Keep Walking in Prayer... Until You Can't Come Back

Book Review by Kam Williams  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep Walking in Prayer... Until You Can't Come Back

by Reverend Dorothy Scott Boulware

Xulon Press

Paperback, $10.99

104 pages

ISBN: 978-1-4984-7454-2

Rev. B

By way of introduction, I'm a Baptist Methodist Pentecostal Evangelical non-denominational retired pastor, retired newspaper editor, former minister of music, former fingerprint technician, wife of 47 years, mother of four, grandmother of five, great-grandmother of one.

I began reading the Bible at four and soon after preached my first sermon... I believe, if we can think of prayer as relationship transaction rather than requests submitted, answers received, yes or no; if we can embrace that prayer begins with the Lord and pulls us in, then we can relax and let Him do His thing...

In this book, we'll embrace the reality of our relationship, acknowledging that God always hears us when we pray... There's not much more precious than the feeling of being heard. I could never have made it without knowing God has my back and I have God's ear.

And I want everyone who wants it to have a similar expectation. I'm in a sweet spot on the journey and understand the journey is the prize rather than episodic outcomes that match my will. That's all."

-- Excerpted from the Introduction (pages x-xii)

Do you believe in the power of prayer? If you are a person of faith, you might appreciate the case eloquently made for precisely that proposition in this enlightening opus by Reverend Dorothy Scott Boulware. The author has been preaching practically her entire life, having started at the age of four when she surprised her family with her first sermon.

"How can you say you love God who you haven't seen and hate your brother who you see every day?" she asked back then. "You're a liar and the truth ain't in you." And the precocious youngster matured into a sage sister who's been selflessly ministering to anybody who would who listen ever since.

And in her new opus, "Keep Walking in Prayer... Until You Can't Come Back," Reverend Boulware shares plenty of insightful pearls of wisdom she's accumulated over the years. The title was ostensibly inspired by Genesis 5:23-24, a Biblical passage about how Enoch (Methusaleh's father) maintained a constant companionship with the Lord.

The book basically consists of a mix of the author's personal anecdotes and testimonies from folks she has interacted with in the course of living a life well lived. Perhaps its most poignant entry involves a heartfelt remembrance of "The Day God Showed Up" to help Reverend Boulware's homeless son who was on trial despite having been the victim of stabbing. Against seemingly-insurmountable odds, he prevailed in court with the help of a very well-prepared public defender.

Overall, this passionate how-to memoir has a moving message which might be best communicated by this quote: "While we don't have the power to control outcomes... we do get to rest in the assurance that we are always and forever heard whenever we communicate with the Father." Can I get an Amen?

To order a copy of Keep Walking in Prayer... Until You Can't Come Back, visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1498474543/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

One Last Deadly Play

CELEBRITY JOURNALIST PENS NEW MURDER MYSTERY "ONE LAST DEADLY PLAY"

"In her second novel, Flo Anthony perfectly captures the scene from New York to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Miami, as Valerie and Rome come up against murder, kidnapping plots and enough family intrigue to make the Lyons from "Empire" seem more like pussy cats than kings of the jungle." Required Reading by Billy Heller The New York Post

Almost two years have passed since the discovery of retired baseball player Royale Jones' real identity; Rolondo Jemison. Valerie Rollins, famous Gossip Columnist, never revealed her intimate past with the true Wildcat player. While she and her crime-solving partner Rome Nyland were behind the uncovering of this imposter, one infamous question lingered on: what happened to the real Royale? As if the heavens themselves intervened, a peculiar stranger who has been living in isolation, tucked away in the Bahamas, suddenly awakens from his amnesia. Five years of memorylessness evaporates upon seeing a photo of Rolondo and Valerie's name in a newspaper article. Valerie returns to the Big Apple, with intentions of aiding her fiance, Victor Dumas. Upon discovering the murder of her staff, her home invaded and Rome's fiancee missing, the worst has yet to come. Her fiance's son, Vance, discovers his wife has left him, only to secretly join forces against the Dumas family with Rolondo and Victor's worst enemy: Sincere. In a plot to kidnap Vance's daughter in ransom for billions and kill Victor and Valerie, the dastardly trio is also after a trunk stored in an obscure, Underground Railroad location. Follow  these eclectic lives as they navigate the streets of NYC and the glittering Hamptons, all the while making new love connections and rekindling old, dodging bullets and death, but more importantly, Valerie and Rome are once again trying to keep the bad guys from making One Last Deadly Play.

About Flo Anthony

THE BEST MAN After Pary 4-1-12 #49

A veteran celebrity journalist, Flo Anthony currently hosts a daily syndicated radio show "Gossip On The Go With Flo" syndicated by Superadio. In addition, she is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Blacknoir.nyc, and a contributor to the New York Daily News' Confidential column. Flo also writes a weekly syndicated column "Go With The Flo" which appears in several publications including the New York Amsterdam News and Philadelphia Sunday Sun. Flo has been seen on countless television shows including Geraldo, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, TV One's Life After, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, CNN, HLN and E! Entertainment TV!

For further information contact Flo Anthony at 917-439-3382.

To order a copy of ONE LAST DEADLY PLAY, visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1936649055/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

One Lastt Deadly Play

 

The Global Hillary

Book Review by Kam Williams  

 

 

 

 

The Global Hillary

Women's Political Leadership in Cultural Contexts

by Dr. Dinesh Sharma

Routledge Press

Paperback, $52.95

222 pages

ISBN: 978-1-138829749

 

dinesh & Hillary

 

With Hillary Clinton's political rise to the presidency, we may have seen the emergence of women's rights as central to political discourse in the U.S. and around the world. Women's rights have indeed become human rights, to paraphrase Hillary Clinton's landmark speech in Beijing more than two decades ago...

This book deals with the nexus of women, development and democracy--as a post-Enlightenment, post-modern and global feminist project of the West--by focusing on the political leadership of one of the best-known women politicians the United States has produced in recent times...

We are principally interested in examining the role Hillary Clinton--as First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State--has played as a transformational figure in bridging women's development with democratic institutions in the developing and developed societies.”

-- Excerpted from Chapter One (pg. 2)

Now that she has been nominated by the Democratic Party as its candidate, Hillary Clinton is on the verge of making history as the first woman President of the United States. And while she has been constantly scrutinized by the media over the last couple of years, the subject of the focus has been fairly superficial.

