ChickenBones: A Journal
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The Family of Cow Tom Table
The Connection of Africans & the Civilized Tribes
Pulling Together Family History
My family story begins with my grandmother (Katie Island), loving grandmother and a storytelling grandmother. And I’m sure some of you had a person like that in your life. They are a God send. She was in her 80s and I, 10 or 11 years old, in Oklahoma, in the 1930s, Depression time. She told me how they followed the Civil War soldiers at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, then now Oklahoma, for their survival. that she did not know her exact birthdate, said it was at pumpkin time. The day her mother died she was about 9 years old and on that same day they heard about the emancipation proclamation. So these bits and pieces served me very well and they festered in my mind for more than 50 years.
Through the years at family gatherings I asked questions, trying to find the continuity of our family heritage often to the chagrin of some. And yet I was hoping someone else would go about preserving our history. Too soon I neared my own retirement. Suddenly I realized I was at the end of my generation. What should I do? Who do I know? Lord, is it I?
I decided to send more than 46 SASE letters to first cousins. I received five responses. But those five were so strong–we decided to do the statistics of the immediate families. Geraldine Robinson
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The real problem is that Ms. Davis is black, in a tribe that is struggling mightily to distance itself from a history in which black Seminole warriors and chiefs had starring roles. The question of whether the tribe can legally deny federal money to the black Seminole will be decided in a closely watched federal lawsuit known as Sylvia Davis vs. the United States. The case has a deeper significance for historians, who see yet another example of how the American multicultural past is papered over by the myth of racial and ethnic purity.
Modern Americans are typically surprised to learn that Native American tribes had any black members. In most cases, as in several other tribes moved to Oklahoma, black members began as slaves. But even though blacks in the Seminole tribe sometimes posed as slaves to avoid capture, they were in fact full tribal citizens from the very beginning. African Seminoles
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There were other black interpreters, but Cow Tom was described in the book by John H. Major as the Negro Creek upon whom General Jessup most trusted. (1) The African Creek — the Negro Indians — were the basis of all official action, because “they were as important in any negotiation as the most exalted person present.” (2) Tom was insightful, and he realized that it would be to his advantage and the advantage of all of the other blacks who lived among the Creeks to relocate from their southern white slave masters, and thus Tom made sure that it was clear to the military that the slaves were to move westward with the Creeks. Just as Abraham, the black Seminole, had done so for the Africans living among the Red Stick warriors who later became the Seminoles, Tom insured the safety of several hundred Africans who moved with the Creeks during the removal. After arrival in Indian Territory, Chief Yargee depended further upon Cow Tom. Although a cattle man in his youth, Cow Tom’s job became primarily as a negotiator and interpreter for the chief. As the chief knew no English and had no interest in the language, the role of Cow Tom was critical, and made him even more valuable to the Chief. Cow Tom Bio
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Genetic Ancestral Testing Cannot Deliver On Its Promise, Study WarnsScienceDaily18 October 2007But the search for roots can be a serious matter, as [Troy] Duster [The Chronicle Review (“Deep Roots and Tangled Branches,” February 3, 2006] pointed out in a February 2006 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. According to the researchers, the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, for example, which won a land settlement now worth $56 million, requires one-eighth Seminole blood for members to receive benefits. In 2000, it changed its constitution to exclude black members of the tribe who do not meet blood-quantum requirements. The descendants of these “Seminole Freedmen,” or freed slaves, sought DNA testing in hopes to regain tribal benefits, despite the tribe’s rejection of genetic ancestry testing as evidence of enrollment. Their expulsion was found to be a violation of the federal treaty, and they were re-enrolled in 2003.”I hope to never see a day when genetic ancestry tracing with its inconclusive, continent-based affiliations supersedes treaties between specific nations and citizenship criteria that require documentation of named ancestors,” said Kimberly TallBear, co-author of the article and a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow with joint appointments in UC Berkeley’s Departments of Gender and Women’s Studies; Rhetoric; and Environmental Science, Policy, and Management.ScienceDaily
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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 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  – 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  – 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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Table of Contents
Introduction: Geraldine Elliott Robinson
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During the Florida war he was interpreter for General Jedsup, and was the body servant of Lieutenant Lane, when that unfortunate young officer committed suicide by falling on his sword, the point of the weapon entering the brain just above the eye. Cow Tom is the proprietor of a plantationunder a good state of fencing, he purchased the improvements since the war for $150.
