ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy
has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans, Democrats and Republicans,
have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.
Books by Barack Obama
Obama’s Greatest Speeches (CD set)
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America, We Cannot Turn Back
Acceptance Speech by Barack Obama
To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin, and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation, with profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for presidency of the United States.
Let melet me expresslet me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest, a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
To President Clinton, to President Bill Clinton, who made last night the case for change as only he can make it, to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service, and to the next vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you.
I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.
To the love of my life, our next first lady, Michelle Obama, and to Malia and Sasha, I love you so much, and I am so proud of you.
Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story, of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.
It is that promise that’s always set this country apart, that through hard work and sacrifice each of us can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams, as well. That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and womenstudents and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitorsfound the courage to keep it alive.
We meet at one of those defining moments, a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.
Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit cards, bills you can’t afford to pay, and tuition that’s beyond your reach.
These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.
America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.
This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.
We’re a better country than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment that he’s worked on for 20 years and watch as it’s shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.
We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty, that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.
Tonight, tonight, I say to the people of America, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land: Enough. This moment, this moment, this election is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive.
Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third.
And we are herewe are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight.
On November 4th, on November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”
Now, now, let melet there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and our respect.
And next week, we’ll also hear about those occasions when he’s broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need. But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time.
Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but, really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I am not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change.
The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your liveson health care, and education, and the economySenator McCain has been anything but independent.
He said that our economy has made great progress under this president. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong.
And when one of his chief advisers, the man who wrote his economic plan, was talking about the anxieties that Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a mental recession and that we’ve become, and I quote, “a nation of whiners.”
A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made.
Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third, or fourth, or fifth tour of duty.
These are not whiners. They work hard, and they give back, and they keep going without complaint. These are the Americans I know. Now, I don’t believe that Senator McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans; I just think he doesn’t know.
Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies, but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans?
How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people’s benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement? It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care; it’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.
For over two decadesfor over two decades, he’s subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy: Give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else.
In Washington, they call this the “Ownership Society,” but what it really means is that you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck, you’re on your own. No health care? The market will fix it. You’re on your own. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, even if you don’t have boots. You are on your own.
Well, it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America. And that’s why I’m running for president of the United States.
You see, you see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country. We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage, whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma.
We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president, when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of go down $2,000, like it has under George Bush.
We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off and look after a sick kid without losing her job, an economy that honors the dignity of work.
The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great, a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.
Because, in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton’s army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the G.I. Bill.
In the face of that young student, who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree, who once turned to food stamps, but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.
When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.
And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business or making her way in the world, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman.
She’s the one who taught me about hard work. She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she’s watching tonight and that tonight is her night, as well.
Now, I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes; theirs are the stories that shaped my life. And it is on behalf of them that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States.
What is that American promise? It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have obligations to treat each other with dignity and respect.
It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, to look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.
Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools, and new roads, and science, and technology.
Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.
That’s the promise of America, the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation, the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper.
That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now. Soso let me let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.
Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it. You know, unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America. I’ll eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.
I willlisten nowI will cut taxescut taxesfor 95 percent of all working families, because, in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.
And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East. We will do this. WashingtonWashington has been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years. And, by the way, John McCain has been there for 26 of them. And in that time, he has said “no” to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, “no” to investments in renewable energy, “no” to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil than we had on the day that Senator McCain took office.
Now is the time to end this addiction and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution, not even close.
As president, as president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars.
And I’ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energywind power, and solar power, and the next generation of biofuelsan investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.
America, now is not the time for small plans. Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy.
You know, Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries, and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability.
And we will keep our promise to every young American: If you commit to serving your community or our country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.
Nownow is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health careif you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves.
And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.
Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a sick child or an ailing parent.
Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses, and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.
And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have the exact same opportunities as your sons.
Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime: by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less, because we cannot meet 21st-century challenges with a 20th-century bureaucracy.
And, Democrats, Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America’s promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our intellectual and moral strength.
Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient.
Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can’t replace parents, that government can’t turn off the television and make a child do her homework, that fathers must take more responsibility to provide love and guidance to their children.
Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility, that’s the essence of America’s promise. And just as we keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America’s promise abroad.