The bulk of the day-to-day talk has been about Bengazi, her email and her standing in the polls. But precious little attention has been paid to Hillary's considerable achievements, especially those realized during her tenure as Secretary of State.

Voters interested in making an informed choice based on an in-depth analysis of the Clinton agenda, need look no further than "The Global Hillary: Women's Political Leadership in Cultural Contexts." This enlightening collection of essays by leading luminaries in fields ranging from psychology to political science was edited by Dinesh Sharma, Associate Research Professor at the Institute for Global Cultural Studies, SUNY Binghamton.

After publishing a couple of timely books about President Obama, "The Global Obama" and "Barack Obama in Hawai'i and Indonesia," Dr. Sharma again proves to have his finger on the pulse with this timely opus. Foremost among the topics explored is the "Hillary Doctrine" linking the subjugation of women to the deteriorating conditions in many countries around the globe. As Secretary Clinton herself observed, "It was no coincidence that that the places where women's lives were most undervalued largely lined up with the parts of the world most plagued by instability, conflict, extremism and poverty.

A revealing peek into the mind, motivations and likely agenda of the intelligent, inveterate feminist who just might be the 45th President of the United States.

To order a copy of The Global Hillary, visit:https://www.amazon.com/Global-Hillary-Political-Leadership-LEADERSHIP/dp/1138829749?ie=UTF8&redirect=true&tag=thslfofire-20

Blood Brothers

Book Review by Kam Williams  

 

 

 

 

Blood Brothers

The Fatal Friendship between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X

by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith

Basic Books

Hardcover, $28.99

392 pages, Illustrated

ISBN: 978-0-465-07970-4

 

[This book] is the story of how Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali and the central role Malcolm X played in his life. It is a tale of friendship and brotherhood, love and deep affection. It is also a story of deceit, betrayal, and violence--inside and outside the ring--during a troubled time.

...Malcolm's life was in danger, when Elijah Muhammad threatened to cast him outside the Nation of Islam... Malcolm had no doubt that someone inside the Nation wanted him dead...

Only ten days after they celebrated the boxer's championship victory over Sonny Liston, Cassius stopped taking Malcolm's calls... Once Muhammad Ali sided with Elijah, Malcolm knew... that losing Ali's cover might cost him his life.”

-- Excerpted from the Preface (pages xvi)

Most people are probably unaware that long before he became heavyweight champ and dropped his slave name Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali had already become infatuated with the Nation of Islam and the teachings of Elijah Muhammad. Furthermore, Malcolm X played a pivotal role in the brash, young boxer's conversion, befriending him while inculcating him with the Nation's controversial interpretation of the religion.

As Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith put it, "Malcolm X molded Cassius Clay into Muhammad Ali," and "Under Malcolm's tutelage, he embraced the world's stage, emerging as an international symbol of black pride and black independence." Trouble is Malcolm would become disillusioned with the Nation of Islam soon thereafter, and left it in 1964 to start his own sect, Muslim Mosque, Inc.

He hoped to maintain a relationship with his increasingly-popular protege, but that was not to be. For, Elijah Muhammad was apparently so unhappy about the loss of his organization's national spokesperson that he issued an "edict that all Muslims cease contact with Malcolm."

Opting to obey the order, Muhammad Ali proceeded to throw his former mentor under the proverbial bus, declaring, "Malcolm X and anybody else who attacks or talks about attacking Elijah Muhammad will die." And sure enough, soon thereafter, on February 21, 1965, Malcolm was assassinated by several members of the Nation of Islam.

. "Turning my back on Malcolm was one of the mistakes that I most regret in my life," Muhammad would ultimately admit years later. A fascinating deconstruction of the fractured friendship of the most-revered, African-American Muslim icons.

To order a copy of Blood Brothers, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Brothers-Friendship-Between-Muhammad/dp/0465079709?ie=UTF8&redirect=true&tag=thslfofire-20

From #Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation

Book Review by Kam Williams  

 

 

 

 

 

 

From #Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation

by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Haymarket Books

Paperback, $17.95

286 pages

ISBN: 978-1-60846-562-0

 

 

The eruption of mass protests in the wake of the police murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City have challenged the impunity with which officers of the law carry out violence against Black people and punctured the illusion of a postracial America. The Black Lives Matter movement has awakened a new generation of activists.

In this stirring and insightful analysis, activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor survey the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and persistence of structural inequality such as mass incarceration and Black unemployment. In this context, she argues that this new struggle against police violence holds the potential to reignite a broader push for Black liberation."

-- Excerpted from the Bookjacket

 

How did the Black Lives Matter movement manage to emerge at a time when so many people considered America to be post-racial? After all, the nation had not only elected its first African-American president in 2008, but had witnessed an emergence of black political elites both in Washington, D.C. and in so many cities across the land.

Recall how the Congressional Black Caucus, led by John Lewis, endorsed Hillary Clinton while questioning Bernie Sanders' civil rights credentials. That support has effectively delivered over 90% of the African-American vote to Clinton in state after state, arguably making the difference between her winning in losing the Democratic nomination.

But according to Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, there is a "growing polarization between black officials and ordinary blacks living in urban communities." She further asserts that African-Americans in positions of power "are just as eager as white officials to invoke racial stereotypes to cover their own incompetence, from claims about cultural inferiority to broken families to Black criminality."

In From #Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation, Professor Taylor explores why opposition to police brutality suddenly became an explosive rallying cry a couple years ago, despite its having been around as an issue for many generations. The author, who teaches African-American Studies at Princeton University, also devotes considerable ink to a historical discussion of icons like Dr. Martin Luther King and Lyndon Baines Johnson as well as to such hot button topics as colorblindness, American exceptionalism, the criminal justice system and the roots and rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Overall, this incendiary tome amounts to a scathing indictment of "racism, capitalism and class rule" as oppressors of the black masses, President Obama's occupying the White House notwithstanding.

 

To order a copy of From #Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1608465624/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

The South Side

Book Review by Kam Williams

 

 

 

 

 

The South Side

A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation

by Natalie Y. Moore

St. Martin's Press

Hardcover, $27.99

270 pages

ISBN: 978-1-137-28105-2

 

Natalie Y. moore

Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emmanuel have touted Chicago as a 'world-class city.' The skyscrapers, the billion-dollar Millennium Park, Michelin-rated restaurants, pristine lake views, [the] vibrant theater scene, and stellar architecture tell one story.

