ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



 I see Obama as stamped exactly from the Kennedy/Reagan/Clinton mold,

and I see no reason why I should be any more annoyed or excited by

Obama than by anyone else.  He’s just another clean-cut,

articulate, polished gentleman of African extraction



Books by Wilson Jeremiah Moses

Golden Age of Black Nationalism, 1850-1925 (1988)  / The Wings of Ethiopia  (1990)

 Alexander Crummell: A Study of Civilization and Discontent (1992)  / Destiny & Race: Selected Writings, 1840-1898  (1992) 

 Black Messiahs and Uncle Toms: Social and Literary Manipulations of a Religious Myth (1993)

Liberian Dreams: Back-to-Africa Narratives from the 1850s  / Afrotopia: The Roots of African American Popular History (2002)

Creative Conflict in African American Thought (2004)

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Just Another Fine Gentleman of African Extraction

with Polish and a High IQ—Economist Glenn Loury

By Wilson J. Moses  


I saw an old friend, Glenn Loury on “Bill Moyers Journal” on June 20, 2008.   Glenn Loury has always been very gracious to me and I shall never forget the occasion several years ago, when I was guest of honor at a reception and dinner in Glenn’s stately19th century mansion in Brookline Mass.  I was doubly interested since his conversation partner on the 19th was Orlando Patterson, with whom I have conversed only once, telephonically, while we were both in Cambridge England—he on a Guggenheim, and I on a Ford Foundation Grant.   Obama’s candidacy, especially his Father’s Day Speech apparently provided the two of them with points of disagreement, although I didn’t understand what exactly. I thought Loury gave a better account of himself, in the oral presentation, by stressing the valid point that black males are simply powerless and confused, and that their problems cannot be solved by sermons, regardless of how timely and appropriate. 

But Patterson had anticipated the same points in his brilliant book, Rituals of Blood (1998),  and both Glenn and Orlando agree that no change is possible outside the matrix of social structure and economic organization.  Obama is, of course, not the first person to describe the weak position of black males and to call for a lifting-by-bootstraps philosophy of social change.   I might have added that Booker T. Washington, W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, E. Franklin Frazier, and Angela Davis, all made similar observations with respect to black family structure, calling for both institutional reform and personal responsibility, although Davis emphatically rejected the proposition that patriarchalism is the solution to problems of social disorganization.  I also watched, that night, Larry Kudlow’s show, “Kudlow Live;” his guests were Art Laffer; Joseph Battipaglia, Stifel Nicolaus; Brian Wesbury, arguing over what actions Bernanke should or should not take.   Mr. Kudlow, in another segment, commenting on Obama’s decision to turn down public funds, expressed his contempt for McCain-Feingold, and opined that there are good flip-flops, and bad flip-flops.  As far as he is concerned Obama made a good flip-flop, and Kudlow is confident that Obama will move further to the right.   I am forced, kicking and screaming, to agree with Larry, whose show I prefer to Chris Matthews’, since there are fewer commercials, and the guests are more interesting. I am attaching a link to an article by my good friend Adolph Reed whose influences I consider healthy, if sometimes heavy-handed.   Adolph and I have had some very agreeable conversations, but he can be contentious, and he seems to believe that political reform is actually possible.  “Progressives,” like Brother Adolph, are just as aware as Lenin was that government can never be anything more than a mechanism for the control of the masses. The masses are no stupider, than the ruling minority, but they are disorganized and also more poorly informed than the ruling minority, furthermore as Adam Smith sadly pointed out in 1776, the elites make the laws. Capitalists, as James Madison stated in 1787, are divided into competing factions with mutually repugnant interests.  Political conflicts, whether inter-party, or intra-party, represent nothing more than the coalition politics of competing elite factions whose heroic role is to impede majority rule.  If Obama wins the election, which I consider unlikely, it will simply be due to the fact that a fortuitous and temporary coalition of elite minorities will have decided that he, rather than McCain, can best represent their interests.  With that in mind, I suppose I must concede that maybe he can win. I see Obama as stamped exactly from the Kennedy/Reagan/Clinton mold, and I see no reason why I should be any more annoyed or excited by Obama than by anyone else.  He’s just another clean-cut, articulate, polished gentleman of African extraction, with a high IQ and an appeal to young White liberals, Unitarian ministers, and Colored church ladies.   Very much in the same pattern as Condoleezza Rice, Manning Marable, Skip Gates, Evelyn Higgenbotham, Cornel West, Lonnie Guinier, Colin Powell, Mary Berry, John Hope Franklin, Adelaide Cromwell, Tiger Woods, and Adolph Reed—or, for that matter, Wilson Moses.