He is entitled under the Creek law to all the land he can put under fence and cultivate, with the privilege of keeping off his neighbors at arms length, as settlements are not allowed nearer any occupant than each quarter of a mile. The reason for this custom, as adopted by the early Indian law givers, growing out of the tribal relation, obliging the Indians to scatter about and become independent proprietors.
Wild tribes of nomadic habits are accustomed to wandering about and huddling together for mutual safety and, defense. Cow Tom Narrative
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Harrison says her father, Henry Jacob, was a Creek freedman who owned a farm and operated a ferry north of Muskogee near the little town of Clarksville, which is no longer listed on the official state transportation department’s map. She says her father used the ferry to carry horses, buggies, wagons, and people across the Arkansas River. Harrison’s mother was Rebecca Jacob. In addition to raising Emma and her brothers and sisters, Rebecca helped her husband farm the 160 acres they owned on the north side of the river. Emma says they raised corn, cotton, hogs, chicken, ducks, geese, and “everything like that.”
For entertainment, Emma says she used to play baseball with her brothers. On Sunday, the whole family used to attend the Blue Creek Baptist Church where Emma’s father was a deacon and her uncle, Eli Jacob, was the pastor. Harrison celebrates 100th birthday
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Andrew Jackson and Other Kill Them HeroesWilliam Lorenz Katz25 January 2012He [Andrew Jackson] was the hero of New Orleans where he defeated a vastly superior British army, (and in this had the support enslaved and free African Americans, Choctaw and other Indians). But he was never a hero to Native Americansthey called him Long Knife. He was elected President as a successful Indian-fighter and then authorized the US Army to remove 70,000 peaceful people from their homes in the southern states and deport them at bayonet point on the infamous Trail of Tears. As a Tennessee slave trader and slaveholder he could hardly be considered a hero of the families he held in bondage.
If ever Jackson showed his unrestrained belligerence it was when he led a U.S. invasion of Florida. His goal was to throttle an alliance of African American escaped slaves and Seminole Indians who had lived there for years, a rainbow coalition peacefully bringing up their families, defending their lives, freedom and land. He also planned to take Florida from a Spain that claimed it by conquest. An updated edition of my book Black Indians came out a week before Gingrichs words, and spends entire chapters on the Florida invasion, to destroy the Black-Seminole communities.
Since Southern US planters were driven to sputtering fury by the nearby presence of successful and armed communities of people of color, for years they had been sending armed slave-hunting posses into Florida. By 1818 the slaveholder grip on US foreign and domestic policies helped send Jackson and the strongest army in the Americas to defeat these freedom-fighters and take Florida.
This is what I wrote in the current edition:
Jacksons invasion of 1818 did more than take Florida from Spain. It threw the United States into a war to prevent the Black Seminole alliance from disturbing the Souths plantation system. Slaveholder James Monroe secretly ordered the invasion, and slaveholder General Andrew Jackson conducted it to provide the president plausible deniability. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams lied to Congress about the wars intent, massacres, and clear violation of the Constitution. Only Congress can declare war. Adams further declared opponents of the war were aiding the enemy and said Jacksons atrocities were efforts at peace, friendship and liberality. To these leaders Floridas African Seminole alliance was a dangerous beacon light, refuge and a massive underground railroad for their slaves, writes historian William Weeks.* They feared it would trigger a rebellion that could destroy the US plantation system. Their words and actions as government officials, Weeks writes, remind historians not to search for the truth in the official explanation of events.
Old wounds, fevers, and malaria aggravated Jacksons hatred as he threw himself into this savage and negro war. He ordered his men to destroy crops, take women and children hostage, and deploy savage dogs. He claimed self-defense and the purest patriotism, and at the end boasted to his wife, the enemy is scattered over the whole face of the Earth, and at least one half must starve and die with disease.
