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Wars and conflicts are not won by the biggest and the strongest but by the ones

who are using innovative tactics while their opponents still fighting last years battles

 

 

Books by Arthur Flowers

De Mojo Blues   /   Another Good Loving Blues  

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Mojo Rising

The Confessions of a 21st-Century Conjureman

By Arthur Flowers

Mojo Rising: 5th Movement: MAY THERE ALWAYS BE STRUGGLE

Thats what love, cooperation and unity are in a society, a comforter - Im a comforter for my people, so I have great dominion and power, glory and authority, but I use my discretion, and my people love I, because I heal their afflictions. --Ras Hu-I


I AM FLOWERS OF THE DELTA CLAN FLOWERS AND THE LINE OF O KILLENS.

A Babagriot of the Hoodoo Way. A Lord of the Delta. Mojo Rising is a Text: An Invocation to Struggle. For These are Trying Times.

You could not have told those of us who lived through the bright heady days of the 60s and 70s that the Promised Land was not in sight. It was inconceivable then that we would ever again be a weak people. But here we are at the turn of the century and you feel sometimes like it was never this bad. It is only when you remind yourself of just how far we've come that you regain perspective. We've climbed some difficult mountains, you and I.

But apparently there is no Promised Land, apparently there is only struggle. We have come to understand as did the Angolans when they won their colonial war, A Luta Continua - The Struggle Continues. The Struggle. The Almighty Struggle. The ongoing struggle for survival and empowerment that has been waged by the black people of the Americas and the World. It has spanned continents, cultures and centuries. It evolves according to our concrete conditions and the successes and failures of preceding phases. It is the Struggle that shapes us as a people, it is the Struggle we must shape.

But the Movement looking kinda shaky these days. Folks giving up, going for self. You look at the condition of blackfolk today and its hard not to despair. Black families in danger, black communities falling apart. AIDS. A Rightwing Ascendancy killing off the Great Society and breeding Patriot Acts I & II. A movement hijacked by mercenary compradors and rabid fundamentalists. A shift in focus from external to internal dynamics that has made for infinitely more nuanced struggle (the honest have to acknowledge, we have been our own worst enemy) and not only are blackfolk drifting but black solidarity is considered quaint these days. These are singularly hardtimes.

But we have known hardtimes before. Our problems have always been insurmountable Slavery. Southern peonage. Urban sojourners. Our struggle has always been epic and we have always overcome. But first there must be vision. I ask what is the longgame. Just what kind of people do we want to be.

When moving a people you must think in generations or strategies are ineffective, frustration and burnout certain. I have become comfortable with the glacial pace of social and cultural change. Phases of struggle come and go. You win some you lose some, you keep on struggling. It is Demoja. The eternal and protracted mobilization of an entire constituency. Built for the longhaul.

LONGGAME & THE 21st CENTURY

Most black activists are hopelessly out of date and tending to utopian and apocalyptic scenarios, blundering blindly about the board and fighting tomorrows wars with 60s strategies. Wars and conflicts are not won by the biggest and the strongest but by the ones who are using innovative tactics while their opponents still fighting last years battles. Just what constitutes effective mobilization of the black community in the 21st Century. Folks still thinking of mobilization 60s style, antiwar marches, online petitions, teachins and so on, the makedo strategies of the weak and powerless, but innovative infoworld based approaches (such as the Black Radical Congress' underutilized cyberorganizing initiative) possibly more appropriate to the historical moment.

It would be nice would it not to forge a people who are capable of systematically responding to changes in the political/social environment in both a timely and effective manner. Cultures that are incapable of adjusting rapidly to cultural challenges are problematic.

Say for instance AIDS: Once it was realized that AIDS had a special affinity for the souls of blackfolk, there should have been a way to communicate that to our people with the kind of cultural authority that would enable timely adaptation to a cultural emergency that would identify and finesse cultural crises in their infancy. Immediate AIDS shortgame should have been to identify the cause and change community behavior accordingly and immediately. In this case education, monogamous commitment, safesex, drug outreach, pharmaceutical research&pricing policies, etc.

