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Since the 1970s, she said, this indigenous religion has been under assault from

Pentecostal  groups who are preaching a gospel of Prosperity, building megachurches

 and demonizing indigenous religions as superstitions

 

 

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 

 

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A Thoughtful Conversation about Religion

By Grace Lee Boggs

 

In my experience discussions about religion are usually argumentative. By contrast, a recent conversation at the Boggs Center was thoughtful and transformative. The conversation began with remarks by Vincent Harding. Vincent, who worked closely with MLK during the 1960s, is  Professor of Religion and Social Transformation at the Iliff School of Theology and co-founder with his late wife, Rosemarie, of the Veterans of Hope Project.

He talked about Victoria Gray Adams, a civil rights activist whose funeral he recently attended. Victoria became a leader in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964 because she took Jesus seriously.  He also described his recent visit to a church in a violent, drug-ridden North Philadelphia neighborhood where a woman preacher is trying to make a difference.

He was followed by Valdina Pinto, a priestess in Camdomblé, an Afro-Indigenous religion which was brought to Brazil from Africa during slavery. Speaking in Portuguese (Rachel Harding translated), Valdina explained how Camdomblé gives Brazilians of African descent ways of interacting with the sacred and the elements of Nature. It also 
reconnects their current struggles to struggles in their past.

Since the 1970s, she said, this indigenous religion has been under assault from Pentecostal groups who are preaching a gospel of Prosperity, building megachurches and demonizing indigenous religions as superstitions.  They are creating a situation dividing people from one another and from our natural environment.  “For us our richness is in our connectedness to one another and to the Earth, Air and Water.”  By contrast they represent the commodification of our Air and Water.

Especially for the sake of our children, she said, we need to create a movement of connectedness rather than consumerism, of Being rather than of Having.

As she was concluding, a young man got up,  declared that “those who own the Wealth make the rules” in defense of the Gospel of Prosperity,  and quietly left the meeting. After regretting his departure, Vincent pointed out how the civil rights movement was created by people who didn’t believe that those with money and power have the wisdom to make the rules.

People then shared stories. A mother described how her children spent more time playing out of doors after their TV was stolen. Even after their grandmother replaced the TV, they looked at it less. An artist said that he has been paying more attention to what he sees, hears and feels, and asking himself what things are really worth our time.

An elder said that we could  learn a lot from the Amish community’s response  to last week’s killing of their children. Because of their religion, they have refused to allow their children to live the ideology of consumerism. Instead of feeling vengeful at the truck driver shooter, who killed himself after killing the children, they shared the food they cooked for their own grieving families with his survivors.

Vincent then wondered where we would be today if our leaders, instead of going to war in retaliation for 9/11, had called on us to pray for the families of the men who carried out the skyjacking. The elder also talked about the importance of intergenerational relationships.  Elephants in Africa are becoming more dangerous because we are killing the older ones needed to help young bulls learn about how to live peacefully. The conversation reminded me of MLK’s thoughts about the alienation of young people in one of his last sermons.

“The source of  this alienation,” he said, “ is that our society has made material  growth and technological advance an end in itself, robbing  people of participation, so that human beings  become smaller while their  works become bigger.” The way to overcome this alienation is by changing our priorities.  Instead of pursuing   economic productivity, we need to expand  our uniquely human powers,  especially our capacity for Agape which is  the Love that is ready to go to any length to restore community.

Source: Michigan Citizen, October 15-21, 2006  / Living for Change: An Autobiography by Grace Lee Boggs  

posted 13 October 2006

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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/

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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

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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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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  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 you happy."

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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 / 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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update 19 February 2012

 

 

 

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Related files:  Crime Among Our People  Conversation about Religion   Give Detroit Schools a Fresh Start    The Dropout Challenge     Food Future Past  

Organizing Comes Before Mobilizing   Boggs Center: Going  Beyond Black and White