Please find my humble check . . . to keep the home fires burning. I’ve enjoyed ChickenBones

from the moment I discovered it about four years ago. It is bright, charming, diverse,

argumentative, angry, humorous, spiteful, inconclusive, kindly, over the top, timorous,

and insightful; all those elements that comprise the human condition—and especially us.

I hope you find the wherewithal to keep it going.


ChickenBones: A Journal

Letters to the Editor 2006-2007

I became aware of Rudy Lewis’ labor of love a few short months ago during a visit to Kalamu ya Salaam’s e-drum listserv. As soon as I saw the title of the journal I knew it was about Black folks, and the power of the written word.  A quick click took me into a journal that’s long on creativity, highlighting well-known, little known, and a little known writers, and commitment to the empowerment of Black folks. I contacted Rudy to ask if he’d consider publishing some of my work. His response was immediate, and a couple of days after I’d forwarded some poems to him—they were part of ChickenBones. What I didn’t know was that this journal has been surviving for the last five years with very little outside financial support. As editor, Rudy has resisted taking on the advertising which could make this journal a financial success, because he wanted to keep the journal for “us” and by “us” without the pressures that come with having paying advertisers, each with their own agenda.If we want journals like this to “thrive” we need to support them with more than our website hits, praise, and submissions for publication consideration. I’m asking each person who visits the ChickenBones journal during the month of February to send a ONE DOLLAR donation to the journal. I will match the first ONE hundred dollars.—Peace, Mary E. Weems (Januray 2007)

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Dear Mr. Lewis,

I was referred to your site by Mary Coulter, who told me about the piece she wrote.  I LOVE your site.  It is simply the best.  I am an activist/feminist/sociologist who teaches anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-classism and found many of the included writers/artists listed on your site some of my favorite “people” to use in the classroom and in my everyday life.  Thanks so much for a great site! I have already referred the site on to others who I know will feel the same way! Peace,—Nicole Braun (Sunday, February 4, 2007)

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You know you the baaadest, Rudy! I’ll see if I can get one of my students to do a “ChickenBones” project and use this material—also Scott’s essay. YOU are the “heroic mind” in my book.—Joyce (January 20, 2007)

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Dear Rudy, Thanks for spreading “Heroic Minds” around. It’s become clear to me that you are one of those “heroic minds,” yourself. Sincerely,—Glen (January 20, 2007)

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I’d like to say I appreciate your site. I don’t believe there is any other like it on the web. Why don’t you set up a Paypal account for your donations? It would certainly make giving convenient. Just a suggestion.—LJ

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I will be getting a computer with my taxes and online, hopefully, early in Feb, but for now, I am at the library.  I just wanted to tell you again that I am so happy about the letter you published for me.  My daughter showed it at school and I did at work and my friends, etc.  Thanks for giving me a place to express myself.  I only wish I was on line at home already so I can read more of the publication.  So far I have only read some here and there. . . . I just read something you wrote and saw your pic . . . nice to see you! What you wrote about repairing an old house, I live in one so I know, I know. . . . I am at a time in my life where I am needing a second wind.  I will keep reading on, because I think I will get a lot of inspiration from the journal.  Your journal is great.  It is not futile.—Mary (15 January 2007)

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Hello Rudy my brother , My salutes to you for your great work in building this great ChickenBones Site with those fantastic numbers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have built the best Site in the African World from scratch! Salutes to you Rudy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sincerely,—Ukali  11 January 2007

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I hope all is well on your end. I continue to admire the outstanding contribution ChickenBones is to our experience. Bless you for it. Much love and respect, Stuart (17 November 2006)

