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Killing the Messenger: A Story of Radical Faith, Racism's Backlash, and the Assassination of a Journalist Hardcover – February 7, 2012
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An "urgent new book" .... That "will be a revelation to many readers, detailing 100 years of American history that simply isn't part of the mainstream lexicon. Peele masterfully draws a line from the "radical faith" that the scars of slavery ... to the bullets that (killed) Chauncey Bailey" - San Francisco Chronicle.
Peele "leaves no stone unturned." He "illuminates each new character -- even if it means going back a generation or two ...he shows how racism and oppression spawned a radical faith rooted in revenge." Youngstown Vindicator
Killing the Messenger is "an astonishing account" that is comparable to David Simon and The Wire, saying, "More than a gripping true-crime story, "Killing the Messenger" is an indictment of a corrupt and cowardly civic culture that isn't unique to Oakland." - Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"Killing the Messenger is very well written and researched. Like James Michener, Peele begins at the roots." It "may be the best, most thoroughly researched and ... most objective book ... on (the Black Muslims) and is, no doubt, destine to become required reading in many colleges and universities." - Columbia Journalism Review
About the Author
THOMAS PEELE is a digital investigative reporter for the Bay Area News Group and the Chauncey Bailey Project. He is also a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. His many honors include the Investigative Reporters and Editors Tom Renner Award for his reporting on organized crime, and the McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage. He lives in Northern California.
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Fourth was the twenty-year old illegitimate son of church-bakery's founder, Yusuf Bey. The elder Bey raped Fourth's mother. Over the years, he had also raped Fourth, Fourth's sisters, brothers and aunts; he was said to have somewhere between forty and fifty children, all collecting some form of welfare support. Senior Bey owned expensive cars, lived in opulence, and wielded considerable power and influence in local and state politics. Fourth became head of the sect only when elder Bey was jailed for serial rapes of Fourth's thirteen year-old-sister. Given Fourth's life story, it's not difficult to understand that Fourth might become a sociopath who exhibited many of his father's traits plus murdering at least three people including Bailey. So, what about Bey senior? What's his story? Thomas Peele's answer is complex. It includes slavery, Jim Crow, lynching, KKK, red-lining, prejudice, racism, politics, and apathy. By digging for the rest of the story, Peele creates something akin to black history primer, part requiem for the lost, and part love song to Chauncey Bailey and all journalists everywhere. Read it, and weep.
Thomas Peele has investigated the background of the murder of a journalist, Chauncey Bailey, in Oakland, California in 2007. He gives the background of the changing racial composition of the city of Oakland from World War I to the present and shows how racism and changing economic opportunities affected people in the city. He also calls attention to the vital role journalists play in helping the average citizen to understand what is going on in the community and the importance of protecting journalists who expose corruption in government and society. This book should be read by concerned Americans across the country but especially those who live in Northern California.
In "Killing the Messenger: A Tale of Radical Faith, Racism's Backlash and the Killing of a Journalist," author Thomas Peele starts with a murder and digs around it until he has uncovered the history of the Black Muslim movement in America.
With a sense of immediacy and a descriptive eye, Peele unearths a story of America that only cracked the surface when a journalist was gunned down on an Oakland, Calif., street in 2007.
As an investigative reporter for a newspaper in the East Bay area that surrounds Oakland, the slaying of Chauncey Bailey by members of the Black Muslim cult was right in Peele's wheelhouse. The author hit it out of the park.
"Killing the Messenger" puts the reader into the inner sanctum of Your Black Muslim Bakery, a North Oakland institution run by Yusuf Ali Bey, and after his death, his son Yusuf Ali Bey IV. The author recreates conversations that would have shocked those outside its walls.
Both Beys lived as gods in their compounds, preaching hatred for whites and black self-sufficiency. They surrounded themselves with "soldiers," culled from the ghetto streets and mostly ex-cons, who would kill or die for him. Women were kept as sex slaves, sworn to submissiveness.
The sadistic elder Bey raped women and children at will in his compound while his fearful minions looked the other way. Murder, government fraud and a host of other illicit activities were also overseen by Bey and later, his son.
"Killing the Messenger" starts with the cold-blooded murder of Chauncey Bailey, a reporter for a black newspaper in Oakland who was writing an expose on the Bey cult. After laying the historical groundwork, the book then barrels back toward its starting point.
As the title suggests, Peele takes pains to illustrate how racial oppression gave rise to the radical pseudo-religion. Later in the book, he uncovers the shoddy inner workings of Oakland City Hall and its undermanned police force.