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$9.76 $8.24 list($13.95)
1. Dreams from My Father : A Story
$10.85 $7.49 list($15.95)
2. A Hope in the Unseen : An American
$10.46 $4.99 list($13.95)
3. Black Boy (Perennial Classics)
$14.00 list($15.00)
4. The Sixteenth Round: From Number
$7.19 $3.11 list($7.99)
5. Autobiography of Malcolm X
$16.47 $11.90 list($24.95)
6. Who's Afraid of a Large Black
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7. The Color of Water: A Black Man's
$13.60 $13.05 list($20.00)
8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
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9. The Pact: Three Young Men Make
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10. The Dark Child : The Autobiography
$29.95 $4.40
11. Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse
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12. Hunger of Memory : The Education
13. ``Why Should White Guys Have All
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14. Pimp: The Story of My Life
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15. With Billie
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16. Blood Done Sign My Name : A True
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17. Dear Senator : A Memoir by the
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18. Black Like Me
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19. The Fabulous Sylvester : The Legend,
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20. The Promise : How One Woman Made

1. Dreams from My Father : A Story of Race and Inheritance
by Barack Obama
list price: $13.95
our price: $9.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400082773
Catlog: Book (2004-08-10)
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Sales Rank: 154
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Obama, the son of a white American mother and a black African father, writes an elegant and compelling biography that powerfully articulates America's racial battleground and tells of his search for his place in black America. 8 pages of photos. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful Book from Political Leader
As a first-time writer, Obama does a wonderful job in relating the stories that affected his life. Obama details his personal reflections on his family, his childhood, race in America, and what it means to be biracial in a multi-ethnic society. Obama is painfully honest in discussing his life, which is not only rare for a politician but requires a tremendous amount of self-understanding and respect for the reading public. This book is a must read for those who are interested in Obama as a politician and for those who have an interest reading first-hand accounts of growing up in America as an "other".

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoy Reading
Obama makes little mention of his white half -- although by his own account he was lovingly brought up by his white mother and her parents, and this might have provided further answers to the questions he raises about himself and where he belongs. Obama, whom I admire as a political leader in Chicago, is young; the book is hard to read. Obama seems to say that people of mixed backgrounds must choose only one of those backgrounds in which to make a spiritual home.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Surprise Find
I highly recommend this book to almost everyone. It should really get more attention!

The writing is thoughtful and interesting, and the subject matter unique. The book follows Barack Obama as he grows up and defines himself and his view of the world, as he finds the community that he wants to count himself a member of. In the end that "community" is really the community of humanity, but this book takes you on Barack's journey.

The author examines his heritage of white, midwesterners on his mother's side and later in the book explores the world of his father, a Kenya of the Luo tribe who came to the U.S. to study. Three parts of the book I found especially well done. First, the evocation of what it was like to be in Barack's head as a young black man with few black role models in his life and the difficult philosophical (internal) conversation of the African-American community defining itself in white America. Second, his work as a community organizer in Chicago really dealt well with the complex problems of declining inner cities. Third, the idealization of his absent father by both himself and his mother and the gradual discovery of the real character of his father and grandfather.

Overall, this book was about his struggle to be true to himself and to figure out what that meant. ... Read more

2. A Hope in the Unseen : An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
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Asin: 0767901266
Catlog: Book (1999-05-04)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 7672
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

At Ballou Senior High, a crime-infested school in Washington, D.C., honor students have learned to keep their heads down. Like most inner-city kids, they know that any special attention in a place this dangerous can make you a target of violence. But Cedric Jennings will not swallow his pride, and with unwavering support from his mother, he studies and strives as if his life depends on it--and it does. The summer after his junior year, at a program for minorities at MIT, he gets a fleeting glimpse of life outside, a glimpse that turns into a face-on challenge one year later: acceptance into Brown University, an Ivy League school.

At Brown, finding himself far behind most of the other freshmen, Cedric must manage a bewildering array of intellectual and social challenges. Cedric had hoped that at college he would finally find a place to fit in, but he discovers he has little in common with either the white students, many of whom come from privileged backgrounds, or the middle-class blacks. Having traveled too far to turn back, Cedric is left to rely on his faith, his intelligence, and his determination to keep alive his hope in the unseen--a future of acceptance and reward that he struggles, each day, to envision. ... Read more

Reviews (99)

4-0 out of 5 stars Rising to the occasion...reaching the unseen
Cedric's trials as an intelligent black youth growing up in Washington DC and going to Ballou High School are well expressed in this book by Ron Suskind. His story and hopes to rise above his surroundings and his past are inspiring and moving. I really enjoyed getting a glimpse inside the life of someone like Cedric, being a District resident myself. However there were a few things about the book that I found to be a bit strange. I think that the book would be very differently written had a black writer taken on this story, and I also feel that more focus could have been around Cedric's home life, with more emphasis on his mother Barbara. The book does a good job of looking at his education which is really the main point and driving force behind Cedric's life, and this story. The story of a real youth struggling to succeed and not be tor apart by his peers or by anyone else who may discourage him makes a very thought provoking book. I really did like most aspects of this book and found it to be a very intriguing read. It is not a particularly fast read, but still, the book managed to keep my attention and I did enjoy this book thoroughly.

3-0 out of 5 stars Cedric gets a 5, Suskind a 2
Amid all the debates over affirmative action and inequity in funding for public schools, A Hope in the Unseen is the story of what these issues mean to a determined young man named Cedric Jennings as it follows him through his inadequate preparation at Ballou High School, to a summer program at MIT, to his freshman year at Brown University, with Cedric not quite fitting in anywhere. At home he's derided for his success, even for wanting to succeed, by his fellow students. At MIT, and later Brown, he finds himself inadequately prepared, academically and socially, to easily succeed. I found the story of his determination to make something of himself and his search for identity to be very powerful. I was put off, though, by the methods Suskind used to tell Cedric's story. This book reads like a novel, including the use of an omniscient narrator. I wanted to hear more from Cedric himself, in his own words, and not Cedric filtered through the lens of Suskind. I wish more of an effort to include Cedric's own perspective were included. If you liked this book, read the works of Jonathan Kozol, particularly Savage Inequalities, which further explains the inequities that exist in public schools.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A great book! I read it cover to cover in a day, it was compelling. You feel like you're part of Cedric's story.

4-0 out of 5 stars A story of persistence over struggles and triumph!
When I picked up this book, I didn't know what I'd think of it. It's not the normal kind of book I read, but as this month's book club selection, I gave it a chance. And I was quite impressed.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Cedric. Coming from middle-class white suburbia, but not far from Detroit, I was familiar of the struggle for inner-city kids to strive, but not with their perceptions of it. This book opened up my eyes to some realities and feelings, I never had thought about before. For instance, how it's not only very difficult to get a good education or good grades in the inner city, but how you're ostracized by your peers for trying.

This is a story of how Cedric ignored the taunting of fellow students, how he earned a chance at the Ivy league and then we learn the struggle doesn't stop there. For a boy who was salutatorian at his high school, his education level is still far below most of those in the Ivy leagues. The story is about his efforts to make the grade, fit in at school and become comfortable in his own skin. Just reading about his obstacles made me tired for him!

I enjoyed the book, especially how we did get to see the world by more than just Cedric's eyes, but also by his mothers, his fathers and friends. I think this gave the story a pick-me-up when otherwise it would have gotten boring. To anyone who is interested in this topic, I'd recommend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beauty found in Hope in the Unseen
While flipping channels one day on my TV, I stumbles upon a writer doing a reading of his Pulitzer Prize winning book entitled Hope in the Unseen. Moments later the main character from the book, Cedric himself, stepped to the mic and took questions about the experience, and the book itself. I was riveted! This was facinating! I ran out and got the book, and was literally swept away by the story, the strength, and the bitter sweetness of the struggle illustrated so well. This book was a profound experience for me. Not only does the author use words in the most beautiful manner, but the story is so unashamed in it's stark compassion and truth. There were so many parts of this book that brought tears to my eyes. I felt privilaged to catch a glimpse of the vulnerability of this courageous, flawed, strong, optimistic young man. This book gave me hope for all young people out in the world facing seemingly insurmountable odds. I wanted to stand up and cheer at the end, I felt like this kid was going to be better than "OK", that he was going to have a richly rewarding life because he wasn't afraid to push himself along his journey. Every teen in school should be required to read this book, and every adult should read it so that we can change the attitudes in this world one family at a time. ... Read more

3. Black Boy (Perennial Classics)
by Richard A. Wright
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060929782
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Perennial Classics
Sales Rank: 11016
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

With an introduction by Jerry W. Ward, Jr.

Black Boy is a classic of American autobiography, a subtly crafted narrative of Richard Wright's journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. An enduring story of one young man's coming off age during a particular time and place, Black Boy remains a seminal text in our history about what it means to be a man, black, and Southern in America.

"Superb...The Library of America has insured that most of Wright's major texts are now available as he wanted them to be tread...Most important of all is the opportunity we now have to hear a great American writer speak with his own voice about matters that still resonate at the center of our lives."
--Alfred Kazin, New York Time Book Review

"The publication of this new edition is not just an editorial innovation, it is a major event in American literary history."
--Andrew Delbanco, New Republic

... Read more

Reviews (117)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent description of negro life in the 1920's
"Black Boy" is a great autobiographical book written by Richard Wright. Richard, the main character in the story, goes through many trials and tribulations in finding what he loves to do- write. The description of the hardships of negro life in the 1920's and how discrimination ran rampant was excellently described by Wright....the only flaw is maybe a little overexaggeration going on in the descriptions of racism and other hate from whites towards blacks. Richard Wright descibes well though the trials and tribulations of an average negro in American society in that time period. This book is great for teenagers; over the age of 16 though. I say this because vulgar language is constant throughout the story and a couple sex scenes are described explicitly in the book. This is a must-read for young adults.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book To Read
I recently read Black Boy by Richard Wright and I must say it is an amazing book. The book is about Richard growing up in the South in the early 1900's. It may sound a little boring but believe me it's not. Richard had a hard life growing up and that's what makes the book so interesting. Burning up houses, killing cats, and becoming a drunk were just some of the things he did before reaching the age of eight. The thing I like most about him is how he grew up very poor, moved from place to place, including an orphanage, never completed two consecutive school years, and still managed to become a well-educated young man and a world-famous writer. Although the book was very interesting there were some parts at the end that I felt were a little boring, but maybe that's just me. Either way, I think Richard Wright was a very talented writer, and if you get the chance, you should read his autobiography, Black Boy. I recommend this book to anyone over the age of thirteen that is interested in learning about history or just likes to read about some hardships other people had to face growing up.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wright Auto Bio
The first Wrift book I read was the impressive 'Native Son'. I found Black Boy and read it. It's easy to read and gives you a good insight in how black life in the south was in the 1920. Wright's life as for so many has not been easy: no father, a crippled mother, racism abound. But still he finds time to read books and he reads the classics. Especially Babbit was one of his favorites (and one of mine too). Via Memphis he goes to Chicago were he becomes a more famous writer and starts working/writing for the communist party where he has a lot of trouble as an independant thinker.

