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This is what I would do on Saturdays in the summer time. At nine o’clock in the morning I’d go to the Schomburg Library on 135th Street. You could sit down at the Schomburg and read Countee Cullen or Wallace Thurman’s The Blacker the Berry. We could read anything by Langston Hughes — any of those people — and know we’re part of that.

 

 

Baltimore Orator:  Barry Michael Cooper

Screenwriter for New Jack City, Above the Rim, & Sugar Hill

By Michael A. Gonzales

Michael A. Gonzales Interviews Barry Michael Cooper

 

In the Eighties, when the Village Voice still overflowed with ambition, Barry Michael Cooper began his writing career under the guidance of music critic Robert Christgau. While Cooper had written the first rap record review for the paper, it was not until the textual hip-hop of his groundbreaking 1988 article, “Teddy Riley’s New Jack Swing,” that readers really began to pay attention. Cooper’s article not only named a seminal musical sound, it also mixed so-called New Journalism with a ghetto sensibility that was rare in the annals of music writing.

As a Harlemite who had always loved seeing the hood represented in popular culture, be it in a poem by Langston Hughes or Fred Williamson walking down 125th Street in Black Caesar, Cooper represents uptown in a way no writer has since the Black Arts Movement of the Sixties. Still, nothing could have prepared admirers of Cooper’s journalism for his first foray into the film industry, as the screenwriter for Mario Van Peebles’s 1991 hit, New Jack City.

Though originally brought in to rewrite a dusty script about heroin in Harlem by Thomas Lee Wright, Cooper injected the crack concept and made the work his own. With a memorable cast of characters — among them drug lord Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) and comic relief crackhead Pookie (Chris Rock) — New Jack Citybecame an instant classic. As Roger Ebert wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times, “The movie was advertised (no doubt wisely) as a slam-bang action adventure, but in fact, it’s a serious, smart film with an impact that lingers after the lights go up.”

Following New Jack City, Cooper wrote the hoop-dream saga Above the Rim, which starred Tupac Shakur, and the masterful Sugar Hill, which starred Wesley Snipes. Cooper’s gritty Harlem trilogy made an impact on hip-hop culture that can be heard in Jay-Z’s lyrics and seen in P. Diddy’s style. Still writing and striving in his adopted home of Baltimore, where last year he completed his directorial debut, Blood on the Walls, Cooper’s oeuvre gives aspiring hip-hop writers something to aim for.

Stop Smiling: Harlem is the basis for your films and the foundation for a lot of your writing.

Barry Michael Cooper: I grew up in Little Washington Heights between 164th and 165th Street on Amsterdam Avenue. I lived there until I was about 10 years old. I can remember socializing with Jewish kids, Irish kids. Then I moved to Esplanade Gardens. The neighborhood I moved from was very culturally and racially mixed. When I moved to Harlem I was scared. I’d always heard the stories. That was 1968. Esplanade Gardens is a co-op high rise. You had all levels of society in there — from millionaires to people on welfare. I’ve been in Baltimore 22 years now and Harlem is still with me. All three movies I’ve produced — Sugar Hill, Above the Rim and New Jack City — were written here in Baltimore. It’s nice that even out here all that stuff came back to me in a blinding, colorful flash.

This is what I would do on Saturdays in the summer time. At nine o’clock in the morning I’d go to the Schomburg Library on 135th Street. You could sit down at the Schomburg and read Countee Cullen or Wallace Thurman’s The Blacker the Berry. We could read anything by Langston Hughes — any of those people — and know we’re part of that. I knew early on that I was a part of that stuff. I had no doubt about it.From there I’d go to the Rucker Park basketball courts to watch Dr. J. Then to A.J. Lester’s clothing store to get what I was going to wear to the Apollo later that night. I don’t know too many people in this country that can have that kind of experience, all in the course of 12 hours. There’s a great artistic legacy that comes out of Harlem, and it’s imprinted in us like a kind of cultural DNA.

