ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



I know and respect you, Marvin X, as much as I did when I welcomed you to Harlem. Whenever you come to any city I’m in, I’ll always uphold your leadership, talent and experience. Let’s go forward together and heal these many wounds among us.



Books by Marvin X

Love and War: Poems  / In the Crazy House Called America / Woman: Man’s Best Friend Beyond Religion Toward Spirituality

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Books by Askia M. Touré

From the Pyramids to the Projects: Poems of Genocide and Resistance!  / Dawnsong:The Epic Memory of Askia Toure

African Affirmations: Songs for Patriots Biography – Toure, Askia Muhammad Abu Bakr el (1938-)

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Askia Touré and Marvin X on Black Studies

Forum on the Impact of BAM Histories


Saturday, March 14

Dear Marvin X,

What it is, Bro? How you gon’ write about San Francisco State Univ. and leave my name out of it? Gee, as I remember it, both Sis. Sonia and I taught Danny Glover & Benny, and other young militants. As I remember, that while writing w/Dingane on the Journal, and making a controversial criticism of Amiri—being, as I remember it, the only principled writer to criticize him about some the theories that he forwarded in his plays—which almost caused a rebellion among Black Dialogue editors—while most people were busily kissing his feet as a kind of Cult of Personality Messiah—I was almost hounded out of town; but held firmly without wavering.

And Gee, didn’t you and I co-found the Huey P. Newton Defense Committee, when Huey successfully heroically fought his way out of a police ambush? Let me see, Gee, wasn’t that original founding meeting attended by attorney William Patterson, his comrade, Mr. Crawford, Sis. Nebbie Crawford (his beautiful daughter); and didn’t Baba Patterson lecture two Muslim bros, Marvin & Askia, about being “narrow Nationalists,” and while we disagreed, we never confronted the Elder, out of respect.. And later, we collectively convinced Jim Lacey to head the Defense Committee, which he did, after arriving back from Nkrumah’s Ghana.

With all due respect, Marvin, what goes with the Historical Amnesia? I had to add those missing portions of that History—or become a missing person—like what happened to me recently in Harlem, when we collectively honored Amiri—and I thanked him for helping me develop my voice, and we hugged each other—and when the nigga wrote the article for the Amsterdam News, he “erased” my name from history—like I wasn’t there, even though Amiri & Askia embraced to warm applause from the audience. Excuse my “sensitivity” about being erased from history—especially by comrades.

As for the culture of the Temple Univ. Black Studies Conf., I’ve been asked to chair the Cultural Panel by Comrade Dr. Muhammad Ahmad, and I’ve chosen a beautiful sista, Bolade Akintolayo from Brooklyn to co-chair of this panel with me. As Always, you know you’re welcome to participate on this panel—and bring the flavor of the W.Coast Black Arts experience, and also raise the Generation Dialogue w/the Hip-Hop generation, sistas & bruthas. I accept your timely criticism that much of the Black Arts experience has been too East-Midwest oriented, omitting key experiences of both the West Coast and the beautiful, Blues-rooted, as opposed to “dirty,” South.

I know and respect you, Marvin X, as much as I did when I welcomed you to Harlem. Whenever you come to any city I’m in, I’ll always uphold your leadership, talent and experience. Let’s go forward together and heal these many wounds among us.

Peace and Power, In Struggle,

Askia Toure


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Bro Askia, even though most of you generals are almost ten years older than I am, I too sometimes suffer from amnesia. This is not intentional because I am conscious of revisionist history these days, so I certainly don’t want to be guilty of this, so I thank you for making me aware of ignoring your contribution to our liberation. You taught and fought at San Francisco State University as well as made a major contribution to BAM in Harlem, no one can deny this.

It is good to hear from you since our last meeting in Boston. I look forward to seeing and participating with you at Temple and also at the Smithsonian, even if I am not on the program. It was suggested to me today that a group of us need to do a national tour to educate our people on the correct history of BAM, Black Studies and Black Liberation.

