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Jonathan Scott Table

Jonathan Scott Table

   

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Books by Jonathan Scott

Socialist Joy in the Writing of Langston Hughes 

 

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Bio-Sketch

Jonathan Scott grew up on the southwest side of Detroit where he attended the public schools and was a member of Messiah Church. In 1990, he graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a BA in English, and in 1998 he received a PhD in English studies from the State University of New York at Stony Brook where he benefited from the guidance of Amiri Baraka.

He wasa professor of English at the City University of New York, Borough of Manhattan Community College where he taught remedial English, composition, and literature. He has been the coordinator of the writing program at BMCC since 2001 and a full-time member of the faculty since 2000. He has taught at SUNY-Stony Brook, Wayne State University in the City of Detroit, Lawrence Tech, and Henry Ford Community College, both located in the Detroit metro area.

Jonathan Scott is Assistant Professor of English at Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem. He is the author of Socialist Joy in the Writing of Langston Hughes (University of Missouri Press, 2006). His articles have appeared in Modern Fiction Studies, Langston Hughes Review, Minnesota Review, Race & Class, College Literature, Journal of Teaching Writing, Rethinking Marxism, and Socialism and Democracy, and in the e-zines CounterPunch, Black Commentator, and ChickenBones. At present he is working on a study of the Palestinian literary tradition. jonascott15@aol.com

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Jonathan Scott has written the first book-length study to analyze the extraordinary range of Hughes’s creative output, showing that his unassailable reputation as one of America’s finest “folk poets” barely scratches the surface of his oeuvre. Scott offers a robust account of the relations between Hughes and political activism to show that Hughes’s direct involvement with the U.S. socialist movement of the 1920s and 1930s was largely responsible for the variety of his writing. Scott also contends that the goal of overthrowing white oppression produced a “socialist joy” that would express itself repeatedly in Hughes’s work during the anticommunist crusades of the 1950s and 1960s.Socialist Joy in the Writing of Langston Hughes

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For as soon as any prominent white leader starts criticizing white people’s bad behavior, the white identity falls apart and then the doors are pushed wide open for a new multiethnic U.S. populist movement, which remains the ruling class’ absolute worst nightmare. In this spirit, I have written the sermon that Reverend Billy Graham would have delivered on to the heads of white America had he forgotten, for just a day or two, his own whiteness – if he had been a white Bill Cosby. If White America Had a Bill Cosby

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Table

American Fascism Call for Papers

Heroic Minds: All the Great Ones Have Been Anti-Imperialist 

If White America Had a Bill Cosby 

The Niggerization of Palestine

Notes on Political Education 

The Origin of Violence in Virginia: A Brief History

Reflections on Octavia Butler  

Remembering to Not Forget 

The Staying Power of Rap 

Socialist Joy in the Writing of Langston Hughes  

Why Fascism When They Have White Supremacy?

Related files

Amin Sharif

Amiri Baraka

The Biggest Jailbreak

Black and Indian Power  

Black Arts and Black Power Page     

Black Fire

Black Indians

Black Nationalism in America 

The Black Poets

Conversation Contents

Conversations Review  

Election Day Returns

The Fourth World: In the Belly of the Beast

Gospel for the Poor by Bill Cosby

In Praise of Langston Hughes 

Israeli Offensive on Gaza Continues 

Langston Hughes Bio 

Lessons from France

Letters from Young Activists

Margaret Walker Chronology

New Negro Poets U.S.A.  

Notes of a Native Son  (Langston Reviews Baldwin)

Olmert Smote the Philistines   in History

Paris Is Burning 

The Pyres of Autumn

Sermon and Blues   

Slow Death in Gaza  

Speech by President Hugo Chávez

The Venezuela Connection

The Venezuelan Revolution

 

*   *   *   *   *

The underlying issue, as is always the case with Palestine, is how Americans might respond politically if they came to know that a significant portion of their tax dollars is funding the most brutal system of racial oppression the world has seen since American Jim Crow and apartheid in South Africa. The thousands of dedicated Palestine solidarity activists across the U.S. work under the assumption that once the basic facts of Israeli racial oppression against the Palestinians are established, vividly and for the political education of the majority of Americans, organized opposition to the 60-year old U.S. pro-Israel policy will spring to life, leading finally to a just solution of what’s called euphemistically in the West “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”  The Niggerization of Palestine

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The overwhelming success of the right at the level of ideas makes it unnecessary to elaborate them here in any detail. Their ideas have become common sense. Big government is bad because it promotes corruption, incompetence, laziness and inefficiency. An undeterred capitalist “free market” is the best of all possible worlds not just because it regulates itself but, more importantly, because it rewards labor productivity, creative innovation, and good team work.