Yet swept under the rug is another story: the stench of segregation that permeates and compromises Chicago... It's clear that Chicago is defined by it.

In this intelligent... narrative, Chicago native Natalie Moore shines a light on contemporary segregation in the city's South Side... [his book] highlights the impact of Chicago's historic segregation--and the ongoing policies that keep the system intact.”

-- Excerpted from the Bookjacket

It was recently reported that Chicago lost more millionaires last year than any other American metropolitan area. What I found particularly fascinating is the fact that the Windy City's black millionaires are participating in the mass exodus, too. The reasons for fleeing most frequently cited are the rise in racial tensions and the skyrocketing crime rate.

This development made the idea of reading "The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation" all the more appealing. This intriguing examination of the city's black community was written by Natalie Moore, a native who was raised in Chatham, a solidly middle-class African-American enclave.

Moore, a reporter for WBEZ, the city's NPR radio station, puts both her journalistic and memoir writing skills on display here, fashioning an opus that mixes history lessons with many of her own personal reflections. In a chapter devoted to her childhood in Chatham, she recounts her father speaking of a de facto "black tax." This segregation tax exacted a heavy toll from folks living in African-American neighborhoods as reflected in public safety concerns, higher-priced goods and lower home values.

Nevertheless, the author bristles when the term "Chiraq" is used in reference to the South Side. In a chapter entitled "We are not Chiraq" she explains that she feels the conflating of Chicago and Iraq is racist because "it plays on fear" by suggesting that the black community is a war zone. Consequently, people who don't live on the South Side tend to internalize the negative images of it being incessantly disseminated by the media.

Overall, an alternately anecdotal and academic analysis making a misunderstood and marginalized-sector of Chicago more accessible.

To order a copy of The South Side, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1137280158/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Risky Medicine

Book Review by Kam Williams  

 

 

 

 

 

Risky Medicine

Our Quest to Cure Fear and Uncertainty

by Dr. Robert Aronowitz, M.D.

University of Chicago Press

Hardcover, $26.00

284 pages

ISBN: 978-0-226-04971-7

 

Dr. Robert Aronowitz

 

Will ever-more sensitive tests for cancer lead to longer, better lives? Will anticipating and trying to prevent the future complications of chronic disease lead to better health? Not always... In fact, it often is hurting us.

Exploring the transformation of health care over the last several decades that has led doctors to become more attentive to treating risk than treating symptoms or curing disease, [this book] shows how many aspects of... clinical practice are now aimed at risk reduction...

This transformation has been driven in part by the pharmaceutical industry, which benefits by promoting its products to the larger percentage of the population at risk for a particular illness, rather than the smaller percentage who are actually affected by it...

Risky Medicine is a timely call for a skeptical response to medicine's obsession with risk, as well as for higher standards of evidence for risk reducing interventions and a rebalancing of health care to restore an emphasis on the actual curing and caring for people suffering from disease.”

-- Excerpted from the Bookjacket

 

Once upon a time, doctors took the Hippocratic Oath promising to "First, do no harm." Of course, that was before they handed over control of the health care industry to pharmaceutical and insurance companies far more focused on profits than people. And that was also prior to the rise of defensive medicine in response to the explosion of malpractice lawsuits.

The upshot is that many physicians nowadays could care less about what's best for their patients, since they get their marching orders from a combination of avaricious executives and litigation-fearing corporate attorneys. Consequently, doctors are increasingly devoting less attention to healing the sick than to figuring out ways to improve their balance sheets.

Overwhelming evidence of this development can be found in the trend towards testing and anticipatory treatment. Instead of waiting for a person to fall ill or exhibit symptoms, practitioners have become advocates of increasingly early attempts to diagnose a disease, on the theory that catching it early will improve a patient's prognosis.

But is that actually the case? That is the assumption vociferously disputed by Robert Aronowitz, M.D. in Risky Medicine. Dr. Aronowitz asserts that "overdiagnosis and overtreatment" have played a role in the "cost and quality crisis in American medicine." He says the problem is that mere risk factors and early signs of disorders are being treated as aggressively as if they were full-blown diseases, without regard to the patients' quality of life and financial best interests.

Required reading for anyone at all skeptical about how the practice of medicine evolved from simply treating symptoms and curing diseases to playing on fears and subjecting patients to a seemingly neverending battery of expensive, invasive and often unreliable tests.

 

To order a copy of Risky Medicine, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/022604971X/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Why Bernie Sanders Matters

Book Review by Kam Williams  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Bernie Sanders Matters

A Nation Will Not Survive Morally or Economically

When So Few Have So Much and So Many Have So Little

by Harry Jaffe

Regan Arts

Paperback, $17.95

238 pages

ISBN: 978-168245017-8

 

What is the source of Bernie Sanders' appeal? How did he become a socialist? How did he develop his ability to excite crowds? How can he make an audience forget that he talks like a deli guy and sometimes looks like a rumpled old man ranting about rich people?

He first started talking about the gap between rich and poor in America and the disappearing middle class in 1970, 45 years before he announced his White House bid. He was considered an anomaly and ignored.

Most politicians would have changed course at that point... Not Bernie. Every speech, every appearance, he hammered away on the economic and political forces that were killing America's middle class.

He did it when it was out of fashion, when Republican conservatives scoffed at him, and when the Democrats dismissed him. Now income inequality and saving the middle class are the economic issues of the day.

That's only one of the reasons [why] Bernie Sanders matters.”

-- Excerpted from the Introduction (pages xi-xiii)

 

A low point in Senator Berrnie Sanders' presidential campaign arrived last summer in Seattle when a couple of sisters representing the Black Lives Matter movement stormed the stage and snatched the microphone away from him before he even had a chance to speak. The 74 year-old Senator from Vermont ended up leaving the event without addressing the crowd.

Today, Bernie is giving his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton a run for the money, but still isn't getting much respect from the African-American community. After all, the Congressional Black Caucus recently endorsed his opponent, including Representative John Lewis (D-GA), who specifically questioned the veracity of Sanders' civil rights credentials.

Nevertheless, the truth ought to matter, and if you prefer to decide who to back based on the facts, you might like to check out Why Bernie Sanders Matters, a fascinating biography of the inveterate socialist running for the Democratic nomination.

This informative book was written by Harry Jaffe, editor-at-large at Washingtonian Magazine. Earlier in his career, the reporter served as Press Secretary to Patrick Leahy, Vermont's senior Senator, which means the author has close ties to the state Bernie represents.

