Tavis Smiley's Book, "Keeping the Faith"

When your back is to the wall, there is nothing like the power of Black love to pull you through. And that's why I believe that beyond God's love, Black love is the most powerful force in the universe.

The fact that we can love under such dire circumstances — in spite of and not because of — is, I believe, what makes us special. For all the torture, pain, and disenfranchisement that we have had to endure — when we are racially profiled, when we can't get a home loan, when we are the victims of insurance redlining and predatory lending, when we are the last hired and first fired, when circumstances are created to make it more difficult for us to get into college in order to receive a quality education — Black people find a way to love this place called America. That's what Black love is. Other races might have said, "To hell with all this confusion and pain and heartache." We kept right on loving, trying to make America a better nation.

This book represents the very best of what Black love has to offer. To love in spite of and not because of.

LOVE LIFTED ME, By Dr. Cornel West

The fundamental theme of Black life and history is freedom, a freedom that is rooted in a deep courage to love. The power of Black love not only sustains our struggle for freedom; it is the prerequisite of our sanity and dignity. If you examine Black literature, you will find that our greatest text is Toni Morrison's Beloved. Her book reminds us in many ways of Berry Gordy's autobiography, To Be Loved. In many of the Black texts we find a kind of Black ontology that puts a high premium on love, in part because we have been such a hated, haunted, and hunted people.

This same theme is represented in Black music, particularly when we look at the talented and gifted artist John Coltrane. In one of his greatest Black musical texts, "A Love Supreme," he wrestles with pain and anguish as well as joy and ecstasy. Even though love is very much about ecstasy, Frankie Beverly of the popular recording group Maze also reminds us that Black love includes the dimensions of joy and pain, "sunshine and rain." This Black love has been forged in the face of American barbarism (slavery) and American terrorism (Jim Crow, lynching) — over against violence and death.

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