An author details his search for leadership and his plan to address the continuing effects of slavery.
In this work, Shelton (America’s Little Black Book, 2015, etc.) intends to follow the orders of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and “engage the economic battleground.” In order to do so, the author forms the “foundation-corporation” American Slaves Inc. to spread awareness of his beliefs. He feels it is necessary for the descendants of slaves to reconnect with the roots of the horrific institution: commercial gain. He wants this group, a population he refers to as “American slaves,” to acknowledge that they are a newly bred race who must work together to address the continuing inequality that is a legacy of slavery. Shelton’s main purpose is to encourage these “American slaves” to embrace economic development as a core cultural principle. He emphasizes the need for improved leadership in the black community and increased outreach and assistance from white individuals. The book also serves to document Shelton’s attempts to see his plan reach fruition; it chronicles his various meetings and attempted interactions with black leaders, his decision to run for political office, and his struggles to spread his message nationwide and internationally. Shelton has admirable aims in this book and his concern for his community is clear. But he consistently expresses astonishment when government officials or black leaders are uncomfortable with adopting the term “American slave.” The text also swings confusingly among philosophical discussions, recollections of Shelton’s efforts to confer with black leaders, and descriptions of the author’s other volumes. There are even endorsements for both the current book and Shelton’s previous work shoehorned within the narrative of his steps to gain attention for American Slaves Inc. The largest flaw of the text is that the author uses many pages to dwell on old grudges and flawed leadership. He ruminates on black community leaders and educators who spurned his ideas or who he feels have failed the “American slave” population, and unfortunate incidents with federal figures, such as the time President George W. Bush declined to serve on the board of his organization. This distracts from Shelton’s larger goal, moving his focus from the cultural ramifications of slavery to the personal slights he feels he has endured.
An uneven book about America’s black community that offers provocative ideas.