Magazine article The Crisis

Book Inspires Community Activism

Magazine article The Crisis

Book Inspires Community Activism

Article excerpt

In April 2006, The Covenant With Black America became the first non-fiction book by a Black publisher (Third World Press) to top The New York Times best-seller list. The collection of 10 essays highlights quality of life issues affecting the Black community and offers a national plan of action for social improvement. Since its publication, The Covenant has proved successful in influencing civic action among communities.

Kaye Harvey of New Haven, Conn., for example, credits The Covenant with being the catalyst for civic involvement among a group of African American women in her community. Following a shooting that killed a 13-year-old girl in New Haven last June, the group organized a petition drive called, "Not One More Child." Since, civic leaders have also asked the group to find ways to help curb youth violence in the city.

Harvey says The Covenant has inspired her community not to wait for help, but "do that which we can do."

Also in New Haven, The Jamestown Project at Yale, a progressive think tank, launched the "Covenant Curriculum: A Study in Black Democratic Action," in November. Princeton University professors Cornel West and Eddie Glaude developed the curriculum as a supplement to The Covenant in February 2006. About a dozen community activists, educators and high school students participated in the 15-week course.

"It is time to flip the script and tell our own story about our own issues from our own viewpoint," says course participant Alisa Anderson.

And in Albany, N.Y., councilwoman Carolyn McLaughlin is using The Covenant's essay on affordable housing to address gentrification in her community, which is facing a city wide revitalization project. …

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