ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
The charge of insufficient monographic evidence . . . [will be ] more an indication
of the antilower class and antinationalist bias
of most historiansblack or whiteof the black experience
John H. Bracey, Jr.
Books by John H. Bracey, Jr.
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Edited by John H. Bracey, Jr., August Meier, and Elliott Rudwick. New York, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1970.
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(John H. Bracey, Jr., August Meier, Elliott Rudwick–July 1969)
John Bracey sketches his interpretation of black nationalism:
First, Black America exists in a state of colonial subordination to White America. Black America is a colony. It is and has always been subjected to political, economic, social, and cultural exploitation by White America. These circumstances define Black America’s “underdevelopment” as a nation. Political decisions are made by whites outside the black community; no black bourgeoisie with any meaningful economic power has been allowed to develop, and the major vehicles for cultural expression such as schools, radio, television, and the printed media are under white control.
Second, black nationalism is a variety of the nationalisms of non-Western peoples in general, and of the black peoples of Africa and the West Indies in particular. Years ago in his study of this question for the Carnegie-Myrdal volume, An American Dilemma, Ralph Bunche noted that the same historical conditions that produced nationalism throughout the Western and non-Western worlds were operative in the United States among black Americans.
Third, the development of black nationalism has been slow and winding, but persistent and intensifying, from 1787, if not earlier, to the present. The documents in this volume testify to the persistence of nationalist ideologies and institutions. To even consider the idea of “integrating” black churches and social clubs requires tremendous effort. To compare the experience of Black America to that of immigrant groups who came to the United States voluntarily is to distort the reality that for the vast majority of black people most of the time they have spent in this country has been as slaves. And few slaves, if any, were ever concerned with joining the “mainstream” of American society. The documents in Part Five of this book certainly indicate the intensification and pervasiveness of nationalism today.
Fourth, the different social strata of Black America exhibit nationalism in varying degrees. The intensity or strength of black nationalist sentiment and institutions can generally be related both tot he colonial status of black Americans. Black nationalism has shown greater strength and persistency in the minds and institutions of lowerclass blacks than among the black upper classes and intelligentsia. Historic factors account for this, as they account for the slow and uneven development of black nationalism, but there is no justification for the view that nationalism is of little importance among blacks or no more than an “extremist” ideology.
In antebellum United States, north and south, free Negroes, because they were few, beleaguered, and cut off from meaningful contact with the enslaved black masses, were limited in the development of nationalist alternatives to mutual-aid and fraternal societies, separatist churches, conventions, and emigration schemes. the enslaved masses developed the “invisible church” as E. Franklin Frazier so aptly puts it, as their chief nationalist expression.
After the Civil War the nationalism of the masses of freedom asserted itself in aspirations for “40 acres and a mule” and for emigration to Africa and elsewhere. But black political leaders who tended to be middle and upper class opted for the limited but tangible benefits of assimilation, and the masses, left without leadership, channeled their nationalistic impulses into their churches and into further development of their folk culture. The nationalist stance of some black church leaders at the turn of the century is not surprising, given such impulses among their constituents.
In the next generation Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois, whose contrasting ideologies are paralleled among black leaders in colonial Africa and the West Indies, symbolized the bourgeois nationalisms of the masses and of the western-trained elites during this period. Du Bois was too ambivalent, Washington set the price for the development of an economic base for nationhood too high, a broad multiclass nationalist movement failed to develop. Given the strident racism and imperialism, perhaps such a nationalist movement could not develop at this time in Black America any more than it could in colonial Africa or the West Indies.
After World War I Garvey tapped the latent nationalism of the masses, but he failed for a number of reasons to come to grips with the bourgeois nationalism manifested in Du Bois’s Pan-Africanism, or the Harlem Renaissance. Consequently, through the 1920s the black masses remained separate from their potential leaders and thinkers. The jobs movements of the Depression demonstrated that the masses still harbored nationalist feelings. So did the thrust from local black communities in the South to secure the “equal” side of the Supreme Court’s “separate but equal” formula. In the fifties and sixties the integration movement was middle-class run and oriented: no one can contend that the pressure of the black masses produced the Brown vs Board of Education decision in 1954, or that there was then any great rush of lower-class blacks to get their children into white schools.