The tougher the criminal laws and punishments, the less likely it is people will commit crimes. Sex education is a mistake because it encourages young people to have sex; abstinence is the only solution. The women’s movement has destroyed the moral integrity of the American family. Taxing corporations is actually a civil rights violation because it discriminates against rich people.

Multiculturalism is bad because it divides Americans along ethnic lines, tearing to shreds our society’s wholesome national fabric. Hollywood and the mass media are controlled by liberals who are probably Satan-worshippers, since their movies, music, and television programming constantly advocate sexual immorality and disrespectful and irresponsible behavior towards adult authority, especially parents and religious figures.  Notes on Political Education

created 8 May 2007

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Malcolm X

A Life of Reinvention

By Manning Marable

Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist. Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins’ bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable’s new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties.

Reaching into Malcolm’s troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents’ activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

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 Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s 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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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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Articles

Jonathan Scott Table

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ChickenBones: A Journal

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This ordinary wage earner does not, and cannot understand what Adam Smith is talking about.   His vision is too occluded by his abstract fears, his unrealizable American Dream, and his subliminal recognition of his inferiority . . .

 

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Books by Wilson Jeremiah Moses

Golden Age of Black Nationalism, 1850-1925 (1988)  / The Wings of Ethiopia  (1990)

 Alexander Crummell: A Study of Civilization and Discontent (1992)  / Destiny & Race: Selected Writings, 1840-1898  (1992) 

 Black Messiahs and Uncle Toms: Social and Literary Manipulations of a Religious Myth (1993)

Liberian Dreams: Back-to-Africa Narratives from the 1850s  / Afrotopia: The Roots of African American Popular History (2002)

Creative Conflict in African American Thought (2004)

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Joe the Plumber and Adam Smith

By Wilson J. Moses

18 October 2008

 

This election is a continuation of the culture wars, and it is likely that cultural symbols may trump economic interests.  On the cultural level, this plays out the Vietnam war all over again.   That is one reason that Ayers has emerged as an icon.  Previously the election of 2004 was about Vietnam, with John Kerry serving as an icon.  McCain, also an icon, sees the Presidency as his opportunity to vindicate not only the Iraq war, but Vietnam, as well. On the economic level, Republicans, see the election as a way of further destroying the Keynesian economic policies that predominated from Roosevelt through Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson.  People like Joe the Plumber foolishly believe that if they were not taxed, they could take their money and use it to invest on their own.  It is obvious to everyone but themselves that they lack the capacity to do so.   Indeed, most of us lack the capacity to do so, and it is this knowledge that distinguishes a working-class liberal from a working class conservative.   The Sarah Palins lack all humility, and really do believe that they are as smart as Warren Buffett.  They forget that a guy like McCain begins life with tremendous advantages, and proceeds thereafter, with access to information and institutions that they are unavailable to most of the working class.  Far too many workers foolishly believe that they can succeed outside institutional structures supported by government and taxation. Adam Smith, who is so frequently mischaracterized by Marxist historians, said in 1776:

It sometimes happens, indeed, that a single independent workman has stock sufficient both to purchase the materials of his work, and to maintain himself till it be completed. He is both master and workman, and enjoys the whole produce of his own labour, or the whole value which it adds to the materials upon which it is bestowed. It includes what are usually two distinct revenues, belonging to two distinct persons, the profits of stock, and the wages of labour.

Such cases, however, are not very frequent; and in every part of Europe twenty workmen serve under a master for one that is independent, and the wages of labour are everywhere understood to be, what they usually are, when the labourer is one person, and the owner of the stock which employs him another.

What are the common wages of labour, depends everywhere upon the contract usually made between those two parties, whose interests are by no means the same. The workmen desire to get as much, the masters to give as little, as possible. The former are disposed to combine in order to raise, the latter in order to lower, the wages of labour.

