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ChickenBones Interviews




Conditions have changed so we are not repackaging the old; racial oppression is more subtle and cloaked in platitudes like “colorblind society” and “level playing field”–today’s versions of yesterday’s “Separate but Equal” nonsense. Unlike yesterday, nowadays there are no racial apartheid and caste laws on the books.

However, the values, intent and patterns are still alive and well and the Neocons want to return AmeriKKKa to the 19th Century (with monopoly businesses, pliant government, and racial subordination). Where once the white media depicted us as coons and pickaninnies and our parents were forced to endure characters like Mantan Moreland and Step ‘n Fetchit who were caricatures out of a thoroughly racist mindset, today our own children demean and devalue themselves and our race by writing, producing. and performing socio-pathic material. “It’s all about the Benjamins,” they say. So this is an aspect we haven’t had to fight before, our own people degrading us on such a large scale.  Sharif Interviews Junious

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The racialization of slavery was the product of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in connection with the world-market and the rise capitalism.  Marx deals with this in outline in Capital, which Eric Williams takes up and analyses in deals his Capitalism and Slavery.  The existence of a “race of slaves” in America, and in particular in the United States where following Aristotle’s class definition of slaves as less than human the American Constitution declared slaves as less than human – it followed that the race which constituted the slave population was less than human.   

Based on technological-economic history in the United States, a history of class struggles, the triangular trade displaced White and Native American indentured servants and slaves by an influx of slaves human beings from Africa who were sold into chattel slavery.  The first African ‘bondsmen’ arrived in 1619.  By the 19th century there were no more White bondsmen or Native American slaves.  While it was true that not all Blacks were slaves, and were free Blacks, it is also true that by this time all slaves were Black.

Sharif Interviews Lil Joe

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There are certain things that the more committed elements of the Black Arts movement or the Black Power movement never did develop. They fought among themselves as to what should be the priorities. But they never developed, for example, a real foothold into film and into the recording industry, with the force of the community behind them. They left that to other people.

So, for example, the people who are very often running the discos and this—are the people who ain’t got no consciousness to begin with. They’re just them kind of folks. That’s what Archie was talking about. When Archie Shepp   stated . . . Archie said—hey man, like everybody got into the thing and the music went weird.

Over here you got Albert Ayler, over here Coltrane and over here B.B. King. Over here some of them started saying we need one music. Why is the music so divided up? Why is it that so-called blues people, the folk people are not into Coltrane? Those are complex musics. But Archie said I want to do some music that’s swinging but has consciousness in it.

You see what I mean? But Archie Shepp don’t have a record company. Now what I’m saying is that, if I may be a little bit controversial for a moment, maybe they should have been fighting the Mafia. See where I’m coming from? I’ll put it out like that. So like I don’t know if it’s true, I hope it’s not true but they say the Mafia took Motown from Barry Gordy. Larry Neal in Omowe

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As a teacher, my mother spent a lot of time developing the pedagogy of how to raise intelligent children who are aware of their self worth and power and we are her children. She was the co-creator of the Ahidiana Work/Study Center, where my siblings, my cousins, and I were educated. She did at home with us. She covered so many bases as a parent and she raised five us—we are all now powerful, intelligent individuals with lives of our own. Four out of the five of us are raising dynamic, intelligent little people of our own. My mother’s not conventional and her entire life is an effort to live what she believes.

To be what she believes. I follow in her footsteps trying to do the same. I make choices based on what I believe, whatever my beliefs are in the world. That is a difficult and gratifying thing to do. My mother taught us all how to cook and wash our clothes and made us responsible for our own upkeep early on in life. There were five days of the week and five of us. Every night one of us was responsible for cooking dinner for the entire family. So my mother standardized things and we cooked in big amounts. No small pots of rice were cooked . . . we cooked 6 cups of rice at a time. We learned how to do everything around the house. My brothers can take care of themselves as well as the girls can. She worked hard to raise mature, responsible people, and all her work was geared toward making us independent; and I believe that it worked. Kiini Ibura Salaam From Mexico

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Through the efforts of certain Black artists, people are beginning to realize the importance of Black theatre. LeRoi began this movement through his Black Arts project in Harlem and now with the Spirit House in Newark which takes his plays across the country. Other groups such as the old Black Arts/West on the Coast which we had a hand in, the Aldridge Players/West also on the Coast, the free southern Theatre, Concept East in Detroit, and now the New Lafayette in Harlem have tried to continue what LeRoi began. As a result of these efforts, theatre is becoming more acceptable to black people on the whole. It is less of a novelty and becoming a necessary part of their cultural life.  Interview with Ed Bullins

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When I was in the military, I saw too many officers were hurting for combat because it aided in their promotions. I know that many justify their activity in war to their wives and girlfriends. It’s putting bread on the table. Sex, war, economics, and violence—all connect and create the overlay that helps to define what America is all about. I’ll go on the range and kill Indians. I’ll go to Vietnam and make the little lady comfortable. I wonder whether women want to be connected to violence this way—to make bombs so I can vacation in Hawaii. More than the active participants should be implicated. That’s part of owning up.