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Dear People: Please find my humble check . . . to keep the home fires burning. I’ve enjoyed ChickenBones from the moment I discovered it about four years ago. It is bright, charming, diverse, argumentative, angry, humorous, spiteful, inconclusive, kindly, over the top, timorous, and insightful; all those elements that comprise the human condition—and especially us. I hope you find the wherewithal to keep it going. It is like an online magazine of soul, and saves a lot of time and money not having to search elsewhere for this kind of divergent, intelligent opinion. I wish I could send more, but as a retired person with maniacs in charge of the country, one must pinch every ducat. I wish you every success with ChickenBonesDoug

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Rudy, The past year or so I’ve benefited greatly from our cooperation and collaboration. You, Jon, Amin & Floyd in particular have assisted greatly and provided much to my thoughts and perspectives as well. I thank you for that, and we will keep it going. I have directed people to ChickenBones, and as my girlfriend informed you, I speak highly of it. . . . ChickenBones, however, is a national treasure, one that I’ll continue to cherish. Peace—Rod.

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Dear Rudy,

       Just to tell you, ChickenBones, is a great work. I am an old man and a very experienced promoter. I have been there with them all from Dick Gregory to James Baldwin to Sarah Vaughn and Sidney Poitier. I know the real thing when I see it and ChickenBones is real class. We will overcome—Ben

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keep the faith. time longer than rope.—lmsekou

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Here Rudy This is for you (LOL real 60’s)

From shore to shore #1 Man in Baltimore Got the best website Jam up and jelly tight ChickenBones is outta sight

Ooo-ooo-wee, Rudy!


11 March 2006

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Rudy, the service you provide is invaluable.—Tiger

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Keep up the good work.  We need more like you.—J. Everett Prewitt

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Dear Rudy,  I will be back on 16th February. I would like to come down to Baltimore and visit with you and try to help you organize a financial plan for ChickenBones. I think a hard-cover quarterly will have a large subscription and provide an income source both in advertising and subscription sales. You have brought together some of the best minds from the global literary scene and done it on a shoestring. I compare ChickenBones with H.L.Menken’s Mercury (which I also believe came out of Baltimore) ChickenBones should be in every class room in America.  Regards,—Bn

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Rudy, how are you? It has been quite a while since we spoke…I’m sorry I did not join the many interesting conversations because of my ignorance and lack of knowledge though I read them all and cannot be more honored to be able to share all the knowledge among the intellectuals.

ChickenBones is so important to this society, in many more ways than the ones we had listed. One of the many amazing things that it has done, was to bring the minds from all cultures together into a place where we fight together toward the same goal. And this is proven by the committee of ChickenBones, that they are able to work together in different parts of the country, without meeting under the same roof because ChickenBones IS the roof that they work under, bringing everyone together and fighting for the same goal. This is amazing. ChickenBones is amazing. Rudy yourself, who works so hard to keep the site full of juice and fresh blood for us is amazing.

I have written a new article about Hurricane Katrina and how the chinese people did nothing at all, to help the victims down south, yet in contrast, they had done so much for the victims of the Tsunami 2004. By doing so, their ignoring the victims of Hurricane Katrina prove their racism toward African-Americans. I hope you can consider my piece worthy for publication.

I am also sending a little contribution as my support for ChickenBones. I wish I can offer more and hope you can forgive me for offering so little. I will continue to support the site, and the works of all, as soon as I have more. With love and gratitude,—Kam Hei Tsuei  (Saturday, November 19, 2005)

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Greetings, Rudy, from Tuscaloosa—home of football & poetry—where I’ve been since Thursday when I flew from Ft. Lauderdale/Miami via Atlanta. In Miami there were the International Book Fair, Pan African Book Fair & Asili (online) Journal of Multi-Cultural HeartSpeak Reading Series @ Miami Dade College (overseen by Joseph McNair). Kalamu made an appearance @ one of the readings where about a dozen poets & fiction writers, including Calif. Poet Laureate Al Young & EBR, placed their chops on the line for love & struggle.

