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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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 He'll be back quarterbacking in the NFL, like the good buck that he is. He's worth

a lot of money to some white folks. And when there's a chance to make money on a Negro,

some white man will fight for that right, because sure as lynching that black boy's got skills



The Michael Vick Situation

Issues of Race & Hypocrisy

By Semafumu Kimathi


When Michael Vick was selected as the first pick in the 2001 National Football League’s (NFL) draft by the Atlanta Falcons, an associate of mine wished they hadn’t picked him.  Both of us were residents of Atlanta and fans of football, so I was puzzled by his statement.  He mentioned that if things went wrong, the media and certain fans would blame the Falcons’ Black quarterback.  I disagreed.  As time went on, I realized how accurate my associate was in his prediction.  Six years later, neither of us could have predicted the situation that Vick now finds himself in.  His recent off-the-field problems have once again uncovered this nation’s views on race, and they underscore double standards and our priorities.

Outsiders will think that Atlanta is the perfect place for an African American quarterback; nothing could be further from the truth.  Atlanta, the “Gateway to the South,” “Black Mecca,” “Hotlanta” is anything but a progressive city.  This is the city where fans severely criticized former Atlanta Braves baseball player David Justice for trying to motivate its fans during the 1995 World Series.  He only came up with the franchise’s biggest hit ever, which gave them its first and only World Series title, yet some fans still hold a grudge. 

When Deion Sanders, the flamboyant future NFL Hall of Famer, played for both the Falcons and the Braves a segment of local fans and national media didn’t take kindly to his persona.  But after leaving Atlanta, Deion went on to win three Super Bowls and become one of the greatest ever to play his position.  In the examples of David Justice and Deion Sanders too many times fans and media here seem to be excessively concerned with a Black player’s image and persona, and style of play even when it’s effective. 

The same is true for Michael Vick but on a much larger scale.  A Black quarterback such as Vick in Atlanta was a match made in hell.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  First of all, the quarterback is actually the position of leadership on a football team.  He is normally the most important factor in a team’s success or failure and is the face of the franchise.  This is even more critical given that football is the most loved of all sports in the nation, especially in the South. 

The NFL is the most profitable ($985 million in 2005) of any professional sports league, more than both the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB) combined in 2006.  Secondly, Vick’s style of dress and other cultural expressions rubbed some people the wrong way.  Some saw it as hip hop or urban.  Some saw it as too Black.  Being the quarterback for the Falcons, there are those who equated Vick to a representative of the city.  In doing this, people lose proper perspective on the roles athletes play in society. 

Michael Vick’s off-the-field run-ins became the talk of the town.  An associate with him stole a watch at an airport.  He flipped off rowdy fans from an opposing team.  He allegedly gave a female friend genital herpes without telling her he was infected.  He tried to carry a bottle through Miami International Airport which allegedly smelled of marijuana.  He missed a flight to meet with Congress.  While these occurrences were in fact irresponsible, most of them were relatively minor and did not call for any type of jail time. 

The notions that a quarterback should be a role model off-the-field in order to properly lead a team and that these run-ins were embarrassments to the city are ridiculous.  Professional athletes are not public officials or spiritual leaders.  They have a responsibility to behave as mature people, not because they are in the limelight but because they are adults.  The question of rather or not he was involved in dog fighting is of a much more serious consequence for him, but is actually a more telling indictment of our society as a whole. 

Before continuing, there are a few points to be made:

§         Dog fighting is wrong

§         Michael Vick’s punishment should fit the crime

§         Michael Vick is ultimately to blame for the situation he finds himself in

There.  Now that those points are clarified, let’s get to the crux of the matter, shall we?

The reaction to Michael Vick’s involvement in dog fighting is indicative of our priorities and points to a society in which is increasingly hypocritical and, yes, racist.  As I listen to and read what the public, pundits, animal rights organizations, sports commentators, and others are saying, I am convinced that our society is not lacking fools.  Public opinion had it that Vick was guilty from the onset.  Yes, he admitted to guilt recently.  Some would say end of story.  But with his former co-defendants turning state’s evidence and there being reports that he could have faced up to 40 years in prison, there is reason to wonder if he is really guilty of everything he is accused. 

