Sunday, March 18, 2007


Book Review by Kam Williams, Esq.

The Little Black Book:

Black Male Survival in America:

Staying Alive & Well in an

Institutionally Racist Society

by Carol Taylor R.N.

26 pages illustrated

paperback $2

"The object of this Survival Manual

is to save lives - the lives of Black African

Males who are on the Endangered list in

this American society of ours.

I started writing out rules of survival

for my son, Larry, and I suddenly thought,

Why be selfish? Why not write out directions

for all Black Males living in America?"

________Excerpt from the Preface

For young Black men, any chance crossing of paths with cops can mean a close brush with death. Almost on a daily basis, we hear of another case of police brutality occurring somewhere in the country in which state-sanctioned violence has been officially explained away as reasonable or justified when employed against an African-American male. Even the most seemingly inexcusable examples of homicide, such as the killing of Amadou Diallo in a hail of 41 bullets by a squad of reckless detectives in front of his own home, have been deemed to be fully in accordance with proper police procedure.

What then, can one do to ensure that a loved one not end up the next statistic? Unless, like Michael Jackson, you are inclined to undergo a radical blackendectomy, I heartily recommend reading a copy of The Little Black Book to anyone considering venturing outside while still inside Black skin.

This handy, pocket-size police encounter survival guide was strategically designed by its author, Carol Taylor, R.N., to fit inside a pocket or wallet for ready retrieval, if needed, God forbid.

The author, a mother and well-known New York civil rights activist, first wrote the book in 1985 for the protection of her own young son. Her new edition starts with a brief introduction containing the sage advice from the Honorable Bruce Wright, an African-American judge who is controversial because because of his open indictment of the criminal justice system as biased against Black people.

Next, the text turns its attention to preparing you for a potential legal situation on the street by spelling out 30 common sense rules of engagement, such as not to run or walk down the block with a wallet, cell phone, beeper or anything which might easily be mistaken for a gun when held in your hand. The book also contains blank spaces to attach a photo, and to fill in one's blood type, allergies and other medical information. Plus, in case of arrest, there are areas for a lawyer's name and number and for a relative to contact in case of emergency.

What makes The Little Black Book so valuable is, first, it's mentally prepping Black kids for how to behave in the event of a detainment by the cops. Of equal importance is that it is small enough to carry at all times, to be readily available at a moment's notice during any very tense confrontation with the authorities. In case a child is too nervous to think clearly, this priceless pamphlet could easily be the difference between a policeman's prejudice or misunderstanding quickly degenerating to a matter of life and death.

At $2 each, I heartily recommend buying this book in bulk and sharing it with any African-American teenagers you care about.

To order The Little Black Book, send a money order only to Carol Taylor, R.N., 590 Flatbush Avenue, Suite 11A, Brooklyn, NY 11225-4935.

The cost $2.39 for each book, for five or more books send a dollar or two for postage.

To make arrangements for a book signing or public speaking engagement, call Taylor at 718-856 1271, or visit her Web site at

The Urban Spectrum ___April 2005 27

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