Tag: historical


Ten Powerful Quotes About Juneteenth

Today marks the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. The proclamation was declared by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1st, 1863, but the news did not reach Texas until two-and-a-half years later. Since then, generations have celebrated the day as Juneteenth and forty-five states recognize it as a state holiday.

As we remember this historic day in United States history, below are ten powerful quotes by central figures about the ugly history of slavery and this holiday’s meaning.


Image via CNN


1. “I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.” – Frederick Douglas.


2. “I had reasoned this out in my mind; there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty, or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other; for no man should take me alive; I should fight for my liberty as long as my strength lasted, and when the time came for me to go, the Lord would let them take me.” – Harriet Tubman.


3. “We’re in denial of the African holocaust. Most times, people don’t want to talk about it. One is often restless or termed a racist just for having compassion for the African experience, for speaking truth to the trans-Atlantic and Arab slave trades, for speaking truth to the significant omission of our history. We don’t want to sit down and listen to these things, or to discuss them. But we have to.” – Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X.


Image via CNN


4. “If the cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. Because the goal of America is freedom, abused and scorned tho’ we may be, our destiny is tied up with America’s destiny.” – Martin Luther King Jr.


5. “Anytime anyone is enslaved, or in any way deprived of his liberty, if that person is a human being, as far as I am concerned he is justified to resort to whatever methods necessary to bring about his liberty again.” – Malcolm X.


6. “My people have a country of their own to go to if they choose… Africa… but, this America belongs to them just as much as it does to any of the white race… in some ways even more so, because they gave the sweat of their brow and their blood in slavery so that many parts of America could become prosperous and recognized in the world.” – Josephine Baker, legendary entertainer and activist.


Image via CNN


7. “Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” – Abraham Lincoln.


8. “Where annual elections end where slavery begins.” – John Quincy Adams.


9. “…the 19th of June wasn’t the exact day the Negro was freed. But that’s the day they told them that they was free… And my daddy told me that they whooped and hollered and bored holes in trees with augers and stopped it up with [gun] powder and light and that would be their blast for the celebration.” – Haye Turner, former slave.


10. “Every year we must remind successive generations that this event triggered a series of events that one by one defines the challenges and responsibilities of successive generations. That’s why we need this holiday.” – Texas Rep. Al Edwards.



Featured Image Via CNN 



Enter to Win Signed Copies of Every Melanie Benjamin Novel Plus Stunning Parisian Prizes!

“No one writes of the complexities of women’s lives and loves like [New York Times and USA Today bestselling author] Melanie Benjamin.”

—Elizabeth Letts, New York Times bestselling author of Finding Dorothy.


To celebrate the release of Melanie Benjamin’s latest novel about wartime Paris, Mistress of the Ritz, we’re offering Bookstr readers the chance to win some incredible prizes, including signed copies of all of Melanie Benjamin’s novels!


Enter our amazing giveaway for your chance to win:


  • Signed copies of Melanie Benjamin novels, including, Mistress of the Ritz, Alice I Have Been, The Girls in the Picture, The Aviator’s Wife, The Swans of Fifth Avenue, and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb. 

  • A stunning Paris-inspired necklace

  • an Eiffel Tower poster

  • $25 Fandango gift-card, allowing you to watch a female-centered movie celebrating women like Mistress of the ritz


Enter to Win Signed Copies of Every Melanie Benjamin Novel Plus Stunning Parisian Prizes! (Contest on Hive.co)


About The Book:



In her newest novel, Mistress of the Ritz, Benjamin artfully weaves together suspense and love. We see the famous Ritz hotel go from glamorous to gory, after the German army invades Paris, and sets up headquarters in the very hotel that F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, Ernest Hemingway, and other famous, dazzling guests have vacationed.

Publishers Weekly calls this novel, “Utterly unforgettable,” and if you are interested in the power of love within a country ravaged by war, this novel is just for you!

Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor walk through its famous doors to be welcomed and pampered by Blanche Auzello and her husband, Claude, the hotel’s director. The Auzellos are the mistress and master of the Ritz, allowing the glamour and glitz to take their minds off their troubled marriage, and off the secrets that they keep from their guests—and each other.

Until June 1940, when the German army sweeps into Paris, setting up headquarters at the Ritz. Suddenly, with the likes of Hermann Goëring moving into suites once occupied by royalty, Blanche and Claude must navigate a terrifying new reality. One that entails even more secrets and lies. One that may destroy the tempestuous marriage between this beautiful, reckless American and her very proper Frenchman. For in order to survive—and strike a blow against their Nazi “guests”—Blanche and Claude must spin a web of deceit that ensnares everything and everyone they cherish.

But one secret is shared between Blanche and Claude alone—the secret that, in the end, threatens to imperil both of their lives, and to bring down the legendary Ritz itself.

Based on true events, Mistress of the Ritz is a taut tale of suspense wrapped up in a love story for the ages, the inspiring story of a woman and a man who discover the best in each other amid the turbulence of war.