As an African American man myself, I have a right to think this way.  In fact, it is in my best interest to maintain a healthy distrust of our justice system.  It’s not about blaming “The Man.”  African Americans should know by now that our justice system is deeply flawed and biased.  Conversely, many White Americans tend to think that, with the exception of OJ, the justice system as damn near flawless and undefeated.

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But this case, unlike OJ Simpson’s, is not sharply divided along racial lines.  Many Black people have gone on record to scold the quarterback.  On the other hand, there are Whites who remain supporters of Vick and understand that people make mistakes.  While that may be the case, there is no doubt a racial element to the way this case is being played out in the media and the general public, and some would say in the courts as well.  Many fail to see the connection.  In a recent article about the Michael Vick situation in an Atlanta weekly called Sunday Paper, the author asserts that it is “not a race issue.”  To back up his claim, he quotes a Black Atlantan as saying, “It had nothing to do with race, because just as many white fans loved Mike Vick as black people.” 

However, if this statement (which is probably a guesstimate) is true, it does nothing to support the author’s claim.  If anything, it weakens it, especially since White Americans vastly outnumber African Americans.  Too many times statistics are used in ways to intentionally mislead audiences without literally lying.  For instance, somewhere between 70 to 80 percent of rap music is purchased by White Americans. 

More Whites are on welfare than Blacks.  The two aforementioned statements are accurate, but taken out of context one would think that African Americans play a very small role in hip hop and that Blacks are more self-sufficient than Whites.  It should also be mentioned that it is an American tradition to trot out Blacks who will publicly reject opinions challenging the status quo.

To date, athletes and former athletes who have made strong, non-anti-Vick statements and encouraged Vick’s due process are mostly Black.  This includes, but is not limited to, Deion Sanders, Stephon Marbury, Emmitt Smith, Allen Iverson, Roy Jones, Jr., Joe Horn, Clinton Portis, Fred McCrary, and Donovan McNabb.  It is therefore no coincidence that Whites in the media and elsewhere have thus criticized most of these men for either supporting Michael Vick or cautioning us about rushing to judgment. 

Deion Sanders wrote an op-ed piece called “Don’t Be Too Quick to Judge” in The News-Press of his hometown of Fort Myers, Florida.  In my opinion, the column contains four highlights.  First, Vick is being used to end dog fighting or bring down the true masterminds behind the illegal sport.  Deion could not believe that Vick was the ringleader of the operation.  Secondly, dogs are not every man’s best friend; what they mean to some people may not be consistent with the views of others.  Thirdly, to many dog-fighting enthusiasts, having the toughest dog is a status symbol.

Lastly, and most important, as human beings we should care as much or more for humans who are victims of violence.  Here, he writes, “Who shot Darrant Williams [the Denver Bronco cornerback]?  I’m just more concerned about bringing to justice someone who killed a human.”  He rightfully asserts that, “We should have the same passion for man that we have for man’s best friend.” 

After coming under fire for this essay from ESPN commentators, as well as other sports talk people, and dog lovers across the country, the NFL Network, who Deion is an analyst for, stopped him from writing and commenting further on the Vick situation which included his planned response to the uproar to clarify his statements.  Apparently, the network has the exclusive right to Deion’s image and opinions regarding NFL matters (kind of like “Forty Million Dollar Slave”). 

But there is absolutely nothing offensive about what he said nor did he justify dog fighting.  He explained what he thought goes on in the mind of dog-fighting enthusiasts and more importantly he called into question the priorities of American people.  People are so geeked up about dogs that any voice of reason from a high-profile Black man is misconstrued in the worse way. 

Here in Atlanta, most of the radio sports talk shows (on 790 The Zone and 680 The Fan) are a joke.  With the exception of the two brothers (literally and figuratively) “The 2 Live Stews,” callers wanting to discuss the possibilities of racial bias are dismissed as Vick apologists, shouted over, and disconnected.  These White boys want no part of that.  Many of them have wondered out loud about Vick’s mental state and question his humanity.  Mind you, these are the same people who descended from those who have in the past and continue to commit atrocities against human beings all over the globe.  Balanced reporting doesn’t exist.  Athletes committing far worse crimes than dog fighting receive less criticism than Vick.  

