JPAS Black Arts Movement Poetry Issue

JPAS Black Arts Movement Poetry Issue


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



If one is serious about getting a precise understanding of the 1960s Black Arts

Movement, one might grab the recent Journal of Pan African Studies, Poetry Issue,

Guest Editor, Marvin X. The issue has poems by some of the BAM major

players as well as essays and dialogue on the literary productions of BAM . . .



Books by Marvin X

Love and War: Poems  / In the Crazy House Called America / Woman: Man’s Best Friend Beyond Religion Toward Spirituality

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ChickenBones Express

          By Rudolph Lewis


There was a time,

not long ago

in blue memory

of my journey

north—1960, I was 12.

That fall I’d be in 8th grade

at the new black high school,

Central. There was no seat

in the front of the bus

or the back making a trail

to Baltimore, to Freemont Avenue

to Cherry Hill, where my other

folks lived. It was still dark

that morning when Mama told

me to be a good boy

and handed me my bag,

food she cooked for me.

Daddy waited beside

the road with me. Then I

was alone standing in

the aisle all the way

to Petersburg and its Colored

waiting room. I did not get

off the bus at Richmond or DC.

Five hours from Jerusalem, I

was downtown on Fayette

and Howard. The streetcar ran

on the wire above. The crowded

streets pushed me along to

a bluesman in dark glasses

playing his guitar with a troubled

mind like a prayer at midnight.

8 June 2010

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Women with Men in Prison

                     By Rudolph Lewis


He’s not in Abu Ghraib a black bag

over his head—his genitals exposed

on film by a mocking female GI.

He’s not at Guantanamo detained by

top-secret Pentagon memos—tortured

by water & bright lights around the clock.

No, he’s down on Southampton’s County Farm

on a work detail in Boykins & pays

thirty dollars a week for room & board.

His woman can visit him for two hours

on Sundays & receive his telephone

calls if he gets the blues thinking she’s not

alone. He didn’t get life plus. Behind bars

good men tell lies about women as wives .


31 August 2006

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Shine on Silver Moon

                          By Rudolph Lewis

through dark pines. The stars

are not so bright

in this milky white haze.

We are alone

with the blue ache

of naked limb shadows

on burnt grass in this March

forest—choruses of insects,

tree frogs, night birds sing

purple silence—all out of tune.

Winter in these woods

will reach down like

icicles in the wails of hounds

in chilled air. As flower

bushes bud, as turned soil

grows hot under shoeless feet

as brown leaves are wind-blown

across lawns and highways

the spindly limbs of gloom

will not leaf into a portal of joy.

I got the blues, the sure enough country—

things-ain’t-gonna-get-no-better backwater blues.

 *   *   *   *   *

Bliss Black as Buzzards 

                         By Rudolph Lewis


The full moon is soft

around the edges:

this white indefiniteness stretches

out across the purple heavens:

there’s no clarity of starlight:

no confidence which turn is right.

The peoples of these swamps

are sad with backwater misery.

A cat listens to the silence:

a train blows at the crossroads

rushing to port; an old man

with ax splinters boards

on a chopping block

for the morning chill to come:

a bird awakes with a shrill cry

swoops down: a cat pounces

ready for crisis and opportunity:

silence returns: an aging black woman

with family sleeps in a parked car,

pleads for a kitchen

and a bathroom: a young Hispanic

college student who works

at MacDonald’s, his fourth year,

is touched by the magic hand of fate.


Thank God and the president:

all are not dead like 39 in cemeteries.

In this warm mist three young deer

in the garden munch moonlight and silence.