But shortgame is just defense. The corresponding longgame should be designed to harness the karmic power generated by a cultural crises of this magnitude to make health of primal importance in our culture. Once again we see the penalty of bad health. Both in the States and around the world blacks are sicker than other folk we die earlier, we suffer longer, we have paid in stunted lives and stunted generations. We desperately need to use this cultural hammer to make nutrition, health, sanitation and healthcare a cultural imperative.

Instead we respond with our usual repertoire, the strategies of the weak. Proud ignorance. Conspiracy! The whitefolks did it! Please. We aint got time for all that. AIDS has ravaged blackfolk throughout the Americas and Africa has damn near lost a generation. It is incumbent upon us to use the cosmic karma generated by a crises of this magnitude to make health an ongoing concern. Exercise, nutrition, lifestyle and compassionate healthcare policies are a must. The (v)ital lifestyle must become second nature to us. A cultural trait. Then we will have transformed adversity into strength. Worked the counterspell and shaped the generations. Otherwise its just a tragedy.

Samesame the election of 2004. It must be fought with everything we can muster. Another 4 years of Bush the Naked Emperor and his merry band of fundamentalists is more than I care to endure. But it's the Rightwing Ascendancy that must be finessed and counterfeited. To be truly effective our 2004 election strategies must be designed both to defeat Bush and to delegitimize the Right, empower progressive forces/impulses in American culture and program us as more effective policy players and instruments.

Longgame Strategies must be designed to train us into the kind of people we want most to be. It is the essence of conjuration. Conduct yourself as you aspire to be and you shall. Longgame empowerment strategies are a must in the 21st century for the competition has gotten more sophisticated and so must we. The most effective mobilization of the moment has been that of the Rightwing Ascendancy (and if you don't think they trying to fundamentally change civilization as we know it you haven't been paying attention) which learned new infobased techniques of manipulating public opinion and mobilizing their forces. It is already Oldthought. Our advocacy organizations havent even mastered that model much less created any effectively innovative mobilization techniques.

What do I get instead. What is the agreed upon 21st Century empowerment strategy for Black America. Reparations. (What is it about black people and begging.) I hate to be the one break it to you blackpeople but Reparations don't get it.

A good empowerment strategy should train us as a people in the skills that we need to survive and prosper in the 21st Century. What do Reparations train us to be. Better beggars. Pleasepleasemrwhitefolk, pleasepleasemakeuswhole. I thought we dumped waiting for whitefolk to save us round about 1975. How did we get back to this as primary strategy. What a revolting development this is. Weve raised begging whitefolk into highart and given it revolutionary sanction. Bottomline: will winning Reparations make us a stronger people. No it wont. It's a diversion of critical energies and it will not change the concrete condition of blackfolk no more than getting one of George Bushs taxcut checks. Is this the best we can come up with for the 21st Century. Is this the best post-Most Favorite Minority strategy we can come up with. Give me a break blackpeople, we can do better than this. Work with me.

EMPOWERMENT

Empowerment is what we looking for. Empowerment. This is a concept flexible enough to cover a wide range of tactical and strategic initiatives. Whatever our new strategy is, it has to be some complex aspiration to Empowerment - cultural empowerment, economic empowerment, social empowerment, political empowerment, personal empowerment, family empowerment, community empowerment - the proper use of political, economic and social resources - you name it, Empowerment will cover it. Enough aspects of it for all of us to participate according to personal interest. There is more than enough Struggle to go around.

But the one thing we can no longer afford is to blame others for our problems. Kujichagulia. We want to claim self determination we got to accept self determination.

But first there must be vision. Are we to determine our own destiny or are we to continue to let it be determined for us by people who despise us. Do we have a plan. What exactly are we struggling for. What does it mean to be African American in this incredibly shrinking world. Just what does it mean to be black. To be part of the global black community. What will it mean 100 years from now. A 100 generations.

Not what's most likely, but what do we want to be. Want to be. What is the vision. Status quo is clearly unacceptable. Are we to remain the bottomfeeders of any society that we are a part of. Do we see black people and black communities as strong and respected. Are we to be part of an increasingly homogenized America and World. Or are we to just disappear as a distinct people and culture.

Personally I do not want African American blackfolk to disappear as a distinct culture and people. For all the problems that come with it, I like being black. Optimally I see a strong and beautiful people, a respected member of the world (eventually cosmic) mosaic. Optimally I see a wondrous people who are a beacon light unto humanity, leading it to its ever greater self. Optimally I see black communities and black culture as strong, healthy, wealthy and wise. And I see struggle. I looking generations down the line and I see plenty struggle.

