ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



 Fourth World is a political perspective that identifies distinctiveness and similarity in how we

view our socio-economic position in society. It develops a relationship that is keenly sensitive

to the ramifications of racism and racial subordination in American society from its earliest days to our present

and how parts of American society are put together to keep the American peoples apart from themselves. 



Fourth World Poems

By Rudolph Lewis


Movement of the People


                    — for Poor Haiti

We Pan Africa? We gotta Be

Something. Some say it’s a

Poor Fit. Some say it’s Sloppy

some Repugnant. De Times

is So Desperate. Your boat

Still Rocking? It is like this:


We Alone, We Stolen Goods


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Let’s Break the Bread


They say I done gone African

But no Tom Toms, no Congas

in My Words. I come from De

Groin on Up. I’m De Last of

De Roue. Don’t fool Yourself

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There are proto-Fourth World poets. They were Post Modern before postmodern was Cool. The most noted and the most influential is Ishmael Reed. He probably never heard of Fourth World and its meaning and significance today, as developed by Amin Sharif , as in Dark Child or Afro-America . In this socio-political regard I view  Nathaniel Turner of Southampton as proto-Fourth World, rather than proto-Nationalist like some scholars suggest. During his era (1800-1831), Turner was unaffected by the religio-political rhetoric of David Walker and Denmark Vesey and their romantic view of the Haitian Revolution. This nascent black nationalism was further developed in the 1850s by Martin R. Delany, continued in the 20th by Booker T., Garvey. Du Bois. Malcolm. Carmichael.

Turner stands in the same relationship as Ishmael to Fourth World consciousness. They glimpsed the Fourth World more darkly. Turner viewed Fourth World purely from a religious perspective as the “kingdom of heaven.” Of course, his decision to hasten it by the use of arms of men was also political. In “The Last Week in 30” (Chattanooga, 1966), Reed writes, “i broke the ice , my pulse begins to / move across a new world.” Fourth World is that New World consciousness, rather than part of, as some suggest, a Third World consciousness, which collapsed sometime ago. 

There’s neither racial hatred nor exploitative hierarchy to be found in any of Turner’s words or actions, neither in the 1831 Confessions  nor in authoritative folklore.

Reed was/is a multiculturalist, like his and Al Young’s Y’Bird (1977), the issue with the Ralph Ellison Interview. His cultural view was established before that publication, of course. His mode is primarily ridicule and mockery. He writes politically against a Euro-centric perspective, which he thought was  emphasized by America’s elite. That which is truly American culture and its substantial influences on American thinking, its music, visual, language is rather subordinated, primarily because of  its influential multi-racial, multi-ethnic content. Elvis Presley. The Rolling Stones. The Carter Family. James Baldwin. Moms Mabley. Uncle Ben.

Fourth World begins with the politics of economics rather than with culture. The emphasis is on control of those that produce wealth for the few. Living in society makes us all political, whether we desire it consciously or not. People feel deeply in how they are treated in the simplest matters of food, clean water, sanitation, security of place and home, freedom of movement. People know how power moves within society and the negative impacts and advantages power provides. The peoples, the youth themselves, must free themselves. “Leaders” do not have the will for such a task.

Fourth World is a political perspective that identifies distinctiveness and similarity in how we view our socio-economic position in society. It develops a relationship that is keenly sensitive to the ramifications of racism and racial subordination in American society from its earliest days to our present and how parts of American society are put together to keep the American peoples apart from themselves. 

Our American world, our larger society was first conceived in terms of property and the management of property. This conception established a political, as well as a cultural, hierarchy in relationship to property, that is, power. Jefferson accused King George of imposing this property relationship with human beings upon them, to their detriment and to the King’s coffers. Though he became free from such political governance, Jefferson never freed himself from the power of property, the importance of individual ownership, and the personal and intimate use of property.

Nor did Jefferson free himself from the use of race and racial oppression as a means of retaining property in person and land to retain his power. In his

Invention of the White Race  Theodore Allen sustains

convincingly that “whiteness” was invented here in the Americas, especially, in Virginia and the Southland, as a means of generating ever higher rates of profit and maintaining social control in the midst of such exploitation. Our situation here in America, in the good ole U.S. of A. is unique.

