Reading List

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David Walker’s Appealan uncomprimising African-centered discourse that attacks white … publication in 1830 intensified the debate and struggle against slavery. Walker asserted the right of Black people to defend themselves against a … enemy by any means neccessary. More than a petition against slavery, the Appeal is a foundational document from which many comtemporary themes in Black political philosophy have evolved.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X – as voices of protest and change rose above the din of history and false promises, one sounded more urgently, more passionately than the rest. Malcolm X – once called the most dangerous man in America – challenged the world to listen and learn the truth as he experienced it. And his enduring message is as relevant today as when he first delivered it. This is the first hardcover edition of this classic autobiography since it was originally published in 1964.

Assata – This presents the life story of African American revolutionary Shakur, previously known as JoAnne Chesimard.

Black Boy – This new edition of the once controversial, now classic American autobiography measures the brutality and rawness of the Jim Crow South against the sheer desperate will it took to survive as “black boy.” Richard Wright grew up in the woods of Mississippi, with poverty, hunger, fear, and hatred. He lied, stole, and raged at those about him; at six he was “a drunkard,” hanging about taverns. Surly, brutal, cold, suspicious, and self-pitying, he was surrounded on one side by whites who were either indifferent to him, pitying, or cruel, and on the other by blacks who resented anyone trying to rise above the common lot. At the end of Black Boy, Wright sits poised with pencil in hand, determined to “hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo.” Wright’s eloquent account is at once a profound indictment and an unashamed confession — a poignant and disturbing record of social injustice and human suffering.

Black Labor, White Wealth – Dr. Anderson’s first book is a classic. It tracks slavery and Jim Crow public policies that used black labor to construct a superpower nation. It details how black people were socially engineered into the lowest level of a real life Monopoly game, which they are neither playing or winning. Black Labor is a comprehensive analysis of the issues of race. Dr. Anderson uses the anaylsis in this book to offer solutions to America’s race problem.

Black Economics – This micro- and macro-analysis of economic conditions in the black community explores why African Americans earn only 61 percent of white American income, why many African Americans prefer to maintain a “good job” rather than own and operate their own businesses, and why African American consumers only spend 3 percent of their $600 billion in African American businesses. Topics covered include present and historical analysis, foreign economic success, the global economy, obstacles to development, and black consumers and entrepreneurs.

Blueprint for Black Power: A Moral, Political, and Economic Imperative for the Twenty-First Century – If you don’t read any other book on this list, read this one! The late Amos Wilson wrote a blockbuster with this book. In in he states why African-Americans are economically powerless. He also states how they are to achieve power. A book well worth reading.

Breaking the Curse of Willie Lynch – this book is a shocking eye opener. It penetrates the very heart of the divisions, that exist between Black men & women today. The author clearly describes in explicit detail, the mind enslaving techniques imposed on the African during North American slavery. Digging deep within the psyche “Breaking The Curse Of Willie Lynch” instructs the reader on how to reverse the phycosis. During a time where disorder, confusion, & psychological chaos in Black Male/Femal Relationships; comes a Book that gives clari- ty & internal direction. Help your community undo the self dividing, self defeating mind state!

The Covenant with Black America – Six years’ worth of symposiums come together in this rich collection of essays that plot a course for African Americans, explaining how individuals and households can make changes that will immediately improve their circumstances in areas ranging from health and education to crime reduction and financial well-being. Addressing these pressing concerns are contributors Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. surgeon general; Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; Angela Glover Blackwell, founder of the research think tank PolicyLink; and Cornel West, professor of Religion at Princeton University. Each chapter outlines one key issue and provides a list of resources, suggestions for action, and a checklist for what concerned citizens can do to keep their communities progressing socially, politically, and economically. Though the African American community faces devastating social disparities—in which more than 8 million people live in poverty—this celebration of possibility, hope, and strength will help leaders and citizens keep Black America moving forward.

The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks – In this powerful and controversial book, distinguished African-American political leader and thinker Randall Robinson makes a persuasive case for the restoration of the rich history that slavery and segregation severed. Drawing from research and personal experience, he shows that only by reclaiming their lost past and proud heritage can blacks lay the foundation for a viable future. And white Americans can begin making reparations for slavery and the century of de jure racial discrimination that followed with monetary restitution, educational programs, and the kinds of equal opportunities that will ensure the social and economic success of all citizens.

