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The African-American Century: How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Country

by Cornel West Henry Louis Gates Jr.

In a highly original and historic celebration of black Americans and their contributions to culture, the authors select 100 outstanding men and women and use their lives and accomplishments to create a fascinating portrait of the last century. Their selections are drawn from the worlds of politics and business, literature, sports, music, science, and cultural criticism. Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.

Against the Wall

by Elijah Anderson Cornel West

Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic TitleTypically residing in areas of concentrated urban poverty, too many young black men are trapped in a horrific cycle that includes active discrimination, unemployment, violence, crime, prison, and early death. This toxic mixture has given rise to wider stereotypes that limit the social capital of all young black males.Edited and with an introductory chapter by sociologist Elijah Anderson, the essays in Against the Wall describe how the young black man has come to be identified publicly with crime and violence. In reaction to his sense of rejection, he may place an exaggerated emphasis on the integrity of his self-expression in clothing and demeanor by adopting the fashions of the "street." To those deeply invested in and associated with the dominant culture, his attitude is perceived as profoundly oppositional. His presence in public gathering places becomes disturbing to others, and the stereotype of the dangerous young black male is perpetuated and strengthened.To understand the origin of the problem and the prospects of the black inner-city male, it is essential to distinguish his experience from that of his pre-Civil Rights Movement forebears. In the 1950s, as militant black people increasingly emerged to challenge the system, the figure of the black male became more ambiguous and fearsome. And while this activism did have the positive effect of creating opportunities for the black middle class who fled from the ghettos, those who remained faced an increasingly desperate climate.Featuring a foreword by Cornel West and sixteen original essays by contributors including William Julius Wilson, Gerald D. Jaynes, Douglas S. Massey, and Peter Edelman, Against the Wall illustrates how social distance increases as alienation and marginalization within the black male underclass persist, thereby deepening the country's racial divide.

Black Prophetic Fire

by Cornel West Christa Buschendorf

An unflinching look at nineteenth- and twentieth-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies. In an accessible, conversational format, Cornel West, with distinguished scholar Christa Buschendorf, provides a fresh perspective on six revolutionary African American leaders: Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X, and Ida B. Wells. In dialogue with Buschendorf, West examines the impact of these men and women on their own eras and across the decades. He not only rediscovers the integrity and commitment within these passionate advocates but also their fault lines. West, in these illuminating conversations with the German scholar and thinker Christa Buschendorf, describes Douglass as a complex man who is both "the towering Black freedom fighter of the nineteenth century" and a product of his time who lost sight of the fight for civil rights after the emancipation. He calls Du Bois "undeniably the most important Black intellectual of the twentieth century" and explores the more radical aspects of his thinking in order to understand his uncompromising critique of the United States, which has been omitted from the American collective memory. West argues that our selective memory has sanitized and even "Santaclausified" Martin Luther King Jr., rendering him less radical, and has marginalized Ella Baker, who embodies the grassroots organizing of the civil rights movement. The controversial Malcolm X, who is often seen as a proponent of reverse racism, hatred, and violence, has been demonized in a false opposition with King, while the appeal of his rhetoric and sincerity to students has been sidelined. Ida B. Wells, West argues, shares Malcolm X's radical spirit and fearless speech, but has "often become the victim of public amnesia." By providing new insights that humanize all of these well-known figures, in the engrossing dialogue with Buschendorf, and in his insightful introduction and powerful closing essay, Cornel West takes an important step in rekindling the Black prophetic fire so essential in the age of Obama.


by Cornel West Sylvia Ann Hewlett Kenji Yoshino Mellody Hobson Joanna Coles

Is it more profitable for workers and their employers to be "out" in the workplace? What's holding back the "model minority"? A compendium of groundbreaking research studies conducted by bestselling author and notable economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett and her team at The Center for Talent Innovation, Brainpower provides hard data to back up claims, including: The Power of "OUT", Off-Ramps and On-Ramps Revisited, Asians in America, and The X Factor.

Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life

by Bell Hooks Cornel West

In this provocative and captivating dialogue, Hooks and West grapple with the dilemmas, contradictions and joys of Black intellectual life. Creating a spiritual, progressive, feminist, and ultimately organic definition of Black intellectuality. They passionately discuss issues ranging in subject matter from theology and the Left, to contemporary music, film and fashion. Speaking to the critically thinking masses inside and outside of academe, Hooks and West call for greater politicization and critical engagement in the process of transforming contemporary culture and politics.

Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism

by Cornel West

In his major bestseller, Race Matters, philosopher Cornel West burst onto the national scene with his searing analysis of the scars of racism in American democracy. Race Matters has become a contemporary classic, still in print after ten years, having sold more than four hundred thousand copies. A mesmerizing speaker with a host of fervidly devoted fans, West gives as many as one hundred public lectures a year and appears regularly on radio and television. Praised by The New York Times for his "ferocious moral vision" and hailed by Newsweek as "an elegant prophet with attitude," he bridges the gap between black and white opinion about the country's problems.<P><P> In Democracy Matters, West returns to the analysis of the arrested development of democracy-both in America and in the crisis-ridden Middle East. In a strikingly original diagnosis, he argues that if America is to become a better steward of democratization around the world, we must first wake up to the long history of imperialist corruption that has plagued our own democracy. Both our failure to foster peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the crisis of Islamist anti-Americanism stem largely from hypocrisies in our dealings with the world. Racism and imperial expansionism have gone hand in hand in our country's inexorable drive toward hegemony, and our current militarism is only the latest expression of that drive. Even as we are shocked by Islamic fundamentalism, our own brand of fundamentalism, which West dubs Constantinian Christianity, has joined forces with imperialist corporate and political elites in an unholy alliance, and four decades after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., insidious racism still inflicts debilitating psychic pain on so many of our citizens.<P> But there is a deep democratic tradition in America of impassioned commitment to the fight against imperialist corruptions-the last great expression of which was the civil rights movement led by Dr. King-and West brings forth the powerful voices of that great democratizing tradition in a brilliant and deeply moving call for the revival of our better democratic nature. His impassioned and provocative argument for the revitalization of America's democracy will reshape the terms of the raging national debate about America's role in today's troubled world.

Fires in the Mirror

by Cornel West Anna Deavere Smith

Derived from interviews with a wide range of people who experienced or observed New York's 1991 Crown Heights racial riots, Fires In The Mirror is as distinguished a work of commentary on current Black-White tensions as it is a work of drama.

The Future of American Progressivism: An Initiative For Political And Economic Reform

by Cornel West Roberto M. Unger

Seizing the quintessentially American idea that everything is possible, Unger and West argue that we can stimulate economic growth and guarantee opportunity and sufficient resources for all citizens. They propose specific reforms in business, taxation, social security, and education, and their program is an image of American political and civic life as a vital, evolving, and hopeful arena for solving our collective problems. Theirs is an all-inclusive, bipartisan, business-friendly vision.

The Future of the Race

by Cornel West Henry Louis Gates

Almost one-hundred years ago, W.E.B. Du Bois proposed the notion of the "talented tenth," an African American elite that would serve as leaders and models for the larger black community. In this unprecedented collaboration, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Cornel West--two of Du Bois's most prominent intellectual descendants--reassess that relationship and its implications for the future of black Americans. If the 1990s are the best of times for the heirs of the Talented Tenth, they are unquestionably worse for the growing black underclass. As they examine the origins of this widening gulf and propose solutions for it, Gates and West combine memoir and biography, social analysis and cultural survey into a book that is incisive and compassionate, cautionary and deeply stirring.

Hip-Hop and Philosophy

by William Irwin Cornel West Tommie Shelby Derrick Darby

Is there too much violence in hip-hop music? What's the difference between Kimberly Jones and the artist Lil' Kim? Is hip-hop culture a "black" thing? Is it okay for N.W.A. to call themselves niggaz and for Dave Chappelle to call everybody bitches? These witty, provocative essays ponder these and other thorny questions, linking the searing cultural issues implicit - and often explicit - in hip-hop to the weighty matters examined by the great philosophers of the past. The book shows that rap classics by Lauryn Hill, OutKast, and the Notorious B.I.G. can help uncover the meanings of love articulated in Plato's Symposium; that Rakim, 2Pac, and Nas can shed light on the conception of God's essence expressed in St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica; and explores the connection between Run-D.M.C., Snoop Dogg, and Hegel. Hip-Hop and Philosophy proves that rhyme and reason, far from being incompatible, can be mixed and mastered to contemplate life's most profound mysteries.

Hope on a Tightrope: Words and Wisdom

by Cornel West

Offering openhearted wisdom for modern times, this courageous collection of quotations, speech excerpts, letters, and photographs is by the "New York Times"-bestselling author of "Democracy Matters".

