AALBC .com Platinum Poster
Post Number: 1213
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|Posted on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - 12:30 pm: ||
The following is an email message from Black Classic Press' founder W. Paul Coates (http://aalbc.com/reviews/wpaulcoates.htm).
Paul is one of those mission driven capitalists for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration. (I added the images and links to his original email below).
Dear Family, Friends and Supporters
WOW am I in love with Essence magazine, the May issue especially. So much so that I am asking all the folks that I know to purchase it, check out the props they have given to two Black Classic Press related books. Then of course I'm asking you to BUY BOTH BOOKS. First is The Tempest Tales, Walter Mosley's newest book which we are publishing.
The wise folks at Essence selected Tempest as the Book of the Month. It should be in bookstores the first part of May. This is the third book we've done with Walter, who continues to keep his values around supporting Black independent publishing front and center. We’ve got a big job to do on marketing Tempest and getting the word out. This is an exciting challenge.
I am just as excited that two pages over from the review on Tempest is a glowing review of The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-nehisi Coates, my son, the writer. The Beautiful Struggle chronicles Ta-nehisi's coming of age during the 80's and the 90's. It's subtitled A father, two son and an unlikely road to manhood, so you can guess it includes a lot of stuff on things his dad, yours truly, did to bring him and the rest of my brood along, some pleasant and some not so. Ta-Nehisi has been writing for sometime now and he gets praise and props from all over.
I like Ta-nehisi's book for several reasons probably most because he tells how important books, reading, and strong Black values were to his coming of age. I'm also thrilled that he is celebrating the process of male bonding that occurs or can occur between Black fathers and sons. I also think this book is going to find a huge readership among African American women. Ta-nehisi provides an intimate look at what goes on in the head of our youngsters as they navigate the byways and playgrounds that intersect with their young lives.
Ta-nehisi and I could use your help getting the word out on both books.
Can you after picking up Essence and ordering both books, ( www.blackclassicbooks.com for The Tempest Tales and www.spiegelandgrau.com for Ta-nehisi’s book The Beautiful Struggle), pass this email to friends on your list and within your circle?
Thanks, thanks and more thanks.
AALBC .com Platinum Poster
Post Number: 1214
Votes: 0 (Vote!)
|Posted on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - 12:34 pm: ||
Two Generations of Black Power
by Calvin Reid -- Publishers Weekly, 4/21/2008
Best known for publishing classic African-American nonfiction and for being a former National Book Foundation board member, Black Classic Press founder W. Paul Coates can also be described as a tough-love dad and a former black power revolutionary. This spring Coates, along with his son, former Time and Village Voice staff writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, will show off those facets of his life when the younger Coates publishes a memoir and the elder Coates marks a new era at BCP with an original work of comic fiction by acclaimed novelist Walter Mosley.
In May Ta-Nehisi Coates will publish The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to Manhood (Spiegel & Grau), an intensely personal memoir of growing up in a tough Baltimore neighborhood in the 1980s under an eccentric and hyper-strict urban patriarch. It's the story of the often difficult relationship among the bookish Ta-Nehisi, his thuggish brother, Bill, and Coates, a street-tough Afrocentric autodidact and former Black Panther captain who transformed himself into a distinguished publisher.
Spiegel & Grau editor Chris Jackson, who acquired the book, described it as a profile of Coates, “a complicated man who was a black nationalist and a capitalist; a family man with children by four women; and a Black Panther.” The initial printing will be 40,000 copies.
This year is also the 30th anniversary of Black Classic Press, a small Baltimore press that specializes in historical African-America nonfiction. Coates just published The Tempest Tales, a new book by Walter Mosley. It's a work of satirical fiction written in homage to poet Langston Hughes's classic Harlem character, Jess B. Semple, a comic everyman who commented on social issues. It's the third Mosley book published by Coates. In 1996 BCP published Mosley's Easy Rawlins novel Gone Fishin' and sold 96,000 copies. In 2002 he published Mosley's nonfiction work What Next: An Memoir Toward World Peace.
Coates said the first printing for The Tempest Tales will be about 20,000 copies. He described the novel as a “philosophic work” that questions “race and the nature of sin.” He expects the book will be “the best of the three books we've done with Walter. The experience we've gained will really help us manage it.” The book will be featured in upcoming issues of Essence and O magazines, and it will be a featured title at the National Book Club Convention, an annual gathering of more than 700 African-American reading groups held in late summer in Atlanta.
Coates is also taking on an unusual title for BCP. He's publishing a new edition of biographer and former National Book Foundation director Neil Baldwin's out-of-print biography To All Gentleness: William Carlos Williams, the Doctor Poet, originally published in 1983. The book will be produced by BCP Digital Printing using in-house print-on-demand and binding technology. Coates is a pioneer in short-run digital printing and has owned and operated an in-house POD facility since the early 1990s.
Coates worked closely with his son on early drafts of The Beautiful Struggle, and he described his reaction to seeing his family and professional life dissected in print. “I disagree with some of it, but I can't disagree with the net result. It's the story of the birth of a responsible black male,” Coates said, referring to his son as “someone who understands the difference between street knowledge and real black political consciousness.” Coates even cited the controversy around presidential candidate Barack Obama and pastor Jeremiah Wright. “I'm from the Wright generation,” said Coates. “Ta-Nehisi is part of the Obama generation. He sees more hope in America than I do.”