SS: Do you remember when crack came to Harlem?

BMC: Harlem is split into two periods: BC and AC, Before Crack and After Crack. There was a profound change when that drug hit Harlem. People talk about heroin, but heroin is almost a lifer drug. You see 40-, 50-, 60-year-old lifelong, functional heroin addicts.

SS: To me crack was the first “out” drug. Guys on the street sold crack, standing in doorways. Back in the day, dealers would never think of selling drugs in the open.

BMC: They would go behind the staircase and that type of thing in the tenement. I think crack became so widespread because it didn’t involve needles. People are scared of needles. With crack — you smoked it, and it was an immediate high.

SS: Do you think of crack as a hip-hop drug?

BMC: Without a doubt. Because even people who weren’t getting high off crack felt the cultural effect it brought. That drug changed hip-hop. This is gonna sound freaky, but crack made hip-hop corporate, because the guys who emulated the crack dealers became rap stars. They wanted to be tough like them and wanted to floss. Crack made hip-hop very corporate. It took it beyond break dancing, graffiti and the South Bronx. The stories that Biggie told, that Jigga told, that Eazy-E told, all of them guys came out of the crack culture. It really had a profound change on the culture.

I researched this crack story for Spin back in 1985; that’s when I learned a lot about the drug. It was the first national piece on crack. I heard about all the base houses up and down 145th Street, from Bradhurst Avenue all the way over to Broadway and Riverside. The Spin article was just called “Crack.” It really opened doors for me. It made people pay attention. It was also my first piece away from doing music stories, because that’s what I wanted to go into.

SS: How did you become a writer?

BMC: I always wanted to be a novelist, ever since 11th or 12th grade. I went to Charles Evans Hughes, which was in Chelsea. It was a great experience because I was coming from Harlem. Going to school near Greenwich Village, meeting all kinds of different people and getting out of Harlem was great because I was exposed to another world. I had great English teachers there. I was getting into poetry contests, literary contests — doing really well. I had this English teacher who said, “You are a writer and you need to get published.” When I was in the 11th grade, I won this poetry award in a contest on 135th Street that she sponsored.

After that, I started reading voraciously. I went one year to my mother’s alma mater, North Carolina Central University, which is where that girl went who claims she was raped by the Duke students. I was in the English honors program, so I was a freshman in a class with seniors. I started reading my heroes: Dostoyevsky, Richard Wright. I started reading New Journalism. Gay Talese, Joan Didion, Jimmy Breslin, Tom Wolfe and, of course, Truman Capote, my hero.

I gotta give my first girlfriend props. Her name was Cynthia Coleman. I was frustrated because I was sending my stuff to magazines, and then I started working at the post office around 1979. She said, “Why don’t you try to write for a newspaper, send something to the Amsterdam News.” I said, “I ain’t no reporter.” She said, “Don’t you know Richard Wright and Hemingway started off as reporters? They were reporters.”

Sure enough, she was on point. From then, I started reading the Voice. I wasn’t crazy about the Voice, but I liked that they were able to freely express themselves as writers.

Finally, I called Bob Christgau one night. I said I wanted to do something on Parliament-Funkadelic. At the time they had an album called Gloryhallastoopid. Christgau said, “Bring it to me. Let me take a look at it. If it’s any good, I’ll run it. If it’s not, if you call me again I’ll have you arrested for harassment.”

I brought the piece to him. He said, “It’s rough and needs work, but you got a voice.” It ran in January 1980. It was called “The Gospel According to Parliament” and it was my first piece in the Voice. Man, I felt like I was floating on air.

I have to give it to Christgau. We didn’t always get along; we didn’t always see eye-to-eye. He had a love for me, but he didn’t like me like he did Greg Tate and Nelson George. I guess I was rough around the edges. I had a bad temper back then. I said certain things to him. I would scream at him, which was not called for, but I still had a lot of street in me, too. We respected each other, though.

