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Just Mercy

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The founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama recounts his experiences as a lawyer working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice.
Published on 08/17/2019
Book details: 336 pages.

Militant Mediator

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During the turbulent 1960s, civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr. devised a new and effective strategy to achieve equality for African Americans. Young blended interracial mediation with direct protest, demonstrating that these methods pursued together were the best tactics for achieving social, economic, and political change. Militant Mediator is a powerful reassessment of this key and controversial figure in the civil rights movement. It is the first biography to explore in depth the influence Young's father, a civil rights leader in Kentucky, had on his son. Dickerson traces Young's swift rise to national prominence as a leader who could bridge the concerns of deprived blacks and powerful whites and mobilize the resources of the white America to battle the poverty and discrimination at the core of racial inequality. Alone among his civil rights colleagues—Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, James Farmer, John Lewis, and James Forman—Young built support from black and white constituencies. As a National Urban League official in the Midwest and as a dean of the School of Social Work at Atlanta University during the 1940s and 1950s, Young developed a strategy of mediation and put it to work on a national level upon becoming the executive director of the League in 1961. Though he worked with powerful whites, Young also drew support from middle-and working-class blacks from religious, fraternal, civil rights, and educational organizations. As he navigated this middle ground, though, Young came under fire from both black nationalists and white conservatives.
Published by University Press of Kentucky on 01/01/1998
Book details: 384 pages.

The Substance of Hope

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Traces the ways in which black leadership and politics have evolved since the civil rights era, evaluating such topics as Barack Obama's achievements and paradigm shifts within the African-American electorate.
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on 05/25/2010
Book details: 191 pages.

From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime

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How did the land of the free become the home of the world’s largest prison system? Elizabeth Hinton traces the rise of mass incarceration to an ironic source: not the War on Drugs of the Reagan administration but the War on Crime that began during Johnson’s Great Society at the height of the civil rights era.
Published by Harvard University Press on 05/09/2016
Book details: 449 pages.

The Meaning of Life

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“I can think of no authors more qualified to research the complex impact of life sentences than Marc Mauer and Ashley Nellis. They have the expertise to track down the information that all citizens need to know and the skills to translate that research into accessible and powerful prose.” —Heather Ann Thompson, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Blood in the Water From the author of the classic Race to Incarcerate, a forceful and necessary argument for eliminating life sentences, including profiles of six people directly impacted by life sentences by formerly incarcerated author Kerry Myers Most Western democracies have few or no people serving life sentences, yet here in the United States more than 200,000 people are sentenced to such prison terms. Marc Mauer and Ashley Nellis of The Sentencing Project argue that there is no practical or moral justification for a sentence longer than twenty years. Harsher sentences have been shown to have little effect on crime rates, since people “age out” of crime—meaning that we’re spending a fortune on geriatric care for older prisoners who pose little threat to public safety. Extreme punishment for serious crime also has an inflationary effect on sentences across the spectrum, helping to account for severe mandatory minimums and other harsh punishments. A thoughtful and stirring call to action, The Meaning of Life also features moving profiles of a half dozen people affected by life sentences, written by former “lifer” and award-winning writer Kerry Myers. The book will tie in to a campaign spearheaded by The Sentencing Project and offers a much-needed road map to a more humane criminal justice system.
Published by The New Press on 12/11/2018
Book details: 204 pages.

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist

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A shocking and deeply reported account of the persistent plague of institutional racism and junk forensic science in our criminal justice system, and its devastating effect on innocent lives After two three-year-old girls were raped and murdered in rural Mississippi, law enforcement pursued and convicted two innocent men: Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks. Together they spent a combined thirty years in prison before finally being exonerated in 2008. Meanwhile, the real killer remained free. The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist recounts the story of how the criminal justice system allowed this to happen, and of how two men, Dr. Steven Hayne and Dr. Michael West, built successful careers on the back of that structure. For nearly two decades, Hayne, a medical examiner, performed the vast majority of Mississippi's autopsies, while his friend Dr. West, a local dentist, pitched himself as a forensic jack-of-all-trades. Together they became the go-to experts for prosecutors and helped put countless Mississippians in prison. But then some of those convictions began to fall apart. Here, Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington tell the haunting story of how the courts and Mississippi's death investigation system--a relic of the Jim Crow era--failed to deliver justice for its citizens. The authors argue that bad forensics, structural racism, and institutional failures are at fault, raising sobering questions about our ability and willingness to address these crucial issues.
Published by PublicAffairs on 02/27/2018
Book details: 416 pages.

