ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



 The government presently wants us to believe that rock-n-roll groups, and

young revolutionaries put forth a threat to life and society in America, but

a four year old child could see the absurdity of that kind of rhetoric.



Writings by Julian Bond

Mose T’s Slapout Family Album / Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table / Black Candidates: Southern Campaign Experiences

A Time to Speak, A Time to Act / Eyes on the Prize /  Letters from Mississippi  /  Standing Fats: The Autobiography of Roy Wilkens

Freedomways Reader  / African American Quotations Free at Last Till Freedom Is Won  / Lift Every Voice and Sing

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What’s Next

By Julian Bond


I want to talk about a couple of things. One is very vague and in broad terms is the kind of lives and conflict a rather large number of people in this country have shared, some a great deal and in much more intensity than others. And I would like to suppose that most of the literate and the educated people in this country by now recognize the situation in which Black people find ourselves.

The urgent question for us is not what is wrong but rather what’s to be done about it? The problem which we face of course has been studied, surveyed and commissioned a great deal; but the groups undertaking these studies are made up of last year’s problem solvers who are still recommending the last decades’ solutions to the problems that have been with us since the first Black people arrived on these shores shortly before the Mayflower arrived. presidents have tried “New Frontiers,” Great Societies,” and now the “New federalism”; the officials of the present administration in Washington tell us that benign neglect is the best approach. In other words the assertion is put forth that we can make progress if we do nothing, and this administration is trying to improve on that rationale by doing even less than that.

Nothing, in this particular instance, means a refusal to find new programs for the poor. President Nixon has castrated the old program and has reduced the little kindling one they have.

Nothing, in this instance, means a failure to take steps to protect Black people from police brutality and the police state tactics employed by the policemen, to make legal the standard practice of “no-knock” and preventive detention that have been the staples of repressive law enforcement since the beginning of the forked tongue.

President Nixon has increased and made legal this kind of brutality.

Nothing means no increase in federal efforts to protect any rights. President Nixon attempted to destroy the 1965 voting rights act, and Congress acting in concert with him has penalized foundations that help . . . voter registration.

Nothing means the failure to push for the desegregation of southern school systems. President Nixon’s department of injustice fights court battles for Southern Racists, and for the first time presenting the rather sorry spectacle of the Attorney General for the United States and the Attorney General of Mississippi for the State of Mississippi arguing in Court about the same side of the question.

President Nixon has urged the studies for law and enforcement while he encourages Vice-President Agnew to shout further autocratic and pseudo pornographic political obscenities in our ears. This administration wants law and order in the Black community, but encourages and allows J. Edgar Hoover the use of illegal wiretapping against us.

We are witnessing the beginning of a Totalitarian state, not just fir Black people, but for all the people living in this country. As in George Orwell’s prophetic 1984, the first steps are being taken by the destruction of privacy and the subversion of the English language. As in 1984, large segments of the population are becoming so accustomed to oppression that they are no longer shocked by the assassination and imprisonment of dissidents. These are becoming an everyday routine in American life which are tolerated if not actually approved by the silent majority.

Double think, the sophisticated process of confusing words until they begin to mean their opposites, seemed fanciful when George Orwell first wrote his classic. the present administration is turning this fancy into an everyday reality. Words have lost their real meaning and instead mean directly the opposite of what all of us once thought they meant.

Freedom, for example, now means killing Vietnamese in order to make them free; destroying villages for freedom. It means armed fascist dictatorship in Greece and in Cambodia to keep the Greeks and the Cambodian people free. It also means exploiting the resources and people of whole continents in the name of free trade.

Peace means vast preparations for nuclear war, the expansion of the Vietnam war to all of Southeast Asia, the stifling of non-violent protest, and winning wars that were lost even before they were begun.

Benign has come to be an adjective describing the deliberate policy of indifference and neglect. Together now means where we bring people when we call some of them bums and effete snobs.

Protecting free enterprise means spending billions of dollars in subsidies in a novel form: millionaire welfare recipients, for government contractors, monopolistic corporations, and farmers who don’t farm. It means, in short, Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.

The political language in twentieth century American society is becoming so polluted with economical double think and hypocrisy that sensible discussion of the issues grows steadily more difficult. There is a great deal of violence in the air. Both the kind of violence supported by antic radicals as well as the kind of mass violence done to the spirit that seemed to flourish so much in America today. Now we know full well that violence does not limit itself to the bomb at night, or the brick through the window, or the mugger’s knife; and we ought to know that the crime and criminality are not limited to the crimes of passion that flourish in some Black communities; but rather, violence and criminal elements are running rampant in America life.