This book gives a great insight into black life. REal events are interspersed with his thinking about race relations. It is also easy to read and won't take a long time to finish. Definitely worth reading!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book to Remember
Black Boy, an autobiography written by Richard Wright, describes what many average African American children faced growing up in the Jim Crow South. Wright described the poverty that he, his friends and family lived through and the agony and dangers they had to face day-to-day. Wright also described the unfair treatment from white people that African Americans had to endure and ignore. He also described how white people treated African Americans as slaves. Wright wrote in excruciating detail bringing to the reader what life was truly like in the South and in the U.S. in the early 1900s.
I enjoyed reading Black Boy since it gave me insight into how African Americans were really treated in the South. The book really showed me the crisis that America was in over racial segregation. Black Boy also described the despicable acts that white people committed on African Americans for pleasure and entertainment. Richard Wright's actions showed me how a person that is always put down can still strive to be the best. Wright never gave up and kept on dreaming about his goals in life. Wright's book really showed the determination that one can have. His actions in life influenced me to never give up and to keep on trying no matter what someone tells me to do. This was a great book and if one wants to understand what things were like for African Americans in the South in the 1900s, they should read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A remarkable autobiography
Black Boy is a outstanding autobiography about Richard Wright. Richard writes about his whole life. The book shows the great discrimination Richard faced, as well as he a lot of the times stood up for what he believed in. He fights the world back and in the end his dream of becoming a writer comes true, but not only does he become a writer he also becomes one of the best writers of the 20th century. ... Read more

4. The Sixteenth Round: From Number 1 Contender To #45472
by Rubin Carter
list price: $15.00
our price: $14.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140149295
Catlog: Book (1999-12-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 15651
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

On May 26, 1967, the spiraling career of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, then the top contender for the world middleweight boxing crown, came to a shuddering and tragic halt: he and a young fan were found guilty of murder of three white people in a New Jersey bar.The nightmare knew no bounds as Carter traded his superstar status for a prison number and the concrete walls of some of America's most horrific institutions.Originally published as an attempt by Carter to set the record straight and force a new trial, The Sixteenth Round is timeless.It is an eye-opening portrait of growing up black in America, a scathing indictment of the prison system Carter grew up in and out of, and a mesmerizing re-creation of his furious battles in the ring and in the courtroom set against the backdrop of the turbulent sixties.The liveliness of Carter's street language, its power and ironic humor, makes this an eloquent, soul-stirring account of a remarkable life not soon to be forgotten. ... Read more

Reviews (43)

5-0 out of 5 stars What a book
I'm not an avid reader of books. I think that in my life I've read about 6 books from start to finish. This book is one of them. His life is an amazing/tragic yet inspiring one. The feeling I got after reading this book is that it teaches alot about the human sprit and what it can accomplish when you set your mind to it.

His writing style pulls no stops, He's direct and to the point.

The writing style he adopts gives you a real look at the Rubin Carter, in a way the Movie or other books about him can't.

Want to Know the real Rubin Carter! - Read this book

5-0 out of 5 stars Hurricane:A political injustice
I heard of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter from the inspirational film "the hurricane" starring Denzel Washington. After seeing the film I became enthralled in the story of a man framed for murders he did not commit and locked away in a cell for 20 years. I decided to get the autobiography of the hurricane entitled the 16th round. The book starts by exposing the life of a child sentenced to a state home for boys from the brutality of the kids and gaurds to the racism and segregation of the prison system in America. Rubin was in prison for most of his early life filling him with hate and rage from the gaurds and other inmates. So he started boxing. His pure power and skill made him an unstoppable talent. That is until he shared his thoughts on the racist Police forces that patrolled the american ghettoes. From then on the police set out to destroy his life. Rubin was pulled over after the murder of 3 white customers of a patterson bar.After 3 witnesses claimed he wasn't the murderer he was released. Five months later He was about to take on Dick Tiger for the middle weight title.But it was not to be and he was arrested and sentenced to three times life after the admitted liars Bello and Bradley said that he was the murderer. And so Rubin entered the familiar walls of Trenton state prison once again for a crime he did not commit. This story of injustice is exellently written. It is an inspirational book that will fill you with love and compassion for the amazing fighter of battles in the ring and battles of political injustice,Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. By Owen Clark.

4-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Touching
Obviously no one can write his story better than Rubin himself. This story is both and inspiring story of a man who has never stopped fighting and a terrifying reality check into the American judicial system. This book is filled with an anger that is only kept in check by the author's own love and compassion.

The reader whould of course keep in mind this is an autobiography and therefore is skewed to the writer's point of view and emotional state.

2-0 out of 5 stars The rounds go on and on...
I purchased this book, after viewing the much celebrated movie, "The Hurricane." The book is mediocre. I found it difficult to believe much of the writer's exaggerated boasting regarding his many talents. I had erroneously gathered from the movie, that this was a self-effacing, self-made man, not so. The reader is ever searching for the "real meat" of the story, however, the bulk of the story is about the author as a "ghetto-bad boy." The last few chapters of the book are short and quickly race you through the actual murder and trial. Overall it is not well written and disappointing.

5-0 out of 5 stars A touching story inspires child.
This story reached out and touched the lives of many people. It also made people realize not to be racist. I know that I used to be racist and this turned my life around. The fact that rubin was in jail for a crime he didnt commit just because he wasnt white isnt at all fair. His story inspired me not to be racist and to get others not to hate the non-white. It has touched many lives and i like that. I am one of Rubin's biggest fans. ... Read more

5. Autobiography of Malcolm X
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345350685
Catlog: Book (1987-10-12)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 4112
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Malcolm X's searing memoir belongs on the small shelf of great autobiographies. The reasons are many: the blistering honesty with which he recounts his transformation from a bitter, self-destructive petty criminal into an articulate political activist, the continued relevance of his militant analysis of white racism, and his emphasis on self-respect and self-help for African Americans. And there's the vividness with which he depicts black popular culture--try as he might to criticize those lindy hops at Boston's Roseland dance hall from the perspective of his Muslim faith, he can't help but make them sound pretty wonderful. These are but a few examples. The Autobiography of Malcolm X limns an archetypal journey from ignorance and despair to knowledge and spiritual awakening. When Malcolm tells coauthor Alex Haley, "People don't realize how a man's whole life can be changed by one book," he voices the central belief underpinning every attempt to set down a personal story as an example for others. Although many believe his ethic was directly opposed to Martin Luther King Jr.'s during the civil rights struggle of the '60s, the two were not so different. Malcolm may have displayed a most un-Christian distaste for loving his enemies, but he understood with King that love of God and love of self are the necessary first steps on the road to freedom. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Reviews (214)

5-0 out of 5 stars Forget all the Minuses About the Man
Growing up in a home where Martin Luther King, Jr. was considered the closest thing to a saint, I was not aware of much about Malcolm X. He was the ONE who was too radical, too opinionated, and too controversial for my parents to accept.

However, when I saw Spike Lee's masterful motion picture autobiography, I had to find out more about this man. I was led to read the life story in his own words and am I glad that I did.

Malcolm X was an individual who encompassed the rage and the determination of the black man of the 1960's. He began, as have so many struggling to survive in the inner city, as a hustler involved in the numbers game. This led to an incareration which brought him into the "light" of Islam.

His views changed and he spearheaded much of that movement designed to faciliate black economic survival and pride. He was misquoted, misunderstood, and underappreciated by the very people that he sought to uplift.

The book will bring the reader greater insight into this most complex human being. Previous biases about him should be placed aside and take him for what he was: a Black man with a mission, a mission to instill integrity and self-sufficiency in a people long denied many of America's basic principles.

5-0 out of 5 stars Do NOT underestimate X
Knowing Malcolm X for a colored person is a prerequisite to being socially aware. Time Magazine calls this one of the top ten non-fictions ever. The reasons are clear. This is the most comprehensive, dauntingly honest, transcending account of X. No one energized the colored community with such "self respect" on a mass-level as Brother Malcolm. Malcolm X's charismatic influence as a genuinely intellectual, and intensely thought-provoking leader remains unmatched. The greatest aspect of Malcolm X was his committment to his very own thoughts and thus, speaking his mind. He didn't necessarily say what America's majority wanted to hear. That is why he was so phenomenal, so radical, so involving. His teachings on self-defense, "freedom by any means necessary", true Islam (after the Mecca trip); his urgency in creating forums for colored people, oppressed people world-wide; and his logical prioritizing of human rights before civil rights, are evidential of his deep/complex understanding of race and human nature. The latest version of the book includes a very special message by X's eldest daughter, A. Shabazz. She gives a personal insight into her father's life, goals, and philosophies. But most importantly, she clarifies the misconceptions surrounding X. "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" is top-notch. Frantz Fanon's scholarly writing, "The Wretched of the Earth" probably comes second.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is incredible.
I have only one thing to say about this book: Wow, what an amazing life-story. Anyone who reads this book will be changed in some way. Buy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A story about the life a great man and his important life.
a very interesting story about a man's life. The book is written beautifully by Alex Haley as he tells about malcolm's life which is educational and inspiring. This is a recommeded read for people of all races. you will never regret spending money and time on this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars English 230
So... did these Chicago students have to submit their book reviews to as one of their class requirements, or what? ... Read more

6. Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?
by CharlesBarkley, MichaelWilbon
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594200424
Catlog: Book (2005-03-31)
Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The
Sales Rank: 2607
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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"Racism," Charles Barkley says, "is the biggest cancer of my lifetime. And I know I can't cure the cancer, but doesn't somebody have to attack it?" Barkley's means of attack in Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?--not surprising from one of the most outspoken athletes of our time--is to break past the taboo of race by talking about it in the open. What might be surprising is that Barkley steps aside and lets other people talk, too. While in his previous bestseller, I May Be Wrong but I Doubt It, the former NBA MVP and current TNT commentator held forth on a wide variety of subjects, for his new book he sought out a baker's dozen of leading figures in entertainment, business, and government (and yes, one athlete) and sat down with each for a frank conversation about race.

Of course race is not a simple topic, and each discussion heads in its own direction. Tiger Woods speaks both of his biracial identity and of how moving it was to see the black staff at Augusta National lined up to see him put on the green jacket as Masters champion. George Lopez talks about the pressures of creating a breakthrough Latino sitcom in an almost all-white industry. Film producer Peter Guber surprises Barkley when he says that he made The Color Purple out of economic self-interest, not idealism. Many of the discussions turn, like Guber's, not to traditional civil rights but to economics, which Rabbi Steven Leder calls the real "last taboo subject in America." It's clear that the audience Barkley most hopes to reach with this book is the young black men and women that he and many of his interview subjects are concerned about. "We're losing," activist Marian Wright Edelman tells him, "and if we don't stop this trend, we're going to be headed back to slavery." Barkley's celebrity subjects can provide some models for success for those readers, but one also hopes Barkley can continue the conversation by turning the spotlight on those struggling with the problems of race outside the sometimes protective glare of fame. --Tom Nissley

Who's Afraid of Talking to a Large Black Man?

Throughout his career, Charles Barkley has always been willing--quite willing--to call it as he sees it, making him one of the most quotable athletes of his era and, many have suggested, a future political candidate. He's as happy talking issues as talking hoops, and for his new book, Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man? he sat down for conversations across the country about the troublesome topic of race in America. We had our own conversation on the subject with Sir Charles: Read it to find why he wrote the book, what he tells his own biracial daughter about race, and why he thinks sports can be a model for race relations. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

1-0 out of 5 stars This is not worth your time or $
I became interested in this book because I was watching David Letterman with Charles Barkley (CB) on it.CB said that the book was about getting kids off of the street, make them stop thinking about professional sports and rapping or acting and get them into college.

This book is not about that at all!I was trying to use this book for a class and paper, I hope my paper won't suck b/c I have to BS my whole paper since this book is worthless.I spent too much money on a piece of crap.