Our pains are softened by prayers,

hope, and grace mounted up: from the ruins

many will reach Obama heights, riding

on the uplifting coattails of vultures.

posted 15 January 2011

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The Journal of Pan African Studies

Black Arts Movement  Poetry Issue

Edited by Marvin X

Journal of Pan African Studies is Online—Volume 4 • Number 2 • 2010

We humbly dedicate this poetry issue of the Journal of Pan African Studies (JPAS) to theHonorable Jose Goncalves, publisher and editor of the Journal of Black Poetry (JBP), the poetic Bible of the 60s Black Liberation/Black Arts Movement. No other journal in the history of American literature published so many poets. No other journal was more eclectic and democratic in its editorial policy. We thank Rudolph Lewis (a virtual reincarnation of Goncalves in his dedication to black literature in the electronic age) for compiling this summary of the work of Dingane and the Journal of Black Poetry. One day soon we plan to honor Dingane with a Journal of Black Poetry Festival.—BlackBirdPressNews /  / Information:

If one is serious about getting a precise understanding of the 1960s Black Arts Movement, one might grab the recent Journal of Pan African Studies, Poetry Issue, Guest Editor, Marvin X. The issue has poems by some of the BAM major players as well as essays and dialogue on the literary productions of BAM, the proposition that Muslim American literature is based on the BAM Islamic influence, Moorish Science Nation, Nation of Islam, Sufic, Sunni. There is a discussion on the poetic mission, and in the BAM tradition it is argued that poetry is not an end within itself but a vehicle, a tool, a weapon in the arsenal of liberation, and most importantly, a tool of communication. The poems are drums from Pan Africa, praising the God and gods, ancestors, living and  yet unborn. Entries are from Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, United Kingdom, South Korea, New Zealand and throughout the United States. We tried to give a regional sample from the west coast, east coast, mid west and south. You will find a commonality of themes and concerns, freedom most of all. Overall, it represents an alternative world view, the Pan African world view as opposed to the Eurocentric world view. It is the world view of the oppressed, yet the spiritually liberated for the poets are, if nothing else, free spirits that cannot be caged, whipped or defeated, for they say you can kill the revolutionary but can’t kill the revolution, thus the word causes forward motion in the ocean of humanity, and such are the contents herein. Magic words, magic truths, wisdom of the new world and prophesy as well. It is obvious from the bios that most of the poets are trained in academia, whatever their other origins. No matter, we think the Pan African consciousness herein is sufficiently represented. The BAM theme of consciousness is pervasive, revolutionary consciousness, and the poetic rhythms concur at every turn, from Shaggy Flores to Phavia to Ayo to L. E. Scott to Neal Hall to Mohja Kahf. Associate Guest Editor Ptah Allah El says this is the Bible for the 21 Century. So it is! Like Black Fire of the 60s, let it fire up a static situation with the word. Let the mind be moved a little closer to home. —Marvin X,  15 January 2011, BlackBirdPressNews

 *   *   *   *   *

Journal of Pan African Studies Poetry ReadingBay Area Poets Read their EntriesJoyce Gordon Gallery, 14th and Franklin, downtown Oakland Saturday, February 19, 3-6p

The Whirlwind  / Amour of Ancestors

devorah major, San Francisco Poet Laureate Emeritus, Alona Clifton, Reader, Paradise Jah Love, TuReadah Mikell, Phavia Kujichagulia, Ptah Allah El, Ayodele Nzingha,  Fritz Pointer, J. Vern Cromartie, Avotcja, Ishmael Reed, Anthony Spires, Renaldo Manuel Ricketts, Kwan Booth, Charles Blackwell, Niyah X, Maisha, Nykimbe,

Ramal Lamar, Aries Jordan

The Journal of Pan African Studies will be on sale at the event, 475 pages, $49.95.  / Information:

Black Bird Press News

*   *   *   *   *

Martin Luther King, “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam

*   *   *   *   *

Statistics on the Inequities  The Collapse of Urban Public Schooling  

What Is the Source of the Dilemma of Black Urban Education?

