We are ten years old this month! Hard to believe, but true. We are so grateful for all of the wonderful authors who have entrusted their work to us over this past decade, as well as the editors and graphics designers who worked so hard to put each book together along with our Team. Thanks to every one of you. Here’s to the next great decade!
We’ve been working on the website, finally getting all of the sections updated to reflect our current status, putting upcoming books in the bookstore, and adding a special section that highlights our Authors. Please check it out when you can. Feedback is welcome.
Submissions opened January 6, and there are dozens already in the queues. We are limiting each portal to a specified number of submissions so we don’t get overloaded. When that number is reached, the portal for that classification will close.
Finally, we’ve shifted our operations a bit – streamlining some things, allowing room for others. Coming into 2022 we feel it will truly be a banner year. It’s clear that after the challenges of 2021, and the rocketing success of 2020 in spite of a global pandemic, we have had some growing pains. Learning along the way is part of what it’s all about, but the commitment to our mission has never been stronger.
It may be cold and snowy outside where you are at this time of year, like it is here in central Virginia. But we have the perfect solution – come read with us! Grab a book and it will take you just about anywhere.
Black Americans, we see you. We hear you. And we honor you.
We see your ancestors, who were taken from their homeland and enslaved with no rights for their own bodies, their own minds, their own substance. We see your fathers and mothers, who fought for basic rights and did their best; in spite of everything managed to create homes and businesses, music, beautiful art, families. Who lived and endured the unspeakable disrespect of an entire people during Jim Crow, during the civil rights movement, and who were beaten, abused, and killed by those who swore to protect all citizens.
Black Lives Matter.
We honor all of them. Our hearts break as we learn their stories. We are in awe of their strength, their presence, and perseverance.
And we are sorry for our contributions to their pain throughout history. It’s not enough to apologize, we must, we will continue to be anti-racist. We push back against intolerance and inequality.
So often, it appears that there is so little we can do. But by using our privilege, holding space for those who need to be seen and heard, by listening and offering our hands and hearts, our work, and yes, our cash – sometimes, it helps.
We will continue to try to do more. We believe in freedom, for all, for each one. We celebrate black lives, black creativity, black fortitude, black art, black writing, black history, and so much more.
We will continue to tear down the vestiges of white privilege, to shine the light on the erasure of history. Juneteenth was the day that all former enslaved people in the United States were finally freed. Two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
Here’s a small token of our gratitude, and our promise to continue to work hard, and fight hard, on behalf of ALL black lives.
In honor of Juneteenth, ALL of our currently available ebooks are FREE all weekend! (Preorders not included.)
Today marks the beginning of Black History Month, a time to recognize the achievements, contributions and sacrifices made by Black Americans and the numerous ways they have shaped America. To celebrate, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture will be offering free virtual programming, including book discussions (with Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award Winner and Director, Boston University Center for Antiracist Research) and programs for young readers. The museum will also host a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon, in which participants will create and edit Wikipedia pages for Black STEM professionals, highlighting the community impacts they have made.
It’s a privilege to educate ourselves about racism instead of experiencing it. Let’s listen, learn, and join hands today and every day to end racism in our lifetimes. One way to start is by reading books by black and minority ethnic writers. We are actively seeking submissions in this category, and encourage anyone who has a story to tell to visit our Submissions portal.
Send us your words.
Books by black and minority ethnic writers at Propertius Press may be found in our Bookstore and wherever books are sold. Thank you for visiting!
As busy as we all have been this month, it’s no wonder the holidays crept up on us. However, it is our hope that you will be looking forward to a healthy, safe, and happy time with family and perhaps a few close friends. Here’s to quiet moments, and lots of reading.
Originally known as Decoration Day, the event now called Memorial Day in the US first honored those who died in the American Civil War. It is widely believed to have sprung from the Appalachian tradition of cleaning family gravesites and decorating them with flowers, emblems, and memorabilia on a day set aside when the weather warms up in Spring. These events grew to include gatherings at the cemetery where families would sing, pray, and sometimes even serve a home-cooked picnic dinner among the graves. According to the US Veteran’s Administration, it was not until after World War I that celebrations on Memorial Day were expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. Congress declared the day a national holiday in 1971. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.
This Memorial Day may be quieter than in former years. Solitude and reflection on the weighty cost of war are always appropriate. Perhaps we will want to have a quiet picnic with a book, read aloud in the soft space of time spent with a loved one or ancestor who has gone beyond: Communion of the highest order, we think.
There is a deeply meaningful memory set down by David W. Blight about the first Decoration Day, which happened in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865. It was celebrated not by grieving Civil War soldiers’ widows, but by 10,000 free blacks, who affirmed their freedom and sense of belonging within the newly recreated United States; and because they felt it was the right thing to do, re-interred thousands of Union prisoners of war on an old racecourse, a classic symbol of southern wealth and privilege. Not surprisingly, when the annals of history are consulted, little record remains of this first celebration. Read more about this meaningful event and the brave individuals who conducted it here.
Freedom, of course, isn’t free. There will probably always be instances of one individual’s or group’s wish to dominate over another, or all the rest of us. Quiet, resilient, strong, and yes, stubborn resistance and dedication such as was shown by black men, women, and children in Charleston on May 1, 1865 may be, in the end, the most steadfast of struggles. By definition, it is also the most difficult to counteract, which makes it one of the best.
Violence is never the answer, as we all know. It’s a good time to remember this, as we honor those who went before, in their struggles for belief and protection of those beliefs. Let’s not give over to mindless celebrations vaunted by “giant corporations, which make guns, bombs, fighter planes, aircraft carriers and an endless assortment of military junk and which await the $100 billion in contracts to be approved soon by Congress and the President,” as Howard Zinn admonishes in his 1976 classic essay. He correctly states, “Let the dead of past wars be honored. Let those who live pledge themselves never to embark on mass slaughter again.”
So pack a basket, and take a book to the cemetery for a solitary meal with those who’ve gone before, and perhaps share a song and lay some flowers. Or we can read of peace, in quiet understanding, in our homes where those of us who consider such things important continue to self-isolate and care for our families. Here are a few ideas, including recent offerings, that in the coming weeks may help pave the way toward a different way of thinking about your brave new world.