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The Covenant with Black America Paperback – February 22, 2006
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First, The Covenant seems like a less well written version of the State of Black America the National Urban League published, and which most people shelved until it was time to research black (American) pathologies. Maybe the intent is to motivate those who aren't aware of the dismal lack of access and fight for opportunity black folks deal with day to day, but those "unaware" can't number more than two, and they can't be black.
Very, very distinguished black achievers participated, and do an excellent job of reiterating American history that continues to undermine black progress. There are also nice examples of efforts people and groups are doing to stem the onslaught of black decline. But the "covenant" gives no sense of whether the examples are endorsed as part of a national action plan that every community should try to implement.
Finally, for me, there are three disturbing elements of The Covenant that can perhaps be addressed to help inspire a movement in the 21st century:
1) It frames black people in America as if we had no successful history before enslavement, before Jim Crow, before the death of affirmative action. To successfully train black children is to put violence against their race as a relatively new construct, not the sum total of existence. Please, have the intellectuals delve a little deeper into the culture that we come from that still makes us strong enough to go on.Read more ›
Though this is bracketed (explicitly) as a book for minorities, "Americans in general" could do a lot worse than to read Smiley's anthology. And it's a good read, too.
"The Covenant" includes chapters on healthcare, public education, justice system, policing, housing, politics, rural roots, jobs, environment, and the digital divide. Each chapter outlines the issues from the author's perspective, provides a bio of the author (if this bio were at the front of each chapter, it would be helpful), collates statistics on the topic (a more diverse collation of statistics could increase the impact of the book), shares what the community can do, explains what individuals can do, tells what works now, and describes what leaders and politicians can do (again, further balance here would be beneficial).
"The Covenant" is the brainchild of Tavis Smiley who offers it as a roadmap toward future hope. He brings together a laudable team of experts in their field, though one might wish for greater diversity in political, social, and economic perspectives.
Particularly helpful are the sections on what works now. It's always easy to identify a problem, it's somewhat easy to propose a solution, but it's always helpful to provide examples of currently workable and working models. Smiley follows the "best practices" model of illustrating how to move into the future effectively by describing those who are already successfully doing so.
A chapter on spiritual and religious values, given their historical and current emphasis in the African American community, also would add to the books value.Read more ›
But that apart, the efforts of all those who contributed to this fine book remain commendable. Readers of this book will appreciate well-reasoned pieces of advice that abound in it. Every aspect of socio-anthropological progression: including health, education, religion, and psychology were discussed. This book may just be two hundred pages, but its content is a fountain of knowledge and wisdom. It is a very good effort indeed: regardless of its few shortcomings.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Added to my collection. Nice source on objectives for Black America.Published 15 months ago by Ms. P-G
I enjoyed selecting this product. It served my purpose and my immediate needs, it was informative and a perfect gift (to myself or others.).Published on June 25, 2014 by Mae
I would recommend this book to Academics and Activists. It wasn't what I expected. I'm sure there is a readership that would get more out of this book than I did. Read morePublished on January 25, 2014 by Ernestine Chatman Cobb