ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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

Google
 

few people understand or appreciate the role of this patient, beneath the radar community organizing . . .

we know  the civil rights movement only . . .  when it had begun to attract the attention of the

national media, So we think  of the movement mainly as mobilization: as marches, demonstrations . . .

 

 

Books by James Boggs and Grace Lee Boggs

 

Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century  / The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker's Notebook

 

Living for Change: An Autobiography Conversations in Maine: Exploring Our Nation's Future 

 

Manifesto for a Black Revolutionary Party   / Racism and the Class Struggle 

 

*   *   *   *   *

Organizing Comes Before Mobilizing 

By Grace Lee Boggs 

 

Last week veteran Detroit activist and TV producer Ron Scott shared his thoughts on the recent massive demonstrations in support of the Jena 6. Emphasizing the distinction between organizing and mobilizing, he reminded us that the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which began fifty-two years ago on December 1, 1955 and lasted more than a year, was the culmination of years of organizing by local activists like NAACP stalwarts E.D.Nixon and Rosa Parks. 
 
“Had the people of Montgomery merely come out for one day and gone home, we would have nothing to write about today.” 
 
This distinction between organizing and mobilizing is especially important in this period when in Detroit and other parts of the country and the world, we are in the very early stages of building a 21st century movement to rebuild our communities and our cities, while also addressing the interconnected issues of planetary emergency, the imperial presidency and the calamity of the invasion of  Iraq. 
 
To help us think about the distinction with the seriousness it deserves, I recommend reading and discussing the chapter on “Slow and Respectful Work” in Charles Payne’s I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Struggle and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle (University of California Press, 1995). Many Minds, One Heart, a recent book by Virginia State University Professor Wesley C. Hogan, also emphasizes the importance of patient one-on-one organizing, although, surprisingly, Ms. Hogan makes no reference to Payne’s groundbreaking book. 
 
The civil rights movement had such an enormous impact on this country and the world because prior to mobilizing huge marches and demonstrations, members of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (mostly black, mostly southern, mostly from working class backgrounds), not only had a vision of “beloved community” but were ready to spend a lot of time doing the spadework of building relationships with people in the black community. 
 
Convinced that there are individuals in every community whom others look to because they have an unconquerable faith in their own humanity, refuse to see themselves only as victims and take pride in thinking for themselves, the members of SNCC set out to find these natural leaders. 
 
The method they used was simple. They talked with people and got to know them by listening patiently, in conversations at the post office, the market, at meetings and church services. At the same time they gave people in the community daily opportunities to get to know them as individuals who were respectful to women and the elderly, who kept their word and lived up to values respected in the community. 
 
It was only after the legitimacy of the “movement” had been established by this kind of “slow and respectful” organizing in the community that they began to mobilize large numbers in marches and demonstrations. 
 
Today few people understand or appreciate the role of this patient, beneath the radar community organizing because we know the civil rights movement only in its later period when it had begun to attract the attention of the national media, So we think of the movement mainly as mobilization: as marches, demonstrations, violent events and personalities or charismatic leaders. 
 
The Detroit City of Hope campaign is today in the community organizing stage. In 2007 we hosted two events to commemorate the 40th anniversary of MLK’s anti-Vietnam war speech and the 1967 Detroit rebellion. Through these events, endorsed by 32 very diverse community organizations, we made the community aware of our intent to mount a campaign to rebuild, redefine and respirit Detroit from the ground up. 
 
Now our challenge is to help the individuals and groups already engaged in this work or eager to embark on it create ways and means to connect with, learn from and support one another. 

LIVING FOR CHANGE –If you appreciate receiving these weekly emails, we hope you’ll send a tax-deductible donation to the Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership.   www.boggscenter.org  Thank you.  Grace & Shea 

Source: Michigan Citizen, Dec. 25, 2007 

Grace Lee Boggs is an activist, writer, and speaker whose sixty years of political involvement encompass the major U.S. social movements of this century:  Labor, Civil Rights, Black Power, Asian American, Women's and Environmental Justice. Born in Providence, R.I. of Chinese immigrant parents in l915, Grace received her B.A. from Barnard College in l935 and her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College in l940.  

In the l940s and l950s she worked with West Indian Marxist historian C.L.R.James  and in l953 she came to Detroit where she married James Boggs,  African American labor activist, writer and strategist. Working together in grassroots groups and projects, they were partners for over 40 years until James' death in July l993.

Their book, Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century,  was published by Monthly Review Press in l974. In l992, with James Boggs and others, she founded DETROIT SUMMER, a multi-cultural, intergenerational youth program to rebuild, redefine and respirit Detroit from the ground up which completed its ninth season in June 2000.  Currently she is active in the Detroit Agricultural Network, the Committee for the Political Resurrection of Detroit, writes for the  weekly Michigan Citizen, and does a monthly commentary on WORT (Madison, Wisconsin). 

Her Living for Change: An Autobiography  published  by the University of Minnesota Press in March l998, now in its  second printing, is widely used in university classes on social movements and autobiography writing. -- http://www.boggscenter.org/

*   *   *   *   *

John Henrik Clarke—A Great and Mighty Walk

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

Basil Davidson's  "Africa Series"

 Different But Equal  /  Mastering A Continent  /  Caravans of Gold  / The King and the City / The Bible and The Gun

African Slave Trade: Precolonial History, 1450-1850

By Basil Davidson

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

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

*   *   *   *   *

The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

*   *   *   *   *

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 31 March 2012

 

 

 

Home  BLACKS, Unions & Organizing Table  Conversations Table

Related files:  Crime Among Our People  Conversation about Religion   Give Detroit Schools a Fresh Start    The Dropout Challenge     Food Future Past   Boggs Center: Going  Beyond Black and White