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The Decline of Black Politics: From Malcolm X to Barack Obama

My take on the road black politics has traveled. I hope that it will help people better understand the politics they are facing and the electoral choices they must make.







During the 2008 Democratic National Convention that ended up nominating Barack Obama, I flew out to Denver with the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Many people know that Jesse Jackson and I go way back. I could share many stories about that trip. But, the scene that replays the most in my memory is walking down the street in downtown Denver and coming across a black vendor selling T-shirts with Obama’s face superimposed over Malcolm X’s in the famous photo where Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm meet and shake hands. I stopped dead in my tracks. I cussed aloud; saying, indignantly, to this fellow I didn't know, “That’s fucked up!’

I then asked him, in an irksome tone, “How ya’ll gonna just spray paint that brother a place in history he wasn’t at?” To my surprise -and good fortune- he didn’t come back ugly on me. He grinned and said, “C’mon man, jus makin’ that money” and went on with his business.

That said, this book’s title reflects where I believe black politics in the United States stands at this moment in time. To me things are still moving in the wrong direction in more ways than one. Even with an African American as head of state. And more black billionaires, millionaires, media personalities, athletes and entertainers than ever before. And more black elected officials, most who are democrats, in the nation’s history. Just think about it.

There were about 100 black elected officials back in 1964. There were well over 9,000 as of 2010. So arguably, the most pronounced accomplishment of black politics in the decades following the death of Martin Luther King Jr. is gaining public office.

This book is my take on the road black politics has traveled. It's a project I've worked on over a numbers of years which needs a bit of funding for completion before the 2012 elections. I hope that it will help people better understand the politics they are facing and the electoral choices they have to make.


Book Cover

Book's Table of Content:

FORWARD

1 PREFACE

2 INTRODUCTION - It just keeps getting harder to fight

3 The Excesses of the 60s

4 The Civil Rights era

5 Black Power, Black Panthers, Malcolm X and the Limitations of Black Nationalism

6 Black politics and anti-colonialism

7 Jesse Jackson, the Rainbow Coalition and the left

8 Bling – The Reagan-Oprah-Nike-two Michael’s Generation

9 The 90s resurgence of black nationalism

10 War on drugs, 9-11 and war on Iraq

11 Black versus Brown

12 Class and Culture

13 The New Smoothy-Doovys - The New Democrats and the rise of Barack Obama

14 Conclusion I: Black Power?

15 Conclusion II: Getting in the game


To be published by Verso Books.

About the author

Kevin A. Gray
Kevin Alexander Gray

Cultural name - Khalid Aikiiki Gamba (Eternal Friend & Warrior).

Organizer-Harriet Tubman Freedom House Project.

Hear me Sunday 4-5pm on "Live from the Land of Hopes and Dreams"on Sirius 146.

Regular columns in The Progressive and Counterpunch.

“A Call for a New Anti-War Movement” appears in How to Legalize Drugs: Public Health, Social Science and Civil Liberties Perspective edited by Dr. Jefferson Fish of St. John’s University.

“The Legacy of Strom Thurmond” is in Jack Newfield’s American Monsters and “Soul Brother” featured in Alex Cockburn and Jeff St. Clair’s Dimes Worth of Difference.

Essays on race & politics have appeared in The Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy – “The Intensification of Racial Solidarity in the 1990s under the guise of Black Nationalism”; The Washington Post Outlook Section, Emerge,The American University Graduate Review & numerous other publications.



Kevin Alexander Gray © 2011