Fantagraphics Bookstore kicks off Black History Month on Saturday, February 4 with the debut of two diverse books. Seattle-based music scholar Pat Thomas, author of Listen, Whitey!: The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965 – 1975, will be joined by Seattle authors Mark Long and Jim Demonakos, who together with cartoonist Nate Powell created the graphic novel The Silence of Our Friends.
While researching this book project in Oakland, archivist Pat Thomas discovered rare recordings of speeches, interviews, and music by noted activists Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Elaine Brown, and others that form the framework of this definitive retrospective. Listen, Whitey! also chronicles the forgotten history of Motown Records’ Black Power subsidiary label, Black Forum, which released politically charged albums by Stokely Carmichael, Langston Hughes, Bill Cosby and Ossie Davis, among others. Obscure records produced by African-American sociopolitical organizations of the period are examined, along with the Isley Brothers, Nina Simone, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Watts Prophets, Roland Kirk, Horace Silver, Angela Davis, H. Rap Brown, Stanley Crouch, and others that spoke out against oppression. Thomas will give a slide and music presentation, and limited number of advance copies of the book will be available to the public. Also making its debut is a companion CD of the same title from Seattle-based Light in the Attic records. The album features rare tracks from African-American activists like Dick Gregory, Eldridge Cleaver, Last Poets, and others, with protest music by Bob Dylan, John and Yoko Ono, Gil Scott-Heron, Roy Harper, and more.
The Silence of Our Friends is the semi-autobiographical tale of Mark Long. Set in 1967 Texas against the backdrop of the civil rights struggle, a white family from a notoriously racist suburb and a black family from its poorest ward cross Houston’s color line, overcoming fear and violence to win the freedom of five black college students unjustly charged with the murder of a policeman. Co-authored by Jim Demonakos (founder of Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon), and drawn by award-winning cartoonist Nate Powell, The Silence of Our Friends is a new and important entry in the body of civil rights literature.
Join these remarkable authors on Saturday, February 4 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, located at 1201 S. Vale St. (at Airport Way S.) in Seattle’s colorful Georgetown neighborhood. Phone 206.658.0110.