Article excerpt

BLACK women have a legacy worth celebrating. From slavery to the present, they have helped provide the backbone of the nation and the world. Their contributions are omnipresent--in the strains of the blues and jazz, the flavor of American cooking, the creative energy of poetry and dance and the activism of the political world. In honor of Women's History Month, we salute the spirit of the Sister with the following books that are written by and are about Black women.

These Bones Are Not My Child (Pantheon Books, $27.50), a gripping fictionalized account of the Atlanta child murders of the '80s, by Toni Cade Bambara. Based on extensive field research and interviews, the author creates an expansive novel centered on a single mother's quest to find her son in a backdrop of a city transfixed by the strange disappearance of Atlanta youths.

The Face of Our Past: Images of Black Women from Colonial America to the Present (Indiana University Press, $35), a collection of images and journal and diary excerpts on the many faces of the Black woman, edited by Kathleen Thompson and Hilary MacAustin. Spanning such topics as resistance, education and hair, this innovative book features striking black-and-white photographs that take readers from the colonial era to contemporary times. It's a powerful history in images and words.

Redemption (Doubleday, $21.95), a touching novel about the power of love, by Bertice Berry.

Bluish, a novel (The Blue Sky Press, $15.95), a children's novel celebrating the friendship among three special young girls, by Virginia Hamilton.

Shadowboxing: Representations of Black Feminist Politics (St. Martin's Press, $26.95), a provocative look at the dynamics of race, gender and radicalism, by Joy James.

Stretch Your Wings: Famous Black Quotations for Teens (Little, Brown and Company, $8.95), a collection of more than 400 quotations and anecdotes from some of the most famous African-Americans, selected and edited by Janet Cheatham Bell and Lucille Usher Freeman.

Taking the High Road: How to Cope with Your Ex-Husband, Maintain Your Sanity and Raise Your Child in Peace (Plume, $12.95), an empowering and insightful look at divorce and the unpleasantness that often comes with it, by Nailah Shami.

Land of Many Colors & Nannya-Ya (University of Nebraska Press, $12), two stories that explore the experiences of people of color in the Caribbean, translated from French author Maryse Conde by Nicole Ball.

The New Color of Success: 20 Young Black Millionaires Tell You How They're Making It (Adler & Robin Books, $24), an in-depth look at young entrepreneurs who are living the American Dream, by Niki Butler Mitchell.

Still Groovin': Affirmations for Women in the Second Half of Life (The Pilgrim Press, $19.95), drawing on her experiences in dance, theater and community service, author Ruth Beckford offers more than 100 affirmations for women at mid-life and beyond.

For Freedom's Sake: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer (University of Illinois Press, $29.95), the definitive biography traces the life of one of the most important civil rights activists of the 20th century, by Chana Kai Lee.

Casting the First Stone, A Novel (Kensington Books, $22.00) is a behind-the-scenes look at a fictional Chicago church and its struggle to keep faith and commitment alive in the face of ambition, by Kimberla Lawson Roby. …