Peace and Love, Marvin X

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Marvin, a very interesting dialogue between you and Askia. But part of the conversation seems to be missing, namely, your writing about what happened at San Francisco State University.   In any case these dialogues are important. So are reports from these conferences. If the dialogues go no farther than the conference walls, are the organizers and participants fully doing all that must be done. I will not be attending the conference at Temple, but I am interested in the proceedings.   Here are some words once uttered that still find their resonance:   “We need facts figures precision and skill. It is work and study that will change the world. The rest is clearly bullshit.”  Amiri Baraka (1973)   We need conference reports. History of the 60s and 70s is important. But history of yesterday has its importance as well.   Peace and love, Rudy

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Rudy, I recently spoke to Davey D’s class on hip hop at San Francisco State University. D wanted me to make the historical connection between BAM and Hip Hop. Of course for me, I began my journey into black consciousness, black art, black liberation at Oakland’s Merritt College after graduating from high school. The first “rappers” (as in H. Rap Brown, now Jamil Alamin) I heard were on the steps of Merritt. They were, among others, Bobby Seale, Richard Thorne, Huey Newton, Ken Freeman, Ernie Allen, Ann Williams, Carol Freeman and others–led by attorney Donald Warden (Khalid Abdullah Tariq Al Mansur) and his Afro-American Association. The “rappers” rapped on black consciousness, discussing issues in E. Franklin Frazier’s Black Bourgeoisie, the writings of Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta’s ethnography Facing Mt. Kenya, Patrice Lumumba, Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro’s speech “History Will Absolve Me,” and others topics.

Bobby Seale calls us the neo-black intellectuals. A sister who recalls us said she labeled us the petty bourgeoisie intellectuals, nevertheless we were striving for consciousness and doing so outside of the classroom, at cafes and each others rooms. I was formally introduced to Huey Newton at Richard Throne’s room.. After Richard showed Huey some of my aphorisms, Huey asked me, “Man, what is your program?” I asked the students the same question in Davey D’s class.

 The topic the students were pondering was is hip hop a social movement. And if so, what is hip hop’s program? Is it about spreading consciousness as we were about at Merritt and later at San Francisco State College. I displayed my early writings and the publications I was associated with while a student at SF State, such as Journal of Black Poetry, Black Dialogue, Soulbook, Black Scholar and Negro Digest/Black World. Journal of Black Poetry and Black Dialogue was produced by us while poor, starving students at SFSU.

At the same time we produced plays (my Flowers for the Trashman, Jimmy Garrett’s We Own the Night) and held poetry readings on campus. Danny Glover was one of our actors.

My point is that we were young people on the move to save ourselves and the world. I don’t know if I see hip hop saving people and the world even though it is now world youth culture.

BAM has had a direct impact of what is now called “Rap,” but most rap is a long way from what we were rapping about at Merritt and SFSU. Conscious rap has been drowned out by the bitch, ho, motherfucker genre. When I wrote in a poem “motherfuck the police,” I was coming from a revolutionary perspective not from some hip hop gang banger’s individualistic point of view. And it was from this revolutionary perspective that BAM evolved and the liberation movement, particularly the Black Panther Party who took on the police. The Panthers began as defenders of the community. What I want to stress is that we were youth on the move. And of course it was the same in the South with the brothers and sisters in SNNC.

Students at SFSU evolved from the Negro Students Association to the Black Students Union, then toward the establishment of the first black studies program in America, at least on a major college campus. Huey and Bobby had continued to fight for black studies at Oakland’s Merritt College.

So is there a connection between the black liberation movement, BAM, Black Studies (all youth inspired and directed) and Hip Hop? Yes and no. We had ideology and program. Does Hip Hop have ideology and program? BAM, Black Studies and Black Liberation inspired world youth culture as does Hip Hop, but much if not most of Hip Hop culture cannot be called revolutionary. Much of Hip Hop is fad and fashion, styling and profiling. Yes, the Panthers styled and profiled, but with a revolutionary agenda, not for bling bling. The Muslims styled and profiled but with a revolutionary agenda: the establishment of a nation.

Marvin X

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What Black Liberation Means in the Obama Era?

High generational expectations as represented in Professor Floyd Hayes’ “Intergenerational Disconnect” will not be met for generations to come in black communities, if ever.  That yesterday he speaks of admiringly cannot and will not be replicated. The world he speaks of—the past leaders and the past generations up to the 1970s—is a middle class one with middle-class values. That success-oriented black middle-class was trapped by Jim Crow, forced to live among the black poor that it partially despised because of their ignorance and loose sexual behavior. Today’s black middle class is comfortable and mobile: its concerns are that of most liberal and moderate Americans.

