Keep Your Airspeed Up: The Story of a Tuskegee Airman

Inspiring memoir of Colonel Harold H. Brown, one of the 930 original Tuskegee pilots, whose dramatic wartime exploits and postwar professional successes contribute to this extraordinary account.

Keep Your Airspeed Up: The Story of a Tuskegee Airman is the memoir of an African American man who, through dedication to his goals and vision, rose through the despair of racial segregation to great heights of accomplishment, not only as a military aviator, but also as an educator and as an American citizen.

Unlike other historical and autobiographical portrayals of Tuskegee airmen, Harold H. Brown’s memoir is told from its beginnings: not on the first day of combat, not on the first day of training, but at the very moment Brown realized he was meant to be a pilot. He revisits his childhood in Minneapolis where his fascination with planes pushed him to save up enough of his own money to take flying lessons. Brown also details his first trip to the South, where he was met with a level of segregation he had never before experienced and had never imagined possible.

During the 1930s and 1940s, longstanding policies of racial discrimination were called into question as it became clear that America would likely be drawn into World War II. The military reluctantly allowed for the development of a flight-training program for a limited number of African Americans on a segregated base in Tuskegee, Alabama. The Tuskegee Airmen, as well as other African Americans in the armed forces, had the unique experience of fighting two wars at once: one against Hitler’s fascist regime overseas and one against racial segregation at home.

Colonel Brown fought as a combat pilot with the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II, and was captured and imprisoned in Stalag VII A in Moosburg, Germany, where he was liberated by General George S. Patton on April 29, 1945. Upon returning home, Brown noted with acute disappointment that race relations in the United States hadn’t changed. It wasn’t until 1948 that the military desegregated, which many scholars argue would not have been possible without the exemplary performance of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Harold H. Brown grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After completing flight training at the Tuskegee Institute, he served as a combat pilot with the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II. After the war, he joined the Strategic Air Command before earning his PhD and serving as an administrator at what is now Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio.

Marsha S. Bordner is president emeritus at Terra State Community College in Fremont, Ohio. She has spent more than thirty-five years committed to higher education, both as an educator and as an administrator. She earned her PhD in English from the Ohio State University.

“A very valuable addition to the available literature on the Tuskegee Airmen from a first-person point of view.”
—Daniel L. Haulman, author of Eleven Myths about the Tuskegee Airmen and The Tuskegee Airmen and the “Never Lost a Bomber” Myth and coauthor of The Tuskegee Airmen: An Illustrated History, 1939–1949

“Brown describes in compelling, firsthand detail what it was like to be a Tuskegee Airman, why at least one young African American man wanted to participate in the historical experience in the first place, and what difference it made in the arc of his life. Brown’s personality is evident on the page and his voice is absorbing.”
—J. Todd Moye, author of Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II

288 pages / 38 B&W figures / 2 maps
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1958-8 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-9140-9 Ebook

YEAR OF THE RAT Named American Book Award Winner

9781573660570The Before Columbus Foundation recently announced the winners of the Thirty-Eighth Annual American Book Awards. Named among the winning writers was Marc Anthony Richardson, author of Year of the Rat.

Also the 2016 winner of the Fiction Collective Two Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize, Year of the Rat is a poignant and riveting literary debut that Publishers Weekly called a “very promising start of the author’s career.”

In Year of the Rat an artist returns to the dystopian city of his birth to tend to his invalid mother only to find himself torn apart by memories and longings. Narrated by this nameless figure whose rants, reveries, and Rabelaisian escapades take him on a Dantesque descent into himself, the story follows him and his mother as they share a one-bedroom apartment over the course of a year.

Despite his mother’s precarious health, the lingering memories of a lost love, an incarcerated sibling, a repressed sexuality, and an anarchic inability to support himself, he pursues his dream of becoming an avant-garde artist. His prospects grow dim until a devastating death provides a painful and unforeseeable opportunity. With a voice that is poetic and profane, ethereal and irreverent, cyclical and succinct, he roams from vignette to vignette, creating a polyphonic patchwork quilt of a family portrait.

On being included with other American Book Award winners, Richardson said, “To win a writer’s award from award-winning writers is a chance to be in bed with as many human beings as humanly possible.”

The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions.  The full list of 2017 winner can be viewed here.

Winners will be formally recognized on Sunday, October 22nd, from 12:00-2:30 p.m. at the SF Jazz Center, Joe Henderson Lab, 201 Franklin Street (at Fell), San Francisco, CA. This event is open to the public.

Sixteen and Counting: The National Championships of Alabama Football

Dramatic accounts of every University of Alabama National Championship football season as told by noted sports writers, players, and Alabamians.

Dating back to 1925, when Wallace Wade coached the Crimson Tide to an undefeated season and earned a spot in the Rose Bowl, the driving goal of every University of Alabama football season has been a national championship. A winning team surfaced that very next year, when Hoyt “Wu” Winslett’s squad sealed the national championship at the Rose Bowl for a second time. Winning seasons and bowl games culminating in the coveted crown followed again in 1930, 1934, 1941, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1992, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2015—more championships than any other college team in the nation.

Sixteen and Counting features a chapter highlighting each of these championship seasons and collects the legendary stories of many of the outstanding coaches and players on the University of Alabama’s championship teams. College football legends such as Wallace Wade, Wu Winslett, Johnny Mack Brown, Pooley Herbert, Frank Thomas, Dixie Howell, Don Hutson, Jimmy Nelson, Holt Rast, Pat Trammel, Sam Bailey, Lee Roy Jordan, Harry Gilmer, Bill Lee, Ken Stabler, Joe Namath, Gary Rutledge, Randy Billingsley, Barry Krauss, Clem Gryska, Gene Stallings, Paul “Bear” Bryant, and, of course, Nick Saban all make prominent appearances.

A seventeenth chapter is included that looks at the uncrowned teams commonly referred to as “the other five,” who were considered national champions by at least one national ranking service at the end of the season. Every glorious milestone and high point in Alabama football history is included here: “Mama called,” the wishbone formation, “The Goal Line Stand,” the Million Dollar Band, the coaching tower, the Davis kicking dynasty, the Notre Dame box, Coach of the Year, Team of the Decade, and two Heisman trophy winners.

Kenneth Gaddy is the director of the Paul W. Bryant Museum in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Bill Battle is a special assistant to the president of the University of Alabama and is a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. He served as the athletic director for the university from 2013 to 2017.

“This book details a rich, winning tradition focusing on the Crimson Tide teams that made history. I’m proud to be a part of the amazing work ethic and resilience that embodies the Alabama football program. These virtues have been important for our team, our coaches, our university, as well as our fans, and have played a vital role in the fabric of our city and our state.”
—Nick Saban, University of Alabama head football coach, 2007 to present

232 pages / 16 B&W figures
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1969-4 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-9164-5 Ebook