No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller
"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."
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"An extraordinary, inspiring book to put into the hands of scholars and skeptics alike."--starred, The Horn Book Magazine-- (3/1/2012 12:00:00 AM)
"Nelson and Christie deliver an engrossing blend of history, art, and storytelling in this deeply moving tribute to a singular individual."--starred, Publishers Weekly-- (2/20/2012 12:00:00 AM)
"The storytelling format, candid perspectives, supplemental images, and historic connections bring to life an unheralded individualist whose story will engage readers."&mdashstarred, School Library Journal-- (2/1/2012 12:00:00 AM)
"A stirring and thought-provoking account of an unsung figure in 20th-century American history."--starred, Kirkus Reviews-- (12/15/2011 12:00:00 AM)
"Eye-opening....This book will capture readers' interest from the first pages and they will find themselves still thinking about it weeks later." --VOYA-- (6/1/2012 12:00:00 AM)
"A storytelling quality, as well as short pieces of history on each page, will make this appealing to anyone looking to know more about the Civil Rights era." --Library Media Connection-- (5/1/2012 12:00:00 AM)
"Not only a compelling biography but also a useful addition to the literature of black history and culture." --Booklist-- (2/1/2012 12:00:00 AM)