I can remember when hip-hop really started catching on. The thing about Christgau that’s so amazing is he can listen to any kind of music and riff on it. That’s what amazed me about this guy: his knowledge, his critical expertise and just his strong writing ability. I learned a lot from him.

SS: The best reporters have a natural curiosity.

BMC: Oh, I’m nosy. That helped me in the long run. I kept at it and then that crack story happened. I said, “I got it now. I know where I wanna go with this.” I have to give Rudy Langlais a lot of credit because he saw it early on. He said, “That’s why I gave you Frankie Crocker, because you got a natural curiosity and a really skewed way of looking at the world.”

SS: Had your Detroit piece, “New Jack City Eats Its Young,” come out yet?

BMC: The Detroit piece came out right before. That actually happened at the same time and they shuffled the publication on it. I was at Spin and all of a sudden, I’m Bob Guccione’s favorite writer. He said, “Man, you’re getting this like no one else gets it.” So they started assigning me stories. At that time I finally got a hold of how to mix journalism with what I heard going on in the music and all that was relating to how I grew up. There were guys like [drug dealers] Alpo and AZ riding motorcycles up and down 8th Avenue at two or three o’clock in the morning, breaking bottles, and I was hearing all of those stories. All of that was in my mind. I wanted to detail their voices — the way the hustlers talked. I wanted to put it in a literary context like The Great Gatsby. I wanted to write it like that, with literary fervor. I said, “I’m gonna take Harlem and the Renaissance and put it in a modern context.”

SS: You titled the musical genre New Jack Swing. What did new jack mean?

BMC: New jack means two things. My brother used the term a lot. He was still in New York. I’d never heard the term before. He used to say, “Yeah, that kid is a new jack.” I said, “What does that mean?” He said, “You know, someone who’s new to the game and frontin’.” It’s almost a derogatory term — almost like a rookie or someone who was frontin’. Then I heard a song by Grandmaster Caz and he used a line about this guy who was “a new jack clown.” I took the phrase and wanted to flip it.

It rang strong, new jack. They were two words that weren’t supposed to go together but they did. There was a whole thing about the play on words and the power of words to me. New Jack City started this way. Rudy Langlais, again coming into my life, told me about a guy in Detroit by the name of Carl Taylor. Taylor was a professor at Michigan State University. He was widely regarded as an intellectual and also as a guy who understood the origins of the decline in urban neighborhoods and black neighborhoods and families.

He’s a sociologist, but when I met the dude he was straight gangsta. He and his brother, Al, used to be bodyguards for Quincy Jones and he was on the Victory Tour, protecting Michael Jackson. He was one of his personal bodyguards. He’s like me in a lot of ways: one foot in academia, the other foot on the streets. When we met, we really hit it off. He really is like a mentor.

I went to the Voice with a story about this guy. I wanted to do the 20th anniversary of the riots in Detroit on 12th Street, called euphemistically “the summer of love.” I got the assignment. Christgau okayed it with this guy named Greg Ryder. I went to Detroit, met Carl Taylor and it was enormous. Initially I wanted to get an interview with the late great mayor, Coleman Young, but he wouldn’t do it. I wanted to talk to him about the effect the riots had on the city.

Then I got a call — to this day I don’t know who it was. The person told me, “If Mayor Young won’t talk to you, we’ve got a scoop.” They said that Mayor Young’s niece was, allegedly, a mule for the biggest drug consortium in the Midwest, Young Boys Incorporated, who were the predecessors of the Black Mafia Family, which also comes out of Detroit.

These guys were clocking $400 million a year, so I went and talked to some people who were connected to it. I did some research, talked to district attorneys, talked to some dudes who were actually in that movement, and that’s what became “New Jack City Eats Its Young.” It was this whole thing, politics, drugs and, really, it was the disintegration of what the riots did to that great city.

You had blacks who were almost at millionaire status, who were very wealthy because of the auto industry. They had houses on the west side of Detroit that were like mansions. These guys were drug dealers, but they ran their organization like Ford or Chrysler.

