In this work, Carl Anthony shares his perspectives as an African-American child in post-World War II Philadelphia; a student and civil rights activist in 1960s Harlem; a traveling student of West African architecture; and an architect, planner, and environmental justice advocate in Berkeley. He contextualizes this within American urbanism and human origins, making profoundly personal both African American and American urban histories as well as planetary origins and environmental issues, to not only bring a new worldview to people of color, but to set forth a truly inclusive vision of our shared planetary future.
The Earth, the City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race connects the logics behind slavery, community disinvestment, and environmental exploitation to address the most pressing issues of our time in a cohesive and foundational manner. Most books dealing with these topics and periods silo issues apart from one another, but this book contextualizes the connections between social movements and issues, providing tremendous insight into successful movement building. Anthony's rich narrative describes both being at the mercy of racism, urban disinvestment, and environmental injustice as well as fighting against these forces with a variety of strategies.
Because this work is both a personal memoir and an exposition of ideas, it will appeal to those who appreciate thoughtful and unique writing on issues of race, including individuals exploring their own African American identity, as well as progressive audiences of organizations and community leaders and professionals interested in democratizing power and advancing equitable policies for low-income communities and historically disenfranchised communities.
Carl Anthony is an architect, regional planner, and social justice leader. He is currently co-founder of the Breakthrough Communities Project and Visiting Professor at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change. Anthony is revered as the founder and former executive director of Urban Habitat, one of the country's oldest environmental justice organizations, known for pushing the mainstream environmental movement to confront issues of race and class.
The destruction of the earth's environment is the human rights challenge of our time. The most devastating effects are visited on the poor, those with no involvement in creating the problem. A deep injustice. Among its many treasures, this book offers solutions that lead with equity for the benefit of all.
—Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Anglican Archbishop Emeritus, social activist, Capetown, South Africa
Carl Anthony has been ahead of the curve for decades, and as this book makes clear that's exactly where he remains. If you want to understand why today's intersections between environment, race and class are so crucial, then this is the book to read. And if you want to learn how to make change, then it's the book to dog-ear and underline!
—Bill McKibben, Cofounder, 350.org; author, End of Nature
Carl Anthony combines two qualities rarely found in one person. He has been an extraordinary visionary and he is a pragmatic, unflinching realist. He has been constantly ahead of his time, virtually coining the concept of environmental justice, and then brilliantly acting upon injustice throughout his life. You will find answers here to questions you may not have even considered, and insights that will vividly display the roots, causes, and antidotes to our endemic racism. Most importantly, you will see the world through the eyes of one of the most wonderful men you will ever know or meet. This is a tutorial. By all means, take the class.
—Paul Hawken, environmentalist, entrepreneur; author, Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
The Earth, the City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race, is a profound memoir that captures and grapples with some of the most critical issues of our time. Truly essential reading.
—john a. powell, JD, Director, Haas Institute for a Fair & Inclusive Society; Robert D. Haas Chancellor's Chair in Equity & Inclusion; Professor of Law, African American & Ethnic Studies, University of California Berkeley
Excerpt from the Introduction:
My friend and mentor Karl Linn, who had moved to California from the East Coast, introduced me to the writing of Catholic priest and cultural historian Thomas Berry. I was struck by Berry's insistence that humanity needs a new story. I had been feeling that African Americans need a new story, a story that is more inspiring than the horrors of the Middle Passage, slavery times, and the grinding pressures of racism that seemed to intensify after Emancipation. Berry suggested that neither of mainstream culture's two dominant stories—one centering on the promise of redemption in the afterlife and the other trusting in the power of science and industry— was able to unify people and inspire them to engage in collective effort to respond to the serious environmental problems that have resulted from our long practice of massive extractive industry. Berry insisted that we need to reinvent ourselves as a species within the community of life. Identifying ourselves primarily as members of nations, religions, or racial groups had proved to be a sure route to strife.
Thanks to my third grade teacher and the assignments and field trips she organized, I had always held a fascination with history and an excitement about—and love of—nature, particularly stars and trees. Looking at the fossilized footprints of a dinosaur within a short distance from my home gave me a sense of deep time and appreciation for the big story of life on Earth in which we are all connected. I now found this same excitement when I read Thomas Berry.
Deeply inspired by his writings and his collaborations with evolutionary cosmologist Brian Thomas Swimme and scholar of world religions Mary Evelyn Tucker, I wanted to make their vision relevant to a larger pool of readers. In order to do this I needed to fill in the two large gaps I had encountered in their narrative: I had found hardly any mention of cities or people of color. I felt a strong desire to correct these significant oversights and to find a new story that could include those elements. I hope this book will make an initial contribution to the new story and encourage others to do likewise and share their own stories. We all need to embrace and understand our own histories and identities, and we all want to feel understood by others. Since the majority of people today live in cities, and analysts predict that the majority of residents in the United States will be people of color by 2042, efforts to expand the new story seem particularly relevant.