It is violent and criminal, we propose, to have Black children go to school for 12 years, and emerge with only six years of education.

It is violent and criminal, we propose, to have Black young men represent disproportionate share of casualties and inductees in Vietnam; making us first in war, last in peace, and seldom in the hearts of our countrymen.

It is violent and criminal, we propose, to call welfare recipients lazy and shiftless, while six-thousand white American farmers are receiving $25,000 a year each to do nothing.

It is violent and criminal, we propose, for a merchant in the Ghetto to charge 150% for a television set or a refrigerator and then wonder why his store is the first to be destroyed when the holocaust comes.

It is violent and criminal, we propose, for some of America’s young people, the generation we were told was different from all the rest, it is violent and criminal for them to show more interest in music and drugs, the romantic rhetoric of revolution, the ennobling sacrifices of self enforced poverty, than in the very real problems of human existence that have been taken far too vainly in this country today.

It is violent and criminal, we propose, to promote self-help and the virtues of the “free-enterprise” system for a group of people living in an economy where property has always been more important than people. It is violent to live in a land where the general public spends more money on the faculty board itself, than all governments, municipal, county, state, and national do on education; and where annually more money is spent on primarily pet foods than government spends on food stamps for the poor.

It is racist, we propose, to suggest that Christopher Columbus discovered a country that was steady here and inhabited by a thriving and civilized population.

It is racist, we propose, to have imported a group of already religious people and then to have imposed a strange and alien religion upon them. It is racist generally for one set of people to try to impose their cultural values on another.

Until we hear that the Black people are claiming superiority of James Brown over Beethoven, of the Pyramids of Egypt over the Empire State Building, of Swahili over French and German and Latin, of Langston Hughes and Imamu Baraka over Keats and Shelly and Shakespeare, of Jack Johnson, Muhammad Ali, and Jackie Robinson over Gene Tunney, Jerry Quarry, Rocky Marchiano, of Elijah Muhammad over the Pope, then don’t accuse us of racism.

Who then promotes racism on the international level? Who insists on defining politics and racial terms like this: the yellow horde. This nation has an all white cabinet, all of its African ambassadors but one are white. All of its top military leaders are white; all of the directors of all the major corporations are white. All of the trustees of most of its major colleges and universities are white. Ninety-nine out of 100 of its Senators, all of its 50 Governor, and all but 13 of the 435 of its House of Representatives are white. Is that kind of racial, economic, political and educational power structure designed to avoid racial schism, or is it aimed at perpetuating white supremacy and non-white subordination? Who created that power structure? Eldridge Cleaver and Bobby Seale? Stokeley Carmichael and Rap Brown? Cesar Chavez and Corky Gonzalez? Or maybe it was Sitting Bull and Geronimo?

The government presently wants us to believe that rock-n-roll groups, and young revolutionaries put forth a threat to life and society in America, but a four year old child could see the absurdity of that kind of rhetoric. Who created and multiplied the nuclear and thermal nuclear weapons that have been hanging like the sword of Damocles over every living creature on the planet? Who produces the technology of wastes that pours mercury into our rivers, DDT in our food, and metacompounds in our air/

The technocratic oligarchy that has done these things were doing them when the Weathermen, the Young Lords, and the Panthers were still in their cradles, and no one had yet heard of chuck Berry or Elvis Presley, much less Janice Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

As we enter into the seventies, the rhetoric of the last 20 years of struggle has got to be transformed into some new and much more intense actions. We can’t afford twenty more years of preaching that the hour is late; the hour is now. We can’t afford the luxury of roaring ‘this is the eleventh hour’; it has been midnight since long before President Nixon rose from the dead.

There are all sorts of excuses for their actions. people have stopped being the accomplices and have become the badges of poets.

Young men and women are desperately needed for the struggles in welfare offices, labor offices, political wards and precincts in poverty ridden communities, in the courtrooms and in the streets. they are not needed for some gigantic confrontation of a visionary future; they’re needed now, today, where the people are and not where we would like them to be. No one needs to ask ‘what can I do?’ All of us must keep the battle heard to keep some good men in office and put some others there.

If someone happens to tell you that it makes no difference, or that politics is a bourgeois trip, or that the election of conservatives is always hampered with contradictions, it’s obviously not your contradiction that’s being hampered. People are already choosing sides to see who gets to challenge President Nixon in 1972. Only an organized constituency to the Senate can make that challenge a reality.

