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Exploring alternative democratic strategies for urban development

 

 

Books by James Boggs and Grace Lee Boggs

 

Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century  / The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker's Notebook

 

Living for Change: An Autobiography Conversations in Maine: Exploring Our Nation's Future 

 

Manifesto for a Black Revolutionary Party   / Racism and the Class Struggle 

 

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The Dropout Challenge

By Grace Lee Boggs

 

When students in Detroit public schools are counted this September, the total is expected to be 10,000 less than last fall and 50,000 less than ten years ago. Each dropout means a loss of nearly $7000 in state funding. This means worsening financial crisis, more layoffs and school closings, and more pressure and stress on the remaining principals, teachers, and students.

Some of these dropouts transfer to charter or suburban schools. Most end up on the streets, adding to the climate of violence and insecurity in our neighborhoods and swelling the prison population. That's why the dropout issue is a challenge to everyone, whoever you are and whatever you do.

For a visionary, yet practical response to this challenge, I recommend the writings of Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Assistant Professor and Economist in the African American Studies Department and The Democracy Collective at the University of Maryland, whose special interest is exploring alternative democratic strategies for urban development.

I have never met Jessica Nembhard but I keep abreast of her work because, like Jimmy Boggs, she recognizes that the profound changes taking place in our economy and the deindustrialization of cities like Detroit challenge us to make equally profound changes in how we make our livings and how we educate our children.

In a recent article, "On the Road to Democratic Economic Participation: Educating African American Youth in the Post-Industrial Global Economy," Nembhard explains how the new information economy requires not only new technical skills but "people-oriented" skills, like leadership development, team building and collaboration, problem-solving, learning by doing – the skills denied to young people in our factory-model inner city schools.

She also gives examples of programs that both help motivate youth to be academic achievers and provide real world experiences where they learn by doing and participate democratically, developing leadership, advocacy and entrepreneurial skills.

One example is an evening class in cooperative economics given by a young people's cooperative at Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana, which became the most popular academic class in the school. Another is the Youth Warriors Environmental Justice After School Program in Baltimore, MD, which focuses African American 13-18 year olds on learning about and becoming active in addressing local environmental injustices.

Through this program the young people serve the community and develop leadership skills while also learning environmental science and communication skills. The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund provides opportunities for African American youth to learn about the theory and practice of cooperatives and business development.

According to Nembhard, the "pragmatic decision by many young people not to invest in schooling" is not irrational. It is because the connection between academic achievement and economic reward has become so remote and because we have not yet found ways to pass on to our young people the African American legacy of cooperative ownership and the black economic empowerment ideas of leaders like DuBois, Garvey and Ella Baker.

Young people can be drawn back into school, she believes, by innovative curricula that are participatory and activist and involve them early on in economic development. "Even more important, school settings can be training grounds for alternative democratic community-based economic development (and for the skills needed to design, develop and manage such enterprises). Students can learn entrepreneurial, cooperative business skills, along with other necessary skills and attitudes, and at the same time have experience building and running democratic economic enterprises in their neighborhoods."

[Jessica Nembhard cam be found in] Chapter 10 in the new book on Black Education: A Transformative Research and Action Agenda for the New Century, edited by my friend Joyce King and published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005.

Source: Michigan Citizen, August 21-27, 2005 // Living for Change: An Autobiography by Grace Lee Boggs

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Grace Lee Boggs is an activist, writer, and speaker whose sixty years of political involvement encompass the major U.S. social movements of this century:  Labor, Civil Rights, Black Power, Asian American, Women's and Environmental Justice. Born in Providence, R.I. of Chinese immigrant parents in l915, Grace received her B.A. from Barnard College in l935 and her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College in l940.  

In the l940s and l950s she worked with West Indian Marxist historian C. L. R. James  and in l953 she came to Detroit where she married James Boggs,  African American labor activist, writer and strategist.

Working together in grassroots groups and projects, they were partners for over 40 years until James' death in July l993. Their book, Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century,  was published by Monthly Review Press in l974.