It has no point what so ever and it is all over the wall.There is no order.When CB is talking to someone...all he cares about is his opinion, not what they have to say.It is not in depth like CB proclaims it will be in the introduction.

If you want to read it, read it at Barnes & Noble or the library.Don't buy it.

3-0 out of 5 stars A collection of interviews and random thoughts
I have always been a bit of a fan of Charles Barkley, both as a basketball player and a TV commentator for the NBA.The primary reason for that was that Charles always had something to say.He had some of the best interviews, and made controversial statements that added some much needed variety to the standard "we played hard" quotes most NBA players slogged through.

However, there is a big difference between "always having something to say" and "saying something". This book is a collection of interviews I presume to be on the subject of race.However, the questions and "conversations" between Charles and other celebrities like Tiger Woods, Ice Cube, Morgan Freeman and others are a bit too free flowing, and as a result if there is a greater point Charles is making with this book, after quickly reading it I have no idea what it is.

While the subject of race is an important one, you will not find much deep introspection or tackling of issues here.For a deep look on the subject of race in America check out books by Larry Elder for example.What you will find here is some interesting dialog between Charles and others.I'm not sure if that is worth buying a book for, but it is easy to read and interesting, in a "People" magazine kind of way.Morgan Freeman comes off as the star of this book, and if you want to see the views of someone who seems to be quite grounded in reality, and a genuinely solid guy, check out his interview.As for Charles, let's just say he always has something to say, and leave it at that.

5-0 out of 5 stars A good book to just read!
OK, I understand that some look at this as some celebrity interview book, but I see it as more. Sir Charles is always himself and his opinions are well stated. I happen to agree with a lot of what this book has to say. It has a pop culture edge but that is ok. Does everything have to be academic? It is enjoyable and has a good heart.

1-0 out of 5 stars Teach Children About Real Life Not About Celebrity Lives!
Don't waste your time in reading this book. There is no information in there that can help anyone that is struggling but a bunch of people talking about life as if they know what real life is all about. I have nothing against Mr. Charles Barkley, a very controversial person, but America has got to wake up and realize that `so call celebrities' often end in up in Mr. Barkley's position when their incomes seem to be disappearing. When Charles was making much more money than he is now, he had no interest in helping vulnerable children as he indicated in his interview with Tim Russett, aired on CNBC 2005. If he was so interested in writing this book for his daughter as he indicated, he would not be selling it to the public at large. In my opinion, which I am entitled to, this book is purely for profit and has nothing to do with helping poor children of America. This is a tactic used to get people to buy things that they are selling. Common sense cannot be bought nor can we learn it in school. Selling books to poor people is not going to stop poverty or segregation. Life skills will help people to make better decisions and create goals and in turn they will live different lives. Rich folks do not have the time to sit and read books about a set of people that many consider as being `nothing' or `losers'

Many poor people have contributed in helping rich folks achieve the success and the high horse that they are on. Without poor people buying their dumb books, seeing their stupid movies, and other inadequate products and entertainment they would not be anywhere. Poor people have the buying power but yet poor people continue to let a set of people that have money say bad and evil things about people and use them when they want more money. Many poor folks work hard but have no one to help them to the next level. The working poor go to work with the hopes of doing better each day. Young people go to school and when they get out they have no where to turn because they are not paid what they are worth. Listening to all the social problems that these celebrities create; sometimes I wonder who has ghetto mentality. Rich people are no better than anyone despite our income levels or education. Many rich folks do not have formal education. If we had any common sense we would know that money cannot buy happiness. When it comes right down to real life applications, celebrities should be the last that we should run to for help. Many of them can't seem to get their lives together regardless of the money that they have.

Let us take a look at Oprah for example: she has all the money in the world that she needs, not one kid to share it with, and a boyfriend at her age that she has supposedly broken up with her. How pathetic? Do we think that she is really happy? Honestly, no matter how many business transaction she is a part of, when it comes down to real life I truly believe that she is lonely inside.

It is other people's money, especially poor people that is the greater part of rich people's money since poor families are in great numbers than rich ones. Yet these are also the type of people that would purchase products from celebrities to feel that they are doing their part. In truth and reality, celebrities don't want anything to do with us, they see us as wallets and suckers. In the above mentioned interview, Charles rudely degraded people from Alabama in saying that they would want to borrow money from him. He is not the richest man in the world. Perhaps a few people have asked him for money in the past but that does not mean that everyone in that neck of the woods wants his money. He is not very articulate; he speaks off the top of his head and makes very rude comments about people. Is this the Big Black Man, a role model; that you are going to listen to. Take a step backward and evaluate things that this man has said and examine his beliefs.

Like many others, he is using celebrities to tell us what they think about life. Living a lifestyle with a lot of money is truly not authentic because just about 1% of the population is wealthy; the other 99% is the working poor. If Charles had taken the initiative to talk with real people that are struggling and get a better understand about real life then I feel that his book would be worth it.

He talked about feeling bad about being Black. Of course he does, he is right in the ring with those that choose to marry out of their race to the weaker race that hates his own people. He should be the last to talk about racism when he prefers to choose to marry into a race that cannot come to grips with Black America or what they call minorities. It is quite okay to shack-up with beautiful Black women but when it comes right down to having a family - many Big Black Men choose to let White America dictate their lives and how they spend their money. It is sickening to hear Charles talk about this book that was probably written by a ghost writer because his object is not to help anyone but his finance.

Charles, we have lived in this world for a long time and we know phonies when we see them. We are tired of letting `so called celebrities' try this number on us again and again. Be satisfied with the money that you make now Mr. Barkley. You cannot give a man a fish to make his life better, teach him how to fish. If anyone wants to learn more about life I suggest that they learn it from someone that has been through many different experiences, not the rich and the famous that create problems for themselves and are living off other people's money. Get your knowledge from someone who has been there and done that. Some celebrities will want you to believe that they have been through a lot (and some have) but now that they feel that they are making it they think that they are the superior race. Truthfully, if they had it rough when they were younger that was their parent's life and when you are younger you do not really know that you are poor - children don't think about their parent's situation because their brain is not developed to process that type of information. It is their parent's who indicate to them that they are poor.

Charles talks so much about education but once he made a statement in saying that he doesn't need to get a degree because he hires people that has degrees. If he valued education as much as he wants us to believe he would not make statements like that. People need to wake up and motivate themselves and stop looking at celebrities or anyone to be their role models. Everyone says that we can be anything that we want to be but who is willing to help - no one. Instead of helping, they prefer to get our monies to help themselves. People that claim that they truly want to help has special interest in writing books, etc. - for the money. In America it is known that in God we trust but the money first. We are tired of being cheated with our permission by those that have household names. If you truly want to help yourself, log unto this and purchase these life skills literature that is worth its money in knowledge.

Charles and many other celebrities don't have anything to offer to anyone. Interviewing a bunch of other people like himself is not going to help curtail the problems that America in general and not just Black America is experiencing. We often feel that people with household names have our backs but attempt to write to them and ask them to interview you for a job. You would never hear from them because they are always hiding from us. As Mr. Barkley said, he is afraid that people are going to ask him for money. We do not want another mockery in politics like Arnold Schwarzenegger. So I hope that when Mr. Barkley chooses to run for Governor, people will really think this true and vote for someone that can make a difference. We need real people with real life applications to get this world going in one direction. Education does not guarantee anything but with life skills including common sense we can help vulnerable children.

Would Charles Barkley be willing to use his own money to help children as he expressed? If he wanted to do so he would have done so a long time ago. Where is his money? He is now attempting to sell books to help fund his new project of helping children because he is not about to use his own. WAKE UP AMERICA AND SHOW THESE RICH FOLKS WHO REALLY HAVE POWER.Poor people have the say in who becomes rich. Let these people find real jobs and then they will truly see what real life is all about.

Get the information that you need at your fingertip about real life at
Be true to yourself and don't let others take your money out of your pocket with your permission. Don't let celebrities use television to cry for help and use the money for different reasons. We have seen the situation with Martha Stewart - being greedy for money when she has more than she can handle. Charles Barkley talks about television contributing negative statements about Blacks when he in turn is using television to create self-income. Is that truly positive or is the glass half-empty or half-full. DON'T DO IT, don't let these people continue to work numbers on us. Help yourself by spending your money and supporting people that can truly him you!

Good luck America because it is not just about Black America. We once believed that a fool and his money will soon be parted but because of the way one set of people are making money it seems that the working poor are parting with their money even faster because of the way the world is with the division of the rich and the poor.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Interviews: Little to do with Charles Barkley
In this book you really do not hear from Charles Barkley so much. When he writes it is very simple and to the point, with very little humor (which is what he is known for). It is fascinating to read opinions and personal stories from Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, Obama, and many other famous peronalities on their ideas about race and other issues in America. This book has very little to do with Charles Barkley, and if I were to read it blindly I would have never guessed that he wrote it. This book has a great compilation of contributors and it is worth reading just to learn more about them alone. ... Read more

7. The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
by James McBride
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573220221
Catlog: Book (1996-02-01)
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Sales Rank: 87340
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A powerful portrait of growing up, a meditation on race and identity and a poignant, beautifully crafted hymn from a son to his mother. ... Read more

Reviews (463)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mommy, what color is God?
This book is an amazing voyage of discovery. McBride unravels a life forgotten and buried by a mother who was born in 1921 to a Jewish Rabbi and his wife in Poland, and found Christianity and love in the arms of a black husband and her 12 children. The book tells two stories. The author tells of growing up in the projects of New York with a white mother and she tells her story of a young Jewish girl growing up in the south and then Harlem, always an outsider wanting only what all girls want, the love of her family and to be accepted.

It was early on in life that Ruth Shilsky realized that this would never happen. She found herself up against some of the greatest odds a person could face in an era of blatant racial prejudice and a family that turned their back on her because she dared to be different. The life she made was a remarkable one and the children she produced are all extraordinary people, to put it in the words of the author. An inspiring read of warm languid prose, I couldn't put it down, nor could I stop rooting for "Mommy" who just never stopped moving forward. 3/2/01

5-0 out of 5 stars Loving and Believing
James McBride's The Color of Water is an inspiring biography written by a black man as a tribute to his white mother. His mother, Ruth McBride Jordan, is an astounding woman, who showed many characteristics of a Greek Hero. As a child, she grew up as an Orthodox Jew with a father as a rabbi at a nearby synagogue. Her family and family friends strongly hated the black culture. Growing up, Ruth learned to look passed race and see a people for they really are inside. Being brought up in a black-hating household, she was forced to be brave and stay true to what she believed was right. Ruth was compelled to overcome many obstacles in her lifetime, such as being Jewish. She overcame them all with dignity and pride, making her a true hero in many peoples' lives.
As Ruth grew up, she learned to overlook the race of the people in her community. She began to see them for what they were inside. When she was older, she married a black man named Dennis McBride. He loved her and took exceptional care of while he was alive. Ruth had seven children with Dennis, all of whom were blacker in skin then white. Dennis later died of cancer while Ruth was pregnant with another child. Years later, she married another black man named Hunter Jordan, having five more children. As the children got older, they began to notice how much lighter their mother's skin color was. When they would ask why her skin was so much lighter she would say, "You ask too many questions," and ignore it. Soon, they began to question their own race, also. When they would ask what color they were, Ruth would answer, "You are the color of water." (Pg. 51) As her children got old enough to go to school, she sent them to white schools, although they were teased and ridiculed, because she did not believe in having two separate schools for two separate races.
Ruth McBride Jordan was an extremely brave woman. She fell in love with a black man when she was young and they decided to marry. She did this, knowing that she would be disowned from her Jewish family. On page 215, her father says, "If you marry a nigger, don't ever come home again." She ended up following her heart and marrying Dennis. As Dennis was dying of cancer, Ruth stood by him every day, comforting and helping him through it. She helped him eat and cared for him knowing that he was dying. When Ruth would here of a white person speaking cruel words about them, she would stand up for them, risking being injured or killed.
In her lifetime, Ruth McBride Jordan overcame numerous obstacles. As a child, she was an Orthodox Jew with a rabbi as a father. The children in school would treat her cruelly and never thought twice about hurting her feelings. She was forced to live with her father's abuse towards her, her siblings, and her mother. Later in life, Ruth was kicked out of the family for marrying a black man whom she loved very much. Raising twelve children, and suffering from two husbands' deaths, were other obstacles she had to overcome. With her hard work, and loyalty to her children, Ruth managed to put all twelve children into college, some even to become doctors.
The Color of Water is an incredibly moving tale of a hero, who overlooked race in a time where race meant everything to many people, was unbelievably brave in certain moments of her life, and who overcame numerous obstacles throughout her lifetime. The book is exciting, and inspiring to readers who feel the need to make a difference in the world. I would recommend this book to everyone because it is a well-written novel, and extremely touching.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy this book for your mother!
This is one of the best books i have ever read!

