ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
The Constitution and the Negro Table
It has been a long and continuing struggle for the Negro to enjoy the rights of humanity since he arrived on the shores of America, first under the British, the French, and the colonists, and then as a resident and active participant in the war against the British and as a bonded and free person in the newly formed United States of America. Beginning, by at least, the early 18th century in the British colonies the Negro was deemed in colonial laws an other apart and distinct from his fellow workers and human beings. That was the beginning of white supremacism as a colonial ideology that carried over in the Constitution of the United States, which affirmed Negro slavery and its defense by the federal government.
This page intends to document by excerpts and links to pages and sites this history of the conflict between human rights and the rule of America leaders and legislation in state and federal constitutions that sanction racial repression and oppression.
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The Invention of the White Race: Racial Oppression and Social Control and The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-AmericaGroundbreaking analysis of the birth of racism in America.When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no white people, nor, according to colonial records, would there be for another sixty years. In his seminal two-volume work, The Invention of the White Race, Allen details the creation of the white race by the ruling class as a method of social control, in response to labor unrest precipitated by Bacons Rebellion. Distinguishing European Americans from African Americans within the laboring class, white privileges enforced the myth of the white race through the years and has been central to maintaining ruling-class domination over the entire working class. Since publication in the mid-nineties, Invention has become indispensable in debates on the origins of racial oppression in America. Volume One utilizes Irish history to show the relativity of race and racial oppression as a form of social control. Volume Two details the development of racial oppression and racial slavery in colonial Virginia and, more broadly, Anglo-America. A new introduction by Jeffrey B. Perry discusses Allens contributions, critical reception and continuing importance.
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Robert Smalls at the 1895 South Carolina Constitutional Convention
By 1895, Benjamin Tillman and the Redeeming Democrats in South Carolina had succeeded through violence, terror, and election fraud to reduce the number of African American registered to vote in the state from 81,000 in 1868 to less than 10,000 in 1894. Tillman called for a constitutional convention in 1895 to rewrite the state constitution of 1868 and to take away the right to vote of African Americans in South Carolina. In 1868, seventy-six of the 124 delegates elected to the constitutional convention were African Americans, in 1895 only six African Americans were elected to serve.
Five of the delegates were from Robert Smalls power base, Beaufort County, South Carolina. Robert Smalls was one of these five delegates, and he was the only African-American delegate who had also attended the 1868 convention. He did his best to represent his constituency and to fight against their disfranchisement. After giving one of the most important speeches of the convention on November 2, he was forced to leave the convention and return to Beaufort for several days because of the illness, and eventual death, of his second wife, Annie Wigg Smalls. On November 14, he returned to the convention and refused to sign the new constitution that changed South Carolinas suffrage requirements and essentially disfranchised African Americans.
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Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000), is the United States Supreme Court decision that effectively resolved the dispute surrounding the 2000 presidential election in favor of George W. Bush. Only eight days earlier, the United States Supreme Court had unanimously decided the closely related case of Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, 531 U.S. 70 (2000), and only three days earlier, had preliminarily halted the recount that was occurring in Florida.
In a per curiam decision, the Court ruled that the Florida Supreme Court’s method for recounting ballots was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The reason for this was the lack of equal treatment of all the ballots cast in Florida. The Court also ruled that no alternative method could be established within the time limits set by Title 3 of the United States Code (3 U.S.C.), § 5 (Determination of controversy as to appointment of electors), which is December 12. Three concurring justices also asserted that the Florida Supreme Court had violated Article II, § 1, cl. 2 of the Constitution, by misinterpreting Florida election law that had been enacted by the Florida Legislature.
The decision allowed Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris‘s previous certification of George W. Bush as the winner of Florida’s 25 electoral votes to stand. Florida’s votes gave Bush, the Republican candidate, 271 electoral votes, one more than the required 270 electoral votes to win the Electoral College and defeat Democratic candidate Al Gore, who received 266 electoral votes (a District of Columbia elector abstained).
