Jam 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 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 Summer—the 1919 outbreak of lynchings and race riots across the Midwest—Ivoe risks her freedom and her life to call attention to the atrocities of racism as witnessed in the disproportionate incarceration of black men.
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.
Brief Author Interview by Frank Cunningham for "Ancestry Told" on Nantucket, June 19, 2015.
Players for Democracy: Amy Gall Interviews LaShonda Katrice Barnett (Guernica, July 15, 2015)
Author Interview on CBS, WTVR, Richmond: "Virginia This Morning" (Air date: Feb. 25, '15)
New Orleans KEDM's program The Reading Life hostess Susan Larson begins her interview with LaShonda Barnett at 13:20. (click icon)
Author Interview by Alex Dueben published by The Rumpus (March 11, '15) (click icon)
Author Interview published by Lambda Literary (Feb. 19, '15), Q & A: LaShonda Katrice Barnett (click icon)
Inaugural Debut Author Interview Series published by Library Journal, Q & A: LaShonda Katrice Barnett (click icon)
"Black and Female in Jim Crow Era, A Reporter in Kansas City's 'Vine'"
Feb. 8, 2015, NPR® Sunday Weekend Edition, Interview with Rachel Martin (click icon)
Feb. 2015, BookPage® Behind the Book by LaShonda Katrice Barnett (click icon)
Click the Author's Corner icon to hear LaShonda Katrice Barnett read the opening scene of her new novel, Jam on the Vine.