As for the current work of Wilson Moses, I am afraid I am not able to spend the summer in France, as I had planned.  Over the past 4 years, I have been able to reside a mere 11 months in Paris and only 3 months in Berlin.  A man of my severe disabilities finds the amount of time available ludicrously inadequate for one’s ongoing projects.

I have been working on a short piece in comparative literature, on the medieval romance of Tristan und Isolde, which originated in my long-standing interest in Wagner, in whom Du Bois was also interested.  Wagner used only the Mittelhochdeutsch version.  I have been looking mainly at the 19th century reconstructions in modern French and German, with only occasional references to the original medieval languages, which I still find exceedingly difficult.  I am making good progress on another book, that offers a critique of the Political Thought of the Great White Fathers, whom I compare to their European contemporaries.  Thomas Jefferson’s abilities and accomplishments were somewhat similar to those of the severely disadvantaged Benjamin Banneker, but far inferior to those of Kant, Goethe, Hume, Mozart, Haydn, Herder, Beaumarchais, or Adam Smith.   I have been reading Leopold Senghor of Senegal and Aime Césaire of Martinique, both of whom encountered the works of  Leo Frobenius, although much later than Du Bois did.  I got the idea for this project from a speech that Senghor gave at the Frankfurter Buchmesse, originally published in German (1982), but subsequently available in French as well.  As Senghor explains, the Francophone Africans had to wait for the translation of Ursprung der afrikanischen Kulturen, into French.  Césaire and Senghor (to a greater extent) were influenced by Gobineau’s Sur l’inegalité des races, which Du Bois seems to have known only from the decapitated American translation of Benjamin Nott (also read by Frederick Douglass), but I have touched on this in recent publications.  

This butchered translation may explain why Senghor and Cesaire— “Nègre je suis, nègre je resterai!”—recognized some of the points that I have made in my recent articles on Du Bois.   See my introduction to Brother Skip Gates’ Oxford edition of Black Folk Then and Now.   Also see my article on Du Bois in Shamoon Zamir’s Cambridge Handbook to Du Bois, which will be published this summer, or so I have been promised.   But I am planning a longer work on Du Bois and the Francophones as a long-term book-length project that will address both Frobenius and Gobineau, not to mention Oswald Spengler. As you can see, I have much-too-much on my plate, but since family matters will probably keep me in the United States of America for the next 11 months, I may be forced to quit flitting around, and get a little writing done, for a change.

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Orlando Patterson is a public intellectual. For eight years, he was Special Advisor for Social Policy and Development to Prime Minister Michael Manley of Jamaica. He was a founding member of Cultural Survival, one of the leading advocacy groups for the rights of indigenous peoples, and was for several years a board member of Freedom House, a major civic organization for the promotion of freedom and democracy around the world.

Glenn C. Loury is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University. Professor Loury is a distinguished academic economist who has contributed to a variety of areas in applied microeconomic theory: welfare economics, game theory, industrial organization, natural resource economics, and the economics of income distribution.

About Face” is a necessary read. It concerns Glenn Loury’s “transformation”:

In the wake of his arrest, however, Loury had experienced a personal transformation that was to have far-reaching intellectual consequences. Five months after beating his cocaine addiction, Loury was dipped into a pool of water at a ceremony in Dorchester, Mass., and was born again. He started going to church regularly and was, he says, ”getting caught up in the rapture of these services where people were falling out onto the floor.” The people who forgave him his sins—his family, his fellow churchgoers and his wife—were black, and Loury did not fail to notice this. According to Patterson, ”Religion was Glenn’s entry back into the black community.”