Jaffe traces the arc of Bernie's life, starting with his working-class Jewish roots in Brooklyn where he was first exposed to socialist ideas. We learn that he had his consciousness raised at an early age, having been influenced by the untimely demise of his parents as well as the rise of the Civil Rights Movement in the Fifties.

While attending the University of Chicago in the Sixties, he became a student organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality. In that capacity, he participated in the very first sit-in in the history of the Windy City, a protest of the school's segregated housing policy.

Bernie has remained committed to progressive politics ever since, whether demonstrating against the Vietnam War, railing about income inequality or calling for universal healthcare. A longtime advocate for radical change who has never flip-flopped on the issues.

To order a copy of Why Bernie Sanders Matters , visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1682450171/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

The Street God

Book Review by Kam Williams  

 

 

 

 

The Street God

I Won without Telling

by Christian Hayward

The Street God Entertainment

Paperback, $29.99

268 pages

ISBN: 978-0-9964967-0-4

 

This is a story about a small boy who started out as an innocent child raised by his grandmother in one of Cleveland's worst neighborhoods (East 93rd). As you read the uncut, unedited comeback story, it will help you understand how easily environmental and life experiences can shape and mold a harmless, impoverished child into a violent outlaw without any regard for authority or mercy for a human being.”

-- Excerpted from the Bookjacket

Don't let Christian Hayward's given name deceive you. He's no altar boy. In fact, he freely admits that he's "robbed and done everything violent under the sun."

The Cleveland ex-con's saving grace is a brutal honesty about his life combined with a wonderful way with words. The upshot is a warts-and-all autobiography oozing so much street cred that you never question its veracity.

Quite the contrary. Instead, you tend to wince while reading and think "Too much information." For instance, he recounts the evening in his teens he picked up Ms. B. at a school dance and started to seduce her in his aunt's car only to change his mind because she stank up the car when she slipped off her panties. I'll spare you the graphic details.

Later, he describes Poo, his first cellmate in Lorain Correctional, as "an older cat" with "light skin with big lips." Christian was 18 then, as was a fellow inmate Rick, "a stick-up kid from my side of town."

The colorful memoir is written in a stream-of-consciousness style that sounds spoken and almost jumps off the page. The only problem is that there are virtually no role models or lessons of redeeming value in this rough world, whether the author's talking about life behind bars or back on the street.

Consider this riveting account of a confrontation in jail. "That night... one of Crusher's boys spit on the cell floor and I beat him like a woman and he was at least 6' tall. He went out like a coward. He even stopped fighting back. I didn't sleep the rest of the night nor the next morning."

After finishing this fascinating bio, I can certainly concur with Christian's conclusion that "My life was amazing, and I didn't know if it was because I did time."

To order a copy of The Street God, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/099649670X/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Democracy in Black

Book Review by Kam Williams  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Democracy in Black

How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul

by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.

Crown Publishers

Hardcover, $26.00

286 pages

ISBN: 978-0-8041-3741-6

 

America's promise has always rung hollow in the the ears of African-Americans, but today the situation has grown even more dire. From the murders of black youth by the police to the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act to the disaster visited upon poor and middle-class black families by the Great Recession, it is clear that black America faces an emergency...

Democracy in Black is Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.'s impassioned response.Part manifesto, part history, part memoir, it argues that we live in a country founded on a 'value gap'--with white lives valued more than others...

Whether discussing why all Americans have racial habits that reinforce inequality, why black politics based on the civil rights era have reached a dead end, or why only remaking democracy from the ground up can bring real change, Glaude crystallizes the untenable position of black America----and offers thoughts on a better way forward”

-- Excerpted from the Bookjacket

 

Because the Founding Fathers saw fit to weave slavery right into the very fabric of the nation via the Constitution, many a historian has seen fit to refer to that evil institution as America's original sin. Unfortunately, inequality between black and white has somehow persisted way past emancipation, despite pronouncements by political pundits that the election of the first black President had issued in a promising, post-racial era.

That is the contention of Princeton Professor Eddie Glaude who argues that the fundamental notion that "all men are created equal" was perverted ab initio by the fact that some were always valued less than others in the U.S. because of the color of their skin. In his new book, Democracy in Black, he indicts a malingering white supremacy that he sees as standing between blacks and the proverbial American Dream.

Instead of improving race relations, the author believes that Barack Obama's ascension to the presidency has only served to embolden bigots. As proof, he points to "the increase in explicit racism" reflected in "the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, and so many others."

Glaude also talks about the widening wealth gap between blacks and whites which has left the African-American community devastated. Home foreclosures, poverty and an astronomical unemployment rate are just a few of the host of woes visited upon the 'hood.

In allocating blame, the author places a fair share of it on the shoulders of the President, whom he refers to as a confidence man. "In 2008 and again in 2012, Obama sold black America the snake oil of hope and change," he laments. Glaude is just as disappointed with those liberal black politicians who "refused to criticize the President" out of fear of appearing disloyal.

The upshot, he concludes, is that black America is far worse off now than before November of 2008, and that the solution resides in a grassroots uprising independent of "the confidence men and their false hopes." That being said, in spite of the dire data, Glaude maintains an abiding faith that we are going to transform this nation via a revolution of value.

In sum, a highly-motivated Ivory Tower academic's sobering clarion call to action and affirmation of the aspirations of the Black Lives Matter movement.

 

To order a copy of Democracy in Black, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0804137412/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Before I Forget

Book Review by Kam Williams  

 

 

 

 

 

Before I Forget

Love, Hope, Help and Acceptance in Our Fight against Alzheimer's

by B. Smith and Dan Gasby

Harmony Books

Hardcover, $25.00

336 pages

ISBN: 978-0-553-44712-5

 

Restaurateur, magazine publisher, celebrity chef and nationally-known lifestyle maven B. Smith is struggling at 66 with a tag she never expected to add to that string: Alzheimer's patient... Part memoir, part caregiver's guide, this work is a unique entry on the Alzheimer's shelf.

Crafted in short chapters that interweave [B. and husband Dan's] narrative with practical and helpful advice, readers learn about dealing with the day-to-day challenges of Alzheimer's, family realities and tensions, ways of coping, and coming research that may tip the scale, as well as lessons learned along the way.

At its heart, Before I Forget is a love story illuminating a love of family, life and hope.”