Highly controversial, the decision itself stated it was “limited to present circumstances,” causing critics to accuse the conservative majority of simply picking a winner rather than relying on sound jurisprudence.wikipedia
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Charles Ogletree on Profiling to Beergate to the Obamas (Kam Interview)
Court Order Can’t Make Races Mix (Hurston)
Derrick Bell Law Professor (Bernstein)
Federalist and Fourteenth Amendment (Wilson)
The History of White People (Painter)
Lawn Jockey Thomas (Curry)
Money is Speech (Wilson)
Tea Party, Schmee Party (Wilson)
To Fulfill These Rights (Johnson speech at Howard U)
We as Freemen Reviews (Medley)
White Privilege (Jensen)
White Power (Marvin X)
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NAACP Takes Voting Rights ID Issue to UN (NAACP Files)
The Rise of Baltimore Local 1199 (Moore)
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Voting is not enoughIf voting was that effective, to quote the activist Philip Berrigan, it would be illegal. And voting in an age when elections are stolen by rigged ballot machines and a stacked Supreme Court willing to overturn all legal precedent to make George Bush president, will not work. I am not saying do not vote. We should all vote. But that has to be the starting point if we want to reclaim America. We must lobby, organize and advocate for the dissolution of the World Trade Organization and NAFTA. The WTO and NAFTA have handcuffed workers and consumers and stymied our efforts to create clean environments. These agreements are beyond the control of our courts and have crippled our weakened regulatory agencies. The WTO forces our working class to compete with brutalized child and prison labor overseas, to be reduced to this level of slave labor or to go without meaningful work. We need to repeal the anti-worker Taft-Hartley law of 1947. The act obstructs the organization of unions. We need to transfer control of pension funds from management to workers. If these pension funds, worth trillions of dollars, were in the hands of workers, the working class would own a third of the New York Stock Exchange. America’s Democratic Collapse
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By DocSouth Staff
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A Letter to Nephew and Friends
Negroes and the Crisis of Capitalism (Du Bois)
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Dont be fooled: Americans are starting to embrace ObamaCareJuan Williams
3 July 2012
Watching President Obama’s response to Thursday’s Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of his health care reform law, I could not help but think how different things would be if he had given the same speech two years ago. He began his remarks from the White House by saying the Court had reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in Americain the wealthiest nation on Earthno illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin. Reaffirmed?
If you ask most Americans, they will tell you the president and his party never made that point in the first place. All the talk was about Cornhusker Kickbacks and Chicago-style politics, to win votes in Congress. GOP critics hammered the plan as a big government takeover and socialism.
But with last weeks Supreme Court ruling in favor of the health care plan public opinion on the plan is starting to become more favorable.
On Sunday Reuters released a poll showing 48 percent of registered voters now back the bill. That is up five percent since the ruling. That includes a bump in support among independent voters from 27 percent to 38 percent. And even opposition among Republicans, who overwhelmingly hate it, went down five percentage points from 86 percent to 81 percent.
And those numbers are likely to keep rising. Also, GOP critics are now on the defensive. They have to talk about specific benefits in the law and how they could do better if they repeal the law. That is going to be hard for Republicans once Americans personally start reaping the benefit of the law. . . .
Chief Justice John Roberts has not only given ObamaCare the imprimatur of constitutionality, he has given the president license to brag about his bill on the campaign trail.
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Steward Machine Company v. Davis, 301 U.S, 548 (1937) held, in a 54 decision, that, given the exigencies of the Great Depression, “[It] is too late today for the argument to be heard with tolerance that in a crisis so extreme the use of the moneys of the nation to relieve the unemployed and their dependents is a use for any purpose narrower than the promotion of the general welfare.” The arguments opposed to the Social Security Act (articulated by justices Butler, McReynolds, and Sutherland in their opinions) were that the social security act went beyond the powers that were granted to the federal government in the Constitution. They argued that, by imposing a tax on employers that could be avoided only by contributing to a state unemployment-compensation fund, the federal government was essentially forcing each state to establish an unemployment-compensation fund that would meet its criteria, and that the federal government had no power to enact such a program.
Helvering v. Davis, 301 U.S. 619 (1937), decided on the same day as Steward, upheld the program because “The proceeds of both [employee and employer] taxes are to be paid into the Treasury like internal-revenue taxes generally, and are not earmarked in any way”. That is, the Social Security Tax was constitutional as a mere exercise of Congress’s general taxation powers.wikipedia
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The Social Security Amendments of 1965, Pub.L. 89-97, 79 Stat. 286, enacted July 30, 1965, was legislation in the United States whose most important provisions resulted in creation of two programs: Medicare and Medicaid. The legislation initially provided federal health insurance for the elderly (over 65) and for poor families. While President Lyndon B. Johnson was responsible for signing the bill, there were many others involved in drafting the final bill that was introduced to the United States Congress in March 1965.