A few years back former hockey player for the Atlanta Thrashers, Danny Heatley, committed vehicular homicide.  While excessively speeding in his Ferrari on Lenox Road in Atlanta, he lost control and crashed, suffering a broken jaw, injuries to his kidney, knee, and lung.  The passenger, his teammate and friend Dan Snyder, however, wasn’t as lucky.  After suffering from a skull fracture, he died a few days later.  Heatley had been drinking, but was not over the legal limit of alcohol.  Snyder’s family forgave Heatley and it was reported that they did not want him to do time in jail.  He pleaded guilty to four of six charges and was sentenced to three years probation. 

Heatley killed a man; Vick was involved in the fighting and killing of dogs.  Heatley got probation; Vick is expected to do 12 to 18 months in jail.  The attention paid to Heatley’s case as compared to Vick’s is like a summer breeze to a hurricane.  Yes, Vick was a bigger star, playing a bigger sport. But Heatley was no slouch either; he was one of hockey’s best players and a star. Heatley, a White player, got off with probation, essentially a slap on the wrist.  Actually, a swift and firm slap on the wrist would have been worse. 

Race is indeed a factor.  Typically, Whites in the media blow off any talk of race implications.  Black opponents of this notion claim they are tired of blaming the White man for all of our problems.  Obviously, every case involving Black men does not involve racial discrimination.  But it is not counter-productive or dismissive for African Americans to reflect on its possibility.  Is it a coincidence that Vick got rid of his cornrows hairstyle before court proceedings were to begin?  No.  People are ignorant and racist enough to equate a particular hairstyle with criminality. 

Conspiracy theories involving Black men being brought down in this country are too numerous to mention here.  Many are documented, some are part of lore and haven’t received as much print or discussion.  As a high-profile, Black, millionaire athlete, Michael Vick did not take this possibility into consideration.  Don’t get it twisted.  Michael Vick is a football player and is no threat to the Establishment.  But the fallout of this situation with Vick is clearly racially motivated. 

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Yes, the admitted crimes of Michael Vick are awful, but it is amazing to witness people arguing the rights of animals above their fellow humans.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have taken the Michael Vick situation and run with it for the sake of exposure.  They didn’t give a hoot whether Vick really committed those crimes or not.  Now, of course, PETA and the general public could come with the I-told-you-so’s now that Vick has admitted to guilt, but suffice it to say that had Vick gone to trial and was ultimately found not guilty of the charges most of his detractors would hold steadfast to their belief that he was nonetheless guilty. 

The fact that humans have domesticated “man’s best friend” does not justify senseless killings of those that aren’t.  It is shortsighted to state that we should not kill dogs simply because it’s the law.  If it wasn’t against the law would that make it okay?  Here in Atlanta, Genarlow Wilson, an African American male, was sentenced to ten years in prison for having consensual sexual relations while he was 17 years old with a White, 15-year old girl.  Aggravated child molestation, they called it.  It was against the law.  The law has since been changed (although Wilson still sits behind bars), but whether it had or not it was still unjust and its application in Wilson’s case was clearly racist. 

Sure, breaking laws has it consequences and should be avoided unless it is morally correct to do so.  But, again, laws by themselves do not justify their existence.  Still, there are those who rest solely on the facts that laws exist or do not exist, no matter how archaic and useless, in the same way fundamentalists justify or condemn acts strictly based on religious doctrine.  I for one am not for the killing of any animals, unless it is for survival—defense or food.  I wouldn’t harm an animal, nor would I consume any. 

Growing up in South Georgia, my family had pets and other types of animals.  Where I’m from, dogs were seen for what they were . . . dogs.  We would never consider kissing dogs or allowing them to lick your face.  Dogs were not included in family portraits.  Rain, sleet, hail, or whatever, they lived outside.  In plenty of instances they were fed leftovers instead of fancy dog food.  And they were happy and survived just fine.  With that said, the uproar over Vick’s involvement in dog fighting and killing dogs is inconsistent with the so-called values of American citizens and our treatment of other animals.  No doubt some of his strongest critics are genuine in their approach and concern, but there is a large segment of those who are nuts. 

Blowing the head off a deer and hanging it on the wall just for show is much worse than fighting dogs.  Yes, it’s legal to kill deer, but killing wild animals for sporting purposes is barbaric and unjust.  What America has done is elevate dogs to the level of human beings.  A few years back there was a news story about a man who was evicted from his house.  That’s nothing unusual.  But it was said that the cops were looking for him.  His offense: he abandoned a few dogs.  The man was unable to take care of himself, yet the concern was about dogs.  How crazy is this? 