My search for the new story found me reaching back to the very origins of the universe, then coming through humanity's origins in Africa and the emergence there of agriculture, nomadic herding, and city-building that developed into a variety of thriving cultures until they started to unravel with the incursions of Portuguese fortune hunters—known in the old story as explorers. The development of my story continued as I studied the slave trade, the plantation era, the gradual undermining and reversal of black rights after the Emancipation, the betrayals of the Black Codes and the Jim Crow laws in the South, followed by the waves of black migration to the cities of the North, where their economic progress was thwarted by racist policies that kept the new arrivals in ghettos and greedy real estate speculators who took advantage of them.
Finally I studied the unfolding experiences of my father, an orphan from birth and a self-made man with many achievements; my mother and her accomplished and cultured family; and my own experience, growing up alongside my brother in racially defined black neighborhoods in Philadelphia.
Our African ancestors were uprooted from their lands, transported many thousands of miles, and forced to work without remuneration for the benefit of another people. Still, the majority survived and found ways to retain their dignity and humanity. Many lived truly heroic lives. Many of their descendants now live in cities where they suffer from lack of opportunities to develop their potential.
Lewie Taking Harlem Kids to See the Solar Eclipse
Third Grade with Mrs. Aikens
What Is Missing in the New Story?
A New Vision for the City
PART ONE: MY LIFE AND WORK
CHAPTER 1: GROWING UP IN A DYING CITY
Getting By in the City
Our New Neighborhood
Attending an Integrated Elementary School
My Passion for City Planning
Walking in the City
Driving While Black
Navigating Wonder and Shadow
Attending Dobbins Vocational School
First Exposure to the Segregated South
CHAPTER 2: FINDING MENTORS
Learning to Recognize Resources with Karl Linn
A New Appreciation of the Natural World
Building Neighborhood Commons
A Social Agenda in Architecture
Discovering James Baldwin
Encountering Lewis Mumford
Igniting My Passion for Architectural History
Coming of Age in a Segregated City
CHAPTER 3: MOVING TO NEW YORK CITY
Gaining a Sense of Place
Joining the Civil Rights Movement
Poised on the Racial Divide
The Message of Malcolm X
Corresponding with James Baldwin
Uncovering the Hidden Narrative of Race
My Involvement in Civil Rights Struggles
Cultural and Political Inspirations
Learning about Ancient Africa
Joining the Community Design Movement
Creating a Neighborhood Commons in Harlem
Partnering with Jean
Civil Rights in the News
Poised on the Racial Divide
CHAPTER 4: COLUMBIA ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL
Professors and Curriculum
From the Studio to the Streets
Experimental Professional Projects
My Experience at Columbia: A Mixed Bag
Political Leadership in Architecture
Wrapping Up at Columbia
Growing Interest in African Settlements
After Graduation, Next Steps
CHAPTER 5: JOURNEY TO WEST AFRICA
Starting the Journey
A Beginner's Mind
Community Participation in Building
Cities of the Middle Niger
A Dogon Village
Anthropomorphic Layout of Dogon Buildings
The Rainy Season in West Africa
Insights about African Architecture and Human Settlements
Reflections on Our African Travels
Return to the States
CHAPTER 6: DISCOVERING THE HIDDEN NARRATIVE OF RACE
The Place of Africans in Architectural History
Looking Back at Slavery Times
The Plantation as Precursor to Industrialization
African Contributions to American Architecture
Social Dimensions of Plantation Architecture
CHAPTER 7: TEACHING, RESEARCH AND PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE
Moving to Berkeley
Teaching at UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design
Influential Urban-Planning Theoreticians
Tracking Innovations in Architecture and Planning
Hosting James Baldwin for a Month
Attempting to Introduce New Course Material on the Landscape of Freedom
From Architecture to City Planning
Deindustrialization and Plant Closure Conversions
Finding Meaning in Work
PART TWO: FINDING A NEW STORY
CHAPTER 8: MY SEARCH FOR A LARGER STORY
Planning the Berkeley Waterfront Redesign
Fragmentation of the African American Community
My Moment of Truth
Places for Peace
Toward a New Story for African Americans
Telling the Story of African Americans
CHAPTER 9: DEEP TIME, SLAVERY, AND THE MAKING OF THE MODERN ECONOMIC SYSTEM
Human History Begins in Africa
Ancient and Medieval African Cultures
Deconstructing Europe's Rise to Dominance
The Columbian Exchange and the Global Economy
Cities Shaped by the Atlantic Slave Trade
Slavery and the Modern Economic System
CHAPTER 10: THE LANDSCAPE OF FREEDOM
The Hope of Reconstruction
New Methods of Forced Labor
The Black Agrarian Movement
The Great Migration
CHAPTER 11: THE CITY AT THE CROSSROADS
The Racialization of Space
Suburban Sprawl and Inner-city Abandonment
The Kerner Commission Report
A Demographic Shift
The Sustainability Revolution
PART THREE: SOLUTIONS