More and more like the white professional middle classes its members only come into contact with the black poor and rabble in passing, the nightly news, TV, hoodlum or comedy films. Or if they are in their family, they socialize only rarely, e.g., a funeral. They are just not part of the same set; their interests, lifestyles, perspectives, goals are tangential. Liberation for the black professional classes is here; for the black poor working classes is a Disney, hip hop dream.

There’s always a kind of revisionism which clouds the historical truth. There was a global revolution afoot in that period of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. With world war, colonialism, and mass killings in the background, the world was becoming smaller; new nations in Africa and Asia were being born daily. Colonial provincialism was breaking down and the youth of that time were getting to know other peoples and other cultures. It was the dawning of a Third World, of a new Age of Aquarius. All that idealism died a governmental death, as professor Floyd points out.

The world now is even much smaller, maybe too small. Mexico and Columbia, and Afghanistan are maybe too close for the poor and restricted children of black and Hispanic ghettos. There is no liberal idealism of the Other, who may be strapped with a high-powered rapid-firing gun, a bomb, or a phone detonator. College students groups or like those of SNCC and CORE cannot be found today. There is rather a great global contest for the shortage of work and money.

I doubt if there will ever be such mass movements and such leaders of yesteryear ever again, as we knew with Douglas and Delany, Washington and Du Bois, Garvey and Randolph, King and Malcolm, or groups like the Elijah’s Black Muslims or King’s SCLC, or Carmichael’s SNCC protesters and their black power advocates or Newton’s Panthers and their “Power to the People.” Genocides will probably become more frequent than mass protests. State terrorism is now the rage against those entrenched in revolutionary suicide. Did you hear that the Israelis experimented new weapons on the Gazans that tears flesh from bones and leaves buildings standing: the use of chemical warfare via phosphorus clusters. 

Also look at the literature and racial writers a bit closer that Floyd believes are still worthy of consideration by the youth of today:

Think of figures like J. A. Rogers, Leo Hansberry, Dr. Ben, John G. Jackson, Chancellor Williams, John Henrik Clarke, and even the late book dealer Alfred Ligon in Los Angeles.  And there was Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal!

The youth of today have no love, admiration, appreciation for such writers and their intellectual sacrifices. (Dr. Ben is in a nursing home, helpless to find better accommodations.) I see only the smallest exceptional students reading such literature, which basically argues for the humanity of African peoples. Growing up I recall the prevalence of doubt on such a core human issue, and an urgency for change. Most black kids today take their present rights and privileges for granted. As Professor Floyd points out the present reading generations are geared toward the “personal” as can be seen in Kam Williams’ The Best Black Books of 2008.

Professor Floyd goes farther in this line of thought in the lack of gravitas:

Never having experienced segregation, and too young to remember radical social movements of the 1960s, Blacks born in the 1980s and early 1990s constitute a new generation that is historically rudderless and lost in turbulent seas of America’s failing and decadent empire.

America is indeed a “failing and decadent empire” and black kids are “historically rudderless.” By some this political view of the now generation by earlier generations can be rationalized and justified. Yet America’s global power will continue to be dominant far into the future, most young people believe, and they are probably right to think so, even Communist China wants America to succeed as the world’s greatest economic market. The accommodating “Everything is everything” came on the scene early, even by 1968. Cynicism stinks to high heaven in our communities: everything is seen as a hustle.

There’s indeed a reluctance to open old wounds, as with the post-slavery generation, except maybe those ex-slaves interviewed in the 30s during the FWP era. They were too old to care about reprisals. They were already out of the orbit of concern and respect. There are so many RIPs adorning ghetto walls that old wounds of struggle and glory have no place of honor. Today’s RIPS begin and end in pettiness and bullshit.

But the racial ills and sacrifices of the pre-80s are not the lens through which most middle-class Americans, not to speak of the hip-hop generations, see or envision America. History and historical villains are constantly being accommodated, cleaned up, rehabilitated, and dressed up for the market, as in Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington. Or as in the latest film on Notorious B.I.G. If anything, the youthful generations are concerned about the immediate, like random police brutality or black on black crime.

