ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
The fall of 1967 Stokeley Carmichael, Bob Moore, and Walter Lively came to campus
encouraging militant action among the students in local and national politics. During t
his period the Vietnam War heated up. A student group names Dissent with its advisor Dr. Durand
stirred up antiwar sentiments and students wearing tearing up and burning their draft cards.
Letters of an Abiding Faith:
Legacy of a Slave’s GrandDaughter to her Son
written by Ella Lewis to her Son (Rudolph Lewis)
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June 17, 1980
I received your letter with surprise and much happiness. it found me and the rest of the family doing just fine.
I’d like to take time to thank you so very much; for all the work you did while here. It was needed so very much. I hated to have to pay someone for they cost you a arm and leg.
Doc I enjoyed you more this time than ever before. You seemed so relaxed and concerned. I felt so very proud of you in so many ways.
We haven’t had a storm like the one we had when you were here. It’s still very hot here some days but the nights are rather cool.
Have you gotten to Baltimore yet?*
Bunk got her ass up here again today bugging me to death. “Doc I’m sure you’ve guessed I’m here also who’s bugging who since I’m doing the writing. ha-ha.”**
The twins are walking now.*** I’m not babysitting now. I have four days work next week. I know I’ll be so tired until I can’t see straight. I’ll work Monday & Tuesday night. I’ll work Wed. and Thursday morning. I don’t know how long that will last. I pray just for next week.
I’ll have the paint and other things you’ll need when you come again. I’ll start getting them early.
I talk with Aunt Sallie Sat. morning. They all were doing fine.
Stith Parham died Sunday in New York. I’m sure you remember him, Anthony’s daddy.**** They’re burying him in New York, so I heard.
Everyone sends their love. Susie, Jane and all.***** They spoke of how handsome you looked with your hair trim and beard off. I told them sure diden they know I had a handsome son.
Bunk, Mike and Shelly along with Amos sends their love to you and also how they enjoyed the time they spent with you.******
Don’t wait so long before you rite and let me know how you’ve doing. Give my love to your girl friend.
Love always, Mom
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*During the summer of 1980 I am uncertain where I was living. I changed addresses often. I recalled living briefly with a couple of guys in the department briefly. At one point Sibbie O Sullivan, a poet with a daughter, put me up briefly in her basement in Wheaton. She would later write a poem in my honor when I was preparing for my trip to Africa. As the reader has probably concluded, I have many to thank for my education. My only source of income was my fellowship money, about four or five thousand dollars a year.
As I recall, I moved back to Baltimore before I finished the graduate program. While writing my masters thesis on Martin R. Delany the nineteenth-century black nationalist leader and one-time associate of Frederick Douglass, I lived for awhile with a buddy of mine from Virginia, Fred D. Mason. He, however, was not from southeastern Virginia but from the Eastern Shore. Yet both of us had grown up doing farm work.
I knew Fred from my student days at Morgan State. We both had worked with Bob Moore, who in 1968 was head of the Baltimore chapter of the Student Non-Violent Coordination Committee (SNCC) and Walter Lively, who was head of U-JOIN (a local civil rights group). At Morgan State in 1967-1968, we were in a student group, which included John Clark and “Tiger” Davis, that protested the existence of ROTC on campus and the lack of black studies programs. All freshman and sophomore male students were required then to take ROTC and wear uniforms and pretend to be soldiers. I finished the two-year ROTC program in the spring of 1967.
For economic reasons, that spring, I signed up for the final two years of the ROTC program and passed the physical at Fort Holabird. But that summer, at the Edmondson Village of Enoch Pratt Library I met a librarian named Patricia who had attended and graduate from Hampton University. She was the first college educated friend I made since leaving the country. My perspective of the world then tended toward the status quo and I saw the world primarily world through the biblical, working-man lens of my family. I knew little or nothing of the black intellectual perspective.
Through the recommendations of Patricia, I became absorbed in the black intellectual world through discussions with her and the readings of Wright, Baldwin, Ellison, and others. She was not only anti-war and thought me foolish to be joining the military with the war in Vietnam, but she also viewed my world as exceedingly narrow. He social contacts went beyond the black world I knew. That fall I did not register for the junior ROTC program.
The fall of 1967 Stokeley Carmichael, Bob Moore, and Walter Lively came to campus encouraging militant action among the students in local and national politics. During this period the Vietnam War heated up. A student group names Dissent with its advisor Dr. Durand stirred up antiwar sentiments and students wearing tearing up and burning their draft cards. Fred and I were involved in leading a student strike at Morgan. Spring 1968, I dropped out of Morgan to join the “revolution”
Living with Fred in 1980, I argued with his third wife, Yvonne. I came home to their Madison Street house and she had thrown my thesis papers in the backyard. Fred saved them. But I was out on the street.
**Annie was at the house while Mama was writing the letter. ***The twins were Wandas children. Aunt Sallie (Sally Jackson Goodwyn) was Mamas sister who lived in Baltimore.
****Stith Parham had lived in Jarratt, within a mile of Jerusalem, on the Cary Mason Road. His children and I were playmates and went to Creath together. He moved his family to Brooklyn, New York and sold their family land. On a trip to New York, I visited both the Parhams and Briggs in Brooklyn.
*****Jane was Susies daughter-in-law. She was married to Susies youngest son, Clinton McNeal Carter. Janes father Russell Sykes was a well-known tenor singer in Jarratt. I used to listen to him sing gospel on the Emporia station on Sundays. I was fond of one of Janes sisters, Margaret, while I was still in high school. With my two days pay of twelve dollars from chopping cotton, I took her once to the carnival.
******Annie, called “Bunk,” had three sons and a daughter. Mike and Shelly were children by her second husband, Amos Fleming, a real fun guy who had a thousand street tales, all humorous but none with a moral. Amos was raised in South Baltimore. Annie met him while living with or visiting her Aunt Sally, who lived at 300 South Fremont..
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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”Lisa Adkins, University of London
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A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family thats about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrinas inexorable winds is the voice of Wards narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her familys raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brothers blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt. Her fathers hands are like gravel, while her own hand slides through his grip like a wet fish, and a handsome boys muscles jabbered like chickens. Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isnt usually just metaphor for metaphors sake. She conveys something fundamental about Eschs fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, whats salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 31 December 2011