Howard Zinn on Race

by Howard Zinn Cornel West

Howard Zinn on Race is Zinn's choice of the shorter writings and speeches that best reflect his views on America's most taboo topic. As chairman of the history department at all black women's Spelman College, Zinn was an outspoken supporter of student activists in the nascent civil rights movement. In "The Southern Mystique," he tells of how he was asked to leave Spelman in 1963 after teaching there for seven years. "Behind every one of the national government's moves toward racial equality," writes Zinn in one 1965 essay, "lies the sweat and effort of boycotts, picketing, beatings, sit-ins, and mass demonstrations." He firmly believed that bringing people of different races and nationalities together would create a more compassionate world, where equality is a given and not merely a dream. These writings, which span decades, express Zinn's steadfast belief that the people have the power to change the status quo, if they only work together and embrace the nearly forgotten American tradition of civil disobedience and revolution. In clear, compassionate, and present prose, Zinn gives us his thoughts on the Abolitionists, the march from Selma to Montgomery, John F. Kennedy, picketing, sit-ins, and, finally, the message he wanted to send to New York University students about race in a speech he delivered during the last week of his life.

Imperium in Imperio

by Cornel West A. J. Verdelle Sutton Griggs

Self-published in 1899 and sold door-to-door by the author, this classic African-American novel--a gripping exploration of oppression, miscegenation, exploitation, and black empowerment--was a major bestseller in its day. The dramatic story of a conciliatory black man and a mulatto nationalist who grow up in a racist America and are driven to join a radical movement dedicated to the creation of an all-black nation in Texas, Imperium in Imperio had a profound influence on the development of black nationalism.

The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World

by Cornel West Dave Zirin John Wesley Carlos

Seen around the world, John Carlos and Tommie Smith's Black Power salute on the 1968 Olympic podium sparked controversy and career fallout. Yet their show of defiance remains one of the most iconic images of Olympic history and the Black Power movement. <P><P>Here is the remarkable story of one of the men behind the salute, lifelong activist John Carlos.John Carlos is a former track and field athlete and professional football player, and a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. He won the bronze medal in the 200-meter race at the 1968 Olympics, where his Black Power salute on the podium with Tommie Smith caused much political controversy.Dave Zirin is the author of four books, including Bad Sports: How Owners are Ruining the Games We Love, A Peoples' History of Sports in the United States, and What's My Name, Fool?

Keeping Faith: Philosophy and Race in America

by Cornel West

This powerful collection of essays ranges widely across politics and philosophy in America, the role of the black intellectual, legal theory and the future of liberal thought, and the fate of African-Americans. In West's hands issues of race and freedom are inextricably tied to questions of philosophy and, above all, to a belief in the power of the human spirit. West situates the current position of African-Americans, tracing the genealogy of the "Afro-American Rebellion" from Martin Luther King to the rise of black revolutionary leftists. He explains both the opportunities and limitations of liberalism and nationalism, and offers strategies for a new generation of African-Americans. West insists that African-American oppression be understood within the larger crises of North Atlantic civilization. While maintaining the specificity of black identity and resistance, he provocatively suggests alliances with other intellectual and communal forms of American radicalism. Writing on "the new cultural politics of difference," the critical legal studies movement, American pragmatism, or race and social theory, West sustains the difficult balance between a subtly argued critique of the past and present, and a broadly conceived, daring vision of the future.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

by Cornel West Michelle Alexander

Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as "brave and bold," this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control--relegating millions to a permanent second-class status--even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a "call to action.<P><P> Chosen for Mark Zuckerberg's "A Year of Books"

The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere

by Cornel West Charles Taylor Judith Butler Jurgen Habermas Eduardo Mendieta Jonathan Vanantwerpen

The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere represents a rare opportunity to experience a diverse group of preeminent philosophers confronting one pervasive contemporary concern: what role does--or should--religion play in our public lives? Reflecting on her recent work concerning state violence in Israel-Palestine, Judith Butler explores the potential of religious perspectives for renewing cultural and political criticism, while Jürgen Habermas, best known for his seminal conception of the public sphere, thinks through the ambiguous legacy of the concept of "the political" in contemporary theory. Charles Taylor argues for a radical redefinition of secularism, and Cornel West defends civil disobedience and emancipatory theology. Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan VanAntwerpen detail the immense contribution of these philosophers to contemporary social and political theory, and an afterword by Craig Calhoun places these attempts to reconceive the significance of both religion and the secular in the context of contemporary national and international politics.

Prophetic Fragments: Illuminations of the Crisis in American Religion and Culture

by Cornel West

The articles include political commentary, cultural critique, literary analysis, extended book reviews, and even a short story by West. All of these are held together by a prophetic Afro-American Christian perspective.

