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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.



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


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Roland 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.

An 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 Chicago Defender.

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 CNN coverage.

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KW: Hey, Roland thanks for the time.

RM: Not a problem. 

KW: Congratulations on your meteoric rise.

RM: Oh, I appreciate that.

KW: How does that feel?

RM: Itís called 17 years worth of work. Itís all good.

KW: 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.

RM: Yeah, I believe that was when he was doing morning drive in Dallas and afternoon drive in Chicago.

KW: I see you everywhere. Are you keeping up a busy schedule like that?

RM: 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.

KW: Has your life changed a lot since youíve become a TV personality? 

RM: 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 me.    

KW: What do you expect the TV One election night coverage to be like? 

RM: 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. 

KW: How will you manage to be on CNN, too?

RM: 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.

KW: How do you think black people elsewhere will react to an Obama win?

RM: 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 designers.

KW: Is Obama going to be awaiting the election returns in Chicago?

RM: 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 Election Day. 

KW: Do you think there might be some tally irregularities on Election Day?

RM: Thereís always the possibility of that, but one never knows. Weíll see how it shakes out.

KW: 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

RM: I donít have creative control over whoís booked. Heíll probably be booked for one of the days soon after the election.

KW: 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.

KW: Do you ever find it hard competing for air time with other commentators?

RM: 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. 

KW: Do you feel more pressure to speak in sound bites on TV than in print or on radio?

RM: 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 industry.      

KW: 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?

RM: 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.

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

RM: 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!  

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

RM: No.

KW: Bookworm Troy Johnson asks: What was the last book you read?

RM: 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 Twice as Good, Marcus Mabryís biography of Condoleezza Rice.  

KW: Is there a question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

RM: The hell if I know.

KW: Music maven Heather Covington was wondering: Whatís music are you listening to nowadays? 

RM: 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 interview, Roland.

RM: Weíre good. I appreciate it.

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#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 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 Ė 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


#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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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 is done.

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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.óWashingtonPost

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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 Boisí 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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posted 2 November 2008




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Related files:  Roland Martin Reflects on Obama