I was very excited when I learned earlier this year that Justice While Black was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. We didn’t ultimately win, losing out to my good friend Hilary Beard’s excellent and important book, Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and In Life, which she wrote with Joe Brewster and Michelle Stephenson (the book actually includes an extended story about me and my son, but she uses an alias so you’ll never know who we are!). But it was nice to be acknowledged for our work on Justice While Black.
More than two years ago, I began talking with Atlanta attorney Robbin Shipp about how we might create in book form some kind of guide to help Black males deal with all-too-frequent harrowing encounters with law enforcement and provide them ways to avoid being devoured by the voracious prison industrial complex. After the heartbreak of Trayvon Martin’s tragic encounter with George Zimmerman, we sat down and started writing. The result is Justice While Black: Helping African-American Families Navigate and Survive the Criminal Justice System.
Released by Agate Publishing, it will be available on October 14. While I am proud of the finished product, I am so distraught that with each passing day the book feels even more relevant and necessary. Justice While Black delves into racial profiling, the traps of the traffic stop, the motivations of the police, the proper mindset when in the back of a police car, the tricks of the plea bargain system, the systemic racism and brutality of the prison industrial complex—in addition to tracing how the modern American police force, particularly in the South, grew directly out of slave patrols and the KKK. It is a crucial book for anybody raising a Black child in America or anybody who cares how our nation locks up Black men and women to feed a multi-billion-dollar business and employment system.
Find more info here at Agate and pre-order your copy now at Amazon.
When the Hechinger Report asked me to go to Mississippi to start chronicling the educational and societal woes of Black boys in the state, I jumped at the chance. This is my first dispatch. There will be others to follow.
I am pleased to announce that “The Rejected Stone” debuts at # 4 on the hardcover non-fiction list for Fall 2013.
The Power List is a quarterly compilation of best-selling books written or read by African Americans. The Power List is a joint project of AALBC.com, Cushcity.com and Mosaicbooks.com, three Web sites which have promoted African-American literature for more than a decade.
The Power List is compiled by collecting data from online book sellers, random samples on relevant Facebook pages, and a quarterly survey of 1,200 African-American book clubs. The list is released on the fourth Monday in the month following each calendar quarter.
Less than a week after its publication date, The Rejected Stone hit the New York Times bestsellers list, appearing on the Hardcover Nonfiction List at No. 21.
The Rev and I thank everyone who has supported this book so vigorously and we hope to keep the momentum going. We’ve just gotten word that Rev. Sharpton will be sitting down with Oprah Winfrey—so hopefully we’ll keep marching up the list.