YBI started stamping bags of their heroin because they did it in New York, but YBI took it to a whole other level. Those guys rolled so hard because they were the ones who were running it, not street guys. They came from the black middle class. They’re used to the finer things in life and they wanna keep that. They don’t wanna work at the Big Three automakers. These were the first guys I saw drivin’ jeeps. They had the big cell phones before anyone else. They were doin’ it big before New York, before LA, before anybody. The thing that stood out the night the story got made, me and Taylor and a few other people went to this festival at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. It was during the summer and a lot of people were outside, and these hillbillies almost smashed into the back of this Mercedes 450 SLC. The guys jumped out of that car and pulled guns in the middle of the street. In the story I said I covered my eyes, but I peeked through my fingers. They held guns on these guys and the cops didn’t come anywhere near these people.

I was shocked. I was staying in Canada by the Detroit tunnel, over in Windsor, Ontario. On our way there, we saw a jeep embroidered with this MCM stuff and on the back it said, “How you like me now?” I said, “That’s the fucking story, this is some gangster shit.”

SS: In terms of the characters in New Jack City, were they also informed by gangsters from Harlem like Nicky Barnes?

BMC: NJC was originally scripted about Nicky. It was written by this guy named Thomas Lee Wright. After the success of the “NJC Eats Its Young” story, Quincy Jones saw the piece. Rudy had shown it to him. Quincy said, “Get that guy. Find him.” They had been looking for a writer to do a rewrite on the Nicky Barnes script, which Francis Ford Coppola originally had at Paramount.

SS: You’ve said you used Oliver Stone’s screenplay for Wall Street as a learning device.

BMC: That is a paradigm for the perfect script. What I did was watch it 20 times on mute just for story structure, to teach myself the structure and the body of a script. Scriptwriting is like craftsmanship. You have act one, act two and act three. It’s almost like architecture. You can admire Robert Towne and the greats, like William Goldman and people like that, but you have to follow a structure and that’s what I learned.

I met Oliver Stone at a party. It was me, Russell Simmons, and Stan Lathan. It was Paula Abdul’s platinum party on Hacienda Boulevard. Eddie Murphy was there. I said, “Oliver Stone’s my hero,” so I went over to him, but he was tied up. I said, “Man, my name is Barry Michael Cooper.” This was after NJC had come out. “I wrote the movie.” He said, “Okay” and shook my hand. I said, “Man, I love your movie Wall Street. That’s how I learned to write. That was my tool and my instruction book for writing NJC.” He said to me, “Okay, thank you very much. I bet you like Scarface, too — all niggers like Scarface.” And he stumbled off.

Right before I could go after him and commit career suicide, Stan and Russell pulled on my arm and said, “No you don’t. Let it go. That’s just him, he’s high.” High or not, it was a crazy statement. Still, I respect the man.

SS: How much of Thomas Lee Wright’s original script was kept?

BMC: After I did one rewrite, the first thing I did was change it from heroin to crack. I told George, “We gotta tell the story of what’s going on now: Young kids uptown with gold chains, Milano cars, thousands of dollars in their pockets. That’s what people are gonna relate to. Let’s tell the story of the future that we’re in now.” He agreed. I was just trying to tell a good story from personal knowledge. I started to rewrite the script.

The Nino Brown character was an insider’s wink and nod to the scramblers who used to shop at this store, Nino Gabriel, on 61st and Third Avenue, where the shoes started at $200. I remember when I was in 12th grade, I saved up five or six neighborhood youth job checks to buy a pair of $150 shoes there — the most money I’d ever spent in my entire life. I lied to my mother and said they were on sale for $60. That was my acknowledgment of the hustlers — the name Nino Brown. Nino for Nino Gabriel, brown for the color of the bag.

SS: The first time I saw Nino Brown, I thought he embodied the classic swagger of Cagney and Bogart.