”The experience did nothing to my politics,” Loury insists, but the ”processing of my own frailties” that it engendered, that did have an effect. Now that he was among ”the fallen,” he found it difficult to keep telling people—his people—to ”just straighten up, for crying out loud,” as he had been for years. It struck him, he says, as ”unbelievably shallow, spiritually, and politically problematic.” In one of the more revealing passages of his new book, he criticizes the way successful blacks sometimes develop an ”antipathy” toward the black poor: ”If only THEY would get their acts together, then people like ME wouldn’t have such a problem.” NYTimes

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The Anatomy of Racial Inequality, based on lectures he gave in 2000 at the Dubois Institute at Harvard, offers a bracing philosophical defense of his new views. Returning to an argument he first presented in his dissertation, Loury argues that blacks are no longer held back by ”discrimination in contract”—discrimination in the job market— but rather by ”discrimination in contact,” informal and entirely legal patterns of socializing and networking that tend to exclude blacks and thereby perpetuate racial inequality. At the root of this unofficial discrimination, he says, is ”stigma,” a subtle yet pervasive form of antiblack bias. According to Loury, stigma explains why many white Americans, as well as some blacks, view the imprisonment of 1.2 million African-American men as a ”communal disgrace” rather than as ”an American tragedy.”

Of course, Loury himself once perceived the plight of the underclass in similar terms. As he wrote in 1985, ”Whatever fault may be placed upon racism in America, the responsibility for the behavior of black youngsters lies squarely on the shoulders of the black community itself.” In his new book, by contrast, Loury asserts that the miseries of the ghetto can ”only be seen as a domestic product . . . for which the entire nation bears a responsibility.” NYTimes

 *   *   *   *   *

Glenn Loury: A Nation of Jailers—A second piece on Glenn Loury, “A Nation of Jailers” fuels a continuing dialogue with regard to Obama’s Father’s Day speech and the perennial chastisement of black men as irresponsible. I agree with Loury, the lecture is probably necessary but the discussion cannot end there.   Clearly, Loury understands that the Obama father speech was acutely political and probably smart politics to emote and fire up black women for they are more likely to vote in larger numbers than black men in November.  Maybe Obama discovered the black gender proportional figures of voters during the primaries.   In “Nation of Jailers” it is stated that more than 7 million black men are caught up in the criminal justice system, though 1.6 million are imprisoned and there’s a large number who are not in prison with felony charges which disqualify them to vote in November and for many other reasons. Depending on what happens between now and November, a large number of black men may become disinterested and decide to sit out the general election. This attitude was termed “male envy” by one of my correspondents. So Obama may have indeed written the bottom half of the black male vote off as inconsequential.  A related matter. Louis Reyes Rivera has given these bottom-half brothers (and sisters) of a voice in the recent publication The Bandana Republic A Literary Anthology by Gang Members and Their Affiliates  (The Bandana Republic).   If libraries have not already bought it, they should be encouraged to do so. I think a lot of young people who are reading urban novels would go for this book, especially in the branches. High school kids might indeed want to check it out.—Rudy

A Nation of Jailers—”Today, fifteen years after crime peaked, the American prison system has become a leviathan unmatched in human history,” he said. “Never has a supposedly ‘free country’ denied basic liberty to so many of its citizens.”

The impact on communities of color has been enormous. According to U.S. Department of Justice figures, a black man has a 32 percent chance of entering state or federal prison during his lifetime. If current incarceration rates continue, one of every three black male babies born today will see the inside of a prison cell, a rate more than five times higher than that of white male babies. In many inner-city neighborhoods, a stint in prison is as much a rite of passage as graduation from high school. The effects of these incarcerations are not confined to the prison walls.

More than half of state and federal inmates are parents of minor children; according to DOJ, black children are nearly nine times more likely than white children to have a parent in prison.

Finding work for any person with a criminal conviction is already a challenge; for an African-American, that challenge can be almost insurmountable.

Prisoner statistics, Loury said in his Tanner lectures, tell only part of the story:

[N]o cost-benefit analysis of our world-historic prison build-up over the past thirty-five years is possible without specifying how one should reckon in the calculation the pain being imposed on the persons imprisoned, their families and their communities.

