ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



For the “I’ve Known Rivers” project, I will be partnering with Wayne Faircloth, an award

winning photographer with The Philadelphia Daily News, who will be taking black

and white pictures of each centenarian to accompany the profiles.



Books by Karen E. Quinones Miller

Satin Nights / Satin Doll / Using What You Got / I’m Telling / Uptown Dreams / Ida B / Passing

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Karen E. Quinones Miller

Published Author Looking for Centenarians

For Coffee-Table Book — I’ve Known Rivers


Peace and BlessingsMy name is Karen E. Quinones Miller, and I’m asking for your help in finding African-American centenarians (people aged 100 or over) to feature in a new coffee-table book I’m doing, entitled “I’ve Known Rivers.” “I’ve Known Rivers” will feature pictures and short essays/profiles of 35 African-American centenarians from around the country. In addition to being a nationally bestselling novelist (Satin Doll and I’m Telling ) I’m also a former newspaper reporter with The Philadelphia Inquirer, and it will be my journalistic skills that I will be utilizing when interviewing the elders who will be included in “I’ve Known Rivers.” You can find out more about me by visiting my website at For the “I’ve Known Rivers” project, I will be partnering with Wayne Faircloth, an award winning photographer with The Philadelphia Daily News, who will be taking black and white pictures of each centenarian to accompany the profiles.A publisher has not yet been chosen for “I’ve Known Rivers,” but should be decided upon by mid-2003. The hope is the book will be released in late 2004 or early 2005. Please understand that all of the elders included in the book must still be alive. We cannot include people who have already passed on. Please do contact me at, or call me at (215) 381-0642 if you know of anyone whom you think would be appropriate for this book. Thank you, in advance, for all of your help — and my best wishes to you for a happy and prosperous new year.

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A Negro Speaks of Rivers

                                 By Langston Hughes I’ve known rivers: I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers. I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep. I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it. I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset. I’ve known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

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Karen E. Quinones Miller –Born and raised in Harlem, Karen dropped out of school at the age of 13. At age 22, Karen joined the Navy, and after spending five years in the military, Karen married, had a child, and divorced — all within a two-year period.

She moved to Philadelphia at age 29, and got a secretarial job with The Philadelphia Daily News but, after three years of complaining about media coverage of people of color, she enrolled at Temple University and began work as a correspondent for The Philadelphia New Observer — a weekly African American newspaper. Karen graduated magna cum laude from Temple with a B.A. in journalism, confirming her belief that the only thing she missed by skipping high school was the senior prom.

In 1994, Karen started her first permanent job at The Virginian-Pilot Norfolk, Va. Less than a year later she left to join the staff at The Philadelphia Inquirer. She has also worked as a correspondent for People Magazine.

Karen wrote “Satin Doll” in 1999, and after many unsuccessful attempts at finding a publisher, she decided to publish it herself. With the support of her brother, Joe Quinones, and her daughter, Camille, she started with an initial printing of 3,000 copies most of which were housed in her living room. (There wasn’t enough room for the couch and the books, so the couch wound up on the front porch, and was later stolen.)

She and Camille posted flyers all over Philadelphia promoting “Satin Doll,” and physically visited dozens of bookstores in the area to convince them to carry her novel.  A self-published book is considered successful if it sells 5,000 copies in a year, and wildly successful if it sells 10,000 copies in a year. Karen sold her initial run of 3,000 copies in six weeks, and ultimately sold 24,000 copies nationwide in a period of eight months.  Satin Doll wound up on the Essence Bestseller’s List for two months.

The same publishers who had rejected her in 1999 were beating down her door in February 2000 trying to purchase the rights to “Satin Doll.” Karen obtained a literary agent, and a publishing auction was held, on June 7th.  Simon & Schuster won the bidding war — six figures for “Satin Doll” and a then unnamed second novel. 

In October 2000, Oshun Publishing Company, Inc., the company Karen created to publish Satin Doll, published Yo Yo Love, by a 23-year-old Temple University named Daaaimah S. Poole. Yo Yo Love went on to become an Essence Bestseller, and Kensington Publishing Company purchased the rights in 2001.  

Satin Doll was released in hardcover by Simon & Schuster in July 2001, and once again hit the Essence Bestseller’s List.  Her second book, “I’m Telling” was published by Simon & Schuster in July 2002, and also landed on the Essence Bestseller’s List. Her third novel, “Using What You Got,” will be published by Simon & Schuster in July 2003. 

Karen is presently working on a coffee-table book entitled “I’ve Seen Rivers,” which will profile thirty-five African-American elders who have surpassed the age of 100. She is also working on a fourth novel, “Timing The Moon,” and a biography on Harlem gangster, Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson.

Karen currently lives in Philadelphia with her daughter Camille.

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books

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 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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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

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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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

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 Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s 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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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

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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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 14 November 2011




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