dr. greg kimathi carr's recommended reading / howard freshman seminar texts

The Liberator Magazine


Howard University Afro-American Studies Chairman Dr. Greg Carr is one of the most important living teachers in America. I am extremely excited to share this first collection of his recommended titles with you. It is titled "Dr. Greg Carr's Recommended Reading (#001)" because my expectation is that there will be more to come. Also, a complete bibliography of Dr. Gerald Horne's works will soon follow; Dr Carr recommended "everything by Gerald Horne", but there is so much that it deserves its own posting. I would also like to consider compiling similar personalized reading lists from other master teachers, so if you have anyone in mind please drop a comment. Thank you.

Updates: (1) Added Gerald Horne Bibliography; (2) Added Ayi Kwei Armah Bibliography; (3) Began adding Core Texts from Howard's Freshman Seminar.

{The Education of Black People: Ten Critiques, 1906-1960 by W.E.B. Du Bois}

Undoubtedly the most influential black intellectual of the twentieth century and one of America's finest historians, W.E.B. DuBois knew that the liberation of the African American people required liberal education and not vocational training. He saw education as a process of teaching certain timeless values: moderation, an avoidance of luxury, a concern for courtesy, a capacity to endure, a nurturing love for beauty. At the same time, DuBois saw education as fundamentally subversive. This was as much a function of the well-established role of educationfrom Plato forwardas the realities of the social order under which he lived. He insistently calls for great energy and initiative; for African Americans controlling their own lives and for continued experimentation and innovation, while keeping education's fundamentally radical nature in view. Though containing speeches written nearly one-hundred years ago, and on a subject that has seen more stormy debate and demagoguery than almost any other in recent history, The Education of Black People approaches education with a timelessness and timeliness, at once rooted in classical thought that reflects a remarkably fresh and contemporary relevance. (amazon.com)

{Of Africa by Wole Soyinka}

A member of the unique generation of African writers and intellectuals who came of age in the last days of colonialism, Wole Soyinka has witnessed the promise of independence and lived through postcolonial failure. He deeply comprehends the pressing problems of Africa, and, an irrepressible essayist and a staunch critic of the oppressive boot, he unhesitatingly speaks out. In this magnificent new work, Soyinka offers a wide-ranging inquiry into Africa's culture, religion, history, imagination and identity. He seeks to understand how the continent's history is entwined with the histories of others, while exploring Africa's truest assets: "its humanity, the quality and valuation of its own existence, and modes of managing its environment - both physical and intangible (which includes the spiritual)". Fully grasping the extent of Africa's most challenging issues, Soyinka nevertheless refuses defeatism. With eloquence he analyzes problems ranging from the meaning of the past to the threat of theocracy. He asks hard questions about racial attitudes, inter-ethnic and religious violence, the viability of nations whose boundaries were laid out by outsiders, African identity on the continent and among displaced Africans, and more. Soyinka's exploration of Africa relocates the continent in the reader's imagination and maps a course toward an African future of peace and affirmation. (amazon.com)

{Black Marxism by Cedric Robinson}

"First published in 1983, Cedric Robinson traces the emergence of Marxist ideology in Europe, the resistance by blacks in historically oppressive environments, and the influence of both of these traditions on such important twentieth-century black radical thinkers as W. E. B. Du Bois, C. L. R. James, and Richard Wright. Robinson demonstrates that efforts to understand black people's history of resistance solely through the prism of Marxist theory are incomplete and inaccurate."

{Black Movements in America by Cedric Robinson}

"Robinson traces the emergence of Black political cultures in the United States from slave resistances in the 16th and 17th centuries to the civil rights movements of the present. Drawing on the historical record, he argues that Blacks have constructed both a culture of resistance and a culture of accommodation based on ... different experiences."

{Eloquence of the Scribes: A Memoir on the Sources and Resources of African Literature by Ayi Kwei Armah}

"This literary memoir by Armah, author of Two Thousand Seasons, unearths buried connections between the oral and written traditions of ancient Egypt, feudal Africa and contemporary Africa."

{Mbongi: An African Traditional Political Institution by K. Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau}

"Dr. Fu-Kiau shares the structure and process of 'governance,' a collective problem-solving, consensus-building indigenous approach."

{Yurungu: An African-Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behaviour by Marimba Ani}

"Removes the mask from the European facade and thereby reveals the inner workings of global white supremacy."

{Black Is A Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle For Democracy by Nikhil Pal Singh}

"Nikhil Pal Singh asks what happened to the worldly and radical visions of equality that animated black intellectual activists ... in the 1930s to ... the 1960s. In so doing, he constructs an alternative history of civil rights in the twentieth century, a long civil rights era, in which radical hopes and global dreams are recognized as central to the history of black struggle. It is through the words and thought of key black intellectuals, like Du Bois, Ralph Bunche, C. L. R. James, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, and others, as well as movement activists like Malcolm X and Black Panthers, that vital new ideas emerged and circulated. Their most important achievement was to create and sustain a vibrant, black public sphere broadly critical of U.S. social, political, and civic inequality. Finding racism hidden within the universalizing tones of reform-minded liberalism at home and global democratic imperatives abroad, race radicals alienated many who saw them as dangerous and separatist. Few wanted to hear their message then, or even now, and yet, as Singh argues, their passionate skepticism about the limits of U.S. democracy remains as indispensable to a meaningful reconstruction of racial equality and universal political ideals today as it ever was."

Originally Posted 12/31/2009
Second Posting 12/30/2013

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