The award-winning Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, by the author-poet Aberjhani and Rutgers University instructor Sandra L. West, was listed in the January/February 2006 seventh anniversary edition of BLACK ISSUES BOOK REVIEW as one its recommended “Essentials, selections for the well-stocked library.”
In a two-page article titled “Just the Facts,” Brooklyn writer and editor, Zakia Carter noted that such works as the Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, the first on the subject, “are foundations of a good home library.”
“When you think of all the thousands of books published every year,” said Aberjhani, “it’s pretty mind-boggling to learn that your work has been included on a very short list of titles––about a dozen I believe––that also contains Kwame Anthony Appiah’s and Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s phenomenal Africana, which recently was re-released as a five-volume set. It makes me think of Sandra’s and my book as ‘the little encyclopedia that could.’ This is definitely a great way to kick off 2006 in general and a very special way to acknowledge Black History Month in particular.”
In her article, on pages 54 and 55 of the magazine, Carter observes the following: “A glossary of Harlem Renaissance slang, maps, lists of contemporary museums with collections of works from the period, and photographs flesh out the alphabetically arranged entries of the various artists, intellectuals, books, journals, writers, organizations, collectives, locales and events that make up the Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (Checkmark Books, 2003). Such entries as those on the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the Great Migration, Zora Neale Hurston, the National Urban League, Charlie Parker, the Universal Negro Improvement Association, make this the only encyclopedia dedicated solely to black America’s golden age of cultural productivity in the 1920s and ‘30s.”
In addition to its review of recommended nonfiction titles for the home library, the magazine also featured profiles of some the most influential figures in the publishing industry. Moreover, Gwendolyn E. Osborne’s article, “The Color of Love,” takes an informative look at the growing trend of romance books by African-American authors published by mainstream publishers. Reviews of new works by well-known authors Thulani Davis, Tanarive Due, Zakes Mda, Jewell Parker Rhodes, and Zadie Smith are also included in the seventh anniversary issue.