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Reading & Discussion


Bettye Collier-Thomas

6:00 pm

Penn Book Center

130 S. 34th St.

Philadelphia, PA 19104

Back in print after more than a decade, A Treasury of African American Christmas Stories is a collection of little-known short stories and narrative poems written by black-writers, journalists, and political activists between the years of 1880 and 1953. Collected by history professor Bettye Collier-Thomas, these writings were originally published in African American newspapers, periodicals, and journals as part of the black literary tradition that flourished after the Civil War, mostly from the Harlem Renaissance.

Collier-Thomas notes that writing was a form of activism for African Americans during this arts revival, and Christmas themes of sharing, caring, and loving were a way that Black writers could appeal to the good nature of readers across the country while highlighting the injustices they faced. Covering eighty years of black life, history, expression, and thought, Collier-Thomas writes, A Treasury of African American Christmas Stories captures the essence of the black experience in all its forms.

Bettye Collier-Thomas is professor of American history at Temple University. Her scholarship includes American social and cultural history, African American women's history, religion, civil rights, and electoral politics. Dr. Collier-Thomas is the author of numerous award-winning books. Her most recent, Jesus, Jobs, and Justice: African American Women and Religion, was reviewed and cited in the New York Times as an Editor's Choice, won a National Women's Political Caucus's EMMA award for excellence in elevating the civil discourse on issues affecting women, and received awards from the Organization of American Historians and the Association of Black Women Historians. Her previous award-winning books include Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement (as coeditor) and Daughters of Thunder: Black Women Preachers and Their Sermons. She has received multiple fellowships and grants from the Lilly Endowment, Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Humanities Center, and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

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