-- Excerpted from the Bookjacket

Barbara Elaine Smith was born on August 24, 1949 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Florence and William, a maid and a steelworker, respectively. The darling, little daughter would grow up to do her parents proud, embarking on a series of phenomenally-successful professional careers.

She started out as a model, becoming the first African-American to grace the cover of Mademoiselle. The talented Renaissance woman parlayed that success into endorsement deals and her own nationally-syndicated TV show, "B. Smith with Style."

She would also launch her own product line, publish a magazine and several cookbooks, and open restaurants in Manhattan, Washington, DC and out on Sag Harbor. With the help of her husband, B. built such a formidable business empire that she became widely known as "The Black Martha Stewart."

Unfortunately, upon consulting a doctor a couple of years ago because of a nagging forgetfulness, she received the devastating diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer's. Although she and Dan have since reordered their priorities, the two have steadfastly refused to allow the disease to either crush their spirits or diminish their love for each other. As B. puts it, "I'm still myself. I just can't remember things as well as I once did."

In "Before I Forget," she and Dan share their inspirational message of hope while issuing a rallying a cry to the African-American community which suffers from Alzheimer's at over twice the rate of whites. The autobiography primarily focuses on the last five years of B.'s life, although it does devote a few chapters to earlier periods, including her childhood in Pennsylvania.

However, the thrust of the book is to kickstart a frank conversation about Alzheimer's from recognizing the warning signs, to identifying its stages, to reciting lesson's learned thus far. Above all, the memoir is a reaffirmation of a couple's undying love, as evidenced by Dan's waxing romantic with, "I am so grateful for the honor and pleasure of your company, and for the privilege of sharing your life."

To order a copy of Before I Forget, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0553447122/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

The Ten Best Black Books of 2015

by Kam Williams  

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Between the World and Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

 

2. Black Male Frames

African-Americans in a Century of Hollywood Cinema, 1903-2003

by Roland Leander Williams, Jr.

 

3. The Face That Changed It All

A Memoir

by Beverly Johnson

 

4. America

The Black Point of View

by Tony Rose

 

5. After the Dance

My Life with Marvin Gaye

by Jan Gaye

 

6. Undivided

A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace

by Patricia Raybon and Alana Raybon

 

7. Stand Your Ground

Black Bodies and the Justice of God

by Kelly Brown Douglas

 

8. The Presidency in Black and White

My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America

by April Ryan

 

9. Firefight

The Century-Long Battle to Integrate New York's Bravest

by Ginger Adams Otis

 

10. Year of Yes

How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person

by Shonda Rhimes

 

 

Honorable Mention

 

Florynce "Flo" Kennedy

The Life of a Black Feminist Radical

by Sherie M. Randolph

 

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom

My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March

by Lynda Blackmon Lowery

 

Black Silent Majority

The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment

by Michael Javen Fortner

 

Negroland: A Memoir

by Margo Jefferson

 

The African Burial Ground in New York City

Memory, Spirituality and Space

by Andrea E. Frohne

 

Infinite Words

A Comprehensive Guide to Writing and Publishing

by Zane

 

Clean Design

Wellness for Your Lifestyle

by Robin Wilson

 

Son of Virginia

A Life in America's Political Arena

by L. Douglas Wilder

 

White Allies in the Struggle for Racial Justice

by Drick Boyd

 

The Lawyer as Leader

How to Plant People and Grow Justice

by Dr. Artika R. Tyner

 

Felon-Attorney

by TheArthur Duncan II, Esquire

 

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me

A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past

by Jennifer Teege

 

Corruption Officer

From Jail Guard to Perpetrator inside Rikers Island

by Gary L. Heyward

 

The Loneliness of the Black Republican

Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power

by Leah Wright Riguer

 

Twisted

My Dreadlock Chronicles

by Bert Ashe

 

Restaurant Winners

Plain Talk for Bootstrappers Navigating the Foodservice Industry

by Mark Radford

 

It All Begins with 'I'

The "New Rules" of Thinking and the Simple Secrets to Living a Rich, Joyous and Fulfilled Life

by Stuart K. Robinson

 

Reach

40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading, and Succeeding

Edited by Ben Jealous and Trabian Shorters

Foreword by Russell Simmons

 

Child, Please

How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself before I Wrecked Myself

by Ylonda Gault Caviness

 

A Bold Perspective

Courage & Empowerment to Take on Life's Adversities

by Tina Marie and Rashon D. Fuller

 

Eye on the Struggle

Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press

by James McGrath Morris

 

Talking Back: Voices of Color

Edited by Nellie Wong

 

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

by Issa Rae

 

Rock the Boat

How to Use Conflict to Heal and Deepen Your Relationship

by Resmaa Menakem, MSW

 

Sunny 101

The 10 Commandments of a Boss Chick

by Sunshine Smith-Williams

 

The Street God

I Won without Telling

by Christian Hayward

 

Welcome to Death Row

The Uncensored History of the Rise & Fall of Death Row Records

by S. Leigh Savidge

 

Prince of Darkness

The Untold Story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, Wall Street's First Black Millionaire

by Shane White

 

The Leader's Journey

by Dr. Artika R. Tyner

 

Fracture

Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide

by Joy-Ann Reid

 

The Antidote

by Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson

==============================================================

1. To order a copy of Between the World and Me, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0812993543/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

2. To order a copy of Black Male Frames, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0815633823/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

3. To order a copy of The Face That Changed It All, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1476774412/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

4. To order a copy of America: The Black Point of View, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00X92A3Y4/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

5. To order a copy of After the Dance, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0062135511/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

6. To order a copy of Undivided, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0529113058/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

7. To order a copy of Stand Your Ground, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1626981094/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

8. To order a copy of The Presidency in Black and White, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1442238410/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

9. To order a copy of Firefight, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1137280018/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

10. To order a copy of Year of Yes, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1476777098/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

The Complete Infidel's Guide to Isis

ISIS by Robert Spencer

Book Review by Kam Williams

 

Regnery Publishing

Paperback, $19.99

384 pages

ISBN: 978-1-62157-453-8

 

The Complete Infidel's Guide to Isis contains everything people of the free world need to know about the Islamic State. Islam is the foremost threat to freedom, and to every free person, in the world today. This book shows how ISIS plans to sow murder and mayhem in our countries, how it is setting out to realize those plans, why it is so appealing to Islamic youths in the West, and above all, how it can and must be stopped.”

-- Excerpted from Preface by Geert Wilders (pg. i)

Donald Trump created quite a stir with his recent remarks advocating a moratorium on Muslim entry into the United States. Everybody knows that what's behind the suggestion is not a hatred of all Muslims, but rather a growing concern about whether ISIS might strike again here.

The Islamic State is a brutal, regime of radical Islamists who rule a region of Iraq and Syria with an iron fist. The media-savvy savages post much of their dirty work on the internet. Apparently, they are proud of the fact that they stone homosexuals, behead Christians who refuse to convert, torture females caught with their heads uncovered, and immolate their enemies.

But does it pose a threat to the West? That is the question eloquently addressed in The Complete Infidel's Guide to Isis, an informative opus by Robert Spencer, the best-selling author of 14 books. Don't be duped by his timely tome's lighthearted title, for his tone is invariably dead serious in nature.

For instance, in a chapter entitled "ISIS Comes to America," he quotes extensively from the terror group's June 2014 manifesto. The 9 specific threats issued therein include "Every American citizen is a legitimate target for us," "Every American doctor working in any country will be slaughtered," and "Any company in Arab countries which employs Americans is a legitimate target for every Muslim."

Other chapters discuss the caliphate's checkered history, ISIS irresistible recruiting methods, whether it is consistent with the tenets of Islam, and its to-do list, to name a few topics. Overall, a valuable tool for anyone trying to separate fact from fiction about the radical jihadists promising to unleash hell all across this country.

.

To order a copy of The The Complete Infidel's Guide to Isis, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1621574539/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Year of Yes

Year of Yes cover Book Review by Kam Williams

Year of Yes

How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person

by Shonda Rhimes

Simon & Schuster

Hardcover, $24.99

352 pages,

ISBN: 978-1-4767-7709-2

 

“In this poignant, hilarious and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood's most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder, reveals how saying 'yes' changed her life--and how it can change yours, too.”

-- Excerpted from the Bookjacket

Shonda Rhimes

 

Writer/producer Shonda Rhimes has created some of the most groundbreaking television series around. The gifted Renaissance woman is the brains behind such iconic characters as Scandal's Olivia Pope, Grey's Anatomy's Dr. Meredith Grey, and How to Get Away with Murder's Annalise Keating.

Despite being showered with accolades, however, Shonda pretty much remained under the radar for years, invariably turning down invites to deliver commencement addresses, to appear on TV talk shows and to attend posh showbiz soirees. And she always had ready excuses for remaining a homebody, between the three daughters she was raising as a single-mom and the incessant demands of a skyrocketing career.

Truth be told, Shonda was a painfully-shy introvert given to panic attacks prior to press conferences and other public appearances. Fortunately, she was finally forced on Thanksgiving Day 2013 to face her agoraphobia when her sister Delorse staged an intervention, asserting "You never say 'yes' to anything."

Shonda grudgingly agreed to embark on an ambitious, yearlong project during which she would not only overcome her inhibitions but work on her health, relationship and other ignored issues, as well. The upshot of that intrepid, personal journey is Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person, a warts-and-all memoir designed to inspire her admirers to overcome obstacles of their own.

Not surprisingly, Shonda has quite a way with words. For instance, you really feel what she experienced as she deliberately recounts the crippling stage fright that almost caused her to cancel a booking on Jimmy Kimmel. But after it goes well, the relieved guest celebrates in the green room with, "I did it... and I didn't die."

In sum, a combination opus doling out generous helpings of sensible advice while simultaneously exploring the mind of a brilliant power broker Time magazine's has dubbed one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

To order a copy of Year of Yes, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1476777098/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

A Bold Perspective

Bold Perspective, A Courage & Empowerment to Take on Life's Adversities

by Tina Marie and Rashon D. Fuller

Book Review by Kam Williams

 

 

Zero Gravity Publishing

Paperback, $18.00

262 pages

ISBN: 978-0-9963425-0-6

 

At the onset of tragedy, I made myself a promise. If God allowed me my footing and gave me the strength to walk on, then I would. Every morning, I had breath and mobility, so I got up... and I journeyed on. However, after 16 years of motion and anguish, I realized that I had reached my breaking point...

Moments later, a phone call altered my course. A woman, whom I did not know, ignited a spark as she spoke words of assurance into my life. 'God said that He has not forgotten about you. He is going to restore you. But first you must share your story.' I chose to trust the process.”

-- Excerpted from the Introduction (page 1)

Tina Marie & Rashon Fuller

 

Ordinarily, a parent isn't supposed to bury a child, but God might have made an exception in the case of Tina Marie Fuller. She was impregnated at the age of 16 by a boy who wasn't really ready to be a father. In fact, he already had a new girlfriend.

And to add insult to injury, Tina was subjected to the sight of the lovebirds on a daily basis, since they all attended Cleveland Heights high school. Then, while baby Kevin was still a toddler, he was hit by a car when he wandered into traffic while in the custody of a couple of friends of his dad, Mylon.

Tina rushed to the hospital where she was informed by the attending physician that her little boy was not only comatose, but brain-dead to boot. "You are about to witness a miracle!" she responded, convinced that a combination of prayer and faith would work.

But when Kevin passed away anyway, Tina was inconsolable and went into a shock that would last for over a decade and a half. She finally began to heal after meeting and marrying Rashon Fuller, a partner who gave the grief-stricken mom a new lease on life.

Today, the loving couple embarked on a journey which has led to their sharing a career where they motivate and counsel folks also facing overwhelming adversity. Together, they have co-authored "A Bold Perspective,"

a combination opus which opens with a moving memoir mostly recounting Tina Marie's aforementioned ordeal. The second half of the book divides its time between fill-in-the-blanks exercises, spiritual devotions and a health regimen, including a 14-day vegetarian cleansing diet.

A worthwhile self-help tome where a child's untimely death has ultimately served as the inspiration for his mother's epiphany.

 

To order a copy of A Bold Perspective, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0996342508/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Time to Get Tough: Make America Great Again

Time to Get Tough by Donald Trump

Book Review by Kam Williams

 

Regnery Publishing

Paperback, $16.99

240 pages

ISBN: 978-1-62157-495-8

 

"I wrote this book because the country I love is a total economic disaster right now... Every day in business, I see America getting ripped off and abused. We have become a laughingstock, the world's whipping boy, blamed for everything, credited for nothing, given no respect...

To take one example, China is bilking us for hundreds of billions of dollars by manipulating and devaluing its currency... The Chinese... are hell bent on bankrupting our nation, stealing our jobs, spying on us to steal our technology, undermining our currency, and ruining our way of life.

