Jam! on the Vine

Jam! on the Vine

eBook - 2015
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Takes the early 20th century and brings it to life, both in the South and in the Midwest. Ivoe Williams is a brilliant young woman who grows up in Texas, the child of emancipated slaves, and despite the obstacles she faces, manages to get a degree in journalism in Austin. But no newspapers will hire her because she is an African-American woman. Her frustration with the Jim Crow South causes her to uproot and move to Kansas City, where she and her lover, Ona, start a newspaper, the first female-run African-American newspaper, called "Jam! On the Vine" She uses this platform to examine segregation and the American prison system of the day, sometimes at great personal risk.
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] : Pgw 2015.
ISBN: 9780802191571
0802191576
9780802123343
0802123341
Characteristics: 1 online resource (336 pages ;6.00 w. ;9.00 h.)

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lostintheshelves
Sep 18, 2016

This historical novel dives into a fascinating and under-explored area of African-American history (1897-1925). It follows Ivoe Williams and her family as she grows from a reading-loving girl in rural Texas to a crusading journalist and newspaper founder; along the way Ivoe has sexual affairs with three women and the author explores many facets of African-American history, from Muslims under slavery to the 1905 Austin streetcar boycott. Most compelling, it shows the rise of police abuse and the convict labor system in ways that are eye-opening and relevant for the US justice struggle today. It made me think long and hard about what activist strategies work and why.

That said, it does have some classic first-novel problems and would have benefitted from a tighter focus. Some of the political discussion comes a bit too obviously from a 21st century POV, and there's an evil ex-girlfriend who is straight out of central casting. But those interested in African-American and queer history will enjoy it.

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