The younger generations are slipping and dodging, even in their sagging pants, for immediate gratification. So concerned for their bellies and immediate satiation they know not what to believe or think. They have little clarity of what “respect” is. Theirs is an inward and outward violence, which has become a mainstay that crosses generations, but coming now from a more deadly and different kind of dynamism and psychic. Professor Floyd comes to the nexus of now and then:

So, one might ask what role Obama might play in the lives of this new generation.  Will he inspire this new generation, directly or indirectly, to recapture the value of historical knowledge for the purpose of redesigning the future of Black people around the world?

I would say the politics of black youth are local, very local. (Check out Ted Wilson’s From Gangs of the Ghetto to Gangstas of the Inner City.) I am not certain exactly what Professor Floyd’s intent is in the phrase “to recapture historical knowledge” What knowledge: Manners? Respect for Elders? What elders: those buying crack and smack from young slingers. These young gangsters can’t tell the difference between you and me and their clientele! They have no depth. They are not literate. For them it is kill or be killed. If there is any issue found disturbing among youth it is this randomness of police brutality, prison slavery, and corrupt courts. But many of these drop-outs in their radical individualism begin early not to expect much out of life. They have little fear of cops or prisons. 

Such racial class issues do not make for the markings of a mass movement. These events are indeed vastly “disconnected,” except by traditional racial devaluing. But such events are the life blood for hip hop cultural proselytizers (drug slinging, rapping, black on black violence, and gangster styling). Among these youth and their raps, there is little concern for the politics of the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, or the connections of these places with the unfortunate lives of black youth. The concept of Third World solidarity is dead.

Yes, their “value systems are reflective of their parents’ acquisitive and indifferent orientation.” Buying and acquiring are American as apple pie. We have just passed an economic bill that bets on people spending and buying, whatever. But the youth of today have made it their own under the influence of the entertainment industry (primarily the sports and music industries). They have their own uniforms and accessories. Their orientation: the quickest way to get those Benjamins and get the brand name accessories, like iphones and ipods? 

The great struggle before us is an internal one. For the country is willing to leave  the  black  poor behind to our own cultural designs. The prison industry grows in this downturn. We are not in need of military like organizations to lead the people.  The  religionists have failed to seek out the children of the poor. The schools have failed to challenge the children of the poor. We are in need of parents, even in their poverty, to set more realistic and restrictive goals for their children, more appropriate behavior, more ordering of their time, a greater respect for work, for those who are older and educated.

For instance, I was talking to a high school history teacher in the hall weeks ago and a female student passed by and called him “Boo.”  A teenage girl and a 60 year old man! And she is one of the better students. Too many parents want to be their children’s friend; too many educators want to be loved by their students. Thus, we have a lenience that sustains looseness and slovenly behavior.

There is not so much of a “disconnect” as a lack of real “respect” between the generations. Public school principals and other educators are not establishing the right behavior and right principles for young people to strive in a Right Wing America. They have given themselves over to the ethics and moralities of the culture of poverty, e.g., get over by any means necessary. Obama cannot and will not single out the black poor to point out their cultural shortfalls. The discipline job then is left to the sadism of cops, prison guards, and other criminals.

Our educators have given themselves over to careerism (go along to get along) and standardized testing. Many of them are ready to retire from education by the time they reach their 40s. They are tired of the bizarre and loose behavior of young people who know little or nothing about the world, who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Floyd ends with the ultimate goal of generational concerns:

Will post-Civil Rights and post-Black Power generations think that anti-Black racism is over in America and give up a concern for and commitment to the struggle for Black liberation?

I would indeed like for someone to define for me what “the struggle for black liberation” means in the Obama Era. In my view “black liberation” is as dead as Martin and Malcolm. The black poor will become a universal: a source of cheap labor, liberal sentiment, and exotic entertainment.

There indeed needs to be a struggle for human development and social justice but I am uncertain we can speak of these needs that cry out globally in 1960s “terms” like “liberation” when fundamentalism and extremism have become the order of the day.

I wonder indeed whether 21st century hip hoppers will speak soon in such cool terms as, “Obama, that’s my nigger, even if he don’t get any bigger!”