But I no longer see eternal holywar. Thats a drag. Tires me out just thinking about it. When my warriorclans cheer the ravings of a Khallid Muhammad it just breaks my little hoodoo heart. Samesame with maddog performance poets and apocalyptic radicals. We aint got to be ranting and raving to take care of business. In the multiculti future that thin skinned posture will be increasingly counterproductive. Taking care of business should be cool, calm and collected. The committed must speak to the true soul of our race, tattered though it must be. De ol' rootdoctor concerned that we get so caught up in maddog attacks we lose sight of our greatest longgame power? our spiritual authority.

I too am Mythmaker and I too feel that the only way to get out of this historical trickbag we have found ourselves in is to have a mission greater than our adversity. A vision to believe in. But it should not be a petty little vindictive vision that belittles others in order to make us feel good about ourselves. We are not a petty people, we are the Children of the Sun. Our vision should be a great and grand and glorious vision.

THE HIGHROAD

I struggle hard to be universal, to understand that all folks are my tribe and thats where I hope to evolve. I have however found it difficult to move past my tribal imperatives. My primary concern, no, lets say my obsession, is the survival and prosperity of the blackrace. Everywhere in the world blackfolk are sicker, poorer, living harder and dying faster. Everywhere in the world that you got blackfolk they are on the bottom of their respective societies. Everywhere. The despised of the earth. Apparently without exception. Cant blame Everywhere on nobody but ourselves. Somehow someway we must transform into strengths the weaknesses that have crippled us in global competition.

Im tired of blackfolk being disrespected and dispirited. Im tired of blackfolk living stunted little lives. Im tired of blackfolk suffering. I fear for our survival as a people. I fear for our survival as a culture. In my most mythic heart of hearts Im just the local witchdoctor trying to help the tribe survive another winter.

And by God and all thats holy the tribe will not starve on my shift.

The struggle for me has become an attempt to evolve spiritually as well as politically and to incorporate both the nationalist and the universal while still fulfilling my tribal shamanistic responsibilities. I figure the most that I can do is try to wed these two imperatives, both blackfolk and all humanity, both these families of mine. My commitment to the struggle is absolute but clearly my understanding of struggle has to grow. I would redefine what it means to be a black nationalist. Define it so that it doesnt represent a chauvinistic narrowminded approach to life and struggle but instead a great and grand and progressive one. The more I evolve as a aspirant holyman, the more I see that saving (illuminating) the blackrace, entails saving all of humanity and all Jah creature great and small. I would blend the national with the universal and make the black struggle synonymous with the struggle for human dignity. My overriding concern is still and always will be saving the black race. But it becomes more and more apparent to me that truly developing (illuminating) the race entails empathy with all humanity and developing a culture that consistently contributes to the enhancement of the human condition.

The Struggle is just too important to let it become soul crippling. It is the Struggle that shapes our destiny, it is the Struggle we must shape. Blackfolk who supported OJ just because he "black" are terribly confused. If anything we should hold blackfolk to a higher standard than anybody else would. It has become clear to me that we have to wage a struggle as much spiritual as it is political and that we must constantly and aggressively eradicate all weakness and pettiness from ourselves and our struggle.

The lowroad cripples our tribalsoul and works against our growth as a people. For in the final analysis the battle shall be one of Grace. Which is the better Way.

I would you therefore young hoodoo be a progressive force in the world. De ole rootdoctor is against authoritarian governments and creeds of any sort, including my own. Support democratic creeds/systems over authoritarian ones and the humanization of affluent ones.

Support progressive religious impulses over fundamentalist ones. Incorporate the best of the worlds evolved understanding into your own. I encourage absolute respect for the dignity of the human spirit. Do what you can when you can. And when you come to the crossroads, always take the highroad.