the racial issue between a black man's perception of his white mother is presented equally with the outpouring of love and respect he has for her; simply as a mother of 12 children in Harlem who put all her children through collge and grad school. the stories about trips to church, to camp, riding public tansport, getting homemade haircuts, and how awful a cook his mother was are universal and are presented evenly with the tender moments of love and respect and joy he has with his mother.

the other half of this book is his mother's autobiography; the story of a young polish Jewish immigrant living in Jim Crow Virginia, abused by her father. the thinly veiled pain and anguish of memory that McBride's mother reveals futher illuminates his respect for his mother in his own chapters as he describes his mother founding a Baptist church in Harlem with his father.

this book is a gift to mothers everywhere!

5-0 out of 5 stars Escape Into McBride's Plight
I read this biography over the summer during camp, when I wanted to escape from the heat (not to mention the annoyance of the little campers!). It's very easy to lose yourself in this book because of McBride's straight-to-the-point, action-packed writing style. His own autobiography and his mother's biography are brilliantly intertwined in alternating chapters, keeping readers immersed in the various parallels and general comparisons of both lives.

The search for self-identity is so rich, so apparant, that almost everyone can relate to it. It also shows that the rise of poverty is possible, but also requires an endurance of obsticles along the way. Read this.

4-0 out of 5 stars A question of identity
James McBride, the author, knew very little about his mother's heritage before he began writing this book. One thing he did know was that she was different. Different from his father, his siblings, himself, his friends, and his neighbors. When he would ask her if she was white, she would avoid the question or answer that she was "light-skinned". When he once asked her what color God was she replied, "He's the color of water. He has no color". This is the way Ruth McBride looked at the world. When her Jewish family acted in an unloving manner towards her, she turned to black friends, who were more accepting of her. James loved his white mother, whom he calls "Mommy" in the book but was also embarrassed by her racial differences and was confused by a lack of knowledge of her roots. This book seemed to be a catharsis for him as it allowed him to contact some of his mother's relatives and old friends whom he had never met. Ruth McBride considered her greatest achievement to be the many college degrees which her 12 children earned and their professional occupations. This is an interesting story of a woman who did not ever let life defeat her and who held high educational and behavioral standards for her racially-mixed children. It is also the story of a search for identity. ... Read more

8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
list price: $20.00
our price: $13.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394429869
Catlog: Book (1970-01-12)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 136529
Average Customer Review: 3.93 out of 5 stars
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In this first of five volumes of autobiography, poet Maya Angelou recounts a youth filled with disappointment, frustration, tragedy, and finally hard-won independence. Sent at a young age to live with her grandmother in Arkansas, Angelou learned a great deal from this exceptional woman and the tightly knit black community there. These very lessons carried her throughout the hardships she endured later in life, including a tragic occurrence while visiting her mother in St. Louis and her formative years spent in California--where an unwanted pregnancy changed her life forever. Marvelously told, with Angelou's "gift for language and observation," this "remarkable autobiography by an equally remarkable black woman from Arkansas captures, indelibly, a world of which most Americans are shamefully ignorant." ... Read more

Reviews (255)

5-0 out of 5 stars A powerful narration of emotions.
I've never read Maya Angelou before and I was really impressed by her style. I've enjoyed this book because although it describes in a very detailed way the very sad aspects of racism; it also describes certain situations with a good sense of humour. It also portrays the values and richness of the African American Culture. The book is full of different "feelings" which make you laugh, cry and let you be part of the different stages in which Maya goes through. I like the way she clarifies different situations in which the African American way of dealing with things is described, because this let you see the situation from their point of view and at the same time introduces you to their culture. I enjoy the detailed narration of the sad and the happy moments of her life. It is also very easy to perceive her relationship with the different people in her life. This book is one of those which you don't want to finish, so I'm looking forward to reading the following titles of her autobiography because I really want to know more about the way her life has developed and to be treated again by her powerful narrative style. What a wonderful woman she must be!

5-0 out of 5 stars A young womans struggle
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is, in my mind, one of the best books ever written. This is a wonderful coming of age story of a young African American girl growing up in the 50's and 60's. It tells the story of a young woman and her brother and the struggles Maya faces trying to be the best she possibly can be. Marguerite (Maya) is a very intelligent, well spoken young woman, but she never has the chance to really shine. When Maya is about 11, she is molested by her mothers boyfriend, and later raped when no one is home. She is immediately scared into silece and never really has the chance to blossom. She and her brother are then sent back to Stamps Arkansas to be raised by their grandmother. She then begins to attend school, and the book goes on to tell her life story of how she came to be the woman she is today.

This book is an inspiration to anyone who has ever faced adversity. The things that this woman has endured are enough to make you thank the Lord above for your life. If I were dealt the same cards as Maya, I don't think I would have such a prominent place in society as she does. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is an eye-opener for anyone who thinks that they have had it "hard"." This book allowed me to know some of what a young black girl growing up in the south experiences in her quest to better herself and her life. After reading this book, I have a much deeper respect for Maya Angelou. Many people, myself included, are not completely aware of the harsh conditions that blacks were forced to endure decades ago. I believe that this book is a good way for one to read what life in the south for blacks once was. This book is a true inspiration for anyone who has dreams.

5-0 out of 5 stars literary brilliance
<br /> <br />Ms. Angelou writes with literary brilliance, and "I Know Why The caged Bird Sings" is no exception. Part poetic, part memoir...she brings her life in to full view for all to see, read and feel. She has triumphed.and isn't afraid to tell about it. I rate this highly with books such as "Nighmares Echo" and "The Color Purple" among other wonderful memoirs written in the past year or so.

1-0 out of 5 stars Machiavellian
Not a man to judge others by their Christian names, I opened this book expelling my prejudices and bias. I admit, however, that my history has caught up to me, and I will be unable to complete the undertaking. It is now obvious to me that the author, like the central character of the novel, is an insidious rebel and a Negress who will never belong here. Shut your mind - and your soul - from this treason.

5-0 out of 5 stars Impressionable
This is an amazing autobiography. Ms. Angelou is a beautiful story teller. She leads you in with beautiful words, but don't get the impression that it is simply a sweet book because its not. She tells the way it really was for her growing up and all the courage needed to survive.

Also recommending highly: Nightmares Echo (courage and determination in the life of a child of abuse,self-healing)Running With Scissors (deals with abuse,dysfunction,also courageous) ... Read more

9. The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream
by Sampson, Md. Davis, George, Md. Jenkins, Rameck, Md. Hunt, Lisa Frazier Page
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 157322989X
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Sales Rank: 22135
Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

They grew up on the streets of Newark, facing city life's temptations, pitfalls, even jail. But one day these three young men made a pact. They promised each other they would all become doctors, and stick it out together through the long, difficult journey to attain that dream. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt are not only friends to this day-they are all doctors.

This is a story about the power of friendship. Of joining forces and beating the odds. A story about changing your life, and the lives of those you love most...together.
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Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Power of Friendship and Positive Competitiveness Display
"The Pact" is an incredible book! I just finished reading the remarkable journey completed by Drs. Sam Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt. It's an easy, quick read ~250 pages.

If you're not familiar with their story, they are 3 young, African-American men from Newark that establish a pact at 17-years old to become doctors. Over the years, they run into many obstacles (peer pressure, arrest, finances, and family issues) that tend to dissuade so many young people from pursuing their dream. With the "I got your back" support of each other, mentors they encountered throughout their journey, and God they become doctors despite how many people had presumed their future would turn out.

Dr. George Jenkins, probably the most focused in the group, knew at a very young age that he wanted to be a dentist. In high school, the three friends attend a college presentation offering full scholarships to minority students interested in the medical field. Knowing that neither he nor his friends could afford college THIS OFFER would be their ONLY way to attend college...the formation of the pact.

Surprisingly, after completing college and med school, Sam and Rameck were still unsure if they wanted to be doctors. Sam saw business/management as his future and Rameck wanted to be an actor (he'll settle on being a rapper). (If I didn't know the outcome, I would have been in suspense until the bitter end waiting to learn if they became doctors.) The death of an important person in each of their lives confirmed that medically helping others is what they were meant to do in life.

If you're in the education field or work closely with children in your community this is an excellent book to pick up when you...

- feel like what can I do to get through to this person
- need a testimony that success is not by luck but achieved through faith, perseverance, and support from others
- need a roadmap to better mentor a person in need

"The Pact" is an amazing story of inspiration and motivation to get (primarily) black teens to see beyond their environment, current situation, and look ahead with a plan for tomorrow. "The Pact" also displays the need for adults to begin mentoring children before they reach their teens. The book concludes with the doctors providing the "how-to's" to make a pact work.

4-0 out of 5 stars Uplifting!
There are times that I think my life was or still is hard. Well, I'm a black female who grew up in a middle-class home with two teachers as parents. College was as automatic as sleeping and eating. But, for these young men in the book "The Pact", college was as uncertain as winning the lottery. I always knew that our young black boys growing up in the inner-city had it super hard, but this book allowed me to see another side of our young brothas. They all have dreams as little kids, even though they don't see anyone in their neighborhood to emulate. Somehow, someway, Sampson Davis, Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins all found the determination to succeed and become doctors. Their positive story is proof that just one person can make a difference in a kid's life. Everyone needs someone to look up to; someone to follow.

We all have gifts we can share. Read this book and feel blessed that someone in your life took the time to mentor you and be there for you; not everyone has that in their lives. I am so proud of these young men! Not only are they smart and positive, but they are cute too! What a great combination! God has truly blessed them and their family.

What a refreshing book. Thanks to Tavis Smiley for recommending it on the Tom Joyner Show.

5-0 out of 5 stars A HAPPY ENDING
This book was very informative. I really loved this book not only because they are from my hometown Newark, New Jersey. But it was an interesting novel. They came from the ghetto and turned out to be very distinguished gentlemen. I am so happy I read a sucess story from my hometown. I recommend this book to people that feel is though there is no way out in the ghetto when there actually is.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring!
I was pleased to read a book about three African-American men, from disadvantaged backgrounds, who'd beat the odds.They supported each other through thick and thin, and fulfilled their dream of becoming Doctors.They remained humble and are giving back by helping people who are at a disadvantage. They are positive, beautiful, and successful young men. God has truly gave the three Doctors a great annointing. I wish more people would read this book.I was upset when I read the last page. I did not want the book to end! The Doctors are a true inspiration. May God continue to bless them.

