The Covenant with Black America

“[I]t was the rise and growth among the slaves of a determination to be free and an active part of American democracy that forced American democracy continually to look into the depths. . . . One cannot think then of democracy in America or in the modern world without reference to the American Negro.”–W.E.B. Du Bois, The Gift of Black Folk (1924)

“The word covenant we borrow from the Latin convenio, from con, together, and venio, I come; signifying a contract or agreement made between two parties; to fulfill the conditions of which they are mutually bound.”–Adam Clarke

I recently watched the CSPAN coverage of Tavis Smiley’s Covenant with Black America panel discussions….From a “intellectual celebrity” point of view there was an entertaining dialog between Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley about the long-debated issue of separatism…but I was more interested in the larger issue of The Covenant than I was individual personalities….

While I fully agree with my peers that Smiley’s Covenant may be a bit more “mainstream” than some may want/like, what I DO like about the Covenant is that it is a platform for discussion…and a platform that appears to be working….

One of my colleagues has passed along (via H-AFRO-AM on H-NET) three things worth noting:

  1. During the CSPAN broadcast of the first town meeting, there were 2 million hits to the web site.
  2. The Covenant is the number one seller on the Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Dalton web sites. If the momentum continues, The Covenant could well be number one on the NY Times best seller list this week, a first for a Black publisher–the book is published by Third World Press.
  3. Commitments have been made by both the Republican and Democratic parties to hold public meetings of all the 2008 Presidential candidates, before any primary or caucus, to ask all the candidates to respond to The Covenant…in what form they ACTUALLY address it remains, however, to be seen.

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