CHAPTER 12: FORGING A NEW ALLIANCE BETWEEN THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENTS
Joining Earth Island Institute
Positioning People of Color in the Environmental Movement
Creating the Urban Habitat Program
Protecting Jobs and the Environment in West Berkeley
The Environmental Justice Movement
The Race, Poverty and the Environment Journal
Reaching Out to People-of-Color Communities
Understanding the Metropolitan Region
Military Base Conversions
Urban Habitat Leadership Institute
Leaving Earth Island
Forming the Social Equity Caucus
Leaving Urban Habitat
A New Opportunity for Collaboration
Next Steps for the Urban Habitat Program
CHAPTER 13: LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR A NATIONAL MOVEMENT FOR REGIONAL EQUITY
Recruited by the Ford Foundation
Back to New York
Ford Foundation's Change of Direction
The Need for a Smart and Equitable Regional Perspective
A Culture of Collaboration at Ford
Grantmaking for the Sustainable Metropolitan Communities Initiative (SMCI)
Regional Equity Advocates
African Americans and Other Communities of Color
Regional Equity Demonstration Projects
Community Organizing Groups
Community Development Corporations (CDCs)
Farm and School Alliance
Cities Facing Abandonment
Solidifying the Movement: Communications and the Learning Community
Urbanization as a Global Trend
Global Climate Change Comes Home
CHAPTER 14: PLANNING HEALTHY AND JUST COMMUNITIES FOR ALL IN THE AGE OF GLOBAL WARMING
Starting Breakthrough Communities
Organizing for Climate Justice in California
Political Opportunity, Mobilizing Structures, and Framing the Issues
Designing Healthy and Just Communities: the Six Wins Campaign
Ending Suburban Poverty
Community Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Change
The Power of Cultural Work
Inspiring the Black Community
CONCLUSION: DISCOVERING NEW FOUNDATIONS FOR THE GREAT WORK OF OUR TIME
Breakthrough Communities and the Brotherhood of Elders invite you to join as we celebrate the release of Carl Anthony's book, The Earth, the City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race, with foreword by Van Jones. The event will include guest artists, music, refreshments and a book signing.
October 18, 6:00 pm
RSVP: BreakthroughCommunities @gmail.com
Free and open to the public.
The enormous benefits of environmental and outdoor science education are widely known, but the cultural relevance of these experiences and access to them remain elusive for low-income communities, communities of color, and English learners. In this session we'll explore how to make environmental literacy widely available and inclusive throughout K-12 public education systems by cultivating community partnerships, meeting rigorous mainstream educational goals, and equipping students with the capacity to build ecologically sound, economically prosperous, and equitable communities. Hosted by Craig Strang, Associate Director of Lawrence Hall of Science. With: Carl Anthony and Paloma Pavel, Urban Habitat/Breakthrough Communities Project/Earth Island Institute; Raquel Pinderhughes, Ph.D., professor and Chair of the Urban Studies and Planning Department at San Francisco State; Jose Flores, award-winning teacher from Brawley Union High School District, CA; Juanita Chan, District Science Lead, Rialto Unified School District, CA.
Carl Anthony's memoir offers a new worldview to people of color. His work is both a personal story and an exposition of ideas that will appeal to those who appreciate thoughtful writing on issues of race, including individuals exploring their own identity and activists interested in democratizing power and advancing equitable policies for historically disenfranchised communities. Join Green Apple Books for a discussion with Carl about his books and the next steps necessary for creating a more just world.
On November 9, 2017, we gather locally and Earth-wide to launch into the next quarter century and beyond within this essential Movement for our Human Family, Earth Community and The Universe Story.
The day will be focused on celebrating the 3 Cosmogenetic Principles of The Universe Story: *Differentiation/Uniqueness *Subjectivity/Interiority *Communion/Kinship
Presented by the Tishman Environment and Design Center and the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at The New School.
Carl Anthony's forthcoming book interweaves urban history, racial justice, and cosmology with personal experiences as an architect/planner, environmentalist, and black American. Carl will be joined by Dr. Paloma Pavel, co-founder of Breakthrough Communities, and Michelle DePass, Dean of the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy and Director of the Tishman Environment and Design Center.
This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP
The Earth, the City, and the Hidden Narrative of Race connects the logics behind slavery, community disinvestment, and environmental exploitation to address the most pressing issues of our time in a cohesive and foundational manner.
Anthony's rich narrative describes both being at the mercy of racism, urban disinvestment, and environmental injustice as well as fighting against these forces with a variety of strategies.