interviews

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.link

Gates examines the central idea that fueled the civil rights movement-- remove barriers to integration and 36 million blacks could become productive and join the middle class-- and calls it a fallacy. Looking at conventional assumptions about race, race identity and the great class gap dividing the black community, Gates explores the question: are blacks overall better off in ' 97 than they were in ' 67? Gates is Professor of the Humanities and Chair of the Afro-American Studies department, Harvard University, and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research.

 


Julian Bondlink

a former activist in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the first black to run for the Georgia State Legislature since reconstruction, and a former student of Martin Luther King, Jr. , measures the success of the civil rights movement and grapples with the issues facing the black middle class as they become increasingly distanced from the urban poor.

 


Eldridge Cleaverlink

author and former Black Panther leader, explains what would have happened to America had the Panthers' ideas for radically transforming society succeeded. He compares being black in 1997 to being black in 1967, weighs in on the Nation of Islam's doctrines and discusses the debate between W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington over how best to lift all blacks economically and socially.

 


Kathleen Cleaverlink

joined the Black Panther Party during the sixties, then went on to graduate summa cum laude from Yale Law School. She explains why divisions of class within the black community were ignored. She also analyzes the crisis in black leadership and the obligations of today's 'Talented Tenth' of educated blacks to the black underclass.

 


Angela Davislink

became an icon of the Black Power Movement. She is a lifelong member of the Communist Party and from that perspective, looks back on the sixties' struggles and why "the movement crashed." She discusses the choices that faced black activists at the time - such as pan-Africanism and the Panthers' radical economic program - and evaluates the legacy of each. She is a Professor of History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz and works with the Prisoner's Rights Movement and the National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression.

 


Christopher Edleylink

led the 1997 White House review of affirmative action programs. This interview offers his strong, thoughtful defense of affirmative action in which he answers questions such as -- What are the basic reasons for justifying affirmative action? Is there a moral cost in making decisions about people based on race or gender? When should affirmative action programs end? Edley is professor of law at Harvard Law School and author of Not All Black and White: Affirmative Action, Race and American Values.

 


Jesse Jacksonlink

founder of the Rainbow Coalition and Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity), thinks the problems of the underclass are two-fold: structural and behavioral. He advocates a restoration of values, explains how capitalism can solve the structural economic inquality, and why the class gap is bigger than the race gap for black Americans. Jackson, who worked as one of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s lieutenants in the Southern Christian Leadership Corps, has been fighting for the poor and dispossessed since the day he joined a group of students sitting-in at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.

 


Quincy Joneslink

award-winning composer, arranger, publisher and entrepreneur started his career as a jazz trumpeter when segregation was still the law of the land. He was already a well-regarded producer/composer of pop hits during the early days of the civil rights movement. Today, he is one of the few African-Americans with real power in the entertainment industry. Jones offers his views on gangster culture and its impact on black youth. He describes surmounting the poverty of his childhood, taking charge of his own business deals and why he's optimistic about the future of black America, particularly its young people. Jones is Executive Producer of the urban talk show, VIBE, and publisher of the magazine by the same name.

 


Maulana Karengalink

he is a professor and chair of the department of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach; chair of the Organization Us and the creator of Kwanzaa. Professor Karenga discusses the Mission Statement for the Million Man March/Day of Absence and stresses the need for African-Americans to build upon their traditions of social justice and collective community as a way to change the society at-large. Dr. Karenga is widely recognized as the father of Afrocentrism. He has written twelve books, including Introduction to Black Studies, Kawaida: A Communitarian African Philosophy, Selections from the Husia: Sacred Wisdom of Ancient Egypt, and Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family Community, and Culture.

 


Cornel Westlink

a professor of Afro-American Studies and Philosophy of Religion at Harvard University discusses with Gates the sense of moral responsiblity for each other that needs to be fostered in the black community. Describing the deeper sense of black community that existed in 1967, he explain how it can be recovered and why there is "a profound crisis of black leadership" in black communities. He has written eleven books including Keeping Faith, Prophetic Fragments, The Future of the Race (with Henry Louis Gates,Jr.), Breaking Bread (with bell hooks) and Race Matters. His latest book is a series of interviews with prominent African-Americans.

 


William Julius Wilsonlink

a professor of Afro-American Studies at Harvard University and has advised the Clinton administration on social and public policy issues. Wilson's interview includes a discussion of how the civil rights movement benefited a small percentage of middle-class and educated blacks; how the issues of lower-class blacks continue to be ignored; and why the causes of black poverty are both structural and behavioral. Wilson's books include The Declining Significance of Race: Blacks and the Changing American Institutions; The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass and Public Policy; and When Work Disappears.

 

 

 

 
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