If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament and judgment to serve as the next commander-in-chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have.
For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats that we face.
When John McCain said we could just muddle through in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.
You know, John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the gates of Hell, but he won’t even follow him to the cave where he lives.
And today, today, as my call for a timeframe to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has $79 billion in surplus while we are wallowing in deficit, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.
That’s not the judgment we need; that won’t keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.
You don’t defeatyou don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances.
If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice, but that is not the change that America needs.
We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans, Democrats and Republicans, have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.
As commander-in-chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.
I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against Al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts, but I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.
I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation, poverty and genocide, climate change and disease.
And I will restore our moral standing so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.
These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.
But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes, because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and each other’s patriotism.
The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.
The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together, and bled together, and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a red America or a blue America; they have served the United States of America. So I’ve got news for you, John McCain: We all put our country first.
America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices. And Democrats, as well as Republicans, will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past, for part of what has been lost these past eight years can’t just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose, and that’s what we have to restore.
We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.
The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.
I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.
You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers.
But this, too, is part of America’s promise, the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort. I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer, and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values.
And that’s to be expected, because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things.
And you know what? It’s worked before, because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn’t work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it’s best to stop hoping and settle for what you already know.
I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don’t fit the typical pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington. But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me; it’s about you. It’s about you.
For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said, “Enough,” to the politics of the past. You understand that, in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same, old politics with the same, old players and expect a different result.
You have shown what history teaches us, that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington.
Change happenschange happens because the American people demand it, because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time. America, this is one of those moments.
I believe that, as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming, because I’ve seen it, because I’ve lived it. Because I’ve seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work.
I’ve seen it in Washington, where we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans, and keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists.
And I’ve seen it in this campaign, in the young people who voted for the first time and the young at heart, those who got involved again after a very long time; in the Republicans who never thought they’d pick up a Democratic ballot, but did.
I’ve seen itI’ve seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day, even though they can’t afford it, than see their friends lose their jobs; in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb; in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.
You know, this country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.
Instead, it is that American spirit, that American promise, that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.
That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night and a promise that you make to yours, a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west, a promise that led workers to picket lines and women to reach for the ballot.
And it is that promise that, 45 years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.
The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustrations of so many dreams deferred.
But what the people heard insteadpeople of every creed and color, from every walk of lifeis that, in America, our destiny is inextricably linked, that together our dreams can be one. “We cannot walk alone,” the preacher cried. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”
America, we cannot turn back, not with so much work to be done; not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for; not with an economy to fix, and cities to rebuild, and farms to save; not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend.
America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone.
At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise, that American promise, and in the words of scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.
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Rudy, Happy belated birthday my brother. I hope you received my birthday gift in the best of health. Last night, my daughter, who is three years old, beautiful, and smart decided to make her father her dancing partner for several songs during last night’s
Democratic National Convention. It gave me such joy to see her enthusiasm over the lyrics of such artists as Stevie Wonder and Michael McDonald. I had readied myself for Senator Barack Obama’s acceptance speech for the Presidency.
Unlike Jesse Jackson’s speech of twenty years ago, which moved me to tears as it was painfully apparent what experiencing young blacks were facing in the sinister triune of Reagan’s America, I expected that this speech would bring me to a point of elation just for its rhetorical significance.
Rudy, forgive me for picking olives off the deviled eggs at the banquet as no one else notices their presence yet eats what they’re served, but does it become more of an act of political adroitness than a social movement where a candidate that this media repeated labeled as black/African American can deliver a speech to AMERICA, and never once mention the words “race” or “black”?
This does not affect my opinion that he is the far more skilled politician. His speech and the way that this convention galvanized his base is evident of his presence as a leader. However, I am not ready to surrender my real sight of segregated schools, gated communities with restrictive covenants, judicial systems with an aversion for finding fault with anyone culpable of criminal acts against black people, for a vision of a “post-racial,” colorblind, all boats rise on the same sea society. We have had blacks in prominent positions in the White House from Vernon Jordan to Dr. Rice, strong leaders in Congress that carried the torch such as Rangel, Lewis, and McKinney, and the judgment of Supreme Court Justice Thomas.
