“Jam! On the Vine is a wonder of a first novel. Following the struggles of one remarkable family through generations of adversity, this powerful and beautifully written story resonates with historical significance and shines in the end with the triumph of the human spirit.” Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot and the forthcoming Long ManJam! On the Vine
is a new American classic: a dynamic tale of triumph against the odds and the compelling story of one woman’s struggle for equality that belongs alongside Jazz
by Toni Morrison and The Color Purple
by Alice Walker.
Ivoe Williams, the precocious daughter of a Muslim cook and a metalsmith from central-east Texas, first ignites her lifelong obsession with journalism when she steals a newspaper from her mother’s white employer. Living in the poor, segregated quarter of Little Tunis, Ivoe immerses herself in printed matter as an escape from her dour surroundings. She earns a scholarship to the prestigious Willetson College in Austin, only to return overqualified to the menial labor offered by her hometown’s racially biased employers.
Ivoe eventually flees the Jim Crow South with her family and settles in Kansas City, where she and her former teacher and lover, Ona, found the first female-run African American newspaper, Jam! On the Vine
. In the throes of the Red Summerthe 1919 outbreak of lynchings and race riots across the MidwestIvoe risks her freedom and her life to call attention to the atrocities of segregation in the American prison system.
Skillfully interweaving Ivoe’s story with those of her family members, LaShonda Katrice Barnett’s Jam! On the Vine
is both an epic vision of the hardships and injustices that defined an era and a moving and compelling story of a complicated history we only thought we knew.Listen to LaShonda Katrice Barnett read from Jam! On the Vine on The Author's Corner.