The concept of national health insurance began in the early 20th century in the United States and came to prominence during the Truman administration. Between 1958 and 1964, controversy grew and a bill was drafted. The signing of the act, as part of Johnson’s Great Society Although the overall politics of Medicare and Medicaid were liberal, the help of John Byrnes, a Republican, was essential in drafting what became United States’ first public health insurance program. The legislation was vigorously opposed by the American Medical Association until it had been enacted, following which the AMA cooperated in its implementation.wikipedia
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The Founding Fathers Versus the Tea PartyThe Constitutions framers dedicated Article I to the legislature in the hope that, as the branch nearest the people, it would prove pre-eminent. But Washington, as our first president, quickly despaired of a large, diffuse Congress ever exercising coherent leadership. The first time he visited the Senate to heed its advice and consent, about a treaty with the Creek Indians, he was appalled by the disorder. This defeats every purpose of my coming here, he grumbled, then departed with what one senator branded an air of sullen dignity. Washington went back one more time before dispensing with the Senates advice altogether, henceforth seeking only its consent.
President Washingtons Treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton, wasted no time in testing constitutional limits as he launched a burst of government activism. In December 1790, he issued a state paper calling for the first central bank in the countrys history, the forerunner of the Federal Reserve System.
Because the Constitution didnt include a syllable about such an institution, Hamilton, with his agile legal mind, pounced on Article I, Section 8, which endowed Congress with all powers necessary and proper to perform tasks assigned to it in the national charter. Because the Constitution empowered the government to collect taxes and borrow money, Hamilton argued, a central bank might usefully discharge such functions. In this way, he devised a legal doctrine of powers implied as well as enumerated in the Constitution.
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The Legacy of the Clinton BubbleThe Mother of All DeregulationThe Clinton administrations free-market program culminated in two momentous deregulatory acts. Near the end of his eight years in office, Clinton signed into law the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, one of the most far-reaching banking reforms since the Great Depression. It swept aside parts of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 that had provided significant regulatory firewalls between commercial banks, insurance companies, securities firms, and investment banks. . . . Wall Street had been lobbying for years for an end to Glass-Steagall, but it had not received much support before Clinton. Among those with a personal interest in the demise of Glass-Steagall was Robert Rubin, who had months earlier stepped down as treasury secretary to become chair of Citigroup, a financial-services conglomerate that was facing the possibility of having to sell off its insurance underwriting subsidiary. Although Rubin openly boasted of his lobbying efforts to abolish Glass-Steagall, the Clinton administration never brought charges against him for his obvious violations of the Ethics in Government Act.
Rubin also appealed to liberal sentiment. He claimed to have urged Congress and the White House to preserve the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which sought to prod banks to channel a portion of their lending to poor, inner city areas. But there was already widespread evidence that CRA was falling short by permitting banks to engage in meaningless reporting requirements in place of substantive investment in low- and moderate-income communities. The real action was not CRA renewal but the demise of the Glass-Steagall firewalls. Banks were suddenly free to load up on riskier investments as long as they did so through affiliated entities such as their own hedge funds and special investment vehicles. Those riskier investments included exotic financial innovations, such as the complex derivatives that were increasingly difficult for even experts to understand or value. . . .
Then in December 2000, in his final weeks in office, Bill Clinton signed into law the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which shielded the markets for derivatives from federal regulation. Since then, derivatives have grown in size and become gigantic wagers on the movement of interest rates, commodity prices, and currency values. First came the CDO bubble, which acted as a transmission belt by which the subprime mortgage cancer metastasized and spread through financial institutions around the globe. Warren Buffett, legendary investor and chair of Berkshire Hathaway, would soon refer to such derivatives as weapons of mass destruction. DissentMagazine
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Chief Justice Roberts, The Jury is Still OutDr. Wilmer J. Leon III4 July 2012The Court has upheld Congress use of the Commerce Clause as a grant of congressional authority over the states in particular instances. The problem is that the Constitution does not define commerce. Some believe that it refers simply to trade or exchange, while others believe that the founders had a broader meaning that applies to commercial and social intercourse between citizens of different states. The latter has allowed the national government to exert a greater amount of power over the states in civil rights and voting rights cases. For example, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed by Congress based upon the Commerce Clause.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Fisher v. University of Texas and will rule later this year. Fisher challenges the University of Texas ability to use race as factor in its affirmative action program. The Court is also expected to rule on a Texas voting rights case that will provide clarity about the role of the federal courts under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Could it be that by rejecting the Obama administrations assertions under the Commerce Clause that Roberts is paving the way for upcoming conservative challenges to established civil rights legislation? . . . At the end of the day, is this not what ultra-conservatives are after? They claim to want a smaller national government, returning power to the states, states rights. If this is Roberts true intention (and only time will tell) it will be harder for liberals to complain about his logic since he laid out the predicate for it in the ACA decision that they are now applauding.Be careful who you applaud and why. Chief Justice Roberts may not be a traitor to the conservative cause, the jury is still out.