True, we must remain forever vigilant against those who despise us and consider our weakness their strength. But thats no longer the primary struggle. For us to keep crying about racism is like a sailor cursing the sea because its wet. Surely by now we have factored racism into our strategic posture. A strong people prepare themselves to meet and finesse any cultural challenge, be it human or natural, KKK or AIDS.And I aint talking about no noble suffering or not fighting back when we are attacked. The best moral authority is one of strength. What I am saying is that ranting and raving is not strength but weakness and insecurity. And dont nothing irk me like blackfolk being weak and insecure. There are alternative modes of mobilization. I say we consider the security and prosperity of our generations the Prime Directive. I say we calm, cool and coldblooded. We remain forever vigilant, we maintain an ever evolving, multifaceted strategic posture - some moves bold and strong, some hidden in shadows, some waiting silently in the wings. Growing in power. Masters of the Longgame.

FOR I WOULD YOU MY PEOPLE BE MASTERS OF STRATEGY

Old player that I am I still hope to program an instinct to power into the black psyche. The old strategy of the weak   trickeration manifested through strength   strategy   the key that opens all locks.

Study the Board of Destiny young hoodoo until you have determined maximal impact for minimal effort. Let those without vision squander their energies in unstructured activity. When you work you work the roots of things. You are a rootdoctor. You who so understands The Book of Fa that your every move changes things. In Ideological Orchestrations, the longest most comprehensive game wins. Swallow opposing forces by encompassing their visions. If your vision and your game is comprehensive enough, everybody on the planet works for you.

The effective Change Agent approaches social conditions as a manipulation of social system dynamics. The more comprehensive your grasp of system dynamics the more effective your intervention. The variables you choose to affect should be both significant and sensitive to your manipulative ability. If necessary position yourself geographically and professionally, adjust your lifestyle and gain the necessary skills.

I ask my people that you armor yourself in dignity and bid for power. Write your name in The Great Black Book of Generations.

Now I know blackfolk and black culture will have a problem with that idea. Taking Power. Control of state policy and power instruments. Anything else is either supplemental or a diversion. But blackfolk been victims of power so long we dont trust it or the pursuit thereof. This is Oldthought that has to be discarded. Taking power is the logical evolution of an empowerment strategy.

Once in power you do what you can to support humane public policy. To alleviate the lot of the poor and the disenfranchised. To awaken the sleeper, protect the weak and guide the strong.

The disenfranchised will always be with us. A condition that will only increase as society becomes more and more complex. A condition that has always been and always will be an ongoing concern of the righteous. First thing though is to as much as possible remove ourselves from that category. This is critical. Our strategies are generally predicated on being a poor. peasant people. Im not saying we arent. What de old rootdoctor is saying is that as long as we playing out of weakness we always gon be weak. The old conjure see this as fundamental. Got to play strong if we ever want to be strong. It is the essence of conjuration.

Once you take power learn how to hold power. Enlightened rule is stable rule. The basic human pattern seems to be when the weak finally get power they immediately start throwing their own weight around and the cycle continues. I have tried to build severe proscriptions against the abuse of power into my evolving cosmology. I ask of my people a higher road. I man speaking only to the righteous.

And when I say take power I aint talking about no obvious and overt bids for power that would raise all kinds of resistances, hackles and countermoves. I aint talking about no huffing and puffing and putting an ad in the New York Times. I need you to restrain your tendency to wolf blackpeople. Im talking about the bank shot. From now on my people I want you to worship subtlety. I want you to learn how to hunt in silence.

In a democracy such as ours, state power is a function of competency in the dynamics of voluntary organization   the single most effective instrument of empowerment in a democratic society. You are only as strong as your people. The war is therefore one of incessant community organizing, empowerment and capital formation through the education, politicalization & mobilization of your constituency. The more sophisticated your constituency the more power you wield. Ignore those who would have you feel guilty for racial mobilization

SOLIDARITY

It is fundamentally a question of solidarity. How do I get blackfolk to stick together

Babagriot David Walkers words are as good today as when he said them during the Great Gitting Up Morning, "Our greatest happiness shall consist of working for the salvation of our whole body. When this is accomplished a burst of glory will shine upon you which will indeed astonish you and the world."

Doing the Nam in the 60s as a youngman was a definitive experience for me. I man know what it can be like when blackfolk stick together and by God and all thats holy I will have it again if I have to move heaven and earth to make it so. I understand that this is an ideal and life is a big messy compromise but within that understanding I man asking you to stick together blackpeople. Back to Back. Black to Black.

