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Not in My Family: AIDS in the African-American Community Paperback – December 1, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Reflecting on the diagnosis of a husband, the loss of a friend or the survival of a mother, the 58 first-person narratives collected here give voice to bald statistics, such as that AIDS is the #1 killer of black women between the ages of 24 and 34. The writers include a "woman living luxuriously in the suburbs of Los Angeles," a man who "found excitement in the orgy scene," someone who "discovered [his] own feelings for AIDS through other people" and another who can "hardly remember what it was like not to have HIV." Famous voices, such as Al Sharpton, Patti LaBelle and Randall Robinson, as well as four congressional representatives are here, but the full power of this book rises from the personal testimonies of African-Americans writing from varied sexual, gender, class and lifestyle perspectives. This passionate collection is strengthened by William Yarbro's context-setting essay and highly practical advice from Jocelyn Elders, Herndon Davis and Dyana Williams. "Having watched countless accounts of the virus's impact on the African American community," Robertson writes, "I was dismayed by how few African Americans were an active part of this dialogue." Not any longer: those voices are loud and clear. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


As I read LaBelle became Sharpton became the next writer as each essay bled into the other to present a sobering and often prophetic picture of HIV/AIDS.In essence, the book presents an interesting picture-in-text of a beleaguered group, a picture taken through the lenses of hope and prayer in order to confront a common enemy that crept in as people slept, and continues its assault as they lie half-awake the book is guaranteed to make you think, and perhaps inspire you to do something. Though wet with tears, it is also full of love, compassion, and the kind of strength that, according to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., allows people to ..". go on anyhow." --Joseph P. Blake "Philadelphia Inquirer ""

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Agate Bolden; 1 edition (December 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932841245
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932841244
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #516,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Lloyd Williams on December 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Black America, we have a problem.

HIV/AIDS is running rampant through our communities. Many of us are sick and dying and living in fear and shame, and many of us who aren't afflicted are living in denial, detachment, ignorant, and glass houses. Worse yet, too many people in our communities act as if they are immune to the problem altogether.

`Not me.' `Not in my family!' And that's the problem.

Not in My Family is a weapon of warfare, a tool of empowerment, and a manual on friendship. It includes lessons before dying, lessons on living, lessons on love, and lessons on letting go. It is a collection of colorful stories, hard truths, and differing opinions from people of various lifestyles strung together to teach us not only how to survive, but how to thrive in the face of HIV and AIDS.

It is a dose of truth to our community. And hopefully, the truth will make us free."

-- Excerpted from the Introduction

In the United States, AIDS is increasingly an African-American epidemic, taking a disproportionate toll on the black community where someone is ten times as likely to contract the disease as in a white neighborhood. According to Gil Robertson, many factors have contributed to the explosion of this frightening phenomenon, including "dysfunction, fear, poverty, and lack of information." In fact, he suggests, that upon close inspection, we find the causes to be almost as plentiful as the number of individuals infected.

For this reason, Robertson, decided to edit an anthology of essays by folks touched by the disease, whether they might having a loved one coping with the ailment, be personally infected, on the front lines as an activist, or modestly ministering to patients.
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Format: Paperback
NOT IN MY FAMILY: AIDS IN THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY, edited by Gil L. Robertson, a journalist whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines, is a landmark collection of essays that gives testament to the devastation of AIDS in Black America.

The statistics are indisputable: African-Americans are withstanding the worst of the AIDS epidemic in America. In NOT IN MY FAMILY, Blacks from all walks o life attempt to address the matter by answering questions such as: How can the nation transcend cultural barriers to address the devastation? And how can the Black community combat HIV/AIDS when denial has surrounded the disease for so long?

The collection includes essays from entertainers Patti LaBelle, Mo'Nique and Hill Harper; best-selling authors Randall Robinson and Omar Tyree; political leaders Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and former US Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders; and religious leaders that include the Rev. AL Sharpton and the Rev. Calvin O. Butts III. Butts, pastor

of Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City, writes a poignant portrait of a young woman who contracted the disease from her drug-abusing spouse. "I told her that AIDS is a disease that can be contacted like other diseases," Butts writes. "I also said, `hold firm to the truth, God Loves you." Butts also addresses changing attitudes within the church about the disease and how it is contacted. "While I would not include myself among those leaders with in the Black church who have been callous to members suffering from AIDS, I have made some errors along the way. In that way, I am no different from any of us. Of course, as a minister and community leader, I am particularly concerned about what I say and the image I project..."

NOT IN MY FAMILY presents powerful stories about a scourge on the African American community, and offers insight that can likely lead to effective change.
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Format: Paperback
Not in My Family: AIDS in the African American Community grips its readers form the opening words. This collection of personal essay by numerous celebrities including Mo'Nique, Byron Cage, Patti LaBelle and Sheryl Lee Ralph, Randall Robison, Omar Tyree, Hill Harper, Jasmine Guy and Rev. Al Sharpton is edited by Gil L. Robertson IV and explores the debilitating disease that has quietly ravage countless families in the black community.

This candid compilation pokes its head into the darkest corners of the African-American psyche and experience. A black woman faced with the infection of her beloved drug-abusing bisexual husband and a swinging corporate America nephew recalls the connection, crisis and journey of those within his own family. The account of Mr. Marcus,, the highly popular adult film star, who feel compelled to have sex on camera after being recruited in Las Vegas, reveals the historical wounds that his family's legacy inflicted upon him.

Robertson weaves personal and heart-wrenching experiences that shed light on the dire need that exists throughout the African Diaspora. This anthology should be "used to stop the enemy in his tracks," as Robertson prescribes. Not in My Family is a guide and an icebreaker. It is thought provoking, sincere and heartfelt. It is necessary.
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A Kid's Review on December 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
This AIDS awareness books is a great way for people to learn about the horrors of AIDS what they can do to help stop this epidemic. Robertson calls on many African American figures like Patti LaBelle, Mo'Nique, and Al Sharpton and others. There were stories from everyday figures and I could honestly feel their pain. There was a poem from a poet in the beginning of the book and it was well fit to open this kind of book. Kudos to Gil for this effort, we need to support!!
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