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Welcome to Lambda Literary’s online book club. This book club will highlight a different lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender book each month. The books selected will be a heady mix of LGBT classics, unheralded gems, and buzz-worthy new releases.
We hope you’ll read along with us each month and share your thoughts on the books in the comments section.
We’d also love to hear your suggestions for upcoming selections or comments on the club in general. E-mail William at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month’s selection is ‘Jam on the Vine’ by LaShonda Katrice Barnett:
Ivoe Williams, the precocious daughter of a Muslim cook and a metalsmith from central-east Texas, first ignites her lifelong obsession with journalism when she steals a newspaper from her mother’s white employer. Living in the poor, segregated quarter of Little Tunis, Ivoe immerses herself in printed matter as an escape from her dour surroundings. She earns a scholarship to the prestigious Willetson College in Austin, only to return overqualified to the menial labor offered by her hometown’s racially biased employers.
Ivoe eventually flees the Jim Crow South with her family and settles in Kansas City, where she and her former teacher and lover, Ona, found the first female-run African American newspaper, Jam! On the Vine. In the throes of the Red Summer—the 1919 outbreak of lynchings and race riots across the Midwest—Ivoe risks her freedom and her life to call attention to the atrocities of segregation in the American prison system.
Skillfully interweaving Ivoe’s story with those of her family members, LaShonda Katrice Barnett’s Jam! On the Vine is both an epic vision of the hardships and injustices that defined an era and a moving and compelling story of a complicated history we only thought we knew.
Enjoy and remember: reading is fundamental
Jam on the Vine
By LaShonda Katrice Barnett
Hardcover, 9780802123343, 336 pp.