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Book Review Archives - Page 2 of 4 - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Hitler

Leading Civil Rights Lawyer Shows 20 Ways Trump Is Copying Hitler’s Early Rhetoric and Policies

By Editors' Choice

The author, Burt Neuborne, is one of America’s top civil liberties lawyers, and questions whether federal government can contain Trump and GOP power grabs. By Steven Rosenfeld — A new book by one of the nation’s foremost civil liberties lawyers powerfully describes how America’s constitutional checks and balances are being pushed to the brink by a president who is consciously following Adolf Hitler’s extremist propaganda and policy template from the…

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Skin tone band-aids

The Fight to Redefine Racism

By Editors' Choice

In “How to Be an Antiracist,” Ibram X. Kendi argues that we should think of “racist” not as a pejorative but as a simple, widely encompassing term of description. By Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker — Sixteen years ago, in 2003, the student newspaper at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, a historically black institution in Tallahassee, published a lively column about white people. “I don’t hate whites,” the author, a…

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Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison Made Words Burn and Cry: Marlon James on His Biggest Hero

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Marlon James, Time — I don’t remember much else about the day I finished Song of Solomon. The Trinidadian novelist Elizabeth Nunez mentioned her in a manuscript-saving mission—mine being the script needing saving—because I didn’t have a clue about women. Nunez said so, and she was right of course, not just about my clueness-ness, but also that this clueness-ness stemmed from a problem universal among male writers: not reading women….

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The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City after a truck bomb explosion, April, 1995

White Power: At Home and Abroad

By Commentaries/Opinions

Two differently themed books complement each other; one on the rise of white power at home and the other on anti-communist adventures abroad show the domestic scourge nurtured by foreign experiences even as the global Right employed its services. By Thomas Meany, London Review of Books — In the spring of 1975, as America’s war in Vietnam drew to its grim conclusion, a new magazine targeted readers who did not…

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Titus Kaphar: Page 4 of Jefferson’s ‘Farm Book’…, 2018. That page of Jefferson’s ledger lists the names of enslaved people on his plantation at Monticello in January 1774.

How Proslavery Was the Constitution?

By Commentaries/Opinions, Reparations

By Nicholas Guyatt — Were the Founding Fathers responsible for American slavery? William Lloyd Garrison, the celebrated abolitionist, certainly thought so. In an uncompromising address in Framingham, Massachusetts, on July 4, 1854, Garrison denounced the hypocrisy of a nation that declared that “all men are created equal” while holding nearly four million African-Americans in bondage. The US Constitution was hopelessly implicated in this terrible crime, Garrison claimed: it kept free…

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Mansa Musa, the king of Mali, approached by a Berber on camelback; detail from The Catalan Atlas, attributed to the Majorcan mapmaker Abraham Cresques, 1375

Africa’s Lost/Forgotten Kingdoms

By Reparations

By Howard W. French, NYR — There is a broad strain in Western thought that has long treated Africa as existing outside of history and progress; it ranges from some of our most famous thinkers to the entertainment that generations of children have grown up with. There are Disney cartoons that depict barely clothed African cannibals merrily stewing their victims in giant pots suspended above pit fires.1 Among intellectuals there is…

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Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, 1968

The Language of the Unheard: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Social Democracy

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

By Robert Greene II, The Nation — Gone was the optimism of 1963. It had been replaced by a sense of disillusionment, a sense of urgency that America was about to lose the last chance to have its soul.” This was how Jet magazine described the climax of the Poor People’s Campaign, which reached Washington, DC, in the tumultuous summer of 1968. For Jet and for many early civil-rights activists, the Poor People’s Campaign…

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Nazi officials use calipers to measure an ethnic German's nose on January 1, 1941. The Nazis developed a pseudoscientific system of facial measurement that was supposedly a way of determining racial descent.

The Disturbing Resilience of Scientific Racism

By Editors' Choice

A new book explores how racist biases continue to maintain a foothold in research today By Ramin Skibba, Smithsonian — Scientists, including those who study race, like to see themselves as objectively exploring the world, above the political fray. But such views of scientific neutrality are naive, as study findings, inevitably, are influenced by the biases of the people conducting the work. The American sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois once wrote,…

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Turbulent history … Tamara Lawrance in the BBC adaptation of Andrea Levy’s The Long Song.

‘We’re still living with slavery’

By Reparations

From prize-winners Esi Edugyan and Marlon James to debut novelists such as Sara Collins, a new generation of novelists is exploring a painful past. By Colin Grant, The Guardian — Two hundred years ago, slave narratives seemed one of the few routes to publication for black writers on both sides of the Atlantic. Autobiographical accounts written by former slaves such as Olaudah Equiano, Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass proved enormously popular with readers, who…

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Empire Windrush migrants arrive at Tilbury in 1948.

‘There were Africans in Britain before the English came here’

By Commentaries/Opinions, Reparations

How Staying Power shook British history. When it was published in 1984 Staying Power vividly captured the struggle for black British identity. Nearly 35 years on it still has lessons to teach. By Gary Younge, The Guardian — “The very serious function of racism is distraction,” Toni Morrison argued in a lecture in Portland, Oregon, in 1975: It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and…

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Frederick Douglass

David Blight on Frederick Douglass: ‘I call him beautifully human’

By Commentaries/Opinions

‘At first I didn’t want to,’ says the author of this magisterial biography of the great abolitionist, ‘it was so daunting’ By Martin Pengelly, The Guardian — David Blight arrives in New York pulling his carry-on luggage, en route from Washington, soon to fly onwards to San Francisco. Such is the interest in his new biography of Frederick Douglass, a book 10 years in the writing and a whole career…

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The crowd at a get-out-the-vote rally during a speech by Michelle Obama, Miami, Florida, September 2018

Fighting to Vote

By Editors' Choice

By Michael Tomasky, The New York Review — The Embattled Vote in America: From the Founding to the Present by Allan J. Lichtman Harvard University Press, 315 pp., $27.95 If you grew up, as I did, in the 1960s and 1970s, watching (albeit through a child’s eyes) the civil rights movement notch victory after victory, you could be forgiven for thinking at the time that that happy condition was normal.…

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