No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
(Carolrhoda Ya)

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"You can't walk straight on a crooked line. You do you'll break your leg. How can you walk straight in a crooked system?"

Lewis Michaux was born to do things his own way. When a white banker told him to sell fried chicken, not books, because "Negroes don’t read," Lewis took five books and one hundred dollars and built a bookstore. It soon became the intellectual center of Harlem, a refuge for everyone from Muhammad Ali to Malcolm X.

In No Crystal Stair, Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson combines meticulous research with a storyteller's flair to document the life and times of her great-uncle Lewis Michaux, an extraordinary literacy pioneer of the Civil Rights era.

"My life was no crystal stair, far from it. But I'm taking my leave with some pride. It tickles me to know that those folks who said I could never sell books to black people are eating crow. I'd say my seeds grew pretty damn well. And not just the book business. It's the more important business of moving our people forward that has real meaning."

About Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

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Nelson is a children's librarian. R. GREGORY CHRISTIE is a three-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Honor and has been twice recognized on The New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books list. He currently paints in the evenings while traveling around the country doing school visits.
Published February 1, 2012 by Carolrhoda Lab TM. 208 pages
Genres: Young Adult. Fiction

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Nelson, Michaux’s great-niece, makes use of an exhaustive collection of interviews, articles, books, transcripts and FBI files, filling in the gaps with “informed speculation.” Brief entries arranged in mostly chronological order read seamlessly so that fact and fiction meld in a cohesive whole.

Dec 03 2011 | Read Full Review of No Crystal Stair (Carolrhoda Ya)

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