“They Were Her Property” by Stephanie Jones-Rogers discusses the role that White women played in the institution of slavery. It’s pointed out that so often, in part because of patriarchy, White women are not perceived as having played an active role in slavery. This is because White women were also subjugated by the patriarchal society of the time and did not have voting rights or other basic civil and civic rights that were afforded to men. But as we see throughout history, and is explained here in this book, an individual or group of people being oppressed does not mean that they themselves are incapable of oppression.
Category: <span>Book Reviews</span>
“Welcome to Lagos” by Chibundu Onuzo is the story of five people from different parts of Nigerian society who flee the Niger Delta in hopes of better lives in Lagos. Instead they find themselves struggling to secure basics like employment, a place to live, and food. Largely ignored by society, they get caught up in a political scandal that threatens to upend their lives right when they finally find some degree of stability and comfort.
“The Color of Money” by Mehrsa Baradaran discusses the history of Black banks. The author endeavors to show the problems of relying on Black banks to solve the economic problems within the Black community. She shows that throughout history this has been an often repeated idea. Local Black banks and Black people have been tasked with guiding the community out of poverty.
“The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man” by James Weldon Johnson is the fictional account of a biracial man looking back over his life. The story is told in the first-person though the narrator remains unnamed and is never described physically. He tells of being born in the South and growing up in Connecticut where he learns that he is a very light-skinned biracial boy who some assume is White. As a young man he sets out on his own and travels to different parts of America and later Europe, recounting his experiences in Black and White society along the way.
“One Righteous Man” by Arthur Browne tells the story of Samuel Battle, the first Black police officer in New York City. In addition to braving the expected dangers of patrolling the streets Battle also had to contend with his fellow officers who felt he didn’t belong on the force. Over his decorated 40-year career Battle would fight crime but also discrimination and sabotage within the department.