ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



The court granted the father custody of the boy at age seven. In 1985 she was arrested by the Doe regime for “sedition,” suggesting that she was involved in attempts to overthrow the government. In Washington, D.C., she

stayed with a cousin, worked as a bank teller and on the weekend as a maid, cleaning houses and polishing silver.



Letters of an Abiding Faith:

Legacy of a Slave’s GrandDaughter to her Son

written by Ella Lewis to her Son (Rudolph Lewis)


Letter 54


June 2 1990

Dear Son,

How are you Fine I hope. As For me not so good I got teeth ache So you know that not So good. I received Both of your letters. Glade to hear From you Know you are getting your self together. I So glade I could help. I told Lue that I know you was low in money with Just a Part time Job. But I never tell them What you tell me or What I gave you. That is Between you and I and the Good Lord. So I guess she gather From that.

Doc dont Feel Bad Because I dont Care how Old you are. There time we all Fall in a stream of Bad Luck.* I Know Theresa gave you From her heart also Lucinda. We should pull together. All I want you to do When Ever you get on your Feet again. Just dont Forget us. The Lord going to Bless you We dont Know Where our Blessing come From. But God is So good He dont Come when you want Him. But He right on time. All you got do Keep Praying and Keep the Faith.

Bunk say we was Coming up the Week End. I dont Know. In case I do I Bring Some thing out the Freezer. You Keep me posted if you are moving. You Just Keep Praying you Be What the Lord should have you to Be. I hope to see you Soon. So By For now I still praying For you love you

Keep Sweet


all ways Ella

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*I was very depressed. It is indeed difficult to hold onto one’s faith and a woman when one is out of work and down and out and not knowing what the future may hold. I was then going through another crisis of intimacy and betrayal. Mydea and I was on the outs.

 Before leaving Monrovia, Mydea had problems on two fronts, both personal and political. Both her mother and father died six months apart in 1979. Married in 1977, her husband Frances  divorced her and then went to court to obtain custody of her son. The court granted the father custody of the boy at age seven. In 1985 she was arrested by the Doe regime for “sedition,” suggesting that she was involved in attempts to overthrow the government. In Washington, D.C., she stayed with a cousin, worked as a bank teller and on the weekend as a maid, cleaning houses and polishing silver. She had come down in the world. In Liberia, Mydea owned her own home, had several cars, including a chauffeur; servants, a farm of 150 acres that produced rubber, cocoa, and vegetables. Abandoning her country all of that was lost.

Dr. Samuel Banks facilitated her employment with Baltimore public schools. From 1988 to 1990, Mydea took courses at Coppin State to qualify as a permanent teacher. Mydea continues with the public schools as a Special Education coordinator. Her son Tuan will become a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park in 2002 in sports medicine. Neither, I suspect, has any intent to return to war-ravaged Liberia. I sympathized greatly with her plight and assisted as much as was in my means and power. Most of all, she earned my respect by what she has been able to achieve by hard work and perseverance. [See commentary at Letter 55]

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 30 December 2011




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