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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Cincinnati Public Library Likes Sister Souljah: Activist Famous For "Kill White People' Line Lands On Reading List For Dr. King's Holiday

Library Booklist Includes Sister Souljah for Dr. King's Birthday  
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Sister Souljah was a rap singer when she said a week ought to be set aside to kill white people.  It was hate speech and drew a rebuke from former President Bill Clinton, who likened Sister Souljah's words to the vile and violent language that KKK grand dragons used about African Americans.  For the record, here's what she said:  "I mean, if black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?"  Hardly compatible with Dr. King's dream of a colorblind America.

Nearly 20 years have passed.  Today's Sister Souljah is a best-selling author of fiction novels in a genre called "street lit," which is hip hop literature set in an urban landscape. Guns and gangsters are part of the cast.  Now the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County -- perhaps forgetting that she once advocated racial slaughter -- recommends Cincinnatians should read Sister Souljah's latest work to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  It could be argued that years have passed and everybody should move on and forget what she said.  But years have passed since King spoke to us about non-violence.  And nobody wants to forget what he said.  Words have power.  Sister Souljah's seem directly opposed to the entire mission of King's life built on a philosophy of non-violent social and economic change.  King  was a victim of racism when he was murdered in Memphis.  He knew the risks and never flinched.  The official legal proclamation that makes his birthday a holiday in Ohio declares a commemoration of Dr. King calls for "inter-racial cooperation, youth anti-violence, community service and other principles of non-violent social change and racial equality . . ."

Souljah's novel n the library reading list is "Midnight and the Meaning of Love."   It is about a teenage boy and his teenage wife.  He is black and 16, she is Japanese.  Yes, they are underage minors.  There is sex, violence, polygamy and a showdown with Asians -- who some might feel are stereotyped in Sister Souljah's tale.  Fans believe she has mellowed since she became the Queen of urban lit.  Still, it's  hard to square her gritty novel with the humanitarian works that Ohio's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission wants celebrated in his memory this year.  The commission's idea of a humanitarian is someone who pours their heart into making life better for others -- someone who promotes the betterment of all people and the elimination of pain and suffering through their own selfless service.  Pretty tall order.

Obviously, Sister Souljah books should not be banned nor censored.  The library is absolutely within its responsibilities to own and circulate titles under her authorship.  But it might want to weigh whether her newst novel is consistent with Dr. King's standards, teachings and the spirit of his dreams for our nation.  He knew that hate was hate, whether preached by white, black, Christian, Muslim or anybody in any culture or religion.  He stood up to it.

Here's the link to the library's entire Martin Luther King Day booklist.  And you can read below to see where Sister Souljah appears:


January 16th is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Celebrate his birthday with one of these African American staff picks from the Library's collection.


cover of Twelve Gates to the City

Capital Wives

Rochelle Alers

Money Can't Buy Love

Connie Briscoe

Just Wanna Testify

Pearl Cleage

Silver Sparrow

Tayari Jones
Cover of Getting to Happy

Getting to Happy

Terry McMillan

Mama Ruby

Mary Monroe

When the Thrill Is Gone

Walter Mosley


Jewell Parker Rhodes

Love, Honor, and Betray

Kimberla Lawson Roby
Cover of The Taste of Salt

The Taste of Salt

Martha Southgate

Salvage the Bones

Jesmyn Ward

The Choir Director

Carl Weber

Zone One

Colson Whitehead


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. White people killed MLK Jr. Sister was on to something.

  3. She's in dictionaries for extremism. Time for someone to have Sister Souljah moment about this unworty selection. Her writings are potboilers unworthy of MLK's memory.

    "Sister Souljah moment

    "The public repudiation of an extremist person or statement perceived to have some association with a politician or his party.

    "It’s a strategy designed to signal to centrist voters to show that the politician is not beholden to traditional, and sometimes unpopular, interest groups associated with the party.

    "Robert Schlesinger: “Back in the summer of 1992, then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton criticized rapper Sister Souljah after she made offensive remarks about blacks killing whites instead of each other. The moment quickly entered the political lexicon as shorthand for a politician rebuking an extremist in his or her base in order to demonstrate to independents that they are not beholden to the party’s core special interests.”

    "Joan Vennochi: “This so-called ‘Sister Souljah moment’ — a calculated denunciation of an extremist position or special interest group — wrapped Clinton in a warm centrist glow just in time for the general election.”

  4. Totally inappropriate choice. This book does nothing to celebrate Dr. King's life or his work. This book is a cheap thrilla, black authored mandingo story. Dr. King was a Baptist minister.

  5. I enjoyed reading her books and this latest part of her Midnight serial. She's a good writer. Wonder if Obama daughters are allowed check out and read Midnight steetlit stories . . . LOLOL

  6. Dr. Martin Luther Coon got what he deserved.

  7. to anon 10 a.m.

    You make me puke. Osama bin Laden got what he deserved. The Navy Seals made sure the hater went to hell. Haters belong in hell. You have a spot warming up for you there.