Ugh! The Constraint of Race and the Charm of Used Books

Some titles jump out as collections grow in the Charnice Milton Community Bookstore. The Constraint of Race: Legacies of White Skin Privilege in America is one of those books. And clearly a previous reader couldn’t resist commenting on one of the historic episodes described: Passage of Clinton’s 1994 crime bill, and the role of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Having the company of previous readers, especially if they left evidence of how the reading affected them, is a great benefit of reading a used copy!

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The Constraint of Race flips the usual script on race to look at the benefits of “white skin privilege,” rather than focusing on “disadvantages suffered by blacks in the American welfare state.” In highlighting white skin privileges, Williams wanted “to help undermine their acceptance as ‘normal,’” her publisher explains, “and motivate renewed efforts toward achieving a more just and equitable society.” The writing is accessible and clear. The topic immensely important.

Linda Faye Williams touched many in the DC area, through her years at Howard University and the University of Maryland, as well as her time Institute for Policy Research and Education at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. This book, completed a few years before her death in 2006, continues to touch many others.

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Linda Faye Williams. The Constraint of Race: Legacies of White Skin Privilege in America. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2003).

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ARTivism Afternoon

Creativity for Oppressive Times!

When a Bully is President: Truth and Creativity for Oppressive Times (details) is not your usual kid’s book, and this Community ARTivism afternoon is an unusual opportunity for community celebration.

When a Bully is President invites readers to “Stand in the truth of who you are. The stronger you are the stronger our world is because you are a part of our world.” The Charnice Miltion Community Bookstore at We Act Radio Studios invites you to an afternoon of book reading and discussion, art project, music, and more to help us all stand in our personal and collective truth.

Note: Originally scheduled to be simultaneous with the bully-president-supporting rally on the National Mall on 9/16 (More below — no link to actual event, to drive traffic to a racist, “America First” site), this ARTivism Afternoon is postponed until 9/23 so as not to conflict with memorial service for Dick Gregory (details also below).

Book reading and discussion: When a Bully is President

Art project for ages 7 and up — including adults. ALL AGES WELCOME and ENCOURAGED TO PARTICIPATE.

Plus music in the garden and more

$15 requested for event participation with NO COPY OF BOOK.

$30 requested for event and copy of the book, When a Bully is President

Continue reading “ARTivism Afternoon”

Radio Premiere: Maya Gonzalez, Brother Yao, & Sing-Talk-Read

We Act Radio rejoins the air waves 9/14 with the premiere broadcast of We Luv Books Radio.

Maya Gonzalez, author, educator, and co-founder of Reflection Press. Author of When a Bully is President, to be highlighted at 9/23 ARTivisim Afternoon bookstore event.

Brother Yao, poet, Bowie State University professor, and co-founder of the former Karibu (ka-REE-boo, “welcome” in KiSwahili) Books chain. (Karibu Story Part 1)

Ashton Wingate represents the DC Public Library and its 9/16 program, “Sing Talk Read” which focuses on literacy for our youngest community members.

HOSTS: LJM, educator and founder of DC Bookapalooza, and Virginia Spatz, feature reporter on We Act Radio’s Education Town Hall.

Read More:
“We need a literacy oasis here,” says LJM, organizer of DC Bookapalooza and co-host of the We Act Radio‘s newest program, “We Luv Books,” launching September 7 and 14 at 7 p.m. “We have a literacy crisis in DC, especially east of the river. The reality is that our children don’t have access to resources and tools which prepare future generations for 21st century skills.” Co-host Virginia Spatz, also feature reporter for We Act Radio’s Education Town Hall, adds that research well documents how improved literacy is key to addressing generational poverty, as well as high crime and violence.

“Want to get tough on crime? Get tough on literacy!” says We Act co-owner, Kymone Freeman, who has been instrumental in creating the non-profit Charnice Milton Community Bookstore, to be housed at the station. He hopes the bookstore venture, and the new radio program, will foster new enthusiasm for reading and discussion, particularly around authors of color. But he also returns frequently to focusing on “literacy as a public safety issue.”

Freeman notes that a 31-year-old Southeast resident was murdered just down the block on August 14, and the station itself has suffered three break-ins in its five-year history. Moreover, the bookstore is named for 27-year-old journalist Charnice Milton, who was shot to death not far from the station in 2015.

We Luv Books will be the first programs broadcast, following the devastating break-in on August 23 that crippled We Act Radio operations for weeks.

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Literacy Month: Look for EOTR Article

Look for “Literacy Oasis in Formation: From Bookapalooza to Charnice Milton Community Bookstore” in the September edition of East of the River. Relevant research, related references below.

Update: 9/7 show postponed due to slower than hoped technical rebuild.

Charnice Milton Community Bookstore Literacy Month events —

9/7 and 9/14: We Luv Books Radio Program Launch, 7-8 p.m.

9/11: &Pizza (U Street) donating $2/pizza, 6-9 p.m.

9/16: ARTivism Afternoon: A Community Celebration for Oppressive Times, 3-6 p.m.

9/30: Politics & Prose donating 20% of profits all day.

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Research and Reference Links

For more background on “Literacy Oasis in Formation: From Bookapalooza to Charnice Milton Community Bookstore” article:

Find recent neighborhood-specific child poverty figures and much more, from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (2011-2015) at DC Action for Children.

Find current research on book ownership, urban “book deserts,” and related topics on the Education Town Hall, July 13, 2017.

Learn more about bookstore partner, Carolina Youth Initiative, as well as the Books and Breakfast DC of HandsUpUnited.