|Joel Christian Gill |
Genre: Non-Fiction Graphic Novel
Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Age Range: 12 - 18 years
Paperback: 176 pages
Source: Free from the Inglewood city library
Strange Fruit, Volume I is a collection of stories from African American history that exemplifies success in the face of great adversity. This unique graphic anthology offers historical and cultural commentary on nine uncelebrated heroes whose stories are not often found in history books. Among the stories included are: Henry "Box" Brown, who escaped from slavery by mailing himself to Philadelphia; Alexander Crummel and the Noyes Academy, the first integrated school in America, established in the 1830s; Marshall "Major" Taylor, a.k.a. the Black Cyclone, the first black champion in any sport; and Bass Reeves, the most successful lawman in the Old West. Written and illustrated by Joel Christian Gill, the diverse art beautifully captures the spirit of each remarkable individual and opens a window into an important part of American history.
ReviewWhere do I start?! Honestly, I saw the cover a few times here and there on a few blogs (very few) but did not think anything of it at all. The title was a bit of a turn-off and I had not a clue to what was behind the cover. Why was I put off by the title? Well as a Black woman the phrase "Strange Fruit" (coined by a poem Billie Holiday sang) brings the worst feelings from seeing pictures of Blacks who were hung from trees. Needless to say, I thought this book would be a downer. But when I saw the book at the library something made me pick it up. I had a "Slap-Your-Self-On-The-Forehead" surprised moment with all the humor, informative and beautiful artwork on each and every page.
Black folks in the US have had a hard and long struggle just trying to make it to the American Dream. Our struggle was and is still met with opposition on all fronts by violence and hate, but I think the worst is being forgotten. This book reminds you of African-Americans who might be forgotten by history and our children if not told. (Just look at Texas trying to rewrite their children's history books. LORD!)
Back to the book...
I love it! I love the short but informative stories told with love and understanding and like I said humor. He even made the n-word and Jim Crow easy to swallow without taking away their meaning. The author Joel Christian Gill is a true artist in the purest form and this book should be a collectors addition to every household. A billion years ago Ebony magazine made a set of encyclopedia books about African-American history. This should (I hope) be the first book in a 100 book series. I would buy each and every single one. This is a must read! Yes go get it and read it now!!
Reviews by Other Bloggers
I recommend this to all readers of all ages as long as you know where babies come from.