Books by Roland Martin
Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith
Speak Brother!: A Black Manís View of America
The First: President Barack Obamaís Road
to the White House as Originally Reported by Roland S.
* * *
Martin: Election Night Coverage
Interview with Kam Williams
Born in Houston, Texas on November 14, 1968, Roland S.
Martin is an award-winning journalist who divides his
time among hosting a radio talk show, writing books and
a nationally-syndicated column, as a commentator on the
TV One Network and as a regular contributor to such CNN
programs as The Situation Room, Anderson Cooper 360 and
Lou Dobbs Tonight.
Named one of the 150 Most Influential African-Americans
by Ebony Magazine in 2008, he is also this yearís winner
of the NAACP Image Award for Best Interview for his
tete-a-tete with Senator Barack Obama. And he was
recently awarded the 2008 President's Award by the
National Association of Black Journalists for his work
in multiple media platforms.
insightful and provocative analyst, Mr. Martin has
appeared not only on CNN and TV One, but on MSNBC, FOX,
Court TV, BET, BBC, NPR and the Tom Joyner Morning Show.
A veteran of the black press, Roland was formerly the
managing editor of the Houston Defender and the Dallas
Weekly, and the executive editor/general manager of the
winner of more than 20 professional awards for
journalistic excellence, Mr. Martin has landed a
regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio
Television News Directors. He is married to the Rev.
Jacquie Hood Martin, and the couple resides in both
Chicago and Dallas.
Here, Roland talks about his plans for election night
when he will be dividing his air time between TV One and
* * *
Roland thanks for the time.
RM: Not a
Congratulations on your meteoric rise.
Oh, I appreciate that.
How does that feel?
Itís called 17 years worth of work. Itís all good.
I see youíre based in both Chicago and in Dallas. That
reminds me of how Tom Joyner once did a daily commute
between both cities for his radio show.
Yeah, I believe that was when he was doing morning drive
in Dallas and afternoon drive in Chicago.
I see you everywhere. Are you keeping up a busy schedule
Heís called the hardest working man in radio, and some
refer to me as the hardest-working multi-media
journalist. Iím based in Chicago, I have speaking
engagements all across the country, and I go to New York
City two to three days a week.
Has your life changed a lot since youíve become a TV
Of course. The travel has been consistent. Iíve been
recognized by a lot more folks for what I do, and my
number of speaking engagements has gone up dramatically.
But you know what the deal is? Iím still me. Thatís the
most important thing to me. When people see me, Iím
going to be real, and do exactly what I do. Iím not
going to try to be different. Iím just going to be
What do you expect the TV One election night coverage to
Election night, weíll be going until at least 2 AM,
because you have to factor in the West Coast. Weíre
seeing an explosive number of people voting early. With
a heavy turnout, I would not be surprised to see judges
extending the voting hours and keeping the polls open
late, especially if you have machine breakdowns and
precincts running out of ballots. We saw some of that in
2004 and in the 2006 midterm elections. So, I think itís
going to be another long night.
How will you manage to be on CNN, too?
Iíll be at CNN on the set offering analysis, but we have
it set up for me to break away and provide some analysis
on TV One as well, where Arthur Fennell and Joe Madison
will be anchoring. I really like how TV One has
established its coverage by having different players-
Tom Joyner, Michael Eric Dyson and Jacque Reid Ė there
in Chicago, because, if Obama wins, itís going to be the
biggest party on the planet. You can expect upwards of a
million people to be in and around Grant Park.
How do you think black people elsewhere will react to an
When Joe Louis won the heavyweight crown, black folks
would flood the streets of Harlem and other communities
in celebration. And I think youíll see that kind of
jubilation if Obama wins the presidency after all that
black people have endured in this country. That is huge.
