Defending the Spirit: A Black Life in America by Randall Robinson

By Randall Robinson

Randall Robinson's protecting The Spirit is a private account of his upward push from poverty within the segregated south to a place as essentially the most exotic and outspoken political activists of our time. In 1977, Robinson based TransAfrica, the 1st association to foyer for the pursuits of African and Caribbean peoples. TransAfrica used to be instrumental within the liberate of Nelson Mandela from felony in South Africa and the reinstatement of President Aristide in Haiti. Robinson's considerate and provocative memoir paints a brilliant photograph of racism within the hallowed halls of Harvard, the place he went to legislation university, in addition to the corridors of strength in Washington, D.C. He additionally recounts in attention-grabbing aspect his journeys to distressed African and Caribbean countries; greater than an individual else, he has raised knowledge of the issues in these international locations. protecting The Spirit additionally offers a devastating observation on America's overseas coverage endeavors in African and Caribbean countries, and an impassioned name to African-Americans for brand spanking new management and activism to struggle racism around the world.

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Daddy bounced me from the team after we’d won the black Virginia State ■ 39 40 ■ DEFENDING THE SPIRIT Championship and just before the team left to compete for the national black high school championship in Nashville. Through the second semester and summer school I made straight A’s. If Daddy appears from this rendering to have been inflexible and humorless, that was not the case. Even less so in retrospect. A red Rambler story will illustrate my point. Less than a week after persuading Daddy to co-sign my car loan (co-sign is a bit of a stretch; I was only seventeen so he must have signed alone), I was tooling across the Marshall Street viaduct going toward Churchill and home when I looked in my rearview mirror and noticed I was being dangerously tailgated by a high-riding black truck.

In a fiercely segregated South, I was dragging him into the domain of a white judge. And he had signed for this. He looked at me more in puzzlement than anger. He was thinking about his other children. Jewell was doing well at Goucher, and Max was at Oberlin College. Daddy missed Max greatly. The two would sit before the seventeen-inch black-and-white Daddy had bought in 1951 and watch Meet the Press with Lawrence Spivak on Sundays. Twelve-year-old Jeanie was his favorite. She had found the way inside.

Choose my friends. Direct my course. Lay claim to my creative and intellectual energies. This is the subjugated’s burden. A few of us, when given a chance, will flee, chameleon-like, unconditionally into the pale arms of the pain bringers. Most will figuratively remain forever behind the race wall, proud, girding, fighting, always fighting, ever and relentlessly defending all that is really worth defending—the fountainhead, the dark hearth, the drawn bow string, the beleaguered last tenderness—defending the spirit.

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