Let’s also take a look at the language being used in the Vick situation.  The media and bloggers talk about the pit bulls as being “defenseless,” “innocent,” and even “sweet.” Some commentators have even said Vick is responsible for the “murder” of dogs.  Murder?  Dogs aren’t murdered; they are killed!  Human beings are murdered!  No, we are not talking about semantics.  This type of language is irresponsible and it shows a level of exaggeration and lies.  And claiming that pit bulls are innocent and defenseless is nonsense.  Dogs of varying breeds tend to have different temperaments, and it is not unusual that many pit bulls are aggressive. 

Furthermore, it is incorrect to blame a dog’s behavior strictly on its owner as it is wrong to fault parents every time a kid (or an adult) goes astray.  Hell, pit bulls and other aggressive dogs attack human beings all the time.  Not all of them are destined to be killers, but how many of us have ever heard of a pack of cocker spaniels mauling children?  Here’s a reminder: pit bulls descended from wild animals.  Their behavior is unpredictable and sometimes aggressive. 

Paul Zeise, a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, made a valid point on a sports television show.  He is quoted as saying, “It’s really a sad day in this country when somehow… Michael Vick would have been better off raping a woman if you look at the outcry. . . .”  Zeise apologized later for what he said was a poor analogy.  But was it really?  He was not advocating or marginalizing rape and people knew it.  What he in fact did was shame Americans for blowing the dog fighting issue out of proportion in relation to other pressing issues, particularly crimes against human beings. 

I continue to hear from dog lovers that the reason this issue hits home for them is because they have dogs themselves and shudder at the thought of Rover being tortured or killed.  Does it bother them the thought of their wives, sisters, mothers, brothers, husbands, fathers, uncles, aunts, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, cousins, best friends, in-laws, or associates being the victims of violent crimes?  If so, where is the outcry these crimes?   

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As adults we are all ultimately responsible for our own behavior.  By way of financial backing and family structure, certain backgrounds can factor on how an individual turns out in life.  It can help or hinder.  But these factors do not alone determine a person’s future.  Many rich kids who grow up in ideal households turn out to be underachievers, drug addicts, or criminals.  And we have all heard of the stories of those rising out of poverty or broken homes to become famous and successful.  Although lives are often shaped by one’s background, it goes back to the choices an individual makes as an adult. 

This situation that Michael Vick finds himself in is of his own doing, regardless of whether he actually killed any of the dogs or even attended dog fights.  One would have to reasonably think that he at least knew what was going on.  The fact that he associated with and even provided for friends who were about nothing was probably the key ingredient to his downfall. 

While I do not recall ever feeling sorry for a millionaire, the Michael Vick predicament somehow manages to find me with a heavy heart.  It is not because of football reasons.  If the Falcons don’t win a game this year it would not concern me.  Over the past two months or so, since the dog-fighting operation at Vick’s property was discovered, I have watched with my eyes (and ears) as the media and general public relentlessly hurled insults and accusations at the man, vengefully calling for his head and finally rejoicing over his admission. 

His estranged, biological father (who Vick provided for financially and paid for his housing) did a disparaging interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, more appropriate for National Enquirer.  Before being able to digest that, I watched on the Net as Vick’s paternal grandfather criticized him in a television interview.  Something is awry when family members air dirty laundry against an embattled young man for the world to see.  I am saddened to witness the fall from grace of a young and promising Black man. 

And even so, there is a possibility that he will not be allowed to play again in the NFL after he serves his time.  Whatever the case, Vick’s image is tarnished for life.  The suits at Enron, HealthSouth, and a host of other American corporations who cheated thousands of people out of millions of dollars will not have it as hard.  This is not the first time a Black athlete has been taken down and surely it will not be the last. 

Perhaps my feelings are different for Vick because it hit closer to home in several ways.  I am a resident of Atlanta and have followed his professional career closely.  But mostly I see a part of his personality in my own (which is no crime), and he is a young Black man in America (usually a crime). 

