Books by Roland Martin
Listening to the Spirit Within: 50
Perspectives on Faith
Speak Brother!: A Black Man’s View of America
The First: President Barack Obama’s
Road to the White House as Originally Reported by
Roland S. Martin
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Reflects on Obama
Barack Obama’s declaring his candidacy
for the Presidency and Election Day
Roland Martin filed hundreds of
reports about the campaign in his
capacity as a political correspondent
for CNN and TV-One Networks, as well as
a radio talk show host and a
Furthermore, Martin was also
occasionally afforded access to Obama
for intimate, 1-on-1 interviews. So, it
only makes sense that he would decide to
The First: President Barack Obama’s Road
to the White House as Originally
Reported by Roland S. Martin, a
book recounting Obama’s historic run for
the White House.
Recently, Roland reflected with me about
the campaign, the book, his career and
his family life.
Nice speaking with you again, Roland. Let me start
by asking what inspired you to publish the book?
I was thinking about the fact that I had written
about a hundred columns during the campaign, and I
realized I could do a book on it. So, I started
pulling all the radio interviews I did during the
campaign, and my blog posts, and my interview with
Michelle Obama, and I realized I could put together
an anthology from just my coverage alone. But then I
thought of calling about 15 of the celebrities I had
met on the campaign trail, like Common, Chris
Tucker, Jessica Alba and Malik Yoba to speak with
them about their involvement. And they all said,
“Yeah, we’ll do it!”
How did you decide on the cover and on the book’s
I knew I wanted it to look like those “Hope” and
“Change” campaign posters. Then, I was trying to
figure out what the heck to even call it, and I
remembered a book I’d read about the New York Times’
coverage of Lincoln’s election, presidency and
Lincoln in the Times: The Life of Abraham Lincoln,
as Originally Reported by The New York Times.
Barbara Darko asks, when did you start covering the
I was already doing my daily radio show, when I was
signed by CNN in February of 2007. He declared his
candidacy that same month. At that time, I was
trying to figure out where I fit in. Everybody was
saying, “Hillary Clinton’s going to get the
nomination,” like it was a foregone conclusion. But
I thought “Hey, I don’t think anybody’s paying
serious attention to this guy.” I decided my niche
was to know anything and everything the Obama
campaign was doing, so that when I went on the air,
I would own that space. We had correspondents
covering several candidates at once, but my approach
was, “No, I’m going to own ‘this’ space.”
Larry Greenberg observed that this book comes with a
DVD of your interviews with Obama. He asks, why did
you decide to include that?
I said to myself, “What could make this book
unique?” The interviews add value and were part of
the coverage anyway.
When did you get a good sense that Obama could
actually win the Democratic nomination? I assume
earlier than the Iowa caucuses.
No, because, remember, everybody thought Senator
Clinton was going to get it. In hindsight, a turning
point was the debate before Iowa when Clinton
stumbled on the question about immigrants getting
driver’s licenses in New York. That crack in the
armor gave Obama an opening to turn the tide. Prior
to that, he had been having difficulty getting any
traction. Obviously, Iowa changed the whole game.
Did you find it hard to stay objective during the
campaign as a black man?
My role wasn’t to be objective. As a contributor, I
was there to be subjective. I was free to give
opinion, and that’s how I approached it.
You interviewed President Obama recently. Does he
seem like a different person, given his big drop in
approval ratings compared to a year ago?
I didn’t get a sense that because of the drop in
poll number things have changed. He’s always this
person who’s on an even keel. But you certainly can
tell that the weight of the presidency is there, as
it is on any president, because their looks change
in terms of their hair color and their facial
expressions. It’s a difficult job. It’s not simple
at all. If you want to age a lot of years, become
Publisher Sonny Jiles, who used to be your boss when
you wrote for the Houston Defender, says,
“Tell him I love him and to give me a call.”
She also asks, “What advice do you have for young
journalists, given the way the industry is
say very simply, “Read! Read! Read! Read! Read! What
has always helped me has been a reservoir of
knowledge. So, whenever something came up, I could
pull from historical elements for assistance in
addressing present-day issues. I am also careful to
cultivate professional contacts which might come in
handy at a later time.
Children’s book author Irene Smalls admires the fact
that you are a true family man. You often talk about
your wife; you are paying for nieces and nephews to
go to college. She asks, is family fidelity and true
success ultimately compatible?
I was attending an event years ago where the
question “Who are your role models?” was raised. I
heard people respond with names like “Oprah Winfrey”
and “Bill Cosby.” I have nothing against them but no
celebrity ever fed me, clothed me, helped me with my
homework, drove me to school or picked me up when it
was late. It was my mom and dad. So, family to me is
absolutely vital. Everybody can adore you because
you’re on television, but at the end of the day,
when you’re no longer on TV, who’s still there? It’s
family. In terms of my wife and me raising my four
nieces in Chicago, and also taking in my sister and
her two kids at our home in Dallas, I felt like I
couldn’t speak out all around the country about
saving our children, if I didn’t do it at home. I
can’t talk about the education of black children, if
I ignored two of my nieces who were a couple of
grade levels behind. I believe that charity begins
at home, and I take seriously the role of a
godfather to fill the gap when the parents aren’t
doing their job. My wife is me, and a part of my
life. When you hide that relationship, you stop
being your authentic self.
