All good wishes

All good wishes


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Civil rights movement / exposed poverty, racism / clearly for all to see / desperate need for change

Police helped build strike / by beating BSU leaders / White students shocked /witnessing on campus



Books by Barack Obama

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance  / The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

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All good wishes

                              By Joy Magezis Waking up to Obama as new President Warm sun shinning clear through cold Amazing symbol of America at best Patchwork of cultures sewn into one blanket Two million brave freeze World watches on enjoying shift Spirit of hope In our lifetime seeming impossible African-American wins majority Best candidate way beyond colour In desperate time we send him blessing

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Ode to SF State Strike


                                 By Joy Magezis


Back in 1967

this radical girl

came to San Francisco State

from Community Organising


Link with SDS project

for housing, rent strike

and Baltimore students

also on campus


So joining SDS

at SF State

seemed so natural

with other projects


Spring’68 blossoms

worldwide struggles

from France to SF sit in

for ethnic admissions


September revives

zest for justice

Me now living

with my SDS guy


In telescoped time

we now return

somehow grandparents

Still partners in love


Back then Black Student’s Union

calls strike, sets demands

for department to study

hidden history, culture


Desire to define

their own destiny

In height of Black Power

BSU is leader


From the start

SDS backs strike

helps organise Committee

for White Strike Support


Now this may sound strange

but in emerging energy

for self determination

that was natural flow


Civil rights movement

exposed poverty, racism

clearly for all to see

desperate need for change


Police helped build strike

by beating BSU leaders

White students shocked

witnessing on campus

police treatment in ghettoes


More students joined strike

White Support Committee

As we picketed entrances

campus was polarised


Force field to do right

needed to make it happen

in our vision others students

part of solution or problem 


SDS saw source of problem

propping up racism

as Capitalist ‘me first’

militarist system


At San Francisco State

more working class students

trained to keep system running

not to see bigger picture


In that larger view

white students being used

To help them see how

we formed department caucuses


In Department of Psychology

students critiqued skewed view

that mental illness is within

divorced from socioeconomic


When I gave MMPI test

to my SDS women friends

we came out actively antisocial

labelled ‘juvenile delinquents’


We saw role of psychology

fitting ‘deviants’ back into system

So drink beer, watch TV burnings

of Vietnamese kids as Viet Cong


In Nazi Germany

was sanity beating Jews

and madness protesting

or other way round


For me as a Jew

connection was clear

with KKK Black hangings

and Nazi exterminations


White Student demands

for change in their courses

brought understanding

support for Ethnic Studies


As weather turned cold

and professors struck

‘On Strike, Shut it down’

became a reality


Arrests at free speech platform

brought 450 down to jail

We women were processed

then put in large holding cell


Anyone seen as threat

like woman asking for milk

for girl with stomach ulcer

were put into solitary


From large holding cell

we began to hear screams

of scared young woman

picked off and confined


Alone in tiny cell

more frightening

than she could bear

she shouted to be free


When guards wouldn’t listen

we acted together

banging and chanting

‘Let her out’, ‘Let her out!’


Our call vibrated

throughout jail house

down to Bryant Street

supporter crowd below


In ‘69 Women’s Lib sprouts

with some men still laughing

saying women’s place prone

while others saw struggle link


Back in ’67 at SDS Conference

woman asking us to meet

brought uproarious laughter

still some of women gathered


Problem with no name

begins to have words

Why are we left in background

Mostly not taken seriously


When women like me spoke at rallies

some guys just saw body parts

their long legs or large breasts

excuse for eclipsing their words


But in this time of rising

from Civil Rights to Ethnic Studies

struggling against oppression

helped us see ours as women


Earlier at Anti-Slavery Convention

barred for being female delegates

Mott and Stanton were inspired

to organise for women’s rights 


Strike women met when it ended

empowered by what we’d been through

Challenging old assumptions

exploring strengths, building movement 


So the rebirth of feminism

was there in that holding cell

when, beyond fear, we chanted

‘Let her out. Let her out!’


Guards dragged over fire hose

put nozzle through bars

Sudden force of water

knocking us off our feet


Drenched, we regained balance

and guards did let woman out

Our solid action together

engine vibrating deeply


*  *  *       

Forty year on lessons

power of energies united

Force beyond each one

belief in justice vision 


Mass march together

Agit Prop Theatre

Running from police chase

hiding, swapping jackets


Scared facing jail unknown

but not wanting to disappoint self

be Germans just looking on at

packed cattle cars of human cargo


In that youth of belief

that we can change world

though seemingly impossible

shifts ripple through country


Now celebrate achievements

of College of Ethnic Studies

Women’s Movement growth

Peaceful prosperous Vietnam


Much writings of Strike, SDS

even England, Shoe Store School

Gordon DeMarco now passed on

Bob Biderman and I


I want to share lessons

of traps we fell into

perhaps could be useful

for generations now


Seeing in absolutes

that blinder limiting vision

to either all right or wrong

allows no way to come together


Sectarian in fighting

finally destroyed SDS

Though reborn in this time

of new student challenges


It was our condemning vision

part of problem or solution

No middle ground possible

Needing to prove we’re right


I used to work out of anger

feeling the force of its power

rush against social injustice

keeping me active in struggle


I just couldn’t trust myself

to work from kinder emotion

For my external anger

also turned in on myself


Internalised as Guilt

needing to prove I wasn’t bad

seeing badness all round

limiting love getting through


Over decades life taught me

that anger is not most effective

Healing my own inner pain

compassion naturally flowed out


Better way to hand leaflets

against Iraq War

Not pushing them at ‘others’

but handing each person peace


More people take leaflets

feel safer beyond judgment

to touch inner peace yearning

have common ground to speak


Listening, more important

than my talking to convince

in deeply hearing others  

we find same core within


Then we see not separate

but interconnected

Poverty, racism hurts us all

in fairness we each benefit

Delivered October 2008 at 40th SF State Strike Commemoration

Joy Magezis is a poet, novelist, and non-fiction writer. Her works include Vanishing Act (1988); Winter Chills (Schuttelficast) (1992); Teach Yourself Women’s Studies (1996) and The Universe for Breakfast (2007). She was a lecturer for 17 years at the College of North West London in the Women’s Studies and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). As well as continuing to write poetry, Joy works as a Reiki therapist and teacher.

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



#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 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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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

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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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s 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 Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s 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 family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “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 isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s 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, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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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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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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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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posted 29 January 2009



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