Say It Loud, By: Catherine Ellis and Stephen Drury Smith – Book Review

The presentation is interesting whether or not you agree with the authors. The book discusses Malcolm X and his famous “By any means necessary” reference to dislodging racism. In my own experience, a more inclusive teaching of global history and culture would accomplish this aim. The current texts tend to be Eurocentric; however, this is changing ever so slowly with the inclusion of Latin America, Asia and select countries like South Africa.

Malcolm’s famous pilgrimage to Mecca is cited. In addition, Malcolm X believed that the local residents should own, operate and control the economic entities within their neighborhood and sphere of influence. I agree. Residents should own and control the economic factors of production within their community.

There is an excellent discussion of Lorraine Hansberry. Her best known work, A Raisin in the Sun, was inspired by the family’s legal battle against racially segregated housing laws in the Washington Park Subdivision of the South Side of Chicago. The chapter on Dr. Martin Luther King was excellent. In particular, he stated that “the Negro lives in the basement of the Great Society”. There has been improvement in my lifetime. Specifically, African Americans have more representation at the very top of the United States Government. i.e. Presidency, Cabinet, Supreme Court, The Congress, Governorships etc.

On his death, nearly 100 cities exploded in random violence. Dr. King’s Citizen Education Program emphasized literacy, consumer education and Planned Parenthood. Operation Breadbasket in Chicago resulted in 2200 new jobs and nearly $18MM in incremental yearly income. Dr. King sought to achieve “A Higher Synthesis” which will have integrated the best of theoretic Socialist systems and the Free Market.

Obviously, Socialism had negations in the form of too much government control, Gosplan under the old Soviet Union, unrealistic quotas and sporadic expropriations. The Free Markets have negations in the form of too much corporate greed, over-consumption of scarce resources, labor exploitation and insufficient coordination of government oversight. The latter part of the book discusses President Obama and his call to provide health care to the sick, jobs to the jobless and education to a broader segment of society and its children. I believe that the book succeeds in presenting a fair recitation of African American History through the prism of the famous people quoted and discussed at length.

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