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The Reverse Underground Railroad in Ohio

Prior to the Civil War, thousands escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad. Untold others failed in the attempt. These unfortunate souls were dragged into bondage via the Reverse Underground Railroad, as it came to be called. With more lines on both roads than any other state, the Free State of Ohio became a hunting ground for slave catchers and kidnappers who roamed the North with impunity, seeking "fugitives" or any person of color who could be sold into slavery. And when they found one, they would kidnap their victim and head south to reap the reward. Authors David Meyers and Elise Meyers Walker reveal not only the terror and injustice but also the bravery and determination born of this dark time in American history.

A Murder in Amish Ohio: The Matrydom of Paul Coblentz

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In the summer of 1957, a young Holmes County farmer was gunned down in cold blood. There was little to distinguish this slaying from hundreds of others throughout the United States that year except for one detail: Paul Coblentz was Amish. A committed pacifist, Coblentz would not raised a hand against his killers. As sensational crimes often do, the "Amish murder" opened a window into the private lives of the young man, his family and his community--a community that in some respects remains as enigmatic today as it was more than half a century ago. Authors of Wicked Columbus, Ohio's Black Hand Syndicate, and others, David Meyers and Elise Meyers Walker unravel the intricacies surrounding one of Ohio's most intriguing murder cases. 

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True Crime - Ohioana Book Festival 2021

Lynching & Mob Violence in Ohio, 1772-1938 [non-fiction]

During the late nineteenth century, Ohio was reeling from a wave of lynchings and most reasonable people felt something had to be done. But it wasn’t just lynchings, there were organized floggings, tar and featherings, and even large scale riots. They were acts born of anger, frustration, distrust of law enforcement, and, of course, racial and ethnic intolerance. In 1892, Ohio-born Benjamin Harrison was the first U.S. President to call for an anti-lynching legislation. Four years later, his home state responded with the Smith Act – “an Act for the Suppression of Mob Violence.” It was a major step forward and the most severe anti-lynching law in the country, but it did nothing to address the underlying causes. During the period 1771-1938, hundreds of acts of mob violence took place within the bounds of Ohio. Cities burned and innocent people died. Many of these acts were attributed to well-known and respected men—and women—in the community, but few were ever prosecuted. And some were even lauded for taking the law into their own hands. While times have changed, many hearts have not. This is the first book to take a detailed look at mob violence in Ohio. [McFarland]

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"Around Cincinnati - WVXU" Book review by Roberta Schultz

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Hello, I Must Be Going: The Mostly True Story of an Imaginary Band [novel]



The year was 1970 and Zack Black & the Blues Attack was poised to be the hottest band in America. Radio loved them, demand for their record exceeded supply, and everywhere they played seats were sold-out. But when stardom seemed within their grasp, they let it slip away. Will Black thought that chapter of his life was closed forever. He had not been in touch with his former bandmates since he moved to New York some forty years ago. But now a mysterious woman has approached him with an unusual request: will he help her carry out her husband’s dying wish?Incredibly, Will finds himself tasked with putting the Blues Attack back together to prove to the world, and themselves, that they still have what it takes. But to do so means that the one-time friends will have to confront the secrets and lies that had contributed to their demise. Given a second chance, will they make the same mistakes? (Black Opal, 396 pages)

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Historic Black Settlements of Ohio {non-fiction}

In the years leading up to the Civil War, Ohio had more African American settlements than any other state. Owing to a common border with several slave states, it became a destination for people of color seeking to separate themselves from slavery. Despite these communities having populations that sometimes numbered in the hundreds, little is known about most of them, and by the beginning of the twentieth century, nearly all had lost their ethnic identities as the original settlers died off and their descendants moved away. Save for scattered cemeteries and an occasional house or church, they have all but been erased from Ohio's landscape. Father-daughter coauthors David Meyers and Elise Meyers Walker piece together the stories of more than forty of these black settlements. (The History Press}

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The Kahiki Scrapbook

To aficionados of Polynesian Pop, the Kahiki Supper Club was and remains the touchstone for all things tiki. The epitome of a fad that started at the end of Prohibition, it has been rediscovered by each successive generation, with relics of the original “mothership” proudly displayed in tropical restaurants and bars throughout the country. Years after its razing in August 2002, the legacy of the Kahiki continues to inspire artists, entrepreneurs, and other visionaries who never set foot inside the fabled tiki palace. From the authors of Kahiki Supper Club comes a new collection of more stories, more images, and more delicious recipes that explain why the Kahiki was such a historically, culturally, and sociologically important artifact of the twentieth century.

Ball of Confusion: The Somewhat True Story of an Imaginary Bass Player


TRY TELLING THAT TO WES KENNEDY, former bass player for Zack Black & the Blues Attack. Washed up at twenty-two, he found himself back in his hometown, wondering what became of his fifteen minutes of fame. For a few dizzying weeks, he had been a member of the hottest band in America. Now, they barely qualified as the answer to a question on Trivia Night at the Airport Lounge.

But while Wes and his bandmates were reaching for the brass ring, their friends weren’t exactly standing still. And suddenly Wes felt like everybody he knew had it together except for him. Maybe the answer was the reinvent himself. And what better way for a middle-class white kid to do that than to play black music.
So move over James Brown, step aside Isaac Hayes, and make way Marvin Gaye, THERE’S A NEW SOUL BROTHER ON THE SCENE!

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