ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
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In 1983 Walker became the first African-American woman to win
the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, which honored her novel The Color Purple.
The book depicts oppressive early 20th century life in the South
for a young African-American woman named Celie.
Books by Alice Walker
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Alice Walker to Place her Archive at Emory University
Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winner and internationally known Georgia-born novelist and poet, will place her archive with Emory University, Provost Earl Lewis announced today.
“The acquisition of the Alice Walker Archive is a major addition to Emory’s collection,” said Lewis. “Scholars and students from around the world will find in these papers Alice Walker: her commitment to social activism, literary genesis, personal growth and development, spirituality and self. We are delighted that she has entrusted us to share this aspect of her with the world.”
Walker has written most frequently about the struggle for survival among Southern blacks, particularly black women. She also has given literary voice to the struggle for human rights, environmental issues, social movements and spirituality, as well as the quest for inner and world peace. Often considered controversial for her portrayals of racial, gender and sexual issues, Walker is widely recognized for her thoughtful weaving of realism with love for humanity and human potential.
“I chose Emory to receive my archive because I myself feel at ease and comfortable at Emory,” said Walker. “I can imagine in years to come that my papers, my journals and letters will find themselves always in the company of people who care about many of the things I do: culture, community, spirituality, scholarship and the blessings of ancestors who want each of us to find joy and happiness in this life by doing the very best we can to be worthy of it.”
Walker, who has visited Emory almost every other year since 1998 for readings or to interact with colleagues, said that when she first began considering where to place her archive, Emory was not on her list. “However, having visited several libraries at different universities, I realized the importance to me of a lively, diverse, committed-to-human-growth atmosphere, that when I visited Emory, I found.”
The completeness of Walker’s archive makes it truly exceptional, says Rudolph Byrd, professor of American studies and a founding member of the Alice Walker Literary Society, an international organization of Walker scholars and enthusiasts.
“The archive contains journals that she has been keeping since she was 14 or 15 years old,” said Byrd, who also is a friend and colleague of Walker’s. “There also are drafts of many of her early works of fiction, as well as the back and forth between Alice and the editors for each book.
“Her papers give you a sense of the process for creating fiction, and for creating poetry,” Byrd said. “Everything that she’s ever written, she has a record of; it’s very exciting.”
“The Alice Walker Archive will provide a major bridge in the university’s collections on African-American literature, history and culture,” said Steve Enniss, director of Emory’s Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library. “Walker is one of Georgia’s most beloved writers, and it is particularly gratifying that she has chosen to return her archive to the state where she was born, to the city where she attended college as an undergraduate, and to Emory which has, in the intervening years, become a major research center in literary studies.”
Emory’s African-American literary collections include significant collections related to the Harlem Renaissance novelists and poets Langston Hughes and James Weldon Johnson, and the papers of the Georgia-born novelist John Oliver Killens. The Camille Billops and James V. Hatch collection of African-American performing arts materials includes hundreds of playscripts including works by Zora Neale Hurston and August Wilson, among many others.
Walker’s literary archive at Emory joins a world-class repository of some of the finest collections of modern literature; 20th century American, British and Irish poetry; and an extensive collection on the American South. The collection includes the recently acquired archive of Salman Rushdie, Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney’s papers, British poet laureate Ted Hughes’ papers, and the 75,000-volume Danowski Poetry Library.
In 1983 Walker became the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, which honored her novel The Color Purple. The book depicts oppressive early 20th century life in the South for a young African-American woman named Celie.
Other honors bestowed upon Walker and her writing include the 1983 National Book Award, also for The Color Purple the 1973 Lillian Smith Award from the National Endowment for the Arts for Revolutionary Petunias & Other Poems; the Rosenthal Award from the National Institute of Arts & Letters; and Radcliff Institute, Merrill and Guggenheim fellowships.
Faculty, students and visiting scholars from around the world who study Walker’s archives at Emory will be within a 90-minute drive to her home in Eatonton, Ga., and within 20 minutes of Spelman College, which she attended for two years.
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The Emory University Libraries in Atlanta and Oxford, Ga., are dedicated to fostering courageous inquiry among students and scholars at Emory University and around the world. The nine libraries’ holdings include more than 3.1 million print and electronic volumes, 40,000-plus electronic journals, and internationally renowned special collections. Visit the libraries online (www.web.library.emory.edu/).
Emory University (www.emory.edu) is one of the nation’s leading private research universities and a member of the Association of American Universities. Known for its demanding academics, outstanding undergraduate college of arts and sciences, highly ranked professional schools and state-of-the-art research facilities, Emory is ranked as one of the country’s top 20 national universities by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to its nine schools, the university encompasses The Carter Center, Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Emory Healthcare, the state’s largest and most comprehensive health care system.
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My parents met and fell in love in Mississippi during the civil rights movement. Dad [Mel Leventhal], was the brilliant lawyer son of a Jewish family who had fled the Holocaust. Mum was the impoverished eighth child of sharecroppers from Georgia. When they married in 1967, inter-racial weddings were still illegal in some states. My early childhood was very happy although my parents were terribly busy, encouraging me to grow up fast. I was only one when I was sent off to nursery school. I’m told they even made me walk down the street to the school. When I was eight, my parents divorced. From then on I was shuttled between two worldsmy father’s very conservative, traditional, wealthy, white suburban community in New York, and my mother’s avant garde multi-racial community in California.