About the Author:



MELANIE BENJAMIN is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator’s Wife. Previous historical novels include national bestseller Alice I Have Been, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb and The Girls in the Picture.  Her novels have been translated in over fifteen languages, featured in national magazines such as Good Housekeeping, People, and Entertainment Weekly, and optioned for film. Melanie lives in Chicago with her husband, where she is at work on her next historical novel.

don’t forget to check out our other amazing giveaways! 

Enter to Win Signed Copy of Timothy Jay Smith’s ‘The Fourth Courier’ and More!

Enter to Win 10 SIGNED Scott Turow Books, Plus Amazing Courtroom Prizes!

Enter For A Chance to Win $500 and Discover the Magic Within!


Celebrate 30 Years Since the Fall of the Berlin Wall With This Amazing Novel

2019 marks thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. According to VisitBerlin.de, the fall of the wall marked “the end of the massive border complex that left Berlin divided into East and West for twenty-eight years, tearing apart families, friends and neighbours.”

It was built in 1961, dividing the city of Berlin physically and ideologically for the best part of three decades. It was established in order to stagger the flow of refugees attempting to flee the communist government of East Germany. According to History.com, “construction of the wall caused a short-term crisis in U.S.-Soviet bloc relations, and the wall itself came to symbolize the Cold War.”

The Berlin wall became an international symbol of oppression and Cold War terror, and its demolition at the hands of protestors in November 1989 remains one of the most iconic and triumphant examples of people power in modern history.


Image Via The Local-Germany


VisitBerlin.de notes that “2019 is dedicated to the thirtieth anniversary of the Fall of the Wall and the city of Berlin is celebrating reunification and democracy!”

And what better way to celebrate such an iconic moment in history than with the hottest new post-Cold War thriller this year: Timothy Jay Smith’s latest thriller, The Fourth Courier. Publishers Weekly notes that The Fourth Courier features “Sharply drawn characters, rich dialogue, and a clever conclusion that bodes well for any sequel.” Booklist comments on how “Smith skillfully bridges police procedural and espionage fiction, crafting a show-stealing sense of place and realistically pairing the threats of underworld crime and destabilized regimes.”


'The Fourth Courier' Timothy Jay Smith


Timothy Jay Smith is a proud member of the LGBTQ community, who is passionate about exploring these themes in his work. This is interesting to note due to the positive effect the fall of the Berlin wall had on the LGBTQ community. According to Local.de, “After the Berlin Wall fell… in the 1980s… the popularity of CSD (Christopher Street Day, Berlin’s Pride festival) “exploded” as many LGBT people began thinking more politically. Nowadays around half-a-million people of all sexualities, as well as from different cultures and backgrounds, join the demonstration which ends with a party at Brandenburg Gate.”

So, now you’re dying to know what this book is actually about. Well, sit back. Set in post-Cold War Poland in 1992, and exploring the politics and the problems of that time, this is not your ordinary thriller.


On the 30th anniversary of the victory of Solidarity in Poland and the fall of the Berlin Wall, comes a riveting new novel set in Poland on the brink of change, The Fourth Courier .

Smith sets his novel in 1992 in post-cold war Poland, where nothing is quite as it seems. When three execution-style murders take place in Warsaw, FBI Special Agent Jay Porter is assigned to help with the investigation, suspecting that the three victims may have been couriers hired to smuggle nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union.

When Jay learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has also disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

Suspenseful, thrilling, and smart, The Fourth Courier teams up an FBI agent with a gay CIA officer who uncover a gruesome plot involving murder, radioactive contraband, narcissistic government leaders, and unconscionable greed.


See what I mean? And if you’re wondering a little more about the man behind this amazing read, let me more thoroughly introduce you to Timothy Jay Smith.


Image Via TimothyJaySmith.com


According to his website, Smith, who was “raised crisscrossing America pulling a small green trailer behind the family car, developed a ceaseless wanderlust that has taken him around the world many times. En route, he’s found the characters that populate his work. Polish cops and Greek fishermen, mercenaries and arms dealers, child prostitutes and wannabe terrorists, Indian Chiefs and Indian tailors: he’s hung with them all in an unparalleled international career that’s seen him smuggle banned plays from behind the Iron Curtain, manoeuvre through war zones and Occupied Territories, represent the U.S. at the highest levels of foreign governments, and stowaway aboard a ‘devil’s barge’ for a three-days crossing from Cape Verde that landed him in an African jail.” Quite a life, huh? And that’s not all.

Smith’s book Fire on the Island was the winner of the 2017 Gold Medal in the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. He also won the Paris Prize for Fiction for his debut work, A Vision of Angels, and was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize for short fiction. His screenplays have won numerous international competitions, and he is also the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater.

It is no doubt Smith’s life experience and expertise that have allowed him to write such a thrilling novel, set so convincingly in post-Cold War Europe, and the result is the perfect book to help you celebrate thirty years since one of Europe’s greatest triumphs.


Find Timothy Jay Smith online on his website, Facebook and Twitter.


Looking for more amazing reads set in Europe? Check out the 5 best novels set in Europe, coming this year!