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Notes On The State of America: Black To The Future, Or White From the Past?

4 Ratings: 2.3
A 2008 non-fiction book by Ronald Peden.

A provocative promotion of Reparations for American slavery that marks the 200 year Anniversary of the abolition of U.S. participation in the African Slave trade. From the so-called Founding Fathers to Barack Obama; Italian Renaissance Art of the middle … see full wiki

Author: Ronald Peden
Genre: Books, , Nonfiction, African-American & Black
Publisher: OAU Publishing
Date Published: April 8 , 2008
1 review about Notes On The State of America: Black To...

The values and beliefs of most European-Americans are challenged to the very core by Ronald Peden.

  • Apr 4, 2009
Rating:
+5
From the opening pages of "Notes On The State of America:  Black to the future, or White from the past?" author Ronald Peden makes his premise perfectly clear.  He is advocating slavery Reparations as the best if not the only way for Black America to finally achieve the political and economic independence that has eluded them since slavery was finally abolished nearly a century and a half ago.  As Mr. Peden sees it, such half measures as affirmative action have failed miserably and he simply cannot understand why we continue to send billions of dollars overseas while a large percentage of Americans languish in poverty and despair.  Now as a European-American I must admit that I was a bit taken aback by Mr. Peden's rather forthright approach.  In the past whenever I heard the proposition of Reparations brought up I kind of snickered and immediately dismissed the idea out of hand.  However, I find that after reading "Notes On The State of America"  I at least understand why so many African-American  leaders wholeheartedly embrace this solution.  To say the least, Ron Peden's book is a real eye-opener!

While I have read a number of other fine books about the slave trade including Ron Soodalter's "Hanging Captain Gordon" and Charles Rappleye's "Sons of Providence" none of them were written from the perspective of a black man.  In this meticulously researched volume Ron Peden carefully dismantles many of the myths surrounding the institution of slavery.  There is a school of thought among many European Americans that Africans themselves were chiefly responsible for the slave trade.  But as Peden points out this argument is largely delusional as it was the European demand for slaves in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that really drove the market and led to a phenomenol spike in the wealth of such European nations as Italy, France, German and later on England.  Furthermore, Peden painstakingly illustrates how the spectacular  growth of the fledgling U.S. economy in the early part of the nineteenth century could never have taken place without the patently immoral and inhumane institution of slavery.  The author goes on to point an accusatory finger at many of our nation's Founding Fathers such as Washington, Jefferson and Madison, all of whom were slaveholders who accrued fabulous wealth and lived opulent lifestyles on the backs of the slaves they kept.  Peden goes on to document the emergence of the U.S. banking system and the development of the tobacco, cotton, transportation and textile industries in this nation and how all of these were inexorably linked to the institution of slavery.

In the concluding chapter of  "Notes On The State of America" Ron Peden presents a number of different proposals on what Reparations might look like.  It seems that just about all options are on the table including a geographical partition encompassing a number of states.  These ideas no longer seem so far-fetched to me and some actually seem quite reasonable.  I am not quite sure how far I might be willing to go down this road but after reading "Notes On The State of America:  Black to the future, or White from the past?" at least I am now willing to talk about it.  "Notes On The State of America" certainly shook me up and challenges much of what I had been taught.  I  certainly  intend to read more about this controversial subject.  I enjoy reading all points of view and this is one perspective that I had never seen before.  This is an exceptionally well written book that deserves to be considered in the marketplace of ideas. Very highly recommended!
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