It’s Black History Month and I given some thought on what I want my entry to be on my blog during these incredibly devisive times.
Let me begin with one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King on racism in America… ‘Nothing in all of the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientous stupidity.’
I took the time this winter to read three books on race in America so as to in a sense make sure I was being objective on the issue of racism in our country. The first two books were both written by Isabel Wilkerson.
The first book… The Warmth of Other Suns was published in 2011 and won the Pulitzer prize for non-fiction. The book through three true life characters depicts how three black people from the South decided they could no longer abide by the Jim Crow laws and decided to migrate to other reaches of the country.
Two were male, one was female. The first male was a doctor from Lousiana who migrated to Oakland to start a new practice he never would have been allowed to pursue in Louisana. Even after obstacles in California he eventually broke through and became a celebrity physician when Ray Charles of all people became one of his patients.
The second male was a college dropout from Florida whose own father made him quit college because the father felt it was a waste of time for a black man to have a college degree in the South at the time.
This man became a citrus picker in Florida who finally decided he had to abandon the South because he started a union for the black citrus pickers in the South and began receiving death threats for being a labor organizer. This man migrated to New York and became a lifetime employee of the railroads where he helped underground blacks from the South do as he had done in his own life.
The lone female was Ida Ma the wife of a Mississippi sharcropper. She and her husband finally left the South as well and migrated to Chicago to start their new lives.
The story of the Warmth of Other Suns is told through the prisms of these three characters.
It took Ms. Wilkerson close to a decade to write this book and you’ll undertsand why if you read the book. Her research is meticulous.
Her second book Caste is a current New York Times non-fiction best seller as well. It was No. 1 for quite a while in fact….even in Oklahoma—which gives me some flicker of hope. Just a flicker mind you.
Caste was written in response to Donald Trump from his creation of the Birther movement in the South to disgraceful overt racism during the course of his presidency.
The book paralells racism in present America to Nazi Germany to the caste system in India. It is a highly provocative book for certain. I’d love to discuss it sometime with Bill Gates on a podcast if he would stop wasting his time on CNN.
Above is a linked audio segment of the opening of the book as Ms. Wilkerson narrates from a scene in Germany as facism is taking hold in its early stages.
I think you’ll find the narration chilling because it hits so close to home to what is happening in our country and certainly to what happened on January 6th in our own nation’s capitol.
The third book which made my final cut is the New Jim Crow written by Michelle Alexander. I’ll feature that excellent book next week as I continue Black Historty Month on my blog.
Unless you’re really into sincere ignorance and conscientous stupidity—you’ll close your eyes at some point and realize we’re all the same with the same dreams and aspirations….even in Oklahoma, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Sigh.
Hope you enjoy the audio book video excerpt and read a good book during Black History Month.