Click here to go to the Home Page Book Review: The Best of "The Way I See It" and Other Political Writings (1989-2010), by Jamala Rogers - The Color of Law - By David A. Love, JD - Executive Editor

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Jamala Rogers, the veteran activist, organizer, writer and Editorial Board member, has written a new book about the African-American experience. BC Question: What will it take to bring Obama home?And if you care about black folks, human rights and social justice, perhaps you should take a look.

The book, The Best of �The Way I See It� and Other Political Writings (1989-2010), is a collection of the author�s commentaries from the Saint Louis American, and other publications. Spanning over several decades to speak to the struggles of the black experience and examine the wrongs waged against the community. Rogers� work is actually three books in one � part-storybook of the poor and oppressed, part-annotated history of black people in America, part-recipe book for addressing inequality and injustice.

The power of Jamala Rogers� writing is its accessibility, and its clarity in articulating the challenges of everyday people. Her words make readers feel as if they are a part of the story, and motivate them to take action. Commentaries that she wrote in the 80s and 90s, having stood the test of time, are as relevant, timely and fresh as if she just wrote them yesterday.

�My intent is always to have a conversation with my readers � to inform, to inspire, and to move them to action. That�s whether it�s the waitress at the local restaurant or the professor at the university,� Rogers writes. �My writings are inspired and informed by the valiant struggles of peoples to their oppressive and exploitative conditions no matter where they are in the world. My goal is to expose the systems that reproduce those conditions and to provide possible strategies for our collective discussion and actions. I strive to show the inter-connectedness of the global economic system and how it affects [our] daily lives.�

What should strike the reader is the depth of the author�s knowledge on a variety of subjects - whether historical or current events - and the diversity of issues she tackles in this book. Perhaps it speaks partly to the universal and intractable nature of injustice. However, ultimately it tells far more about the skill and knowledge of the author.

The Best of �The Way I See It� is a journey across America and the world. In one chapter, Jamala tells the story of the Tuskegee Experiment, when the U.S. government played with the lives of black men by allowing them to suffer for years and die from untreated Syphilis. Another chapter may discuss the controversial black boxer Jack Johnson, or the plight of the Palestinians, Haitians or Katrina victims, or coal miners, or a police brutality victim.

Another subject that permeates this collection of stories is Rogers� beloved, and many times not so beloved, city of St. Louis. St. Louis, as the author reminds us, is the location of the Old Courthouse where the original Dred Scott took place and justice ultimately was denied. St. Louis is also a city where black children had to run for their lives while attempting to integrate a public swimming pool, as an armed white mob chased and spat at them. And like so many other cities, public hospitals that serve the poor are shuttered to make way for condominiums, bad police officers are acquitted, and wars are waged against popular, community-oriented black journalists.

�In the Lou, ours is an ongoing struggle to overcome intractable racism to create a safe and just place that protects the human rights of all,� Jamala Rogers writes of St. Louis in the book. �This is a city which has held several dishonorable titles, including Most Racially Segregated, Most Dangerous City, Least Kid-Friendly City, #1 in Racial Mortgage Rate Disparity, just to name a few. St. Louis racism is not just a figment of our imagination, it is our brutal reality.�

The Best of �The Way I See It� was an enjoyable read, opening my eyes on certain subjects and reaffirming what I already knew concerning others. Although I first expected a compilation of articles, what I discovered was a powerful account of the struggles facing the black community. Executive Editor, David A. Love, JD is a journalist and human rights advocate based in Philadelphia, is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. and a contributor to The Huffington Post, the Grio, The Progressive Media Project, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, In These Times and Philadelphia Independent Media Center. He also blogs at, NewsOne, Daily Kos, and Open Salon. Click here to contact Mr. Love.

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Oct 6, 2011 - Issue 444
is published every Thursday
Est. April 5, 2002
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble
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