Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What I'm Reading Now!

Sovereign Nation, Child of the ReSoulution
by Shaka Jasper

Gone, it seems, are the days of Malcolm, Martin, and Medger – men who risked their freedom and their lives to conquer the evils of an oppressive society!  Will no one be able to step up in this twenty-first century madness to break these suppressive chains?  That question is answered in Shaka Jasper’s riveting novel, Sovereign Nation, Child of the ReSoulution, as we meet Jurist Isaiah Johnson and bear witness to his transformation from a boy into the man destined to lead an embittered people towards their former greatness! 

The novel opens in the year 2042, and Africans Americans have been restored to their former glory as “…a nation…possessing devout guidance and godly humility…” (Jasper). And yet - so many years later - the story of the freedom struggle is never forgotten and continues to be passed down from generation to generation. Especially revered is the story of the legendary Jurist and his Black History Paper, a document that is “…read to the young like the scriptures of the Old Testament were read to the Hebrew children of Israel” (Jasper). Jurist rebelled against society’s misconceptions regarding minorities - especially the incarcerated - and led a powerful crusade to “…build community alliances…and [fight] historical demons” (Jasper). But, unbeknownst to the masses, the road to attain such greatness required those involved to make life-altering sacrifices!

With a gripping plot, Shaka Jasper seamlessly moves the reader towards a greater understanding of Jurist’s ultimate purpose - and gives us a peek inside the mysterious organization which enables the fulfillment of that purpose. Confronted with hardship and the weight of adulthood while leading a revolution, Jurist conquers seemingly insurmountable odds. Yet, it is this quiet determination and faith that makes the reader desire Jurist’s success as much as one would their own. And, as an added bonus, Shaka’s skillful input of historical information throughout the novel serves double duty: to entertain and to educate! 

The ugly truth of racism is not sugar-coated in Sovereign Nation, Child of the ReSoulution, and Shaka does not hold back in his depictions of the graphic and brutal assaults inflicted on black men in the south during the fifties and sixties. (But wait! Hasn’t that brutality extended even into 2012?) Despite this negativity, however, his depiction of a generation of men who believed in the reestablishment of “…a culture that [reflects] the ingenuity, intellect, and self-sacrificing nature of [the] ancestors” (Jasper) manages to inspire hope that one day, the outcome will be just as beautiful as 2042, a not-too-distant future!