I spent two years with each parenta bizarre way of doing things. Ironically, my mother regards herself as a hugely maternal woman. Believing that women are suppressed, she has campaigned for their rights around the world and set up organisations to aid women abandoned in Africaoffering herself up as a mother figure.
But, while she has taken care of daughters all over the world and is hugely revered for her public work and service, my childhood tells a very different story. I came very low down in her prioritiesafter work, political integrity, self-fulfilment, friendships, spiritual life, fame and travel. My mother would always do what she wantedfor example taking off to Greece for two months in the summer, leaving me with relatives when I was a teenager. Is that independent, or just plain selfish? How my mothers fanatical views tore us apart by Rebecca Walker
posted 22 December 2007
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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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By Andrew Levy
In 1791, at a time when the nation’s leaders were fervently debating the contradiction of slavery in a newly independent nation, wealthy Virginia plantation owner Robert Carter III freed more than 450 slaves. It was to be the largest emancipation until the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Abraham Lincoln. Levy offers an absorbing look at the philosophical and religious debate and the political and family struggles in which Carter engaged for years before very deliberately and systematically freeing his slaves as he attempted to provide a model for others to follow. Drawing on historic documents, including Carter’s letters and painstakingly detailed accounts of plantation activities, Levy conveys the strongly held beliefs that drove Carter through the political and religious fervor of the time to arrive at a decision at odds with those of other prominent leaders and slaveholders of the time, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
Levy offers a fascinating look at one man’s redemption and his eventual lapse into historical obscurity despite his incredibly bold actions. Well researched and thoroughly fascinating, this forgotten history will appeal to readers interested in the complexities of American slavery.Booklist
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By Melissa V. Harris-Perry
According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless Mammys behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own familys needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.
As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.
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By Marcus Rediker
In this groundbreaking work, historian and scholar Rediker considers the relationships between the slave ship captain and his crew, between the sailors and the slaves, and among the captives themselves as they endured the violent, terror-filled and often deadly journey between the coasts of Africa and America. While he makes fresh use of those who left their mark in written records (Olaudah Equiano, James Field Stanfield, John Newton), Rediker is remarkably attentive to the experiences of the enslaved women, from whom we have no written accounts, and of the common seaman, who he says was a victim of the slave trade . . . and a victimizer. Regarding these vessels as a strange and potent combination of war machine, mobile prison, and factory, Rediker expands the scholarship on how the ships not only delivered millions of people to slavery, [but] prepared them for it. He engages readers in maritime detail (how ships were made, how crews were fed) and renders the archival (letters, logs and legal hearings) accessible. Painful as this powerful book often is, Rediker does not lose sight of the humanity of even the most egregious participants, from African traders to English merchants. Publishers Weekly
Marcus Rediker is professor of maritime history at the University of Pittsburgh and the author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (1987), The Many-Headed Hydra (2000), and Villains of All Nations (2005), books that explore seafaring, piracy, and the origins of globalization. In The Slave Ship, Rediker combines exhaustive research with an astute and highly readable synthesis of the material, balancing documentary snapshots with an ear for gripping narrative. Critics compare the impact of Redikers history, unique for its ship-deck perspective, to similarly compelling fictional accounts of slavery in Toni Morrisons Beloved and Charles Johnsons Middle Passage. Even scholars who have written on the subject defer to Redikers vast knowledge of the subject. Bottom line: The Slave Ship is sure to become a classic of its subject.
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By Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
Jeffers derives her form and jaunty, deal-with-it attitude from the blues, an American tradition that beats back despair with wit, élan, and grace. Artfully distilled, Jeffers’ musical and forthright lyrics cut to the chase in their depictions of self-destructive love, treacherous family life, and sexual passion turned oppressive or violent. She calls on her mentors, soulful musicians such as Dinah Washington, James Brown, John Coltrane, and Aretha Franklin, for guidance, then, sustained by their voices, segues into vivid imaginings of the inner lives of biblical figures such as Sarah, Hagar, and Lot’s wife; a man about to be lynched; and a former slave bravely attending college. And whether she’s singing the “battered blues” or critiquing Hollywood’s depiction of slavery, Jeffers is questioning the nature and presence of God. Booklist
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By Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
In her third book of poems, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers expresses her familiarity with the actual and imaginary spaces that the American South occupies in our cultural lexicon. Her two earlier books of poetry, The Gospel of Barbecue and Outlandish Blues, use the blues poetic to explore notions of history and trauma. Now, in Red Clay Suite, Jeffers approaches the southern landscape as utopia and dystopiaa crossroads of race, gender, and blood. These poems signal the ending movement of her crossroads blues and complete the last four bars of a blues song, resting on the final, and essential, note of resolution and reconciliation.
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By Tracy K. Smith
Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted the collection’s “lyric brilliance” and “political impulses [that] never falter.” A New York Times review stated, “Smith is quick to suggest that the important thing is not to discover whether or not we’re alone in the universe; it’s to acceptor at least endurethe universe’s mystery. . . . Religion, science, art: we turn to them for answers, but the questions persist, especially in times of grief. Smith’s pairing of the philosophically minded poems in the books first section with the long elegy for her father in the second is brilliant.” Life on Mars follows Smith’s 2007 collection, Duende, which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, the only award for poetry in the United States given to support a poet’s second book, and the first Essence Literary Award for poetry, which recognizes the literary achievements of African Americans.
The Bodys Question (2003) was her first published collection. Smith said Life on Mars, published by small Minnesota press Graywolf, was inspired in part by her father, who was an engineer on the Hubble space telescope and died in 2008.
posted 30 August 2005
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 26 July 2012