Joe the Plumber does not see the need to have a plumber’s license, or a union card, or to pay his taxes.   He earns $40,000 annually, and yet he identifies with people earning $250,000.   This ordinary wage earner does not, and cannot understand what Adam Smith is talking about.   His vision is too occluded by his abstract fears, his unrealizable American Dream, and his subliminal recognition of his inferiority to hereditary aristocrats like John McCain, who are stronger and smarter than himself.  He is unaware of his interests and incapable of acting in accord with them.  Adam Smith is often misrepresented as standing in opposition to Karl Marx.   In fact Marx stood on the sturdy shoulders of Smith.

*   *   *   *   *

Joe The Plumber’s Ideal Mortgage

The goal of Secretary Paulson’s program, regardless of how he gives away the money, is to maintain an unnatural price level in American housing.   This leads to continuation of inflation in the housing market, and leaves Americans worse off than before.  Paulson’s plan if carried out successfully can only mean increased inflation, and Inflation is a tax.

Joe the Plumber, who earns $40,000 a year, cannot afford to own a $350,000 house with three baths and a three car garage, nor can he afford to purchase his employer’s business.  But the government persists in telling him that he can do so.  In order for Joe to “own,” such a house, it is necessary to manufacture a dream world.    This involves a no-money-down, interest only, adjustable-rate mortgage at a teaser rate of  4%, which is ridiculous.  Such mortgage rates inflate the price of real estate.  Nobody should be able to get a mortgage unless they have 20% down payment.  Interest on a 30 year mortgage should be 8%.   Joe the plumber can perhaps afford such a mortgage on a home priced at $150,000 if his wife works and earns enough to bring their household income to $85,000.  Anything else is folly.

*   *   *   *   *

Responses

Guided by An Invisible Hand—Make no mistake: we are witnessing the biggest crisis since the Great Depression. . . . There are several reasons for my pessimism. The extreme credit crunch is a result of the banks having lost a lot of capital. And there is still uncertainty about the value of the toxic mortgages and other complex products on their balance sheets. The US economy has been fuelled by a consumption binge. With average savings at zero, many people borrowed to live beyond their means. When you cut off that credit you reduce consumption. This, in turn, will dampen the US economy, which helps keep the global economy growing. The American consumer has not only sustained the US economy, he has sustained the global economy. The richest country in the world has been living beyond its means and telling the rest of the world it should be thankful because America fuelled global economic growth. .  .  .

This crisis is a turning point, not only in the economy, but in our thinking about economics. Adam Smith, the father of modern economists, argued that the pursuit of self-interest (profit-making by competitive firms) would lead, as if by an invisible hand, to general well-being. But for over a quarter of a century, we have known that Smith’s conclusions do not hold when there is imperfect information— and all markets, especially financial markets, are characterised by information imperfections. The reason the invisible hand often seems invisible is that it is not there. The pursuit of self-interest by Enron and WorldCom did not lead to societal well-being; and the pursuit of self-interest by those in the financial industry has brought our economy to the brink of the abyss. New Statesman

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Will an Obama Change Speed Up a New and Better Economic Model?

Joe the Plumber is indeed an American type—white working class male Republicans. They are morphed descendants of those Jim Crow racists of 1968. It wouldn’t matter what Obama was able to do for them, even if Obama offered them zero taxes on his wages these Republican loyalists (guys and dolls) would still be against Obama and the likes of Obama—that “foreign” element in “White American” politics.

He and his compatriots are ideologues and hypocrites—e.g., against Social Security; though they will happily draw their SS when 65 and complain that it is not sufficient. Race plays no small part in their political psychology. Because they are not able to afford that $350,000 house or afford that plumbing business, Joe and his type fault minorities, immigrants, and foreigners in general for not being fully part of the white elite, just as the patty rollers and the mountain folk blamed black slaves rather than slave owners for their class conditions.

They are a sad and unhappy lot—anti-liberal, anti-democratic, anti-black, anti-rational, and anti-their-own-good. At bottom this type wants to retain and enhance white skin privileges. They are the base of these white-appealing-American ideologues, including MSNBC commentator Pat Buchanan. They are seen as more American than say a Jeremiah Wright.

