Jamelle Bouie

  • A Dream Defiled

    The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace is the work of Jeff Hobbs, a close college friend of the book’s subject, and large chunks are told from his perspective. But if the story has an audience-identification character—someone who asks the questions you’re asking and thinks the thoughts you’re thinking as Peace moves inexorably toward his sad demise in the basement of a drug stash house—it’s Oswaldo Gutierrez, another of Peace’s friends from Yale, who is, as Peace was, a native of Newark.

    “With Oswaldo, he would talk about home,” Hobbs writes of Peace. The two shared a growing sense of

  • Marching On

    When you visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC, it’s not hard to see how it inspired a small controversy. This monumental King, sculpted by Lei Yixin, an artist from the People’s Republic of China, is a stern-faced titan, arms folded, with his uncompromising gaze fixed in the distance.

    Critics questioned the social-realist style and wondered if this wasn’t a far cry from the King who gave the “I Have a Dream” speech and accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Then again, there’s something about the memorial that fits. King was uncompromising in that he refused to bend to the

  • Damaged Reps

    It’s hard to know what to make of the 111th Congress. On one hand, it was a Congress of immense productivity. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, for example, was an $840 billion Goliath designed to stem the Great Recession and provide the floor for recovery from the devastating economic crash of 2008. And while the 2009 stimulus law doesn’t have the best reputation (large pluralities still deride it as “wasteful,” despite the utter absence of waste), it stands as a huge accomplishment—an incredible collection of programs and initiatives that would turn any presidency into a success if