Rudy Interviews Yusef2


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Racism: A History, the 2007 BBC 3-part documentary explores the impact of racism on a global scale. It was part of the season of programs on the BBC marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. It’s divided into 3 parts.

The first, The Colour of Money . . . Racism: A History [2007]—1/3

Begins the series by assessing the implications of the relationship between Europe, Africa and the Americas in the 15th century. It considers how racist ideas and practices developed in key religious and secular institutions, and how they showed up in writings by European philosophers Aristotle and Immanuel Kant.

The second, Fatal Impact . . . Racism: A History [2007] – 2/3

Examines the idea of scientific racism, an ideology invented during the 19th century that drew on now discredited practices such as phrenology and provided an ideological justification for racism and slavery. The episode shows how these theories ultimately led to eugenics and Nazi racial policies of the master race.

And the 3rd, A Savage Legacy . . .  Racism: A History [2007] – 3/3

Examines the impact of racism in the 20th century. By 1900 European colonial expansion had reached deep into the heart of Africa. Under the rule of King Leopold II, the Belgian Congo was turned into a vast rubber plantation. Men, women and children who failed to gather their latex quotas would have their limbs dismembered. The country became the scene of one of the century’s greatest racial genocides, as an estimated 10 million Africans perished under colonial rule.

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Amin Sharif


     Junious Ricardo Stanton

     Lil Joe on Class & Race


Arundhati Roy


Cecelie Counts and E. Ethelbert Miller


     Larry Neal Interview in Omowe


Danny Torres


     Dr. Eliseo Rosario


Invisible Woman


     An Interview with Michael A Gonzales


Jane Musoke-Nteyafas


      Jay Lou Ava  

     Kiini Ibura Salaam  

     Rudolph Lewis 


Jill Nelson


     The Return of the Nigger Breakers (with Ishmael Reed)


Kam Williams

      Aron Ranen

     Brian Sparks 

     Colin Roach  

     Condoleeza Rice

     Daryle Jenkins

     Forest Whitaker

     Gore Vidal

     Master P, Hip-Hop Entrepreneur

     Maxine Waters 


     Sheila Johnson: America’s First Black Woman Billionaire

     Sugar Ray Leonard

     Vanessa Williams


Marvin X


      Ed Bullins


Mevlut Ceylan:


     Professor Ahmed Ali (1908-1994) /

     Rudy on Poetic Process 


Michael A. Gonzales


     Baltimore Orator:  Barry Michael Cooper


Onyeka Nwelue


     Jude Dibia


Rudy Interviews


     Askia Muhammad Touré   

     Carlyle Van Thompson   

     Fred Mason 

     Herbert Rogers

     Issaka K Souare

     John Blake   

     Kalamu  I Neo-Griot

     Kalamu II  

     Kalamu ya Salaam

     Keith Gilyard

     Larry Ukali Johnson-Redd 

     Louis Reyes Rivera

     Uche Nworah

     Yusef Komunyakaa


Uche Nworah


Dolly Unachukwu 

Onyeka Nwelue


Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye  


     Interview with I.N.C. Aniebo /

     Sam Kargbo


Yvonne Terry:


     Javaka Steptoe


Publisher Interviews

     Caryl Phillips

     Denise Nichols

     Edwidge Danticat

     Karla FC Holloway

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Related files

Back to New Orleans

The Dance of Love  (Kiini Ibura Salaam)

Inspiration for My Body

I Trust You Lord!   

Reflections on Fiji     (Kiini Ibura Salaam)

Shocking Bleeding Heart   

There’s No Racism Here?  (Kiini Ibura Salaam)

created 5 May 2007

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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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Captain of the Planter: The Story of Robert Smalls

By Dorothy Sterling

Dorothy Sterling’s biography of Robert Smalls is Captain of the Planter: The Story of Robert Smalls (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1958). In most history books, the contributions of Negroes during the Civil War and Reconstructions are ignored. Robert Smalls was one of the heroes who is rarely mentioned. He was a Negro slave who stole a ship from the Confederates, served on it with the Union Army with distinction, and finally served several terms in Congress.

