Kamala Harris’ election in 2020 set a series of precedents for the country’s vice-presidency: first African-American, first South Asian, first Caribbean American. This rich path is recounted in a photographic biography to be published on November 16.
In “Vice President Kamala Harris: Her Path to the White House,” author Malaika Adero paints a picture of the vice president with 120 photographs, quotes, comments and notable speech highlights. Photo editor Christopher Measom’s collaboration with Adero incorporates a penetrating look at America’s second most powerful person.
Harris, a historically black college and university alumnus (HBCU) and fellow of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Inc., is at the heart of an untold story, according to Adero, an independent literary agent, publisher and author under the banner “Adero’s Literary Tribe”.
Adero has worked on books with many notorious personalities including Spike Lee, TD Jakes, George Clinton, Walter Mosely, Zane, Pearl Cleage, and Blair Underwood.
“I was already learning who she was,” said Adero, who added a chapter on Harris in the third print of his latest book, “A Black Woman Did That”.
Adero said she believed “Vice President Kamala Harris, her way to the White House” could serve as an introduction for Harris. Who is she? Where is she from? Who are his people?
“As a researcher, I have been to local media in Jamaica and Chennai, India, where her parents are from. They had a lot to say about Kamala, ”Adero said. “There was a conversation that this woman was one of us.”
There are three sections in this Harris biography, each with several subsections. The first section, “An American Girl,” allows readers to experience life in Berkeley, Calif., In the 1960s. Harris was born into the activism that was on the rise in the Bay Area, particularly among blacks and browns. Think of the Black Panther Party in Oakland or the Rainbow Sign, a black cultural center in Berkeley.
“It’s not my story but I could relate to it,” Adero said.
The second section, “A Pursuit of Justice,” focuses on educational and cultural influences, including her time at Howard University as an undergraduate and law student and her membership in AKA, institutions that, according to Adero, were a major support system during the 2020 presidential campaign. This section was a pleasure for Adero, a graduate of Clark University of Atlanta (formerly Clark College and University of Atlanta) in Atlanta, Georgia .
Section three, “She Leads”, is my favorite. Through words and photos, readers see how Harris interacts with others and how they respond to him. Pictured are her children, parishioners, a drumline, politicians, President Biden, her husband Douglas Emhoff and his family.
Adero has a background in corporate publishing with Simon and Schuster, Atria and Amistad Press. This large Harris biography in pictures and words would generally be considered a “coffee table” book. But once you start reading it, you won’t let go.
“This is a book that would have been published by Ebony magazine for a special occasion,” Adero said of his Harris biography. “Because she was the first one, she definitely has a special place on the coffee table.”
“Vice President Kamala Harris Her Path to the White House” is from Sterling Publishing, a wholly owned subsidiary of Barnes and Noble. The book is currently available for pre-order ahead of November 16 availability in bookstores.
Brenda C. Siler:
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