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What Hath Roberts Wrought?George Lakoff, Elisabeth Wehling3 July 2012What Roberts accomplished on one issue was to enshrine two conservative ideologies
without the Democrats even noticing while they were cheering. He did this by using the Court’s ability to turn metaphors into law. He accomplished this with two votes.
First he was the swing vote that imposed the idea that Health Care Is a Product and set the stage for a possible general principle: The Interstate Commerce Clause governs the buying and selling of products and the government cannot force anyone . . . to buy a product (real or metaphorical).
Second, Roberts was the swing vote on the ruling that saved the Affordable Health Care Act by creating a precedent for another metaphorical legal principle: A fee or payment imposed by the government is a tax.
In short, in his votes on one single issue, Roberts single-handedly extended the power of the Court to turn metaphor into law in two conservative directions.
Many important laws, especially in the area of environmental protection, use the interstate commerce clause. The Court in this session held that the EPA cannot keep a property owner from developing, and hence destroying, a wetland on their property. Will the general principle that comes out of the latest Supreme Court decisions be seen to be that the Commerce Clause cannot be used to preserve the environment but only to govern commercial transactions? The Endangered Species Act is based on the Commerce Clause. Will the above principle be used to kill the Endangered Species Act?
Given the conservatives’ success in rousing public ire against taxes, will all fees and other government payments be argued to be taxes that should be minimized, eliminated, or not even proposed?
Roberts is no fool. In one stroke, he both protected the Court from charges of ideology and became categorized as a moderate, while enshrining two metaphor-based legal principles that can be used to promote and implement conservative policy in the future, with devastating broad effects.
We are as happy as other Democrats that the Affordable Care Act has mostly been declared constitutional. But we caution Democrats throughout the country to keep an eye out for conservative uses of the two metaphors that played the central role in the latest Supreme Court rulingsand for ways to keep them from being extended to impose conservative beliefs and doctrines.
Did Clarence Thomas leak story alleging Roberts Supreme Court health care switch?Joy-Ann Reid3 July 2012ThinkProgress reports that a New York Times follow-up story strongly implies that Clarence Thomas, who has expressed admiration for Crawford (who has defended him and his wife from critics in the past) is the source of the leaks about Roberts. Leaks from the Supreme Court are unprecedented, and in this case, may reflect the bitterness that Roberts decision to uphold the healthcare mandate created on the conservative side of the court. A source with knowledge of the deliberations confirms to theGrio that Roberts, possibly as late as mid-June, was prepared to strike down the individual mandate, siding with his fellow conservative justices, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Libertarian-leaning Justice Anthony Kennedy. The source also confirms other elements of Crawfords storynamely that intense pressure was being placed on Roberts by the conservatives to strike down the entire law.
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Voter Suppression in 2012 Past is PrologueDr. Wilmer J. Leon IIIIn 1870 Congress ratified the 15th Amendment to the Constitution which declared, The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. In response to this Amendment a number of former Confederate states employed devices such as the poll tax, literacy tests, the grandfather clause, and white primaries to ensure that African Americans were denied their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote. When these devices failed, tactics such as night rides, bombings, lynching, and other terrorist tactics were used to intimidate prospective African American voters.
After years of struggle in the courts, legislatures, and the streets, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibiting covered jurisdictions from imposing any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure . . . to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” Some of the jurisdictions covered by the Act are in Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Before he signed the 1965 Act Johnson explained, This act flows from a clear and simple wrong. Its only purpose is to right that wrong. Millions of Americans are denied the right to vote because of their color. This law will ensure them the right to vote.
Today this ugly part of Americas past has once again become its present. As a result of Republicans taking control of statehouses after the 2010 mid-term elections, a number of states such as Alabama, South Carolina, Texas, Mississippi (sound familiar) and others have enacted laws imposing new restrictions for voter ID, voter registration, and early voting.
According to the report Voting Law Changes in 2012 from the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law, these new restrictions will have a disproportionate impact on younger voters, people of color, low-income voters, and those with disabilities. Its no coincidence that these demographics also tend to vote for Democrats. According to The NY Times, It has been a record year for new legislation designed to make it harder for Democrats to vote 19 laws and two executive actions in 14 states dominated by Republicans blackagendareport
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Texas Trying to Reverse Major Victory of Civil Rights Movement8 July 2012The Voting Rights Acta cherished safeguard for minority voters since 1965has been under siege for two years and this week faces one of its toughest test on an apparent path to the U.S. Supreme Court. Twenty-five hours of argument, starting on Monday and spread over five days, will help the judges of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decide whether Texas can require voters to present a photo identification at the polls.