Irene also wonders whether when you were webmaster
for BlackAmericaweb you ever imagined this
broad-ranging, successful development of your
Yes. Remember, I went to a communications high
school in Houston, with a TV station, a radio
station and a newspaper. I mastered all three media
while still in high school. They tried to get me to
focus only on one in college, but I said, No!” Even
while I ran BlackAmericaweb, I was news editor of
Savoy Magazine, started my syndicated column and
published my first book. And I was doing radio even
before that. And I started appearing on CNN in 2002.
So, I was doing five different media even then. That
was always the plan. I never only wanted to settle
Irene wants to know, what were you thoughts after
your recent trip to China? She says, “Looking at how
China has treated Africa and Africans do you see any
problems with encouraging greater investment by
China in the predominately minority inner cities of
First of all, China has invested upwards of $100
billion a year in Africa. The Chinese certainly want
access to natural resources. But you have to ask
yourself, who else is investing in Africa? The
Chinese are investing in dams, in highways, in
construction. You don’t see the United States making
that level of commitment to the continent. I don’t
have an issue with Chinese investment in Africa as
long as there is equal trade, and Africans are
getting what they need in return. That’s a win-win
Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you
wish someone would?
You got me.
The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time
you had a good laugh?
Last night. My wife and I watched Couple’s
Retreat. Man, that movie was funny!
The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the
last book you read?
I read several books at one time. One is James
Role of a Lifetime. I’m also reading
Twice as Good: Condoleezza Rice and Her Path to
Power by Marcus Mabry. And Byron Pitts book, “Step
Out on Nothing.” And Gerald Boyd’s “My
Time in Black and White: Race and Power at the New
York Times,” an awesome book. He broke it all
down. And I have about 60 more books waiting in the
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
An unapologetic black man.
The Zane question: Do you have any regrets?
No, because even if something didn’t turn out well,
it’s still a part of me that makes me, me. So, I
never look upon anything as a regret. It helps you
What is your favorite dish to cook?
The Flex Alexander question: How do you get through
the tough times?
Through God, and an absolute belief in self.
The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest
I never thought about that. I’ll have to come back
to that one.
The Mike Pittman question: Who was your best friend
as a child?
My brother and my cousins. You gotta understand. My
grandmother had eight children. They averaged five
kids each. We didn’t have room for friends. I have
no recollection of having a sleepover at a
If you could have one wish instantly granted, what
would that be for?
That not a single black kid would drop out of
The Uduak Oduok question: Who’s your favorite
The Boris Kodjoe question: What do you consider your
Being a strong uncle to my nieces and nephews.
How do you want to be remembered?
As a brother who didn’t give a damn what anybody
thought, but he brought his views to every venue in
an uncompromising and unapologetic fashion.
Well, thanks for another great interview, brother.
Sounds good. Alright man, thanks a lot.
* * * *
Roland Martin takes readers back down President
Barack Obama's campaign trail in this chronological
journal of events that dates back to when then
Senator Obama had yet to announce his candidacy and
follows him on his journey to the presidency.
Martin's charismatic writing style is presented
through his in-depth analysis of the presidential
campaign and Obama's struggles and successes. Martin
gives readers insight on how each important event
played out in front of the nation and also shares
interviews from his broadcasts, including an
interview he conducted with President Obama after
his win in Iowa in January 2008. Other Notable
interviews include Dr. Cornel West, Rep John Lewis,
Spike Lee, Maxine Waters and Michael Eric Dyson.—Publisher,
Third World Press
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Zippety Doo Dah, Zippety-Ay: How Satisfactch'll
Is Education Today? Toward a New Song of the South
Dr. Joyce E. King on
Black Education and New Paradigms
The State of African Education
Attack On Africans Writing Their Own History Part 1 of 7
Hilliard III speaks on the assault of academia on Africans writing and
accounting for their own history.
Dr Hilliard is A teacher,
psychologist, and historian.
* * * *
Basil Davidson's "Africa Series"
But Equal /
Mastering A Continent /
of Gold /
The King and the City /
The Bible and The Gun
West Africa Before the Colonial Era: A
History to 1850 (Davidson) /
African Slave Trade: Precolonial History,
John Henrik Clarke—A Great and Mighty Walk
* * *
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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in
By Melissa V.
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.
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
* * * * *
Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All
By Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons knows firsthand that
wealth is rooted in much more than the
market. True wealth has more to do with
what's in your heart than what's in your
wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons
became one of America's shrewdest
entrepreneurs, achieving a level of
success that most investors only dream
about. No matter how much material gain
he accumulated, he never stopped lending
a hand to those less fortunate. In
Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare
blend of spiritual savvy and
street-smart wisdom to offer a new
definition of wealth-and share timeless
principles for developing an unshakable
sense of self that can weather any
financial storm. As Simmons says, "Happy
can make you money, but money can't make
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The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
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Ancient African Nations
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If you like this page consider making a donation
* * * * *
Negro Digest /
Browse all issues
* * * * *
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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(Books, DVDs, Music, and more)
posted 13 April 2010