The Republican Party has become today’s Dixiecrats (North, South, Midwest, and Southwest) and they are using this election as a testing ground to put forth more vigorous ideological statements and actions. A reorganization of the RP after November is a national necessity. Will they decide however to fixate on a far right religious (cultural) agenda?  In that they, including the more moderate Republicans, have made Sarah Palin their heroine, the prospects seems unlikely. The RP has become unmanageable. They lack the necessary leadership.

Much of the necessary changes in the RP, may they rest in peace, depends on the more intellectual and as David Brooks says the “coastal”  Republicans. That too  will depend on how crushing the DP win will be in November. The Republicans fear the outcome of the 2008 election will be a landslide. They fear it like the plague and so rather than creating a better product they are now bringing out every kind of racial fear tactic used since 1980.

The other problem connected with their right wing cultural offensive is that the Wall Street culture has not changed. McCain and the Wall Street Republicans are indeed “elitists.” Their trickle down economy theory—decreasing corporate taxes and taxes on the very wealthy—is an elitist one, that is, top down from the few to the pyramidal base.

The great problem with this pyramid scheme, as all pyramid schemes, is that the trickling does not get down far enough on the pyramid, say, to a Joe the Plumber, which has partially been caused by the global trade agreements and overproduction. That has decreased income nationally and shifted wealth more and more upward.

Doubtless the Republicans have had a persuasive opaque populous racist response to convince their very white religious base that all is well with fundamentalist capitalism . . . .

Too many living beyond their means resist the spread of wealth farther downward to the base. They foolish think they each have a chance of becoming a millionaire. We can see that the present economic crisis has cracked that opaqueness and allowed some light and fresh air to come in.

Class suppression and penal methods to resolve the criminality of poverty are not working for the overall economy. Will the present window of opportunity and vision be cemented and the American people return to the old cave they have been in for more than two decades?

The verdict is still out. We have no idea what will be the full material impact of this economic crisis and we have no idea how long it will last. Moreover, we are still in the dark about what can be achieved by an Obama presidency. We all remain on the edges of our seats and we want the change promised to be speeded up—Rudy

*   *   *   *   *

What went wrong in the capitalist casino?—Trade union rights are now more restricted than they were in 1906, wages have been held down and people have been advised to borrow and spend as an alternative—which explains why the stock market has fallen and locked more and more people into debt, which is a subtle form of slavery itself.

This is why so many people are frightened and frightened people can sometimes be persuaded to seek an answer by identifying an enemy who can be made a scapegoat for failure – as Hitler did when he blamed the Jews, the Communists and the trade unions for the mass unemployment in Germany and set up a fascist dictatorship which led to the Holocaust and war.

Hitler dealt with the unemployed by giving them jobs in the arms factories and the armed forces which led to the Second World War and the massive human cost it caused. ZMAG

*   *   *   *   *

The Real Plumbers of Ohio—But what’s really happening to the plumbers of Ohio, and to working Americans in general?

First of all, they aren’t making a lot of money. You may recall that in one of the early Democratic debates Charles Gibson of ABC suggested that $200,000 a year was a middle-class income. Tell that to Ohio plumbers: according to the May 2007 occupational earnings report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income of “plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters” in Ohio was $47,930.

Second, their real incomes have stagnated or fallen, even in supposedly good years. The Bush administration assured us that the economy was booming in 2007 — but the average Ohio plumber’s income in that 2007 report was only 15.5 percent higher than in the 2000 report, not enough to keep up with the 17.7 percent rise in consumer prices in the Midwest. As Ohio plumbers went, so went the nation: median household income, adjusted for inflation, was lower in 2007 than it had been in 2000.

Third, Ohio plumbers have been having growing trouble getting health insurance, especially if, like many craftsmen, they work for small firms. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2007 only 45 percent of companies with fewer than 10 employees offered health benefits, down from 57 percent in 2000. . . . I don’t want to suggest that everyone would be better off under the Obama tax plan. Joe the plumber would almost certainly be better off, but Richie the hedge fund manager would take a serious hit.

