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Cover image for Strange fruit. Volume I, Uncelebrated narratives from Black history
Strange fruit. Volume I, Uncelebrated narratives from Black history
Physical Description:
172 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 26 cm.
Strange Fruit, Volume I, Uncelebrated narratives from Black history is a collection of stories from African American history that exemplifies success in the face of great adversity. This unique graphic anthology offers historical and cultural commentary on nine uncelebrated heroes whose stories are not often found in history books. Among the stories included are: Henry 'Box' Brown, who escaped from slavery by mailing himself to Philadelphia; Alexander Crummel and the Noyes Academy, the first integrated school in America, established in the 1830s; Marshall 'Major' Taylor, a.k.a. the Black Cyclone, the first Black champion in any sport; and Bass Reeves, the most successful lawman in the Old West. Written and illustrated by Joel Christian Gill, the diverse art beautifully captures the spirit of each remarkable individual and opens a window into an important part of American history. --


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book GRAPHIC 920 GIL 1 1

On Order



Strange Fruit Volume I is a collection of stories from early African American history that represent the oddity of success in the face of great adversity. Each of the nine illustrated chapters chronicles an uncelebrated African American hero or event. From the adventures of lawman Bass Reeves, to Henry "Box" Brown's daring escape from slavery.

Author Notes

Joel Christian Gill is the chairman, CEO, president, director of development, majority and minority stock holder, manager, co-manager, regional manager, assistant to the regional manager, receptionist, senior black correspondent, and janitor of Strange Fruit Comics. In his spare time he is the Associate Dean of Student Affairs at the New Hampshire Institute of Art and member of The Boston Comics Roundtable. He received his MFA from Boston University and a BA from Roanoke College. His secret lair is behind a secret panel in the kitchen of his house (sold separately) in New Boston, New Hampshire where he lives with his wife, four children, talking dog, and two psychic cats.

Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-This full-color graphic novel inspired by the Billie Holiday song, which in turn was derived from a poem by Abel Meeropol, showcases African American heroes not often featured in American history classes. These figures include Henry "Box" Brown, an escaped slave who made the Fugitive Slave Act a rallying cry; Harry "Bucky" Lew, our nation's first black ball player; Richard Potter, the first American stage magician; Theophilus Thompson, the first black chess master; Marshall "Major" Taylor, world champion bicycle racer; and Bass Reeves, a Deputy U.S. Marshall who lived with American Indians and fought for freedom with the Union Army. The short narratives are conversational in tone and the accompanying detailed images convey tragic beauty. Gil doesn't shy away from portraying brutal scenes, but does so without sensationalism. The panels vary in size and orientation, pushing the momentum of each vignette forward with great success. The shifts in cursive, bubble, or block text, also add dimension to each sketch. In addition to these individual stories, Gill includes the history of the Malaga Island community, an African American settlement in Casco Bay, Maine; and the Noyes Academy in Canaan, New Hampshire, where student Alexander Crummell fought Jim Crow laws. Gill's self-portrait "Strange Fruit Harvested: He Cut The Rope" illustrates the artist with a noose around his neck, holding a frayed rope, alluding to the fear that his ancestors experienced during slavery and Jim Crow-era lynching. He poignantly depicts Jim Crow as a menacing bird, peering around corners and over fences. This work includes an extensive bibliography and is recommended for large collections.-Lisa Gieskes, Richland County Public Library, Columbia, SC (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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