In the past, I've usually held off on reviewing a book until I've completed it. This is because, in general, I'm only comfortable sharing my thoughts on a matter after gaining a complete understanding of a person's intent. Today, I'm making an exception.
The following passage, excerpted from Angela Davis' autobiography, is enough to justify this exception and for me to recommend the book before completing it:
the great majority of white people, both in the United States and England, have been carriers of the racism which, in reality, benefits only a small number of them - the capitalists. Because the masses of white people harbor racist attitudes, our people tended to see them as the villains and not the institutionalized forms of racism, which, though definitely reinforced by prejudiced attitudes, serve, fundamentally, only the interests of the rulers.
This is a truth I've been harping on for years. Davis stated it well.
I'm woman enough to admit this admission not only excites me, it also intimidates me. Davis wrote her autobiography when she was 28. I wish I'd accomplished enough during the first 28 years of my life to create not only a thought provoking piece of literature, but more importantly an impact on history.
In the introduction Davis wrote for the book 15 years after its initial publication, she mentions writing it to document the struggle occurring in the '60s and '70s. In this effort, she definitely achieved her goal. For instance, in one passage, she details the scene when Carole Robertson's - one of the four girls killed in the Alabama church bombing - mom arrived at the scene of the crime. Davis' words so accurately described the pain and anger felt by the black community, I had to close the book and walk away.
But I think Davis achieved something beyond creating a historical document; she created inspiration. This is an intelligent woman who had the drive to ensure her knowledge and talents were consistently in the right place at the right time.
I could use this autobiography as instruction on how to make my learning make a difference. But I think it's more beneficial to view it as a reminder that there's more to life than philosophizing about my purpose, I have to act on it. My path will undoubtedly look different than Davis', but the important thing is that I leave a legacy for future generations to build on.