By Eddie Griffin
The AfroSpear’s Shawn P Williams, author of Blogging While Black, came to Fort Worth’s Dock Bookshop on a book-signing tour. He was warmly greeted by fellow AfroSpear bloggers, Eddie Griffin and Kyev Tatum (candidate for U.S. District 33).
The theme of Mr. Williams’ new book, as reflected also in his speech to the audience, was about Empowerment- from an African-American community perspective. The author, who rose to national acclaim as a black blogger, extolled the AfroSpear blog group as the launch pad where his online journalism career took off. His Dallas South News blog has been featured on NBC Nightly News and CNN, as well as NPR, BBC, Ebony magazine, The Toronto Star and many other national outlets.
The story of Blogging While Black emerges as a victory for the small, black activist blogger to gain recognition in a corporate communications media world, where African-American interests and issues are routinely ignored. Williams gives us a blow-by-blow, behind-the-scenes, detail account of how a relatively unknown black blogging syndicate broke through the mass media blockade, to become one of the most powerful voices on the Internet circuit, long before the advent of Twitter and Facebook.
I am proud to have been a part of this group that brought the world’s attention to racial disparities and injustices, in cases like the Jena 6 case, Shaquanda Cotton in Paris, Texas and the hundreds of juveniles who were incarcerated in harsh conditions of the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) prisons. Through our collaborative work on juvenile justice, TYC no longer exists, several facilities have been closed, and juvenile prison population has been cut in half. Investigations into other juvenile agencies are ongoing, even as I write:
More recently, Mr. Williams has taken a deep interest in U.S. District 33 politics and the candidacy of Pastor Kyev Tatum. Speaking of the court-redrawn redistricting lines that created the new North Texas minority-controlled U.S. District 33, Shawn calls the creation “huge” because of its 66% African-American/ Latino population.
Williams was propelled into national politics when the political parties began to recognize bloggers as legitimate journalist of a different medium. As the AfroSpear blog group fought to gain media credentials to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, which is described in the book, Shawn Williams tells the intriguing story of how he and other black bloggers finally got into the convention, and the important roll Twitter played in the reporting.
Mr. Williams ends each chapter with a U Can 2 advisement note, designed to empower the reader and acclimating them to the blogosphere. In other words, he encourages others to do the same.
FOOTNOTE: I am proud that Mr. Williams took time to mention me, and other particular AfroSpear members, in this book. I cherish my signed copy, which reads:
To Bro. Griffin- You have been a mentor and an inspiration. I thank you for your leadership. God bless you- Shawn Williams