Eclectic National Human Rights Book Awards

Ten authors of recently published books win accolades for creatively re-linking struggles for civil and human rights. In sundry ways, they dig beneath the surface of struggle, chaos and change — much the topic of public discussion these days.

The Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America (, as part of national anniversary celebrations of the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nationals Human Rights Declaration, announces the winners of the Myers Center’s 24th annual Outstanding Book Awards. The books honored span decades, challenging public memories as well as public cynicism. Their format varies: history, fiction, memoir, contemporary non-fiction, public policy implementation and biography.

“The election of President-Elect Obama was sparked by new hopes, revitalized energies, multiplicities,” says Loretta J. Williams, director, in announcing this year’s winners. Yet, she adds “maybe not so new,” recalling the late Congresswoman Bella Abzug (subject of one of the winning books) saying over a decade ago that “if we get a government that reflects more of what this country is really about, we can turn the century — and the economy — around.”

The 2008 Myers Outstanding Book Awards winners can help that happen:

Douglas A. Blackmon, Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. Doubleday (2008)

Paula J. Giddings, Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching. Amistad/HarperCollins (2008)

Lawrence Hill, Someone Knows My Name: A Novel. W.W. Norton & Company (2007)

David Ngaruri Kenney and Philip G. Schrag, Asylum Denied: A Refugee’s Struggle for Safety in America. University of California Press (2008)

Mahvish Rukhsana Khan, My Guantanamo Diary: The Detainees and the Stories They Told Me. Public Affairs (2008)

Suzanne Braun Levine and Mary Thom, Bella Abzug: How One Tough Broad from the Bronx Fought jim crow and Joe McCarthy Pissed Off Jimmy Carter, Battled for the rights of Women and Workers. Farrar, Straus, Giroux (2007)

Mica Pollock, Ed., Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real About Race In School. The New Press (2008)

Cynthia Soohoo, Catherine Albisa, and Martha Davis, Eds., Bringing Human Rights Home, Vols. 1-3. Praeger/Greenwood Publishing Group (2008)

Kai Wright, Drifting Toward Love: Black, Brown, Gay and Coming of Age on the Streets of New York. Beacon Press (2008)

Kao Kalia Yang, The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir. Coffee House Press (2008)

The Myers Center Panelists selected these books from approximately 400 nominations this past year. Established in 1984, the Myers Center moves proudly into its twenty-fifth year of continuous operation promoting ways we can become more active in co-creating an equitable world for all. See also another resource from the Center: its co-published annual Sheroes Womyn Warriors Wall Calendar 2009 (

SOURCE The Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights