ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Since the late eighteen century, the Protestant Negro churches have been the foundation
and institutional seat of Negro power. In the latter part of the nineteenth century,
it was indeed the source of institutional creativity.
Leading the Negro into Modernity
Turner, Washington, & Du Bois
By Rudolph Lewis
By the time of time of the American Revolution, a century and half of common cultural experiences and social conditions had created out of the disparate tribes of enslaved Africans, a group identity, a people self-aware of itself with its own destiny. These formerly disconnected people–bound by color, condition, and continental origin–had become a Christian people, the American Negro.
Talented men such as Richard Allen, Frederick Douglass, and Martin Delany rose from the impoverished pits of American society before the Civil War to speak to the interest of Christian slaves and free Negroes. They were the beacon light for those held in American slavery, the symbolical and public hope of the enslaved.
This intellectual class of Negroes hoped that the abolition of slavery would marshal in a new era in which the ideals of the Declaration of Independence would become an actuality. But that was not to be. With the abolition of slavery and the Negro made a citizen of the United States of America (15th Amendment), the great glorious ideals of nineteen century Europe–fraternity and brotherhood of man, liberality, and democracy– did not rain down upon the Negro.
In his own agrarian world, the American Negro barely knew “great glorious ideals” existed. He still was not welcomed into the great fraternity of the social and spiritual body of America. Though citizen, he remained yet an alien to the body politic, an intruder into that which was white and “civilized.”
Anglo-America (North and South) did not intend that Negroes would enjoy the same social and political rights as they nor those of the newly arrived immigrants from Europe. With the failure of Reconstruction and the subsequent wave of anti-Negro sentiment and legislation, the Negro intellectual class sought to find a way to counter the hysteria and reaction. This new crisis threatened to again exclude their class from full participation as citizens and deny their rights as native-born Americans, a people who had been on and a part of and worked the American soil for over two centuries. It did not matter that they were a people who had greatly contributed (without wage or material profit) to the making of that which America had become economically, politically, and culturally.
In the Civil War, the Negro again proved himself an excellent soldier
Countering America’s Betrayal
Negroes resisted this second betrayal. The American Revolution, unlike the Haitian Revolution, kept the African enslaved, except in the North. The Civil War abolished slavery. But with failure of Reconstruction and the moral cowardice of the federal government confronted by a reconstructed Southern confederacy, the Negro became a second-class citizen. America’s racial hierarchy remained firmly in place. During this period, three men rose to counter America’s betrayal of the Negro by argument for a new group concept and vision– Henry McNeil Turner, Booker T. Washington, and W.E.B. Du Bois.
Turner, Washington, and Du Bois, each in turn argued for a group morality, a group destiny, and a group program. Each, however, approached the Negro’s burden from a high intellectual perspective that was distant and distinct from the folk existence and culture of the mass of Negroes. Though Turner was a minister, he along with Washington and Du Bois was exceedingly political and secular in his approaches to solving the problems of the Negro. In his conception of the Negro and blackness, Turner, however, was probably the most radical. Born a Virginia slave, Washington, typically American, was the most pragmatic. Du Bois, the most intellectual of the three, was a social scientist and racial historian. Each in a manner was priest (however secular), poet (in their myth-making), and politician (in their efforts to change the power relationships between the races).
Henry M. Turner (1834-1915) was a prominent bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the equal of Richard Allen and Daniel Payne in the development of African Methodism. During the Civil War, Lincoln appointed Turner chaplain of Company B of the First United States Colored Infantry. He was also appointed by President Johnson to work with the Freedman’s Bureau in Georgia during Reconstruction. Turner was also a legislator in the Georgia legislature Turner left the Freedman’s Bureau and became again an “active member of the Gospel and traveling over the state to organize the Freedman into churches” (Life and Times of Henry McNeil Turner, p. 154).
Since the late eighteen century, the Protestant Negro churches have been the foundation and institutional seat of Negro power. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, it was indeed the source of institutional creativity. The minister, however educated and schooled, was one who was granted power by the masses of folk to speak on their behalf. often they outstripped their leaders in militancy, pragmatic perspectives, and a this-worldly religiosity. This view can be gleaned from the spirituals and folktales.
It is difficult to appreciate the great importance of local Church organizations to the Freedman in reconstruction times. These Churches were not only places where the people were taught the truth of the Gospel, but they were, most important of all, the Negro’s first social centers; their organization for general uplift. Here they were taught what it was necessary for them to do to become useful citizens. The importance of settling down and going to work, of acquiring property and getting an education was impressed upon them.
Thus it was the foundation that was laid for that phenomenal progress which, in later years, the race in the South was able to make. In 1874, nine years after the close of the war, the Negroes of Georgia had accumulated over six million dollars’ worth of property (Life and Times of Henry M. Turner, p. 154).
Though immersed in pastoral work, Turner, however, “did not cease to cry aloud against the wrongs, injuries, and injustices heaped upon his people” (Life and Times of Henry M. Turner, p. 172).
Turner & an African Nationality
Compared to Booker T. Washington and, maybe, Du Bois, Henry M. Turner was quite immoderate and militant in his intellectual defense of the Negro. “Bishop Turner was a fearless race man, who fought unremittingly for the rights and larger freedom of our people . . . and with a rugged stubbornness maintained his position and advocated his principles with a courage and conviction born of the consciousness of their righteousness and the approval of high heaven (Life and Times of Henry M. Tuner, p. 153).
Turner was consistent in his rhetorical views. In “the South, as in the North, he delivered the very same speeches and addresses” (Life and Times of Henry M. Turner, p. 172). When in 1883, the Supreme Court declared the Civil Rights Bill unconstitutional and void, Bishop Turner “stood before the nation and hurled” the anathema–“So far as protection was concerned to the Negro in this country, the American flag was no more than a dirty rag” (Life and Times of Henry M. Turner, p. 146).
Losing faith in the American promise, Bishop Turner advocated African emigration. He had traveled extensively in Africa; Zambesi Country, Transvall, Pretoria, Rhodesia, Basutoland, Matabele, Watal, Kaffaria, Cape Colony, and West Africa (Life and Times of Henry M. Turner, p. 147). According to M.M. Ponton, Turner “heard the voice of his people welcoming him back home, in that Macedonian cry, ‘Come over and help us!'” (Life and Times of Henry M. Turner, p. 77).
Turner believed there was a destined place in pre-colonial Africa for the American Negro. He “firmly believed and preached, lectured and wrote that God brought the Negro to America and Christianized him so that he might go back to Africa and redeem that land, and the Continent itself, before the nations of the earth would gobble it up and parcel it out among themselves” (Life and Times of Henry M. Turner, p. 77).
Curiously, Turner’s perspective faintly mirrors that of apologists for Southern slavery. That is, the African pagan was worse off in his native jungles than slaving on a Southern plantation, at least, on a religious level. The Christian environment had a mystical, civilizing effect. On the plantation, he was taught the spiritual values of work, responsibility, and piety. Both views argue a relationship of history, race and religion.
Few Negroes responded to Turner’s colonization scheme. Many were familiar with the failures of the Liberia Experiment. Such projects needed financing and support from wealthy and powerful whites of either America or Europe. That was not forthcoming. Others of his class were far from supporting such a scheme. It is significant, however, that Turner tied the destiny of the American Negro with that of the continent of Africa.
After the Fugitive Slave Bill of the 1850s, Martin Delany had argued for a similar Africa plan and African nationality. During the 1920s Marcus Garvey would again put forth such plans. As those before and after, Bishop Turner’s post-Reconstruction emigration movement of the 1880s and 1890s fizzled out and came to nothing. In times of crisis people often grab onto straw as a means to escape the dark pits of misfortune..
Washington & Accommodationism
On July 4, 1881, Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) opened the doors of Tuskegee Institute–a church and a shanty for classrooms, and 31 students from nearby farms. Washington was an advocate of industrial training for blacks and extremely effective with white philanthropists. He influenced the donation of millions of dollars for Negro education.
Washington rose to national prominence after his Atlanta Compromise Address (1895). Some believed that Washington’s address was “the beginning of a moral revolution in America” (Up from Slavery, p. 158). Washington received telegrams of congratulations for his grand speech from some of the most powerful men in the the nation, including President Cleveland.
In undermining the anti-Negro sentiment of the South, Washington declared; “In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.” His analogy led to an attack on others of his intellectual class. “The wisest men among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly” (Up from Slavery, p. 148-149). Of course, such a backhand slap left many Negro leaders very displeased with Washington’s approach of accommodation to the Negro’s oppression. Washington commanded much power and influence. He made Tuskegee Institute “the largest and best-supported black educational institution of his day and spawned a large network of other industrial schools. In 1901, Washington reported that Tuskegee had $700,00 in property and one million dollars in its endowment fund. With his development of the National Negro Business League in 1900, Washington had essentially become the Black Czar of black money, black life, and black thought.
Through Washington Andrew Carnegie alone gave buildings to twenty-nine black schools. Not only college administrators owed him for favors, but so did church leaders, YMCA directors, and many others. Though never much of a joiner, he became a power in the Baptist Church, and he schemed through lieutenants to control the secret black fraternal orders and make his friends the high potentates of the Pythians, Odd Fellows, and so on. Like any boss, he turned every favor into a bond of obligation (Harlan, “Booker T. Washington”).
Washington became the conduit for money from white philanthropists as Andrew Carnegie, and the contact for political, federal appointments. Washington believed that the Negro was powerless through protest to turn the tide of anti-Negro sentiment. He believed that the Negro by his social behavior must morally persuade America of his readiness to assume the responsibilities of citizenship.
I think that the whole future of my race hinges on the question as to whether or not it can make itself of such indispensable value that the people in the town and the state where we reside will feel that our presence is necessary to the happiness and well-being of the community. No man who continues to add something to the material, intellectual, and moral well-being of the place in which he lives is long left without proper reward. This is the great human law which cannot be permanently nullified (Up from Slavery, p. 182)
This “human law” of recognition. however, had indeed been “nullified” in America, with respect to the Negro for over two centuries.
For some Professor Washington’s accommodation to Negro oppression was tantamount to a surrender of human integrity and dignity.
Like Turner, Washington accepted the civilizing influences of slavery on the Africans brought to America. Washington believed that the Africans were primitive and pagan and backward, and thus beyond the pale of civilization. At a Chicago public meeting attended by President William McKinley, Washington “pictured the Negro choosing slavery rather than extinction” (Up from Slavery, p. 167). After a European tour, Washington concluded that Anglo-America slavery and culture had made the Negro in some respects more respectable and civilized than the French.
The love of pleasure and excitement which seems in a large measure to possess the French people impressed itself upon me. I think they are more noted in this respect than is true of the people of my own race. In point of morality and moral earnestness I do not believe that the French are ahead of my own race in America. . . . In the matter of truth and high honor I do not believe that the average Frenchman is ahead of the American Negro; while so far as mercy and kindness to dumb animals go, I believe that my race is far ahead. In fact, when I left France I had more faith in the future of the black man in America than I ever possessed (Up from Slavery, pp. 182-183).
Exposed to the civilizing culture of his Anglo-American masters, the American Negro had already learned the values of work, thrift, property, and piety. Nevertheless, Washington for got to mention, despite his lack of such values, the average Frenchman, a foreigner and alien, could yet come to America and receive the respect that the Negro had not receive after two centuries.
Du Bois Conserving Racial Destinies
W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963), brilliant scholar, writer, and social scientist, was an international legend in his own time. He achieved his fame first by opposing Booker T. Washington’s advocacy of industrial education for Negroes. Du Bois insisted that blacks should be trained as well in the liberal arts and the humanities.
Du Bois was a meticulous thinker in matters of race, history, and culture and their connectedness. He was a modern scholar. He studied first at Fisk and then at Harvard and then at the University of Berlin where he mastered the new social sciences. He then received his Ph.D. from Harvard and for his doctoral dissertation he wrote a systematic study of the African slave trade, which was published by Harvard in 1896 as The Suppression of the African Slave Trade.
Three years later his sociological work The Philadelphia Negro (1899) was published. Numerous of his articles can be found in the pages of the Dial, Collier’s, Nation, Booklovers Magazine, World Today, Outlook, Atlantic Monthly, and Independent–protesting the condition and treatment of the American Negro. In The Souls of Black Folk (1903), Du Bois gave literary voice to the Negro unlike never before achieved by any black writer. After a century, The Souls of Black Folk remains a classic of black intellectual thought.
Though he was not a religious leader like Henry M. Turner nor a popular leader like Booker T. Washington, he was no less a “race man” than Turner or Washington. He was widely respected as one of the founders of and leaders in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored people (NAACP). Because of his intellectual arrogance or aloofness or both, Du Bois never achieved the personal power in the fashion of Washington.
Unlike Washington or Turner, Du Bois was not an Anglophile. This may have resulted from his scholarly training as well as his consciousness of his Dutch and French as well as his African heritage. With the rise of scientific anthropology, Du Bois had a great appreciation and sympathy toward other world cultures. Each he felt was unique and had its contribution to make to world culture. In his thinking, culture and history had a vital connection. In his essay “The Conservation of Races,” Du Bois wrote as follows:
Turning to the real history, there can be no doubt, first, as to the widespread, nay, universal, prevalence of the race idea, the race spirit, the race ideal, and as to the efficiency as the vastest and most ingenious invention for human progress. We who have been reared and trained under the individualistic philosophy of the Declaration of Independence and the laissez-faire philosophy of Adam Smith, are loath to see and loath to acknowledge this patent fact of human history. We see the Pharoahs, Ceasars, Toussaints and Napoleons of history and forget the vast races of which they were but epitomized expressions.
From Du Bois’ perspective, the Negro leader would be cowardly and destructive if he did not recognize race as an “ancient instrument of progress.”
In Du Bois’ historical scheme, race is a complex matter. The mere flexible physical demarcations of race do not in themselves make the difference. Though the physical characteristics can be used for identification, “the deeper differences are spiritual, psychical, differences–undoubtedly based on the physical, but infinitely transcending them” (“The Conservation of Races”). Not merely physical identity and blood, but also “a common history, common laws and religion, similar habits of thought and a conscious striving for certain ideals of life” are important aspects of what Du Bois calls “race.” (“The Conservation of Races”). Taking Turns on History’s Racial Stage The terms nation, race, and people seem to collapse inextricably into Du Bois’ transcendent race idea.
The English nation stood for constitutional liberty and commercial freedom; the German nation for science and philosophy; the Romance nations stood for literature and art, and the other race groups are striving, each in its own way, to develop for civilization its particular message, its particular ideal, which shall guide the world nearer and nearer that perfection of human life for which we all long, that “one and far off Divine event” (“The Conservation of Races”).
The ancient races of Africa in Egypt and China had already made contributions to world civilization. But they had been replaced and outstripped on the world stage by Western Europeans. These ancients races, for Du Bois, still had contributions to make in the modern era. Each has a determined destiny yet to fulfill. By implication, the American Negro and their kinsmen in West Africa had their destinies yet to fulfill in the modern era
Unlike many of his class, Du Bois did not give way to the notion that the solution of the America Negro was a physical dissolution into the majority. This was a foolhardy vision. The Negro should not place his “hope of salvation” in “being able to lose [his] race identity in the commingled blood of our nation.” On the contrary, the Negro’s destiny is not “a servile imitation of Anglo-Saxon culture, but a stalwart originality which shall unswervingly follow Negro ideals” (“The Conservation of Races”). Du Bois’ recommendation was not new, but one that was already a part of the history and culture of the Negro. To realize his destiny the Negro must even more consciously and assertively create for himself “race organizations.”
Negro colleges, Negro newspapers, Negro business organizations, a Negro school of literature and art, and an intellectual clearing house, for all those products of the Negro mind, which we may call a Negro Academy. Not only is it necessary for positive advance, it is absolutely imperative for negative defense. let us not deceive ourselves at our situation in this country. Weighted with a heritage of moral iniquity from our past history, hard pressed in the economic world by foreign immigrants and native prejudice, hated here, despised there and pitied everywhere; our one haven of refuge is ourselves, and but one means of advance, our own belief in our great destiny, our own implicit trust in our ability and worth (“The Conservation of Races”).
Though different than Turner and Washington, Du Bois, like them, thought in monumental terms. He yet retained the imperial idea made popular in the romantic nationalism of the nineteenth century, a glorification and deification of man, an idealization which manifested itself in the person of Napoleon. Du Bois believed that the American Negro would act as “the advance guard” of blacks in Africa and the rest of the Americas. To achieve his race destiny, the American Negro must develop a “Pan-Negroism” or a “Pan-Africanism,” that would develop the establishment of a Negro civilization in the modern era, in the Americas and Africa–if not a civilization, at least, the establishment of the validity of Negro ideals. Often outside intellectual rigor in his prognostications, Du Bois donned the masks of poet and priest, some times consciously when he waxed romantically about his notion of “Negro ideals.” In “What Is Civilization?–Africa’s Answer” (1925), Du Bois concretizes what he intended by the terms “Negro ideals.” The village, according to Dr. Du Bois, is the product of the African spirit. The village “bred religion, industry, government, education, and art, and these were bred as integral interrelated things.” He explained more in depths as follows:
The African village socialized the individual completely, and yet because the village was small this socialization did not submerge and kill individuality. When the city socializes the modern man he become mechanical and cities tend to be all alike. When the nation attempts to socialize the modern man the result is often a soulless Leviathan. The African village attempted and accomplished that part more successfully.
What it lacked in “breadth and vision” in developing a “larger permanent imperialism” and a “militarism,” the village “gained in depth and personal knowledge.”
According to Du Bois, in Africa, there was “no monopoly, no poverty, no prostitution, and the only privilege was the definite, regulated, and usually limited privilege of the chief and head men, given in return for public service and revocable for failure” (“What Is Civilization”). In “Realities in Africa” (1943), Du Bois allowed that “there is no one Africa . . . no unity of physical characteristics, of cultural development, of historical experience, or of racial identity.”
Similarities & Contrasts
Though derived from a different philosophical basis, Du Bois agreed with Washington and Turner on the need to build black institutions. They differed, however, on to what purpose and direction those institutions would take. In large measure this program of developing racial institutions that all three advocated were that which the masses followed by tradition and necessity. Washington saw these institutions as a mere intermediary stage. With the acceptance of the Negro into the larger society these institutions would wither away. Turner and Du Bois were not so optimistic, or blind, about the good will of Anglo-America.
Turner hoped for the redemption of Africa. Du Bois did the same, more or less, but his thought would have been expressed in more secular, more humanistic terms that reflected his study of the new social sciences.
Du Bois put his ideas to work by developing the “Pan-African Congress.” Like Turner and Washington Du Bois tended, at one time or another, to view Africa and Africans from an imperial view. Most of the meetings of the Pan-African Congress were not attended by delegates from Africa. The meetings were dominated by delegates from the United States and the West Indies.
Africans did attend the fifth Pan- frican Congress (15 to 21 October 1945) in Manchester, England. From the Gold Coast, Nkrumah came; also, Jomo Kenyatta from Kenya, Wallace Johnsoon from Sierre Leone, Peter Abrahams from South Africa, and others. Many of these men returned to their respective countries and eventually led their respective nations and regions to a nominal independence from the former colonial regimes (“Pan-Africanism: A Mission in My Life”).
The ideals that each carried and promoted on behalf of the Negro, especially the education and training of the masses, did however contribute to the greater progress of the Negro in American society. Yet the problems of second-class citizen ship and racial oppression were not resolved by their programs. The Negro still did not yet have the strength to defend himself against threats and attacks on his person or his property by vigilante groups and the state apparatus.
Rather than Turner or Washington, Du Bois was the epitome of the spirit of the Negro of the twentieth century–the “New Negro,” basically secular and academic rather than religious and parochial. Through his rhetoric and argument the servile image of the Negro was destroyed. He helped to establish a more manly, intellectual image of the Negro. In academic terms, he laid out plans for a spectacular vision of the Negro contributing greatly to the development of a world culture.
It was under Du Bois’ beacon that a Harlem Renaissance came to be with its artistic outpouring. Even during the Great Depression, this intellectual and social movement continued and still continues to sustain itself in the contemporary era with a proliferation of African-American studies departments at primarily non-black institutions.
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Henry McNeal Turner (February 1, 18341915) was a bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Turner was born “free” in Newberry Courthouse, South Carolina . Instead of being sold into slavery, his family sent him to live with a Quaker family. The law at the time of his birth prevented a black child from being taught to read or write. Assisted by some sympathetic whites and through observation at a law firm where he worked as a caretaker he taught himself to read and write. He received his preacher’s license in 1853. He traveled through the south for a few years as an evangelist and married in 1856. He later had 14 children. Eventually he became a Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
During the American Civil War he was appointed a Chaplain to one of the first Federal regiments of black troops (Company B of the First United States Colored Troops). This appointment came directly from President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. He was also appointed by President Andrew Johnson to work with the Freedman’s Bureau in Georgia during Reconstruction.
Following the Civil War he became steadily more disenchanted with the lack of progress in the status of the country’s African-Americans. During this time he moved to the state of Georgia. It was here that he became involved in Radical Republican politics. He helped found the Republican Party of Georgia. After attempts to overcome certain Supreme Court decisions, Turner became disgusted and ended his attempts to bring equality to the United States. Instead, Turner became a proponent of the “back to Africa” and “African American colonization” movements. He travelled to Africa and was struck by the differences in the attitude of Africans who had never known the degradation of slavery.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
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#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
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As a young woman, Leymah Gbowee was broken by the Liberian civil war, a brutal conflict that tore apart her life and claimed the lives of countless relatives and friends. Years of fighting destroyed her countryand shattered Gbowees girlhood hopes and dreams. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn her bitterness into action, propelled by her realization that it is women who suffer most during conflictsand that the power of women working together can create an unstoppable force. In 2003, the passionate and charismatic Gbowee helped organize and then led the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who sat in public protest, confronting Liberias ruthless president and rebel warlords, and even held a sex strike.