We can’t afford the kind of an action which justifies its existence because the inactivists are ‘getting ourselves together’. We can’t afford the luxury of deciding that this or that method of achieving social change is either too conservative or too militant.

We can’t afford to have anyone suggest that politics, or street demonstrations, or group economics (active membership), or any single method is the only method we can use to secure our demands. We cannot afford to mouth the amiable rhetoric of Malcolm X without also adapting his amiable self discipline. We cannot afford to emulate the activity of some radical groups that began Black but are swiftly moving from the gray to the gay, nor other groups whose analysis is the only one, where only true believers can participate in what they think surely must be an all people’s massive movement.

Perhaps we might be assured by the thought that the struggle for racial justice, economic equality in America, is racial in root, while its effects upon us are largely economic and psychological, but that they all have an ecological base. The base is anti-ecological in the sense that it rejects the proposition that picking up beer cans on the highway will ever be suitable alternative activity for people who want to bring polluters of our air, water, and land to public justice in concert with the criminal polluters of our lives.

But the base of the problem is surely ecological in the very real sense that the same people who manufacture the automobile that are no good after they are eighteen months old are the same men who refuse to use their expertise and skill and capital to manufacture full employment for men. the base of the problem is ecological only in a sense once stated by the editor of the Saturday Review, who said

With all of his gifts man has been able to implant vast change, making his life different from that of those who have lived before. His sense of creative splendor, his capacity for invention have constructed great civilizations; but he has never been in command of his own work, has never been in balance. The result is that today, for all of his brilliance, he has thrown himself all the way back to his primitive condition, in which his dominant problem on earth was coping with his environment.

To us this must suggest here a comedy in ourselves because of the circumstances in which we find ourselves for condemning them or possibly breaking them to suit our needs rather than crushing us to suit the needs and entertainment of other people.

It requires the realization finally that there is not now and never has been and never will be any real black problem in America. But that there has been internationally the kinds of problems spelled out by the late great W. E. B. Du Bois. He said:

The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line; relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia, in Africa, in America, and in the Islands of the sea. But today (HE SAID) I see more clearly than yesterday, that in back of the problem of race and color lies a greater problem, which both obscures and implements it. And that is that so many civilized persons are willing to live in comfort, even if the price of this is poverty, ignorance, and disease for the majority of their fellow men. That to maintain this privilege men have waged war, until today war tends to become universal and continuous; and the excuse for this war largely contends to be color and race. This problem, then, is at the root of every single other one; until it is solved, we will all have to suffer together.

Source: Listening: Current Studies in Dialog (Winter 1971), pp. 18-24.

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Born in Nashville, Tennessee (January 1940), Julian Bond

was a cofounder of the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights (COHAR), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), 1960;

 communications director of SNNC, 1961-66;

member of Georgia House of Representatives, 1966-75;

president of Atlanta branch of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), 1974-89; member of Georgia Senate, 1975-87;

host of television program America’s Black Forum; narrator of PBS television special Eyes on the Prize; visiting professor at Drexel University, 1988-89, Harvard University, 1989, and American University, 1991; NAACP, board of directors, chair, 1998-; lecturer; writer.


Bond is currently a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American University in Washington, D.C., and a faculty member in the history department at the University of Virginia.

Julian Bond: Master needler—16 July 2001—DeWayne Wickham


Poems by Julian Bond


Look at That Girl Shake That Thing,

Look at that girl shake that thing, We can’t all be Martin Luther King.

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I Too, Hear America Singing

I too, hear America singing      But from where I stand I can only hear Little Richard      And Fats Domino. But sometimes I hear Ray Charles      Drowning in his own tears      or Bird Relaxing at Camarillo      Or Horace Silver doodling, Then I don’t mind standing      a little longer.

[The above poems] “was written sometime in the very early ’60s—or perhaps even ’58 or ’59, — when I was a Morehouse College student. From time to time, usually through the auspices of some religiously oriented campus group, we’d be invited to meet with our white counterparts at Emory or Agnes Scott. We’d wear our Sunday best and sip tea and eat cookies. Typically a well-meaning white student would say as we were parting — ‘If only they were all like you.’ That prompted the poem.”—Julian Bond

[As published in the first issue of The Student Voice—SNCC’s newsletter, summer, 1960.]