How to value this aspect of policy is, to my mind, a salient ethical issue.BrownAlumniMagazine

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Rudy, I especially sent this article [“About Face“] to you, because I heard the Bill Moyers and Orlando Patterson and Glenn Loury interview.  Loury was not anti-Obama, nor did  he try trash man as some blacks are now trying to do.  He did, however, raise some important issues.—Herbert

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Herbert, those issues are not being addressed, and certainly not by you, it seems. Anyone who raises questions about policies and programs proclaimed by Obama is “anti-Obama” or deemed as “trashing” him; all the while, they are willing to give him a free pass because of the color of his skin. Here, I am paraphrasing Loury. But here he speaks for himself:

Obama’s candidacy will be a complete redefinition of the racial landscape. [And there’s a universal blindness of black voters] Well, because they’re caught up in the emotion of a black guy running for President. It’s the first chance to support them without perhaps thinking through all the implications of what that might mean.

Here is what Loury says further and I encourage you to read and reread the interview manuscript:

I think Obama’s candidacy is an extraordinary event, and I see it not mainly through the generational lens or even through the racial lens. I see it through the way that he frames conflict, political difference. He wants to transcend and not litigate some of these open questions from our culture wars and out past political wars. It’s not as if he’s saying we have to extirpate every remnant of the Reagan era, we have to go after every right-wing this or right-wing that. It’s as if he wants to say, “It’s a whole new day, let’s redefine the questions and let’s change the agenda.” But the other thing that I wanted to say about Obama is with respect to blacks who are voting to Barack Obama in 90 percent levels in the primary season, and who constitute a very important element of his political coalition. I don’t know that they recognize that they’re voting for the end of race as we’ve known it in the country. I don’t know that they recognize and I don’t mean to belittle them. I’m just asking a question. I’m not sure they recognize that—Glenn Loury PBS

This is a critique of Obama, not a pandering, to his views, programs and policies, which Loury suggests is the attitude of the 90% black voters for Obama in the primaries.—Rudy

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Rudy, I’m asking around to find out about a way to do a livelink.  You have a great collection of writers, poets, philosophersand artists who really go to “deep” when it comes to issues. These are the folk that we don’t see on the corporate media programs and they have a much better sense of the national pulse (or heartbeat).  We’re back to the lesser of two evils again and, if we support Obama as the lesser then we have to devise a strategy that will keep the fire burning beneath his soles. I’d like to hear a discussion of the issue—live.  I’m going to try and stir the pot. . . .  Regardless of how much Barack and others may want racism to be gone, I’m a skeptic and recall what a therapist friend once told me about the end of relationships:  That it takes at least half the length of the relationship to get over it.  The abuse by this country of its citizens of African Descent went nearly four hundred years . . . we’ve got a long way to go. Let’s just hope that, if Obama wins, he won’t screw up as badly as the other 44.  But we’ll still have to get his ear and be a gadfly constantly buzzing and disturbing him, making/keeping him aware that we’re not going to be passive in our acceptance of what comes from inside the beltway.—Chuck

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Morning my friend.  I read About Face early this am.  Thanks so much to you and Wilson for turning me on to this.  I loved it.  I understand it.  I understand what happened to Glenn.  I will re-read it and send it to others.  I understand “discrimination contact.”  Brilliant way of putting it.  Love—Peggy

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Hi. It will be interesting to read about Loury. He did a lot of damage before we was “transformed”. How interesting. Forgive me if I am somewhat skeptical. But I will definitely read it.—Joyce

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I think his [Obama’s] speech had a triple purpose 1) connect with white voters who already believe what he said 2) to challenge the Black men who are not and have not been tcb’ing to step up and 3) like you share firing up Black women—I think though that since men are just as emotional as women—he’s was appealing to everybody’s emotions at some level—acknowledged or not emotions are part of all decisions folk make—another reason more of us need to get connected to how we really feel. Last, he didn’t get me fired up—I’ve been fired up about brothers for both powerfully positive (the ones who “do” take care of home, family, etc. who do struggle against oppression, who do create wonderful art, serve community in numerous ways, etc.: my grandpa, my brother, my husband, Mandela the list is long) and negative (the lst is long) reasons for decades.    At my center I love Black men, need them in the world and in my life. Don’t excuse the ones who are out here fucking up royal.—Mary

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Race, Incarceration, and American Values

By Glenn C. Loury

In this pithy discussion, renowned scholars debate the American penal system through the lens—and as a legacy—of an ugly and violent racial past. Economist Loury argues that incarceration rises even as crime rates fall because we have become increasingly punitive. According to Loury, the disproportionately black and brown prison populations are the victims of civil rights opponents who successfully moved the country’s race dialogue to a seemingly race-neutral concern over crime. Loury’s claims are well-supported with genuinely shocking statistics, and his argument is compelling that even if the racial argument about causes is inconclusive, the racial consequences are clear.

