I remember a saying that used to go; if you want to keep anything form niggers just put it in a book. Well I challenge that saying and have taken it upon myself to educate myself and those around me. I started on this road of discovery that led me to understanding the world as we knew it then and as it is now. I picked up “Black is the New White” A memoir written by Paul Mooney. If you’ve ever listened to Mooney you know that he’s known for speaking his personal truth about what he’s encountered during his career. He shares his experiences in dealing with racism, his relationship with the late Richard Pryor and how Hollywood wasn’t and still isn’t ready for the Black man and what the African American community needs when it comes to telling our story. Mooney was the writer behind Pryor and together they were an unstoppable force on the comedy scene.
From Mooney to Tavis Smiley and his “Death of a King” The real story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year. In Dr. King’s final years we are exposed to his never ending strength, courage and perseverance. In the days before he’s taken away from a world that still needs him, it’s revealed that even with so few people in his corner and friends by his side he remained vigilant in his purpose. “I’d rather be dead than afraid.” Said King when asked if he feared for his life. Even after receiving countless death threats toward him and his family, even when the government repeatedly tried sabotaging his reputation along with the help of the news media he remained steadfast.
From Smiley and his Death of a King to “Growing up X” by Ilyasah Shabazz a memoir written by the daughter of Malcolm X. In this well written memoir Shabazz tells of what came of the widow and young daughters after the devastating loss of their father and husband. Shabazz speaks of how with the strength of her mother she and her five sisters were able to live a life of love, warmth and the memory of their loving father. “Malcom X was a man absolutely committed to changing the way people of African descent viewed themselves, one another, and their place in world history. He attempted to destroy the psychological scars and racial barriers that kept a people from reaching its full potential. He gave African Americans one of the greatest gifts possible, the gift of self-respect. He is my hero and my mother is my heroine.”-Ilyasah Shabazz.
From Shabazz I opened up to Bill Duke’s Dark Girls. With each interview (interviews conducted by Author Shelia P. Moses) we are introduced to each woman’s personal narrative of what it’s like growing up in a society that teaches self-hatred among our own. We hear from women like Loretta Devine, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Retha Powers, Carla B. Ferrell, Camille Winbush, Erika Alexander, Crystal R. Fox, Mikki Taylor, Sommore and a long list of other beautiful black women embracing and owning their dark skin.
From Dark Girls my education continues with Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow-Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Stay tuned.