I once again yield to the wisdom of my elders for guidance but being forty-five, I am one of the “integration-babies” to whom this Change is to foment and rise in this nation, and while I agree that the struggle has never lost sight of the prosperity of the whole nation, it is the continued lapse of memory or the removal of its stigma by a timeline (ironically, a quota set by both so-called liberals and conservatives) that black people in these United States will be treated as American. Be blessed on this day. Peace. Raymond from Laurel
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Oh, boy, oh, boy, oh, boy, I am THRILLED with McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his VP. Has the man lost his mind? He is banking his presidential bid on disaffected Hillary supporters, but Biden is going to tear Palin up. She has no constituency. She’s not known nationally. She’s not charismatic; her speeches are wooden. And she supports drilling in Alaska. (Maybe it’s all about the oil!) His conservative, evangelical base will not favor a woman. (They’re not going to want her hand on the button at 3 a.m., should McCain drop dead. Can you imagine her as president?) With 5 children, one of whom is a 4-months old with Downs Syndrome, she’s not going to have much time to campaign. She also knocks out McCain’s “lack of experience” and “no knowledge of foreign affairs” ads.) Plus, she’s pretty, so Cindy is not going to dig that!
I was scared to death that he was going to pick Mitt Romney, who is smart, articulate and a helluv an attack dog. Plus, he has a huge constituency, with support in Mass., Utah, possibly Michigan, and throughout the West. And he’s a business whiz.
All the way Obama/Biden. You’ve been handed a gift! Miriam
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Hey Rudy, Yes, I watched some of the DNC, and I was impressed. Michelle and Barack Obama may very well be able to offer hope to a nation suffering economic disaster for many and defeat in a Middle East war. But will working and middle class Americans vote their interests. The continuing economics of Reagan-Bush-McCain clearly clash with the interests of working and middle class folks, but I fear that so many of them will vote with McCain-Palin. Too many older and professional white woman, even liberal ones, may be very turn right since Hillary Clinton, their candidate, did not win the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. Now the challenge is whether the Obama-Biden ticket can fight off the McCain-Palin onslaught. I expect that the presidential discourse/discord leading up to Nov. 4, will get hot and heavy. The divide between these two camps is crystal clear. Americans will decide to go forward into the future, which is unknown but certainly better than the eight Bush years, or retreat into the darkness and disarray of the past. In my judgment, McCain-Palin represents unabashed social and political retrogression. McCain was shrewd in selecting Sarah Palin as his right-wing running mate. I can hope that they lose in November. I recently completed a review of a recently published book, entitled African American Perspectives on Political Science, edited by Wilbur Rich. Perhaps some of our readers might be interested. As always, Floyd
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So Many Miles From SelmaWe haven’t heard much about race during the Democratic convention. That’s clearly by design, and in terms of Obama’s prospects it’s probably a good thing. A recent New York Times-CBS News poll found that 16 percent of white voters feared an Obama administration would “favor blacks over whites.” Obama has taken great pains to reassure voters that as president he would act without racial animus or resentment — that he bears no grudges and intends to settle no scores. His success to date has depended largely on his ability to be seen as a candidate who happens to be black rather than as “a black candidate.” Still, this is an amazing, unbelievable moment.
Wandering around the convention hall, I kept running into people with a kind of “pinch me, I’m dreaming” look in their eyes. I saw Spike Lee, who seems to be everywhere; in a television interview earlier in the week, he grandiloquently divided American history into two epochs, “B.B.” and “A.B.”Before Barack and After Barack. RealClearPolitics
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Union leader: Racism keeps Obama from building leadA prominent union leader on Tuesday blamed racism for Sen. Barack Obamas (D-Ill.) failure to build a big lead over GOP rival Sen. John McCain. Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), said many workers are considering voting for McCain (R-Ariz.) because of his military service and status as a hero of the Vietnam War. . . . There are some local union presidents that are afraid yes, thats the word, afraid to hand out literature for Barack Obama, said McEntee. . . . McEntee said McCain is not a friend of unions and members must campaign for Obama and spread the message of his support for labor. He said unions will be in deep trouble if Obama is defeated for the presidency. TheHill
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I was one of the 80,000 people who packed into Invesco Field to see Barack Obama claim the Democratic Presidential Nomination last night. It is hard for me to believe that a man of African ancestry is this close to becoming the President of the United States. I have to be honest: while I knew last night would be an extraordinary historical landmark, I did not expect to leave Denver as a proud and joyful American. But I did.
