Early life[ edit ] Tavis Smiley was born in Gulfport, Mississippi , the son of Joyce Marie Roberts, a single woman who first became pregnant at age Air Force. On arriving in Indiana, the Smiley family took up residence in a three-bedroom mobile home in the small town of Bunker Hill, Indiana. Initially, four of her five children were cared for by their grandmother known as "Big Mama" , but ill health impaired her ability, and Joyce and Emory took them in.

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Start your review of Covenant with Black America Write a review Sep 27, AngiJo rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Anyone who needs to get updated on issues in the Black community This was a very easy read.

Most helpful were the suggestions to both individuals and policy makers on the actions we can take to change things. The sobering statistics regarding familiar issues healthcare, incarceration, college graduates and not so familiar issues digital divide, plight of This was a very easy read. The sobering statistics regarding familiar issues healthcare, incarceration, college graduates and not so familiar issues digital divide, plight of rural Black America, and environmental justice helps the reader become more aware of the current state of affairs.

Covenant propounds ten issues critical to the African American community with an introduction to each issue by an expert in the area followed by detailed facts to support it, point-by-point recommendations on what leaders and individuals can do to help and, finally, some examples of successful projects addressing it.

The presentation of some of the data seemed a little disingenuous to me, for instance citing a data point of the African American community without the context that might make it evident the problem is not limited to just the African American community. And so the tone of the book can seem a bit divisive and I definitely felt like an outsider looking in.

Its disconcerting when a group as big and diverse as "African Americans" is presented as a unified block. Race in my world view is a mushy attribute - more of a continuum between black and white and anything else disturbingly harkens back to the "one-drop rule". The big "we" makes me wonder where along that continuum the author has drawn the line. But nonetheless research conducted comparing African Americans and other communities demonstrates undeniable differences and so all of these quibbles are inconsequential to the overall value of the book.

Its clear that African Americans in this country have an incredibly difficult climb fraught with disadvantages at all levels. The data appears to overwhelming indicate that special focus needs to be paid to African American needs. But lest you walk away thinking that the problems are insurmountable, Covenant includes thoughtful, diverse and practical recommendations on what could be done to help and examples of existing successful projects that are making a difference. Covenant instills confidence that African Americans can attack key problems in their community if they pull their resources and work together towards a common goal.

As a NY Times Bestseller its clear that the book is being read, but its more difficult to assess if the book has been successful at motivating readers to take action. No doubt it stands as a helpful resource that offers numerous ideas for leaders to start marshaling their own resources and campaigns in their local communities.


The Covenant In Action



Tavis Smiley



Covenant with Black America


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