Charged

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A renowned journalist and legal commentator exposes the unchecked power of the prosecutor as a driving force in America’s mass incarceration crisis—and charts a way out. “An important, thoughtful, and thorough examination of criminal justice in America that speaks directly to how we reduce mass incarceration.”—Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy “This harrowing, often enraging book is a hopeful one, as well, profiling innovative new approaches and the frontline advocates who champion them.”—Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted The American criminal justice system is supposed to be a contest between two equal adversaries, the prosecution and the defense, with judges ensuring a fair fight. That image of the law does not match the reality in the courtroom, however. Much of the time, it is prosecutors more than judges who control the outcome of a case, from choosing the charge to setting bail to determining the plea bargain. They often decide who goes free and who goes to prison, even who lives and who dies. In Charged, Emily Bazelon reveals how this kind of unchecked power is the underreported cause of enormous injustice—and the missing piece in the mass incarceration puzzle. Charged follows the story of two young people caught up in the criminal justice system: Kevin, a twenty-year-old in Brooklyn who picked up his friend’s gun as the cops burst in and was charged with a serious violent felony, and Noura, a teenage girl in Memphis indicted for the murder of her mother. Bazelon tracks both cases—from arrest and charging to trial and sentencing—and, with her trademark blend of deeply reported narrative, legal analysis, and investigative journalism, illustrates just how criminal prosecutions can go wrong and, more important, why they don’t have to. Bazelon also details the second chances they prosecutors can extend, if they choose, to Kevin and Noura and so many others. She follows a wave of reform-minded D.A.s who have been elected in some of our biggest cities, as well as in rural areas in every region of the country, put in office to do nothing less than reinvent how their job is done. If they succeed, they can point the country toward a different and profoundly better future. “Bazelon, cogent and clear-eyed as ever, lays out a welcome double-barreled argument: A prosecutorial shift toward mercy and fairness is crucial to healing our busted criminal justice system, and it’s already happening.”—Sarah Koenig, host of Serial
Published by Random House on 04/09/2019
Book details: 448 pages.

Listen to the Marriage

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A riveting drama of marital therapy Gretchen and Steve have been married for a long time. Living in San Francisco, recently separated, with two children and demanding jobs, they’ve started going to a marriage counselor. Unfolding over the course of ten months and taking place entirely in the marriage counselor’s office, John Jay Osborn’s Listen to the Marriage is the story of a fractured couple in a moment of crisis, and of the person who tries to get them to see each other again. A searing look at the obstacles we put in our own way, as well as the forces that drive us apart (and those that bring us together), Listen to the Marriage is a poignant exploration of marriage—heartbreaking and tender.
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on 10/23/2018
Book details: 256 pages.

The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time

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A wise and witty compendium of the greatest thoughts, greatest minds, and greatest books of all time -- listed in accessible and succinct form -- by one of the world's greatest scholars. From the "Hundred Best Books" to the "Ten Greatest Thinkers" to the "Ten Greatest Poets," here is a concise collection of the world's most significant knowledge. For the better part of a century, Will Durant dwelled upon -- and wrote about -- the most significant eras, individuals, and achievements of human history. His selections have finally been brought together in a single, compact volume. Durant eloquently defends his choices of the greatest minds and ideas, but he also stimulates readers into forming their own opinions, encouraging them to shed their surroundings and biases and enter "The Country of the Mind," a timeless realm where the heroes of our species dwell. From a thinker who always chose to exalt the positive in the human species, The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time stays true to Durant's optimism. This is a book containing the absolute best of our heritage, passed on for the benefit of future generations. Filled with Durant's renowned wit, knowledge, and unique ability to explain events and ideas in simple and exciting terms, this is a pocket-size liberal arts and humanist curriculum in one volume.
Author: Will Durant
Published by Simon and Schuster on 11/07/2002
Book details: 144 pages.

Becoming Ms. Burton

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Winner of the 2018 National Council on Crime & Delinquency’s Media for a Just Society Awards Winner of the 2017 Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice “Valuable . . . [like Michelle] Alexander’s The New Jim Crow.” —Los Angeles Review of Books “Susan Burton is a national treasure . . . her life story is testimony to the human capacity for resilience and recovery . . . [Becoming Ms. Burton is] a stunning memoir.” —Nicholas Kristof, in The New York Times Winner of the prestigious NAACP Image Award, a uniquely American story of trauma, incarceration, and “the breathtaking resilience of the human spirit” (Michelle Alexander) Widely hailed as a stunning memoir, Becoming Ms. Burton is the remarkable life story of the renowned activist Susan Burton. In this “stirring and moving tour-de-force” (John Legend), Susan Burton movingly recounts her own journey through the criminal justice system and her transformation into a life of advocacy. After a childhood of immense pain, poverty, and abuse in Los Angeles, the tragic loss of her son led her into addiction, which in turn led to arrests and incarceration. During the War on Drugs, Burton was arrested and would cycle in and out of prison for more than fifteen years. When, by chance, she finally received treatment, her political awakening began and she became a powerful advocate for “a more humane justice system guided by compassion and dignity” (Booklist, starred review). Her award-winning organization, A New Way of Life, has transformed the lives of more than one thousand formerly incarcerated women and is an international model for a less punitive and more effective approach to rehabilitation and reentry. Winner of an NAACP Image Award and named a “Best Book of 2017” by the Chicago Public Library, here is an unforgettable book about “the breathtaking resilience of the human spirit” (Michelle Alexander).
Published by The New Press on 02/12/2019
Book details: 144 pages.
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