Formulated at a time of racial turmoil, the Voting Rights Act passed 77-19 in the U.S. Senate and 333-85 in the House of Representatives. The votes transcended party lines to protect black voters of all political ideals.Ever since, it has served as the U.S. governments chief check on the fairness of election rules imposed by local governments. While it passed with bipartisan support more than 45 years ago, a shift in political preferences along racial lines has turned the landmark piece of civil rights era legislation into a highly charged political issue. In the 1960s, Democrats held a monopoly of voters in the Southern states. But since then, most white Southern voters have shifted allegiances to the Republican Party, while black and Hispanic voters moved further toward the left.atlantablackstar
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Franklin D. Roosevelts Warning about Todays RepublicansFDR tells the truth about the leaders of the modern Republican Party. Somehow, in 1936, he foresaw what would be happening NOW
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 April 12, 1945), also known by his initials, FDR was the 32nd President of the United States (19331945) and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic depression and total war. The only American president elected to more than two terms, he facilitated a durable coalition that realigned American politics for decades. With the bouncy popular song “Happy Days Are Here Again” as his campaign theme, FDR defeated incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover in November 1932, at the depth of the Great Depression. Energized by his personal victory over paralytic illness,
FDR’s unfailing optimism and activism contributed to a renewal of the national spirit. He worked closely with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin in leading the Allies against Germany and Japan in World War II, but died just as victory was in sight.wikipedia
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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 Loïc Wacquant
The punitive turn of penal policy in the United States after the acme of the Civil Rights movement responds not to rising criminal insecurity but to the social insecurity spawned by the fragmentation of wage labor and the shakeup of the ethnoracial hierarchy. It partakes of a broader reconstruction of the state wedding restrictive workfare and expansive prisonfare under a philosophy of moral behaviorism. This paternalist program of penalization of poverty aims to curb the urban disorders wrought by economic deregulation and to impose precarious employment on the postindustrial proletariat. It also erects a garish theater of civic morality on whose stage political elites can orchestrate the public vituperation of deviant figuresthe teenage welfare mother, the ghetto street thug, and the roaming sex predatorand close the legitimacy deficit they suffer when they discard the established government mission of social and economic protection. . . .
Punishing the Poor shows that the prison is not a mere technical implement for law enforcement but a core political institution.
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By Richard L. Hasen
In 2000, just a few hundred votes out of millions cast in the state of Florida separated Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush from his Democratic opponent, Al Gore. The outcome of the election rested on Florida’s 25 electoral votes, and legal wrangling continued for 36 days. Then, abruptly, one of the most controversial Supreme Court decisions in U.S. history, Bush v. Gore, cut short the battle. Since the Florida debacle we have witnessed a partisan war over election rules. Election litigation has skyrocketed, and election time brings out inevitable accusations by political partisans of voter fraud and voter suppression. These allegations have shaken public confidence, as campaigns deploy armies of lawyers and the partisan press revs up when elections are expected to be close and the stakes are high.
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Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America
If youre smart and a hard worker, but your parents arent rich, youre now better off being born in Munich, Germany or in Singapore than in Cleveland, Ohio or New York. This radical shift did not happen by accident. Ferguson shows how, since the Reagan administration in the 1980s, both major political parties have become captives of the moneyed elite. It was the Clinton administration that dismantled the regulatory controls that protected the average citizen from avaricious financiers. It was the Bush team that destroyed the federal revenue base with its grotesquely skewed tax cuts for the rich. And it is the Obama White House that has allowed financial criminals to continue to operate unchecked, even after supposed reforms installed after the collapse of 2008. Predator Nation reveals how once-revered figures like Alan Greenspan and Larry Summers became mere courtiers to the elite.
