Welcome to the new Sweetness: The Just Book Club (It's Lit.!) where we'll be diving into and enjoying literary works from a variety of authors and formats to inspire joy, to challenge us to create a better world, and to learn from under-appreciated perspectives from all over the world.
Our second book is "The Earth, the City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race" by Carl Anthony (more about the book below). We'll have a time in early February to-be-announced for a virtual discussion! Check out our previous book selections on our blog, which started with "The Art of Eating" by MFK Fisher.
"The Earth, the City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race" by Carl Anthony (2017)
It's extremely rare you can find a book that can share truth through a memoir as broad and enlightening as this from Carl Anthony, and with beautiful storytelling. Spanning the history of Africa and America to ultimately the universe as a whole, while brilliantly intertwining civil rights, environmentalism, architecture, the legacy of slavery, urbanization, and community organizing, all with a hopeful and specific way forward. Having listened to the audiobook first, Carl Anthony shares a deep wisdom that makes you want to just stop what you're doing, pull up a chair, and hear every word.
From the book's website: "Earth’s life-support systems are at risk from runaway growth leading to climate change and species loss. The nature of the city is changing radically, and it is now better understood as part of a metropolitan region with new problems, like inner-city gentrification. It is also a place where new strategies for alleviating poverty, creating opportunity, and building equity can emerge. Too many people are disconnected from the experience of belonging to a human community within the natural world. How can we bring forth the will to heal, restore, and repair the damage? We can start by widely sharing stories of challenges faced by our parents and ancestors and the contributions they made to American infrastructure, culture, and economy. This book is intended as an introduction to these narratives. May we listen to one another’s stories, particularly those of the most vulnerable among us, with open hearts."
Here's a quote from Carl Anthony in the concluding chapter:
“We belong in the universe. We are an expression of the unlimited creativity that lay hidden in its depths before time and space. That creativity is in each of us. Nobody can tell us how to see ourselves or what we can and cannot accomplish. So, I ask you, my readers, especially the youth among you: How will you contribute to this great adventure?
Our challenge is to refashion our social structures and our organization of space and infrastructure around the central idea of maximizing justice and full-spectrum sustainability. The current era of development controlled by small groups of privileged elites seeking profit by using and discarding people and resources is nearing its end. We are cautioned by so many sources to grasp every opportunity to change course. We must commit to meeting our current needs while protecting the capacity of future generations to meet theirs. A key strategy for success is to analyze and solve social and environmental problems at the metropolitan and regional levels. We need to approach our regions as whole systems in order to dismantle the legacy of racism and environmental exploitation that currently afflicts them."
― Carl Anthony, in the final chapter of, "The Earth, the City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race"
As a newer book, there are few used copies available, but some libraries carry it for the most cost-friendly option. Then, check local independent booksellers; in Massachusetts, we'll highlight Black-owned Frugal Bookstore in Roxbury, and in Worcester near us, Tidepool Bookshop, Bedlam Book Cafe, and Root and Press. The last two are also on Bookshop.com. ISBN if needed to order: 9781613320211
Previewing below our next two books if you want a jump start or to get on a library waitlist!
"The Travels of Ibn Battutah" by Ibn Batuttah (1325-1354) [Tim Mackintosh-Smith 2016 Version]
"Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement" by Monica M. White, 2019