In the sixties with the combination of successes and failures of the civil rights movement, some younger middle-class blacks turned more and more to a nationalist rhetoric in an attempt to gain wide support for their essentially assimilationist goals and to maximize any gains from the annual summer rebellions of the lower-class blacks. Since then, the unstructured rebellions of the black lower classes have been linked to the articulated rhetoric and ideologies of the black middle-classes and intelligentsia. for the first time in the history of the United States, there is a full-blown black nationalist movement with nationalist leadership and a nationalist ideology which is accepted and openly espoused through all strata of the black population. Bourgeois and cultural nationalism predominate, but such groups as the League of Revolutionary Black Workers suggest the prospect of a strong, continuing revolutionary wing of nationalism.
This interpretation of the sources and nature of black nationalism will, of course, be subjected to the charge of insufficient monographic evidence. But this is more an indication of the antilower class and antinationalist bias of most historiansblack or whiteof the black experiencethan it is of overinterpretation on my part. It is true that scholars have written little on the subject; but I would argue that one of the few detailed studies we have of black nationalism, written by one of my co-editors, supports my contention that today’s black nationalism results from a long historical development and is not merely a specific response to immediate conditions. More research is needed. But for scholars to ignore the actions of the black masses and the many manifestations of black nationalism, and then to decry the lack of evidence on which to base any conclusions, is to have one’s cake and eat it too.
Our disagreement as scholars mirror a larger disagreement in American society. the future of the black man is still very much undecided. We think or readers will agree that the centuries-old conflict between White America’s rhetoric of equality and the reality of oppression will continue, as will the conflict between Black America’s blackness and its “Americanness.”
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Introduction xxv Selected Bibliography lxi Editor’s Note and Acknowledgements lxix Part One Origins Foundations of the black community: the church 3 1. Richard Allen Describes the Founding of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1787-1816 4 From The Life, Experiences and Gospel Labors of Richard Allen 2. Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne Reviews the Contribution of the Negro Church 11 From History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1891 3. A Layman Explains “Why Negro Churches Are a Necessity” 14 From L.H. Reynolds, A.M.E. Church Review, 1887 Foundations of the black community: the mutual benefit societies 18 4. The Free African Society of Philadelphia 19 Preamble and Articles of the Society, 1787 5. The African Institution of Boston 22 Prince Sanders, et al., to Captain Paul Cuffee, 1812 Foundations of the black community: the press 23 6 The First Negro Paper: “Too Long Have Others Spoken For Us” 24 Freedom’s Journal, 1827 Pleas for racial unity 29 7. David Walker: “To Unite the Colored People” 29 Address to the General Colored Association at Boston, 1828 8. David Nickens: “Let Us Cherish a Friendly Union with Ourselves” 34 Address to the People of Color in Chillicothe, Ohio, 1832 Colonization 38 9. Paul Cuffee Calls for the Uplift of Africa 41 A. Petition to the President and Congress, 1813 41 B. Letter to Robert Finley, 1817 44 10. James Forten Expresses a deep Concern about Africa 45 Letter to Paul Cuffee, 1817 11. Daniel Coker: “My Soul Cleaves to Africa” 46 Letter to Jeremiah Watts, 1820 12. A Would-Be Emigrant: “We Had Rather Be Gone” 48 Abraham Camp to the American Colonialism Society, 1818 Part Two Maturation The antebellum colored conventions 51 13. Colored National Convention of 1848 on “Complexional” and White Institutions 53 From Report . . . of the Colored National Convention, 1848 14. Frederick Douglass: “Our Elevation as a Race, Is Almost Wholly Dependent Upon Our Own Exertions” 57 A. To Our Oppressed Countrymen, The North Star, 1847 57 B. Self-Elevation–Rev. S. R. Ward, Frederick Douglass’s Paper, 1855 60 15. Colored National Convention of 1853: “A national Council of the Colored People” 63 From Proceedings of the Colored National Convention, 1853 Revolutionary Nationalism 67 16. Henry Highland Garnet Calls for Slave Rebellions 67 From An Address to the Slaves . . ., 1843 Colonization 77 17. An Alabama Negro Businessman Wants to go to Liberia 79 Letters of S. Wesley Jones to officials of the American Colonization Society, 1848-1851 18. Black Citizens of Cincinnati “Seek a Home Where We May Be Free” 85 African Repository, 1850 19. National Emigration Convention of 1854: “A People to Be Free, Must Necessarily Be Their own Rulers” 87 From Proceedings of the National Emigration Convention, 1854 20. James Theodore Holly Speaks of “The Continued Advancement of the Negro Nationality of the New World” 110 from A Vindication of the Negro Race, 1857 Cultural nationalism 114 21. Henry Highland Garnet Describes the Greatness of Africa 115 From The Past and the Present Condition, and the Destiny of the Colored Race, 1848 Part Three Flowering Race Pride, race solidarity 123 22. The A.M.E. Church Review: “We Must Learn to Love Ourselves” 126 A.M.E. Church Review, 1886 23. Alexander Crummell: “What This Race Needs in this Country Is Power” 128 from The Greatness of Christ and Other Sermons, 1882 24. Alexander Crummell on “The Need of . . . Scholarly Men” to “Lift Up This People of Ours” 139 From “Civilization, The Primal Need of the Race,” 1897 25. Francis J. Grimke Urges Black Teachers for Black Schools 143 A.M.E. Church Review 26. Bishop Henry M. Turner: “God Is a Negro” 154 Voice of Missions, February 1, 1898 Territorial separatism and emigration 156 27. A Leader of the Kansas Exodus: “We Wanted to Go to a Territory by Ourselves” 161 From Testimony before the United States Senate Committee to Investigate the Causes of the Removal of the Negroes from the Southern States, 1860 28. The South Carolina Exodus to Africa: “Africa Is the Only Land That a Colored Man Can Say Is His” 170 Letters from African Repository, 1877-1880 29. Bishop Henry M. Turner Demands an Indemnity “To Go Home to Africa” 172 Editorials Voice of Missions, 1898-1900 A. “The Negro has not Sense Enough,” 1900 172 B. “War with Spain,” 1898 174 C. “Emigration,” 1900 176 30. Arthur A. Anderson: “Prophetic Liberator of the Coloured Race,” Demands an Indemnity for a Separate Territory in the United States 177 From Prophetic Liberator of the Coloured Race, 1913 31. The Garvey Movement Described: “Up, You Mighty Race!” 187 From Roi Ottley, ‘New World A-Coming,’ 1943 32. Marcus Garvey: “Ethiopia Shall Once More See the Day of Her Glory” 200 From Philosophy and Opinions, 1923, 1925 A. “Lack of Co-operation in the Negro Race” 200 B. “An Expose of the Caste System among Negroes” 201 C. “The True Solution of the Negro Problem” 209 The rhetoric of protest and revolution 211 33. T. Thomas Fortune: “We Know Our Rights . . . And Have the Courage to Defend Them” 212 From Proceedings of the Afro-American League National Convention, 1890 The ideology of accommodation 223 34. William Hooper Councill: “The Negro Can Grow Only . . . in His Own Sphere, as God Intended 224 Voice of Missions, 1900 35. Booker T. Washington Urges “Cultivation . . . Faith in the Race” 232 From Future of the American Negro, 1899 Bourgeois economic nationalism 235 36. A Colored Convention Recommends Negro Support for Negro Business 236 From Proceedings of the Colored Laborer’s and Business Men’s Industrial Convention, 1879 37. Fred R. Moore: “Negroes Should Now Begin to Support Negroes” 238 From Report of the Fifth Annual Convention of the National Negro Business League, 1913 38. A Kansas City Businessman Urges negroes to “Patronize the Coloured Man” 241 From