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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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 Senator Obama is obliged to represent everyone, not only the pacifistic Unitarians, who vote for him, but the gun-toting

bible thumpers of western Pennsylvania, as well.  The President is obliged to represent hawks as well as doves, pro-lifers,

as well as pro-choicers, inflationists as well as deflationists.



Books by Wilson Jeremiah Moses

Golden Age of Black Nationalism, 1850-1925 (1988)  / The Wings of Ethiopia  (1990)

 Alexander Crummell: A Study of Civilization and Discontent (1992)  / Destiny & Race: Selected Writings, 1840-1898  (1992) 

 Black Messiahs and Uncle Toms: Social and Literary Manipulations of a Religious Myth (1993)

Liberian Dreams: Back-to-Africa Narratives from the 1850s  / Afrotopia: The Roots of African American Popular History (2002)

Creative Conflict in African American Thought (2004)

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Republicans' Brilliant Cynical Coup

By Wilson J. Moses  


I have been eating crow this week, realizing that Phil Gramm, with a little help from George Bush II, has been proven correct.  Gramm said, in effect, that current economic problems are purely psychological, reiterating the old economic truism "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."  Then Bush by revoking his father's executive ban on offshore drilling heartened Wall Street and the psychological effect was wonderful. 

Behold! oh ye vacant-eyed slack-jawed Americans.  Stand still and be stupefied!   The Dow has gained over 500 points in three days; the price of oil has dropped by $18 a barrel.  Gas at the pump has theoretically dropped to $3.00 in some places.   Now we can all go out and buy some more SUVs.  I am so happy, for just this morning I got an offer for a 13 month CD at 4.1% from a local wild cat bank.  There was even a picture of a wild cat (a cute little Nittany lion cub) on the advertisement!    But read on. . . .

And rejoice!   You will now have the opportunity to buy some of Fannie Mae's newly watered stock!  Assuming you have any loose cash to invest. 

In the only place that matters, i.e., the stock market, the Bush/Gramm economic surge is working, at least so far.  Never mind that people's houses are still being foreclosed, and meanwhile, if you can't heat your house this winter, blame those feckless Democrats and that silly unpatriotic environmentalist, Al Gore.  Isn't the fact that he won a Nobel Prize proof enough that he is unpatriotic, anyway?  So there!  

And meanwhile in Iraq "the surge has worked."  Only 39 American deaths in the past forty days!  And less than 150 maimed!  As for the psychologically damaged, General Patton showed us how to deal with them. 

Can we blame Obama for moving to the right?  His shift is as predictable, as it is inevitable, and represents the essential feature of "representative" government.   The President must be the "representative" of all the people.  Senator Obama is obliged to represent everyone, not only the pacifistic Unitarians, who vote for him, but the gun-toting bible thumpers of western Pennsylvania, as well.  The President is obliged to represent hawks as well as doves, pro-lifers, as well as pro-choicers, inflationists as well as deflationists.  Bullish oil speculators as well as bearish short sellers.  Bankers, as well as those whose houses are being foreclosed. 

Under close analysis, the word "Representation"  means nothing!  It can mean nothing!  The Constitution does not make any provisions for the representation of your rights, your liberties, your values, your interests or your opinions.   It simply gives you "representatives" who provide a symbolic representation, very similar to the "virtual representation," enjoyed by the colonies under British rule in 1776.

That is the little boll weevil ("weasel," the lady said, "weasel") in the "republican form of government" that your high school civics book taught you to revere.  The Constitution of the United States makes provisions for representing "the people," but not necessarily for representing their political opinions or interests.  This republic was never intended to offer anything but "symbolic representation."  Thus, even the slaves were "represented" in the 3/5 compromise, over protests of other interested parties, including abolitionists, who protested giving 100% representation to the drivers of slaves. The compromise generously provided that slaves would be at least partially represented—by the very men who denied their basic human rights and liberties. 

Of course the underlying cynicism was that wealthy slaveholders were not interested in representing the rights, values, or interests of anyone—certainly not the rights of poor white dirt-farmers, hired girls, or indentured servants.  In medieval Europe, the great lords symbolically represented their peasants, whom they raped and tortured at will. The priests represented their flocks, whose minds they filled with sophistries and superstition. 

Your elected representatives cynically remind you that they are not obliged to read the opinion polls, and they are correct.  They have no obligation to represent the opinions of anyone.  

Some people are so foolish as to think their "elected representatives" should abide by their promises. I say, we should pray they will break their promises.  Stalin and Mao were consistent.  Once they launched a five-year-plan, they stayed the course, regardless of how many millions starved.   "Read my lips," said George Bush, "No new taxes," but he had the strength to change his mind, thus disappointing his backers, losing the election, and unintentionally laying the foundation for Bill Clinton's balanced budget. 

posted 19 July 2008

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Speak My Name

Black Men on Masculinity and the American Dream

Edited by Don Belton

Race Men

By Hazel V. Carby

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#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 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


#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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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign.  The Economy

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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 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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update 5 March 2012




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Related files Just Another Fine Gentleman of African Extraction  Obama and Bitterness