If we're going to make America #1 again, we've got to have a president who knows how to get tough with China... We need a president who knows how to get things done, who can keep America strong, safe and free, and who can negotiate deals that benefit America, not the countries on the other side of the table...

America can do better... That's why I decided to write this book... I have answers for the problems that confront us... Let's make America great again!"

Excerpted from Chapter One (pages 1-8)

 

Who knew that when Donald Trump threw his hair into the ring, that the bombastic billionaire would not only suck all the air out of the room by monopolizing the news cycle 24/7, but become the prohibitive favorite to win the Republican nomination? If you haven't made your mind up about who has got your vote, or if you just can't get enough of Trump, you might want to check out Time to Get Tough: Make America Great Again, his basic blueprint for overhauling the country.

The book isn't exactly new, but rather an update of the best-seller of the same name published in 2011. It reads like a fleshed-out version of the stump speech Trump's been delivering extemporaneously all across the country. And it's quite refreshing to hear him stick to the issues without taking potshots at a fellow candidate's looks, energy level or poll numbers.

The chapter headings, ranging from "Take the Oil" to "Tax China to Save Jobs" to "Repeal Obamacare" to "It's Called Illegal Immigration for a Reason," give you a good idea which of his favorite topics he's about to launch into. For instance, in the one about immigration he touts a 5-point plan which includes building a 20' high wall.

In fact, he advocates erecting "three walls separated by 75-yard no man's lands for border agents to zoom up and down in vehicles." He also suggests using "cameras, radio systems, radar and pole-topped lights," to boot. Besides the Trump position papers, the strategically re-released tome features photos of the author with his family and luminaries like Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin, Joan Rivers and televangelist Joel Osteen. Oh, plus shots of Trump skyscrapers and golf courses.

The unapologetically right-wing, political platform of the narcissistic counterpuncher who would be president.

 

To order a copy of Time to Get Tough, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1621574954/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 

Firefight

Firefight

The Century-Long Battle to Integrate New York's Bravest

by Ginger Adams Otis

Book Review by Kam Williams

 

Palgrave Macmillan / St. Martin's Press

Hardcover, $28.00

288 pages, Illustrated

ISBN: 978-1-137-28001-5

 

In 1919, when Wesley Williams became a New York City firefighter, he stepped into a world that was 100% white... Nearly a century later... New York had about 300 black firefighters--roughly 3% of its 11,000--in a city with 2,000,000 African-Americans...

Decades earlier... blacks had sued over the fire department's hiring practices and won. But the FDNY never took permanent steps to eradicate the inequities, which led to a showdown between New York City's billionaire mayor, Mike Bloomberg, and a determined group of black activist firefighters...

At the center of this book are stories of courage--about firefighters risking their lives in the line of duty but also risking their livelihoods by battling an unjust system...Based on years of on the ground reporting, Firefight is an exciting blend of high-octane firefighting, critical civil rights history and a grassroots struggle for opportunity."

-- Excerpted from the Bookjacket

 

If you want to get a good sense of why the Black Lives Matter movement has caught fire, you might want to check out Firefight. This inspirational opus by Ginger Adams Otis chronicles the ongoing African-American struggle to join the ranks of New York City's firefighters a century after it was first integrated.

How ridiculous does it sound that there are only a few hundred black firemen in a city of over 8 million? That shocking statistic calls to mind Ferguson, Missouri where, following the shooting of Michael Brown, it came to light that African-Americans were woefully unrepresented on the police force and on the city council, despite constituting the majority of the registered voters.

Consequently, there's has been a groundswell of support across the land for greater diversity in inner-city police forces. The hope is that when the cops match the ethnic makeup of the community, there will be fewer cases of officers shooting unarmed citizens.

But why stop with policing? Don't all civil service jobs matter, especially when young black males have an unemployment rate of about 50%. Just think, how much better off they'd be with equal access to positions not only as cops, but as firemen, bus drivers, train conductors, garbage men and so forth.

As has often been said, freedom ain't for free, and what makes Firefight a worthwhile read is how, in painstaking detail, it delineates the bitter war waged in New York by the Vulcan Society, the tight-knit fraternity formed by black firemen, to bring more African-Americans into the NYFD. Unfortunately, even after successfully making their discrimination case in court, they found themselves up against a mayor in Michael Bloomberg, who was willing to ignore a federal order to desegregate coming from the Department of Justice.

In that regard, Bloomberg's response was rather reminiscent of President Andrew Jackson's to a Supreme Court decision in favor of the Cherokee Nation. In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Marshall had concluded that the United States had violated a treaty made with the Cherokee by authorizing their removal from the state of Georgia.

Nevertheless, Jackson opted to ignore the injunction, saying, "Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it." The President subsequently proceeded to force the Cherokee and other tribes to relocate west of the Mississippi in what historians now refer to as the Trail of Tears migration.

Thus, the Black Lives Matter movement would do well to learn from the lessons of both the Native Americans and the black NYFD firefighters in formulating a game plan for creating the colorblind utopia it so optimistically envisions.

To order a copy of Firefight, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1137280018/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 

Dreams Are Made for Children

Dreams Are Made for Children Classic Jazz Lullabies

Compiled by Misja Fitzgerald Michel

Misja Fitzgerald Michel

Illustrated by Ilya Green

Book/CD Review by Kam Williams

 

with a CD featuring a dozen songs performed by Ella Fitzgerald,

Judy Garland, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and others

The Secret Mountain

Hardcover, $16.95

36 pages, Illustrated

ISBN: 978-1-937269-50-0

 

Sometimes, a little jazz is all you need for a good night's rest! Dreams Are Made for Children features... a selection of timeless... popular standards from the golden age of jazz... that will lull babies into a sweet, blissful sleep. Lyrics and brief explanatory notes with whimsical, dream-like illustrations accompany each song... The music was selected by Misja Fitzgerald Michel, a Paris-based jazz musician, and noted children's illustrator Ilya Green created the colorful images in the 36-page hardcover book."

-- Excerpted from the Bookjacket

As a child of the Fifties who was weaned on jazz, I often worry whether or not the music I most identify with my formative years might one day disappear. After all, only a handful of the legendary players are still alive, and fewer and fewer nightclubs seem to cater to devotees of the once-dominant medium.