I will definitely be giving this book to every young African American male that I know. It's such a powerful testimony of the power of the people that you surround yourself with and a plan. ... Read more

10. The Dark Child : The Autobiography of an African Boy
by Camara Laye
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 080901548X
Catlog: Book (1954-01-01)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 140165
Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Dark Child is a distinct and graceful memoir of Camara Laye's youth in the village of Koroussa, French Guinea. Long regarded Africa's preeminent Francophone novelist, Laye (1928-80) herein marvels over his mother's supernatural powers, his father's distinction as the village goldsmith, and his own passage into manhood, which is marked by animistic beliefs and bloody rituals of primeval origin. Eventually, he must choose between this unique place and the academic success that lures him to distant cities. More than autobiography of one boy, this is the universal story of sacred traditions struggling against the encroachment of a modern world. A passionate and deeply affecting record, The Dark Child is a classic of African literature.
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Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars I can't believe I read this garbage
A year ago in my freshman language arts class, I was forced to read The Dark Child. Previously having been assigned garbage such as Nectar in a Sieve and Things Fall Apart, I expected this book would be terrible as well. I was not to be disappointed.
I soon discovered that The Dark Child was a sort of childhood memoirs written by a native of rural Guinea, which is described as a primitive paradise. After choking down five pages of the poorly written (or poorly translated?) prose, I thought to myself, "Could there be a premise less compelling than a boy living an idyllic life in 1920s rural Africa?" I mulled over this thought for a while and decided that there wasn't. This book is plagued by the fundamental problem that the reader knows, doesn't want to know, or doesn't care about what's coming next. Even if you are interested in what life was like for Camara Laye's people, you will be put off by the poor writing and the utter directionlessness of this book - indeed, I constantly found myself dumbfounded by the meandering descriptions, the contrived dialogue, and the pointless vignettes.
In conclusion, I would suggest to the prospective buyer that you spend your money on something better-done and more enjoyable, such as a porn DVD.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read African Child and Radience Of The King together
Fascinating. A young foreigner in Paris, a young foreigner in Camara Laye's African Kingdom. It doesen't get any better. Read these 20 years ago.

George Pope

5-0 out of 5 stars beautiful
A beautifully textured, fluid and organic autobiography, Camara Laye offers readers a piece of his life in The Dark Child. As part of the Malinke community in Upper Guinea, Laye captures the layered tradition and culture of his community, deemed, perhaps by most, to be simplistic or primitive compared to today's modern standards. Yet it is exactly from Layes descriptions of the traditions of his community that we can begin to understand the psychology of the author. Each chapter is rich with imagery, and his words smack of sincerity and innocence, bringing about an effortless quality and flow to his work--it is as if we are there with Laye experiencing his many transitions, from boyhood to manhood. His descriptions of the communal lifestyle of his people is remarkable. Laye's works like other modern African authors reveal the realities of colonization, and help readers to appreciate and celebrate indigenous African traditions.

5-0 out of 5 stars It took me a long time to read this book.
I first got this book in junior high by a family friend but never bothered to read it until I entered high school. Not having anything to read, I took it upon myself to read the book. I found myself intrigued by the author's way of life during colonialism and his upbringing in a village and his graduation from high school. It was sad that one of his classmates died unexpectedly. Wanting to find out some more about this author I looked up a book of African authors. Unfortuately he passed away in 1980. He is a great writer and wished that I had read it soon as it was given to me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Memoir of an African Childhood
Camara Laye was one of the first sub-saharan writers to become well-known outside of Africa. "L'Enfant Noir" or "The Dark Child" (also titled "The African Child"?) was published in 1953 when the author was twenty-five and living in France. It is a pleasantly nostalgic memoir of a childhood spent in the town of Kouroussa (French Guinea, now Guinea) and the village of Tindican, his mother's birthplace. Chapter by chapter Camara recounts his childhood memories: his father's work as a goldsmith and his position in society, his parent's magic, village life, the rice harvest, elementary Koranic education, circumcision and young men's secret society, secondary education in Conakry, girls and courtship, and his departure to continue his studies in France. After almost half a century in print, this deserves to be called a classic. [Note: some authorities state that his family name is Camara (also spelled Kamara) and his given name is Laye; the text supports this at one point. If using search engines to look for information on this author it may be useful to try both versions of his name.] ... Read more

11. Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson
by Kenneth R. Timmerman
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0895261650
Catlog: Book (2002-02-01)
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Sales Rank: 47780
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jesse Jackson is a modern day highway robber who uses cries of racism to steal from individuals, corporations, and government, to give to himself, says veteran investigative reporter Kenneth R. Timmerman.

Until now, however, no one has been brave enough to say it and diligent enough to prove it. But Ken Timmerman has cracked Jackson's machine, found Jackson cronies willing to break ranks, and uncovered a sordid tale of greed, ambition, and corruption from a self-proclaimed minister who has no qualms about poisoning American race relations for personal gain.

Shakedown reveals:

* Jackson's massive defrauding of the federal government - and how both Republican and Democratic administrations have chosen to ignore it.

* Jackson's financial ties to Third World dictators - including Mohammar Qaddafi of Libya.

* Jackson's shocking private life - and his even more shocking public lies, including about his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King

Other details must remain embargoed until publication, but one thing is for certain, Shakedown finally bursts the carefully constructed myths around Jesse Jackson and subject him to the critical scrutiny he's long deserved.

Kenneth R. Timmerman, a reporter with more than two decades of experience, has written for many magazines and newspapers including Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, and The American Spectator, and has appeared on Nightline, Sixty Minutes, and many other television programs. He lives in Kensington, Maryland, with his wife and five children. ... Read more

Reviews (121)

4-0 out of 5 stars The dude do get over
The author has previously written for such unusally reliable sources as Time, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. There are 1,078 references in this book in 426 pages of text covering an introduction, a prologue, and 18 chapters. The references are from such sources as memoranda and reports from U.S. government agencies, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, and the New Republic, to name only a few. The author, therefore, cannot be dismissed as some sort of right wing crackpot. What Timmerman does is document Jackson's unashamed schemes to line his own pockets and those of his friends and family in the name of racial diversity, economic opportunity, and other buzzwords popular with income redistribution leftists. But Jesse is the quintessential capitalist. He doesn't do anything he can't get paid for, to include NOT speaking up in favor of minority groups who have sought his assistance in the past but didn't have the money to pay his fee! SHAKEDOWN is an appropriate title for this work, as Jackson has managed to get governments and businesses to pony up for his schemes in order to keep from being branded as racist by Jackson. This book could have been subtitled "Show Me the Money!" He has definitely helped himself, and made himself rich in the process. Whether he has helped others is truly open to question, as the author has convincingly documented.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, brilliantly researched and well written
It was very tough to put this book down. Timmerman has done an excellent job in researching this book, and backs up his research with copious notes.

If even one tenth of the book is accurate, Jesse Jackson is a very dangerous, dishonest, and evil character. I suspect that the overwhelming majority of the book is accurate, however, and that fact makes my blood boil at the thought of Jackson and his shakedown scheme.

This book should be required reading for every young liberal- Black, White, Brown-it doesn't matter. Jackson's evil tactics transcend race, religion, and creed. His hucksterism is a danger to this nation, a danger to the advancing civil rights of minorities, and a danger to honest people trying to make a living in America.

I highly recommend this book, I think that anyone who reads it with an open mind will thoroughly enjoy it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Do Not Blame the Author - Blame Jackson
This book states the obvious. Most people half awake can see his scam a mile away. This is not a race issue; it is a scam that uses the race issue. It might not be PC to attack a black man, but when he uses the weakness in his fellow man black and white to enrich himself one needs to blow the whistle.

Let us give Jackson a small benefit of doubt. Years ago when he worked for King he was an idealistic young man. But that has long passed. We now have a man milking the system and taking what he can - it is as simple as that. And blame the people and corporations that support his habit.

5-0 out of 5 stars An interesting look at how one obtains power.
At first, I just wanted to read the "lowdown" on how much of a crook Jesse Jackson was, but as I read more, I see how Jesse rises from being a mere street hustler to being a major pollitical force that is known throughout worldwide. As a person that wants to understand how and why a person obtains power of that magnitude, SHAKEDOWN gives great insight into how one man, Jesse Jackson, stategically picks not only the battles he wants to fight, but also his allies. A great companion book to this is THE 48 LAWS OF POWER by Robert Greene. Many of the laws of power in that book can be seen being used by Jesse in SHAKEDOWN. What really got me was one of the guys mentioned in this book was a pastor in my church who was "rubbing elbows" with Jackson and almost got put in jail by following him. Read this book, it's a real eye opener.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wake Up America!!!!!!
I have always been a supporter of Jesse Jackson and looked upon him as a true leader..............until I read this book. This book has opened my eyes to just what kind of person Jesse Jackson really is: con-artist, extortionist, race-baiter, etc. The people in Chicago who refer to him as "Justme" Jackson, have really hit the nail on the head. What has the self-appointed leader of the African-American race ever done for poor and truly disinfranchised African-Americans? Not a damn thing!!! The only African-Americans who have ever benefited from his shakedowns and extortion of american corporations are his rich and well-to-do cronies! Why the IRS has never stepped in and audited this scheister and crook is a travesty! Jesse Jackson is only a leader for the well-to-do African-American, the ones who can pay to play. This man is no more interested in closing the racial divide that exists in America today, than the KKK is! He is one of the reasons that the racial divide has gotten wider, not smaller. Anyone who calls this book racist is either blind, deaf, and dumb, or is a racist themselves. This book is well documented and the facts well supported. Through it all, you have to give "Reverend" Justme Jackson credit. He has taken advantage of a society where it is worse to label someone a racist than it is to call someone a rapist or child molester. He has used the word racist as his trump card and thrown it about freely, when he himself is as racist as anybody. I wonder when the next time he is going to call as his friend some 3rd world dictator who has ravaged his homeland and committed innumerable atrocities on his people? And when he is long gone from this world, don't worry America, his sons will pick up the torch and continue this man's great, benevolent works in society. Oh yeah, after reading this book, I have changed my affiliation from Democrat to Republican, as has my African-American wife. ... Read more

12. Hunger of Memory : The Education of Richard Rodriguez
by Richard Rodriguez
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553272934
Catlog: Book (1983-02-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 24934
Average Customer Review: 3.36 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (59)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-read for teachers of immigrant and minority students
I just finished reading Hunger of Memory as an assignment for a Language and Literacy class I'm taking in my teacher training program. I recommend this book to all teachers or to people like myself who are planning to be teachers. Rodriguez does a outstanding job of capturing the feelings of confusion and separation one feels when learning English. I liked how Rodriguez corelates language with intimacy. He talks a lot about how Spanish was for him a language of intimacy and family. When he learned English in school, however, he lost a lot of that intimacy in the home when he began to lose his language. One particularly sad part was when his grandmother died and he wasn't able to speak to her or say goodbye beforehand because his Spanish was so limited and his grandmother spoke only Spanish. Towards the end of the book, Rodriguez exhibits a lot of honesty and courage in writing about his feelings on affirmative action. As a result of assimilation and studying in England, Rodriguez no longer felt like he could be an effective role model for minority students. However, because he was a Mexican-American with a Phd in Renaissance Literature and because he was a "minority professor", he was expected by Berkley administrators (and students) to be such a role model. When some hispanic students ask him to teach a minority literature class at a community center, he declines. As a result, they treat him like a sell-out. All in all, I admire how Rodriguez is not afraid to take stances on issues like affirmative action and bilingual education that go against what is expected, considering his race. One would expect him to be in support of both programs, but he is not. Though I do not agree on his stances on these issues, I truly admire his ability to be true to his convictions in spite of being called a sell-out.

