Kamala Harris’ election in 2020 forged a trail of precedents for the nation’s vice presidency: first African American, first South Asian American, first Caribbean American. That rich path is chronicled in a photographic biography to be published Nov. 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, commentaries and highlights from notable speeches. Photo editor Christopher Measom’s collaboration with Adero incorporates a penetrative look at America’s second most powerful person.
Harris, an alumna of a historically Black college and university (HBCU) and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Inc., is at the heart of an unheard-of history, according to Adero, an independent literary agent, editor and author under the “Adero’s Literary Tribe” banner.
Adero has worked on books with many noted personalities, including Spike Lee, T.D. Jakes, George Clinton, Walter Mosely, Zane, Pearl Cleage and Blair Underwood.
“I was already learning about who she was,” said Adero, who added a chapter about Harris in the third printing of her last book, “A Black Woman Did That.”
Adero said she believes “Vice President Kamala Harris Her Path to the White House” can serve as a primer on Harris. Who is she? Where did she come from? Who are her people?
“As a researcher, I went to local news media in Jamaica and Chennai, India, where her parents are from. They had a lot to say about Kamala,” said Adero. “There was a conversation that this woman was one of us.”
There are three sections in this Harris biography, each with several sub-sections. The first section, “An American Girl,” lets readers in on life in Berkeley, Calif., during the 1960s. Harris was born into activism which was on the rise in the Bay Area, especially among Black and brown people. Think about 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,” said Adero.
Section Two, “A Pursuit of Justice,” zeroes in on educational and cultural influences including her time at Howard University as an undergrad and law student and her embrace of AKA, institutions that Adero says formed a major support system during the 2020 presidential campaign. This section was a thrill for Adero, a graduate of Clark Atlanta University (formerly Clark College and Atlanta University) in Atlanta, Ga.
Section Three, “She Leads,” is my favorite. Through words and photos, readers see how Harris interacts with others and how they respond to her. Pictured are her children, parishioners, a drumline, politicians, President Biden, her husband Douglas Emhoff and her family.
Adero has a background in corporate publishing at Simon and Schuster, Atria and Amistad Press. This large-size Harris biography in photos and words would commonly be considered a “coffee table” book. But once you start reading it, you won’t put it down.
“This is a book that would have been published by Ebony magazine as a special occasion piece,” said Adero about her Harris biography. “Because she was the first, she definitely gets a prime spot 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 on a preorder basis in advance of the Nov. 16 availability in bookstores.
Brenda C. Siler:
Instagram & Twitter: bcscomm
Instagram & Twitter: @malaikaadero