ChickenBones: A Journal

for  Literary & Artistic African-American  Themes



 A people who free themselves from foreign domination will not be culturally

free unless, without underestimating the importance of positive contributions

from the oppressor’s culture and other cultures, they return to the upwards

paths of their own culture.



  Return to the source; selected speeches , 1974 / Revolution in Guinea; selected texts,  1970 / Unity and struggle : speeches and writings, 1979

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Fobanjong, John, and Thomas K. Ranuga. The Life, Thought, and Legacy of Cape Verde’s Freedom Fighter Amilcar Cabral (1924-1973): Essays on His Liberation Philosophy. 2006.

McCulloch, Jock. In the Twilight of Revolution: The Political Theory of Amilcar Cabral. 1983.

Chilcote, Ronald H. Amílcar Cabral’s Revolutionary Theory and Practice: A Critical Guide. 1991

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The Quotable Cabral


“One of the greatest of modern theoreticians of the African Revolution” 

A founder of  the Party for the Independence 

of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC)


“… Many folks think of Cape Verde as Praia or Sao Vicente. But anyone who knows the bush in Cape Verde feels in Cape Verde an African reality as palpable as any other fragment of Africa. The culture of the Cape Verde people is quintessentially African….”

“… Culture, whatever the ideological or idealist characteristics of its expression, is thus an essential element of the history of a people. Culture is, perhaps the resultant of this history just as the flower is the resultant of a plant. Like history, or because it is history, culture has as its material base the level of the productive forces and the mode of production. Culture plunges its roots into the humus of the material reality of the environment in which it develops, and reflects the organic nature of the society, which may be more or less influenced by external factors. History enables us to know the nature and extent of the imbalances and the conflicts (economic, political and social) that characterize the evolution of a society. Culture enables us to know what dynamic syntheses have been formed and set by social awareness in order to resolve these conflicts at each stage of evolution of that society, in the search for survival and progress.

Just as occurs with the flower in a plant, the capacity (or responsibility) for forming and fertilizing the seed which ensures the continuity of history lies in culture, and the seed simultaneously ensures the prospect for evolution and progress of the society in question. Thus it is understood that imperialist domination, denying to the dominated people their own historical process, necessarily denies their cultural process. It is further understood why the exercise of imperialist domination, like all other foreign domination, for its own security requires cultural oppression and the attempt at direct or indirect destruction of the essential elements of the culture of the dominated people.

Study of the history of liberation struggles shows that they have generally been preceded by an upsurge of cultural manifestations, which progressively harden into an attempt, successful or not, to assert the cultural personality of the dominated people by an act of denial of the culture of the oppressor. Whatever the conditions of subjection of a people to foreign domination and the influence of economic, political and social factors in the exercise of this domination, it is generally within the cultural factor that we find the seed of challenge which leads to the structure and development of the liberation movement.

In our view, the foundation of national liberation lies in the inalienable right of every people to have their own history, whatever the formulations adopted in international law. The aim of national liberation is therefore to regain this right, usurped by imperialist domination: namely, the liberation of the process of development of the national productive forces. So national liberation exists when, and only when, the national productive forces have been completely freed from all kinds of foreign domination. The liberation of productive forces, and consequently of the ability freely to determine the mode of production most appropriate to the evolution of the liberated people, necessarily opens up new prospects for the cultural process of the society in question by returning to it all its capacity to create progress.

A people who free themselves from foreign domination will not be culturally free unless, without underestimating the importance of positive contributions from the oppressor’s culture and other cultures, they return to the upwards paths of their own culture. The latter is nourished by the living reality of the environment and rejects harmful influences as much as any kind of subjection to foreign cultures. We see therefore that, if imperialist domination has the vital need to practice cultural oppression, national liberation is necessarily an act of culture….”

“Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories!”

Lenin’s Influence

“How is it that we, a people deprived of everything, living in dire straits, manage to wage our struggle and win successes? Our answer is: this is because Lenin existed, because he fulfilled his duty as a man, a revolutionary and a patriot. Lenin was and continues to be, the greatest champion of the national liberation of the peoples.”—Amilcar Cabral, Secretary-General of the PAIGC, “Lenin and National Liberation” held at Alma Ata, capital of Soviet Socialist Republic of Kazakhstan, in 1970 

Revolutionary Theory

 “If it is true that a revolution can fail even though it is based on perfectly conceived theories—nobody has yet made a successful revolution without a revolutionary theory.”

The Race Question

“We are fighting so that insults may no longer rule our countries, martyred and scorned for centuries, so that our peoples may never more be exploited by imperialists not only by people with white skin, because we do not confuse exploitation or exploiters with the colour of men’s skins; we do not want any exploitation in our countries, not even by black people.”