With an army of women, Gbowee helped lead her nation to peacein the process emerging as an international leader who changed history. Mighty Be Our Powers is the gripping chronicle of a journey from hopelessness to empowerment that will touch all who dream of a better world.Beast Books
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By Rick Stengel
Richard Stengel, the editor of Time magazine, has distilled countless hours of intimate conversation with Mandela into fifteen essential life lessons. For nearly three years, including the critical period when Mandela moved South Africa toward the first democratic elections in its history, Stengel collaborated with Mandela on his autobiography and traveled with him everywhere. Eating with him, watching him campaign, hearing him think out loud, Stengel came to know all the different sides of this complex man and became a cherished friend and colleague. In Mandelas Way, Stengel recounts the moments in which the grandfather of South Africa was tested and shares the wisdom he learned: why courage is more than the absence of fear, why we should keep our rivals close, why the answer is not always either/or but often both, how important it is for each of us to find something away from the world that gives us pleasure and satisfactionour own garden.
Woven into these life lessons are remarkable storiesof Mandelas childhood as the protégé of a tribal king, of his early days as a freedom fighter, of the twenty-seven-year imprisonment that could not break him, and of his new and fulfilling marriage at the age of eighty.
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By John Dramani Mahama
Though the colonies of sub-Saharan Africa began to claim independence in the late 1950s and 60s, autocratic and capricious leadership soon caused initial hope to fade, and Africa descended into its lost decades, a period of stagnation and despondency from which much of the continent has yet to recover. Mahama, vice president of the Republic of Ghana, grew up alongside his nascent country and experienced this roller-coaster of fortunes. In this memoir, Mahama, the son of a member of parliament, recounts how affairs of state became real in his young mind on the day in 1966 when no one came to collect him from boarding schoolthe government had been overthrown, his father arrested, and his house confiscated. In fluid, unpretentious style, Mahama unspools Ghanas recent history via entertaining and enlightening personal anecdotes: spying on his uncle impersonating a deity in order to cajole offerings of soup from the villagers hints at the power of religion; discussions with his schoolmates about confronting a bully form the nucleus of his political awakening.
As he writes: The key to Africas survival has always been . . . in the story of its people, the paradoxical simplicity and complexity of our lives. The book draws to a close as the authors professional life begins. Publishers Weekly
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God is Not a Christian: and Other Provocations By Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu has become one of the greatest moral voices of our time. In his new book, God is Not A Christian, an essential collection of his most historic speeches and writings, we witness his unique career of provoking the powerful and confronting the world in order to protect the oppressed, the poor, and the victims of injustice. Tutu first won renown for his courageous opposition to apartheid in South Africa, but his ministry soon took on international dimensions. Rooted in his faith and in the values embodied in the African spirit of ubuntu, Tutus uncompromising vision of a shared humanity has compelled him to speak out, even in the face of violent opposition and virulent criticism, against political injustice and oppression, religious fundamentalism, and the persecution of minorities. Arranged by theme and introduced with insight and historical context by Tutu biographer John Allen, God is Not a Christian: and Other Provocations takes readers from the violent clashes in South Africa over Apartheid to the healing work of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee; from Trafalgar Square after the fall of the Berlin Wall to a nationally broadcast address commemorating the legacy of Nelson Mandela; from Dublin, Irelands Christ Church Cathedral to a basketball stadium in Luanda, Angola.
Whether exploring democracy in Africa, the genocide in Rwanda, black theology, the inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church, or the plight of Palestinians, Tutus truth is clear and voice unflinching. In a world of suffering and conflict, where human laws all too often clash with the law of God, Tutus hopeful, timeless messages become more needed and powerful with each passing year. The strength of principle found in this collection can inspire younger generations of every stripe to pick up Tutus mantle.HarperOne
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By Mary L. Dudziak
Thurgood Marshall became a living icon of civil rights when he argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court in 1954. Six years later, he was at a crossroads. A rising generation of activists were making sit-ins and demonstrations rather than lawsuits the hallmark of the civil rights movement. What role, he wondered, could he now play? When in 1960 Kenyan independence leaders asked him to help write their constitution, Marshall threw himself into their cause. Here was a new arena in which law might serve as the tool with which to forge a just society. In Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall’s African Journey (2008) Mary Dudziak recounts with poignancy and power the untold story of Marshall’s journey to Africa
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 3 July 2012