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The state form itself must be obliterated for new possibilities to emerge; it's not about defending the constitution

but about defending life and the liberty of those who haven’t tasted any as yet.Frowning upon the politics

of manifestoes and ballot box democracies, Nope laughs at these ugly, demented rituals . . .



Books by and about Steve Biko

I Write What I Like: Selected Writings (2002)  /  The Testimony of Steve Biko (1984) 


 Biko (1991) / Black Consciousness in South Africa (1979) / Biko Lives!: Contesting the Legacies of Steve Biko


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Books by Andile Mngxitama


Biko Lives!: Contesting the Legacies of Steve Biko


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Why Steve Biko Wouldn't Vote

Continuity in the post1994 era

By Andile Mngxitama


South Africa is on the verge of going to its fourth national election since 1994.1 The socio-political changes which have occurred in the country for past 15 years point to a dramatic failure to realise the dream of liberation as developed by Steve Biko. Here I develop an argument for why Biko, like so many, would not be voting.

Biko’s Conception of Liberation

Biko’s idea of liberation is fundamentally anti-racist and anti-capitalist, as opposed to being anti-racialist, non-racialist and intergrationist—these latter conceptions of change naturally lead to the de-racialisation of capitalism and thereby the legitimation of the white supremacist political, economic and social existence created over the last 350 years in South Africa. Biko’s framing of the fundamental contradiction in South Africa as one of white racism emanates from his conception of capitalism as it emerged in the country as an inherently racist project. In his words then:

[T]he color question in South African politics was originally introduced for economic reasons. The leaders of the white community had to create some kind of barrier between black and whites so that the whites could enjoy privileges at the expense of blacks and still feel free to give moral justification for the obvious exploitation that pricked even hardest of white consciences.

For Biko this initial subjugation of black people for economic reason has over time created the “white power structure.” This is to mean white racism, while based on the historical dispossession and oppression of blacks, has come to assume a position of relative autonomy, where whiteness normalises itself as a power dynamic based on a superiority complex linked to skin colour on the one hand and the supposed inferiority of blacks on the other. The actual existing circumstances of blacks (historically and systematically created) actually reinforce the reality of this white superiority and black denigration. These propositions are not merely mental states, they are material, and determine life chances and privileges. To be white is to be human as to be black is to be subhuman. Biko sharply makes the point that “[t]he racism we meet doesn’t only exist on an individual basis; it is institutionalized to make it look like the South African way of life.”

It must be said that in fact the normalisation of racism is ingrained in the psyches of both whites (the beneficiaries) and blacks (the victims). It was on the recognition of this reality that Biko and his comrades argued for the “conscientisation” of the blacks, because black people at the time “often looked like they have given up the struggle.” Key to the conscietisation process was always the totality of black awareness and pride for the purpose of struggle. For Biko, “Liberation is of paramount importance in the concept of
Black Consciousness (BC), for we cannot be conscious of ourselves and yet remain in bondage.”2

Biko the Black Socialist

I Write What I Like we get snippets of Biko’s attitude to capitalism and his attitude towards a brand of socialism. It remains a mystery why the Eurocentric neo-Marxist and other such “Leftist” thinkers continue to cast Black Consciousness (BC) as somehow agreeable to capitalism. If we take seriously Biko’s conception of apartheid South Africa as a country inflicted by a white racism founded on the development of its own brand of capitalism, it is hard to see how Biko could have been pro-capitalist. Let's let Biko speak for himself:

[T]he poor shall always be black people. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the blacks should wish to rid themselves of a system that locks up the wealth of the country in the hands of a few. No doubt Rick Turner was thinking about this when he declared that "any black government is likely to be socialist.

Barney Pityana's echoing of the obviously erroneous view that Biko was not a socialist—or rather that he was an underdeveloped socialist—posits Biko’s vision as at best one nationalist with a commitment to justice. Pityana says Biko “had no language of socialism and as such never critiqued to any substantive extent the socialist ideology, save that he harboured intellectual suspicions about socialist ideologies and practice.” 

It is my contention that even in his earlier writing Biko shows a favourable attitude towards socialism, rejecting Stalinism, social imperialism, white arrogance, and liberalism. It's possible it is Pityana who is misreading Biko’s position. Anyway, when Biko was asked, “You speak of an egalitarian society. Do you mean a socialist one?” he answered:

Yes, I think there is no running away from the fact that now in South Africa there is such an ill distribution of wealth that any form of political freedom which doesn’t touch on the proper distribution of wealth will be meaningless. If we have a mere change of face of those in governing positions what is likely to happen is that black people will continue to be poor, and you will see a few blacks filtering through into the so called bourgeoisie. Our society will be run almost as of yesterday.

In a 1972 interview Biko elaborates on his criticism of Moscow’s social imperialism and the South African Communist Party's servile position to Moscow.3 Biko furthermore demonstrates a deep appreciation of the competing Marxian tendencies, including the South African Trotskyite formations:

[A] lot of young people see Moscow as revisionist in a sense, even in the communist context. You see what I mean? . . . [T]heir policies are revisionist. They tend to demonstrate a hell of a lot of the same things that one finds among imperialists at this moment. So in a sense they are not the kind of socialist direction that people would like to follow.

I want to argue that throughout this conversation, Biko is developing a brand of socialism which I would like to call black socialism, for a lack of a better word. It’s contextual and focused on the black experience as a whole. It’s the kind of socialism which is anti-racist in nature; it takes into account that whiteness is pervasive and benefits whites irrespective of their political standing.

In the 1972 interview Biko summarises his mode of socialism:

There are some leftist whites who have [an] attachment to say[ing] the same rough principles of post-revolutionary society, but a lot of them are still terribly cynical about, for instance, the importance of value systems which we enunciate so often, from the black consciousness angle. That it is not only capitalism that is involved; it is also the whole gamut of white value systems which has been adopted as standard by South Africa, both whites and blacks so far. And that will need attention, even in a post-revolutionary society. Values relating to all the fields—education, religion, culture, and so on. So your problems are not solved completely when you alter the economic pattern, to a socialist pattern. You still don't become what you ought to be. There's still a lot of dust to be swept off, you know, from the kind of slate we got from white society

Anti-Racism vs. Anti-Racialism

At the beginning we argued that Biko’s vision of liberation was fundamentally anti-racist as opposed to anti-racialist. We also alluded to the fact that anti-racialism or non- racialism inevitably leads to accommodation with white supremacy, whilst anti-racism seeks to end the world as we know it. We find David Goldberg's formulation and articulation of these categories, and what political and strategic implications they hold, useful for our discussion.

The 1994 watershed inaugurated the realisation in a formal sense of anti-racialism in South Africa. A moment best described as the birth of “born again racism,” to borrow from Goldberg. This is achieved at the point of abandoning the promises of liberation as a matter of structural transformation into a matter of inclusion. Accordingly, this is realised through legal formalism, and dare I add the fetish of constitutionalism, which promises equality in the abstract as it provides the historically advantaged more avenues to protect their ill-gained privileges in the name of the rule of law. In the South African context this meant the sedimentation of reconciliation without justice into the DNA of our law and constitution. From this perspective, blacks can't claim reparations, can't ask for justice for past transgressions; blacks can’t even simply speak the specificity of their black suffering. The black grammar of being, which is in essence a grammar of suffering, is actually not only socially frowned upon, it's outlawed. 

Goldberg argues that “[B]orn again racism is racism without race, racism gone private, racism without categories of naming it as such.” It is indeed “raceless racism,” which chimes well with the colourlessness demand of non-racialism based on a proclaimed equality before the law. Anti-racialism, or in our case non-racialism, erases the category of race but not racism. It disables those marked out for racism by the colour of their skin to claim redress or the name the crime. Racism is not a criminal offence in South Africa.

The tragic consequences of anti-racialism in South Africa are felt everyday in the denial of recognising black exclusion, suffering, and death. We can't even say that the people dying from wanton neglect in Baragwanath hospital are black. Nor can we say that the more than 100 children who died without a scandal in the Eastern Cape and Mount Frere hospitals are black, or that the life expectancy between black and white is so wide you would think they live in different continents. Nor can we say that the South African state continues differential treatment of people based on skin colour, or point out that the groans of blacks under the weight of racism—both individualised and, most importantly, institutionalised—has no resonance in the state's dominant discourse of democracy, freedom, nation building, and economic fundamentals.

Anti-racialism has found fertile ground in South Africa Leftist politics, which has always refused to accept race as a legitimate category of analysis, existence, and resistance. In the post-1994 era we have seen the development of at least three tragic consequences (for excluded blacks) as a result of this commitment to anti-racialism. Firstly, the retreat of radical scholarship from theorising the state; if the apartheid state was a racist, neo-Nazi, settler colonial state in the service of racial capitalism, then what is the post-1994 state? Have there been any fundamental ruptures? My own take is that the post-1994 state remains racist in character and serves white racism in the context of promoting accumulation and the reproduction of capitalism. Note I don’t use the favourable “post-apartheid.”

The second consequence has been that black leadership has taken over the levers of white supremacist institutions. This mirrors the sort of comedy we see in the functioning and symbolism of our parliamentary processes and courts. The annual opening of parliament is significant in its dramatisation of the neo-apartheid nature of our body politic, a red carpet against colonial iconography and statues. The whole scene is dominated by colourful African dress, basically dressing up the colonial and apartheid power structures in African colours. The essence remains white racist. The same ethic plays itself out more visibly in the university environment. You have black heads of white and often racist universities. The faculty is dotted with blacks, but the curriculum, the culture and ethos remain white. Claims of racism from students and black faculty are mediated by blacks on top, thereby enacting a situation of black-on-black violence in preserving the whiteness of these institutions. Basically post-1994 inaugurates a neo-colony.

The third and sad consequence of the triumph of anti-racialism is the “recruitment of people of colour to act as public spokespersons.” There is a curious development in this area, because some “committed” black African public intellectuals have in essence become ironic spokespersons of anti-racialism in the name of either defending democracy, promoting “cosmopolitanism” or nation-building, or as the defenders of a new sense of progressive identity.

My take is that Biko’s conception of BC is fundamentally anti-racist and stands inimically to anti-racialism and the terms of the post-1994 constitutional dispensation. To reiterate, Biko’s conception of black liberation is predicated on the obliteration of white racism—itself a product of capitalist accumulation present since the white and black violent encounter in 1652—which continues to reproduce the same prejudice (as both individual and institutionalised racism), 1994's changes notwithstanding. In a sense there is no possibility of obliterating white racism, without fundamentally changing how things are around here.

Contesting Biko

In our book, Biko Lives!: Contesting the Legacies of Steve Biko (2008), we identify at least three ways in which Biko is contested today. The first is the black business class, second the state-linked political and bureaucratic classes (the “bureaucratic bourgeoisie”),4 and finally the excluded majority (for whom the 1994 miracle remains a rumour).

I have alluded to the fact that the post-1994 political terrain is punctuated more by continuity than rupture. I tried to further show that the post-1994 moment has inaugurated a born-again racism which finds expression in constitutional precepts, laws, and opportunities in general within South African society. This reality stands opposed and in deep, sharp contrast to what Biko stood for. I want to argue that the racist state formation inherited by the post-1994 political managers should be a central consideration for staying away from the electoral process. If you arrive at this position, then whoever participates in the elections must explain how their participation does not provide legitimacy to the post-1994 racist state form.

Biko’s non-participation echoes what for now appears to be a position of the margins, a doing politics differently, but still a minority position from the “public eye.” This minority is part of the millions who abstain from the electoral process for various reasons, which range from disillusionment to deep cynicism. Then there are the vocal, conscious and principled boycotters, such as the myriad social movements (Abahlali baseMjondolo, the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF), the Landless People's Movement (LPM) and the Anti-Eviction Campaign), with their cries of “No land, no vote! No housing, no vote! No electricity and water, no vote!”

This cry started in the last election, and has been growing; it's part of the 20,000 or so protests recorded in the past few years. These are principled boycotters whom I think Biko would be marching with, burning tires with, blocking roads with, and swearing at the pompous and over-fed politicians with. There are groups like the counterculture group Blackwash, which is part of the loose collective of groups under the “Nope” initiative.

These groups collectively frown upon the whole electoral circus, and respond with messages such as “Fuck voting!” and “Our dreams don’t fit in your ballots.” As a loose collective they have come to accept that our post-1994 liberal democratic process is a decoy for the elaboration of power. The Nope initiative for instance counters the sterility of political parties’ empty rhetoric with their own “manifestering.” a form of counter-manifesto. Those refusing in this way operate decidedly outside of the mainstream; they don’t even hear the threatening rebuke of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), “Don’t vote, don’t complain.” They place their hope in manifestering over manifestoes, which are about the mediation of desires and the permanent postponement of promises. The Nope manifestering cautions against pinning our hopes on manifestoes that cannot:

. . . escape their framing by capitalism’s own manifesto. A manifesto that is felt everywhere by everyone. A manifesto that has taken hold in our everyday lives. That tries to get under our skins, and make us live in ways alien to our desires, the fulfillment of these always a matter of hope.

Against the empty promise of hope we can't cope:

But as a sore festers, the wounds inflicted on the poor, the homeless, women, children, the unemployed, those of us excluded from learning

This is a vindication of the implausibility of doing politics with a racist polity. The state form itself must be obliterated for new possibilities to emerge; it's not about defending the constitution but about defending life and the liberty of those who haven’t tasted any as yet.

Frowning upon the politics of manifestoes and ballot box democracies, Nope laughs at these ugly, demented rituals:

The mandatory manifesto. Every party has one. Every organisation. Every campaign. Lists of demands to be delivered, visions to be attained in some future always on the horizon. A ritual. A routine whose rhythms refuse the possibility for any ways of being political other than the vesting of hope in a vote. And that lock us in an endless cycle of reading our desires off the possibilities imagined by others for us all.

We hear clearly the call for responsibility, discipline, hard work, respect for the dead and yesterday's heroic sacrifices, all reduced to “people died for the vote.” I’m not convinced, neither do I think Steve died so that we could have the vote. We had bigger hopes and bigger dreams than 4x4s, arms deals, Johnny Walker blue edition, the vulgarity of buying islands and the everyday violence of existence. On the other hand, the millions who in election after election draw an X in the cubicle of hope, sight an ultimately deflated hope and can't cope with their basic desires, walking back to misery and exclusion.

The Nope manifestering process locates itself in the Armageddon predicted by Strini Moodley, “the coming implosion”:

Today the system struggles, itself nursing injuries from our fights, our individual and collective refusals against the mantras of commodity, payment, fiscal discipline, conservation, restraint, indigent management. . . . The burns stretch from the eyelid to the ankle of the globe. They cannot grow any bigger. But they can still deepen.

I'm saying that Biko’s politics at the time of his death ran fundamentally in a different direction to what is being offered by the electoral process today, a process predicated on the preservation of our racist state, itself an outcome of the 1994 miracle. So quite apart from the fact that of all political parties playing the game right now, none is for Moodley or Biko’s Armageddon, there is the fundamental question of the legitimation of a state which is fundamentally against black people, even as it gives them an Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) house, a grant here, a pension payout there, inferior  education and a health system which is dangerous to the health of the many. No, to say '”94 changed fokol,” as Blackwash proclaims, is not to deny that some things have been done, it's rather to protest at just how low the threshold has been placed. I mean, not even an apartheid government’s matchbox house?

To be outside right now gives you a fighting chance to be part of the solution. In or out is the question; it's not difficult to see where Biko would stand, if we pay attention to what he stood for.


1This contribution is an abridged version of a lecture, which is now a booklet, and was first delivered at the University of Johannesburg, then Rhodes University. It will be subject to discussion at the South African Human Rights Commission this Friday.

2 The 1976 uprising can be said to be a philosophical uprising, that is to mean resistance which is conscious of itselfblack power! The uprising’s war cry is unmistakably black consciousness. The 1980s, rendering South Africa ungovernable, were in some way an uprising which didn’t think for itself save for the brilliance of resistance itself. The consequences were big; when Lusaka and Robben Island said “stop,” that resistance fizzled out and deferred all its disruptive capacity to the disciplining powers of the “leadership,” meaning a deal could be cut between two elite camps. 

3 This interview was discovered a few years ago at the William Cullen Library at Wits, it was done conducted by Professor Gail M. Gerhard, on 24 October 1972 in Durban. It is published for the first time in Biko Lives!

4 To my knowledge this conception was coined by Issa G. Shivji.

16 April 2009

Source: Pambazuka

Andile Mngxitama was born and raised on the farms of Potchefstroom in the North West Province to a farm worker and a domestic worker. Mngxitama, who holds an MA in sociology from the University of Witwatersarand, is a leading Black Consciousness thinker and organizer. He co-edited Biko Lives!: Contesting the Legacies of Steve Biko, a collection of essays on the philosophy and writings of Black Consciousness. leader, Steve Biko. The collection looks at the ongoing significance of Black Consciousness, situating it in a global framework, examining the legacy of Biko, the current state of post-apartheid South African politics, and the culture and history of the anti-apartheid movements.

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The Threat of Race: Reflections on Racial Neoliberalism

By David Theo Goldberg

Written with the same clarity and masterly command of contemporary scholarship as his now classic Racist Culture and The Racial State, and powerfully articulating the tensions of the postcolonial societies in the North and the South, David Theo Goldberg’s new book is likely to transform the lively debate on the construction of “race” as category and its relationship to historical processes of “racialization”.—–Etienne Balibar, Paris X Nanterre and University of California

A systematic, wonderfully readable and thoroughly radical assessment of the politics of race that offers a unique perspective on where critical race theory stands at the moment, and the questions just beginning to emerge for the future.—Achille Mbembe, author of On the Postcolony

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Biko Lives!: Contesting the Legacies of Steve Biko

By Andile Mngxitama, Amanda Alexander. and Nigel Gibson

This welcome collection of essays about Biko's existentialism, self-consciousness, place of phenomenology in his philosophy, and contribution to the dialectics of liberation, as well as the meaning of race and class problematic in Biko's work, African culture and humanism in his thinking, attitude toward the rights and roles of women, and much more examines his legacy and the meaning that his preachings, writings, and life's example gave to the development of black consciousness in South Africa.

But, by far, the most important chapters in the book are Gail Gerhart's hitherto unpublished 1972 interview with Biko and Neville Alexander's recollection of Biko and the Azanian Manifesto.—R. I. Rotberg, Choice

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Nigel C. Gibson is director of the Honors Program at Emerson College.

Amanda Alexander is a PhD student in African history at Columbia University and a Visiting Researcher at the Centre for Civil Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Andile Mngxitama is a PhD student at the University of Witwatersrand.


Table of Contents

Part I: Philosophic Dialogues

Biko: African Existentialist Philosophy—Mabogo More

Self-Consciousness as Force and Reason of Revolution

 in the Thought of Steve Biko—Lou Turner

A Phenomenology of Biko's Black Consciousness—Lewis Gordon

 Biko and the Problematic of Presence—Frank Wilderson

May the Black God Stand Please!: Biko's Challenge to Religion—Sam Maluleke 

Part II: Contested Histories and Intellectual Trajectories  

Black Consciousness after Biko: The Dialectics of Liberation in South Africa, 1977-1987—Nigel Gibson

An Illuminating Moment: Background to the Azanian Manifesto—Neville Alexander

Critical Intellectualism: The Role of Black Consciousness in Reconfiguring the Race-Class Problematic in South Africa—Nurina Ally and Shireen Ally

Part III: Cultural Critiques and the Politics of Gender

The Influences and Representations of Biko and Black Consciousness in Poetry in Apartheid and Post-Apartheid South Africa/Azania—Mphutlane wa Bofelo

A Human Face: Biko's Conceptions of African Culture and Humanism—Andries Oliphant

Re-membering Biko for The Here And Now—Prishani Naidoo and Ahmed Veriava  The

Black Consciousness Philosophy and the Woman’s Question in South Africa: 1970-1980—M. J. Oshadi Mangena

Part IV: Memory and critical Remembrance (Interviews)

Interview with Strini Moodley—Naomi Klein, Ashwin Desai, and Avi Lewis

Interview with Deborah Matshoba—Amanda Alexander and Andile Mngxitama

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Bad Faith and Antiblack Racism

By Lewis R. Gordon

Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

By  Frank B. Wilderson III

Afro- Pessimism

By Frank B. Wilderson


“Afro-Pessimists are framed as such . . . because they theorize an antagonism, rather than a conflict—i.e., they perform a kind of ‘work of understanding’ rather than that of liberation, refusing to posit seemingly untenable solutions to the problems they raise.”

“[The Afro-Pessimists argue] that violence toward the black person happens gratuitously, hence without former transgression, and the even if the means of repression change (plantation was replaced by prison, etc.), that doesn’t change the structure of the repression itself. Finally (and this is important in terms of the self-definition of the white person), a lot of repression happens on the level of representation, which then infiltrates the unconscious of both the black and the white person . . . Since these structures are ontological, they cannot be resolved (there is no way of changing this unless the world as we know it comes an end. . . .); this is why the [Afro-Pessimist relational-schema] would be seen as the only true antagonism (while other repressive relations like class and gender would take place on the level of conflict—they can be resolved, hence they are not ontological).”

“[The Afro-Pessimists] work toward delineating a relation rather than focus on a cultural object.”

“Something that all the Afro-Pessimists seem to agree upon regarding social death are notions of kinship (or lack there of), the absence of time and space to describe blackness. . . . There is no grammar of suffering to describe their loss because the loss cannot be named.”

“[The Afro-Pessimists] theorize the workings of civil society as contiguous with slavery, and discuss the following as bearing witness to this contiguity: the inability of the slave (or the being-for-the-captor) to translate space into place and time into event; the fact that the slave remains subject to gratuitous violence (rather than violence contingent on transgression); the natal alienation and social death of the slave.”

“[T]he Afro-Pessimists all seek to . . . stage a metacritique of the current discourse identified as “critical theory” by excavating an antagonism that exceeds it; to recognize this antagonism forces a mode of death that expels subjecthood and forces objecthood [upon Blacks].”

“For Fanon, the solution to the black presence in the white world is not to retrieve and celebrate our African heritage, as was one of the goals of the Negritude project. For Fanon, a revolution that would destroy civil society, as we know it would be a more adequate response. I think the Afro-Pessimist such as Hartman, Spillers, and Marriott would argue there is no place for the black, only prosthetics, techniques which give the  illusion of a relationality in the world.”

Like the work of Jared Sexton, Saidiya Hartman, David Marriott, Hortense Spillers, Frantz Fanon, Lewis Gordon, Joy James, and others, Wilderson’s poetry, creative prose, scholarly work, and film production are predicated on the notion that slavery did not end in 1865; the United States simply made adjustments to the force of Black resistance without diminishing the centrality of Black captivity to the stability and coherence of civil society.Incognegro

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Hunger for a Black President  / Introduction I Write What I Like

Biko Biosketch   Biko Speaks on Africans

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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 that’s 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 Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s 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 family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s 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, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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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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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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