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While the conversations often devolved into rather immature social criticisms, there were

plenty of captivating dialogues, especially on the topics of white privilege

and using the internet as an organizing tool

 

 

A Report on a Gathering  at Red Emma's 

Book Release for Letters from Young Activists

By Rodney D. Foxworth, Jr.

 

Chesa Boudin, editor of Letters from Young Activists written by 44 young activists with diverse backgrounds, ages 10-31, is also author of the book The Venezuelan Revolution 100 Questions-100 Answers  and translator of the book Understanding the Venezuelan Revolution: Hugo Chavez Talks to Marta Harnecker. appeared at  Red Emma's 800 Saint Paul St., Friday, 24 February 2006 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM.

Last week, I attended an event held at Red Emma's Bookstore in downtown Baltimore. ChickenBones editors Amin Sharif and Rudy Lewis were in attendance as well. The event highlighted Chesa Boudin, Yale graduate, Rhodes Scholar, and co-editor of the collection, Letters from Young Activists (LFYA). Boudin was joined by fellow LFYA contributors Tiffany King, a Delaware-based teacher and activist, and Najah Farley Samad, Boudin's Yale classmate.

Boudin took the stage first. Boudin himself is the result of rather contentious circumstances: he is the white, middle-class, Ivy League educated son of parents imprisoned for committing a politically motivated robbery along with members of the Black Liberation Army. As a result of this political act, three men were killed, and while Boudin's mother has been released from prison on parole, his father will more than likely die in prison.

Of the three young activists present, Boudin was the most impressive, perhaps nurtured by his time spent on the road promoting Letters from Young Activists , as well as his newest book, The Venezuelan Revolution: 100 Questions and 100 Answers. By this I mean he was the most articulate and commanding of the three. The event didn't allow for much revelation in regards to his vision as a young activist, though, like so much of the young Left, he admitted to being excited about Venezuela and the democratic revolutions occurring throughout Latin America. As it were, Venezuela gives him much hope for the future of the U.S.

Of course, our friend Amin Sharif provided sparks, engaging Boudin in a bit of back and forth. In response to Boudin's assertion that the world is indeed more violent and inequitable than it was in the years of Civil Rights, Black Power, and White Radicalism, Amin responded that, while it is true that the preceding generation of activists made missteps along the way, the same could be said many years from now in regards to the present group of young activists. Boudin, like me, only hopes that this is not to be the case.

While the conversations often devolved into rather immature social criticisms, there were plenty of captivating dialogues, especially on the topics of white privilege and using the internet as an organizing tool. Indeed, white privilege touched a nerve with all those in attendance, and provided some of the more memorable moments of the night.

It was interesting to hear the insights of such a diverse group, a more diverse group than I had anticipated for such a small event. However, there seemed to be little recognition of the organizational and disseminating powers of the internet. Rudy and Amin attempted to push the conversation on this, but as it were, it didn't get as far as it could have gone. Of course, it was only a two-hour event.

Most disappointing, though, is that I left away without a real sense of where young activists should direct their energies, or what sort of program the activists themselves were following. I think it was Boudin who opined that young activists were left directionless. I walked away feeling this way. A lot of sound rhetoric and arguments, but nothing material. No real political thinking.

But again, this was only a two hour "event." But one can be pleased by the diversity of those present, which, as one of those in attendance noted, was "beautiful." In the least, it gave me hope. We need to have more talks like this, more forums. The youthful among us are concerned citizens, and, it seems, we can communicate and act in an intergenerational manner.  

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Rodney D. Foxworth, Jr.
Associate Editor, LiP magazine
www.lipmagazine.org
cultural journalist & freelance writer
Ronald E. McNair Scholar
Ph.: (410) 978-0045
rdfoxworth@gmail.com

"I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out of the caves of evening that swing between strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they came all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil."W.E.B. Du Bois

posted 1 March 2006

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

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

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

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

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

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man's turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners' plans to give him a "necktie party" (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by "the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn't operate in his own home town." Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson's magnificent, extensively researched study of the "great migration," the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an "uncertain existence" in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

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

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Ancient African Nations

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

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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