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Jonathan Scott Table



Books by Jonathan Scott

Socialist Joy in the Writing of Langston Hughes 


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

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

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

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

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

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American Fascism Call for Papers

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

If White America Had a Bill Cosby 

The Niggerization of Palestine

Notes on Political Education 

The Origin of Violence in Virginia: A Brief History

Reflections on Octavia Butler  

Remembering to Not Forget 

The Staying Power of Rap 

Socialist Joy in the Writing of Langston Hughes  

Why Fascism When They Have White Supremacy?

Related files

Amin Sharif

Amiri Baraka

The Biggest Jailbreak

Black and Indian Power  

Black Arts and Black Power Page     

Black Fire

Black Indians

Black Nationalism in America 

The Black Poets

Conversation Contents

Conversations Review  

Election Day Returns

The Fourth World: In the Belly of the Beast

Gospel for the Poor by Bill Cosby

In Praise of Langston Hughes 

Israeli Offensive on Gaza Continues 

Langston Hughes Bio 

Lessons from France

Letters from Young Activists

Margaret Walker Chronology

New Negro Poets U.S.A.  

Notes of a Native Son  (Langston Reviews Baldwin)

Olmert Smote the Philistines   in History

Paris Is Burning 

The Pyres of Autumn

Sermon and Blues   

Slow Death in Gaza  

Speech by President Hugo Chávez

The Venezuela Connection

The Venezuelan Revolution


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

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

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

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

created 8 May 2007

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Malcolm X

A Life of Reinvention

By Manning Marable

Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist.

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

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

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

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

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

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

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

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

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

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Ancient African Nations

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

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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

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updated 2 November 2007