Three shorter essays respond: Stanford law professor Karlan examines prisoners as an inert ballast in redistricting and voting practices; French sociologist Wacquant argues that the focus on race has ignored the fact that inmates are first and foremost poor people; and Harvard philosophy professor Shelby urges citizens to break with Washington’s political outlook on race.

The group’s respectful sparring results in an insightful look at the conflicting theories of race and incarceration, and the slim volume keeps up the pace of the argument without being overwhelming.—Publishers Weekly

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Speak My Name

Black Men on Masculinity and the American Dream

Edited by Don Belton

It is rare in America for African-American men to have the opportunity to express who they are, what they think, or how they feel. As the nemesis in the American psyche, they have been silenced by an image that is at once celebrated and maligned. In this first anthology of contemporary African-American men’s writing, black men share their experiences as the revered and reviled of America. Through the voices of some of today’s most prominent African-American writers, including August Wilson, John Edgar Wideman, Derrick Bell, and Walter Mosley, Speak My Name explores the intimate territory behind the myths about black masculinity. These intensely personal essays and stories reveal contemporary black men from the vantage point of their own lives – as men with proper names, distinctive faces, and strong family ties.

Writing about everything from “How it Feels to Be a Problem” to relationships between fathers and sons, these men reveal to us both great courage and in an amazing love for each other and themselves. In a stunning tribute to a centuries-old brotherhood of heroes, black men come together to challenge America finally to see them as individuals, to hear their long-silenced voices—to speak their names.

*   *   *   *   *

This diverse anthology, mainly of original essays, serves as an excellent counterpoint to media stereotypes of black men. Topics include black male images, relations with women, family life and heroism. Some favorites: soft-voiced scholar Robin D.G. Kelley recounts how his newly shaved head scared people; novelist Randall Kenan recalls a mysterious, kind and loving mentor; Quinn Eli faces the tendency of black men to accuse black women of not being supportive; filmmaker Isaac Julien and poet Essex Hemphill debate whether black unity can include gay men; novelist Walter Mosley muses about why his PI protagonist, Easy Rawlins, needs the backup of the remorseless killer Mouse to survive in an oppressive world. Belton, a former reporter for Newsweek who teaches at Macalester College, contributes his own touching effort, which treats the gap between himself and the ghetto-trapped nephew he loves.—Publishers Weekly

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Black masculinity has built and shaped America. It is an old story which our fathers taught us; it is measured by their quiet dignity as well as their fears. What is heroic about Speak My Name is the fact that the contributors are men who decided to become writers. They all made the decision to use words instead of fists. They are writers shaped by the 1960s, like Arthur Flowers, who writes:

And, understand, the 60s were more than street battles or sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, the 60s were about commitment. We cared. We tried. It was important (and do-able) for us to make a better world. It was important to save the race. And it still is.

While our society still attempts to come to grips with the lyrics of tappers, Don Belton’s book is a gift which offers insight into how a few Black men think and feel. For sisters who are still waiting to exhale, it serves as testimony that there are good men in the world and we only have to speak their names.

Belton’s purpose for editing the volume was to “experience a richer sense of community and communion among other Black male writers.” This is evident in the interview conducted by Lewis Edwards of Albert Murray. Here, a young writer sits at the feet of an elder with an acknowledgment of inheritance and a respect for tradition. When Murray (author of The Omni-Americans and Train Whistle Guitar) talks about his friendship with Ralph Ellison during their days at Tuskegee, he conveys to Edwards how two Black men enjoyed reading and developing their intellect.