Last night, for the first time in my adult life, I waved an American Flag. It was just a little thing; a stick and fabric symbol, the same kind ancient veterans in immaculate uniforms hand out on the 4th of July. In my hand, it felt as light as air. It was something to be careful with.
I wasn’t waving the Red White and Blue because I am a Democrat, Republican or Independent. This wasn’t about party; it was a personal celebration, shared by the 80,000 different Americans who crammed into that stadium. We came because we see this election as a chance to shrug off the partisanship of politics as usual. We came to display our pride, together.
I waved that flag because I believe that change is finally possible in our country. For too long the people who form the bedrock of our nation have been left out of the American Dream. Our greatest leaders have been murdered and destroyed, our institutions broken. We, our friends and families, work ourselves to the bone to make ends meet and can expect each day to simply be more of the same.
After last night’s historic event, I woke up convinced that we can realize our beautiful dream. It wasn’t the candidate that changed me. It wasn’t the speech. It was the faces of those around me showing me that we, as Americans, are sick of the status quo. We are tired of inequality. We are ready to step up to be leaders in the greatest tradition of the men and women who placed this flag, this land, into our hands.
I believe we have what it takes to tackle the contradictions that continue to divide us. We can truly become the “Change Generation.” We face problems unprecedented in human history, and we must meet them as brothers and sisters. We are going to have to work harder every day, to convince the skeptical, and demonstrate the power of the
Beloved Community over and over again. If we want it, we can do it. Last night we proved it. Rob Biko, League of Young Voters
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By Ira Berlin
Berlin (Many Thousands Gone) offers a fresh reading of American history through the prism of the great migrations that made and remade African and African American life. The first was the forcible deportation of Africans to North America in the 17th and 18th centuries, followed by their forced transfer into the American interior during the 19th century. Then came the migration of the mid-20th century as African-Americans fled the South for the urban North, and the arrival of continental Africans and people of African descent from the Caribbean during the latter part of the 20th century.
Berlin sees migration and the reshaping of communities to their new environments as central to the African-American experience. Movement is a matter of numbers, and Berlin provides them in detail kept fully readable by his attention to the cultural products of the shifts. In particular, he follows the church as it moves, the music as it takes on new themes, and kinship as it broadens. Berlin’s careful scholarship is evidenced in his rich notes; the ordinary reader will be pleased by the fluidity and clarity of his prose.Publishers Weekly
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Slavery, migration, and, more recently, immigration all constitute the making of African Americans, a history older and far more complex than that of most other Americans. Historian Berlin explores the four great migrations that have produced the distinct culture of African Americans: the transatlantic slave trade; the migration of African slaves from the Atlantic coast inland to southern plantations; the great migration from the rural South to the urban North, particularly during World War II; and the latest movement in the Diaspora, the immigration to the U.S. of people of African descent from Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe.
Berlin analyzes the movements, the dynamics of changes in customs and mores, as well as the sense of place developed by African Americans as they adjusted to each migration, voluntary and involuntary. He explores the changes in culture, music, politics, social institutions, and economics that defined each movement and redefined African Americans. Berlin also explores the latest migration, tensions, and feelings of kinship between native-born African Americans and newcomers, and the ultimate impact on perceptions of what it means to be black in America.Vanessa Bush Booklist
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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family thats about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrinas inexorable winds is the voice of Wards narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her familys raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brothers blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt. Her fathers hands are like gravel, while her own hand slides through his grip like a wet fish, and a handsome boys muscles jabbered like chickens. Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isnt usually just metaphor for metaphors sake. She conveys something fundamental about Eschs fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, whats salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.
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By Melissa V. Harris-Perry
According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless Mammys behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own familys needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.
As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 29 August 2008
Related files: America, We Cannot Turn Back Obligation to Fight for the World as It Should Be The American Dream is Under Siege Time to Take Back the Country We Love The America George Bush Has Left Us