ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
drive around . . .and see a church on every corner. . . .our communities are falling
apart. . . . there is a moral crisis in the church. There are reasons to worry. . . .
It appears as if the church has become a house of entertainment.
The Black Church
A House That Is Divided????
By Carolyn Mattocks
Dr. Carter G. Woodson called the church the greatest asset of the race. He stated that it is the only institution that the race truly controls. Historically, it has taken the lead in education, social reform, and black businesses. It has served as a forum of thought and hope for the African-American community.
Is the black church divided? Today, we have all types of denominations in the African-American community. We are Methodist, Baptist, Holiness, Catholic, and Jehovah Witnesses, etc.
What does this really mean to the African-American community? As a child, I grew up in a household where my mother was a Holiness, my father was a Methodist, and my grandmother was a Baptist. So, how did I determine which was the best. I did not because I believe that God did not create denominations. Man created denominations because of his inability to solve conflict.
Where in the Bible does God say he was a Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Holiness, or Jehovah Witness? God only states that he is the light of the world.
Why is there so much confusion? The Bible clearly states that there is one God. There is no specific denomination declared as a favorite to God. So, why do we divide our community with who has the better denomination.
This has led to crisis in the black church. It is interesting to drive around in the black community and see a church on every corner. Yet, our communities are falling apart. I believe that there is a moral crisis in the church. There are reasons to worry. Today, you really do not see the church focusing on substantive change. It appears as if the church has become a house of entertainment. It is not producing a change in the mindset of the people. We pray on Sunday, but Monday through Saturday, we are involved in gossiping, backbiting, and complaining against one another. It appears as if we go through a ritualized phase in religion. We do all of the singing and praying. However, this is not the only key to our success with the Creator. The real test of our faith begins when we step back into everyday life. What happens then? This is why there is a crisis.
I believe that African-Americans are more concerned with who has the better and larger denomination. They are concerned with superficial materialism such as clothes and cars. I do not believe that African-Americans are seeking the unity and power that the church has to offer. The African-American churches must put away the glamour of million dollar buildings and begin to heal the connection between the church and community again.
Historically, the church has been a crucial asset in the African-American community. Therefore, I find myself concurring with Dr. Carter G. Woodson when he said, the church is a part of the capital that African-Americans must continue to invest in to make its future.
Carolyn Mattocks is a native of Edwards, North Carolina. She received her B.A. degree in History from North Carolina Central University. Ms. Mattocks also received her MPA from North Carolina State University. She is a writer and a lecturer. She has done numerous presentations for schools, community colleges, colleges, churches, and organizations. Ms. Mattocks has taught courses in American History, African-American History, and European History. Carolyn has a love for history, which has led to a twelve-year study of the historical contributions and accomplishments of African-Americans. Ms. Mattocks was an intern for the North Carolina State Government, Division of Archives and History. She managed the Administrative Research Division of the North Carolina Center for the Study of Black History. She was also a commentator and analyst for a bi-weekly television talk show on Cablevision of Durham entitled The Legacy of African-American Leadership. She is a member of the Association for the Study of African-American History. Ms. Mattocks can also provide educational lectures and workshops. Carolyn Mattocks / The Isis Group / P.O. Box 18941 / Baltimore, MD 21206 firstname.lastname@example.org
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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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Go to Hell
Lyrics by Nina Simone
If your mind lies in the Devil’s workshop Evil-doin’s your thrill And trouble and mischief is all you live for You know damn well That you’ll go to hell (yeah) You’ll go to hell Now you’re living high and mighty Rich off the fat of the land Just don’t dispose of your natural soul ‘cos if you do you know damn well That you’ll go to hell (yes, you will) You’ll go to hell Hell Where your natural soul burns Hell Where you pay for your sins Hell Keep your children from doing wrong (if you can) ‘cos you know damn well That they’ll go to hell They’ll go to hell Hell Man, woman were created Hell To live for eternity Hell With an apple they ate from the tree of hate So you know damn well Oh… they went to hell (yes, they did) They went to hell Some say that hell is below us But I say it’s right by my side ‘cos you see evil in the morning Evil in the evening, all the time You know damn well That we all must be in hell We got to be in hell We all must be in hell We must be in hell.
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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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Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson’s stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who’ve accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela’s rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela’s regime deems Wilderson’s public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America. Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Wilderson’s observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid’s last days.Publishers Weekly
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By Melissa V. Harris-Perry
According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless Mammys behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own familys needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.
As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 25 December 2011