Source: crmvet

A collection of Bond’s essays has been published under the title A Time To Speak, A Time To Act. He is the author of Black Candidates—Southern Campaign Experiences. His poems and articles have appeared in The Nation, Negro Digest, Motive, Rights & Reviews, Life, Playboy, Freedomways, Exposure, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Ramparts, Beyond the Blues, New Negro Poets, American Negro Poetry, The Book of Negro Humor, the Los Angeles Times, the Hartford Courant, the Atlanta Constitution, and Southern Changes. With Andrew J. Lewis, he is editor of Gonna Sit At The Welcome Table, and with Sondra K. Wilson, co-editor of Lift Every Voice and Sing


Gonna Sit At The Welcome Table

delves into each event that shaped the African American Civil Rights movement into a monumental part of America’s past. The inclusion of comics, articles, photographs and various charts and graphs assists the reader in comprehending every step of this long struggle. This chronological journey through events involving such people as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X brings readers directly into one of the most intriguing periods in our history.


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From Racial Consciousness to Political Activism

As a student at Morehouse, Bond’s lack of academic verve changed little, but according to Williams, qualities that would prove crucial in his future work became apparent, including “his gift for expression, his physical bearing and presence, [and] his determination to be his own man.” Bond’s eloquence was evident in the poetry he began to write. Published in six anthologies while he was still a student, Bond’s poems show that although he had yet to become a political activist, he was increasingly conscious of racial inequality. To move from consciousness to activism, however, Bond needed a bit of a push.

The incentive to protest came in February of 1960 in the form of Lonnie King, a Morehouse student who confronted Bond at a local drugstore with a copy of the Atlanta Daily World. The paper contained an article about college students in Greensboro, North Carolina, staging a sit-in at a local white-only lunch counter. In Neary’s account of the story King asked Bond, “Don’t you think that’s great? Don’t you think something like that ought to happen here?” When Bond replied “I’m sure it will,” King countered with “Don’t you think that we ought to make it happen.” Bond’s response was “Why me?” but he nevertheless took one side of the drugstore and began convincing students to attend a meeting that afternoon during which the Atlanta Committee on Appeal for Human Rights (COHAR) was born.

COHAR’s first order of business was staging sit-ins at white-only public eating establishments. On March 15, 1960, Bond led a group of students to the Atlanta City Hall cafeteria, and it was the first and last time that he was arrested. It was also one of the few times that Bond took physical action in the civil rights movement. According to Williams, “He had no stomach for bravado. But he was a leader of the student group, and leadership at that juncture meant physical action, so Bond went through with it. Perhaps he proved something to himself. If so, he proved it so well that he has not felt compelled to prove it again—not in so direct a fashion, at any rate.” Shortly after this incident, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) invited Bond and other student leaders from black colleges to Shaw University in North Carolina to work together on civil rights. It was here that these students formed the SNCC, with James Forman as the director.—


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NAACP Boos Mitt Romney For Saying He’d Repeal Obamacare—Grace Wyler—11 July 2012—Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney got loud and sustained boos from the audience at the NAACP conference this morning over his suggestion that he would repeal “Obamacare,” President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.  Here’s where Romney drew boos:

“I will reduce government spending,” Romney said. “Our high level of debt slows GDP growth and that means fewer jobs. If our goal is jobs, we must, must stop spending over a trillion dollars more than we earn. To do this, I will eliminate expensive non-essential programs like Obamacare, and I will work to reform and save Medicare and Social Security, in part by means-testing their benefits.”—businessinsider

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Lift Every Voice and Sing

                      Lyrics by James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) Lift every voice and sing Till earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; Let our rejoicing rise High as the listening skies, Let it resound loud as the listening skies, Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us, Sing a song full of hope that the present has brought us, Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, Let us march on till victory is won. Stony the road we trod, Bitter the chastening rod, Felt in the days when hope unborn had died, Yet with a steady beat, Have not our weary feet Come to the place for which our fathers sighed? We have come over a way that with tears has been watered We have come treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered. Out from the gloomy past, Till now we stand at last Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast. God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way; Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light. Keep us forever in the path, we pray. Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee, Lest, our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee Shadowed beneath Thy hand, May we forever stand, True to our God True to our native land.                          Music by John Rosamond Johnson (1873–1954)

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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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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits.

Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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Lift Every Voice and Sing

A Celebration of the Negro National Anthem; 100 Years, 100 Voices

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 community—taught 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.”

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The Shadows of Youth

The Remarkable Journey of the Civil Rights Generation

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

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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 /

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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update 21 July 2012




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