By Isaac Newton Farris, Jr.The world knew him formally as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. Many knew him affectionately as “Daddy King.” I knew him simply as “granddaddy,” but all who were acquainted with his presence respected this influential man of God. As new generations of Americans become familiar with the life of my grandfather, they will better appreciate how my uncle, his son, Martin Luther King, Jr., evolved into one of the most influential leaders of the twentieth century. In fact throughout my uncle’s life, my grandfather played a key role in allowing my uncle to retain the financial and political independence necessary for him to be at all times an uncompromised public servant.
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The life of a publicist is varied. Most of my days are spent pitching media, writing press releases/press materials, answering phone calls, coordinating interviews, scheduling author events, and more. In addition to answering emails, I generally try to start each morning reading and skimming around ten to twelve different news sources (my favorites right now are the Washington Post, the Nation, and the Atlantic) to see what’s going on in the world and if there are any writers talking about specific issues pertinent to my books.
By Eric MannI had hoped that the Obama administration would support a broad anti-racist, anti-war, and environmental justice movement built from the bottom up. I understood he was commander in chief of US imperialism, and only a powerful movement rooted in Black and Latino communities with a transformative political program could transform our society as part of an international, anti-imperialist movement. But the transformative movement I envisioned has not happened. It is not President Obama’s fault that our Movement does not exist, but our challenge is to figure out why and from there try to rebuild one.
It’s December, which means it’s time for our holiday sale! All this month, get 30% off every purchase on our website using code HOLIDAY30. This year, we’re donating 20% of all sales in December to the Water Protector Legal Collective, which provides legal support for water protection activities in resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Now, more than ever, these are titles will be timely and necessary as we transition to the new administration. Looking for a title, but don’t know where to begin? Get started with this list we put together of our bestsellers and highlights of 2016. Happy book hunting and Happy New Year!
2016 is a year that speaks for itself. It’s been a rough and tumultuous one, culminating in a divisive presidential election that has many people afraid of what’s in store for the country once the new administration takes office on January 20. When we’re in need of wisdom and guidance during troubling and unpredictable times ahead, we turn to our authors, who continue to offer their time and insights to give us perspective and commentary on the condition of our world. Our blog, the Broadside, wouldn’t be what it is without them. As always, we’re so grateful to them. We’ll need their thought-provoking essays as we head into 2017. Before the year comes to a close, we would like to share a collection of some of the Broadside’s most-read posts. Happy New Year!
By Linda K. WertheimerIt’s a time-honored tradition to be a “Hanukkah parent.” How could it be wrong? Moms and dads can build children’s pride in their Jewish identity by showing them it’s okay to talk about their faith in a Christian-majority school. They can help if the teacher knows nothing about Hanukkah. They can counter the anti-diversity message President-elect Donald Trump recently sent when he announced “we are going to say Merry Christmas again” at a rally in Wisconsin. But Jewish parents should think twice about bringing Hanukkah to their child’s classroom.
By Margaret ReganWhat if Donald Trump follows through on his vow to deport millions of undocumented immigrants as soon as he becomes president? Due process for the immigrants may slow him down, but he says he’s determined to get started right away with deportations of immigrants convicted of crimes. (He says the number is two to three million but others dispute that, citing a lower figure of 1.9 million.) In August 2016, in a blistering campaign speech in Phoenix, he vowed to create a “new special Deportation Task Force” to root out “criminal illegal immigrants,” but he didn’t spare immigrants not convicted of crimes.
By Arlene SteinThe white working class surprised many pundits and social scientists by supporting Donald Trump, leading some to describe the election results as a “whitelash.” The fact that the president-elect successfully mobilized this population was far from inevitable. After all, a fair number of Trump supporters once voted for Obama. A good many of them, when questioned, explained that they “didn’t really like either candidate,” or that they “wanted a change.” History certainly shows us that populist fervor can shift left and right.
By Marilyn SewellWe faith leaders had to acknowledge our ignorance about the lives of millions of people in the white working class. We had to confront our self-righteousness, our arrogance. It appears that our compassion needs a bigger umbrella. We have blamed them for their failure instead of seeing them as casualties of a changing culture.
By Ayla Zuraw-FriedlandWhen publicity assistant Perpetua Charles and senior editor Joanna Green first began planning a staff trip to see the film Loving in celebration of Beacon’s forthcoming book on the same topic five months ago, they couldn’t have known for sure what our political environment would be as they and fellow members of the Beacon Press staff walked through a rainy November night to the theater. Exactly a week after the country watched the electoral votes tally in favor of a divisive Republican presidential candidate, we came together to view a retelling of how Mildred and Richard Loving, a young interracial couple from Virginia, helped end the ban on interracial marriage in the United States.
By Dina Gilio-WhitakerThe resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline taking place at Standing Rock right now is the most significant political event in Indian country since those struggles of the early 1970s, and there was no way I was going to miss it. I managed to carve out a few days and take a side trip to Standing Rock during Thanksgiving weekend, with a story assignment in my role as a journalist at Indian Country Today Media Network. I was there to bear witness to what is an unprecedented historical moment.