Based on many newly released court filings, it details the extent of the crimesthere is no other wordcommitted in the frenzied chase for wealth that caused the financial crisis. And, finally, it lays out a plan of action for how we might take back our country and the American dream.Read Chapter 1
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Clarence Thomas, the most powerful black man in America, has yet to get his dueThomas retained a special anger for the aristocratic, generally lighter-skinned blacks who had looked down on him. That scorn, believe his biographers [Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher], partially explains his jurisprudence, particularly his opposition to affirmative action, which disproportionately helps bourgeois blacks. Thomas’s humiliating Senate confirmation hearings only made him more bitter. . . . He denounced blind racial loyalty, even as he confessed that he was pained “to be perceived by so many members of my race as doing them harm.” But Thomas said that he had no intention of changing his ways. He defiantly asserted “my right to think for myself, to refuse to have my ideas assigned to me as though I was an intellectual slave because I’m black.” . . . Yet if Merida and Fletcher are to be believed, there is a tragic quality to Thomas, who “wears his blackness like a heavy robe that both ennobles and burdens him.” And they question whether, despite his yearning to be free, he can ever lay that burden down. Newsweek
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By Jan Crawford Greenburg
With its closed chambers and formal language, the Supreme Court tends to deflect drama away from its vastly powerful proceedings. But its mysteries hold plenty of intrigue for anyone with the access to uncover them. In Supreme Conflict, Jan Crawford Greenburg has that access, and then some. With high-placed sourcing that would make Bob Woodward proud, she tells the story of the Court’s recent decades and of the often-thwarted attempts by three conservative presidents to remake the Court in their image. Among the revelations are the surprising influence of the most-maligned justice, Clarence Thomas, and the political impact of personal relations among these nine very human colleagues-for-life. Written for everyday readers rather than legal scholars, her account sidesteps theoretical subtleties for a compelling story of the personalities who breathe life into our laws.Tom Nissley
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By Elizabeth Dowling Taylor
Foreword by Annette Gordon-Reed
Paul Jennings was born into slavery on the plantation of James and Dolley Madison in Virginia, later becoming part of the Madison household staff at the White House. Once finally emancipated by Senator Daniel Webster later in life, he would give an aged and impoverished Dolley Madison, his former owner, money from his own pocket, write the first White House memoir, and see his sons fight with the Union Army in the Civil War. He died a free man in northwest Washington at 75. Based on correspondence, legal documents, and journal entries rarely seen before, this amazing portrait of the times reveals the mores and attitudes toward slavery of the nineteenth century, and sheds new light on famous characters such as James Madison, who believed the white and black populations could not coexist as equals; French General Lafayette who was appalled by this idea; Dolley Madison, who ruthlessly sold Paul after her husband’s death; and many other since forgotten slaves, abolitionists, and civil right activists
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By Juan Williams
Thirteen years before becoming the first African-American justice on the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall’s place in American history was secured, with his victory over school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education. Williams (Eyes on the Prize) offers readers a thorough, straightforward life of “the unlikely leading actor in creating social change in the United States in the twentieth century.” Although he was denied access to the files of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where Marshall devoted more than 40 years of his law career, and worked without the cooperation of Marshall’s family, Williams has managed to fill in the blanks with over 150 interviews, including lengthy sessions with Marshall himself in 1989. Marshall is portrayed as an outspoken critic of black militancy and nonviolent demonstrations. Williams mentions, but does not dwell on, Marshall’s history of heavy drinking, womanizing and sexual harassment. But his private contacts with J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, even while that organization was working to discredit Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, receives critical attention.
This relationship “could have cost him his credibility among civil rights activists had it become known,” writes Williams. Likewise, it would appear that his extra-legal activities and charges of incompetence and Communist connections would, if publicized, have kept him from the Supreme Court, as he himself admitted. Nevertheless, this work will stand as an accessible and fitting tribute to a champion of individual rights and “the architect of American race relations.Publishers Weekly
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By Pauline Maier
A notable historian of the early republic, Maier devoted a decade to studying the immense documentation of the ratification of the Constitution. Scholars might approach her books footnotes first, but history fans who delve into her narrative will meet delegates to the state conventions whom most history books, absorbed with the Founders, have relegated to obscurity. Yet, prominent in their local counties and towns, they influenced a conventions decision to accept or reject the Constitution. Their biographies and democratic credentials emerge in Maiers accounts of their elections to a convention, the political attitudes they carried to the conclave, and their declamations from the floor. The latter expressed opponents objections to provisions of the Constitution, some of which seem anachronistic (election regulation raised hackles) and some of which are thoroughly contemporary (the power to tax individuals directly).
