Of Greed and Glory: In Pursuit of Freedom for All (Hardcover)

Of Greed and Glory: In Pursuit of Freedom for All By Deborah G. Plant Cover Image

Of Greed and Glory: In Pursuit of Freedom for All (Hardcover)


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A ground-breaking, personal exploration of America’s obsession with continuing human bondage from the editor of the New York Times–bestselling Barracoon.

Freedom and equality are the watchwords of American democracy. But like justice, freedom and equality are meaningless when there is no corresponding practical application of the ideals they represent. Physical, bodily liberty is fundamental to every American’s personal sovereignty. And yet, millions of Americans—including author Deborah Plant’s brother, whose life sentence at Angola Prison reveals a shocking current parallel to her academic work on the history of slavery in America—are deprived of these basic freedoms every day.

In her studies of Zora Neale Hurston, Deborah Plant became fascinated by Hurston’s explanation for the atrocities of the international slave trade. In her memoir, Dust Tracks on a Road, Hurston wrote: “But the inescapable fact that stuck in my craw, was: my people had sold me and the white people had bought me. . . . It impressed upon me the universal nature of greed and glory.” We look the other way when the basic human rights of marginalized and stigmatized groups are violated and desecrated, not realizing that only the practice of justice everywhere secures justice, for any of us, anywhere.

An active vigilance is required of those who would be and remain free; with Of Greed and Glory, Deborah Plant reveals the many ways in which slavery continues in America today and charts our collective course toward personal sovereignty for all.

Deborah G. Plant is an African American and Africana Studies independent scholar, author of Of Greed and Glory: In Pursuit of Freedom for All, and literary critic specializing in the life and works of Zora Neale Hurston. She is editor of the New York Times bestseller Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston and the author of Alice Walker: A Woman for Our Times, a philosophical biography. She is also editor of The Inside Light: New Critical Essays on Zora Neale Hurston, and the author of Zora Neale Hurston: A Biography of the Spirit and Every Tub Must Sit On Its Own Bottom: The Philosophy and Politics of Zora Neale Hurston. She holds MA and Ph. D. degrees in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Plant played an instrumental role in founding the University of South Florida’s Department of Africana Studies, where she chaired the department for five years. She presently resides in Florida.

“Much like the work of Michelle Alexander and Douglas Blackmon, Plant’s narrative traces connections among slavery, the Jim Crow regime and modern mass incarceration.” Los Angeles Times

“A cogent study of how racialized abuse of justice is a feature—not a bug—of American life. A compelling argument against the systemic abuse of justice as a weapon of oppression.” Kirkus Reviews

“This is an emotional and passionate book, raw in its grief and anger, but also imbued with hope for redemption. Based on objective his­torical fact and subjective experience, Of Greed and Glory has the power of a sermon and the urgency of a manifesto.” — Deborah Mason, BookPage

"As indispensable to understanding the Americas as Edward E. Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told. Of Greed and Glory powerfully demonstrates that though we as Black Americans are far from faultless in some of our most egregious behavior on the mean plantations and streets of antebellum and modern America, we nonetheless have had to grow our dignity beneath the pitiless boot of those who looked into the tiny faces of our infants and saw only dollar signs. Powerful and necessary." — Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and National Book Award winning author of The Color Purple and Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart

“If you want to understand the current issues surrounding race, social justice, and inequality, you have to read Deborah Plant’s book, Of Greed and Glory. Deborah understands that the issues surrounding race, unfolding before us now in America, are deeply rooted in the legacy of the African American past. She writes eloquently and beautifully about that past. Of Greed and Glory is a must-read book for socially conscious citizens.” — Clyde W. Ford, Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Award in African American fiction—winning author of Of Blood and Sweat and Think Black

"Deborah G. Plant courageously and painstakingly provides insight into the devastation and trauma experienced generations of African Americans, persons of color, and the poor … This is a must read that challenges us to become active in the movement to abolish slavery, patriarchy, and other forms of oppression that exist in our nation." — Diane D. Turner, author of Feeding the Soul and curator of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple University Libraries

"Of Greed and Glory is impossible to put down. It’s a searing, provocative analysis of how the roots of slavery in the US still infiltrate so many of our social institutions. Plant’s vivid prose will leave you affected, challenged, and thinking about this book long after you’re done reading." — Adia Wingfield, author of Gray Areas, Flatlining, and No More Invisible Man