John Hope Franklin was on the scene—as were Terry Mac, Tess Onwueme, Quincy Troupe, Cyn Zarco, Amy Tan, others. … Here in Tuscaloosa, @ U. of A, where critic Tony Bolden holds forth, my flicks of Black Writers are on exhibit (“Visualzing Black Writers”). UNC Chapel Hill’s Trudier Harris, a Tuscaloosa native, &

Wanda Morgan, Jackson State U. English prof., came in for the opening reception on Friday. Looks like the ChickenBones plan is percolatin’. More on that later. Meanwhile, strength to ya’ll’s writin’ hand.  easy,—eugene b. r. (November 20, 2005)

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I haven’t had the opportunity to donate to ChickenBones yet, but it’s coming.  I’m going to, very soon, make my donation.  We’re working some things out on the home front and contemplating some serious moves where our family is concerned.  I’m not worried, just prayerful.

You are doing a wonderful thing not just for the black community, but for the community at large. Thanks.—Latorial

posted 17 February 2007 

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So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America

By Peter Edelman

If the nation’s gross national income—over $14 trillion—were divided evenly across the entire U.S. population, every household could call itself middle class. Yet the income-level disparity in this country is now wider than at any point since the Great Depression. In 2010 the average salary for CEOs on the S&P 500 was over $1 million—climbing to over $11 million when all forms of compensation are accounted for—while the current median household income for African Americans is just over $32,000. How can some be so rich, while others are so poor? In this provocative book, Peter Edelman, a former top aide to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and a lifelong antipoverty advocate, offers an informed analysis of how this country can be so wealthy yet have a steadily growing number of unemployed and working poor. According to Edelman, we have taken important positive steps without which 25 to 30 million more people would be poor, but poverty fluctuates with the business cycle.

The structure of today’s economy has stultified wage growth for half of America’s workers—with even worse results at the bottom and for people of color—while bestowing billions on those at the top. So Rich, So Poor delves into what is happening to the people behind the statistics and takes a particular look at the continuing crisis of young people of color, whose possibility of a productive life too often is lost on their way to adulthood



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Weep Not, Child

By Ngugi wa Thiong’o

This is a powerful, moving story that details the effects of the infamous Mau Mau war, the African nationalist revolt against colonial oppression in Kenya, on the lives of ordinary men and women, and on one family in particular. Two brothers, Njoroge and Kamau, stand on a rubbish heap and look into their futures. Njoroge is excited; his family has decided that he will attend school, while Kamau will train to be a carpenter. Together they will serve their country—the teacher and the craftsman. But this is Kenya and the times are against them. In the forests, the Mau Mau is waging war against the white government, and the two brothers and their family need to decide where their loyalties lie. For the practical Kamau the choice is simple, but for Njoroge the scholar, the dream of progress through learning is a hard one to give up.—Penguin

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Rodney King dead at 47—CNN Wire Staff—17 June 2012—Rodney King . . .  was found dead in his swimming pool Sunday, authorities and his fiancée said. He was 47. Police in Rialto, California, received a 911 call from King’s fiancée, Cynthia Kelly, about 5:25 a.m., said Capt. Randy De Anda. Responding officers found King at the bottom of the pool, removed him and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital, police said. There were no preliminary signs of foul play, De Anda said, and no obvious injuries on King’s body. Police are conducting a drowning investigation, he said, and King’s body would be autopsiedcnn

King had been drinking the night of March 3, 1991, when he engaged in a high-speed chase with the LAPD, who finally pulled him over. What happened next shocked the nation. A group of officers brutally beat King with their metal batons, Tasered and kicked him into submission—all caught on videotape by a nearby resident.


The infamous Rodney King Incident was born when this first instance of citizen surveillance revealed a shocking moment of police brutality, a horrific scene that stunned and riveted the nation via the evening news. Racial tensions long smoldering in L.A. ignited into a firestorm thirteen months later when four white officers were acquitted by a mostly white jury.

The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption By Rodney King and Lawrence J. Spagnola

update 24 June 2012