Dr. Ralph Proctor, local author and CCAC professor of Ethnic and Diversity Studies, recently released his latest book, “Song of the Hill,” a memoir and tribute to the special place and culture known in Pittsburgh as “The Hill.”
The book is a moving and intimate portrait of a community that has long been the focus of authors and playwrights. Yet, according to Proctor, the area has been widely misrepresented because stories of the Hill District have featured either famous entertainers and jazz musicians or negative depictions of a downtrodden community.
“Many writers who never lived there give an erroneous picture of the Hill. This area was not about drugs, poverty and unhappy people. It was a thriving middle-class community. This book is my personal account of what life was like for an average citizen.”
“Song of the Hill” is Proctor’s recollection of his experiences between 1938 and 1960 as a youngster and through adulthood. The book also touches on the forces that destroyed this remarkable community. The author tells his story through the eyes of real people from his past, depicting everyday life, family, church, food and culture during a time period of both innocence and shameful injustice.
“I grew up in this comforting, loving neighborhood surrounded by good, hardworking people. While in the sheltering arms on the Hill, we never experienced racism. But urban renewal, white flight and racism tore down a culture, destroying lives, ambitions and dreams,” said Proctor.
Available through most online booksellers, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble, “Song of the Hill” is the third in a four-book series. Ralph Proctor’s previous titles include “Racial Discrimination against Black Teachers and Black Professionals in the Pittsburgh Public School System: 1834–1973” and “Voices from the Firing Line,” a personal account of the civil rights movement.
Dr. Ralph Proctor is a local author and CCAC professor of Ethnic and Diversity Studies.
In this long-overdue celebration of Black women’s resilience and unheralded strength, the revered, trailblazing White House correspondent reflects on “The Year That Changed Everything”—2020—and African-American women’s unprecedented role in upholding democracy.
“I am keenly aware that everyone and everything has a story,” April D. Ryan acknowledges. “Also, I have always marveled at Black women and how we work to move mountains and are never really thanked or recognized.” In Black Women Will Save the World, she melds these two truths, creating an inspiring and heart-tugging portrait of one of the momentous years in America, 2020—when America elected its first Black woman Vice President—and celebrates the tenacity, power, and impact of Black women across America.
From the beginning of the nation to today, Black women have transformed their pain into progress and have been at the frontlines of the nation’s political, social, and economic struggles. These “Sheroes” as Ryan calls them, include current political leaders such as Maxine Waters, Valerie Jarrett, and Kamala Harris; LaTosha Brown, and other activists. Combining profiles and in-depth interviews with these influential movers and shakers and many more, Ryan explores the challenges Black women endure, and how the lessons they’ve learned can help us shape our own stories. Ryan also chronicles her personal journey from working-class Baltimore to the elite echelons of journalism and speaks out about the hurdles she faced in becoming one of the most well-connected members of the Washington press corps—while raising two daughters as a single mother in the aftermath of a messy divorce.
It is time for everyone to acknowledge Black women’s unrivaled contributions to America. Yet our democracy remains in peril, and their work is far from done. Black Women Will Save the World presents a vital kaleidoscopic look at women of different ages and from diverse backgrounds who devote their lives to making the world a better place—even if that means stepping out of their “place.”
Kardea Brown, the breakout star of Food Network’s hit show Delicious Miss Brown celebrates the Gullah/Geechee culinary traditions of her family in this spectacular cookbook featuring 125 original mouthwatering recipes and gorgeous four-color photos.
The Way Home brings a taste of the Lowcountry South home, offering flavor-packed dishes everyone will enjoy such as:
Seafood Potato Salad
Smoked Pasta Salad
Savory Bread Pudding
Peach Dump Cake
Blood Orange Salmon
Low Country Spaghetti
Sweet Potato Cheesecake
Kardea shares her multi-generational “passed down” recipes and innovative takes on Gullah classics with home cooks everywhere. “Gullah” and “GeeChee” refer to a distinct group of African Americans living in the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia who have preserved much of their West African language, culture, and cuisine. The Way Home is an unabashed love letter to her family’s roots, packed with dishes that combine West African herbs, spices, and grains with traditional Southern cooking. “Gullah people laid the foundation for Southern cooking. Before farm-to-table was a fad, it was what Gullah people did,” Kardea explains. “I want to show the world that soul food is not monolithic. It’s so much more than fried chicken and vegetables cooked in pork. It’s seasonal, fresh and delicious! ”
Flavoring her recipes with cherished family anecdotes, memories, and helpful tips, The Way Home is a perfect blend of the modern and the traditional. Kardea honors her proud heritage and shows off her own signature class and sass. The result is a marvelous, big-hearted collection of recipes and stories that will nourish you, body and soul.
The award-winning journalist and co-host of CBS Saturday Morning tells the candid, and deeply personal story of her mother’s abandonment and how the search for answers forced her to reckon with her own identity and the secrets that shaped her family for five decades.
Though Michelle Miller was an award-winning broadcast journalist for CBS News, few people in her life knew the painful secret she carried: her mother had abandoned her at birth. Los Angeles in 1967 was deeply segregated, and her mother—a Chicana hospital administrator who presented as white, had kept her affair with Michelle’s father, Dr. Ross Miller, a married trauma surgeon and Compton’s first Black city councilman—hidden, along with the unplanned pregnancy. Raised largely by her father and her paternal grandmother, Michelle had no knowledge of the woman whose genes she shared. Then, fate intervened when Michelle was twenty-two. As her father lay stricken with cancer, he told her, “Go and find your mother.”
Belonging is the chronicle of Michelle’s decades-long quest to connect with the woman who gave her life, to confront her past, and ultimately, to find her voice as a journalist, a wife, and a mother. Michelle traces the years spent trying to make sense of her mixed-race heritage and her place in white-dominated world. From the wealthy white schools where she was bussed to integrate, to the newsrooms filled with white, largely male faces, she revisits the emotional turmoil of her formative years and how the enigma of her mother and her rejection shaped Michelle’s understanding of herself and her own Blackness.
As she charts her personal journey, Michelle looks back on her decades on the ground reporting painful events, from the beating of Rodney King to the death of George Floyd, revealing how her struggle to understand her racial identity coincides with the nation’s own ongoing and imperfect racial reckoning. What emerges is an intimate family story about secrets—secrets we keep, secrets we share, and the secrets that make us who we are.
It is not difficult to identify acts of overt racism in America today. They are blaring and clear violations of civil and human rights. Unfortunately, as a nation, our attention is so focused on mitigating overt racism that we ignore micro-aggressions against people of color -- acts of racism that are equally as damaging but harder to identify because they operate within the law. NEGOTIATING A HISTORICALLY WHITE UNIVERSITY WHILE BLACK unpacks many of the difficulties awaiting a person of color in academic spaces, allowing the reader to experience the types of micro-aggressions that subtly maintain a “Whites only” culture within academia. Jack L. Daniel gives a face and a voice, sometimes via humor, other times via heartbreak, to the African American experience in historically White institutions of higher education. It is an honest, self-reflective autoethnographic narrative that is thought-provoking and timely, challenging African American students to take responsibility for their own pursuit of excellence while at the same time challenging faculty and administration to play their roles in ensuring equal education access and success. by Stacy Johnson