Black History Month: The William H. Maness Collection

Immanuel Bryant
March 3, 2014

William H. Maness Sr. ’38 had several rare books in his possession. While observing the range of subjects within his collection I ran across several books that I was surprised to see that Maness had read. They include but are not limited to: Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver, Eyewitness: The Negro in American History by William Loren Katz, For Whites Only by Robert W. Terry, and A Pictorial History of the Negro in America written by Langston Hughes & Milton Meltzer.
Below is an annotated bibliography of four out of the many prized possessions and rare books I found within his collection.

Maness book 1A Pictorial History of the Negro in America written by Langston Hughes & Milton Meltzer
This book serves as an authoritative picture story of the African-Americans from the first African slave ship to the 20th century. This book is more than just a collection of pictures. It is also a collection of stories, responses and first-hand accounts of the “Negro’s” holistic experience using both pictures and writing to speak a over a thousand words (this book speaks almost a million words considering that this book holds over a thousand pictures). This book is a good read for anyone interested in seeing the development of the African-American over a four-hundred year history.

Religion, Racism & Reparations Black Manifesto edited by Robert S. Lecky and H. Elliott Wright
As a collection of writings by prominent African-Americans this text serves as an argument of how institutionalized religion, national racManess book 2ism and the lack of reparations for African-Americans has led to the decay of their families and communities. Famous African-American writers such as James Forman, Dick Gregory, Robert S. Brown and James Lawson lend their arguments to the affirmative that suggest changes that should be made in order to adjust to make justice from the social order of their day. Underlying themes of this book span from economic, culture and identity development.

Maness book 3Institutional Racism in America by Knowles-Prewitt
By living in the black community the contributors were able to document hundreds of disheartening examples of a subtle, institutional prejudice over a few months. The book starts out by constructing the institutional and ideological development of racism. Their work in the white community reveals the manner in which institutions under white control deny to blacks a relevant education, a voice in the political process, the rights of economic self-determination, just treatment under the law, and a decent health care.
The contributors of this book argue that the only way for white Americans to correct the inequities inherent in institutional racism is by reforming their own institutions. The authors suggest that white Americans make reforms that would bring about multicultural curricula in school as well as the media, more low-income housing, selective purchasing, consumer education, and black self-determination.

A Rap on Race by Margaret Mead & James Baldwin
This book is a transcript of a seven-hour conversation between one of the most celeManess book 4brated African-American authors, James Baldwin, and one of the most critically acclaimed anthropologists, Margaret Mead, about the subject of race. Within the first three pages the reader is swept into a comparison between residents of South Africa and the residents in the South of the United States of America. This comparison is worth even the brief scanning of the continuing conversation Mead & Baldwin have spanning from geography, history, religion, culture, identity and ethnocentricity.


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