In this conception, even “free men,” a different kind of man from a “man of property,” was in some manner considered a financial resource or burden. White trash. This commodification of humanity found its most insulting aspect in its view of African slaves as Property Itself, though animated, at their best, “Stolen Goods.” Our Civil War with its 600,000 dead, a region thrown into chaos and disaster, was over the question of Property Itself in persons based on “whiteness” over “blackness” (all whiteness over all blackness) and how it will be used and considered in American society. This Southern white sentiment  of betrayal and impoverishment by Stolen Goods ended the sway of Reconstruction. Stolen Goods could be reintegrated into society retaining a hierarchical status (of “whiteness” over “blackness”) not far from whence it rose from property but light years from 200,000 guns backed by the Union Army and Abe Lincoln. Use them in a crisis and then return them to slavery with a new name.

The elite always leans toward Europe for justification of repressive policies, the more ancient the better, for more reactionary forms of governance, especially when there are rumblings from below.

Currently, Hip Hop is the most prominent commercial view within youth communities. It has its own garb (uniforms), lingo, walk, style, music, dance. The whole package. In a post-modern sense it is parody upon parody. With its emphasis of rhythm, and beat, the primitive, it has ridden on the waves of globalism and the near-omnipotence of America’s commercial culture. Speak Dick Wright.

Many believe the outside world usually receives the worst and more vulgar aspects of American culture. This industry establishes itself  from a competition among members of what was called in the 60s “the culture of poverty” to “represent” this “cultural reserve.”  That reserve comes from working class whites and working class blacks. This use of culture, of course, commercially is not original with Hip Hop. Nor its knack of  glorifying criminality and its identity with the more unsavory aspects of the life of the poor as spectacle. Billy The Kid. Jesse James. Zorro. Brando (The Wild One). Scar Face. 50 Cent. All become Spectacle, diversionary cover up of the objective realities of exploitation by the few of the many of all races, though with some allowed to feel by illusion better than the others.

The primary illusion in the scheme of raising the rates of profit is the individual, the success story, cowboy contemplating Oriental fantasies of palatial mansions, fast powerful cars, beautiful women, jewels, lavished parties, private planes. The fanciful goal of Hip Hop is comfort, status, making money. Barnum & Bailey, representing! It’s an ethic woven into a parasite of the status quo, though with a touch and spice of the Bad Boy. Jimmy Dean. Elvis. James Brown. The Primitive. The Panthers. Willie Horton. Or Bad Girls. Welfare Queens. Sistah Souljah. The video ho.

The theater of the prairie & wilderness. It too is Post Modern. Hip Hoppers have no intent of changing the substance and quality of life from whence they came, the “culture of property,” they want to mirror it, to sustain it as it is, as if it desired its existence as a breeding ground for the industry itself. Yet Hip Hop plays a role that is significant and dynamic within The Fourth World.  Though Hip Hop has great potential as a liberating force because of its reach within the Fourth World, it is rather rudderless; its lifeblood and emphasis is technical display, and often merely display for the sake of display. This artistic commercial ethic has entered also religious worship. It desires one winner at a time. And he is usually in the pulpit, on stage, or on the screen. Seldom in the community.

The emphasis of Fourth World is political identity, and the search for unity, peace over conflict, understanding over ignorance, well-being over poverty and wealth. It emphasizes reconciliation. It is for cooperation and collaboration. For Fourth World, cultural preferences and commerce are secondary considerations. It has a great concern for the emptiness of today’s political rhetoric, its management of various interests in society to be at each other’s throats.

At least this is how I imagine Amin Sharif would speak of the Fourth. It is still a concept in its nascent  stages. At its essence is Discovery. For instance, Sharif may disagree, but I’m willing to include the Haitians in the Fourth World. They are usually included in the so-called Third World. But of all the people in the Caribbean these French Creole-speaking, once-revolutionary blacks are treated by the United States government worst than black Southern folks by the Ku Klux Klan in the 1890s.  More so than even the people of Puerto Rico. It might be best to say that Haiti is a proto-Fourth World nation. That island should be one people.