A Praise Song for Askia

                              By  Marvin X

Warrior man master wordsmith

lyrical singer of liberation

in the wilderness of north of america

slaying of the beasts dragons demons of the mind heart soul of trashmen

down from warriors

up from slavery

up from ignot

up from negrocities (baraka term)

Askia we love you the world over

those who know and don’t know

love is a spirit thing my man

you are not forgotten in history your hands made

your love songs to African queens your poems made

thrilling us with the magic of your mind

I was there when the walls of Spelman fell from the power of

your poem Venus and Serena

black women wailed with joy

I saw you afraid of your own word power

I was afraid of the earthquake you unleashed

Mighty Man do not be afraid history will deny your deeds

don’t worry about academe and media freaks of capitalism and slavery

just do the work and in the end

ancestors shall rejoice

the living and yet unborn shall cry tears of joy at the warrior blood of your pen.

15 March 2009

Peace and love—Marvin X

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On Cecil Brown’s Dude, Where’s My Black Studies Department  — Thus Africans and Caribbean Negroes were in many cases less radical, even though much of the African American radical tradition comes from immigrants, such as Marcus Garvey, George Padmore, Kwame Toure, Malcolm X and Farrakhan. As Amina Baraka informed me, “We’re all West Indians.” And this is true because kidnapped Africans were brought to the Caribbean for “the breaking in,” then transferred to North America and elsewhere. And we must ask ourselves would we rather have a radical immigrant African in black studies or a reactionary Negro only because he is a Negro.

Marvin X,  

Africa or America: The Emphasis in Black Studies Programs

posted 15 March 2009

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From Black Power to Black Studies

How a Radical Social Movement Became an Academic Discipline

By Fabio Rojas

The black power movement helped redefine African Americans’ identity and establish a new racial consciousness in the 1960s. As an influential political force, this movement in turn spawned the academic discipline known as Black Studies. Today there are more than a hundred Black Studies degree programs in the United States, many of them located in America’s elite research institutions. In

From Black Power to Black Studies

, Fabio Rojas explores how this radical social movement evolved into a recognized academic discipline. Rojas traces the evolution of Black Studies over more than three decades, beginning with its origins in black nationalist politics. His account includes the 1968 Third World Strike at San Francisco State College, the Ford Foundation’s attempts to shape the field, and a description of Black Studies programs at various American universities. His statistical analyses of protest data illuminate how violent and nonviolent protests influenced the establishment of Black Studies programs. Integrating personal interviews and newly discovered archival material, Rojas documents how social activism can bring about organizational change.

The Trouble with Black Studies—Scott McLemee—9 May 2012—Black studies was undeniably a product of radical activism in the late 1960s and early ‘70s. Administrators established courses only as a concession to student protesters who had a strongly politicized notion of the field’s purpose. “From 1969 to 1974,” Rojas writes, “approximately 120 degree programs were created,” along with “dozens of other black studies units, such as research centers and nondegree programs,” plus professional organizations and journals devoted to the field. But to regard black studies as a matter of academe becoming politicized (as though the earlier state of comprehensive neglect wasn’t politicized) misses the other side of the process: “The growth of black studies,” Rojas suggests, “can be fruitfully viewed as a bureaucratic response to a social movement.”

By the late 1970s, the African-American sociologist

St. Clair Drake

(co-author of Black Metropolis, a classic study of Chicago to which Richard Wright contributed an introduction) was writing that black studies had become institutionalized “in the sense that it had moved from the conflict phase into adjustment to the existing educational system, with some of its values accepted by that system…. A trade-off was involved. Black studies became depoliticized and deradicalized.” That, too, is something of an overstatement—but it is far closer to the truth than denunciations of black-studies programs, which treat them as politically volatile, yet also as well-entrenched bastions of power and privilege.

As of 2007, only about 9 percent of four-year colleges and universities had a black studies unit, few of them with a graduate program. Rojas estimates that “the average black studies program employs only seven professors, many of whom are courtesy or joint appointments with limited involvement in the program”


while in some cases a program is run by “a single professor who organizes cross-listed courses taught by professors with appointments in other departments.” The field “has extremely porous boundaries,” with scholars who have been trained in fields “from history to religious studies to food science.”

