Book Review: “What We Blacks Need to Do”

by November 25, 2015 0 comments

Author, James J. Hankins, gives his answer to this age old question in his practical, common sense, easy to read book entitled “What We Blacks Need To Do”.  First published in 2007, Hankins observations seem timeless.

In the space of less than 150 pages, Hankins provides simple, thoughtful suggestions of things that Black families should be doing to strengthen themselves and increase the chances that their children will grow up with the family values needed to succeed in life.

This book follows the life of Hankins from his early childhood, through his career as a vocational teacher and his present retirement.  In it he relates to his interactions with his immediate and extended families and provides very thoughtful examples of how to manage family affairs in such a way that all family members gain a better appreciation of working as a family.

Hankins starts his book by analyzing problems common to most American families generally and Black families more specifically.  He goes on to offer positive, easy to understand solutions to many family problems.

Hankins gives his book a “G” rating in part because it contains no cursing and, I presume, because of the biblical principles he uses to frame his discussions.  He starts his first chapter, “What Our Black Families Need to Do” by highlighting the importance of communication between spouses that ensures that there is basic agreement on family matters.  Additionally, he discusses the responsibility of parents in ensuring that educational decisions regarding their children are made with their awareness and meaningful input.  Throughout his discussions he uses decision making tactics of his family as teachable examples.

“What We Blacks Need To Do” stresses the necessity and process of family engagement in the political process for their benefit and the benefit of their communities at large.  The many common sense solutions in Chapter 1 of the book makes it a must read and guide for all families.

In Chapter 2, “What Our Black Teachers, Counselors and Administrators Need To Do”, Hankins poses the same type of common sense issues to historical community leaders that he posed to families in Chapter 1.  And like in Chapter 1, he gave very specific examples of how he addressed these issues.

In Chapter 3, the final chapter, “What Our Black Churches Must Do”, Hankins provides a survey tool to evaluate Black churches in order to gauge their effectiveness in community leadership.  He then provides very simple common sense suggestions that Black churches could embrace to better address their leadership responsibilities in Black communities.

This enjoyable, easy to read book gives a very powerful answer to the age old question of what Blacks need to do for family and community empowerment.

About Peter Grear

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