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DEFENDING THE SPIRIT by Randall Robinson


A Black Life in America

by Randall Robinson

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 1998
ISBN: 0-525-94402-8
Publisher: Dutton

 A remarkable behind-the-scenes look at race relations and the ways in which American foreign policy is crafted and, most importantly, changed. In an era in which apathy colludes with Americans' increasing interest in putting themselves first to create an America of near strangers, this book provides inspirational proof that we not only can but must fight the racial status quo. Robinson, the product of a family of doers (his brother, Max Robinson, was a successful TV broadcaster before he died from AIDS), has had a stunning impact on American race relations in recent decades. In 1977 he founded TransAfrica, the first organization devoted solely to raising awareness of and influencing foreign policies toward African and Caribbean peoples. Under his direction, it has grown from a two-person organization to a national lobbying group with more than 15,000 members. More importantly, it has almost single-handedly helped change the course of history, thanks in no small part to Robinson's drive and remarkable focus. Among the organization's accomplishments thus far: convincing American politicians to invoke economic sanctions against South Africa, helping to free Nelson Mandela, and pushing President Clinton to provide better treatment for Haitian refugees in America and to force the exile of that country's military dictators so that President Aristide could return from his exile. A driven man, Robinson has used everything from savvy public relations maneuvers--in his years as a community activist in Boston, he once stuck 1,000 black crosses in the snow on Harvard's campus to press the university to divest its portfolio of Gulf Oil stock--to hunger strikes to get what he thinks is fair. At once provoking and poignant, this memoir reminds the reader of the value of getting justice rather than simply getting mad. (First serial to Essence)