Black Lives Matter movement. “Khan-Cullors’s prose is dynamic; a rhythmic call to action that deftly illustrates the impact of living in a place that systematically demeans black personhood through neglect and aggressively racist state policy. This searing, timely look into a contemporary movement from one of its crucial leading voices belongs in all collections.” — Library Journal, starred review

ELOQUENT RAGE: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper
A Barnes & Noble Spring 2018 Discover Great New Writers pick! With searing honesty, intimacy, and humor in the Black feminist tradition of Audre Lorde, America’s leading young black feminist reminds us that anger is a powerful source of energy that can give the strength to keep on fighting. “An ambitious, electrifying memoir. Recommended for readers seeking contemporary social commentary that’s unrelenting yet humorous.” — Library Journal, starred review

WHY I’M NO LONGER TALKING TO WHITE PEOPLE ABOUT RACE by Reni Eddo-Lodge
The London-based journalist and black feminist expands on her blog piece about her deep-seated frustration with the way discussions of race and racism are constantly shut down by those who aren’t affected by it. “A provocative read for anyone interested in race, politics, social history, and the lives of people of color; a must-read that expertly reflects the challenges of addressing structural racism.” — Library Journal, starred review

MINORITY LEADER: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrams
Also available in audio
The first black female governor in the U.S. combines her memoir with real-world advice for women and people of color, offering hard-won insights for navigating worlds that, until now, were largely the territory of white men alone. “Not just local appeal; there are audiences other there that could really, really benefit from this book.” — Library Journal, pre-pub alert

RAW: My Journey Into the Wu-Tang by Lamont “U-God” Hawkins
The explosive, never-before-told story behind the historic rise of the Wu-Tang Clan, as told by one of its founding members, Lamont “U-God” Hawkins. “Hawkins is a wonderful storyteller who spares no detail, and his willingness to share his wisdom in nonsaccharine terms yields an inspirational coming-of-age story. ” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

THE SUN DOES SHINE: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton, with an introduction by Bryan Stevenson
Also available in audio
A powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent 30 years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. “His memoir…is a troubling, moving, and ultimately exalting journey…. With a huge print run, Hinton’s incredible story and social-justice star Stevenson, who wrote the foreword, will draw major attention.” — Booklist, starred review

GRACE WILL LEAD US HOME: The Charleston Church Massacre and the Hard, Inspiring Journey to Forgiveness by Jennifer Berry Hawes
“Pulitzer Prize winner Hawes shows us what happened after Dylann Roof slaughtered nine people on June 17, 2015, at the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. Survivors struggled to heal, relatives of the dead rose at Roof’s hearing to say, ‘I forgive you,’ and the city faced its racist past.” Library Journal, pre-pub alert readmoreremove

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