Suggested Summer Reading for Serious Black Folks

Those of us who are serious about advancing and protecting the economic, cultural, political and legal interests of our people in this country should read and learn from the three books included in this column.

The first is Black Money Matters (Teach Your Dollars How To Make More Sense) by Professor James Clingman. His book consists mainly of his “Blackonomics” column. Especially notable are columns such as “Consumers Being Consumed,” “Black Selling Power,” “Buying Black—The Empowerment Experience,” “Stimulate Your Own Economy,” “Paying the Price for Squandering Resources,” “The Collective Empowerment Group,” “Pooling Your Resources,” “Economic Self-Interest,” “Common Sense Leads to Common Cents,” “No Justice, No Profit,” “Arrest the Black Dollar” and “The Bottom Line—Black Dollars Matter.”

A similar message is delivered by Claud Anderson, Ed. D., in his book, PowerNomics (The National Plan to Empower Black America). In chapters such as “The Keys to Empowerment,” “Practicing Group Economics,” “Racism, Monopolies and Inappropriate Behavior,” “New and Expanded Role for Churches,” “Building Competitive Communities” and “The PowerNomics Empowerment Plan,” Professor Anderson makes the case for our economic advancement.

Both brothers, in a clear, precise, straight-forward, informative and no-nonsense style, insist that we have hurt our struggle for equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity by not more effectively using our individual and collective economic resources. And they don’t just describe the condition; they also provide concrete guidelines for action.

Another suggested book for reading in the summer of 2017 is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? It always amazes me as to how many of us have never even heard of this mind-expanding book which was published less than a year before Dr. King was assassinated and is written in the first person.

The Dr. King in this book is not the “I Have A Dream,” person that he has been reduced to during the past nearly 50 years. In fact, I have read statements and excerpts from it to my students and ask them “Who said that?” “Malcolm X,” they will answer. When told it’s Dr. King, they are totally surprised. For instance, when analyzing the state of the 1960s movement for civil rights, Dr. King wrote: “In assessing the results of the Negro revolution so far, it can be concluded that Negroes have established a foothold, no more…The hard truth is neither Negro nor white has yet done enough to expect the dawn of a new day. While much has been done, it had been accomplished by too few and on a scale too limited for the breath of the goal…The brunt of the Negro’s past battles was borne by a very small striking force. Though millions of Negroes were ardent and passionate supporters, only a modest number were actively engaged, and these were relatively too few for a broad war against racism, poverty and discrimination. Negroes fought and won, but our engagements were skirmishes, not climatic battles.”

Those are not the words of an eternal dreamer. Neither are the following about what we still need to do: “We must turn more of our energies and focus our creativity on the useful thing that translates into power…It must become a crusade so vital that civil rights organizers do not repeatedly have to make person calls to summon support. There must be a climate of social pressure in the Negro community that scorns the Negro who will not pick up his citizenship rights and add strength enthusiastically and voluntarily to the accumulation of power for himself and his people…”

Yes, folks, that’s Dr. King talking about the need to accumulate power and to scorn those who don’t contribute to the battle against white supremacy.

A final suggestion is that family, friends and members of clubs and organizations read, discuss and learn from the books together.

And, yes, put their guidelines into action.

A. Peter Bailey, whose latest book is Witnessing Brother Malcolm X, the Master Teacher, can be reached at