ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
I wants you also to understand not only the colonial period but when William Penn
arrived our ancestors were already here. They were slaves of the English,
the Dutch, the Swedes, and the French right out here on the Delaware River.
Avenging the Ancestors Coalition
Presses The Fight To Tell The Truth
About American History
By Junious Ricardo Stanton
As the US Government through their contractors was putting the finishing touches on the new Constitution Center at 6th and Market Street in Philadelphia, the descendants of enslaved Africans pressed their case for the telling the truth about the horrors of slavery and the ongoing struggle for human dignity and freedom being waged by Africans against this unjust system.
Hours before a black-tie gala celebration on the eve of a visit by President George AWOL Bush to celebrate “America’s birthday,” the Avenging The Ancestors Coalition (ATAC) staged a rally and demonstration to reiterate their demands for a “commemorative installation” to be an integral part of the new 13 million-dollar Liberty Bell Pavilion to be erected at 6th and Market Street across from the new Constitution Center.
Several hundred members and supporters of ATAC gathered as libations were poured and prayers offered to the eight enslaved Africans George Washington carried to Philadelphia to serve him during his tenure as President in the first executive mansion, the Robert Morris House.
ATAC is a broad-based grassroots community based group of activists, elected officials, media personalities, scholars, organizations, and clergy who have come together to honor those American Africans who were brutalized, dehumanized, and exploited in and by America, to tell their stories and force the government to include their stories as part of the new Liberty Bell Pavilion. ATAC has been demonstrating, writing letters, signing petition, and meeting with the Independence National Historical Park, the National Park Service, and the Department of the Interior since the Federal Government decided to move the Liberty Bell from its current site to 6th and Market Street, the site of the first “White House.”
However, the site also housed — in an adjacent stable area — eight Africans Washington brought with him from Mt. Vernon after being elected President. Activist attorney Michael has been spokesperson and one of the out front representatives of ATAC since its inception.
“This is hallowed ground for America and for Africans. Sixth and Market is the intersection where the first “White House” existed. Back then, it wasn’t called the White House it was the Executive Mansion, the Robert Morris Mansion. We’re saying if you’re going to move the Liberty Bell from point A to point B to honor America’s history, you also have to honor our history. George Washington as the father of this country owned Africans as slaves — right here at the first white house. What we’re demanding from the federal government is that they memorialize those Africans by putting up a monument, a memorial a commemorative project, something like that. So we’ve been making progress. In fact, I consider today the knock out punch. This is the fifteenth round. We’ve been throwing hooks, jabs, uppercuts — all that stuff and pretty much have the government’s knees buckling.”
Coard and ATAC have met with representatives of the National Park Service and have gotten them to turn one hundred eighty degrees from denying the relevancy of Washington owning slaves or that slavery was an integral part of America’s history to agreeing to commemorate the enslaved Africans Washington kept as well as all the American Africans who endured slavery and struggled for freedom.
“We regular black folks got together and formed this Avenging The Ancestors Coalition and we ordinary black folks forced the most powerful government in the world to go from denying to designing. First they denied the relevance of George Washington having slaves. We wrote letters, we demonstrated, we signed petitions so that they did a hundred and eighty degree turn. They stopped denying and now they are designing. The design they came up with included some input from our community but not enough input. So what we’re trying to do now is get more black designers, more black architects, more black sculptors, and more black construction workers to get in on the planning of this. Once we get that we can take the preliminary designs they come up with and expand upon that. We just met with the new superintendent of the Independence National Historical Park and laid out our demands and I must admit about eighty per cent of what we demanded we got.” Acknowledged Coard. “We want to continue with that and have more community meetings, in other word bring these Historical Park people to the hood and show us what you got so we can have some input.”
The president of the local NAACP addressed the crowd as did several others on behalf of Mumia Abu Jamal. Representative from N’CORBA were present as well as organizers of a protest demonstration against George W. Bush which was to take place on July 4th.
Dr Shirley Parham, an historian and university professor and also a member of the ATAC negotiating team, stressed the importance of knowing our history. “I wants you also to understand not only the colonial period but when William Penn arrived our ancestors were already here. They were slaves of the English, the Dutch, the Swedes, and the French right out here on the Delaware River. Once we begin to acknowledge the existence of black people and what they did, all their lies unfold. This is supposed to be the Quaker City and I’ve been called to task for this many times. There is no way under the sun if Quakers were our friends we should have had slavery in this city.”
Dr Parham roused the crowd by reciting a litany of little known historical facts about American Africans in and around Philadelphia. “The Philadelphia School District is going to have to change what they do because you can not continue with this lie in perpetuity. What I want us to do is take a look at the history that surrounds us. This city is full of our history. We can not do it unless indeed we become more active and take a part in it.”
Following the speeches the drummers led a procession to the site of the Robert Morris estate and the location of the slave quarters. Libations were poured by a Yoruba priest and the presence of the spirits of the ancestors was invoked as the demonstration and rally came to a close.
For more information about ATAC contact Michael Coard at (215) 552-8714 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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For July 1st through August 31st 2011
#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
#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
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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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By David Graeber
Before there was money, there was debt. Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systemsto relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? Theres not a shred of evidence to support it. Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goodsthat is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors. Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words like guilt, sin, and redemption) derive in large part from ancient debates about debt, and shape even our most basic ideas of right and wrong. We are still fighting these battles today without knowing it. Debt: The First 5,000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known historyas well as how it has defined human history, and what it means for the credit crisis of the present day and the future of our economy.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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updated 19 July 2010