Fourth World perspective can be discovered  in more and more artistic productions. For instance, the film As An Act of Protest establishes soundly a Fourth World perspective. The artistic youth of today, those who most anticipate the Fourth World, find no intellectual, no cultural referents from the previous generations that provide them any comfort, any defense against today’s political and cultural realities. These artistic youth are offended by the crass commercialism of Hip Hop as well as Hollywood.  These New World conscious artists resist cult, a Hip Hop commercial attraction.

King. Garvey. Pan-Africanisn. Du Bois. Islam. Buddha. Christ. Marx, Malcolm, Fidel, Che, Mao, Nkrumah, Third World. Speak little to them, these cultural and political hand-me downs do not  resonate, except in commercial terms. They are in the First World on a Fourth World search for the Fourth World. An exodus beyond property in persons, beyond  Stolen Goods. The Youth of the West are moving toward a Fourth World. 

They seek Assimilation via Fourth World. They want to be free to choose, to get their dream on.. They are redefining democracy, freedom, brotherhood. They envision it darkly as they fearlessly cross borders, stretch out limits, extend the horizons. They getting their scheme on.

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Somebody’s Been Stealin’

 By J.M. Gates


Somebody’s Been Stealin’  2:46   Trk 13 (Rev. J.M. Gates) Rev. J.M. Gates & Congregation ‘Three Ladies and Two Men in Outfit’ Recorded #51 S. Forsyth Street, 3rd Floor Atlanta, Georgia, Feb. 20, 1928. Original issue Bluebird 7936/BVE-41917-1. Album: Vol. 1 ‘Walk Right In’ Bluebird Records ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ Transcriber: AW CantorSpoken Rev. Gates w/congregation comments: I, I want to talk to you from this subject (Amen!) Somebody, has been stealin’ (Well) (You’re right!) I don’t know whether you like it or not (Yeah!) (Who?) (Have gotta be somebody) Since, we are mixed up, here (Why is it then?) Well, that doesn’t make any difference (No) I want t’tell the truth (Tell us) Somebody (somebody) Have been stealin’ (stealin’) (What have they got?) Stealin’! (stealin’) (yeah) Has been inaugurated (All right) Every since (well) When I say every since You know what I’m talkin’ ’bout (I do) (Yes, I do) Every since (Talk to us, talk to us) Old man, Isaac’s son (yeah) (Esau?) Do you know him? (Yes) Old man Isaac (c’mon) had two sons (All right) (yes, he did) You remember them? (Yes) Jacob (Jacob) <baby in background> And Esau (talk to me) And Jacob stole (stole) (yes) His brother’s birthright (Well) (That’s why it is ) And they been stealin’ (stealin’) (Talk to us, talk to us) Goin’ on (goin’ on) (could be in the room here) Ever since (how long has been) (Yes, it is) Somebody (somebody) Has been stealin’ (well) (yes, they did) Somebody (yes) Has been stealin’, (talk to me, Jake) Either pathological (yas, sir) Or philosophical (yes, sir!) Or intellectual (talk to me) (tell them) Or (I know you can do it) They just been stealin’ (come on)      Somebody (somebody) Have been stealin’ (well) (that’s true) Well (talk to me) When I think of Mount Africa (well) (Yes, sir) In the dark jungles (yes!) Where the Negro arrived (talk! talk!) Landed in this country (everybody) (that’s right) Ev’rybody was black (right on) (yes they was) White teeth (yeah!) (talk to me!) (Yes, they was) Broad fingernails (well) (talk that to us) Color (color) (c’mon, Jake) Nappy hair (well, well) But since that time (come on home) We got straight hair (yeah) Blue eyes (well, well) Green eyes (tell ’em some) (Come on home) Somebody (somebody) Been stealin’ (been stealin’) (yes, he has) I know well  (well) (well, well, well) It wasn’t me (talk, talk) (all right) It wasn’t me, my brother (no, no!) Somebody (just tell them) (someone) Been stealin’ (Jake see you) (let’s hear them) (talk!) I’m satisfied (yeah) In my race (yeah, yeah) I’m satisfied to be black (be black) Think about (yeah, Esau!) I’m as tough as a sword Every since that race Must begin with me Somebody (have done) Been stealin’ (been stealin’) (I saw it) Yes, they have (Boy, I know you was talkin’)(C’mon, um!)

*   *   *   *   *’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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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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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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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 5 February 2006  




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