Ripostes from proponents, the Federalists, animate the great detail Maier provides, as does her recounting how one state conventions verdict affected anothers. Displaying the grudging grassroots blessing the Constitution originally received, Maier eruditely yet accessibly revives a neglected but critical passage in American history.Booklist
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By Matthew Wasniewski
Black Americans in Congress, 18702007 beautifully prepared volumeis a comprehensive history of the more than 120 African Americans who have served in the United States Congress. Written for a general audience, this book contains a profile of each African-American Member, including notables such as Hiram Revels, Joseph Rainey, Oscar De Priest, Adam Clayton Powell, Shirley Chisholm, Gus Hawkins, and Barbara Jordan. Individual profiles are introduced by contextual essays that explain major events in congressional and U.S. history. Part I provides four chronologically organized chapters under the heading “Former Black Members of Congress.” Each chapter provides a lengthy biographical sketch of the members who served during the period addressed, along with a narrative historical account of the era and tables of information about the Congress during that time. Part II provides similar information about current African-American members. There are 10 appendixes providing tabular information of a variety of sorts about the service of Black members, including such things as a summary list, service on committees and in party leadership posts, familial connections, and so forth.
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By Howard Ball
Thurgood Marshall’s extraordinary contribution to civil rights and overcoming racism is more topical than ever, as the national debate on race and the overturning of affirmative action policies make headlines nationwide. Howard Ball, author of eighteen books on the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary, has done copious research for this incisive biography to present an authoritative portrait of Marshall the jurist. Born to a middle-class black family in “Jim Crow” Baltimore at the turn of the century, Marshall’s race informed his worldview from an early age. He was rejected by the University of Maryland Law School because of the color of his skin. He then attended Howard University’s Law School, where his racial consciousness was awakened by the brilliant lawyer and activist Charlie Houston. Marshall suddenly knew what he wanted to be: a civil rights lawyer, one of Houston’s “social engineers.” As the chief attorney for the NAACP, he developed the strategy for the legal challenge to racial discrimination.
His soaring achievements and his lasting impact on the nation’s legal system–as the NAACP’s advocate, as a federal appeals court judge, as President Lyndon Johnson’s solicitor general, and finally as the first African American Supreme Court Justice
are symbolized by Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark case that ended legal segregation in public schools. Using race as the defining theme, Ball spotlights Marshall’s genius in working within the legal system to further his lifelong commitment to racial equality. With the help of numerous, previously unpublished sources, Ball presents a lucid account of Marshall’s illustrious career and his historic impact on American civil rights.
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By Michael Grunwald
Time senior correspondent Michael Grunwald tells the secret history of the stimulus bill, the purest distillation of Change We Can Believe In, a microcosm of Obamas policy successes and political failures. Though it is reviled by the right and rejected by the left, it really is a new New Deal, larger than FDRs and just as transformative. It prevented an imminent depression, while jump-starting Obamas long-term agenda. The stimulus is pouring $90 billion into clean energy, reinventing the way America is powered and fueled; it includes unprecedented investments in renewables, efficiency, electric cars, a smarter grid, cleaner coal, and more. Its carrying health care into the digital era. Its Race to the Top initiative may be the boldest education reform in U.S. history. It produced the biggest middle-class tax cuts in a generation, a broadband initiative reminiscent of rural electrification, and an overhaul of the New Deals unemployment insurance system. Its revamping the way government addresses homelessness, fixes infrastructure, and spends money.
Grunwald reveals how Republicans have obscured these achievements through obstruction and distortion. The stimulus launched a genuine national comeback. It also saved millions of jobs, while creating legacies that could rival the Hoover Dam: the worlds largest wind farm, a new U.S. battery industry, a new high-speed rail network, the worlds highest-speed Internet network. Its main legacy, like the New Deals, will be change.
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By Glenn C. Loury
In this pithy discussion, renowned scholars debate the American penal system through the lensand as a legacyof an ugly and violent racial past. Economist Loury argues that incarceration rises even as crime rates fall because we have become increasingly punitive. According to Loury, the disproportionately black and brown prison populations are the victims of civil rights opponents who successfully moved the country’s race dialogue to a seemingly race-neutral concern over crime. Loury’s claims are well-supported with genuinely shocking statistics, and his argument is compelling that even if the racial argument about causes is inconclusive, the racial consequences are clear.
Three shorter essays respond: Stanford law professor Karlan examines prisoners as an inert ballast in redistricting and voting practices; French sociologist Wacquant argues that the focus on race has ignored the fact that inmates are first and foremost poor people; and Harvard philosophy professor
Shelby urges citizens to break with Washington’s political outlook on race. The group’s respectful sparring results in an insightful look at the conflicting theories of race and incarceration, and the slim volume keeps up the pace of the argument without being overwhelming.Publishers Weekly
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By Eric Liu and Nick Hanaper
American democracy is informed by the 18th centurys most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. Weve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economicsthe cutting-edge ideas of todaygenerate these simple but revolutionary ideas: The economy is not an efficient machine.