A book that is both an unflinching indictment of past wrongs and an impassioned call to our nation to educate all Americans—black and white alike—about the history of Africa and its people, The Debt tells us in no uncertain terms what white America owes blacks and what blacks owe themselves.

The Destruction of Black Civilization – The Destruction of Black Civilization took Chancellor Williams sixteen years of research and field study to compile. The book, which was to serve as a reinterpretation of the history of the African race, was intended to be “a general rebellion against the subtle message from even the most ‘liberal’ white authors (and their Negro disciples): ‘You belong to a race of nobodies. You have no worthwhile history to point to with pride.'” The book was written at a time when many black students, educators, and scholars were starting to piece together the connection between the way their history was taught and the way they were perceived by others and by themselves. They began to question assumptions made about their history and took it upon themselves to create a new body of historical research

From Superman to Man – A fearless and penetrating discussion of America’s Greatest Problem. The most debated points of the race question as the relative mentality, physical and facial beauty, sex instinct, chastity, odor, truthfulness, health, honesty, of negro and Caucasian; as well as politics, the slavery of white people in Colonial America and elsewhere, intermarriage, religion ancient Negro civilization, race attraction and repulsion, lynching and other aspects all scientifically dealt with in an interesting argument between a southern United Sates Senator with pronounced views and a polished, well-educated, universally travelled Negro when the two happen to meet under peculiar circumstances.

Invisible ManInvisible Man is a milestone in American literature, a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the bestseller list for sixteen weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ralph Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of “the Brotherhood”, and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the Invisible Man he imagines himself to be. The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, Joyce, and Dostoevsky.

Letters to a Young Brother – Straight talk and inspiring advice for America’s youth, from the powerhouse public speaker and star of CSI:NY. Most people associate Hill Harper with Hollywood, as he’s appeared in dozens of films and television shows. But he is just as comfortable in a school auditorium, rousing groups of students with his unique style of real-life wisdom. Having addressed thousands of high-school and middle- school students over the years, Hill is ready to take his message to an even wider audience. Letters to a Young Brother is drawn from the humbling life lessons he learned on the road to his Ivy League education and beyond. Inspired by the countless letters and e-mails he has received from teens, Hill Harper set out to write a series of letters to young people that would catch the attention of even the most reluctant readers.

Makes Me Wanna Holler – An explosive, true-life Native Son for the 1990s–a black Washington Post reporter who served time recounts his life and brilliantly shows why prison has become a rite of passage for many young black men. McCall’s accounts of the hidden prejudice encountered in seemingly liberal, integrated bastions of the newsroom are eye-opening.

Malcolm X Speaks – These are the major speeches made by Malcolm X during the last eight tumultuous months of his life. In this short period of time, his vision for abolishing racial inequality in the United States underwent a vast transformation. Beginning with his break from the Black Muslims, he moved increasingly away from the dogmas of black nationalism, separatism, and violent revolution as the only means to achieve freedom. Although he continued to believe that the African-American community must be entirely committed to its own liberation, excluding all others not equally devoted to this goal, he had come to take a broader view of human rights, and to accept at least the possibility of alliances with other groups. As I. F. Stone wrote in his review, “In these pages one can begin to understand Malcolm X’s power as a speaker and to see the political legacy he left his people in their struggle for full emancipation.”

The Mis-education of the Negro – Originally released in 1933, The Mis-Education of the Negro continues to resonate today, raising questions that readers are still trying to answer. The impact of slavery on the Black psyche is explored and questions are raised about our education system, such as what and who African Americans are educated for, the difference between education and training, and which of these African Americans are receiving. Woodson provides solutions to these challenges, but these require more study, discipline, and an Afrocentric worldview. This new edition contains a biographical profile of the author, a new introduction, and study questions.

The Nigger Bible

PowerNomics – The National Plan to Empower Black America is a five-year plan to make Black America a prosperous and empowered race that is self-sufficient and competitive as a group by the year 2005. In this book, Dr. Anderson obliterates the myths and illusions of black progress and brings together data and information from many different sources to construct a framework for solutions to the dilemma of Black America.

Race Matters – First published in 1993 on the one-year anniversary of the L.A. riots, Race Matters has since become an American classic. Beacon Press is proud to present this hardcover edition with a new introduction by Cornel West. The issues that it addresses are as controversial and urgent as before, and West’s insights remain fresh, exciting, and timely. Now more than ever, Race Matters is a book for all Americans—one that will help us build a genuine multiracial democracy.

Soul On Ice – By turns shocking and lyrical, unblinking and raw, the searingly honest memoirs of Eldridge Cleaver are a testament to his unique place in American history. Cleaver writes in Soul on Ice, “I’m perfectly aware that I’m in prison, that I’m a Negro, that I’ve been a rapist, and that I have a Higher Uneducation.” What Cleaver shows us, on the pages of this now classic autobiography, is how much he was a man.

The Souls of Black Folk – “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.” Thus speaks W.E.B. Du Bois in The Souls Of Black Folk, one of the most prophetic and influental works in American literature. In this eloquent collection of essays, first published in 1903, Du Bois dares as no one has before to describe the magnitude of American racism and demand an end to it. He draws on his own life for illustration, from his early experiences teaching in the hills of Tennessee to the death of his infant son and his historic break with the conciliatory position of Booker T. Washington.

The Spook Who Sat by the Door – This book is both a satire of the civil rights problems in the United States in the late 60s and a serious attempt to focuses on the issue of black militancy

The Ways of White Folks – Perhaps more than any other writer, Langston Hughes made the white America of the 1920s and ’30s aware of the black culture thriving in its midst. Like his most famous poems, Hughes’s stories are messages from that other America, sharply etched vignettes of its daily life, cruelly accurate portrayals of black people colliding — sometimes humorously, more often tragically — with whites. Here is the ailing black musician who comes home from Europe to die in his small town — only to die more quickly and brutally than he had imagined. Here are the wealthy bohemians who collect Negroes like so many objets d’art … the moonlighting student who becomes the reluctant confidante of a boozy white Don Juan … the elegant charlatan who peddles “real, primitive jazz out of Africa” as a nostrum to the spiritually starved elite. Filled with mordant wit and human detail, The Ways of White Folks is unmistakably the work of a great poet who was also a shrewd and compelling storyteller.

The Word Diet – The Word Diet is invaluable for those of us seeking ways to live a fuller, more God-focused life. In sharing The Word Diet, Ms. Holmes empowers us, her readers to be better followers so that we may become greater leaders for our families, our faiths, and for our communities.

We Real Cool – Hooks asserts that black men have been so dehumanized that they are in crisis emotionally and at risk within society. Yet she posits that the greatest threat to black life in America is patriarchal thinking and practices. She points to the current instability of black male employment in contrast to improved employment opportunities for black women, something many black men have trouble accepting because of the cultural dictates that men should dominate women. Too many black men face a host of troubling social dynamics–including alienation from their fathers and their children. Hooks advises them to emulate the many black women who turn to self-examination and self-love and to break with the macho demands and values of a patriarchal culture. Although hooks is heavily feminist in her critique, her recollections of her own family experiences and growing up black in America reflect extraordinary insight into both our cultural frailties and our potential. Readers interested in black cultural issues from a feminist perspective will enjoy this book.

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1 Comment

  1. Check out the Assata Shakur documentary Eyes of the Rainbow for free at http://www.EyesoftheRainbow.com and be sure to download it and let others know about it too.

    “Like most poor people in the United States, I have no voice. The Black press and the progressive media, as well as Black civil rights organizations, have historically played an essential role in the struggle for social justice. We should continue and expand that tradition. We should create media outlets that help to educate our people and our children, and not annihilate their minds. I am only one woman. I own no TV stations or radio stations or newspapers. But I believe that people need to be educated as to what is going on and to understand the connection between the news media and the instruments of repression in America. All I have are my voice, my spirit and the will to tell the truth. But I sincerely ask those of you in the Black media, those of you in the progressive media and those of you who believe in truth and freedom to publish my story.’ -Assata Shakur

    http://www.EyesoftheRainbow.com


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