ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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

Google
 

It is foolhardy for any African American to think that by simply electing a Black president

the intractable problems facing Black poor and working people will miraculously disappear.

They will only be resolved . . . [only if we] demand that they be solved.

 

 

In the Era of Obama, Is There a Need for a Black Agenda?

By Dr. Ron Daniels

 

When people ask me whether we need a Black Agenda in the era of Obama, I am reminded that much about this quotation, from the Preamble to the National Black Agenda adopted in Gary, Indiana in 1972, is the reality today for vast numbers of Blacks.

President Barack Obama speaks proudly of his days as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago where his wife Michelle was also raised in a working class family. There are certainly sections of Chicago's South Side which are still "crime-haunted dying grounds." And, when Mark Morial, President/CEO of the National Urban League, recently threw down the gauntlet after releasing the annual State of Black America Report, which continues to show troubling disparities between Blacks and Whites in education, health care, income and wealth, he was implicitly making the case for the ongoing need for a Black Agenda.

The conditions prevalent in Black America thirty-seven years after the Gary Convention, coupled with this year's State of Black America Report, tempts me to say that "the more things change, the more they stay the same." But things have changed for Africans in America. Indeed, because of the Black Political Convention in 1972, we now have thousands of Black elected officials occupying positions as local school board representatives, sheriffs, mayors, congresspersons and of course the President of the Untied States. We have a greatly expanded Black middle and upper class with an abundance of Black professionals, high paid artists, athletes, entertainers and heads of Fortune 500 Corporations. No one can deny that the Black freedom struggle has produced significant gains for the sons and daughters of Africa in America.

But, far too many Black people are mired in conditions similar to those we faced in the 60s. According to a study released by the Community Service Society of New York a couple of years ago, some 50% of Black and 40% of Latino youth are unemployed in this city when you include those who have dropped out of the labor market. Bronx County New York, with a predominately Black and Latino population, is the poorest urban county in America! Schools that fail to educate Black children are the prevailing reality in Black poor and working class neighborhoods, creating a pipeline to an exploding prison-jail industrial complex where the dominant complexion of the prisoners is black and brown. That these debilitating conditions persist for large numbers of Blacks in the 21st century clearly indicates that the "colorline," institutional/structural racism remains a roadblock to "freedom" particularly for Black working class and poor people.

Here again, that faded document from the Gary Black Political Convention is still relevant and instructive: "The crises we face as Black people are the crises of the entire society. They go deep to the very bones and marrow, to the essential nature of America's economic, political and cultural systems. They are the natural end product of a society built on the twin foundation of white racism and white capitalism." As a veteran social and political activist, with this analysis informing my assessment of the condition of Black working class and poor people, it does not occur to me that we are somehow in a "post-racist" society. The fact that America has progressed to the point that a Black family can occupy the White House has not eradicated the myriad maladies of race and class that continue to constrain the aspirations of millions of Black people in this nation. Therefore, the idea of a Black Agenda is not only relevant, it is imperative if Africans in America, as a group, are to enter the "promised land" that Martin Luther King envisioned from his view from the mountaintop in Memphis.

In the first instance a Black Agenda is imperative because promoting and defending one's interest is fundamental to achieving one's aspirations within a pluralistic, competitive process in this Capitalist political-economy. The Hispanic leadership that recently met with President Obama was not there to show they have "access," to have tea and crumpets or to have a photo op; they were there to discuss how their 67% vote for the President must translate into tangible gains for Latinos. The Obama administration's refusal to participate in the forthcoming U.N. Conference on Racism, because of fears that Israel may be attacked for its human rights violations during the invasion of Gaza, is a direct reflection of the power of the Israeli lobby in the U.S.

It is foolhardy for any African American to think that by simply electing a Black president the intractable problems facing Black poor and working people will miraculously disappear. They will only be resolved under this president or any president if we identify those issues that are of critical interest to our people and demand that they be solved. That's why Marc Morial's action in demanding that President Obama do something about the gross disparities between Blacks and Whites in education, health, income and wealth was courageous and exemplary. I'm certain Mr. Morial admires our President, as I do, but in the world of politics, that's beside the point. We need symbols and substance not symbols without substance; otherwise those "crime-haunted dying grounds" are where the dreams of many Black people will continue to be buried!

Dr. Ron Daniels is President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century and Distinguished Lecturer at York College City University of New York. He is the host of An Hour with Professor Ron Daniels, Monday-Friday mornings on WWRL Radio 1600 AM in New York and Night Talk, Wednesday evenings on WBAI 99.5 FM, Pacifica New York. His articles and essays also appear on the IBW website www.ibw21.org and www.northstarnews.com . He can be reached via email at info@ibw21.org. Will Progressives Offer a Vision For a More Perfect Union?  (Ron Daniels)

Source: BlackAgendaReport

*   *   *   *   *

State of Black America 2009: Message to the President


I hope that The State of Black America 2009: Message to the President will find its way to the desks of decision makers from the White House to both Houses of Congress to every state house and to local governments throughout the nation. I also hope that it will lead to a national dialogue that spawns an agenda with support from the private sector and its civic counterpart. With this hope we can hasten the realization of my father s dream so that the narratives of all Americans can be one. --From the Foreword by Martin Luther King, III

We welcome the new vision the Obama administration brings to Washington and to America. But this vision can only become a reality if we make it so. The State of Black America 2009: Message to the President, is an essential part of the National Urban League s effort to bring about this vision by working with the new Administration to tackle the nation s deepening domestic challenges. I hope that it encourages and inspires each of you to join us in working to help President Obama fulfill the promise he made to us last summer to build a nation worthy of our children s future.—
Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League


At the dawn of Barack Obama s historic presidency, The State of Black America 2009 examines the critical challenges such as unemployment, home foreclosures, education and health care reform his new administration must address. In this volume, the National Urban League presents the voices of leading scholars, analysts and practitioners, as well as ordinary citizens asking their government to respond to their concerns and offers its specific recommendations for effectively tackling these issues. The State of Black America 2009: Message to the President is an invaluable guide, not only for the new President, but for anyone seeking solutions that will empower every American to Thrive, Earn, Own and Prosper.
—National Urban League (March 25, 2009), 290 pages

posted 11 April 2009 

*   *   *   *   *

Go, Tell Michelle
African American Women Write to the New First Lady

Edited Barbara A. Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

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. Smith said Life on Mars, published by small Minnesota press Graywolf, was inspired in part by her father, who was an engineer on the Hubble space telescope and died in 2008.

*   *   *   *   *

The Last Holiday: A Memoir

By Gil Scott Heron

Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King's birthday ended up becoming a national holiday ("The Last Holiday because America can't afford to have another national holiday"), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered. Gil uses Lennon's violent end as a brilliant parallel to Dr King's assassination and as a biting commentary on the constraints that sometimes lead to newspapers getting things wrong. —Jamie Byng, Guardian / Gil_reads_"Deadline" (audio)  / Gil Scott-Heron & His Music  Gil Scott Heron Blue Collar  Remember Gil Scott- Heron

*   *   *   *   *

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)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        

Enjoy!

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

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

 

 

 

 

 

update 18 April 2012

 

 

 

Home  Reparations Table / Religion & Politics / Black Librarians

Related files: Is There a Need for a Black Agenda?  The Price of Racial Reconciliation  Contents White Nationalism   White Nationalism  Reviews   Introduction White Nationalism  Legitimacy to Lead 

Stirrings in the Jug Adolph Reed