After spending ten years working as a daily journalist at four different newspapers I joined the faculty of New York University and wrote my first book, "Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media," (New York University Press, 2000), which examined the role race played in news coverage, and the decades long efforts by African Americans to diversify the mainstream media. My second book, "A Love No Less: More Than Two Centuries of African American Love Letters," (Doubleday, 2003) explored an under-represented facet of black life through the love letters written by African Americans from all walks of life. This was my attempt to present an aspect of black life that often lurks in the shadows of popular culture.
My latest effort, Letters from Black America, is the first narrative history of African American Life through letters, and traces the path of a cross-section of African Americans from slavery to the election of President Obama, and from the Civil War to the War in Iraq. The book includes more than 200 letters written by ordinary and extraordinary African Americans, including Phillis Wheatley, Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Sojourner Truth, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Colin Powell and Alice Walker.