All this was accomplished against the handicaps first of slavery, then of the prejudice of the Union Army, and finally of the Jim Crow laws, which eventually conquered him. Besides its value in contradicting the history book insinuation that the Negro was incapable of political enterprise and that the South was right in imposing Jim Crow laws, Captain of the Planter is an exciting adventure story. Captain Smalls’ escape from slavery and his battle exploits make interesting reading, and the style is fast moving.—Barbara Dodds /

Legacy of Robert Smalls

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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.

She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s 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, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—


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The Looting of America: How Wall Street’s Game of Fantasy Finance

Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions, and Prosperity—and What We Can Do About It

By Les Leopold

How could the best and brightest (and most highly paid) in finance crash the global economy and then get us to bail them out as well? What caused this mess in the first place? Housing? Greed? Dumb politicians? What can Main Street do about it? In The Looting of America, Leopold debunks the prevailing media myths that blame low-income home buyers who got in over their heads, people who ran up too much credit-card debt, and government interference with free markets. Instead, readers will discover how Wall Street undermined itself and the rest of the economy by playing and losing at a highly lucrative and dangerous game of fantasy finance. He also asks some tough questions:  Why did Americans let the gap between workers’ wages and executive compensation grow so large? Why did we fail to realize that the excess money in those executives’ pockets was fueling casino-style investment schemes? Why did we buy the notion that too-good-to-be-true financial products that no one could even understand would somehow form the backbone of America’s new, postindustrial economy? How do we make sure we never give our wages away to gamblers again?

And what can we do to get our money back? In this page-turning narrative (no background in finance required) Leopold tells the story of how we fell victim to Wall Street’s exotic financial products. Readers learn how even school districts were taken in by “innovative” products like collateralized debt obligations, better known as CDOs, and how they sucked trillions of dollars from the global economy when they failed. They’ll also learn what average Americans can do to ensure that fantasy finance never rules our economy again. The Economy

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Yvette’s cookbook is a 2011 bestseller

GREAT BAY, St. Martin (July 31, 2011)—It’s official. It’s a bestseller! From Yvette’s Kitchen To Your Table – A Treasury of St. Martin’s Traditional & Contemporary Cuisine by Yvette Hyman has sold out, according to House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP). In a record seven weeks after its June 2011 release here, less than 80 copies of the cookbook are left in bookstores and with the author’s family representatives charged with distribution, said Jacqueline Sample, HNP president. The decision on whether to reprint a new batch of From Yvette’s Kitchen  … lies with the family of the late award-winning chef, said the publisher.“We are very thankful to the people of St. Martin for embracing Yvette’s cookbook. The visitors to our island also bought many copies of this beautifully designed book of the nation’s cuisine,” said Sample.From Yvette’s Kitchen  is made up of 13 chapters, including Appetizers, Soups, Poultry, Fish and Shellfish, Meat, Salads, Dumplings, Rice and Fungi, Breads, and Desserts.

The 312-page full color book includes recipes for Souse, the ever-popular Johnny cake, and Conch Yvette’s. Lamb stew, coconut tart, guavaberry, and soursop drink are also among the over 200 recipes à la Yvette in this Treasury of St. Martin’s Traditional & Contemporary Cuisine, said Sample.“We hope that this cookbook’s success also adds to the indicator of the performance and importance of books published in the Caribbean,” said Sample.The other HNP book that sold out in such a short time was the 1989 poetry collection Golden Voices of S’maatin. That first title by Ruby Bute had sold out in about three months and has since been reprinted, said Sample.

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Aké: The Years of Childhood

By Wole Soyinka

Aké: The Years of Childhood is a memoir of stunning beauty, humor, and perception


a lyrical account of one boy’s attempt to grasp the often irrational and hypocritical world of adults that equally repels and seduces him. Soyinka elevates brief anecdotes into history lessons, conversations into morality plays, memories into awakenings. Various cultures, religions, and languages mingled freely in the Aké of his youth, fostering endless contradictions and personalized hybrids, particularly when it comes to religion. Christian teachings, the wisdom of the ogboni, or ruling elders, and the power of ancestral spirits


who alternately terrify and inspire him


all carried equal metaphysical weight. Surrounded by such a collage, he notes that “God had a habit of either not answering one’s prayers at all, or answering them in a way that was not straightforward.” In writing from a child’s perspective, Soyinka expresses youthful idealism and unfiltered honesty while escaping the adult snares of cynicism and intolerance. His stinging indictment of colonialism takes on added power owing to the elegance of his attack.

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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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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

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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 8 March 2012