*   *   *   *   *

New Jersey Amistad Law / Amistad Commissions Teach Kids About Slavery

Mission  of Amistad Commission / New Jersey Genocide/Slavery Curriculum Guide

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Nina Simone—I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free

I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free                Lyrics by Nina Simone

I wish I knew how It would feel to be free I wish I could break All the chains holding me I wish I could say All the things that I should say Say ’em loud say ’em clear For the whole round world to hear I wish I could share All the love that’s in my heart Remove all the bars That keep us apart I wish you could know What it means to be me Then you’d see and agree That every man should be free I wish I could give All I’m longin’ to give I wish I could live Like I’m longin’ to live I wish I could do All the things that I can do And though I’m way over due I’d be starting a new Well I wish I could be Like a bird in the sky How sweet it would be If I found I could fly Oh I’d soar to the sun And look down at the sea Than I’d sing cos I know – yea Then I’d sing cos I know – yea Then I’d sing cos I know I’d know how it feels Oh I抎 know how it feels to be free Yea Yea! Oh, I know how it feels Yes I know Oh, I know How it feels How it feels To be free

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



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#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

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Faces At The Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism

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.

Civil rights lawyer Geneva Crenshaw, the heroine of Bell’s And We Are Not Saved (1987), is back in some of these ominous allegories, which speak from the depths of anger and despair. Bell now teaches at New York University Law School.—Publishers Weekly

*   *   *   *   *

The River of No Return

The Autobiography of a Black Militant and the Life and Death of SNCC

By Cleveland Sellers with Robert Terrell

Among histories of the civil rights movement of the 1960s there are few personal narratives better than this one. Besides being an insider’s account of the rise and fall of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, it is an eyewitness report of the strategies and the conflicts in the crucial battle zones as the fight for racial justice raged across the South.  This memoir by Cleveland Sellers, a SNCC volunteer, traces his zealous commitment to activism from the time of the sit-ins, demonstrations, and freedom rides in the early ’60s. In a narrative encompassing the Mississippi Freedom Summer (1964), the historic march in Selma, the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, and the murders of civil rights activists in Mississippi, he recounts the turbulent history of SNCC and tells the powerful story of his own no-return dedication to the cause of civil rights and social change.

The River of No Return is acclaimed as a book that is destined to become a standard text for those wishing to perceive the civil rights struggle from within the ranks of one of its key organizations and to note the divisive history of the movement as groups striving for common goals were embroiled in conflict and controversy.

*   *   *   *   *

A Time To Speak, A Time To Act

The Movement in Politics

By Julian Bond

An exhortation to political involvement within the decrepit electoral system by the Georgia state legislator and former SNCC activist who stole the show in the 1968 Democratic Convention by becoming the first black man to receive Vice Presidential mention. Bond writes the balanced, sagacious prose of the would-be junior statesman casting about for a national constituency. A reformist who senses the limits of reformism, Bond sees the Nixon Administration (“the bland leading the bland”) endeavoring to strangle the “second Reconstruction” of the 1960s. What he is looking for is an “escape from the circle of politics that always escalates to protest, culminates in rebellion, and results in repression..” The diagnosis is astute enough but the solutions suggested are partial, problematic and equivocal.

He plumps strongly for community control—including black-run rackets, prostitution and numbers if they must exist in the ghettos—and heralds the need for a nationwide organization “Negroes and Practical Politics, Inc.” (NAPPI) to channel information, political expertise and funds to prospective black candidates.

At present there are some 1800 black officials in the U.S. and Bond wants to double and triple their numbers but he shies away from any discussion of how unity is to be achieved among the highly fragmented leadership and black power ideologues from LeRoi Jones to Carl Stokes. Once or twice he raises the specter of violence and black guerrilla warfare in the cities but without any real conviction—it may be morally justified, but it won’t work. Despite the firm recognition that “representative democracy has yet to work for us,” Bond can endorse no other way: “I find it increasingly satisfying. It is a pleasure to be a politician.” In the end this is no more than a temperate and somewhat forlorn plea to “the young people” to return to the electoral mire at the grassroots level and combat the mounting apathy that threatens . . . 1972; 163 pages


Google Reviewer

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Jefferson’s Pillow

The Founding Fathers and the Dilemma of Black Patriotism

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.

*   *   *   *   *

A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story

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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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

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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update 21 July 2012




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