5-0 out of 5 stars Still Controversial--After All These Years
I'm an author of a mystery novel in current release that features a Stanford-educated detective of Latino heritage as its protagonist, an American government/economics teacher (for over twenty years) in a rural California high school with a student population that is over 98% Latino, and I have attended several lectures/discussions by Richard Rodriguez over the years. His HUNGER OF MEMORY remains one of the most controversial books in the community in which I work for a significant portion of every year. HUNGER OF MEMORY is viciously hated by some of the most gifted students I have ever had. Others love it. My fellow professionals argue over Mr. Rodriguez and his positions on assimilation and bilingual education. I respect this book and this man. I don't necessarily agree with all he writes, but I do agree he writes what he writes well. I admire what Richard Rodriguez has gone through in life, and I admire the courage of his positions. HUNGER OF MEMORY is an excellent book that anyone interested in the contemporary American Southwest should read. It is extremely educational.

1-0 out of 5 stars SELLOUT
I wont purchase a book by Rodriguez because he is a sellout to himself and his people. The man has consistently come out against affairmative action when he himself is a product of it, and owes his success to it. We all make choices in life and Rodriguez chose to distance himself from his Mexican roots and wants us to validate his choices. Rodriguez is a sucess in the Anglo world but nothing is worth the cost of selling your soul to achieve success at such a high cost. The man is not Mexican he is best described as a pitiful soul that wrote a book trying to find redemption, but you cant have it both ways. Be what you are, take pride in your difference and you can still succeed in this country. I feel contempt not pity for the man.

1-0 out of 5 stars Tio Tomas
Richard shed himself to become a white man. He defines himself by the success standards set by white people. Although I don't disagree with him on everything, he clearly has been white washed and it's really sad. HE rants about himself like his 'ethnic' look is so mesmerizing to people. He's got a big head that I really can't empathize with. He made a choice many people of color make, assimilation in most extreme way. If you need a reason to feel pride in your cultural, read this book and see how you cold turn out if you have no pride in your culture

2-0 out of 5 stars Makes some good points but boring as hell
Indeed Richard makes some good points about bilingual education and affirmative action - and they ARE well worth noting (how affirmative action doesn't benefit those who need it the most)....but everything else about this book [is bad]. His writing style is very self-absorbed. His opinions are inserted after just about EVERY comment and EVERY action ANYONE (his family or the outside world) commits, it's like he's trying to beat his own opinion into your head. There's also very stuck-up tone lurking under his writing; he VERY often notes his own accomplishments endlessly ( a cocktail party in Bel Air...entered high school having read 100s of books...), it's all fabulous but reading about his greatness gets very tedious after awhile (especially when he's describing how he started making lists of books he read...that alone is 6 pages - go look yourself: p.59-64.

Many advocates of this book say that they like it because of how he becomes "aware of his assimilation" and "recognizes that with all gain comes some loss." Well, unfortunetely, even though Ricahrd becomes AWARE and RECOGNIZES all these things - he lets everyone know he knows by portraying himself as a suffering hero and a "cosmic victim." By saying he's a "cosmic victim" implies some divinity "choose" him to suffer - as if! He chose to separate himself from his family the minute he decided he repected his teachers more.

And yes, Mr. Rodriguez dedicated his book to his parents - but it's funny how he wrote "For him and her-to honor them." To me, if he hadn't written the "to honor them", I would have though he was writing this book as almsot a cruel parody of them - of what they never could be anything else but what they already were in his world, that they are not as great as he because of their lack of education.

Overall, this book is nothing remarkable, if not very boring. Read for an opinion of affirmative action and biligual education (but ignore the fact HE frequently benefited from both, even he admits that!). Yes, he is educated, intelligent, and perhaps (I wouldn't know) a "provocative speaker"....but his image at the end is not of a strong, modest, "manly" man, but a pathetic figure of a person who wants to comfort himself in the glory of his accomplishments. The overall taste you walk away with this book is not respect for Richard Rodriguez, but pity. ... Read more

13. ``Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?'': How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar Business Empire
by Reginald F. Lewis, Blair S. Walker
list price: $27.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471042277
Catlog: Book (1994-10-14)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 217577
Average Customer Review: 4.72 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Voyages deep into the frenzied, complex world of LBO transactions."&mdash;BusinessWeek.

"Sheds light on an important chapter in both African-American and American business history."&mdash;Earl G. Graves, Publisher, Black Enterprise magazine.

When Reginald Lewis was six years old, his grandparents asked his opinion about employment discrimination against blacks. Reg replied simply, "Why should white guys have all the fun?" Why, indeed! Lewis grew up to become the wealthiest black man in history and one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time, reigning over a commercial empire that spanned four continents. At the time of his death in 1993, his personal fortune was estimated at $400 million.

"Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?" traces Lewis's rise from a working- class neighborhood in east Baltimore to Harvard Law School and ultimately into the elite circle of Wall Street deal-makers. Expanding on Lewis's unfinished autobiography, journalist Blair Walker completes a vivid portrait of a proud, fiercely determined man with a razor-sharp tongue&mdash;and an intellect to match. He shows how Lewis's lifelong hunger for wealth and personal glory fueled his success on the playing field, in the classroom, and in the boardroom. Walker also provides a rare insider's view of Lewis, the iron-willed negotiator and brilliant business strategist in action as he finesses one phenomenal deal after another.

A moving saga of personal courage and determination as well as a virtual how-to book for those who would like to follow in Lewis's footsteps, "Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?" is every bit as memorable as the man whose story it tells. ... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars Changed My Life
This book gave me a new sense of understanding on how one African American man can not only change history but do it with style and passion. I never new what Reginald Lewis did during the time frame he did it back in the 80's I was a young kid growing up in the south Bronx area of New York City still trying to find a role model to look up too that looked like me. I first heard of Mr. Lewis in college but still had no idea of what he had accomplished until reading his book and then hearing about untimely death some years later. I have read this book 5 times since I bought it and I get a sense of vigor every time I finish it. Not only is it possible for me as a young black man to become the owner of a billion dollar company like him but do it in a way that will make all the white guys at my former prep school green with envy. My only regret is that I never got to meet Reginald Lewis before he died. It would have been such a great honor to meet such a driven and determined man. To sit and do lunch with him at the Harvard Club in New York and just watch all around us wonder how we got there.

5-0 out of 5 stars A insightful guide to success
Reading this book has given a whole new meaning to the term of success. The only regret is not being able to see Reginald Lewis in action today. From the onset of the book he describes what it is like to chase success down and conquer it. This book provides a blueprint for breaking the color barriers in the world of finance, mergers and acqusitions and lbo's. For any aspiring character of color who considers entering the world of movers and shakers, trust me this is the book you MUST read.

5-0 out of 5 stars WOW is all I can say.
This book made me want to work so much harder in life to achieve my business goals. The key is fake it until you make it. No one knows you struggles unless you tell them and you can't make excuses for your life and why you have to work hard. I read it fast and read it again.

5-0 out of 5 stars The sub-title would have been a better title. Oh well.
I came across this book through the recommendation of an acquaintance. I was initially put off by the title, it seemed arrogant, but my philosophy of learning from everyone helped me get over it.

At the end of the day this is a great book. The format is confusing because Mr.Lewis passed away while still in the process of completing it. Mr.Walker does his best to keep Mr.Lewis's voice, but he fails in many ways.

As for the content, it is riveting. To see the humble beginnings of a man that decided that "No" was not good enough is tremendous.

The lesson that I learned from him is that "acquisition" is just as good, if not better than organic growth.

He pursued McCall Patterns with a tenacity that was both admirable and envious. Who else could see the potential? No one apparently, and is coup landed him a 70x's return on his money in under five years. Then to move into the food industry with the same energy was impressive.

It is unfortunate that he passed away so suddenly, his value investing was very much right out of Benjamin Grahams school of thinking, and Mr.Lewis definitely had the potential to become the next Mr.Buffett.

Great book, it really set the tone for how I will grow my own business.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely solid!!
This is a wonderful book that has inspired me to attend law school and to traverse a positive path to success. I recommend to men and women...boyz and girls of all races. A true inspiration! ... Read more

14. Pimp: The Story of My Life
by Iceberg Slim
list price: $7.95
our price: $7.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 087067935X
Catlog: Book (1987-06)
Publisher: Holloway House Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 26869
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (59)

4-0 out of 5 stars Disgusting, scary, but such an interesting voice.
I've got two completely different opinions about _Pimp_ and Robert Beck himself. One is glowing, the other terrible. Maybe that's what makes Beck and his books so interesting. First, the glowing opinion. Beck's style is like nothing I've ever read before. He claims to have a 175 I.Q. I don't doubt it. No one less brilliant could conjure up the metaphors and images he casually slings as if they were off the top of his head. The book is written in a loose, story-telling style, as if it was never revised, typos and all. Beck makes you feel as if you were standing on a street corner listening to a "fast track pimp" weave his life's yarn. Many times, I would read a sentence several times simply to admire the unique vision Beck gave to an action as simple as getting in or out of a car (a "hog") or thinking about his mother. The terminology is another, brilliantly colorful language (complete with glossary in the back!).Although the story dotes on his early years and then cruises through a couple of decades in a matter of pages, Beck's tale was never slow or anything less than gleaming. That is the glowing opinion. Now the terrible one. I'll try not to seem sanctimonious. To me, Robert Beck is (was) an alarmingly vicious hypocrite and psychopathic criminal. The book begins and ends with his tepid claims that he has seen the error of his ways and regrets his former life. These meager claims are ridiculous when you read the pride, nostalgia, and admiration with which Beck recounts his former life. In one passage in particular, his role model and mentor teaches him an unbelievable method to keep his whores in line. Whip them bloody with a wire coathanger. Beck eagerly tests the method. You can sense the satisfaction with which he regards the successful results. Beck tells us about breaking women's jaws and pummelling them senseless in the same manner he might use to recount old football victories. This is not a repentant ex-pimp. This is a retired pimp who is smart enough to realize that if he pays lipservice to reform and enlightenment, he will sell his books to a much larger audience. He certainly did make a nice pile of "scratch" off the stories he wrote glorifying his former lifestyle ("Long White Con" is the other Beck book I've read-- much more mediocre in style and plot). In the end, I recommend _Pimp_ as a refreshingly unique voice in modern literature. I certainly don't admire Beck's life, nor endorse the lifestyle (as so many other reviewers alarmingly seem to!).

5-0 out of 5 stars Iceberg - a diamond in the rough..
Slim's books could not have been written by anyone else. the genius of them derives from two things, slim's own lengthy and painfull experiance of the ills and games of the ghetto in his era and the poetry and downtrodden virtue of his sole. this is the story of his life and its a story worth telling, many have lived longer and not gone through half as much, the story weaves from an abuzed childhood through life as mean young adolescant and into his early days as an ambitious young pimp keen to hit the "fast track" in Chicago. from here on in it's a tale of abuse, drugs, degradation and manipulation as well as in it's own strange way love. However the story is only half the book and it's through the poetic telling of that story that we really get to meet the engrossing character,enigma and genius of iceberg slim. Slim remoulds street slang and lingo into a rich and textured prose which stands comparison with the very greatest writers, it's a pleasure to read (if a little hard to understand at first), it's also very cool and any young man who reads this book will find slim's slang slipping into his speech in no time. This story is engrossing from start to finish, Slim makes it out of the game in the end and became a writer - be thankfull.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pimp'd
Great Read - the story is amazingly original with the highs and lows of Iceberg's life detailed in an honest & direct manner. Reading this book, you believe everyword...mostly b/c it does not sound that glamorous eventhough the main character becomes enrapt with the lifestyle. Clearly, the reader has to step back and relaize that reading a life-story about a pimp is not the same as supporting prostitution...