Thats all Im asking blackpeople. The question is how do we maintain commitment to struggle now that its no longer an imperative. When I was growing up blackfolk had to stick together. Racism was overt and oppressive.

Tell folks about the pre60s Southabout having to ride in the back of the bus, drink at the colored water fountain, yessir and nosir whitefolk, and they cant conceive itin my day blackfolk were forced to be black. Nowdays blackfolk choose to be black. There are those who would consider this a good thing, a normalization. Most folk just want to be left alone to make a living and raise a family. The great majority of the race will never be actively involved in the struggle. But if those are lives of personal dignity and achievement then that is the essence of struggle. It is all I ask.

The problem is that most blackfolk still suffering. We are still the despised of the earth. People dont want to live around us, go to school with us, hire us, respect us or be us. Might as well be Untouchables. This will never do. I simply will not have it.

We must all over the world manifest a vibrant black culture of illumination and empowerment so appealing that black identity is valued and folks are proud to consider themselves black. As we grow in power & pride all the black peoples of the world who are shamed to be black will come back home.


TAKING CARE OF THE TRIBAL SOUL

In the evolving global culture, the question is which national cultures will survive and be definitive and which will wither away and disappear. African American culture at its best is one of the strongest on the planet. Witness the global influence of the Movement as a model for other struggles. Witness the hip hop nation.

All cultures are simultaneously dynamic and entropic, a constantly fluctuating blend of strengths and weaknesses. African American culture has been as much dysfunctional and entropic as it has been vibrant and illuminated. So weak sometimes you wonder how we will ever survive. Which shall it be. Shall we survive and prosper as a people and culture or shall we decline and wither.

The hoodoo premise is that the health of the tribalsoul is the root of all blessings. If the cultural soul is healthy, our strategies are healthy, our lifestyles are healthy, our communities are healthy. If the soul is sick everything else is dysfunctional - our lifestyles, our relationships, our communities, our Vision. When the tribal soul is healthy and vigorously evolving its people live healthy, vigorous lives. Their culture produces works that enlighten the entire human race and become part of the global Worldspirit.

One cares for the tribal soul by monitoring it through its cultural products, contributing what it needs to balance out its weaknesses and emphasize its strengths. Minimizing the dysfunctional components and emphasizing the transformational. The battles over gangster rap and mercenary literature are battles for the control of our cultural traits. Of our destiny. Our Fa.

My ultimate game is to ensure that blackfolk are never on the bottom ever again. My goal is that blackfolk be so strong in spirit, so powerful a people that no matter what the governing system we find ourselves part of no matter where in the world/cosmos we find ourselves in the foreseeable and unforeseeable future that blackfolk not only survive and prosper as a race and culture but that they are illuminated and empowered, forces for justice and righteousness in whatever type of social system they find themselves. Or create.

I will always be a warrior, but I am no longer a young and vigorous warrior, I am an old warhorse now, hopefully wise and wily. One who has been through enough campaigns that it is the longcampaign that I concern myself with now how does one live a life rich in grace and comfort that is still yet one of absolute and lifelong commitment to struggle. A permanent state of mobilization that precludes revolutionary burnout. What John O Killens called being a longdistance runner. What I call The Longgame.

I fear folk think I am a joke. A failed novelist w/metafictional mindburn. Emerge Magazine did an article awhile back on invisible black male writers and I didnt even make the invisible list. Guess God dont want me resting on my laurels. No sense having an attitude cause folk dont see my vision. Thats why they call it a vision.


THIS IS MY VISION: THIS IS WHAT I SEE

I see blackfolk as a wise and wondrous people: humanities guide and guardian. Optimally I see a strong and beautiful people, a respected member of the world (eventually cosmic) mosaic. Optimally I see a wondrous people who are a beacon light unto humanity, leading it to its ever greater self. Optimally I see black communities and black culture as strong, healthy, wealthy and wise.

I call for the highroad, blackpeople. It is a good plan. It is aluta continua. It is Irie. It is Geas by Rickydoc. I see this highroad as always leading to the next stage of human development, no matter what it is. Therefore it is not wedded to any one period, age, phase, peoples or point. There is always the next step.

I see this highroad as the eternal impulse to your greater self. Whenever you are making a Crossroads Decision, always try to be conscious of the greater good. Strive always to be greater than you are.

