Joel Christian Gill is guest host of #LitChat, 4 p.m. E.T. on February 23, 2015. Follow #LitChat on Twitter or login to our dedicated channel at Christian Gill

Joel Christian Gill‘s Strange Fruit, Volume I is a collection of stories from African American history that exemplifies success in the face of great adversity. This unique graphic anthology offers historical and cultural commentary on nine uncelebrated heroes whose stories are not often found in history books.

Strange FruitAmong the stories included are: Henry “Box” Brown, who escaped from slavery by mailing himself to Philadelphia; Alexander Crummel and the Noyes Academy, the first integrated school in America, established in the 1830s; Marshall “Major” Taylor, a.k.a. the Black Cyclone, the first black champion in any sport; and Bass Reeves, the most successful lawman in the Old West. Written and illustrated by Joel Christian Gill, the diverse art beautifully captures the spirit of each remarkable individual and opens a window into an important part of American history.

Gill is the author/illustrator of two graphic books from Fulcrum Publishing Strange Fruit vol I Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History (May 2014) and Tales of the Talented Tenth (Fall 2014). In his spare time he is the Associate Dean of Student Affairs at the New Hampshire Institute of Art and  member of The Boston Comics Roundtable. He received his MFA from Boston University and a BA from Roanoke College. His secret lair is behind a secret panel in the kitchen of his house in New Boston, New Hampshire where he lives with his wife and four children.

Read Gill’s controversial essay, “Let’s Get Rid of Black History Month” in the Huffington Post (February 10, 2015).

Follow Joel Christian Gill on Twitter: @jcg007.