That is major. And I think that African-Americans will
actually be able for the first time in our lives to turn
to our children and say, ďYes, indeed, you can grow up
to be the President of the United States.Ē But beyond
that, I think itís also important what it will mean for
the standard of beauty in America to be viewed through
the prism of Michelle Obama. This is often not talked
about. However, Michelle Obama is going to attract the
kind of attention as First Lady that Jackie Kennedy
enjoyed. She wonít emulate Jackie Kennedy, but bring her
own style and flair. Imagine what it will mean if
Michelle begins to wear the clothes and outfits of black
Is Obama going to be awaiting the election returns in
Yes, more than likely, heíll vote that morning, get the
obligatory photo-op of him going to vote in his local
precinct. Then heíll probably be doing a ton of radio
appearances on stations in Florida, Pennsylvania, North
Carolina and Virginia. And heíll be in Chicago that
night since, frankly, thereís nothing more to do on
Do you think there might be some tally irregularities on
Thereís always the possibility of that, but one never
knows. Weíll see how it shakes out.
Have you considered having black conservative Shelby
Steele as a guest on election night, since he wrote a
book subtitled ďWhy Obama Wonít Win.Ē
I donít have creative control over whoís booked. Heíll
probably be booked for one of the days soon after the
Have you remained impartial as a journalist, or have you
endorsed a candidate?
RM: As part of my CNN
special on age, race and gender, I spoke about how I
voted for Bushís father for president in 1988, for Ann
Richards and later George W. Bush for governor of Texas.
And I announced that in this election I was voting for
Barack Obama. I wanted to show that Iíve voted for old
white guys, women, white women, young white men, and so
forth. Iíve always maintained that Iím a columnist and a
commentator, so obviously my role is different from that
of a correspondent like John King, because we have a
different skill set.
Do you ever find it hard competing for air time with
That doesnít concern me because the bottom line is, when
theyíre coming to me, theyíre coming to me. People bring
different perspectives to the table. You just go in and
make your points, and that works for me.
Do you feel more pressure to speak in sound bites on TV
than in print or on radio?
Nope, the same thing happens in radio and writing. It
all has to be compelling. People who write in long,
flowery language are boring as hell in newspapers. And
itís the same in radio. You canít drone on and not be
exciting and interesting there either. Theyíre different
media, but the bottom lineís the same. Itís all a matter
of mastering the different elements of each part of the
I see that you were once associated with one of the
papers I write for, the Houston Defender. Are you still
in touch with the paperís publisher, Sonny Jiles?
Yes, of course, thatís the first place I interned. And
later I was managing editor. So yeah, I know Sonny very
well. I just saw her in Houston a couple of weeks ago.
The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?
Always! Look, I have a very simple philosophy: If I wake
up breathing, Iím happy. I donít sit here and get
stressed out about all kinds of drama. Hey, I absolutely
love what I do. This is what God had destined for me,
and itís been what I have been doing since I was 13
years-old. So, yes Iím happy. Absolutely!
The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?
Bookworm Troy Johnson asks: What was the last book you
Iím typically reading six or seven books at one time.
The last book I read was
The Race Beat by Gene
Roberts and Hank Klibanoff. Itís about media coverage of
the Civil Rights Movement. Iím also reading
Good, Marcus Mabryís biography of Condoleezza Rice.
Is there a question no one ever asks you, that you wish
The hell if I know.
Music maven Heather Covington was wondering: Whatís
music are you listening to nowadays?
Oh please, I have 4,000 plus songs on my iPod. Iíll
literally go from jamming Kirk Franklin to putting on
John Mellencamp to playing Rascal Flatts to Erykah Badu
to Mary J. Blige. Then I might put on some Pavarotti.
And of course, Iíll put on my favorites Kirk Whalum
and Maxwell. Iíve got everything from Zydeco to Salsa to
Country to R&B to Jazz. The only thing youíre not going
to find on my iPod is polka music.
KW: I think
that covers just about everything. Thanks again for the
good. I appreciate it.
* * *
* * * * *
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 PrizeĖwinning 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
* * * * *
Salvage the Bones
A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family thatís 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 Katrinaís inexorable winds is the voice of Wardís 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 familyís raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brotherís ďblood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.Ē Her fatherís hands ďare like gravel,Ē while her own hand ďslides through his grip like a wet fish,Ē and a handsome boyís ďmuscles jabbered like chickens.Ē Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isnít usually just metaphor for metaphorís sake. She conveys something fundamental about Eschís 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, whatís salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.ó
* * * * *
The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Boisí
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
* * *
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
George Jackson /
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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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posted 2 November 2008