But that’s the point. Whatever today’s G.O.P. is, it isn’t the party of working Americans. NYTimes

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Speak My Name

Black Men on Masculinity and the American Dream

Edited by Don Belton

 

It is rare in America for African-American men to have the opportunity to express who they are, what they think, or how they feel. As the nemesis in the American psyche, they have been silenced by an image that is at once celebrated and maligned. In this first anthology of contemporary African-American men’s writing, black men share their experiences as the revered and reviled of America. Through the voices of some of today’s most prominent African-American writers, including August Wilson, John Edgar Wideman, Derrick Bell, and Walter Mosley, Speak My Name explores the intimate territory behind the myths about black masculinity. These intensely personal essays and stories reveal contemporary black men from the vantage point of their own lives – as men with proper names, distinctive faces, and strong family ties.

Writing about everything from “How it Feels to Be a Problem” to relationships between fathers and sons, these men reveal to us both great courage and in an amazing love for each other and themselves. In a stunning tribute to a centuries-old brotherhood of heroes, black men come together to challenge America finally to see them as individuals, to hear their long-silenced voices—to speak their names. This diverse anthology, mainly of original essays, serves as an excellent counterpoint to media stereotypes of black men. Topics include black male images, relations with women, family life and heroism.

Some favorites: soft-voiced scholar Robin D.G. Kelley recounts how his newly shaved head scared people; novelist Randall Kenan recalls a mysterious, kind and loving mentor; Quinn Eli faces the tendency of black men to accuse black women of not being supportive; filmmaker Isaac Julien and poet Essex Hemphill debate whether black unity can include gay men; novelist Walter Mosley muses about why his PI protagonist, Easy Rawlins, needs the backup of the remorseless killer Mouse to survive in an oppressive world. Belton, a former reporter for Newsweek who teaches at Macalester College, contributes his own touching effort, which treats the gap between himself and the ghetto-trapped nephew he loves.—Publishers Weekly

*   *   *   *   *

Black masculinity has built and shaped America. It is an old story which our fathers taught us; it is measured by their quiet dignity as well as their fears. What is heroic about Speak My Name is the fact that the contributors are men who decided to become writers. They all made the decision to use words instead of fists. They are writers shaped by the 1960s, like Arthur Flowers, who writes:

And, understand, the 60s were more than street battles or sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, the 60s were about commitment. We cared. We tried. It was important (and do-able) for us to make a better world. It was important to save the race. And it still is.

While our society still attempts to come to grips with the lyrics of tappers, Don Belton’s book is a gift which offers insight into how a few Black men think and feel. For sisters who are still waiting to exhale, it serves as testimony that there are good men in the world and we only have to speak their names.

Belton’s purpose for editing the volume was to “experience a richer sense of community and communion among other Black male writers.” This is evident in the interview conducted by Lewis Edwards of Albert Murray. Here, a young writer sits at the feet of an elder with an acknowledgment of inheritance and a respect for tradition. When Murray (author of The Omni-Americans and Train Whistle Guitar) talks about his friendship with Ralph Ellison during their days at Tuskegee, he conveys to Edwards how two Black men enjoyed reading and developing their intellect.

Speak My Name , according to Belton, is structured in “jazz music’s compositional model of theme and variation, giving my contributors a series of extended solos that develop toward visions of masculinity as a struggle for hope.” Belton divides his book into five sections, although these categories are unnecessary. One can enjoy the entire volume the way one appreciates the old Ornette Coleman “Free Jazz” album; just open the door to the studio and let the brothers play. The music will find its own center.—

Black Issues in Higher Education, March 7, 1996 by E. Ethelbert Miller—FindArticles 

*   *   *   *   *

Jonathan Scott is Assistant Professor of English at Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem. He is the author of Socialist Joy in the Writing of Langston Hughes (University of Missouri Press, 2006). His articles have appeared in Modern Fiction Studies, Langston Hughes Review, Minnesota Review, Race & Class, College Literature, Journal of Teaching Writing, Rethinking Marxism, and Socialism and Democracy, and in the e-zines CounterPunch, Black Commentator, and ChickenBones. At present he is working on a study of the Palestinian literary tradition. jonascott15@aol.com

