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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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More hands-on learning by doing.  We should work with our children

more to show them how the sum of the parts relates to the whole, and how

the material presented in the classroom relates to them personally,

to their community, and to the world around them.

 

 

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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Give Detroit Schools a Fresh Start

By Grace Lee Boggs

 

Recently, I  enjoyed talking with Tonya Myers who is running for the School Board in District 1.  This includes downtown, northeast Detroit, and parts of southeast Detroit and the west side.

 Tonya is  not just repeating the buzzwords of “smaller classes,” “parent involvement,” “certified teachers.”  She is boldly tackling the critical issue of inner school dropouts, proposing substantive but at the same time do-able changes.

 Åt 28, she is young enough to remember her experiences as a student in Detroit’s public schools.  But since then she has graduated from college and law school, worked for a living and  reflected on the changes in our world.

Inner city schools, she has concluded, are organized on the factory model. Students are trained to take in and regurgitate information, to do assignments and fill out work sheets so that they will be ready to take orders after they graduate.  This factory model worked as long as there were enough factory jobs. 

But since globalization, inner city students need the kind of preparation in critical thinking, leadership and thinking about the future that suburban students take for granted  Our young people, she says,  are as smart as suburban students. But they drop out because at a gut level they recognize the class differences between their factory-oriented "training" and the empowering education of the middle and upper class youth...

 If we gave our kids more responsibility, if the curriculum were more engaging, and empowering, there would be fewer dropouts (40,000 since the state takeover five years ago!!) and parents wouldn¹t be withdrawing their children from public schools and putting them in charter and suburban schools.

Towards this goal, Tonya proposes:

More hands-on learning by doing.  We should work with our children more to show them how the sum of the parts relates to the whole, and how the material presented in the classroom relates to them personally, to their community, and to the world around them.

We need a stronger civic involvement in our public schools. Children should be meeting with city and state government department heads.  They should play a role in the democratic process.

Community-service, only a minimal requirement at this time, needs to be made more meaningful.. Our children need opportunities to do more positive things and to help create beautiful things. For example, community gardening (which Tonya did with Triedstone Baptist church after graduating from the University of Michigan) is a wonderful way of bringing people together, City children don¹t get enough opportunities to watch things grow.

Raise MEAP scores by actually engaging students in learning and leadership, not in preparing for tests.

Bring elders into the classroom. Many elders look on youth with disdain or are simply afraid of them.  Young people often treat the elders as if they are irrelevant. Neither really understands the other.  One of the programs Tonya helped organize with the Rosa & Raymond Parks Institute was called "The Civil Rights Generation v. The Hip-Hop Generation."

Increase the international focus of public school education.. . Our world is changing   So our children need more exposure to different cultures and other ways of doing things. They need more opportunities to go abroad. A lot of our kids don¹t even get outside the city, let alone outside the country.

Give our kids the sense that "you can do anything you want to do, go anywhere you want to." 

For more on empowering our children, read FREEDOM SCHOOLING; BRINGING THE NEIGHBOR BACK INTO THE HOOD, a Boggs Center pamphlet, $7 +$1 SH.

Source: Michigan Citizen, July 17-23, 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  / The Myth of Charter Schools

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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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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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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake.

She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits.

Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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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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ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)

 

 

update12 January 2012

 

 

 

Home  BLACKS, Unions & Organizing Table  Conversations Table

Related files:  Crime Among Our People  Conversation about Religion   Give Detroit Schools a Fresh Start    The Dropout Challenge     Food Future Past   Organizing Comes Before Mobilizing  

Boggs Center: Going  Beyond Black and White