Book Review Begin Again James Baldwin’s America and its urgent lessons for our own by Dr. Eddie Glaude

“Glaude sets out upon a journey to excavate from the rubble, the spirit and the mission of James Baldwin and he does just that. In Begin Again, I could close my eyes and enter into a commune with Baldwin’s spirit. Upon their opening, I asked myself the question do the theoretical ideals of Freedom and liberty articulated by Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Adams and Franklin live up to the reality that Baldwin lived through and saw? History has yielded a different result from the eyes and vantage point of Baldwin. After reading “Begin Again,” I said to myself, Baldwin, King, Malcolm, Carmichael, Lewis, and many others should have been there, there at the founding, with a vote. Would there be a different future, our present? Maybe. But we would be assured that dissenting points of view were not dismissed and may have even gained support as “original intent.” From the rubble of Baldwin’s life, emerges a different series of essays than the theories advanced in the federalist papers. Baldwin was not ahead of his time, he was in his time, his star. Baldwin counted on someone to dig through the rubble and ruin of his contribution and find something valuable to the future. Glaude did that, and he spared the present no quarter from shirking her responsibility in bringing forward a new earth, for it is in the new earth that a new vision of heaven is possible.

Glaude’s conclusion was so moving that I can only encourage the reader to experience it for themselves.”

Author: Jesse Jackson Jr

Jesse Jackson Jr was born into advocacy and the struggle for human rights. He entered the world at the height of the American civil rights movement. As such, his father stood among the thousands on the Edmund Pettus Bridge just two days before his birth. The feverish demand for equal voting rights for African Americans, no doubt, infected Jesse with the fight for justice and the right to the pursuit of happiness right down to his bones. He accepts the charge. With this legacy of civil rights, Jesse has always known the importance of using his talents for the advancement of the common good and in the fight for marginalized groups. He carried that foregone conclusion to the platform provided him at North Carolina A&T University. As early as his freshman year, Jackson began working for the people, on campus and abroad. While earning his Bachelor’s of Science degree in business management, he represented the student body as President and he founded a student activism organization centered on overcoming apartheid in South Africa. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is at the seat of his soul when he is working on the front lines of activism. He was an active member of the demonstrations against the blatant civil rights violations of South Africans. Similarly, he has threaded into the fabric at home as Field Director of the National Rainbow Coalition, where he worked to promote voter registration and education programs. Not long after earning his Master’s in theology and his Juris Doctor, Jesse began representing the interest of the citizens of Illinois as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In his 17 years in Congress, from 1995 to 2012, Jesse Jackson Jr had a say in every vote. Additionally, he has served on myriad committees, including the House Appropriations Committee. Taking his aptitude for civic service a step further, Jackson also lent his talent during the 2008 presidential election—working diligently to assist fellow Illinois-native Barack Obama win the presidency. Jesse is an advocate for equal education rights, equal employment opportunities, improving the circumstances of impoverished Americans, conserving various American landmarks as historical districts and reinvigoration the US economy following the 2007-2008 housing and auto market crash. Today, as a citizen thriving with bipolar disorder, Jesse continues the fight on behalf of marginalized communities through his work to help America eliminate the stigma of living with a mental health challenge. Jesse Jackson Jr’s tireless subscription to knowledge of the mind, freedom of the heart and the voice of the vote informs his current effort to impact. His rich possession of theological, historical, political and geopolitical knowledge creates an elemental toolbox that makes him a galvanizing catalyst for change.

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