A Review of the Book, A Dream Derailed: How the Left Hijacked Civil Rights to Create a Permanent Underclass, by Bill Owens, with Dr. Deborah Owens (Fulshear, TX: A New Dream Publishers, 2019)
Anyone who pays attention to the daily news might be tempted to despair and conclude there are no good men left in America. Bill Owens’ new book, A Dream Derailed: How the Left Hijacked Civil Rights to Create a Permanent Underclass, dispels that impression. The author is a good American man, and his life story and good works shine a much-needed light into our society.
Owens grew up in a poor black family in the South, where he was taught by his parents to value faith, education and hard work. He was dismayed to find that the civil rights movement, in which he took part as a young man, quickly devolved into what Owens calls the enslavement of black people to the blandishments of the federal government.
He recalls a time when “pride and dignity” were instilled at home. “Families were strong, and most black children had their mothers and fathers raising them together, teaching them how to be the best they could.” This situation unraveled into all-out dependency on handouts: food stamps, welfare checks, free housing and more. Owens realized that blacks had been badly tricked by Lyndon Johnson and other Democrats, right down to Bill Clinton, Eric Holder and Barack Obama. Politicians made a mockery of the values his mother and father had taught him while claiming to look out for blacks and their best interests.
Instead of getting angry, Owens decided to help others. He started an organization to help black students succeed in college. He then went on to found the Coalition of African-American Pastors to spread the word that blacks, and everyone else, deserve much better than fake charity from the federal government. Owens now travels the country, giving speeches and working to bring decency and respect back to an American culture badly in need of both.
A Dream Derailed is partly autobiographical, telling the story of how Owens rediscovered his strong family upbringing and found his feet in a situation of dependency virtually designed to trap blacks into an endless cycle of poverty, hopelessness and voting Democrat. This book is above all a manifesto, in which he makes an impassioned plea to his fellow countrymen, and especially other black people, to rethink their involvement with the left. Divided into ten chapters, this short work is a helpful overview of key issues facing minority communities. He outlines how anyone can embrace the personal responsibility to “rise from the lies of the left” and grow strong in faith and morality.
In my view, the central issue of the book is what Owens calls “the destruction of the black family in America.” This is a heartbreaking history. American leftists have long hated strong families, especially strong minority families. Indeed, morality and a good upbringing are kryptonite to the leftists’ program of undermining human decency and debauching the human person. Such values undermine leftism and its class- and race-hatred dialectics that pave the way for revolution.
Leftists have pounded away at the black family for more than a hundred years. This started with the deeply racist eugenics of Margaret Sanger and her fellow Progressives of the twenties, giving way to contraception in the sixties, widespread divorce and abortion from the seventies and radical feminism and then transgenderism thereafter.
All these factors hit black families especially hard. As black men bought into the contraceptive mentality and abandoned black women, black children were left to bear the wounds of a scourge of fatherlessness and poverty. Crime and poverty rates among blacks predictably soared.
Even more sinister are the abortion mills that are often located in black neighborhoods. Countless unwed black mothers have been lured into allowing a so-called “doctor” to kill their unborn children. Black families are now devastated, but Planned Parenthood kept posting record profits.
This targeting of black mothers for abortion is not only permitted by the Democrats but cheered by them at every step along the way. Indeed, the Democratic Party remains the most virulently pro-black-baby-abortion organization on the face of the planet. No other group, not even Planned Parenthood, champions the genocide of black children more completely than does the American left.
Good people in the United States must oppose this onslaught. Owens’ task, and that of his wife, Deborah, is to help their fellow Americans understand what is going on in our country. The destruction of the “souls of black folk” has largely been the work of the federal government and the Progressive establishment that runs the nation at large. Owens’ voice is a cry in the wilderness for a change of heart and a return of black people to the path of pride, dignity, and the values that he learned in his poor, but good, home as a child.
A Dream Derailed is an excellent introduction to this struggle by one man against the sins of those in the grips of a pernicious ideology. I believe the book does suffer from two shortcomings. It is written from a Protestant perspective and thus lacks the mention of the rich sacramental means of the Catholic Church needed to deal with the moral crisis we now face. And, those familiar with the controversy around the personal life of Martin Luther King might find the frequent and glowing references to him to be misplaced.
Bill Owens has been fighting for a better America for most of his adult life, and with God’s help, he will keep changing minds and healing what the revolution has broken. A Dream Derailed is a good place to start for anyone who wants to know what the world looks like from a man who has seen his share of sorrow and yet has resolved to do his part to bring light to those still living in darkness.