the book of luke (part won)-luther campbell

“The history of black Miami is unique, different from any other major city in the South. There was no slavery here. Some landowners had tried to bring it down, before the Civil War, but the swampland was so brutal that for a long time every attempt to settle the area failed. The blacks who did come to south Florida were escaped slaves who’d fled from Georgia and Alabama to disappear into the Everglades with the Seminoles. Or they were Bahamians and other free Caribbean folk who came to fish and farm. White people didn’t know how to live and thrive in the tropics. Bahamians did. They knew the agricultural practices to use, how to fish, how to use lime mortar to build houses. There would be no Miami if blacks hadn’t built it.” (6)

“After everything they promised us with the civil rights movement, they were closing down our institutions but they weren’t really opening the door to their side of opportunity.” (22)

“I didn’t want to be one of those washed up shade-tree athletes in Liberty City, reliving the old games and passing the joint out on the corner.” (30)

“Not only did the Cubans get taken care of by the government, they also got in on the programs that should have been ours. Civil rights marchers fought to get things like affirmative action and access to minority loan programs. That’s what we had coming to us as a people who had worked for more than 250 years for free. But anyone who was a minority could qualify, not just blacks. Of all the small-business government loans made in Miami in the 1970s, Hispanics got 47 percent. Blacks got 6 percent.” (53-4)

“Folks in the ghetto live that struggle every day. They come to the club to forget about that shit.” (78)

“Lost in the crowd. No security, no nothing. Just another young black dude in a hoodie. Cops never bother to tell the difference between us anyway.” (169)

“Steven came home with a 95 percent disability rating because of the damage the Agent Orange did to his lungs. He became a clinical psychologist working with combat vets who have PTSD. Harry got a degree in chemical engineering and went to work for Monsanto-the company that made the Agent Orange.” (14)

i think this may have been one of the only books that i read this year that did not come from the library. i read it in new york and philly, and heard the combat jack interview promoting it back in the weeks leading up to thanksgiving weekend.

there was a moment a few years ago when these hip hop memoirs were hot. well, they had a moment, but not all of them were very well written, or believable or interesting. of course, the king of the south is a bit late, but i think that distance of time and space made way for this better, or at least worth the wait.

i made a note to myself to compare and contrast with the bible book, but somebody else can do that work-boom. free dissertation. thank you and you’re welcome.

i appreciated the insights into miami’s history and its exclusive situation and placement in america, the hip hop industry and his impact, and making a difference in people’s lives. thank you, mister campbell.


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