Rojas found from a survey that 88 percent of black studies instructors had doctoral degrees. Those who didn’t “are often writers, artists, and musicians who have secured a position teaching their art within a department of black studies.” As for faculty working primarily or exclusively in black studies, Rojas writes that “the entire population of tenured and tenure-track black studies professors—855 individuals—is smaller than the full-time faculty of my own institution.” In short, black studies is both a small part of higher education in the United States and a field connected by countless threads to other forms of scholarship.

The impetus for its creation came from African-American social and political movements. But its continued existence and development has meant adaptation to, and hybridization with, modes of enquiry from long-established disciplines. Such interdisciplinary research and teaching is necessary and justified because (what I am about to say will be very bold and very controversial, and you may wish to sit down before reading further) it is impossible to understand American life, or modernity itself, without a deep engagement with African-American history, music, literature, institutions, folklore, political movements, etc.

In a nice bit of paradox, that is why

C.L.R. James

was so dubious about black studies when it began in the 1960s.

As author of The Black Jacobins and The History of Negro Revolt

, among other classic works, he was one of the figures students wanted to be made visiting professor when they demanded black studies courses. But when he accepted, it was only with ambivalence. “I do not believe that there is any such thing as black studies,” he told an audience in 1969. “. . . I only know, the struggle of people against tyranny and oppression in a certain social setting, and, particularly, the last two hundred years. It’s impossible for me to separate black studies and white studies in any theoretical point of view.”—



Left of Black: Race, Writing and the Attack on Black Studies

with Adam Mansbach & La TaSha Levy

Host and Duke University Professor Mark Anthony Neal is joined via Skype by writer Adam Mansbach, the author of several books including

Angry Black White Boy (2005), The End of the Jews  (2008) and the New York Times Bestseller Go the F**K to Sleep.

.  Mansbach discusses the inspiration for Macon Detornay—the protagonist of Angry Black White Boy—the surprise success of his “adult children’s book” and his new graphic novel Nature of the Beast.  Finally Neal and Mansbach discuss race in the Obama era and the legacy of the Beastie Boys.

Later, Neal is joined, also via Skype, by LaTaSha B. Levy, doctoral candidate in the Department of African-American Studies at Northwestern University.  Levy and several of her colleagues including Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor and Ruth Hayes, the subjects of a celebratory profile in The Chronicle of Higher Education, were later attacked by a blogger at the same publication, raising questions about the continued hostility directed towards the field of Black Studies.  Neal and Levy discuss the responses to the attack, as well as her research on the rise of Black Republicans.—


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Eldridge Cleaver: My Friend the Devil

A Memoir of My Association With Eldridge Cleaver

By Marvin X

How to Order

BLACK BIRD PRESS, 11132 NELSON BAR ROAD / CHEROKEE CA 95965 / 510-472-9589,

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Go, Tell MichelleAfrican American Women Write to the New First Lady

Edited Barbara A. Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram


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Books by Marvin X

Love and War: Poems  / In the Crazy House Called America

 Woman: Man’s Best Friend Beyond Religion Toward Spirituality

Marvin X on YouTube

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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 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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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.—


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Ghosts in Our Blood

With Malcolm X in Africa, England, and the Caribbean

By Jan R. Carew

Carew, an activist, scholar, and journalist, met Malcolm X during his last trip abroad only a few weeks before he was killed in 1965. It made such an impression on Carew that he felt compelled to search out Malcolm’s family and friends in order to flesh out the family history. He interviewed Wilfred (Malcolm’s older brother) and a Grenadian friend of Malcolm’s mother named Tanta Bess. Comparing his family’s experiences with that of Malcolm X, he gives the most complete picture yet of Malcolm’s mother. Carew also offers a tantalizing glimpse of Malcolm X’s transforming himself into El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, a man less blinded by his own racial prejudices yet as committed to the betterment of his race as ever. Just before his death, Malcolm X became convinced that a U.S. agency was involved with those trying to kill him, and Carew here reveals the evidence Malcolm X gave him to support these beliefs. The mystery of Malcolm’s death remains unresolved, and we are once again filled with regret that he was cut down before he could fulfill the promise of his later days. While this book will not replace The Autobiography of Malcolm X (LJ 1/1/66), it is an important supplement. All libraries that own the autobiography should also purchase this one.—Library Journal

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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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update 24 May 2012




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Africa or America: The Emphasis in Black Studies Programs   Askia Touré and Marvin X on Black Studies    Black Studies Forty Years Later

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