In l992, with James Boggs and others, she founded DETROIT SUMMER, a multi-cultural, intergenerational youth program to rebuild, redefine and respirit Detroit from the ground up which completed its ninth season in June 2000.  Currently she is active in the Detroit Agricultural Network, the Committee for the Political Resurrection of Detroit, writes for the  weekly Michigan Citizen, and does a monthly commentary on WORT (Madison, Wisconsin). 

Her Living for Change: An Autobiography  published  by the University of Minnesota Press in March l998, now in its  second printing, is widely used in university classes on social movements and autobiography writing. -- http://www.boggscenter.org/

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Privatizing Education: The Neoliberal Project

Black Education and Afro-Pessimism / The Collapse of Urban Public Schooling 

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Zippety Doo Dah, Zippety-Ay: How Satisfactch'll Is Education Today? Toward a New Song of the South

Dr. Joyce E. King on Black Education and New Paradigms

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Black Student College Graduation Rates Remain Low, But Modest Progress Begins to Show

Nationwide, the black student graduation rate remains at a dismally low 42 percent. But the rate has improved by three percentage points over the past two years. More encouraging is the fact that over the past seven years the black student graduation rate has improved at almost all of the nation's highest-ranked universities.

On page 11 of this issue of JBHE we report the encouraging news that African-American enrollments at the vast majority of our nation's highest-ranked colleges and universities have shown significant improvement over the past quarter-century.

But a more important statistical measure of the performance of blacks in higher education is how many black students throughout the nation are completing school and earning a college degree. Department of Education data reveals that, as expected, black students who earn a four-year college degree have incomes that are substantially higher than blacks who have only some college experience but have not earned a degree. Most important, blacks who complete a four-year college education have a median income that is near parity with similarly educated whites.

According to the most recent statistics, the nationwide college graduation rate for black students stands at an appallingly low rate of 42 percent. This figure is 20 percentage points below the 62 percent rate for white students. Here, the only positive news we have to report is that over the past two years the black student graduation rate has improved by three percentage points.

Source: JBHE

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Basil Davidson's  "Africa Series"

 Different But Equal  /  Mastering A Continent  /  Caravans of Gold  / The King and the City / The Bible and The Gun

West Africa Before the Colonial Era: A History to 1850

By Basil Davidson

African Slave Trade: Precolonial History, 1450-1850

By Basil Davidson

John Henrik Clarke—A Great and Mighty Walk

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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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Raising Her Voice

African-American Women Journalists Who Changed History

 By Rodger Streitmatter

Little research exists on African-American women journalists, even in studies of the black press. To address this gap, Streitmatter presents eleven biographies of journalists from the early nineteenth century to the present.—Journal of Women's History

[Streitmatter] finds that their attraction to journalism cam from their desire to be advocates of racial reform, that they were courageous in the face of sexism and financial discrimination, and that they used education as their entry into journalism and subsequently received support from African-American male editors.—Journal of Women's History

An historical chronology of eleven interesting and determined black female journalists.—Washington Times

Rodger Streitmatter is a journalist and cultural historian whose work explores how the media have helped to shape American culture. He is currently a professor in the School of Communication at American University and is the author of seven previous books.

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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.

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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 African American Press

With Special References to Four Newspapers, 1827-1965

By Charles A. Simmons

Of the 4,000 or so black-owned newspapers that Simmons informs us have existed in American history, he selects four well-known publications for detailed analysis. They are the Chicago Defender, Pittsburgh Courier, Oklahoma City Black Dispatch, and Jackson (Mississippi) Advocate. Following a summary of the black press in the abolition and Reconstruction eras, the author jumps into the four papers' editorial philosophies in the 1910s and 1920s, the start of the great northward migration, instigated, some say, by the Defender. Throughout the history of black journalism, argues Simmons, the large question was what balance should be struck between militancy and accommodation, and what balance between sensationalism and straight news. During World War II, the uncompromising Courier became the top-circulating newspaper. Simmons concludes with the four papers' reporting of the civil rights movement, in which the Advocate comes off poorly, having possibly been bribed into advocacy for the segregationist status quo. A pricey book, but one covering an important aspect of black history.Booklist  

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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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Enjoy!

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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 / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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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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update 24 June 2012

 

 

 

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