Race Matters

by Cornel West

The fundamental litmus test for American democracy-its economy, government, criminal justice system, education, mass media, and culture-remains: how broad and intense are the arbitrary powers used and deployed against black people. In this sense, the problem of the twenty-first century remains the problem of the color line. --from the new PrefaceFirst published in 1993 on the one-year anniversary of the L.A. riots, Race Matters was a national best-seller, and it has since become a groundbreaking classic on race in America. Race Matters contains West's most powerful essays on the issues relevant to black Americans today: despair, black conservatism, black-Jewish relations, myths about black sexuality, the crisis in leadership in the black community, and the legacy of Malcolm X. And the insights that he brings to these complicated problems remain fresh, exciting, creative, and compassionate. Now more than ever, Race Matters is a book for all Americans, as it helps us to build a genuine multiracial democracy in the new millennium.From the Hardcover edition.

The Radical King

by Cornel West Martin Luther King

A revealing collection that restores Dr. King as being every bit as radical as Malcolm X"The radical King was a democratic socialist who sided with poor and working people in the class struggle taking place in capitalist societies. . . . The response of the radical King to our catastrophic moment can be put in one word: revolution--a revolution in our priorities, a reevaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life, and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens. . . . Could it be that we know so little of the radical King because such courage defies our market-driven world?" --Cornel West, from the Introduction Every year, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is celebrated as one of the greatest orators in US history, an ambassador for nonviolence who became perhaps the most recognizable leader of the civil rights movement. But after more than forty years, few people appreciate how truly radical he was. Arranged thematically in four parts, The Radical King includes twenty-three selections, curated and introduced by Dr. Cornel West, that illustrate King's revolutionary vision, underscoring his identification with the poor, his unapologetic opposition to the Vietnam War, and his crusade against global imperialism. As West writes, "Although much of America did not know the radical King--and too few know today--the FBI and US government did. They called him 'the most dangerous man in America.' . . . This book unearths a radical King that we can no longer sanitize."From the Hardcover edition.

Restoring Hope: Conversations on the Future of Black America

by Cornel West Kelvin S. Sealey

The relationship between art and politics, and the possibility of hope among African-Americans today. Defining the crucial issues of our times, they offer a transformative vision of the next century for black and white Americans alike.

The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto

by Cornel West Tavis Smiley

Record unemployment and rampant corporate avarice, empty houses but homeless families, dwindling opportunities in an increasingly paralyzed nation - these are the realities of 21st-century America, land of the free and home of the new middle class poor. Award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West, one of the nation's leading democratic intellectuals, co-hosts of Public Radio's "Smiley & West", now take on the 'P' word - poverty. "The Rich and the Rest of Us" is the next step in the journey that began with 'The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience.' Smiley and West's 18-city bus tour gave voice to the plight of impoverished Americans of all races, colors, and creeds. With 150 million Americans persistently poor or near poor, the highest numbers in over five decades, Smiley and West argue that now is the time to confront the underlying conditions of systemic poverty in America before it's too late. By placing the eradication of poverty in the context of the nation's greatest moments of social transformation - such as the abolition of slavery, woman's suffrage, and the labor and civil rights movements - ending poverty is sure to emerge as America's 21st -century civil rights struggle. As the middle class disappears and the safety net is shredded, Smiley and West, building on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., ask us to confront our fear and complacency with 12 poverty changing ideas. They challenge us to re-examine our assumptions about poverty in America - what it really is and how to eliminate it now.

Struggles in the Promised Land: Toward a History of Black--Jewish Relations in the United States

by Cornel West Jack Salzman

A collection of 21 recent essays on subjects including Jews in the slave trade, the contributions of Jews to the NAACP and the National Urban League, Jews and Blacks in the American Left, Black nationalism, and African Americans and Jews in Hollywood. For anyone interested in contemporary American culture and race relations.

The War Against Parents

by Cornel West Sylvia Ann Hewlett

Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Cornel West, a white woman and a black man, join to address the burning social issue of our time: the virtual abandonment of parents-poor and middle class-by America's business, political, and cultural elites. In what is both a visionary and intimate book, Hewlett and West present a blueprint for parent empowerment, which they call the Parents' Bill of Rights for the 21st century, which gives new value and dignity to the parental role and restores America's commitment to the well-being of children. With candor and hope for the future, the authors seek to unite America's 62 million parents behind an agenda that spans the divides of race, gender, and class.

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