Report of the Fourteenth Annual Convention of the National Negro Business League 39. A California Newspaper Looks at the National Negro Business League 243 Oakland California, Sunshine, 1915 The nationalism of W.E.B. Du Bois 246 40. On the Conservation of Races: “The Negro People as a Race Have a Contribution to Make to Civilization . . . Which No Other Race Can Make” 250 The Conservation of Races, 1897 41. On Support for Black Business Enterprise 262 From The Atlantic University Conference Resolutions, 1899 42. On Cooperation Among Black Consumers 264 From The Crisis, 1917-1920 A. “Cooperation,” 1917 264 B. A Report, 1919 265 C. “Cooperation,” 1920 268 43. On Pan-Africanism: “The Divine Right of Suppressed . . . Peoples to . . . Be Free” 269 Manifesto of the Second Pan-African Congress, 1921 44. On Cultural Nationalism: “Let Us Train Ourselves to See Beauty in Black” 276 From The Crisis, 1920, 1926 A. “In Black,” 1920 276 B. “Criteria of Negro Art,” 1926 278 45. On Black Nationalism: “Organize Our Economic and Social Power, No Matter How Much Segregation It Involves” 288 From The Crisis, 1934 Cultural nationalism 299 46. E. A. Johnson Urges the Study of Afro-American History “For a New Self-Respect and Confidence” 302 From A School History of the Negro Race, 1891 47. Arthur A. Schomburg Advocates the Creation of Chairs of Negro History 304 From Racial Integrity, 1913 48. Carter G. Woodson Describes the Work of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History 312 From a leaflet of the Association 49. Monroe N. Work: “Negroes Should Not Despise the Rock from which They Were Hewn” 319 “The Painting Tradition and the African Civilization,” 1916 50. Benjamin Brawley: “Every Race Has a Peculiar Genius” 327 Southern Workman, 1915 51. Paul Robeson: Negro Spirituals Are “The Soul of the Race Made Manifest” 331 The Spectator (London), 1934 52. Alain Locke on the New Negro: A “Forced Attempt to Build . . . Americanism on Race Values” 334 From The New Negro, 1925 A plea for unity 348 53. Kelly Miller: “Before the Negro Becomes One He Must Become One with Himself” 349 From The Negro Sanhedrin, 1924 A Negro national anthem 54. James Weldon Johnson: “Sing a Song Full of the Faith That The Dark Past Has Taught Us” 367 Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, 1900 Part Four Eclipse 55. Chicago in the 1930s: “Making Jobs for the Race” 371 From St. Clair Drake and Horace R. Cayton, Black Metropolis, 1945 56. The New Negro Alliance: “We Must Organize Our Purchasing Power” 377 From Ralph J. Bunche, “The Programs, Ideologies, Tactics, and Achievements of Negro Betterment and Interracial Organizations,” 1940 57. Benjamin J. Davis, Jr., Argues the Communist Position: “The Negro People a Nation” 386 From The Path of Negro Liberation, 1947 58. A. Philip Randolph and the March on Washington Movement: “Oppressed People Must Assume the Responsibility to Free Themselves” 391 From March on Washington Movement Conference, 1942 59 W.E.B. Du Bois Emigrates to Africa: “Africa Had Come Not Up from hell, But from the Sum of Heaven’s Glory” 396 “Ghana Calls,” a poem Part Five Revival The Nation of Islam 403 60. Elijah Muhammad: “What Do the Muslims Want?” 404 The Muslim Program, 1962 61. Elijah Muhammad: “Separation of the So-Called negroes from their Slavemasters’ Children Is a Must” 408 From Message to the Blackman, 1965 Malcolm X 412 62. Minister Malcolm X Enunciates the Muslim Program 413 Muhammad Speaks, 1960 63. The Organization of Afro-American Unity: “For Human rights and Dignity” 421 Statement of basic Aims and Objectives of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, 1064 Toward a black cultural revolution 428 64. L. Eldridge Cleaver: “Black Is Coming Back!” 429 Negro History Bulletin, 1962 65. Rolland Snellings: “We Are on the Move and Our Music is Moving with Us” 445 Liberator, October 1965 66. Askia Muhammad Toure (Olland Snellings): “We Must Create a National Black Intelligentsia in Order to Survive 452 Journal of Black Poetry, 1968 Black Power 463 67. Ruth Turner Perot: “Organizing the Black Community for the Purpose of Promoting the Interests and Concerns of the Black People” 465 “Black Power: A Voice Within,” 1967 68. Stokely Carmichael: “We Are Going to Use the Term ‘Black Power’ and We Are Going to Define It Because Black Power Speaks to Us” 470 Chicago speech, 1966 69. Northwestern University Black Students: “If Our Demands Are Impossible, Then Peace Between Us Is Impossible Too” 476 Demands of the Black Students of Northwestern University, 1968 Black capitalism 486 70. African Nationalist Pioneer Movement: “We Advocate Complete Economic Control by the Blacks of All African Communities in America” 487 A. A Manifesto, 1959 487 B. “Buy Black”--Oscar Brown, 1959 71. Floyd B. McKissick: “Black Business Development with Social Commitment to Black Communities” 492 Brochure of Floyd McKissick Enterprises, 1968 Revolutionary nationalism 504 72. General G. Baker, Jr.: “My Fight Is for Freedom: Uhuru, Libertad, Halauga, and Harambee!” 506 Letter to Draft Board, 1965 73. Max Stanford: “Revolutionary Nationalism, Black Nationalism, Or Just Plain Blackism” 508 A. “Towards Revolutionary Action Movement Manifesto,” 1964 508 B. A Message from Jail, 1968 513 74. The Republic of New Africa; “We Are the Government for the Non-Self-Governing Blacks Held within the United States” 518 From interview with Milton Henry, Esquire, 1969 75. James Boggs: “The Final Confrontation” Liberator, 1968 76. The Black Panther Party: “Political Power Comes Through the barrel of a Gun” 531 A. The Black Panther Party Program, 1968 531 B. An Interview with Huey P. Newton, 1968 534 77. DRUM: “Dare to Fight! Dare to Win!” 551 Constitution of Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement, 1968
Source: Black Nationalism in America. Edited by John H. Bracey, Jr., August Meier, and Elliott Rudwick. New York, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1970.
posted 26 January 2007
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John H. Bracey, Jr. has taught in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst since 1972. His major interests are in African American social history, radical ideologies and movements, and the history of African American Women; more recently his interests have focused on the interactions between Native Americans and African Americans and Afro-Latinos in the United States. He previously taught Afro-American history at Northern Illinois University and at the University of Rochester. During the 1960s, he was active in the Civil Rights, Black Liberation, and other radical Movements in Chicago.
His publications include several co-edited volumes, including Black Nationalism in America (1970), African-American Women and the Vote: 1837-1965 (1997), Strangers and Neighbors: Relations Between Blacks and Jews in the United States (1999), and African American Mosaic: A Documentary History from the Slave Trade to the Present (2004). Professor Bracey has co-edited (with the late August Meier and Elliott Rudwick) a number of other volumes on various aspects of African American experience. Bracey’s scholarship also includes editorial work [with August Meier and Sharon Harley] on the microfilm series Black Studies Research Sources (University Publications of America), which includes the Papers of the NAACP, A. Philip Randolph, Mary McLeod Bethune, the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, and Horace Mann Bond.
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By Danny Barker and Alyn Shipton
By Alan Lomax
By Louis Armstrong
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Bob Marley was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician. He was the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for the ska, rocksteady and reggae bands The Wailers (19641974) and Bob Marley & the Wailers (19741981). Marley remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music, and is credited for helping spread both Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement (of which he was a committed member), to a worldwide audience.