By Andrew HrycynaNancy Mairs wrote about ideas in ways no philosophers do, entwined with story, the particulars of one woman’s life. But she made me feel I could be helpful to her as an editor. I would say, “Something’s missing here, a step in the argument: here, let me write it out.” What invariably came back were not my words, but an unbelievably elegant solution, completely in her voice, to the problem my square prose identified. This happened so often. I still tell people about it. She was an editor’s dream.
By Dennis A. HeniganThe National Rifle Association spent more than $30 million to elect Donald Trump President. Particularly with Republicans in control of both the Senate and the House, and a vacancy on the Supreme Court, the gun lobby will expect an impressive return on its investment. What will it want? Following the massacre of first graders at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre infamously said that the lesson to be learned was: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” That phrase perfectly captures a core premise of Trumpism: that the nation is neatly divided into “good guys” (who have been forgotten by the elites controlling our government) and “bad guys” (Muslims, undocumented immigrants and “the others” who have been allowed to threaten the safety and well-being of the “good guys”).
By Helene AtwanWe received news of the death of Nancy Mairs just yesterday. All of us at Beacon, including her first editor, Andy Hrycyna, so valued Nancy’s voice, as an accomplished essayist, as a pioneer in writing about women, about faith, about social justice, and about disability: always fearlessly, always with crystal clarity. She was also a tireless activist, attending demonstrations even when she had lost significant mobility. Everyone who knew her was surprised by her frank, unsentimental assessment of life from “waist-high,” by her generosity and humor, by her insightful and unabashed ability to speak the truth in essays of brilliance. All of us lucky enough to have spent time in her company will always treasure those times.
By María de los Angeles TorresMy parents, like thousands of Cubans, had supported the revolution at first; they hid rebels in our home, a risk that could have cost them their lives. In January 1959, the day the rebeldes marched into Havana, my father rushed home to pick me up so that we could greet them. When we reached the Avenida de los Presidentes, a wide avenue dotted with statues of Cuba’s past presidents, he hoisted me onto his shoulders so that I could see over the crowd. People were jubilant—dancing, chanting, and reaching out to touch the bearded rebels in their olive green uniforms. One stopped in front of us and reached up to hug me; I was mesmerized by the red glass beads of the rosary that hung from his neck and the silver cross almost buried in his hairy chest. We honked our car horn all the way home. My father told me it was a day I must never forget.
by Karl GibersonPresident-elect Trump’s appointment of Betsy DeVos as education secretary has liberal pundits proclaiming that America’s educational sky is falling. DeVos is a prominent Michigan evangelical Christian, with ties to the Christian Reformed Church—the denomination that sponsors Calvin College in Grand Rapids which recently fired a professor for suggesting that Adam and Eve were not real people. DeVos is an advocate of school choice and has supported a voucher movement that now provides tax dollars for families in many states to send their children to private—and religious—schools. Is this not a dangerous person to preside over America’s public schools?
By Ruth BeharLike all children of Cuban exiles who came to the United States in the early 1960s, I heard the name “Fidel Castro” constantly. He was the sole person responsible for the sorrow of my parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who lost their beloved home in Cuba. As Cuban Jews, the wound came atop another wound. My grandparents, Jews from Poland and Turkey, were double refugees—they fled Europe on the eve of the Holocaust, finding refuge in a tropical island of rumba and sugarcane where everyone called each other “mi corazón” and anti-Semitism didn’t exist.
I’ve always loved books and viewed them as important tools, so by extension, I’ve probably always had an interest in the publishing business. A love of reading and writing led me to the realm of English and humanities in high school, and ultimately guided me through a degree in English literature as an undergraduate. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to read so many outstanding books throughout my life; it feels fitting that I’m now a part of their production. Several of Beacon’s titles, such as Dr. Cornel West’s books, were featured in my college English courses, and having grown up in Cambridge, MA, Beacon was always a familiar name.
A Q&A with Rich BlintBaldwin’s consistent and insistent interrogation of how the mythology of race, class, and power operates in America to blind and divide us is singular in its analytical depth, sweep, and emotional power. His work reads as a kind of prophecy simply because he was clear about how profoundly dangerous it has always been for Americans not to confront the truth about the violent racial history of the country. His work must be read as testimony, as, yes, a secular witnessing to the serious perils of indulging in the American fiction of “whiteness” and its purported superiority.
By Donald Collins
Recognition of trans lives gets stronger when we communicate. Strengthening familial bonds, having friends we trust. Making workplaces, schools, doctor’s office and places of worship safe through education and funding. Talking about where gender meets race, sexual orientation, class, and ability. All this starts with conversations, showing up and being present. There are so many people out there that haven’t reached out yet, or been reached. And this process of “reaching” is exhausting, so we have to take care of ourselves and each other.