No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller

by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and R. Gregory Christie

Lewis Michaux’s National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem was a cultural,... read more

Lewis Michaux’s National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem was a cultural, political, social, and literary epicenter for African Americans from the 1930s to the early 1970s. A fascinating narrative told in multiple voices and illustrated with photographs, newspaper articles and advertising, and even excerpts from the files kept on Michaux by the FBI, chronicles Michaux’s early life and young adulthood and the establishment of this extraordinary place where icons and everyday people found ideas, enrichment, conversation, community, and affirmation. Micheaux believed that books change lives and author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson pays tribute to her great uncle’s vision with this artful, illuminating blend of fact and fiction in which lives—most real, a few imagined—are, indeed, changed profoundly, not just by books, but by the presence of this place where African Americans could gather and discuss literature, ideas, and politics; give voice to both their frustration and their dreams. While Lewis Michaux, a Black Nationalist, believed in books and political action, his older brother, Lightfoot, a minister, believed in prayer and the power of God, and the two very different paths the brothers walked make for a fascinating contrast in this singular work. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

show less