4-0 out of 5 stars a little much for the typical reader
Having grown up in the Chicago suburbs and been in high school during the gangster-rap glory years, I was only exposed to the fantasy-end of pimp culture in music videos, etc. Iceberg Slim is not the pimp of the type shown on MTV - this story is full of desperation and regret. There is a real pathological hatred of women that plays out in Slim's foul treatment of his prostitutes. Homo-eroticism abounds in Slim's relationships with other, especially more senior pimps. Slim rots in confinement for some time, and guess what, he doesn't enjoy it. This story is good antidote to the pervasive and unambiguous sexuality that gets portrayed on the rap videos (at least, it was when I last watched one in the mid 90's), which ignore the truly aberrent aspects to the lifestyle that gets shamelessly glorified.

5-0 out of 5 stars MAKE A MOVIE OUT OF THIS BOOK!!!
ATTENTION: Editors, Directors movie makers, get to work on this book as a film. It's your duty to put this book on the silver screen, and if you do it, do it right. Don't leave out anything. This is real-life Pimpin' at it's greatest. No one man has been through as much as Iceberg Slim in the Pimp Game. In, 2006 would be the best time to have it out. But, mark my words this will make people open thier eyes to how trife life can be. THIS WILL BE THE BEST PIMP MOVIE EVER MADE. ... Read more

15. With Billie
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375406107
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Pantheon
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16. Blood Done Sign My Name : A True Story
list price: $14.00
our price: $11.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400083117
Catlog: Book (2005-05-03)
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Sales Rank: 4982
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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When he was but 10 years old, Tim Tyson heard one of his boyhood friends in Oxford, N.C. excitedly blurt the words that were to forever change his life: "Daddy and Roger and 'em shot 'em a nigger!" The cold-blooded street murder of young Henry Marrow by an ambitious, hot-tempered local businessman and his kin in the Spring of 1970 would quickly fan the long-flickering flames of racial discord in the proud, insular tobacco town into explosions of rage and street violence. It would also turn the white Tyson down a long, troubled reconciliation with his Southern roots that eventually led to a professorship in African-American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison--and this profoundly moving, if deeply troubling personal meditation on the true costs of America's historical racial divide. Taking its title from a traditional African-American spiritual, Tyson skillfully interweaves insightful autobiography (his father was the town's anti-segregationist Methodist minister, and a man whose conscience and human decency greatly informs the son) with a painstakingly nuanced historical analysis that underscores how little really changed in the years and decades after the Civil Rights Act of 1965 supposedly ended racial segregation. The details are often chilling: Oxford simply closed its public recreation facilities rather than integrate them; Marrow's accused murderers were publicly condemned, yet acquitted; the very town's newspaper records of the events--and indeed the author's later account for his graduate thesis--mysteriously removed from local public records. But Tyson's own impassioned personal history lessons here won't be denied; they're painful, yet necessary reminders of a poisonous American racial legacy that's so often been casually rewritten--and too easily carried forward into yet another century by politicians eagerly employing the cynical, so-called "Southern Strategy." --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
I am from Oxford, and I still live there. This is an excellent book. It opened my eyes to what happened here in the past.

5-0 out of 5 stars An important book, well written, researched and documented
If only all history could be told by the voices of those who lived it, maybe those voices could tell truth to power.Except on sources like "Democracy Now", those authentic voices seem to be missing in the media's telling of the stories of today.I think therefore this book is important for what it tells us about the history of race relations in this country but also for what it can tell us about our decisions and view of present reality.

I live in Madison, Wisconsin and this quote from "Blood done Sign My Name" is sometimes pretty applicable today in my town."Black Southerners forcibly altered that narrative in the 1950's and 1960's by stepping outside their assigned roles - and compelling a reluctant federal government to intercede on their behalf.As often as not, they had to be prepared to defend themselves physically from terrorism by white reactionaries.White liberals, with their hesitancy and quibbling, were sometimes very little help.In North Carolina, white liberal paternalists did not stand in the schoolhouse door as George Wallace had in Alabama.Instead, journalist Osha Gray Davidson observes,they 'would quietly appoint a committee to deliberate for eternity over exactly which door, and of what dimensions, would best facilitate the ingress and egress of all students.The style of a Wallace was different, but the result was the same.'And so sometimes it was necessary to escape from an endless and pointless conversation with white paternalism by striking hard and sometimes violently against the architecture of their oppression-Oxford's tobacco warehouses being only the local example."

Timothy Tyson delves into his personal history with an open mind and eye to find the truth about his family and his town during a difficult time and era.But he is also making the point that times are still difficult and the way to work on problems is to face them head on with a knowledge of what came before.

"There it should stay, many people seem to think - why dredge this stuff up?Why linger on the past, which we cannot change?We must move toward a brighter future and leave all that horror behind.It's true that we must make a new world.But we can't make it out of whole cloth.We have to weave the future from the fabric of the past, from the patterns of aspiration and belonging - broken dreams and anguished rejections - that have made us.What the advocates of our dangerous and deepening social amnesia don't understand is how deeply the past holds the future in its grip - even, and perhaps especially, when it remains unacknowledged.We are runaway slaves from our own past, and only by turning to face the hounds can we find our freedom beyond them."

5-0 out of 5 stars Confronting the painful history of race in America
Author Timothy B. Tyson has carved out a rather unique role for himself.Believe it or not, he is a white man from North Carolina teaching Black History in Wisconsin."Blood Done Sign My Name" is the compelling, personal and brutally honest story of how this all came to be.
Tyson was 10 years old back in 1970 and living with his family in the small rural town of Oxford, N.C.His dad was the Methodist minister and his mom a schoolteacher in town.One day in May, his 10 year old playmate Gerald Teel casually remarked that "Daddy and Roger and 'em shot 'em a nigger."Indeed, his daddy and two of this brothers had brutally shot and killed a 23 year old black man, Henry Marrow, for very dubious reasons.This single event would have profound implications for the little town of Oxford and would play a major role in shaping the life of one Tim Tyson.
"Blood Done Sign My Name" is a remarkable book on many levels.If you are interested in learning more about the arrest and subsequent trial of Robert Teel then you will certainly find it here. It is not a pretty story.
Likewise, if you would like to learn more about the painful history of race relations in this country then this is your book as well. Tyson believes with all his heart that most of us have an extremely distorted and somewhat sugar-coated view of what really went on in this country during the 1960's and 1970's. For example, as a fairly well read white man in his 50's I had never even heard about two incidents that Tyson contends are key to understanding what really happened in those years.When you read about the case of the Wilmington Ten you begin to understand the rage black people felt back in the early 1970's. And when you read the grisly and heartbreaking story of what happened to some slaves who dared to rebel at the Destrehen Plantation in Louisiana way back in 1811, you again begin to appreciate the reasons why blacks in this country feel and react the way they do. The history books that most of us read in school never mention incidents like these.So how are we to know?And if we don't know, how can we possibly understand?
And finally, "Blood Done Sign My Name" is an intimate account of one man's personal struggle with the issue of race. Tim Tyson has presented us with an exceptionally well written book that offers the reader an awful lot to chew on.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Indictment of America
I just finished reading Blood Done Sign My Name.I found it to be a very powerful indictment of America.I have basically shunned my German heritage based upon their complicity in Hitler's genocide of the Jews and other "misfits."This book made me re-think my own prejudices. Especially where the author's African-American friend, whose parents were a mixed-race couple, found it safer to live in Germany than in the U.S. It hit me like a 2x4 to realize that America has treated not just one or two groups this way but many. To name a few: African-Americans, American Indians, Japanese Americans, Chinese-Americans and most recently Arab-Americans.Just when I was despairing of our country and it's people who are leaning ever to the right, just as I was contemplating moving to Canada, I turned the page and Tyson began writing about hope and redemption.He wrote about facing the past and teaching it to our children.Teaching the truth, not the sanitized, re-written version.

I have felt that as individuals, we have to face our individual pasts or we will repeat the past and visit it upon our children.It is clear from reading Tyson's book that we must do so as a people/country as well.We have a long way to go considering that people don't even want to face violence and abuse that happens in our own homes.Until women and children are safe in their homes and we face these issues, I don't have a lot of hope that our treatment of groups of people will change.

I will pass this book around and recommend it to my friends and acquaintances not just because of the wonderful writing style but because this is a very important work that hopefully will hasten this country facing it's past and moving toward a better future.I am also very impressed that Tyson took a tragedy that impacted his life and turned it into a positive, not only for himself but others as well.

Thank you Timothy Tyson for writing such a powerful important book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easily One of the Best Books I've Read
Part civil rights history and part autobiography, this book deals with a little known 1970 lynching in Oxford, NC, its root causes and aftermath.I will allow the other reviewers and to detail the story, but suffice it to say that it reads like a novel and is both heartbreaking and uplifting. A very personal and spiritual look at race relations and the impact it had on the author's life.A truly great book. ... Read more

17. Dear Senator : A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond
by Essie Mae Washington-Williams, William Stadiem
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060760958
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 10628
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In Dear Senator, Essie Mae Washington-Williams -- daughter of the late Senator Strom Thurmond -- breaks her lifelong silence and tells the story of her life. Hers is a story seven decades in the making, yet one whose unique historical importance has only recently been revealed. Until the age of sixteen, Washington-Williams assumed that the aunt and uncle who raised her in Pennsylvania were her parents. The revelation of her true parents' identities was a shock that changed the course of her life. Her father, the longtime senator from South Carolina, was once the nation's leading voice for racial segregation; he ran for president on a segregationist ticket in 1948 and once mounted a twenty-four-hour filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1957 -- in the name of saving the South from "mongrelization." Her mother was Carrie Butler, a black teenager who worked as a maid on the Thurmond family's South Carolina plantation.

Set against the explosively changing times of the civil rights movement, Washington-Williams's memoir reveals a brave young woman who struggled with the discrepancy between the father she knew -- one who was financially generous, supportive of her education, even affectionate -- and the old Southern politician, railing against greater racial equality, who refused to acknowledge their relationship in public. She describes what it felt like to face overt racism, especially in the slow-to-change South, despite the fact that her father was the most powerful politician in Dixie. From her richly told narrative emerges a nuanced, fascinating portrait of a father who counseled his daughter about her goals, and supported her in reaching them -- but who was ultimately unwilling to break with the values of his Dixiecrat constituents.

With elegance, candor, and spirit, Essie Mae Washington-Williams gives us a chapter of American history as it has never been written before -- told in a voice that will be heard and cherished by generations.

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Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Poignant and Fascinating
An enjoyable book to read.I finished reading and had the feeling I wanted to know more and I wanted to meet Essie Mae.She has tremendous grace.It is a bitter pill to swallow, when you have never been invited to share a meal with your own father. Her restraint and respect for her father in those circumstances is incredible.The story is well written and fascinating to read.I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to regain faith in our humanity.I am a white american who would be proud to include Essie Mae in my family.I thank her for sharing her private life with us.