I ask then that we strive always to be the most magnanimous, most magnificent and most beautiful people on the planet. I ask that we take responsibility not only for our own destiny but for the destiny and wellbeing of all peoples and all Jah creature great and small.

To regain your legacy as Gods holy instrument and reach our true potential as a people you must stand on higher ground.

I ask only that we be the great and glorious people we were meant to be. The Illuminated Children of the Sun. Humanities living ancestors. Gods true chosen. This then is the Geas of Rickydoc: stewardship of humanities struggle to evolve, to be ever greater than it is.

Once again you must stand where others crawl. Once again you must show de way. Listen o ye firstborn to these words of power and I will give you my people a mission greater than your adversity.

Im probably the slackest holyman ever been. It cross my mind sometime that if I really am the hope of the race we in bigger trouble than we thought. But what can I do. Im in it now. Be damn if Ima let history say I had the power but didnt have the heart: I will continue to conduct myself as I aspire to be. A 21st Century Conjureman. Doing I job.

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Arthur Flowers, a Memphis native, is the author of two novels, De Mojo Blues and Another Good Loving Blues (Ballantine Books), and a children's story, Cleveland Lee's Beale Street Band. He is a Vietnam veteran, blues singer, co-founder of the New Renaissance Writer's Guild. In addition, he is the webmaster of Rootsblog: A Cyberhoodoo Webspace and a performance artist whose presentation, Delta Oracle: A Griot Speaks in Tongues, keeps him busy and Professor of MFA Fiction at Syracuse University.

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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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Eyeminded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art

By Kellie Jones

A daughter of the poets Hettie Jones and Amiri Baraka, Kellie Jones grew up immersed in a world of artists, musicians, and writers in Manhattan’s East Village and absorbed in black nationalist ideas about art, politics, and social justice across the river in Newark. The activist vision of art and culture that she learned in those two communities, and especially from her family, has shaped her life and work as an art critic and curator. Featuring selections of her writings from the past twenty years, EyeMinded reveals Jones’s role in bringing attention to the work of African American, African, Latin American, and women artists who have challenged established art practices. Interviews that she conducted with the painter Howardena Pindell, the installation and performance artist David Hammons, and the Cuban sculptor Kcho appear along with pieces on the photographers Dawoud Bey, Lorna Simpson, and Pat Ward Williams; the sculptor Martin Puryear; the assemblage artist Betye Saar; and the painters Jean-Michel Basquiat, Norman Lewis, and Al Loving. Reflecting Jones’s curatorial sensibility, this collection is structured as a dialogue between her writings and works by her parents, her sister Lisa Jones, and her husband Guthrie P. Ramsey Jr. EyeMinded offers a glimpse into the family conversation that has shaped and sustained Jones, insight into the development of her critical and curatorial vision, and a survey of some of the most important figures in contemporary art.

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Michelle Alexander: US Prisons, The New Jim Crow  / Judge Mathis Weighs in on the execution of Troy Davis

 

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—Publishers Weekly

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The Persistence of the Color Line

Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency

By Randall Kennedy

Among the best things about The Persistence of the Color Line is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley. He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr. Smiley consistently “voiced skepticism regarding whether blacks should back Obama” . . . The finest chapter in The Persistence of the Color Line is so resonant, and so personal, it could nearly be the basis for a book of its own. That chapter is titled “Reverend Wright and My Father: Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism.”  Recalling some of the criticisms of America’s past made by Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with feeling about his own father, who put each of his three of his children through Princeton but who “never forgave American society for its racist mistreatment of him and those whom he most loved.” 

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Exporting American Dreams

 Thurgood Marshall's African Journey

By Mary L. Dudziak

Thurgood Marshall became a living icon of civil rights when he argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court in 1954. Six years later, he was at a crossroads. A rising generation of activists were making sit-ins and demonstrations rather than lawsuits the hallmark of the civil rights movement. What role, he wondered, could he now play? When in 1960 Kenyan independence leaders asked him to help write their constitution, Marshall threw himself into their cause. Here was a new arena in which law might serve as the tool with which to forge a just society. In Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall's African Journey (2008) Mary Dudziak recounts with poignancy and power the untold story of Marshall's journey to Africa

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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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 update 5 May 2012

 

 

 

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