Wednesday, March 23, 8pm – Non-Fiction
Clarence Lusane author of The Black History of the White House ($19.95 City Lights Publishers)
and Linn Washington Jr., Philadelplhia journalist and journalism professor
“Black folks built the White House in more ways than one. In this beautifully rendered narrative, Clarence Lusane recasts the whole of American history by revealing how slavery and emancipation, racial violence and civil rights, the black freedom movement and white supremacy, and dozens of unsung black heroes shaped the U.S. presidency and federal government in profound ways. Anyone who cares about this country and is not afraid of the truth must read this book, including President Obama. It can help him get his house in order.” —Robin D. G. Kelley, author Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
“In the age of the tea party and the short memory of racism in America, The Black History of the White House is a must read. In bringing to life the histories of racial exclusion and humiliation exercised from within the walls of the nation’s most abiding symbol, Clarence Lusane offers a searing reminder of the tenacious personal and political effort from the country’s highest office it has taken to uphold racial privilege in the US. But this is a story too of the mountains that had to be climbed so courageously in the reach for freedom and ultimately, as George Clinton has put it, ‘to make the White House black/brown,’ to represent all of America.”
—David Theo Goldberg, author of The Threat of Race: Reflections on Racial Neoliberalism
“Reading The Black History of the White House shows us how much we DON’T know about our history, politics, and culture. In a very accessible and polished style, Clarence Lusane takes us inside the key national events of the American past and present. He reveals new dimensions of the black presence in the US from revolutionary days to the Obama campaign. Yes, ‘black hands built the White House’ — enslaved black hands — but they also built this country’s economy, political system, and culture, in ways Lusane shows us in great detail. A particularly important feature of this book is its personal storytelling: we see black political history through the experiences and insights of little-known participants in great American events. The detailed lives of Washington’s slaves seeking freedom, or the complexities of Duke Ellington’s relationships with the Truman and Eisenhower White House, show us American racism, and also black America’s fierce hunger for freedom, in brand new and very exciting ways. This book would be a great addition to many courses in history, sociology, or ethnic studies courses. Highly recommended!” —Howard Winant, UC Santa Barbara
Linn Washington Jr. is a journalist and journalism professor. He writes a weekly column for the Philadelphia Tribune focusing largely on social justice issues locally, nationally and internationally. Washington is a co-founder of the online newspaper This Can’t Be Happening – where he writes weekly principally covering topics involving the news media, the criminal justice system and racism. Washington is an Associate Professor of Journalism at Temple University. Within Temple’s Department of Journalism Washington co-directs the Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab, where senior-level journalism students produce content for MURL’s hyper-local news Website: PhiladelphiaNeighborhoods.com. Washington is a graduate of the Yale Law Journalism Fellowship Program and Temple University.