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New notable additions to AA/PG library in August

Highwaymen  Monroe, Gary.  The Highwaymen Murals: Al Black's Concrete DreamsGainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2009.

In 1960, a group of African American artists in Florida with no formal training began painting depictions of the Sunshine State's landscape.  These artists worked quickly and produced iconic images of the state which quickly became popular so that by the end of the decade twenty six artists were creating charming and vibrant works of art.  Among them was Al Black who excelled in marketing the group's works.  During the 1980s the popularity of the group's work subsided and the market for their work disappeared.  In 1997, Black was convicted of fraud and was incarcerated in the Central Florida Reception Center where Black continued his work by creating murals in the facility.  This book documents his life story and the more than one hundred murals that liven up the walls in the correctional facility.

Nielsen, Kim E.  Beyond the Miracle Worker: The Remarkable Life of Anne Sullivan Macy and Her Extraordinary Friendship with Helen Keller.  Boston: Beacon Press, 2009.

Overshadowed by her famous student Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan Macy's life was also inspirational.  The child of Irish immigrants, Macy suffered from severely diminished eyesight and was without parents by the age of eight.  Raised first in an orphan asylum she eventually managed to attend the Perkin's Institution for blind children.  When she graduated the school's director advocated her becoming the six-year-old Helen Keller's teacher and governess.  Although other educators eventually attempted to take over Keller's education, Macy fought to keep control of her work with Keller.  The two eventually developed a friendship that lasted over fifty years during which Keller became increasingly famous.  The two lived together and traveled the lecture circuit, despite Macy's struggle with illness and depression throughout her life.  This book examines their lives of the two women by examining primary sources to get behind their public image and to address questions about childhood trauma, the meanings of dependency and friendship, and the complexities of disability.

Hudson, Suzanne P.  Robert Ryman: Used Paint.  Cambridge: MIT Press, 2009.

Robert Ryman (b. 1930) started painting in the 1950s when he was a guard at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  By the middle of the decade Ryman was creating monochrome paintings, including his white-on-white works.  Although seemingly minimal in nature, Ryman's work shows a primacy of painted surface and brushwork.  In this work, Suzanne Hudson follows the artist's oeuvre
from his first paintings in the early 1950s to to his more recent gallery shows. Through close
readings of the work, Hudson depicts Ryman as a painter for whom painting
was a means of his own personal investigation. Through her study of the artist Hudson also explores how people learn and examines Ryman's experimental learning through the process of painting.

Norrell, Robert J.  Up from History: The LIfe of Booker T. Washington.  Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2009.

History's view of Booker T. Washington has not been kind to the African American innovator, whose avoidance of confrontation and protest politics is seen as accommodating and weak in light of the great strides made during the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Often he has been accused of accepting disfranchisement and segregation in order to maintain peace.  In this book Robert J. Norrell looks at Washington within the influences and pressures of the era of his time.  Placing Washington with the context of working within the strictures of late nineteenth-century Alabama, the author looks at the man working against all odds constantly facing hostility at almost every turn.  By focusing on the realities that Washington had to face in his time, Norrell reinstates him as an important and prominent figure in African American history.

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