BMC: Funny you say that, because the movies I watched were Public Enemy, Angels With Dirty Faces. I went and got those old Warner Bros. movies, which were Jimmy Cagney showpieces. And there was the original Scarface with Paul Muni. I used that template when I did the rewrite. I took that template and piled on top what I saw going on in the streets of Harlem and Baltimore. The guys I grew up with, the language, their movement, the way they fought, the way they spoke, the places they hung out. I wanted to put that in, and to director Mario Van Peebles’s credit, he captured it beautifully.

SS: Let’s talk about the effect NJC had. It was almost immediate. Dudes saw NJC on Friday and on Monday there were a hundred Nino Browns up in Harlem.

BMC: Here’s what happened: Me and a mutual friend of ours, Gary Harris, on the night NJC opened, rented a town car. He said, “Yo, you gotta do this. Everybody does this in Hollywood. We’re gonna ride to every theater in Manhattan and see how long the line is.” We rolled around Manhattan probably from seven that night to almost midnight. At every single theater in Manhattan, there was a line around the block.

It was crazy. The effect it had was like crack. It was an immediate hit. Wesley gave the performance of a lifetime. He took Nino Brown and made him sympathetic and repulsive at the same time. Nino had all of it. In every scene of that movie, Wesley projected that, so he’s a progenitor of that movement — of Puff, of Dame, of Jay-Z, even Cam’ron. I would go as far as people like Game and even Kanye. He had confidence, with intelligence, style and danger. These guys have this because the record business is dangerous. That’s like the drug game. And the drugs is the music.

I interviewed Michael Harris, the legendary drug dealer who supposedly financed Suge Knight and Dr. Dre for Death Row. He was supposed to do a movie at one point, and I had a phone conversation with him and his wife, Lydia Harris. He said that if it wasn’t for New Jack, there would be no Jay-Z, no Dame Dash, no Puffy. He said, “You saved the East Coast with that movie. That’s what kept it afloat.” Crack was destroying neighborhoods, but it was also making people rich.

SS: How do you feel New Jack City fits into the pantheon of hip-hop cinema?

BMC: If there was no New Jack, there would be no Boyz n the Hood, there would be no Menace II Society, because it let the public know, and more importantly let the suits in the studios know, that these movies make money. I think it set it off.

For more of Barry Michael Cooper's current work, click here

Source: Stop Smiling, Issue 30: Hip-Hop Nuggets

posted 11 April 2007

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michael a. gonzales--Harlem native -- has written cover stories for Essence, Giant, Latina, XXL and Stop Smiling. A former writer-at-large for Vibe magazine, Gonzales has also been a staff writer for The Source, columnist for New York Press and a frequent contributor to the New York Daily News, the New York Post and NY Metro. He has also contributed articles to Spin, the Village Voice, Ego Trip, Trace and Entertainment Weekly.

Gonzales co-wrote the book Bring the Noise: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture (Random House, 1991).

Praised by writer/director Nelson George as “evidencing the mastery of detail required of a subject that is all about mastery of detail,” the book was a groundbreaking text in hip-hop literature.

Currently Michael A. Gonzales writes a regular music column called “On the Corner” for Popmatters.com  and has written liner-notes for reissue collections including The Hip-Hop Box Set, the O’Jays, the Gap Band, the Crusaders and Al Green. Having written for MTV and BET, he also served as a consultant to the Experience Music Project’s (Seattle) inaugural Hip-Hop/Rap exhibit. He also contributed the essay “From Rockin’ the House to Planet Rock” to their catalogue Crossroads (2000).

In addition, Gonzales’ essays have appeared in Best Sex Writing 2005 edited by Violet Blue (Cleis Press), Beats, Rhymes & Life edited by Kenji Jasper (Harlem Moon, 2007) and Best Sex Writing 2006 edited Felice Neaman and Frederique Delacoste (Cleis Press). A 1999 Code magazine feature on Prince was reprinted the following year in the landmark music criticism collection Rock and Roll is Here to Stay edited by William McKeen (W.W. Norton & Company, 2000). “My Father Named Me Prince” appeared alongside pop culture pieces by Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion and Lester Bangs.