5-0 out of 5 stars "on the other side of the blanket"
Essie Washington Williams's memoir of her life as the half-black daughter of "Dixiecrat" Senator Storm Thurmond is seasoned with grace, humor, warmth, and love, which help to mitigate the harsh realities of her circumstances.Williams looks at her father with a clear-eyed compassion. She first learned of her parentage when she was a teenager; she had no choice but to make allowances for the segregated society in which her father was a political mover and shaker.

As you turn the pages of this book, you will feel along with Williams anger, fear, pain, but also you will rejoice in her successful struggle to make a meaningful life for herself, to find joy in family and career, to maintain loving respect for her father.He privately acknowledged her, helped her with higher education, gave generous gifts of money, and remained in touch with her throughout his long life.

Williams's story can be viewed as a tragedy of the American south with its unenlightened prejudices and hypocrisies; but it also can be viewed as a story of family ties, of love and honor shown by a father and daughter who were forced to make their separate, emotionally costly accommodations to the culture into which they were born.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good information, but the book could be better
I read this book in about 5 hours. I liked the book, but I feel that there could have been more details. The author does a good job talking about her father, but she doesn't give enough details about her relationship with her father. I would recommend this book to another person. I just feel that I didn't finish the book feeling satisfied.

5-0 out of 5 stars Savannah
I am a native of Savannah, Georgia. I enjoyed the book. Essie Mae lived in Savannah for a short time. I never heard of her husband.Was Essie and her husband in Savannah during the sixties? I would have to say so. Clarence Mayfield was an attorney during the mid sixties-early seventies.But I didn't know that Mrs. Williams' husband was his law partner. The picture of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity is not a college photo. These were doctors and other professional men who lived in Savannah. You have Dr. Wilson a dentist. Dr. C. Vernon Clay a professor at Savannah State College. Dr. Herny Morgan Collier and Dr. Stephen M. McDew. The book is entertaining. Great job Ms. Essie!

5-0 out of 5 stars Movie Material
What a story! Told with simplicity and integrity, it presents a powerful picture of this wonderful, terrible place I love--the South. I kept seeing visual images on a wide screen: the lovely, quiet girl discovering the South, meeting her father for the first time, getting to know her birth mother.I loved the description of Senator Thurmond in California,meeting his darker offspring with their huge Afros, "looking like the Jackson Five."

I've observed and tried to understand race relations in the South for more than half a century. This book added a whole new dimension. And who could not love Essie May Washington-Williams. ... Read more

18. Black Like Me
by John Howard Griffin
list price: $6.99
our price: $2.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451192036
Catlog: Book (1996-11-01)
Publisher: Signet Book
Sales Rank: 13775
Average Customer Review: 4.72 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the Deep South of the 1950s, journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross the color line. Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man. His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity-that in this new millennium still has something important to say to every American. ... Read more

Reviews (116)

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Attempt
Black Like Me extracted a gamut of emotions from me; at times I was extremely proud that John Griffin wanted to understand the reality of living in black skin. While on the other hand I thought why what are we (black people) a science project.

Clearly as you read the book your questions change and your initial emotions are either magnified or remain the same. One question blanketed me throughout the book, why leave your privileged life to walk in the shoes of a black man or any minority?

This classical non-fiction journal of the writers experience was captivating and educational. Walking behind Johns' eyes allowed me to see my people and the actions of others in a different light. The author captures the accents and slang in such a way I could hear the characters speaking.

It is my hope that many different people will read Black Like Me, and realize that people are "human individuals" the actions of some or one does not represent the total race.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gripping, Revealing, Readable
This gripping book helps whites to experience life from the other side of the racial divide. In 1959, author John Howard Griffin (1920-80) used special medication to darken his skin, and then traveled the Deep South as a black man in the latter days of legal segregation. The "Negro" Griffin encountered separate facilities, hate-filled stares, assumptions that he was over-sexed, and job options limited to menial labor. He found conditions slightly better in big cities like New Orleans and Atlanta, but never free of rudeness or indignities. Griffin also met a small number of whites that apologized for racism. When Griffin switched his skin color back to white, blacks became surly, and whites became friendly. Unfortunately, Griffin never ventured outside the Deep South, depriving us of a chance to compare racism between regions. In this sense, his stirring book is too short.

BLACK LIKE ME angered white southerners when published in 1960. Griffin (who'd once recovered from blindness) received anonymous death threats, and soon developed health problems associated with his special medication. Too bad we cannot step into each other's race the way Griffin did - it might make for a better society.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Eye-Opener
Racism has always been a sensitive subject for me. I've never been able to understand how a person could be judged based solely on their race. When I purchased this book, I had no idea how powerful and gripping it could be. Everything that I knew about racism was magnified as I walked with Griffin through the dangerous streets of the Deep South. I felt fear when Griffin was afraid, sadness when he was sad, and felt shock at the injustices that Griffin was seeing and experiencing - the same injustices that the rest of the nation was overlooking.

After reading this book, I feel like I have a better understanding at how raw and intense racism was only a few decades ago. I understand the founding principles of affirmative action better (though I'm still not sure what my feelings on that subject are), and other modern-day controversies regarding the subject of race.

It's hard for me to imagine that something like this was allowed to happen in the United States, and I'm sure many people feel the same as I do. A book like this is a constant reminder of what happened, and therefore a constant hindrance of similar occurrences in the future. Books and studies like these are the preventative measures that need to be taken in order to secure a truly colorblind nation, as Justice Marshall Harlan declared our Constitution to be in his dissenting opinion on the decision of the case Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Snapshot of Americana
The story is well described in all of the other reviews so I will not rehash it yet again.

A very interesting look from a unique perspective at the very start of the civil rights movement in the southern US. Forty + years later one has to wonder what it would be like for a new JH Griffin to repeat the experience. What would he find different? What would he find the same? In all honesty, a great deal has changed and great deal has remained unchanged. It would be even more interesting to have a white become black and a black become white. I'm sure that would be quite an eye opening report from the both of them.

The book just goes to show that a person can never really know what something is like unless they themselves have experienced it. Watching "Saving Private Ryan" doesn't make a person know what combat is really like although it can give an idea of it; a white person can never really know what it is like to be black although they may some idea, it is never authentic.

5-0 out of 5 stars To walk in another man's mocassins
It is said one cannot understand or empathize with someone else unless "you walk a mile in their mocassins." John Howard Griffin did just that, darkened his skin and took a walk into the Deep South to see how it would feel to be a member of a despised minority during 1959, the height of the Jim Crow years, when water fountains and rest rooms were separate for the races, when a black man or woman couldn't eat in a restaurant or get a hotel room. (It is said Bessie Smith, the great blues singer, died after a car accident because she couldn't be treated at a nearby hospital, for whites only.)

The book is of course dated, but it is unique in that it is a viewpoint that is undeniably credible. Here is a white guy, saying: "It happened to me, just because my skin was dark. Believe it." He suffers the indignity of finding everyday tasks that become almost insurmountable--to find a restroom, a bus seat, a park bench, someplace to eat, to be left alone with out fear of harrassment. And it's this harrassment and outright fear that changes Griffin to the point he had to finally abandon his project. He was changed by it.

The question I have is what would someone who chose Griffin's experiment find today? While Jim Crow is gone, the cultures still have a gulf between them. And since today, you won't see the "whites only" sign on drinking fountains that I saw as a child traveling in the Deep South, you should be sure to read this to get perspective on our history and culture. This is a brave book. ... Read more

19. The Fabulous Sylvester : The Legend, the Music, the 70s in San Francisco
by Joshua Gamson
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0805072500
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Sales Rank: 591461
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Book Description

A journey back through the music, madness, and unparalleled freedom of an era of change-the '70s-as told through the life of ultra-fabulous superstar Sylvester

Imagine a pied piper singing in a dazzling falsetto, wearing glittering sequins, and leading the young people of the nation to San Francisco and on to liberation where nothing was straight-laced or old-fashioned. And everyone, finally, was welcome-to come as themselves. This is not a fairy tale. This was real, mighty real, and disco sensation Sylvester was the piper. Joshua Gamson-a Yale-trained pop culture expert-uses him, a boy who would be fabulous, to lead us through the story of the '70s when a new era of change liberated us from conformity and boredom. Gamson captures the exuberant life, feeling, energy, and fun of a generation's wonderful, magical waking up-from the parties to the dancing and music.

The story begins with a little black boy who started with nothing buta really big voice. We follow him from the Gospel chorus to the glory days in the Castro where a generation shook off its shame asSylvester sang and began his rise as part of a now-notorious theatrical troup called the Cockettes. Celebrity, sociology, and music history mingle and merge around this endlessly entertaining story of a singer who embodied the freedom, spirit, and flamboyance of a golden moment in American culture.
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20. The Promise : How One Woman Made Good on Her Extraordinary Pact to Send a Classroom of1st Graders to College
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385511477
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 31934
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book.
This book is written the way that an average person speaks, which is to say that it rambles a bit and frequently repeats things;but it's an easy read that I think every reader (both young and old) should find very approachable.As literature goes, it's not a great work of linguistic mastery.That being said, this is an excellent book that I wish everyone would read, because there's an extremely important lesson for all of us here.

Oral Lee Brown first recognized the very root cause of the brutal cycle of poverty that persists in America (it's the education system, people!), and then she tackled that problem in one of the most extraordinary ways I've ever heard of.Her story is brilliant and inspiring.And as I said before, I hope that it reaches as many people as possible, and will serve as an inspiration to us all.Great story, great lady, 5 stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars AHeart of Gold
I first heard of Oral Lee Brown a few years ago when one of the children from her original class was accidentally killed. I read a little about Mrs. Brown and when the book came up for review I had to get to know the lady behind the heart. I was not disappointed, this book displays an angel in disguise.A humble woman who just wants to do all she can for those in need. Determined, dedicated and courageous are words I would use to describe her and each of the classes her foundation takes on.The child who initially inspired Oral Lee to start her foundation, was an angel sent from God, to help Mrs. Brown fulfill her purpose here on earth.In addition, to this being an inspiring read, there are tips on applying for college found at the end for both parents and students. If you need inspiration to do something you have been putting off, reading THE PROMISE will give you the motivation you need.

Reviewed by Eraina B. Tinnin
of The RAWSISTAZ™Reviewers

5-0 out of 5 stars The author is a hero in my book....
Words fail me when it comes to Ms. Oral Lee Brown.We were living in the bay area when the Oakland Tribune and other media were reporting on her promise to send an entire 1st grade class to college.A real estate woman who was making less than 50k a year and a big heart and a bigger faith in God is what made her quest and her story so awesome.

And she made some big sacrifices and it did put a bit of a strain on her marriage and family life.And for some of the students parents who worked 2-3 jobs just to support their families, she would often step in and volunteer to attend PTA and parent-teacher meetings and report back to the parent(s).It wasn't just funds she was setting aside for college expenses but her time and energy.

As silly as it may sound she often gives as an example, that instead of buying shoes for her kids at Macy's she would buy shoes at Payless (just like many of us). And she would work more than one job herself.

What she shows is that if a woman who makes less than 50k a year can set aside money for twelve years to send a couple dozen kids to college, then a huge number of Americans can and should try to do the same.

What if a handful of citizens in a given city/town/village/community were to set up a foundation like she did, and raise money to put next years first grade class thru college in twelve years?

Education is power, and while we homeschooled, I still believe that no matter the educational choice, that any child who can get into a Jr. college or four year institution should have that guarantee of funding.

Ms. Oral Lee Brown is a hero of mine. ... Read more

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