For this reason, it is a blessing to find Dreams Are Made for Children, a bedtime picture book which comes with a CD featuring a dozen performances of classic lullabies by a variety of jazz greats. There's "God Bless the Child" by Billie Holiday; "Over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland and "My Funny Valentine" by Chet Baker, to name a few.

Each of these sleep-inducing serenades is accompanied by lyrics printed against an appropriately-themed backdrop. For example, "Over the Rainbow" includes a rainbow, Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion. It also explains that Garland originally sang the tune in The Wizard of Oz, and that the film was based on a children's novel published by L. Frank Baum in 1900.

In the entry for "My Sleepy Head" we learn that Nat King Cole "had a wonderfully gentle, deep voice" and that he "played the piano with a subtle nervous swing." The title track, " Dreams Are Made for Children," is performed by Ella Fitzgerald, "one of the greatest jazz singers of all time," who was blessed with "a three-octave range" and "a rare talent for improvisation."

A delightful tome for tired tots designed to introduce the next generation to jazz, America's classical music.

To order a copy of Dreams Are Made for Children, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/2924217687/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Felon-Attorney

  Felon-Attorney

by TheArthur Duncan II, Esquire

Book Review by Kam Williams

 

Mascot Books

Paperback, $19.95

244 pages

ISBN: 978-1-63177-187-3

 

“From hustling crack on a corner to practicing law in a courtroom... this is my story! I am living proof that despite your past, your dreams can still come true...

My story begins as I escape the violence of the Crips and Bloods street gangs in South Central LA and the abuse of a cocaine-addicted stepfather, only to go back to Buffalo, New York and perpetuate both ills by becoming a drug dealer myself. Ironically, I became a part of what victimized my family and me in Los Angeles...

I wound up in prison and had to put my life back together. While incarcerated, I found the God in me that I had long buried. After 3 years, I was released back into society and tempted by my old lifestyle, but... I succeeded.”

-- Excerpted from the Bookjacket

Probably the most popular genre of non-fiction being written by black folks nowadays is the overcoming-the-odds autobiography. I mostly pass politely when asked to review these titles because, hey, just about everybody has faced their share of adversity. However, I made an exception for TheArthur Duncan's memoir, "Felon-Attorney." This opus is special, given how low he sank before bottoming out, and how high he has risen since turning his life around.

The brother's story starts in Los Angeles, where he was born in 1969, though he was raised in Buffalo, New York by his maternal grandparents, Mary Jane and the Reverend James Smith. After graduating from the 8th grade, TheArthur went back to L.A. to spend his summer vacation with his mother.

However, he decided to stay, which on the surface seemed to make sense since both his parents resided there. However, in the process, he had to leave behind in Buffalo his grandparenrts, friends and a tight-knit community. And, unfortunately, he would have a tough time making the adjustment to the heart of the 'hood

Of course, it didn't help that TheArthur didn't live with his dad but with his drug addicted step-father. In the absence of a solid male role model to emulate, he ended up dropping out of school to pursue a trio of dubious pipe dreams: pro basketball, rap music and drug dealing, which eventually landed him in prison.

TheArthur was born again behind bars, where he began to turn his life around. He has made the most of that second chance, not only graduating from college, but law school to boot. He's also married the love of his life, Latisha, and the two are raising their five children back in Buffalo. Furthermore, he currently serves as a Deacon at First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church where he mentors at-risk kids and counsels married couples in crisis.

In Felon-Attorney, TheArthur recounts in very compelling fashion how he lifted himself from the societal scrap heap to morph into a pillar of the community. An uplifting, modern parable about a real-life Prodigal Son proving that anything is possible with faith in the Lord.

To order a copy of Felon-Attorney, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1631771876/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 

Florynce "Flo" Kennedy

The Life of a Black Feminist Radical by Sherie M. Randolph

Book Review by Kam Williams

Flo Kennedy

 

University of North Carolina Press

Hardcover, $30.00

328 pages, Illustrated

ISBN: 978-1-4696-2391-7

 

"I first came upon [Flo] Kennedy when I was sitting on my sofa, flipping through TV channels, and old footage flashed across the screen of her... A friend watching with me... knew that she had been active as a feminist in the 1960s and 1970s, but she knew little else...

Who was this radical black woman? The more I learned, the more I was drawn to [this] black feminist who fought against multiple forms of discrimination.

I was also fascinated by the broad range of her actions, stretching from the legal defense of Black Power organizers H. Rap Brown and Assata Shakur to the struggle to legalize abortion. Kennedy stood at the center of so many battles, yet I had never heard of her, and there was not a single book or even a scholarly article about her life.

What started as a hobby of collecting information about this enigmatic black woman developed into... a full-scale biography."

-- Excerpted from the Introduction (page 2-3)

Florynce "Flo" Kennedy (1916-2000) was a radical lawyer who played a pivotal role in both the the feminist and black liberation movements. In fact, she was also a very vocal proponent of equal rights for gays, the disabled and many other minority groups. For, central to her philosophy was the notion that the underclasses were substantially oppressed because of the establishment's effective employment of a divide and conquer strategy designed to keep them forever at odds instead of united against the forces exploiting them.

In an expletive-laced speech delivered on a college campus in 1976, the irrepressible iconoclast reportedly bellowed, "My main message is that we have a pathologically, institutionally racist, sexist, classist society. And that [N-word]-izing techniques that are used don't only damage black people, but they also damage women, gay people, ex-prison inmates, prostitutes, children, old people, handicapped people, Native Americans. And that if we can begin to analyze the pathology of oppression... we would learn a lot about how to deal with it."

A visionary way ahead of her time, Flo frequently found herself frustrated by the behavior of her compatriots. For example, she was disappointed by the failure of white feminists to support Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm's 1972 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Today, thanks to Sherie Randolph, the legacy of this overlooked historical figure has not been allowed to slip through the cracks. Flo's critical contributions are carefully chronicled in this painstakingly-researched biography which begins with a detailed discussion of her childhood in Kansas City where she and her four sisters were taught by her parents to always challenge authority.

Despite segregation, Flo never would accept her second-class status, a mindset which served her well in a fight to gain admission to Columbia University Law School way back in the Forties. After graduating, rather than cashing in on the license to print money, she embarked upon an enduring career dedicated to alleviating the suffering of the downtrodden and marginalized.

A fitting, overdue tribute to an unapologetic firebrand and tireless advocate that time almost forgot.

To order a copy of Florynce "Flo" Kennedy, visit: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1469623919/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20