Socialist allies

“It is our duty to state here, loud and clear, that we have firm allies in the socialist countries … Since the socialist revolution and the events of the Second World War, the face of the world has definitely changed. A socialist camp has arisen in the world. This has radically changed the balance of power, and this socialist camp is today showing itself fully conscious of its duties, international and historic, but not moral, since the peoples of the socialist countries have never exploited the colonised peoples.” Cabral at a conference held in Dar-es-Salaam in 1965,

“Availing ourselves of this opportunity we want to express on behalf of our people fraternal gratitude to the Soviet people, the CPSU, its Central Committee for the versatile assistance you render us in our bitter struggle against the Portuguese colonialists, against the war and genocide, for independence, peace and progress of our African Motherland.” Cabral  at the Joint Meeting in the Kremlin dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the USSR.

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Amílcar Cabral became well known both in and beyond Bissau and was the author of several posthumously published texts, among the most well known of which are “Revolution in Guinea” and “Return to the Source.” Fluent in the Romance languages of French, Spanish and Portuguese, he was less comfortable in English, and relatively few of his writings have been translated for Anglophone audiences.

Those available include the following:

Cabral, Amilcar, 1921-1973. Return to the source; selected speeches. Edited by Africa Information Service. New York, Monthly Review Press [1974, c1973]. DT613.75.C32

Cabral, Amilcar, 1921-1973. Revolution in Guinea; selected texts. Translated and edited by Richard Handyside. New York, Monthly Review Press [1970, c1969]. DT613.62.C3213

Cabral, Amilcar, 1921-1973. Unity and struggle : speeches and writings / Amilcar Cabral ; texts selected by the PAIGC ; translated by Michael Wolfers. New York : Monthly Review Press, c1979. DT613.75.C335 1979

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Cuba An African Odyssey is the previously untold story of Cuba’s support for African revolutions.

Cuba: An African Odyssey is the story of the Cold War told through the prism of its least known arena: Africa. It is the untold story of Cuba’s support for African revolutions.  It is the story of men like Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Agosthino Neto and of course Che Guevara who have become icons, mythical figures whose names are now synonymous with the word revolution. This is the story of how these men, caught between capitalism and communism, strove to create a third bloc that would assert the simple principle of national independence.  It is the story of a whole dimension of world politics during the last half of the 20th century, which has been hidden behind the facade of a simplistic understanding of superpower conflict.

Cuba: An African Odyssey will tell the inside story of only three of these Cuban escapades. We will start with the Congo where Che Guevara personally spent seven months fighting with the Pro-Lumumbist rebellion in the jungle of Eastern Congo. Then to Guinea Bissau where Amilcar Cabral used the technical support of Cuban advisors to bleed the Portuguese colonial war machine thus toppling the regime in Europe. Finally, Angola where in total 380,000 Cuban soldiers fought during the 27 years of civil war. The Cuban withdrawal from Angola was finally bartered against Namibia’s independence. With Namibia’s independence came the fall of Apartheid… the last vestige of colonialism on the African continent.

Cuba: An African Odyssey unravels episodes of the Cold War long believed to be nothing but proxy wars. From the tragicomic epic of Che Guevara in Congo to the triumph at the battle of Cuito Carnavale in Angola, this film attempts to understand the world today through the saga of these internationalists who won every battle but finally lost the war.

Credits: Written, directed and narrated by Jihan El-Tahri / Edited by Gilles Bovon / Photography by Frank-Peter Lehmann

Sound Recordists: James Baker, Graciela Barrault / Produced by Tancrède Ramonet, Benoît Juster, Jihan El-Tahri

Source: Snagfilms

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Black Arts Movement (Kalamu)  The Black Arts Movement (Smethurst)  The Black Arts Movement  (Larry Neal)

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Marcus Garvey “Africa For The Africans”  /  Look For Me in The Whirlwind 

 Marcus Mosiah Garvey  / Marucs Garvey Speech

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Malcolm X

A Life of Reinvention

By Manning Marable

Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist. Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins’ bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable’s new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties.

Reaching into Malcolm’s troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents’ activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

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The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788

By Pauline Maier

A notable historian of the early republic, Maier devoted a decade to studying the immense documentation of the ratification of the Constitution. Scholars might approach her book’s footnotes first, but history fans who delve into her narrative will meet delegates to the state conventions whom most history books, absorbed with the Founders, have relegated to obscurity. Yet, prominent in their local counties and towns, they influenced a convention’s decision to accept or reject the Constitution. Their biographies and democratic credentials emerge in Maier’s accounts of their elections to a convention, the political attitudes they carried to the conclave, and their declamations from the floor. The latter expressed opponents’ objections to provisions of the Constitution, some of which seem anachronistic (election regulation raised hackles) and some of which are thoroughly contemporary (the power to tax individuals directly). Ripostes from proponents, the Federalists, animate the great detail Maier provides, as does her recounting how one state convention’s verdict affected another’s. Displaying the grudging grassroots blessing the Constitution originally received, Maier eruditely yet accessibly revives a neglected but critical passage in American history.—Booklist

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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

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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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updated 2 October 2007




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Related files: Amilcar Cabral Bio  Cabral Bio-Sketch    The Cabral Quotable    Murder of Amilca Cabral    Island