Born OTD in 1928, American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou. Angelou publicly discussed aspects of her personal life. She was respected as a spokesperson for black people and women, and her works have been considered a defense of black culture. Her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide, although attempts have been made to ban her books from some U.S. libraries. Angelou’s most celebrated works have been labeled as autobiographical fiction, but many critics consider them to be autobiographies. She made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing & expanding the genre. Her books center on themes such as racism, identity, family and travel.

Maya Angelou’s seven volumes of autobiography are a testament to the talents and resilience of this extraordinary writer. Loving the … More

‘The starting point is: if you want change, you need power. You build up power through relationships with other people around common interests. You break down the big problems you face together into specific issues and identify who the decision makers are, who has the power to make the changes you need. Then you take action to get a reaction and build a relationship with the decision-makers. If they don’t agree to implement the changes then you escalate the action or turn to more creative tactics, learning as you go and celebrating the small wins as you build incrementally up to the bigger issues.’

This book is for people who are angry with the ways things are and want to do something about it; … More

Born OTD in 1928, American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou’s seven volumes of autobiography are a testament to the talents & resilience of this extraordinary writer. Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty. As a Black woman she has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope, joy, achievement and celebration.

In this first volume of her six books of autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in … More

Born OTD in 1942, American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist, Aretha Franklin.”…Then there was Houston’s Soul Bowl ’69, a three-day benefit concert at the Houston Astrodome where Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Sam & Dave performed to raise money for low-cost ghetto housing and to support micro-businesses in inner-city America.”

In 1969, among Harlem’s Rabelaisian cast of characters are bandleader King Curtis, soul singers Aretha Franklin and Donny Hathaway, and … More

Born OTD in 1879, German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics), Albert Einstein. His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. This book is a collection of letters, articles and essays, all by Einstein, on various social issues to which he devoted his spare time: pacifism; internationalism and world government; human rights and civil rights; humanism; socialism; and opposition to nationalism, capitalism, militarism, fascism, and weapons of mass destruction

Organized into six sections by topic, it opens with a brief biographical sketch, chronology, and introductions to the documents by … More

My Song is an inspiring story of performance and protest, from a superstar singer and actor who was on the front lines of practically every progressive political battle in modern memory. Along the way, he befriended some of the most influential figures of the 20th century, from Tony Curtis, Marlon Brando and Sidney Poitier to Martin Luther King, the Kennedys, Eleanor Roosevelt, Fidel Castro, James Baldwin, Bob Dylan and Nelson Mandela.

From his impoverished childhood in Harlem and Jamaica, through his meteoric rise as an international calypso star, provocative crossover into … More

Born OTD in 1933, American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and activist in the civil rights movement, Nina Simone. Simone’s bearing and stage presence earned her the title “High Priestess of Soul”. She was a piano player, singer and performer, “separately, and simultaneously.” As a composer and arranger, Simone moved from gospel to blues, jazz, and folk, and to numbers with European classical styling.

‘From her raging, handwritten letters to late-night phone calls with David Bowie, this biography gets up close and personal with … More

Born OTD in 1929, Martin Luther King Jr. MLK was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement. MLK was arrested and jailed early in the campaign – his 13th arrest out of 29. From his cell, he composed the now-famous Letter from Birmingham Jail that responds to calls on the movement to pursue legal channels for social change.

“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not … More

Activist, teacher, author and icon of the Black Power movement Angela Davis illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world. In these newly collected essays, interviews and speeches, world-renowned activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world.

Reflecting on the importance of black feminism, intersectionality and prison abolitionism for today’s struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous … More