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Up From Slavery: A Documentary History of Negro Education

Compiled By Rudolph Lewis

Newspaper Clippings & Other Archival Documents

 

 

Books by W.E.B. Du Bois

 

The Suppression of the African Slave Trade  (1896)  / The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study (1899) 

 

 The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches 1903)  /  John Brown.(1909)  / The Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911) 

 

 Darkwater: Voices Within the Veil (1920)  Gift of Black Folk: The Negroes in the Making of America (1924)  / Dark Princess: A Romance (1928) 

 

 Black Reconstruction in America (1935) / Black Folk, Then and Now (1939) / Color and Democracy: Colonies and Peace (1945) 

 

 The World and Africa: An Inquiry (1947)  / In Battle for Peace (1952) / An ABC of Color: Selections (1963)

 

 A Trilogy: The Ordeal of Monsart (1957) Monsart Builds a School (1959)  and Worlds of Color (1961)

 

The Autobiography of W.E.B. Du Bois: A Soliloquy on Viewing My Life from the Last Decade of Its First Century (1968)

*   *   *   *   *

Shirley Graham Du Bois, His Day Is Marching On: A Memoir of W.E. B. Du Bois (1971)

Leslie Alexander Lacy. The Life of W.E.B. Du Bois: Cheer the Lonesome Traveler (1970)

 

A Du Bois Bibliography

 

Brian Johnson, editor Du Bois on Reform: Periodical-based Leadership for African Americans.  2005

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Overview

South Carolina Prohibits the Teaching of Slaves to Write 1740

And whereas, the having of slaves taught to write, or suffering them to be employed in writing, may be attended with great inconveniences; Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all and every person or persons whatsoever, who shall hereafter teach, or cause any slave or slaves to be taught, to write, or shall use or employ any slave as a scribe in any manner of writing whatsoever, hereafter taught to write, every such person or persons, shall, for every such offense, forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds current money.David J. McCord, The Statutes at Large of South Carolina, VII, 413

 

*   *   *   *   *

Racism: A History, the 2007 BBC 3-part documentary explores the impact of racism on a global scale. It was part of the season of programs on the BBC marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. It's divided into 3 parts.

The first, The Colour of Money . . . Racism: A History [2007]—1/3

Begins the series by assessing the implications of the relationship between Europe, Africa and the Americas in the 15th century. It considers how racist ideas and practices developed in key religious and secular institutions, and how they showed up in writings by European philosophers Aristotle and Immanuel Kant.

The second, Fatal Impact . . . Racism: A History [2007] - 2/3

Examines the idea of scientific racism, an ideology invented during the 19th century that drew on now discredited practices such as phrenology and provided an ideological justification for racism and slavery. The episode shows how these theories ultimately led to eugenics and Nazi racial policies of the master race.

And the 3rd, A Savage Legacy . . .  Racism: A History [2007] - 3/3

Examines the impact of racism in the 20th century. By 1900 European colonial expansion had reached deep into the heart of Africa. Under the rule of King Leopold II, the Belgian Congo was turned into a vast rubber plantation. Men, women and children who failed to gather their latex quotas would have their limbs dismembered. The country became the scene of one of the century's greatest racial genocides, as an estimated 10 million Africans perished under colonial rule.

*   *   *   *   *

Table of Contents

EdHistNegro 1  (18th Century Efforts)

EdHistNegro 2  (John Chavis & the Presbyterian Church)

EdHistNegro 3  (Importation of Slaves & More on Chavis)

EdHistNegro 4  (Mob Violence & More on Chavis)  

EdHistNegro 5  (David Walker on Negro Education)

EdHistNegro 6  (Baltimore School for Girls & Nat Turner)

EdHistNegro 7  (Prohibitions & Appeals) 

EdHistNegro 8  (De Tocqueville & American Slavery) 

EdHistNegro9    (Negro Inferiority & Freedom's Journal)

EdHistNegro 10 (Moravians & Henry Juett Gray Qualifies to Teach the Blind, 1842

EdHistnegro 11  (Alabama Baptists & Benjamin Banneker)

EdHistNegro 12 (William Harper & the Education of Slaves)

EdHistNegro 13  (Hinton Rowan Helper: Abolitionist & Racist) 

EdHistNegro 14  (Biblical Justification & Obligations for Slavery)

EdHistNegro 15  (Lincoln & Emancipation Proclamation)

EdHistNegro 16  (Freedmen's Bureau & the Capacity of the Negro)

EdHistNegro 17  (Northern Teachers & the Klan)

EdHistNegro 18  (Civil Rights & Threats to New Freedoms)

EdHistNegro 19  (Dred Scott & Homer Plessy)

EdHistNegro 20 (Booker T. Washington & Charles Eliot)

EdHistNegro 21 (Booker T. Washington & John S. Bassett)

EdHistNegro 22 (Berea College & Justice Harlan

EdHistNegro 23 (Lloyd Gaines & Charles Houston)

EdHistNegro 24  (Heman Sweatt & Texas Law School)

EdHistNegro 25 (Lucille Bluford & University of Missouri)

EdHistNegro 26 (G.W. McLaurin & Oklahoma)

EdHistNegro 27 (Brown v. Board of Education)

EdHistNegro 28 (The Cummings Case 1899)

EdHistNegro 29 (Gong and Martha Lum Case 1927)

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Related Files

Ada Sipuel Case

Africa or America: The Emphasis in Black Studies Programs

The African Studies Program At Morgan State University

Black Education (Joyce King)

Blacks in Higher Education 

Bush's Fight Against Educational Diversity

A Century of Civil Rights Acts

Civil Rights Acts and Other Remedies

Civil Rights Bill of 1875  

The Collapse of Urban Public Schooling (Floyd W. Hayes, III)

Cornel West: An Editorial 

Cornel West Moves to Princeton 

Cornish and Russwurm

DAVIS and Prince Edward County, VA

A Depravity of Logic  

Depression Era Shopping List

Dilemma of Black Urban Education

A Dream Deferred: A Mournful Contrarian Dissection

Dred Scott Case

Fifty Influential Figures

Liberals Hate the Military

The Meritocracy Myth    Responses to Race as a Decoy for Class  

Mississippi Freedom School

Most Dangerous Black Professor in America (Marable)

NAACP Takes Voting Rights ID Issue to United Nations

A Naïve Political Treatise  

Negro Press 

Negro Progress in American Education

Pass the Mic

A Report on a Gathering  at Red Emma's   

Rethinking Black Liberation (Marable)

School Daze 

Special Field Orders

Statistics on the Inequities 

To Fulfill These Rights

W.E.B. Du Bois Jacob and Esau

West Cites Reason For Quitting 

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*   *   *   *   *

Books

Carter Godwin Woodson. The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861: A History of the Education of the Colored People of the United States from the Beginning of Slavery to the Civil War (2007)

Sonya Ramsey. Reading, Writing, and Segregation: A Century of Black Women Teachers in Nashville (2008)

The Editors of Black Issues in Higher Education. The Unfinished Agenda of Brown v. Board of Education (2004)

Thurgood Marshall. Thurgood Marshall: His Speeches, Writings, Arguments, Opinions, and Reminiscences (2001)

Juan Williams. Thurgood Marshall, Revolutionary (2000)

*   *   *   *   *

The Intellect of the Negro Is  Discussed, 1835

It is the popular opinion, both at the north and south, that the negro is inferior in intellect to the white man. This opinion is not, however, founded upon just experience. The African intellect has never been developed. Individuals, indeed, have been educated, whose acquirements certainly reflect honour upon the race. Uneducated negroes have also exhibited indications of strong intellectual vigour. And because, in both instances, the negro has shown himself still inferior to the white man, he is unhesitatingly pronounced an inferior being, irremediably so, in the estimation of his judges, by the operation of organic laws. . . .

This is mere theory, but it is theory based upon the operation of laws whose general principles cannot be controverted: and when the negro, by the emancipation of his species, has opportunity for the culture of his own mind-which, if he is disposed to neglect, the philanthropist will nor be-a few generations will leave no traces of those mental shackles, which, like chains loaded upon the body, have so long borne him down to a level with the brute. Till time proves this original equi-mental organization of the white man and the negro, which opinion fact has been strengthening for two or three generations in individual instances, it is due, both to philanthropy and justice, to suspend the sentence which condemns him as a being less than man.The South-West. By a Yankee [Joseph Holt Ingraham] (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1835), II, 198-200.

*   *   *   *   *

The Capacity of the Negro for Education, 1865 

The importance of the work of educating the freedmen, can hardly be exaggerated. Its results will reach into the future. . . . The great mass of white men, who are now disloyal, will remain, for some time to come, disaffected. Black men who are now friendly will remain so.

 

And to them must the country look in a large degree, as a counteracting influence against the evil councils and designs of the white freemen.Report of the New England Freedmen's Aid Society, 1865

*   *   *   *   *

JUSTICE HARLAN, dissenting

The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country [Ed.'s italics.] And so it is, in prestige, in achievements, in education, in wealth, and in power. So, I doubt not that it will continue to be for all time, if it remains true to its great heritage and holds fast to the principles of constitutional liberty. But in view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here [Ed.'s italics]. 

Our Constitution is color blind [Ed's italics], and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved. It is therefore to be regretted that this high tribunal, the final expositor of the fundamental law of the land, has reached the conclusion that it is competent for a state to regulate the enjoyment by citizens of their civil rights solely upon the basis of race [Ed.'s italics].The Separate But Equal Doctrine established by the United States Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson was not overturned by the Court until their landmark 1954 School Desegregation decision in Brown v. The Board of education of Topeka, Kansas.

*   *   *   *   *

Zora Neale Hurston --  Court Order Can't Make Races Mix

*   *   *   *   *

 

A Defiant Life: Thurgood Marshall & The Persistence of Racism in America

By Howard Ball

Thurgood Marshall's extraordinary contribution to civil rights and overcoming racism is more topical than ever, as the national debate on race and the overturning of affirmative action policies make headlines nationwide. Howard Ball, author of eighteen books on the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary, has done copious research for this incisive biography to present an authoritative portrait of Marshall the jurist. Born to a middle-class black family in "Jim Crow" Baltimore at the turn of the century, Marshall's race informed his worldview from an early age. He was rejected by the University of Maryland Law School because of the color of his skin. He then attended Howard University's Law School, where his racial consciousness was awakened by the brilliant lawyer and activist Charlie Houston. Marshall suddenly knew what he wanted to be: a civil rights lawyer, one of Houston's "social engineers." As the chief attorney for the NAACP, he developed the strategy for the legal challenge to racial discrimination.

His soaring achievements and his lasting impact on the nation's legal system--as the NAACP's advocate, as a federal appeals court judge, as President Lyndon Johnson's solicitor general, and finally as the first African American Supreme Court Justice--are symbolized by Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark case that ended legal segregation in public schools. Using race as the defining theme, Ball spotlights Marshall's genius in working within the legal system to further his lifelong commitment to racial equality. With the help of numerous, previously unpublished sources, Ball presents a lucid account of Marshall's illustrious career and his historic impact on American civil rights.

*   *   *   *   *

Other Du Bois Writings

Books

The Conservation of Races (Washington, D.C.: American Negro Academy, 1897).

 

Africa: Its Geography, People and Products (Girard, Kansas: Haldeman-Julius, 1930).

 

Africa: Its Place in Modern History (Girard, Kansas: Haldeman-Julius, 1930).

 

Dusk of Dawn: An Essay Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880 (New York: Holt, 1939)

 

W.E.B. Du Bois Speaks: Speeches and Addresses, edited by Philip S. Foner (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970).

 

W.E.B. Du Bois: The Crisis Writing, editing by Daniel Walden (Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett, 1972).

 

The Emerging Thought of W.E.B. Du Bois: Essays and Editorials From "The Crisis," edited by Henry Lee Moon (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1972)

 

The Education of Black People: Ten Critiques, 1906-1960, edited by Herbert Aptheker (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1973.

*   *   *   *   *

 

 

 

 

 

 

*   *   *   *   *

A Dream Deferred: A Mournful, Contrarian Dissection

Of the Failed Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education

A Review by Debra J. Dickerson May/June 2004 Issue

Charles J. Ogletree Jr. All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education   Norton, 2005

 

Derrick Bell. Silent Covenants: Brown v. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform.  Oxford University Press, 2005

*   *   *   *   *

The Autobiography of Medgar Evers

A Hero's Life and Legacy Revealed Through His Writings, Letters, and Speeches 2006

By Myrlie Evers-Williams and Manning Marable

In an era filled with charismatic leaders, Evers (1925–1963) came to national attention primarily as the victim of "the first political assassination of a major leader of the modern Black Freedom Movement." As NAACP field secretary in Mississippi, Evers recruited NAACP members, desegregated schools, registered voters and organized boycotts. The work was usually undramatic, but always perilous. Evers's widow and historian Marable seek to redress Evers's relative absence from the historical record. But more than half of these 89 documents (from the years 1954–1963) are mundane monthly reports to or business correspondence with the NAACP. Ten Evers speeches are included along with eight newspaper articles, four press releases, a telegram to Eisenhower and one to Kennedy, an NAACP newsletter, a "text fragment," a posthumous Life interview. There's no clue to the principle of selection. With the exception of two very brief notes to his family, there is no personal correspondence.

This monument is a tomb ready for excavation by historians of the Civil Rights movement, but it's not for the ordinary reader looking for an autobiography of Medgar Evers. It reveals the quotidian work rather than the indomitable man. Publisher's Weekly

*   *   *   *   *

Chief Justice John Roberts (Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education) -- 28 June 2007

Racial Integration Has Run Its Course—The resilience of civil-rights groups is praiseworthy, but future litigation, even if successful, is not going to alter the fact that most poor children, regardless of race, are attending schools that are not meeting their educational needs. Their dire condition, and that of the schools they attend, is not solely the result of an insensitive Supreme Court majority quite ready to manipulate precedent to stifle well-intended racial-diversity plans. The plain fact is that a great many white Americans, including many with otherwise liberal views on race, do not want their offspring attending schools with more than a token number of black and Latino children. Whatever their status, they do not wish to be burdened by efforts to correct the results of racial discrimination that they do not believe they caused. Their opposition may not be as violent or as vast as it was during the early years after the Brown decision, but it is widespread, deeply felt, and if history is any indication not likely to change any time soon. Derrick Bell. Desegregations Demise.  The Chronicle of Higher Education 

*   *   *   *   *

No Tears for Brown v Board of Education—In 1990, after months of interviews with Justice Thurgood Marshall, who had been the lead lawyer for the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund on the Brown case, I sat in his Supreme Court chambers with a final question. Almost 40 years later, was he satisfied with the outcome of the decision? Outside the courthouse, the failing Washington school system was hypersegregated, with more than 90 percent of its students black and Latino. Schools in the surrounding suburbs, meanwhile, were mostly white and producing some of the top students in the nation. Had Mr. Marshall, the lawyer, made a mistake by insisting on racial integration instead of improvement in the quality of schools for black children? His response was that seating black children next to white children in school had never been the point. It had been necessary only because all-white school boards were generously financing schools for white children while leaving black students in overcrowded, decrepit buildings with hand-me-down books and underpaid teachers. He had wanted black children to have the right to attend white schools as a point of leverage over the biased spending patterns of the segregationists who ran schools — both in the 17 states where racially separate schools were required by law and in other states where they were a matter of culture.Juan Williams Don’t Mourn Brown v. Board of Education  July 2007  Education & History

