Who Is Chauncey Bailey?

Who is Chauncey Bailey? Have you ever heard of him? Well Thomas Peele’s Killing The Messenger will tell you exactly why you should know him.

Chauncey Bailey was an American journalist assassinated on American soil because of a story he pursued about a bakery going into bankruptcy. A BAKERY’S BANKRUPTCY? That doesn’t sound like something for which you should kill or die. Chauncey Bailey’s assassination was about much more than that.

His murder was an assault on our First Amendment. His story could have begun the process of exposing a cult in Oakland, CA run by an insatiable pedophile (he molested and raped his own kids, y’all), that terrorized a community, while defaulting on tax-payer backed loans, defrauding the welfare system and exploiting some of our country’s most disenfranchised, dangerous and vulnerable people. That seemingly innocuous bakery was the base for the cult. That cult racked up quite the crime resume.

This story begins in the 1920’s and follows the rise of the Nation of Islam; paints a picture of a sect in North Oakland that decided to stand alone; and ends with the prosecution of Bailey’s assassins.

Bailey was shot execution style on an Oakland street in 2007. This is before President Donald Trump posted tweets featuring video of him beating up CNN because he didn’t like their coverage. This is before the 2016 election exposed just how much hate and ignorance drove a wedge between Americans. Yet, if we had paid more attention to Bailey we could have seen 2016 coming.

Bailey’s murder should have been front page on every paper and the lead story on every evening newscast, a la Daniel Pearl (check out the Angelina Jolie movie) in my opinion. Sure, one journalist called, “Bailey’s murder an assault on the bedrock principle of free press, the American way of life.” But it wasn’t covered that way. One woman said, “that the killing didn’t get as much media attention as it would have if Bailey had been a white reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper.”

Bailey’s assasination and the decades leading up to it expose the impact of America’s attempt to exclude African-Americans from mainstream freedoms; the blind-eye politicians, courts and police use when it benefits them; and how being disenfranchised can leave all people vulnerable to unspeakable evils disguised as acceptance. (Think David Koresh and the Branch Dividians or Jim Jones and The People’s Temple)

Simply put: this book is an eye-opening history lesson and a true crime story far better than any fiction John Grisham and his contemporaries could dream up.


Orphan Train: A Book Review

I lose control in bookstores and blow entire budgets. About a year ago, I picked up a stack of books that included one entitled Orphan Train. A former co-worker suggested it and I wanted to read something outside of my wheel house.

Needless to say it was the last book in the stack. I simply didn’t want to read it. I bought others while it sat collecting dust on a surface in my bedroom. Well, honey, I finally ran out of money and had to read what was already in the house.

I opened the cover and was thoroughly unimpressed. It’s the story of a Irish immigrant who becomes an orphan after most of her family is killed in a fire, and a parent-less teen she meets 80 years later who helps her revisit her past and connect with her future.

I felt it was cliché all day. The teen, Molly, lost her parents to a car crash and addiction. The Irish woman, Vivian, managed to become a wealthy woman living in a cavernous home in Maine. I’ve been reading really harrowing stories like that of Coretta Scott King, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and about once a month I read my son a children’s book based on the childhood of Congressman John Lewis. I am not here for clichés and fairy tales at this moment in my life.

Well I couldn’t afford another book, so I kept turning the pages. Guess what? I got over myself and absorbed the words. I “watched” as Molly and Vivian connected. I became enthralled by Vivian’s tale of being packed on a train with other children and taken to the Midwest, where they were given to people who pretty much wanted slaves. Then I began to realize that what she endured was still so similar to Molly’s modern tale of living in foster care – people taking you in for the cash and treating you like you are less than a person.

This book touched me deeply as a member of the adoption community. This history of children being rounded up, sent to the Midwest and turned into indentured servants is just one of the many reasons there are negative connotations attached to adoption.

Ultimately, I fell in love with this book. Vivian with her gentle, but steady fight to stay alive and chameleon-like abilities, will stay with me. I’m not sure how I feel about Molly, but I don’t hate her. Her story just didn’t pull at my heart. Maybe because she’s a modern teen?

This book does a good job of introducing you to another one of America’s shameful secrets from the past. I’d give it a 7 out of 10, if I were into scales and such:-)

11 Wedding Anniversaries

It’s my 11th wedding anniversary and this is my favorite one yet. The husband and I have the family we have always dreamed of, but more importantly we are still together, still in love and still fighting for this union.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this relationship, it’s that nothing stays the same. You HAVE to grow and change for your marriage to work. Why? It’s because you are evolving daily and by the time you reach the 11th anniversary, you are not the same person who said, “I do.” Want to know why? Well quite simply, that’s life.

That’s why I LOVE Tiffany Dufu’s book, Drop The Ball.

She takes us along as her marriage blossoms into a full “All-in partnership.” Mrs. Dufu is the consummate working mom in my mind. She is successful in her career and she can challenge Martha Stewart in the kitchen, but she had to drop stereotypes and embrace help from her husband to make it all work.

Drop The Ball isn’t about doing less work. It’s about throwing stereotypes out of the window. Forget what you’ve learned: the household is the woman’s domain and a career is for the men. That does not work today. Women are working outside the home just as hard as men and that means that men have to do their part at home. If they love you, they will.

We watch as Mrs. Dufu begins to resent her husband after the birth of their child. He was still gliding along, while she was juggling the rigors of home and work. She had to “drop the ball” at home so he could pick it up, and they could BOTH succeed at this game called life.

When I put down the book, I found myself wishing I had picked it up during the first year of my marriage. I didn’t believe it was possible for both people in a marriage to have soaring success. I thought someone had to make a sacrifice. Without speaking to my HUSBAND about this, I decided I would be the person to put my career second. I was ready to be a wife and mother. Then infertility hit and I didn’t know what to do. I lost my way.

This book helped me do three things:

  1. Remember why I am on this planet. The way I’ve handled my career has not done anything to reach that goal.
  2. Re-evaluate my marriage. My husband is pretty all-in, but when he hired help to assist me in housekeeping, I took it as an insult. He was trying to give me a break. He didn’t want to mop the floors, so he hired someone who would. This book opened my eyes to the many ways my husband has my back. It also made me realize he would do more, if I just asked.
  3. Drop The Ball on childcare. I quit my job to stay home with my son. I love every minute of it, but because I don’t have a job I thought I had to do EVERYTHING. Not True! I’m backing off and my husband and son are enjoying each other, without helicopter mom hovering. I’m accepting help without feeling like a failure.

This book is about women owning their right to success and understanding that their husband’s are more than capable of helping them at home. But the ladies have to let go of what Mrs. Dufu calls, “Home Control Disease.” It doesn’t matter if your husband chooses a bad outfit for your kid or hires someone to clean the house, as long as it gets done so you both have the same amount of time to dedicate to your jobs and kids.

I will admit that at the start of the book, I rolled my eyes at all of the sources she used to back up her theories, but in the end this is a book I’d recommend to women and men hoping to change the world with their careers, while raising amazing children.