Speak My Name , according to Belton, is structured in “jazz music’s compositional model of theme and variation, giving my contributors a series of extended solos that develop toward visions of masculinity as a struggle for hope.” Belton divides his book into five sections, although these categories are unnecessary. One can enjoy the entire volume the way one appreciates the old Ornette Coleman “Free Jazz” album; just open the door to the studio and let the brothers play. The music will find its own center.—

Black Issues in Higher Education, March 7, 1996 by E. Ethelbert Miller—FindArticles 

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Race Men

By Hazel V. Carby

Race men is a term of endearment used by blacks to signify those high-achieving African American men who “represent the race,” disproving bigoted notions of black inferiority. In this engaging study, Yale African American Studies Professor Hazel V. Carby seeks to ask “questions about various black masculinities at different historical moments and in different media: literature, photography, film, music, and song.” She does so by discussing the lives and works of myriad types of race men. Frederick Douglass’s uncompromising fight against slavery, W. E. B. Du Bois’s masterful The Souls of Black Folk, Martin Luther King‘s nonviolent struggles, and Malcolm X’s fiery rhetoric articulate the intellectual-political prisms of black activism, for example, while actor Danny Glover represents the dilemma of the black/white sidekick and the fight for a more multidimensional Afro-American image.

*   *   *   *   *

Carby compares Toussaint L’Ouverture, the ex-slave who liberated Haiti from the French in the 19th century, to Trinidadian writer C.L.R. James, whose Marxist interpretation of the Haitian Revolution, the Black Jacobins, unveiled the complexities of colonialism, class, and the sexist aspects of radical black leadership. She discusses jazz icon Miles Davis‘s quest for freedom and his misogynistic persona articulated in his autobiography, then praises science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany’s Motion of Light in Water as “an effective counterpoint to Miles … a magnificent attempt to reject the socially created obstacles separating desire from its material achievement, and in the process demolishing and transcending the limitations of heterosexual norms.”

Indeed, for Carby the major flaw of race men is that their upholding of “the race” does not prominently address the concerns of African American women as well.—Eugene Holley Jr.

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In a discussion of “The Body and Soul of Modernism” Carby reads Nicolas Murray’s nude photographs of Paul Robeson, as well as black male nudes by other European and American artists, and argues that for these modernists the black male body represented “essentialized masculinity.” However, because the black subject was unable to “gaze back at the viewer,” these photographic texts reproduced “the unequal relation of power and subjection of their historical moment” in the early twentieth century. Carby also discusses Robeson’s roles in Eugene O’Neill’s Emperor Jones and All God’s Chillun Got Wings, concluding that, in contrast to the character Robeson portrays in Oscar Micheaux‘s film Body and Soul, O’Neill utilized a “strategy of inwardness” to present racialized emotional conflicts for Robeson’s character, rather than outward resistance and rebellion. Carby’s notes that, with his expanding political consciousness and increased commitment to the advancement of the working classes worldwide in the 1930s, Robeson rejected these types of roles. Unfortunately, how these ideological changes were reflected in Robeson’s racial consciousness (was Robeson a “race man”?) are left unexplored.

Carby describes the authentic and inauthentic nature of the relationship between ex-convict and folk singer Huddie (Leadbelly) Ledbetter and folklorist John Lomax and his son Alan. She believes that this unusual partnership demonstrated an attempt to use “the aesthetics of the folk” to create a “fictive ethnicity of blackness” that allowed the incorporation of potentially threatening black males into the national community. For C. L. R. James the cricket field in England’s colonial territories not only was the space where “ideologies of masculinity” were put to the test, but also was “the battleground out of which nationhood . . . [had to] be forged.” Carby argues that in James’s Beyond the Boundary (1963) and the novel Minty Alley (1936), “intellectual practice, racial politics, and cricket were . . . unquestioningly imagined within a discourse of autonomous, patriarchal masculinity.” In Black Jacobins(1938) James posits the existence of a “revolutionary black manhood that, both individually and collectively, gives birth to an independent black nation state.”—

African American Review, Fall, 2000 by V.P. Franklin, FindArticles

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



#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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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.

“Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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Debt: The First 5,000 Years

By David Graeber

Before there was money, there was debt. Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systems—to relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? There’s not a shred of evidence to support it. Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods—that is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors.  Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words like “guilt,” “sin,” and “redemption”) derive in large part from ancient debates about debt, and shape even our most basic ideas of right and wrong.

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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

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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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posted 26 June 2008




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 Feminism and the Criminalization of Masculinity    Rattlers and Other Acts of Love  Sexual Morality Black Male Abandonment