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Enclosed are two copies of the Times-Picayune's resoundingly positive

review of your new book.  They totally ignored our last three books,

so the editor's decision to devote a half-page (25% of the book news)

makes it clear that they see your work as very significant.

 

 

Letters from Xavier Review

Editor Thomas Bonner, Jr. & Managing Editor Robert E. Skinner

 

 

July 12, 1999

 

Xavier Review Press

Thomas Bonner, Jr., Editor

Box 110C

Xavier University

New Orleans, Louisiana 70125

Rudolph Lewis

1506 McCulloh Street

Apartment #2

Baltimore, MD 21217

Dear Rudy:

Thanks for your letter and check. Please find enclosed 21 copies of your book, as requested. We're glad you're pleased about the book and its reception so far. We've made some small sales to local book stores already, and a few to walk-ins who read about the book in the Times-Picayune. The book did, indeed, receive a glowing review in the T-P, and it is worth noting that it is the first book of ours they've deigned to review for some time. As they say, timing is everything. The release of the book occurred the week of The Essence Festival, a large-scale African-American music event which is staged here each year.

I am not clear on how many copies should have been sent to Pratt Institute, or why they haven't received them. Tom's mother has been desperately ill, and the shipment may have fallen through the cracks. If you'll communicate to me the name and correct address or the contact person, and how many copies they were to receive, I'll get them off immediately. You may respond to me by e-mail at rskinner@xula.edu.

We have no promotional material available thus far. Our typesetter and advertisement designer is going into the hospital for back surgery this week, and has mostly been on his back for the past few weeks. I hope that when he is back on his feet that we'll be able to design an advertisement for our list of ad-swaps, and get copies to you.

Best regards,

Bob Skinner

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July 21, 1999

Xavier Review Press

Thomas Bonner, Jr., Editor

Box 110C

Xavier University

New Orleans, Louisiana 70125

Rudolph Lewis

1506 McCulloh Street

Apartment #2

Baltimore, MD 21217

Dear Rudy:

Enclosed are two copies of the Times-Picayune's resoundingly positive review of your new book. They totally ignored our last three books, so the editor's decision to devote a half-page (25% of the book news) makes it clear that they see your work as very significant.

We are still getting orders for the book, and we recently made an arrangement for Barnes & Noble to carry our entire line, so your book will go into their national database.

If you have a relationship with any bookstores in Baltimore, you might have them get in touch with us. It is common for bookstores in new Orleans to have autograph signings and reading for local authors--it may be that you can make a similar arrangement at stores in the Baltimore area. If you can supply us with with a a name and address, we'll also forward a review copy to the Baltimore book editor, assuming that there is one.

Congratulations on the work you've done. We're glad for your success thus far.

Best regards,

Bob Skinner

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September 15, 1999

Xavier Review Press

Thomas Bonner, Jr., Editor

Box 110C

Xavier University

New Orleans, Louisiana 70125

Rudolph Lewis

13219 Kientz Road

Jarratt, Virginia 23867

 

Dear Rudy:

You'll be happy to know that interest in the book seems to be building slowly. Recently, the Louisiana Endowment for the arts asked for a copy to review in their upcoming issue of Cultural Vistas, which gets circulation throughout the state and outside of Louisiana, as well. We have begun to suspect that word-of-mouth is having some effect, too, because we've sold two orders of two copies and one of five copies to Barnes & Noble, which means that they are selling in B & N stores somewhere in the nation. I hasten to add that although B & N originally bought two copies of all our in-print titles to list in their Extended Title Base program, I Am New Orleans is the only XRP title to receive multiple orders. It isn't a landslide of popular appeal, but it is an unusual occurrence for a small press with no money for promotion.

I spoke to a woman at the Library of Congress Copyright Office yesterday, and we talked at length about who the actual copyright holder of the book is (with so many people and organizations involved, it called for some discussion). As it stands now, you and Sharif will be listed as the copyright holders of this particular book, but since the introduction and editing of the poems involved original work on your parts, it was decided that you two will be named copyright holders.

Thank you for your check, and here are your 21 new books. We've put aside the additional 40, and that leaves a small number left. depending on how things go over the rest of the year, we may decide to bring out a second edition, but we haven't made a firm decision on that as yet.

By all means, send us a copy of your essay on Christian, and the piece that the Zora Neale Hurston society is publishing when it comes out. There is little enough about Christian that want to collect anything and everything about him.

I wish that I could help you directly with the job opportunity at UNO. Unfortunately, the sitting dean of libraries decided to step down to teach, and someone I don't know is interim dean. Hopefully things will work out for you anyway.

Thanks again for your order. Tom and I are glad you're having such success in selling them. Only one other XRP author has been as active as you in selling his work, and I hope all of the interest in the book will result in another printing.

Best regards,

Bob Skinner

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[Editorial note: You will note that Xavier Review Press (Bonner and Skinner) lost interest in I Am New Orleans & Other Poems By Marcus B. Christian when they discovered they did not own the copyright to neither the book or the introduction. [Check out Bonner's attitude toward my introduction in his correspondence with Ralph Adamo.] And thus they did little or nothing thereafter to further our aims of getting a broader audience for Marcus Christian. Later, Bonner offered to print all 100 poems in my possession. Obviously, they thought that this proposal would be an opportunity to seize the copyright on our work by other means. This proposal included a limited printing of less than 500 copies and no commitment of promotion and unlike, initially, no promises of money for a New Orleans appearance by the editors. This change in attitude became exceedingly apparent in the subsequent correspondence. RL

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November 8, 1999

Xavier Review Press

Thomas Bonner, Jr., Editor

Box 110C

Xavier University

New Orleans, Louisiana 70125

Rudolph Lewis

13219 Kientz Road

Jarratt, Virginia 23867

 

Dear Rudy:

Thanks for your letter and all the good news you had to share. Tom and I are indeed happy that you've engaged the interest of such people as Henry Louis Gates and Marc Morial. It might be that such associations will be useful in attracting more attention to Marcus Christian and your work on him.