Its an effective garden that need tending. Freedom is responsibility. Government should be about the big what and the little how. True self interest is mutual interest. Were all better off when were all better off. The model of citizenship depends on contagious behavior, hence positive behavior begets positive behavior.
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By Andrew Levy
In 1791, at a time when the nation’s leaders were fervently debating the contradiction of slavery in a newly independent nation, wealthy Virginia plantation owner Robert Carter III freed more than 450 slaves. It was to be the largest emancipation until the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Abraham Lincoln. Levy offers an absorbing look at the philosophical and religious debate and the political and family struggles in which Carter engaged for years before very deliberately and systematically freeing his slaves as he attempted to provide a model for others to follow. Drawing on historic documents, including Carter’s letters and painstakingly detailed accounts of plantation activities, Levy conveys the strongly held beliefs that drove Carter through the political and religious fervor of the time to arrive at a decision at odds with those of other prominent leaders and slaveholders of the time, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Levy offers a fascinating look at one man’s redemption and his eventual lapse into historical obscurity despite his incredibly bold actions. Well researched and thoroughly fascinating, this forgotten history will appeal to readers interested in the complexities of American slavery.Booklist
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By David. A. Nichols
David A. Nichols takes us inside the Oval Office to look over Ike’s shoulder as he worked behind the scenes, prior to Brown, to desegregate the District of Columbia and complete the desegregation of the armed forces. We watch as Eisenhower, assisted by his close collaborator, Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr., sifted through candidates for federal judgeships and appointed five pro-civil rights justices to the Supreme Court and progressive judges to lower courts.
We witness Eisenhower crafting civil rights legislation, deftly building a congressional coalition that passed the first civil rights act in eighty-two years, and maneuvering to avoid a showdown with Orval Faubus, the governor of Arkansas, over desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High.
Nichols demonstrates that Eisenhower, though he was a product of his time and its backward racial attitudes, was actually more progressive on civil rights in the 1950s than his predecessor, Harry Truman, and his successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. . . . In fact, Eisenhower’s actions laid the legal and political groundwork for the more familiar breakthroughs in civil rights achieved in the 1960s.
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By David Waldstreicher
Taking on decades of received wisdom, David Waldstreicher has written the first book to recognize slaverys place at the heart of the U.S. Constitution. Famously, the Constitution never mentions slavery. And yet, of its eighty-four clauses, six were directly concerned with slaves and the interests of their owners. Five other clauses had implications for slavery that were considered and debated by the delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention and the citizens of the states during ratification. This peculiar institution was not a moral blind spot for Americas otherwise enlightened framers, nor was it the expression of a mere economic interest. Slavery was as important to the making of the Constitution as the Constitution was to the survival of slavery.By tracing slavery from before the revolution, through the Constitutions framing, and into the public debate that followed, Waldstreicher rigorously shows that slavery was not only actively discussed behind the closed and locked doors of the Constitutional Convention, but that it was also deftly woven into the Constitution itself.
For one thing, slavery was central to the American economy, and since the document set the stage for a national economy, the Constitution could not avoid having implications for slavery. Even more, since the government defined sovereignty over individuals, as well as property in them, discussion of sovereignty led directly to debate over slaverys place in the new republic. Finding meaning in silences that have long been ignored, Slaverys Constitution is a vital and sorely needed contribution to the conversation about the origins, impact, and meaning of our nations founding document.
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By Eric Foner
A mixture of visionary progressivism and repugnant racism, Abraham Lincoln’s attitude toward slavery is the most troubling aspect of his public life, one that gets a probing assessment in this study. Columbia historian and Bancroft Prize winner Foner (Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men) traces the complexities of Lincoln’s evolving ideas about slavery and African-Americans: while he detested slavery, he also publicly rejected political and social equality for blacks, dragged his feet (critics charged) on emancipating slaves and accepting black recruits into the Union army, and floated schemes for colonizing freedmen overseas almost to war’s end. Foner situates this record within a lucid, nuanced discussion of the era’s turbulent racial politics; in his account Lincoln is a canny operator, cautiously navigating the racist attitudes of Northern whites, proddedand sometimes willing to be prodded
by abolitionists and racial egalitarians pressing faster reforms.
But as Foner tells it, Lincoln also embodies a society-wide transformation in consciousness, as the war’s upheavals and the dynamic new roles played by African-Americans made previously unthinkable claims of freedom and equality seem inevitable. Lincoln is no paragon in Foner’s searching portrait, but something more essential–a politician with an open mind and a restless conscience. 16 pages of illus., 3 maps.Publishers Weekly
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 30 June 2012