Jackson, Monroe Administration officials, and now Newt Gingrich, believe the General a gallant, selfless patriot fighting for a noble cause. Gingrichs take on history and Jackson as a kill them hero reveals how he intends to run for the White House, and suggests how he would pursue foreign and domestic goals. Counterpunch
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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 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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By Charlayne Hunter-Gault
A personal history of the civil rights movement from activist and acclaimed journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault. On January 20, 2009, 1.8 million people crowded the grounds of the Capitol to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama. Among the masses was Charlayne Hunter-Gault. She had flown from South Africa for the occasion, to witness what was for many the culmination of the long struggle for civil rights in the United States. In this compelling personal history, she uses the event to look back on her own involvement in the civil rights movement, as one of two black students who forced the University of Georgia to integrate, and to relate the pivotal events that swept the South as the movement gathered momentum through the early 1960s. With poignant black-and-white photos, original articles from the New York Times, and a unique personal viewpoint, this is a moving tribute to the men and women on whose shoulders Obama stood.
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By Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer
American democracy is informed by the 18th centurys most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. Weve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economicsthe cutting-edge ideas of todaygenerate these simple but revolutionary ideas: (The economy is not an efficient machine. Its an effective garden that need tending. Freedom is responsibility. Government should be about the big what and the little how. True self interest is mutual interest.
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By William Loren Katz
Christmas Eve marks the anniversary of one of the least known battles for freedom and self-determination fought in North America. In 1837, in what had become the state of Florida less than a generation earlier, the freedom fighters were members of the Seminole Nation, an alliance of African slave runaways and Native American Seminoles.
They faced the strongest power in the Americas, the combined armed forces of the United States Army, Navy and Marines, whose goal was to crush the bi-racial alliance and return its African-American members to slavery. . . . This battle took place during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842), which involved U.S. Naval and Marine units, at times half of the Army, and cost 1,500 military deaths and U.S. taxpayers $30 million [pre-Civil War dollars]. After his decimated army limped back to Fort Gardner, Zachary Taylor won promotion by claiming, the Indians were driven in every direction.
Later, using his reputation as an Indian fighter, Taylor won election as the 12th President of the United States. The Seminole alliance at Lake Okeechobee delivered the Armys worst defeat in decades of Florida warfare. However truth about the battle and the three wars long remain buried, hidden or distorted. ConsortiumNews
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By Roger W. Wilkins
In Jefferson’s Pillow, Wilkins returns to America’s beginnings and the founding fathers who preached and fought for freedom, even though they owned other human beings and legally denied them their humanity. He asserts that the mythic accounts of the American Revolution have ignored slavery and oversimplified history until the heroes, be they the founders or the slaves in their service, are denied any human complexity. Wilkins offers a thoughtful analysis of this fundamental paradox through his exploration of the lives of George Washington, George Mason, James Madison, and of course Thomas Jefferson. He discusses how class, education, and personality allowed for the institution of slavery, unravels how we as Americans tell different sides of that story, and explores the confounding ability of that narrative to limit who we are and who we can become. An important intellectual history of America’s founding, Jefferson’s Pillow will change the way we view our nation and ourselves.
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By Elaine Brown
Brown here relates the dramatic story of her youth, her political awakening and her role in the Black Panther Party when she succeeded her lover Huey Newton to become the group’s first female leader. Though smoothly written, the book contains much reconstructed dialogue that may daunt readers. Brown’s memoir takes her from a Philadelphia ghetto to California, from college to cocktail waitressing, from wanting to be white to joining the black power movement. She meets Eldridge Cleaver, George Jackson and Bobby Seale, goes to jail, visits North Korea and North Vietnam, debates Marxism and gets involved in Oakland, Calif., politics. When other Black Panthers seemed to lose sight of the revolution and seek power for its own sake, Brown, with a growing feminist consciousness, left the group.
She now lives in France and expresses ambivalent feelings about the party she once loved. Having made her acquaintance, the reader wonders about her present life.Publishers Weekly
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 21 July 2012