I suppose I should end with an obligatory lessons learned statement.  By now, most have already been offered in print, barbershop discussions, family talks, progressive radio debates, man-to-man conversations, etc.  There are many and all are important and should be heeded.  Well, without rehashing any, I would like to offer another.  To all of the young Black men and rappers who refer to themselves and their female counterparts as “dogs,” the Michael Vick situation makes one thing apparent: YOU ARE NOT!  There has yet to be this type of outcry over your demise.

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Semafumu Kimathi is a freelance writer, and publisher and co-owner of Sene Press, based out of Atlanta.  The company’s latest book is called Georgia’s Corrupt Prison System: As Told By An Insider, available in stores now

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Michael Vick Finds Jesus

Disgraced QB Still Needs Serious Help

By Kam Williams

"This is going to be a hard-fought trial… Michael Vick is innocent." Attorney Billy Martin, July 26th

“He would not have been persecuted that much if he had killed somebody… Yes, there are many dog lovers...but there are also many, many other people who just love Mike Vick and these people, too, are significant in numbers."Atlanta NAACP President R.L. White, August 22nd

“I’ve found Jesus and asked him for forgiveness and turned my life over to God, and I think that's the right thing to do as of right now." Michael Vick after entering a guilty plea

After he was named in a very-detailed, 84-count Federal indictment for hosting dogfights in his home, for funding the entire operation, and for executing losing pit bulls by means of lynching, drowning, electrocution and body slams, MichaeI Vick retained a Dream Team of five, very high-priced attorneys, masterminded by Billy Martin, the same hired gun who recently represented former Dick Cheney hatchet man Scooter Libby.

What else would you expect the highest paid football player in the NFL to do, other than mount a million-dollar defense with his liberty, his reputation, his assets, his job and his endorsement deals on the line? And not until after all his co-defendants had already cooperated with the prosecutor and agreed to testify against him, did Vick even consider copping a plea himself.

Then, immediately after admitting to just one count of gambling on dogfights, he staged a well-orchestrated press conference to announce that he’d asked Jesus for forgiveness. Anybody buying this? I hope not. Just as Libby successfully lobbied his Republican base to pressure the President to have his sentence commuted, Michael’s Born-Again gambit is clearly designed to appeal to the African-American soft spot for spirituality.

Personally, I resent the suggestion being circulated by the mainstream press that the black and white communities are monolithic entities which feel very differently about this case. The subtle implication, here, is that African-Americans are feeble-minded and inclined to forgive the mistreatment of man’s best friend, since that’s supposedly not as bad as harming humans.

But it’s obvious that Michael Vick is a very mentally disturbed sadist who got his kicks from killing completely defenseless creatures unable to reason with their master and too innocent to comprehend the reason for his sudden inexplicable cruelty. The only people I can think of who share this kinky inclination are on the long list of serial killers who started out torturing animals, psychopaths with names like Jeffrey Dahmer, David Berkowitz and John Wayne Gacy.

Now that the disgraced Atlanta Falcon QB has confessed, the focus has erroneously shifted to how soon he ought to be allowed to return to the league after paying his debt to society. Maybe we all instead ought to pause for a moment of sanity, because the sobering truth is that Michael Vick is still sorely in need of some serious counseling and rehabilitation, not a slick PR campaign selling the notion that his shedding crocodile tears and converting to Christianity on the courthouse steps means that his high crimes and misdemeanors are already behind him.

Forget football and fame, Mike, just focus on trying to save your soul before it’s too late. 

Lloyd Kam Williams is an animal lover, syndicated film critic, attorney, and a member of the bar in NJ, NY, CT, PA, MA & US Supreme Court bars.

posted 1 September 2007

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Like dogfighting and I think that Black people  have much to do better and more important than dogfighting—especially our millionaires—but White people have gone mad over this  issue.

1) The reaction to Bush's continuing destruction of the innocent  civilians in Iraq (long after EVERYONE acknowledges the lie that  started it)  has not generated so much anger or even concern among  Whites and most negro sports journalists have not pointed out this  obvious and distressing reality.

2) Even those White dog lovers—since they seem to love dogs more  than the children and babies of Arabs—ought to be screaming over how  many innocent Iraqi dogs Bush has killed! There is no bigger dog/cat/ animal murderer in the world than Pres. George Bush.

