ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
The description of the places and the cities he visited and
most of all the people of Africa were awe-inspiring, one only
have to close one’s eyes and one can feel, hear, and smell
all the beauty and the sufferings that make Africa
Books by Larry Ukali Johnson-Redd
* * * * *
Journey to the Motherland
From San Francisco to Benin City
A novel by Larry Uklai Johnson-Redd
If you are looking for some enlightenment read this book Journey to the Motherland: From San Francisco to Benin City by Larry Ukali Johnson-Redd. It is a revelation of one man’s insight and involvement into the political arena of racism towards black students in this country and especially in the 60s and sadly to say still continues even in today’s society not only in the South but also in the West. The struggles, hardships, and suspicions they had to endure in order to obtain a decent education to better their lives in comparison to their white’s compatriots.
The first chapter opens with him and his wife returning to America from the Motherland and in one solitude moment on the plane his thoughts flash back to his youth in the city of San Francisco where he was born.
The next three chapters tell you of his days in junior and high school. His problems at securing a job after graduation from university was not with its complications, even though his credentials were impressive and impressive they were, however, he persevered and conquered.
When both he and his wife accepted new posts in Africa, he as a teacher and she to work with the government, it was the most important decision any two people deeply in love with each other could have made. For his wife, it was the best thing that could have happened because she was returning to her country of birth and he was going there for the first time to his “homeland.”
The description of the places and the cities he visited and most of all the people of Africa were awe-inspiring, one only have to close one’s eyes and one can feel, hear, and smell all the beauty and the sufferings that make Africa the great continent she is. And suddenly one is transplanted there.
His description of family greetings, the meeting of old friends and the making of new ones was something to treasure for a lifetime. While living in Africa he gives one the feeling that one never wants to leave once one gets there. It was as if coming home to heaven on earth. His time spent there was the most remarkable of his life with his wife along his side could not have completed a better picture. Much as he loved Africa he still longed to be back home in America where his family still lived.
–Veronica Brown, African Connection Newspaper (March 2003)
This autobiographical Journey to the Motherland is a 160-page novel. But I read it in less than two days. Reading this book was an invocation of the nostalgia to be “at home right now.”
This book is written in a style that helps the reader to be transported to Africa and be actively engaged in the dynamic and evolving events of the moment as they unfold. One could not help but follow the “journey” and soak in the moments. Perhaps being a Yoruba (born in Nigeria), familiar with the local terrain and socio-cultural manifestations and political landscape of Nigeria; and living in the Bay Area for over twenty-five years — well I traveled home periodically, I am able to understand the book better. however, this is a book about a wonderful experience in Africa.
One thing that is clear throughout the book is a commitment by the author Ukali Johnson-Redd, to increasing empowerment for African people all over the world.
It behooves any one contemplating a visit to any part of Africa to read Journey to the Motherland. A great many brothers and sisters go to Africa without preparation or some for of orientation. they then experience cultural shock on arrival — shock at the mass of black people taking care of business; shock at the unparalleled and unqualified show of hospitality displayed by the hosts; shock at the high level of intellectual capacity and scholarship; shock at the fact that people are unfazed at whether or not utilities work; and shock at the fact that the urban and rural areas are just as any you will find in the so=called civilized western cities.
I could not help but be thankfully amazed at how Brother Ukali has assimilated the local lingo and nuances to a “T.” Talk about “invigilation . . .” for proctoring a student test (p. 124); and dispensing “dongoyaro” — a traditional herbal extract — as the preferred medication for malaria (p. 144) — that follows age-long African understanding of traditional therapy — and which Western medicine refuses to celebrate. Perhaps Ukali needs to consider sharing his experience at medical colleges here in the United States.
Journey to the Motherland is recommended and a definite must read by every one who wishes to get a better understanding of Africa and African ways, its indubitable and welcoming hospitality, and its great culture, educational environment.
–Kola Akintola-Thomas is CEO of African Global Institute email@example.com
Journey to the Motherland: From San Francisco to Benin City by Larry Ukali Johnson-Redd published by Amen-Ra Theological Seminary Press / 10920 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 150-9132 / Los Angeles, California 90024-6502 / Imz@lycos.com / send $14.95 plus $3.00 for handling
* * * * *
#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
* * * * *
By Derrick Bell
In nine grim metaphorical sketches, Bell, the black former Harvard law professor who made headlines recently for his one-man protest against the school’s hiring policies, hammers home his controversial theme that white racism is a permanent, indestructible component of our society. Bell’s fantasies are often dire and apocalyptic: a new Atlantis rises from the ocean depths, sparking a mass emigration of blacks; white resistance to affirmative action softens following an explosion that kills Harvard’s president and all of the school’s black professors; intergalactic space invaders promise the U.S. President that they will clean up the environment and deliver tons of gold, but in exchange, the bartering aliens take all African Americans back to their planet. Other pieces deal with black-white romance, a taxi ride through Harlem and job discrimination.
* * * * *
By Charles C. Mann
Im a big fan of Charles Manns previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Its exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that its anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, Im proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, globalized entity.
Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.
We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.
* * * * *
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 Mammys behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own familys 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.
* * * * *
Edited by Julian Bond and Sondra K. Wilson
Pasted into Bibles, schoolbooks, and hearts, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” written by J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson in 1900, has become one of the most beloved songs in the African American communitytaught for years in schools, churches, and civic organizations. Adopted by the NAACP as its official song in the 1920s and sung throughout the civil rights movement, it is still heard today at gatherings across America. James Weldon Johnson’s lyrics pay homage to a history of struggle but never waver from a sense of optimism for the future”facing the rising sun of our new day begun, let us march on till victory is won.” Its message of hope and strength has made “Lift Every Voice and Sing” a source of inspiration for generations.
In celebration of the song’s centennial, Julian Bond and Sondra Kathryn Wilson have collected one hundred essays by artists, educators, politicians, and activists reflecting on their personal experiences with the song. Also featuring photos from historical archives, Lift Every Voice and Sing is a moving illustration of the African American experience in the past century. With contributors including John Hope Franklin, Jesse Jackson, Maya Angelou, Norman Lear, Maxine Waters, and Percy Sutton, this volume is a personal tribute to the enduring power of an anthem. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” has touched the hearts of many who have heard it because its true aim, as Harry Belafonte explains, “isn’t just to show life as it is but to show life as it should be.”
* * * * *
By Andrew B. Lewis
With deep admiration and rigorous scholarship, historian Lewis (Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table) revisits the ragtag band of young men and women who formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Impatient with what they considered the overly cautious and accommodating pace of the NAACP and Martin Luther King Jr., the black college students and their white allies, inspired by Gandhi’s principles of nonviolence and moral integrity, risked their lives to challenge a deeply entrenched system. Fanning out over the Jim Crow South, SNCC organized sit-ins, voter registration drives, Freedom Schools and protest marches. Despite early successes, the movement disintegrated in the late 1960s, succeeded by the militant Black Power movement. The highly readable history follows the later careers of the principal leaders. Some, like Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, became bitter and disillusioned.
Others, including Marion Barry, Julian Bond and John Lewis, tempered their idealism and moved from protest to politics, assuming positions of leadership within the very institutions they had challenged. According to the author, No organization contributed more to the civil rights movement than SNCC, and with his eloquent book, he offers a deserved tribute.Publishers Weekly
* * * * *
From The World and Africa, 1965
* * * * *
* * * * *
If you like this page consider making a donation
online through PayPal
* * * * *
Browse all issues
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
update 21 July 2012