The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of.

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In April of last year, Michael Eric Dyson wrote a lengthy and brutal takedown of his old friend and mentor, Cornel West, labeling the black philosopher a narcissistic, washed-up scholar overcome by petty resentments. In a New Republic essay , Dyson was particularly critical of West’s attacks against President Obama, whom West had called “a Rockefeller Republican in blackface,” a president more interested in Wall Street and drone strikes than the needs of black America.

Now Dyson has published a book accusing Obama of similar betrayals — except Dyson levels the charges politely, at times fawningly. The result is an enlightening work but a perplexing one, too, in which Dyson’s incisive criticisms are clouded by the author’s need to make nice with his subject and emphasize his proximity to power. “The Black Presidency” spends much time distinguishing prophetic and political voices in America’s racial debates, but its author cannot decide which tradition to embrace.

Dyson organizes his book around the biggest racial controversies of the Obama years: the fiery sermons of Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s onetime pastor, which put race at the center of the 2008 campaign; the 2009 arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his Massachusetts home; the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin; the explosion in Ferguson, Mo., following the death of Michael Brown in the summer of 2014; and, finally, the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., last year.

Since the 1960s, black leaders have placed a heavy emphasis on gaining political power, and Barack Obama’s presidency represented the apex of those efforts. The assumption — rarely challenged — is that black political clout must come before black social and economic advancement. But as Jason L. Riley argues in this excerpt from his new book, “ False Black Power ” (Templeton Press), political success has not been a major factor in the rise of racial and ethnic groups from poverty to prosperity.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was followed by large increases in black elected officials. In the Deep South, black officeholders grew from 100 in 1964 to 4,300 in 1978. By the early 1980s, major US cities with large black populations, such as Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Washington and Philadelphia, had elected black mayors. Between 1970 and 2010, the number of black elected officials nationwide increased from fewer than 1,500 to more than 10,000.

Yet the socioeconomic progress that was supposed to follow in the wake of these political gains never materialized. During an era of growing black political influence, blacks as a group progressed at a slower rate than whites, and the black poor actually lost ground.

The standard hardcover edition of the second volume of The Lord of the Rings includes a large format fold-out map. Frodo and his Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. They have lost the wizard, Gandalf, in a battle in the Mines of Moria. And Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring, tried to seize it by force. While Frodo and Sam made their escape, the rest of the company was attacked by Orcs. Now they continue the journey alone down the great River Anduin -- alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.

ALAN LEE was born in England in 1947. Inspired by Tolkien's work to pursue his chosen path as an artist of the mythic and fantastic, he has illustrated a wide range of books including Faeries, The Mabinogion, Castles, Merlin Dreams, the centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit. He is a winner of the Carnegie Medal for his illustrated edition of The Illiad.

J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892–1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.

In April of last year, Michael Eric Dyson wrote a lengthy and brutal takedown of his old friend and mentor, Cornel West, labeling the black philosopher a narcissistic, washed-up scholar overcome by petty resentments. In a New Republic essay , Dyson was particularly critical of West’s attacks against President Obama, whom West had called “a Rockefeller Republican in blackface,” a president more interested in Wall Street and drone strikes than the needs of black America.

Now Dyson has published a book accusing Obama of similar betrayals — except Dyson levels the charges politely, at times fawningly. The result is an enlightening work but a perplexing one, too, in which Dyson’s incisive criticisms are clouded by the author’s need to make nice with his subject and emphasize his proximity to power. “The Black Presidency” spends much time distinguishing prophetic and political voices in America’s racial debates, but its author cannot decide which tradition to embrace.

Dyson organizes his book around the biggest racial controversies of the Obama years: the fiery sermons of Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s onetime pastor, which put race at the center of the 2008 campaign; the 2009 arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his Massachusetts home; the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin; the explosion in Ferguson, Mo., following the death of Michael Brown in the summer of 2014; and, finally, the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., last year.

Since the 1960s, black leaders have placed a heavy emphasis on gaining political power, and Barack Obama’s presidency represented the apex of those efforts. The assumption — rarely challenged — is that black political clout must come before black social and economic advancement. But as Jason L. Riley argues in this excerpt from his new book, “ False Black Power ” (Templeton Press), political success has not been a major factor in the rise of racial and ethnic groups from poverty to prosperity.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was followed by large increases in black elected officials. In the Deep South, black officeholders grew from 100 in 1964 to 4,300 in 1978. By the early 1980s, major US cities with large black populations, such as Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Washington and Philadelphia, had elected black mayors. Between 1970 and 2010, the number of black elected officials nationwide increased from fewer than 1,500 to more than 10,000.

Yet the socioeconomic progress that was supposed to follow in the wake of these political gains never materialized. During an era of growing black political influence, blacks as a group progressed at a slower rate than whites, and the black poor actually lost ground.

In April of last year, Michael Eric Dyson wrote a lengthy and brutal takedown of his old friend and mentor, Cornel West, labeling the black philosopher a narcissistic, washed-up scholar overcome by petty resentments. In a New Republic essay , Dyson was particularly critical of West’s attacks against President Obama, whom West had called “a Rockefeller Republican in blackface,” a president more interested in Wall Street and drone strikes than the needs of black America.

Now Dyson has published a book accusing Obama of similar betrayals — except Dyson levels the charges politely, at times fawningly. The result is an enlightening work but a perplexing one, too, in which Dyson’s incisive criticisms are clouded by the author’s need to make nice with his subject and emphasize his proximity to power. “The Black Presidency” spends much time distinguishing prophetic and political voices in America’s racial debates, but its author cannot decide which tradition to embrace.

Dyson organizes his book around the biggest racial controversies of the Obama years: the fiery sermons of Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s onetime pastor, which put race at the center of the 2008 campaign; the 2009 arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his Massachusetts home; the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin; the explosion in Ferguson, Mo., following the death of Michael Brown in the summer of 2014; and, finally, the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., last year.

Since the 1960s, black leaders have placed a heavy emphasis on gaining political power, and Barack Obama’s presidency represented the apex of those efforts. The assumption — rarely challenged — is that black political clout must come before black social and economic advancement. But as Jason L. Riley argues in this excerpt from his new book, “ False Black Power ” (Templeton Press), political success has not been a major factor in the rise of racial and ethnic groups from poverty to prosperity.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was followed by large increases in black elected officials. In the Deep South, black officeholders grew from 100 in 1964 to 4,300 in 1978. By the early 1980s, major US cities with large black populations, such as Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Washington and Philadelphia, had elected black mayors. Between 1970 and 2010, the number of black elected officials nationwide increased from fewer than 1,500 to more than 10,000.

Yet the socioeconomic progress that was supposed to follow in the wake of these political gains never materialized. During an era of growing black political influence, blacks as a group progressed at a slower rate than whites, and the black poor actually lost ground.

The standard hardcover edition of the second volume of The Lord of the Rings includes a large format fold-out map. Frodo and his Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. They have lost the wizard, Gandalf, in a battle in the Mines of Moria. And Boromir, seduced by the power of the Ring, tried to seize it by force. While Frodo and Sam made their escape, the rest of the company was attacked by Orcs. Now they continue the journey alone down the great River Anduin -- alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.

ALAN LEE was born in England in 1947. Inspired by Tolkien's work to pursue his chosen path as an artist of the mythic and fantastic, he has illustrated a wide range of books including Faeries, The Mabinogion, Castles, Merlin Dreams, the centenary edition of The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit. He is a winner of the Carnegie Medal for his illustrated edition of The Illiad.

J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892–1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.

White House correspondent April Ryan has watched three U.S. presidents wrestle with the issue of race in America, and each one, she says, has faced tests and limitations.

“Race comes to every president in one way, shape, or form,” Ryan told an audience at the Yale School of Management on February 25. “It’s an issue that touches us all.”

Ryan, a Poynter Fellow in Journalism at Yale, spoke at Yale SOM in an event co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost. As White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Network, Ryan’s work is broadcast to more than 300 stations nationwide every day. She is the author of The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America .

In April of last year, Michael Eric Dyson wrote a lengthy and brutal takedown of his old friend and mentor, Cornel West, labeling the black philosopher a narcissistic, washed-up scholar overcome by petty resentments. In a New Republic essay , Dyson was particularly critical of West’s attacks against President Obama, whom West had called “a Rockefeller Republican in blackface,” a president more interested in Wall Street and drone strikes than the needs of black America.

Now Dyson has published a book accusing Obama of similar betrayals — except Dyson levels the charges politely, at times fawningly. The result is an enlightening work but a perplexing one, too, in which Dyson’s incisive criticisms are clouded by the author’s need to make nice with his subject and emphasize his proximity to power. “The Black Presidency” spends much time distinguishing prophetic and political voices in America’s racial debates, but its author cannot decide which tradition to embrace.

Dyson organizes his book around the biggest racial controversies of the Obama years: the fiery sermons of Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s onetime pastor, which put race at the center of the 2008 campaign; the 2009 arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his Massachusetts home; the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin; the explosion in Ferguson, Mo., following the death of Michael Brown in the summer of 2014; and, finally, the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., last year.



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