*   *   *   *   *

Conservative Justices Corrode Brown Decision—For more than half a century, the moral compass of 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education has guided our nation toward integration and equal treatment. The Court's conservative bloc has led us backwards. The 5-4 decision included Justices Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, Kennedy, and Alito. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing the majority opinion, said that schools should use factors other than race to achieve racial inclusion. Roberts wrote: “[In Brown] it was not the inequality of facilities but the fact of legally separating children based on race on which the Court relied to find a constitutional violation.” This is a disingenuous use of Brown against desegregation efforts. As they were 50 years ago, racial segregation and unequal facilities remain closely linked. In California, for example, a state that ranks number one in school segregation among Blacks and Latinos, 75 percent of high school seniors of color will not complete the courses they need to enroll in the state’s public colleges.The Applied Research Center    July 2007

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A Dream DeferredOn June 28, three years after the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court subverted Brown’s meaning to block public school integration plans. As a result, boards of education across the country, which have used racial criteria to reduce segregation, must undo their efforts or themselves be branded as racial discriminators. . . .  The 1955 Brown decision came after a 20-year campaign of sustained litigation that was supported by massive organizing and that was finally backed by a Justice Department brief that argued segregation could cause the country to lose its contest with the Soviet Union for the hearts and minds of the Third World. Relying on the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War to ensure former slaves equal rights, the Supreme Court weakened state-enforced segregation in public settings through Brown and a series of subsequent cases.

Despite gains made in the South after Brown and as a result of intense pressure from courageous civil rights activists, which led to the passage of federal laws between 1964 and 1968, desegregation fell into full retreat mode. The Court determined in 1974 that school segregation in the north was an acceptable consequence of segregated housing patterns and geo-political boundaries. Now, with their June 28 decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No.1, the four justices who comprise the Court’s right-wing bloc, with the concurrence of the more mainstream conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, have taken what may be the final step in making Brown obsolete. The court condemned the modest attempts by the Seattle and Jefferson County (Louisville), Ky., boards of education to voluntarily reduce segregation by employing race-conscious integration plans.—Lewis M. Steel. In These Times

*   *   *   *   *

Discourse on "re-segregation."—I am thoroughly convinced that what is wrong with educationits tendency to coerce rather than facilitate learning, its tendency to push people toward accepting the status quo and fitting into the existing social order rather than thinking critically and questioning accepted notionsis wrong for everyone. The implications of these faults of schooling differ depending on one's position in that social order. Real critical thinking skills are seldom effectively taught since they are hard to measure. We need to be looking at how education will help to prepare young people to be meaningful parts of their community's future, but to do this, we have to have some sense of what their community's future is.

The "new economic order" just doesn't cut it for me. The gap between the haves and the have-nots cannot keep getting wider while we destroy the planet and anger and alienate most of the people in the world by trying to twist every human relationship into something from which a few powerful people can make ever growing profits. We have got to find -- no, we have got to create a better way. Schooling should play an important role in this, but not simply by virtue of giving diverse groups opportunities to study with and play with each other. The children of slaves and slave masters sometimes played together, but everyone came to know their place. The fact that they played together did not change the social order then, nor will it now, not unless we take up the task of social change consciously. . . .

Many people might not realize that the young people in Wilmington, NC, whose struggle led to the disturbances that created the Wilmington 10 case in the early '70s were fighting against the closing of their black school and forced integration. Gary Orfield and Jonathan Kozol learned nothing about the needs and aspiration of blacks from that. Maybe they haven't even heard about the yearlong school boycott and independent schooling that developed in Hyde County, NC around the closing of black schools due to integration. They would do well to follow me around and talk to some of the folks they dismiss as incapable of advocating for their own children.

I tire of hearing people talk about the resegregation of schools being a betrayal of the struggle for integrated education that required so much sacrifice by so many. I was one of those who sacrificed a portion of my youth in that effort. Ed Whitfield. A Different View on School Desegregation.— Huffington Post

 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Sources:

Chapter VI. "The Instruction of Negroes." In Edgar W. Knight.. A Documentary History of Education in the South before 1860. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, 1953

Chapter 10 "Up From Slavery: Educational and other Rights of Negroes." In Edgar W. Knight and Clifton L. Hall. Readings in American Educational History. New York Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1951.

Many states had laws prohibiting the education of blacks; here black youngsters are turned away at the school door

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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

*   *   *   *   *

Lincoln on Race and Slavery

Edited By Henry Louis Gates and Donald Yacovone

Generations of Americans have debated the meaning of Abraham Lincoln's views on race and slavery. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation and supported a constitutional amendment to outlaw slavery, yet he also harbored grave doubts about the intellectual capacity of African Americans, publicly used the n-word until at least 1862, and favored permanent racial segregation. In this book—the first complete collection of Lincoln's important writings on both race and slaveryreaders can explore these contradictions through Lincoln's own words. Acclaimed Harvard scholar and documentary filmmaker Henry Louis Gates, Jr., presents the full range of Lincoln's views, gathered from his private letters, speeches, official documents, and even race jokes, arranged chronologically from the late 1830s to the 1860s.

Complete with definitive texts, rich historical notes, and an original introduction by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., this book charts the progress of a war within Lincoln himself. We witness his struggles with conflicting aims and ideas—a hatred of slavery and a belief in the political equality of all men, but also anti-black prejudices and a determination to preserve the Union even at the cost of preserving slavery. We also watch the evolution of his racial views, especially in reaction to the heroic fighting of black Union troops.

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The Making of African America: The Four Great Migrations

By Ira Berlin

Berlin (Many Thousands Gone) offers a fresh reading of American history through the prism of the great migrations that made and remade African and African American life. The first was the forcible deportation of Africans to North America in the 17th and 18th centuries, followed by their forced transfer into the American interior during the 19th century. Then came the migration of the mid-20th century as African-Americans fled the South for the urban North, and the arrival of continental Africans and people of African descent from the Caribbean during the latter part of the 20th century. Berlin sees migration and the reshaping of communities to their new environments as central to the African-American experience. Movement is a matter of numbers, and Berlin provides them in detail kept fully readable by his attention to the cultural products of the shifts. In particular, he follows the church as it moves, the music as it takes on new themes, and kinship as it broadens. Berlin's careful scholarship is evidenced in his rich notes; the ordinary reader will be pleased by the fluidity and clarity of his prose.—Publishers Weekly

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.”

We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

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.     

Professor Perry 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 indiscriminately.

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The Death and Life of the Great American School System

How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education

By Diane Ravitch

As an education historian and former assistant secretary of education, Ravitch has witnessed the trends in public education over the past 40 years and has herself swung from public-school advocate to market-driven accountability and choice supporter back to public-school advocate. With passion and insight, she analyzes research and draws on interviews with educators, philanthropists, and business executives to question the current direction of reform of public education. In the mid-1990s, the movement to boost educational standards failed on political concerns; next came the emphasis on accountability with its reliance on standardized testing. Now educators are worried that the No Child Left Behind mandate that all students meet proficiency standards by 2014 will result in the dismantling of public schools across the nation.

Ravitch analyzes the impact of choice on public schools, attempts to quantify quality teaching, and describes the data wars with advocates for charter and traditional public schools. Ravitch also critiques the continued reliance on a corporate model for school reform and the continued failure of such efforts to emphasize curriculum. Conceding that there is no single solution, Ravitch concludes by advocating for strong educational values and revival of strong neighborhood public schools. For readers on all sides of the school-reform debate, this is a very important book.—Vanessa Bush , Booklist

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What Orwell Didn't Know

Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics

By Andras Szanto

Propaganda. Manipulation. Spin. Control. It has ever been thus—or has it? On the eve of the 60th anniversary of George Orwell's classic essay on propaganda (Politics and the English Language), writers have been invited to explore what Orwell didn't—or couldn't—know. Their responses, framed in pithy, focused essays, range far and wide: from the effect of television and computing, to the vast expansion of knowledge about how our brains respond to symbolic messages, to the merger of journalism and entertainment, to lessons learned during and after a half-century of totalitarianism. Together, they paint a portrait of a political culture in which propaganda and mind control are alive and well (albeit in forms and places that would have surprised Orwell). The pieces in this anthology sound alarm bells about the manipulation and misinformation in today's politics, and offer guideposts for a journalism attuned to Orwellian tendencies in the 21st century.

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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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