*   *   *   *   *

Jonathan Scott has written the first book-length study to analyze the extraordinary range of Hughes’s creative output, showing that his unassailable reputation as one of America’s finest “folk poets” barely scratches the surface of his oeuvre. Scott offers a robust account of the relations between Hughes and political activism to show that Hughes’s direct involvement with the U.S. socialist movement of the 1920s and 1930s was largely responsible for the variety of his writing. Scott also contends that the goal of overthrowing white oppression produced a “socialist joy” that would express itself repeatedly in Hughes’s work during the anticommunist crusades of the 1950s and 1960s.Socialist Joy in the Writing of Langston Hughes

*   *   *   *   *

For as soon as any prominent white leader starts criticizing white people’s bad behavior, the white identity falls apart and then the doors are pushed wide open for a new multiethnic U.S. populist movement, which remains the ruling class’ absolute worst nightmare. In this spirit, I have written the sermon that Reverend Billy Graham would have delivered on to the heads of white America had he forgotten, for just a day or two, his own whiteness – if he had been a white Bill Cosby. If White America Had a Bill Cosby

*   *   *   *   *

Table

American Fascism Call for Papers

Heroic Minds: All the Great Ones Have Been Anti-Imperialist 

If White America Had a Bill Cosby 

The Niggerization of Palestine

Notes on Political Education 

The Origin of Violence in Virginia: A Brief History

Reflections on Octavia Butler  

Remembering to Not Forget 

The Staying Power of Rap 

Socialist Joy in the Writing of Langston Hughes  

Why Fascism When They Have White Supremacy?

Related files

Amin Sharif

Amiri Baraka

The Biggest Jailbreak

Black and Indian Power  

Black Arts and Black Power Page     

Black Fire

Black Indians

Black Nationalism in America 

The Black Poets

Conversation Contents

Conversations Review  

Election Day Returns

The Fourth World: In the Belly of the Beast

Gospel for the Poor by Bill Cosby

In Praise of Langston Hughes 

Israeli Offensive on Gaza Continues 

Langston Hughes Bio 

Lessons from France

Letters from Young Activists

Margaret Walker Chronology

New Negro Poets U.S.A.  

Notes of a Native Son  (Langston Reviews Baldwin)

Olmert Smote the Philistines   in History

Paris Is Burning 

The Pyres of Autumn

Sermon and Blues   

Slow Death in Gaza  

Speech by President Hugo Chávez

The Venezuela Connection

The Venezuelan Revolution

 

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The underlying issue, as is always the case with Palestine, is how Americans might respond politically if they came to know that a significant portion of their tax dollars is funding the most brutal system of racial oppression the world has seen since American Jim Crow and apartheid in South Africa. The thousands of dedicated Palestine solidarity activists across the U.S. work under the assumption that once the basic facts of Israeli racial oppression against the Palestinians are established, vividly and for the political education of the majority of Americans, organized opposition to the 60-year old U.S. pro-Israel policy will spring to life, leading finally to a just solution of what’s called euphemistically in the West “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”  The Niggerization of Palestine

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The overwhelming success of the right at the level of ideas makes it unnecessary to elaborate them here in any detail. Their ideas have become common sense. Big government is bad because it promotes corruption, incompetence, laziness and inefficiency. An undeterred capitalist “free market” is the best of all possible worlds not just because it regulates itself but, more importantly, because it rewards labor productivity, creative innovation, and good team work.

The tougher the criminal laws and punishments, the less likely it is people will commit crimes. Sex education is a mistake because it encourages young people to have sex; abstinence is the only solution. The women’s movement has destroyed the moral integrity of the American family. Taxing corporations is actually a civil rights violation because it discriminates against rich people.

Multiculturalism is bad because it divides Americans along ethnic lines, tearing to shreds our society’s wholesome national fabric. Hollywood and the mass media are controlled by liberals who are probably Satan-worshippers, since their movies, music, and television programming constantly advocate sexual immorality and disrespectful and irresponsible behavior towards adult authority, especially parents and religious figures.  Notes on Political Education

created 8 May 2007

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Malcolm X

A Life of Reinvention

By Manning Marable

Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist. Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins’ bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable’s new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties.

Reaching into Malcolm’s troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents’ activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

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 Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s 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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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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updated 2 November 2007 

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