Gonzales has published fiction in Brown Sugar 2: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction edited by Carol Taylor (Simon & Shuster, 2001), Bronx Biannual 2 edited by Miles Marshall Lewis (Akashic Books, 2007), Uptown magazine, Brown Sugar 3: When Opposites Attract edited by Carol Taylor (Simon & Shuster, 2003) and the upcoming superheroes collection Darker Mask edited by Gary Phillips and Christopher Chambers (Tor, 2008).

Gonzales’ short stories have also been published in France and England. Like Gypsy Rose Lee, Norman Mailer and Spike Lee before him, he lives in Brooklyn. 

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Generation Soul: Can Dru Hill Revive The Vocal Group?

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02_My_Story,_My_Song.mp3 (24503 KB)

(Kalamu reading "My Story, My Song"

Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

Audio: My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

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Here lies Jim Crow: Civil rights in Maryland

 By C. Fraser Smith

Though he lived throughout much of the South—and even worked his way into parts of the North for a time—Jim Crow was conceived and buried in Maryland. From Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney's infamous decision in the Dred Scott case to Thurgood Marshall's eloquent and effective work on Brown v. Board of Education, the battle for black equality is very much the story of Free State women and men. Here, Baltimore Sun columnist C. Fraser Smith recounts that tale through the stories, words, and deeds of famous, infamous, and little-known Marylanders. He traces the roots of Jim Crow laws from Dred Scott to Plessy v. Ferguson and describes the parallel and opposite early efforts of those who struggled to establish freedom and basic rights for African Americans.

Following the historical trail of evidence, Smith relates latter-day examples of Maryland residents who trod those same steps, from the thrice-failed attempt to deny black people the vote in the early twentieth century to nascent demonstrations for open access to lunch counters, movie theaters, stores, golf courses, and other public and private institutions—struggles that occurred decades before the now-celebrated historical figures strode onto the national civil rights scene. Smith's lively account includes the grand themes and the state's major players in the movement—Frederick Douglass, Harriett Tubman, Thurgood Marshall, and Lillie May Jackson, among others.—and also tells the story of the struggle via several of Maryland's important but relatively unknown men and womensuch as Gloria Richardson, John Prentiss Poe, William L. "Little Willie" Adams, and Walter Sondheimwho prepared Jim Crow's grave and waited for the nation to deliver the body.—Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008

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The End of Anger

A New Generation's Take on Race and Rage

By Ellis Cose

From a venerated and bestselling voice on American life comes a contemporary look at the decline of black rage; the demise of white guilt; and the intergenerational shifts in how blacks and whites view, and interact with, each other. In the heady aftermath of President Obama's election, conventional wisdom suggested that the bitter, angry, and destructive elements of discrimination were ebbing at last and America was becoming a postracial nation. . . . Weaving material from myriad interviews as well as two large and ambitious surveys that he conducted—one of black Harvard MBAs and the other of graduates of A Better Chance, a program offering elite educational opportunities to thousands of young people of color since 1963—Cose offers an invaluable portrait of contemporary America that attempts to make sense of what a people do when the dream, for some, is finally within reach as one historical era ends and another begins.—Ecco, 2011

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Obama and Black Americans: the Paradox of Hope—By Gary Younge—But for all the ways black America has felt better about itself and looked better to others, it has not actually fared better. In fact, it has been doing worse. The economic gap between black and white has grown since Obama took power. Under his tenure black unemployment, poverty and foreclosures are at their highest levels for at least a decade.

Millions of black kids may well aspire to the presidency now that a black man is in the White House. But such a trajectory is less likely for them now than it was under Bush. Herein lies what is at best a paradox and at worst a contradiction within Obama’s core base of support. The very group most likely to support him—black Americans—is the same group that is doing worse under him.—TheNation

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011
 

Fiction

#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

Non-fiction

#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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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign.  The Economy

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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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 22 October 2007

 

 

 

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