Williamson examines black history in Spokane

SUNDAY, FEB. 7, 2010

A fascinating new book has hit the shelves about an important part of our region’s history: “African Americans in Spokane,” by Jerrelene Williamson (Arcadia Press, $21.99).

Williamson is the ideal person to do this book, since she is the president of the Spokane Northwest Black Pioneers.

The book is loaded with terrific historical photos from the group’s archives. It’s part of Arcadia Press’ “Images of America” series, which has an emphasis on photos.

Williamson’s text and captions shed light on Spokane’s African American legacy. Readers will learn about black-owned nightclubs (The Pirate’s Den, later the Harlem Club), black churches (Bethel A.M.E.), black newspapers (The Spokane Star) and notable black citizens (James and Eleanor Chase).

Williamson will do a reading at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave., on Wednesday at 7 p.m. She’ll also make an appearance Feb. 27, 2 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble in Spokane Valley.

Proceeds from the book will go to the Northwest Black Pioneer Scholarship Fund.

A local Roker pick

Did you know that the “Today Show’s” Al Roker has his own book club for kids?

Well, he does, and this month he chose “100 Cupboards,” a fantasy-adventure novel by N.D. Wilson of Moscow, Idaho.

Wilson, a Moscow native, teaches part-time at New St. Andrews College there. His “100 Cupboards” books – a “magical adventure” series about a 12-year-old kid who discovers a portal to another world – have been hot sellers among young readers.

“100 Cupboards” was the first installment in the series; Wilson has also written “Dandelion Fire” and “The Chestnut King.”

He was quoted by the “Today Show” as saying, “Up until now, if you wanted to have a magical adventure, you had to be from England. Hopefully, ‘100 Cupboards’ will change that.”

Regional roundup

Here are a few recently released books of regional interest:

• “Deep Creek,” by Dana Hand (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25) – A historical thriller based on the 1887 massacre of Chinese miners in Hells Canyon, south of Lewiston. Dana Hand is the pen name of two New Jersey writers, Will Howarth and Anne Matthews.

• “Kiss of the Night,” by K.S. Brooks – A “prequel” novella featuring anti-terrorist agent Kathrin Night, who was first introduced in Chewelah writer Brooks’ “Lust for Danger.”

• “Full Moon at Noontide: A Daughter’s Last Goodbye,” by Anne Putnam (Southern Methodist University Press, $22.50) – This is a memoir, set in Spokane, about the author and her father, Homer Cunningham, a longtime faculty member at Whitworth University.

Putnam, who teaches creative writing at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, will be in Spokane for readings March 2 at 7 p.m. at Whitworth and March 3 at 7 p.m. at Auntie’s Bookstore.

• “Hiberden: A North Idaho Adventure,” by Susan Church Moore – In 1993, the author and her husband moved from the East Coast to the mountains of North Idaho, near the Pend Oreille River. This book is an account of their love for their new home, with plenty of color photos.


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