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Must-read books for potential Black leaders

A. Peter Bailey

A. Peter Bailey

By A. Peter Bailey
Trice Edney Newswire

As students move into the 2013 fall semester in colleges and universities throughout the country, it’s a good time to alert those who strive to be or are considered to be future leaders in the African American communities about books that will assist them in achieving their goals.

It must be noted that the students to whom I am referring are those who aspire to be leaders and creators in the Black community, those who share the attitude expressed by late publisher John H. Johnson when he reportedly said, “I don’t want to be King of the Hill; I want to be King of the Black Hill.” That’s the kind of visionary, persistent, talented, intelligent leadership needed by Black folks to promote and protect our economic cultural and political interests in this group-oriented society.

The recommended books are presented by Black folks from a variety of arenas, all of whom are activists in the ongoing campaign for equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity.

The first is from Dr. Adelaide C. Sanford, Vice Chancellor Emerita, New York State Board of Regents. Her book is “Brainwashed” by Tom Burrell which she says “clarifies not only the self-destructive phenomena of self-hatred suffered by too many African Americans, but also makes substantive recommendations to counteract the centuries long projection of inferiority and its unexamined assumption of white supremacy and its myriad ramifications.”

Imam Al-Hajj Hakim Abdul Ali, a columnist for The Chronicle newspaper (Charleston, S.C.), recommends “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell “in which the author distills everything that he learned from more than 30 years of leadership in business and life. It’s a definitive read for a beginner who seriously wants to assume leadership in our community or any community.”

For entrepreneur Jesse Frierson, the book is E. Franklin Frazier’s “Black Bourgeoisie,” because “before any real progress can be made, we must fully understand ‘political power’ is but an idea in the minds of many that will never be achieved without real economic power.”

The recommendation of psychologist Dr. Esther Hyatt is Dr. Clem Marshall’s “Talking Cheddo” “which means investing in language for our liberation. It is a journey and a must-read, not only for embattled Black youth, but also for impoverished school curricula.”

Radio talk show warrior Leroy J. Baylor’s book is “Message to the Black Man” by “the Honorable Elijah Muhammad because its philosophy still fuels the Black consciousness movement today. In the book he promotes Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and J.A. Rogers, two Black men whose lives and works need to be studied.”

Howard University scholar, Dr. Greg Carr, selected “The Eloquence of the Scribes” by Ayi Kwei Armah. “It is a narrative of his life that focuses on the importance of scholarship and activism in Black life throughout history.”

Sam Yette’s “The Choice” is the recommendation of educator/ author Dr. Clem Marshall. “People of Afrikan ancestry, especially our technologically seduced youth, can lack significant information about our own lives,” says Dr. Marshall. “Vital information is hidden away in plain sight. “The Choice” highlights facts we need for our survival, then leaves us free to make up our minds.”

For electrical engineer Earl Grant who worked closely with Brother Malcolm X and for President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, the recommended book is “Operation Mind Control,” which he says “is a confession of activities by those out to control our people. Their activities have deeply and negatively affected us without our knowing about them. Anyone serious about leadership must be knowledgeable about such tactics.”

My recommended book is “The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D.,” a compelling analyses by Chancellor Williams on what he considered the negative impact of both Islam and Christianity on African people. Its last two chapters, Organizing a Race for Action and The Shape of Things To Come: A Master Plan, provide concrete guidelines for anyone serious about being an effective leader of our people.

A. Peter Bailey, a lecturer and author of the memoir, Witnessing Brother Malcolm X: The Master Teacher. Reach him at 202.291.4560 or

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