With regarding to republishing the Marcus Christian book and a subsequent volume, let me try once agin to explain what we can, and cannot do. Tom and i have tried very hard to make clear to you our limitations in printing and publicizing the work of people we publish. We are not a true university press, in that we get no direct financial support from Xavier University. Our projects are all supported by outside funding, and even that is very limited. It is for that reason that we seldom print more than 300 copies of anything we do. This has been true for nearly a decade, and none of us currently associated with the press has any expectation that will change.

These factors make it impossible for us to pay for publicity or advertising. We depend on friendly newspaper editors, ad swaps with other academic literary magazines, and occasionally on the energy and creativity of authors like yourself, who go to extraordinary lengths to bring their work to the attention of others.

I should tell you that at this point, the majority of the sales garnered by I Am New Orleans have come through you. I doubt that we have sold more than 50 copies through our offices or distributors thus far. We are not a well-known press, and the attention your book has garnered is not typical of our past endeavors. We owe that to you.

It may be that you could get the support you're looking for from a traditional university press which has demonstrated a commitment to poetry and African-American literature. If so, we would certainly make it possible for you to easily move over to one of them. There you could at least expect a presentation in a quality catalog, press releases, and perhaps reviews in regional newspapers.

As for future plans, we now have another book in press, and are about to go to press with the final issue of Xavier Review for this year, so we probably can't do a second run (perhaps 200 copies) of I Am New Orleans before February 200. This would be a print run of about 300 copies.

I hope you understand that our commitment here has been to get into print deserving work that might have been missed by larger presses. For that reason, we are non-profit. No one on staff receives remuneration for his labor. Likewise, we are unable to pay authors in cash. having been a writer of both fiction and non-fiction for twenty years, I understand your drive to make some profit from writing that has taken you years to complete. I also know from experience how difficult it is to realize that goal.

We are happy to continue working with you, and are proud of the fact that you've gotten so much attention for this book. We'll support you in any way that we can, within the limits I've note above. if you decide to move to some other house, we'll also support you in that. Seetha A-Srinivasan at University Press of Mississippi is someone I've worked with on three different African-American projects, and I'll be glad to provide you with an introduction if you're interested.

I'm sending the last of your books to you under separate cover. Please let me know what else Tom or I can do to help you further.

With warmest regards,

Robert E. Skinner

Managing Editor

*   *   *   *   *

[Editor's note: I talked this matter over with Amin Sharif  and we decided to have nothing further to do with Xavier Review Press, Tom Bonner, and Bob Skinner. WRITERS BEWARE!!! of wolfish editors in sheep clothing or overseers posing as good Christian men. . . . For those who are interested how and why ChickenBones: A Journal (www.nathanielturner.com) came into existence will get some sense of the importance and necessity of black writers being in cyberspace. We thus have put the entire book online, for our commitment is to Marcus Bruce Christian, not to publishers, not to money.  RL]

posted 20 August 2005

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man's turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners' plans to give him a "necktie party" (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by "the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn't operate in his own home town." Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson's magnificent, extensively researched study of the "great migration," the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an "uncertain existence" in the North and Midwest.

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Jefferson's Pillow

The Founding Fathers and the Dilemma of Black Patriotism

By Roger W. Wilkins

 In Jefferson's Pillow, Wilkins returns to America's beginnings and the founding fathers who preached and fought for freedom, even though they owned other human beings and legally denied them their humanity. He asserts that the mythic accounts of the American Revolution have ignored slavery and oversimplified history until the heroes, be they the founders or the slaves in their service, are denied any human complexity. Wilkins offers a thoughtful analysis of this fundamental paradox through his exploration of the lives of George Washington, George Mason, James Madison, and of course Thomas Jefferson. He discusses how class, education, and personality allowed for the institution of slavery, unravels how we as Americans tell different sides of that story, and explores the confounding ability of that narrative to limit who we are and who we can become. An important intellectual history of America's founding, Jefferson's Pillow will change the way we view our nation and ourselves.

*   *   *   *   *

A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story

By Elaine Brown

Brown here relates the dramatic story of her youth, her political awakening and her role in the Black Panther Party when she succeeded her lover Huey Newton to become the group's first female leader. Though smoothly written, the book contains much reconstructed dialogue that may daunt readers. Brown's memoir takes her from a Philadelphia ghetto to California, from college to cocktail waitressing, from wanting to be white to joining the black power movement. She meets Eldridge Cleaver, George Jackson and Bobby Seale, goes to jail, visits North Korea and North Vietnam, debates Marxism and gets involved in Oakland, Calif., politics. When other Black Panthers seemed to lose sight of the revolution and seek power for its own sake, Brown, with a growing feminist consciousness, left the group.

She now lives in France and expresses ambivalent feelings about the party she once loved. Having made her acquaintance, the reader wonders about her present life.—Publishers Weekly

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Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change

By John Lewis

The Civil Rights Movement gave rise to the protest culture we know today, and the experiences of leaders like Congressman Lewis have never been more relevant. Now, more than ever, this nation needs a strong and moral voice to guide an engaged population through visionary change. Congressman John Lewis was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a key role in the struggle to end segregation. Despite more than forty arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. He is the author of his autobiography, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of a Movement, and is the recipient of numerous awards from national and international institutions, including the Lincoln Medal; the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award (the only one of its kind ever awarded); the NAACP Spingarn Medal; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, among many others.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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