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Power Concedes Nothing: One Woman's…

Power Concedes Nothing: One Woman's Quest for Social Justice in…

by Connie Rice

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This is a difficult book for me to review. I loved it so much that I want everyone to read it. At least everyone who has ever lived in Los Angeles who has thought about gangs, been afraid of gangs, avoided moving somewhere because there were gangs or just want to understand gangs more!

Connie Rice (not Condoleezza Rice, they are second cousins) is courageous, intelligent and inspired Civil Rights Attorney. She grew up as a military brat, moving many times and places when she was young.

When her family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, she was mistaken for Japanese because of her light skin color. The boy who was a little bit younger than her couldn’t understand she was black; she didn’t look like it to her. He asked her “What is you?” One day he showed her where he lived and she was struck by the huge differences between his and her living situation. This really made her mad. Migrant workers like him were ignored in the schools, they did not count for anything. They sat in sweltering schools, never had enough to eat, no way to bathe, only worn clothes. How could they have any hope for the future? His ancestors sat on “the low rungs of the post slavery ladder” while hers were the educated, much better off and they knew that their children would have a future.

This book is the story of her life when she was a little girl until she was working as an attorney and a very valuable community leader in Los Angeles. Have you ever been to Los Angeles? It is a huge patchwork of people, with no spans of land between towns. It is confusing, complex, contradictory, dangerous, thrilling, and exciting. Connie Rice learns and tells what she learned in this book about crime in Los Angeles, about the gangs and LAPD. She even tells what mistakes she made. She is a straight shooter.

She was afraid in some situations but her courage and her fire to bend people’s thoughts and actions was stronger. She was inspired by Martin Luther King and many other civil rights leaders.

I remember Los Angeles after the trial of the LAPD officers who trampled and mangled Rodney King. A videotape was shown repeatedly TV.

Three of the police men were acquitted and there was no verdict for the fourth. Fires started in Compton; one of my friends was worried that he would lose his house. I had jury duty on the following day in downtown Los Angeles. We smelled smoke and saw lots of newspaper vending stands bent over and some smashed windows. From the bus, a Humvee pulled to our right side and we were told to get off the bus in the middle of the street.

Later our jury group waited and waited for the judge. We were hoping that he would let us go home. We felt out hearts beating in our chests. A court policeman was arguing with the judge. Our judge wanted to go on with the trial proceedings. Finally, he let us go. I walked to the bus stop just behind twelve of the LAPD, I felt scared to walk with them so I dropped back some. I got to the front of City Hall for the bus stop and was told that there was a shooting there earlier in the day. Finally the bus came and I sat down beside a woman saying her rosary.

I got home safely, but I will never forget what happened. That experience makes me very glad that we have people like Connie Rice, brave, intelligent and caring. All of Los Angeles knew what would happen after that trial but there was not enough to prevent it. We need figure not just how to prevent violence from happening, there has to be ways to deal with all the connections to violence. It is not a simple problem, it is very complex.

I plan to keep my dog-eared and underline copy in my book case for easy referral and now am more interested in everything related to this huge problem of violence that not only plagues Los Angeles but the world.

I received this book as a part of GoodReads but that in no way influenced my review. ( )
  Carolee888 | Jan 28, 2012 |
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An influential civil rights attorney describes the family beliefs and achievements that inspired her career, recounting her dedication to civil rights causes in areas ranging from transportation and education to the death penalty and the LAPD.

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