ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
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Our parents and grandparents sacrificed and showed that with faith and strength, they
could show corporate America the power of the community and demanded fair treatment.
Blackout 2 November 2007
Don’t Spend ANY money Show a sign of solidarity
Many people marched in Jena, LA, last month in support of the 6 young men unjustly charged with attempted murder for a school yard fight. There are many situations all over the nation that scream of injustice and unfair treatment of people in this country.
There is the woman in West Virginia who was raped and tortured for days with barely any national coverage. They called her the N word but as of this writing, they still had not confirmed they are treating this as a hate crime. We all know the young groom in NYC who was murdered by the NYPD on the eve of his wedding. There is the teenage girl in Tex as who was sentenced to jail time for an altercation with a school official.
How about the teenage girl who was sprayed with mace for missing curfew? You can see her in the video restrained by a police officer twice her size. She was in handcuffs when she was sprayed. Maybe you heard of the California girl who had her arm broken by a school security official when she refused to pick up a piece of cake from the floor. It was filmed by a school mate and is all over You Tube.
You may have heard of the young man in Georgia who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual sex with a young girl. He was 17, she was 15. There was also the young brother in Florida who died in the custody of the state when he was admitted to their boot camp. They said he had diabetes but they couldn’t explain his battered body. All of these stories happened within the last year or two. Those are just a few instances where people in this country have been treated unfairly, while 4 young men in Raleigh, NC sue the state for 10 million dollars each because they were “falsely” accused of rape. There are people who spend YEARS in prison and are exonerated that don’t get nearly that much coin. By the way, who else is tired of the Princess Diana wrongful death inquiry? I mean, come on, it’s very sad how she died but does her death need to be the top news story 10 years and 2 months after her death? On Friday, November 2, 2007, Warren Ballentine, Reverend Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders are calling for a national boycott. Black people alone spend 2 billion dollars a day in the United States and we are only approximately 12% of the population2 billion dollars a day, lining the pockets of companies that have shown no interest in our interests. We ARE living in the new civil rights movement.
We cannot allow the march in Jena to be only an event. It MUST be a movement. In the 1950s, the bus boycott was only supposed to be for a few days or weeks. It ended up being over a year.
The goal was for fair treatment and bus integration. Our parents and grandparents sacrificed and showed that with faith and strength, they could show corporate America the power of the community and demanded fair treatment. As we know, those buses were integrated. This is not about color. This is about class. The middle class and poor people in this country are not treated as the Declaration of Independence says we should be treated. It states that “all men are created equal”. Clearly the governing class of the United States disagrees with their document.
Join us on Friday, November 2, 2007 and don’t spend ANY money. If you have to shop, do it the day before or the day after. If you need gas, get it the day before or the day after. We have to join together as a community. You may be thinking, it’s only one day, what difference will it make? I had the same thought at first, but just think about it. If we all save our money that day, it WILL make a difference. That day may become a weekend. That weekend may become a week and that week a month. As we showed in the 1950s, we can make a difference if we do this together. If you can pass the many dumb jokes and forwards we all get, you most certainly can pass this important email to all your friends and family.
Show a sign of solidarity.
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Not Gone With the Wind Voices of SlaveryHenry Louis Gates, Jr.9 February 2003Unchained Memories, an HBO documentary that makes its debut tomorrow night, provides a powerful answer to that question. It gives us, through the faces and voices of African-American actors, an introduction to a vast undertaking that took place in the 1930’s: the collection and preservation of the testimonies of thousands of aged former slaves in an archive known as the Slave Narrative Collection of the Federal Writers’ Project. This archive unlocked the brutal secrets of slavery by using the voices of average slaves as the key, exposing the everyday life of the slave community. Rosa Starke, a slave from South Carolina, for example, told of how class divisions among the slaves were quite pronounced:
”Dere was just two classes to de white folks, buckra slave owners and poor white folks dat didn’t own no slaves. Dere was more classes ‘mongst de slaves. De fust class was de house servants. Dese was de butler, de maids, de nurses, chambermaids, and de cooks. De nex’ class was de carriage drivers and de gardeners, de carpenters, de barber and de stable men. Then come de nex’ class, de wheelwright, wagoners, blacksmiths and slave foremen. De nex’ class I members was de cow men and de niggers dat have care of de dogs. All dese have good houses and never have to work hard or git a beatin’. Then come de cradlers of de wheat, de threshers and de millers of de corn and de wheat, and de feeders of de cotton gin. De lowest class was de common field niggers.”
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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
#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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A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family thats 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 Katrinas inexorable winds is the voice of Wards 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 familys raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brothers blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt. Her fathers hands are like gravel, while her own hand slides through his grip like a wet fish, and a handsome boys 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 isnt usually just metaphor for metaphors sake. She conveys something fundamental about Eschs 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, whats salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost
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Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis
Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as “the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field ‘cut their teeth’.”
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 18 October 2007