3) How many players in the NFL supported this war? They and their  twisted, hateful minds are FAR more dangerous to me than Michael Vick  and his dogfighting obsession. They should all be put in prison—Abu  Grahib next to Bush and Cheney would be nice—if a dogfighter must do  time.

4) Whites were far more interested in the sordid details of Michael Vick's crime than in the massive amounts of evidence that have been collected about Bush's role and foreknowledge of the 911 attacks. (See the amazing documentary Loose Change 911 at

5) Dogfighting is a White man's sport that has its origins in ancient  Rome. Emperor Lucullus was reputedly the first to initiate the practice of pitting dogs against other animals: a group of dogs would  be thrown into the Coliseum, doomed to be trampled to death by wild  elephants. The practice appeared in medieval England and in America it was used to train dogs to run down runaway slaves. Men who owned packs of these beasts were called into service in the South against escaped Africans in much the same way as one would call 911 today.

6) The richest of the rich British White folks don silly outfits and jump on horses to chase a single, desperate, frightened fox. Well, really they follow their dogs which are chasing the fox after which  they (the dogs) tear the little creature from limb to limb. Bullfighting ends in the cruel torture and death of an innocent bull.  Both are European obsessions.

7) Vice President Cheney loads up his rifle and shoots innocent, seed- eating, quails that are scared into flight by dogs—Whites don't bat an eye.

I, personally, don't want to be around such people. If Michael Vick wants to adopt their behaviors and cherished hobbies he must suffer the consequences, but these hyper-hypocritical Whites aren't fooling anyone—they're just racists.—Darryl Muhammad

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Most African Americans are "feebleminded and inclined to forgive." And most Americans don't care about animals or any damn thing else for that matter, except maybe their own. Certainly not about the half million Iraqis killed to save them from a tyrant and a lack of democracy, and certainly not about torture (Abu Ghraib The Dark Side of Obedience), either.

White Americans do care about persecuting  and prosecuting NegroesGlenn C. Loury. Why Are So Many Americans in Prison? That has been good sport for centuries. Too bad Vick got fooled on that account over there at the Virginia university that Nikki G loves. My problem is not with Vick killing or torturing dogs. My problem is his youthful racial stupidity (because of its ubiquity): money does not make you white in America, whether it is 300 million or 300 billion. 

Blacks behave as if everything is everything and thus do not monitor their behavior. We seemed to forget they watch us closely and await that moment to pounce and bring us down and keep us in our place. This Vick criminality is a mere distraction for the unread and the unreadingsomething they can sink their teeth in like so much fast food or soap opera rubbish.

Vick's smart enough to know that, at least smart enough to cry those Jesus tears that politicians and other celebrities have cried to get back into the good graces of the low life culture of American professional sports fans.

When will we learn? If you gonna be brought down, be brought down for something worthwhile, be for people (like King & Malcolm) not for crazy bullshit, for and about nothing. For his real crimes he probably should be whipped as a racial embarrassment. But that's a white man's Negro and we can do nothing to alter his behavior or those like him. 

He'll be back quarterbacking in the NFL, like the good buck that he is. He's worth a lot of money to some white folks. And when there's a chance to make money on a Negro, some white man will fight for that right, because sure as lynching that black boy's got skills. Rudy

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Life on Mars

By Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted the collection's "lyric brilliance" and "political impulses [that] never falter." A New York Times review stated, "Smith is quick to suggest that the important thing is not to discover whether or not we're alone in the universe; it's to accept—or at least endure—the universe's mystery. . . . Religion, science, art: we turn to them for answers, but the questions persist, especially in times of grief. Smith's pairing of the philosophically minded poems in the book’s first section with the long elegy for her father in the second is brilliant." Life on Mars follows Smith's 2007 collection, Duende, which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, the only award for poetry in the United States given to support a poet's second book, and the first Essence Literary Award for poetry, which recognizes the literary achievements of African Americans. The Body’s Question (2003) was her first published collection.

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The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story

of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government

By Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer

American democracy is informed by the 18th century’s most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. We’ve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economics—the cutting-edge ideas of today—generate these simple but revolutionary ideas: (The economy is not an efficient machine. It’s an effective garden that need tending. Freedom is responsibility. Government should be about the big what and the little how. True self interest is mutual interest.

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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 / 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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