Exodus: movement of jah people! oh-oh-oh, yea-eah! Men and people will fight ya down (tell me why!) When ya see jah light. (ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!) Let me tell you if youre not wrong; (then, why? ) Everything is all right. So we gonna walk – all right! – through de roads of creation: We the generation (tell me why!) (trod through great tribulation) trod through great tribulation. Exodus, all right! movement of jah people! Oh, yeah! o-oo, yeah! all right! Exodus: movement of jah people! oh, yeah! Yeah-yeah-yeah, well! Uh! open your eyes and look within: Are you satisfied (with the life youre living)? uh! We know where were going, uh! We know where were from. Were leaving babylon, Were going to our father land. 2, 3, 4: exodus: movement of jah people! oh, yeah! (movement of jah people!) send us another brother moses! (movement of jah people!) from across the red sea! (movement of jah people!) send us another brother moses! (movement of jah people!) from across the red sea! Movement of jah people! Exodus, all right! oo-oo-ooh! oo-ooh! Movement of jah people! oh, yeah! Exodus! Exodus! all right! Exodus! now, now, now, now! Exodus! Exodus! oh, yea-ea-ea-ea-ea-ea-eah! Exodus! Exodus! all right! Exodus! uh-uh-uh-uh! Move! move! move! move! move! move! Open your eyes and look within: Are you satisfied with the life youre living? We know where were going; We know where were from. Were leaving babylon, yall! Were going to our fathers land. Exodus, all right! movement of jah people! Exodus: movement of jah people! Movement of jah people! Movement of jah people! Movement of jah people! Movement of jah people! Move! move! move! move! move! move! move! Jah come to break downpression, Rule equality, Wipe away transgression, Set the captives free. Exodus, all right, all right! Movement of jah people! oh, yeah! Exodus: movement of jah people! oh, now, now, now, now! Movement of jah people! Movement of jah people! Movement of jah people! Movement of jah people! Movement of jah people! Movement of jah people! Move! move! move! move! move! move! uh-uh-uh-uh! Move(ment of jah people)! Move(ment of jah people)! Move(ment of jah people)! Move(ment of jah people)! movement of jah people! Move(ment of jah people)! Move(ment of jah people)! Movement of jah people! Movement of jah people! Movement of jah people!
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By Godfrey Mwakikagile
(Grand Rapids, Michigan: National Academic Press, 2005) 302 pages
By Sidney Bechet
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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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By Alex Heard
An iconic criminal casea black man sentenced to death for raping a white woman in Mississippi in 1945exposes the roiling tensions of the early civil rights era in this provocative study. McGee’s prosecution garnered international protestshe was championed by the Communist Party and defended by a young lawyer named Bella Abzug (later a New York City congresswoman and cofounder of the National Women’s Political Caucus), while luminaries from William Faulkner to Albert Einstein spoke out for himbut journalist Heard (Apocalypse Pretty Soon) finds the saga rife with enigmas. The case against McGee, hinging on a possibly coerced confession, was weak and the legal proceedings marred by racial bias and intimidation. (During one of his trials, his lawyers fled for their lives without delivering summations.) But Heard contends that McGee’s storythat he and the victim, Willette Hawkins, were having an affairis equally shaky.
The author’s extensive research delves into the documentation of the case, the public debate surrounding it, and the recollections of McGee and Hawkins’s family members. Heard finds no easy answers, but his nuanced, evocative portrait of the passions enveloping McGee’s case is plenty revealing.Publishers Weekly
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By Marcus Rediker
In this groundbreaking work, historian and scholar Rediker considers the relationships between the slave ship captain and his crew, between the sailors and the slaves, and among the captives themselves as they endured the violent, terror-filled and often deadly journey between the coasts of Africa and America. While he makes fresh use of those who left their mark in written records (Olaudah Equiano, James Field Stanfield, John Newton), Rediker is remarkably attentive to the experiences of the enslaved women, from whom we have no written accounts, and of the common seaman, who he says was a victim of the slave trade . . . and a victimizer. Regarding these vessels as a strange and potent combination of war machine, mobile prison, and factory, Rediker expands the scholarship on how the ships not only delivered millions of people to slavery, [but] prepared them for it. He engages readers in maritime detail (how ships were made, how crews were fed) and renders the archival (letters, logs and legal hearings) accessible. Painful as this powerful book often is, Rediker does not lose sight of the humanity of even the most egregious participants, from African traders to English merchants. Publishers Weekly
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By Isabel Wilkerson
Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper’s wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man’s turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners’ plans to give him a “necktie party” (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by “the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn’t operate in his own home town.” Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Wilkerson’s magnificent, extensively researched study of the “great migration,” the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an “uncertain existence” in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 16 May 2012