Forgotten Readers

By Elizabeth McHenry,

Book cover of Forgotten Readers: Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies

Book description

Over the past decade the popularity of black writers including E. Lynn Harris and Terry McMillan has been hailed as an indication that an active African American reading public has come into being. Yet this is not a new trend; there is a vibrant history of African American literacy, literary…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Forgotten Readers as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

If you think that literary societies have nothing to do with African American community activism, then this book will make you think again. African Americans were excluded from schools, libraries, and most of the usual publishing outlets—but they still developed a vibrant culture that produced newspapers, pamphlets, and books, and they developed libraries and literary societies committed to reading these and other productions. McHenry expertly guides us through this relatively unknown but central culture of reading, tracing the rise of African American literary societies, the work of the Black Press, and the vital connection between reading, writing, and social reform…

One of the important themes that emerges from Black history is the importance of literacy in gaining freedom and seeking respect and equality. Elizabeth McHenry shows how African Americans used not just individual literacy but book clubs and social clubs organized around reading to achieve their goals. I loved reading about this quiet, behind-the-scenes element of the fight for participation in American civic culture

From Beth's list on that tell us why we read and write.

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