1988: Toni Morrison & Pauli Murray
Beloved / Song in a Weary Throat / The Brutality of Nations / Freedom Song: A Personal Story of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement
1988: Toni Morrison & Pauli Murray

Song in a Weary Throat is the autobiography of Pauli Murray, an American civil rights and women’s rights activist, lawyer, teacher, author, Episcopalian priest, and descendant of a North Carolina slave and slave owner. The first African-American to receive a J.S.D. from Yale Law School, Murray fought for civil rights and women’s rights as a lawyer and would go on to co-found the National Organization for Women in 1966. In 1973, Murray joined the Episcopal Church as a priest, and was named an Episcopal saint in 2012. She died in 1985. 

Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. She is the author of several novels, including The Bluest Eye,Beloved, and Jazz. She has received the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize. She is the Robert F. Goheen Professor at Princeton University.

Honorable Mention: The Brutality of Nations by Dan Jacobs

Paralleling the alleged recent blocking by the Ethiopian government, for political reasons, of international famine-relief efforts, Jacobs, author of What More Can Be Done for Children in Armed Conflict, and former executive director of the Committee for Nigeria-Biafra Relief, charges that supplies for the starving Biafran refugees during the Nigerian civil war of the late 1960s were similarly impeded by major nations, notably Britain. According to this detailed and shocking expose of cynical international power politics, by 1968 12,000 persons a day, mostly children, were dying while Red Cross access to Biafra was hampered by Nigerians supported by the British, who hoped that a Nigerian victory would secure their oil and other interests. Both Britain and the U.S., the author notes, feared that a weakened Nigeria would encourage a Soviet presence in West Africa. He suggests that greater coordination of efforts between private agencies under international conventions could more effectively combat the inertia and genocidal policies of nations. 

Honorable Mention: Freedom Song: A Personal Story of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement by Mary King

This account of the tumultuous period from 1962 to 1964 profiles the major civil rights leaders and includes the story of the investigation into the murders of Andy Goodman, James Cheney, and Mickey Schwerner