ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
A lot of other musician friends were there. The music was great, driven by feeling
and played by some of the best in the business. One of my mentors, Alvin Batiste,
was there in the middle of it all, Wes, Herman Jackson, Wynton Marsalis,
Irving Mayfield, Harry Anderson, to name a few, let off a lot of steam that evening.
Katrina . . . somethin’ ’bout a storm
By Chuck Siler
30 years ago, a friend showed me a painting that his father had done. The work was scary. He explained that his father (a talented painter) was living in this house in the Bay Area that housed a strange evil presence which bothered him to no end. The story goes that during an extremely emotional time, his father had done the painting and the presence disappeared but he could feel it emanating from the canvas. He lived comfortably in the house for years afterward without the presence.
His son had gained the painting and had it hanging in the living room of his apartment. Knowing that I was an artist, he wanted my opinion. His father had caught something and the energy that emanated from that canvas was palpable.
I never imagined it would happen to me.
I did a series of artworks after Katrina, all of which were full of angst. I returned to New Orleans in October of 2005 see what was left of our house. My part of town looked like Dresden or Hiroshima after the bombing. I had to take a variety of shots before being permitted to enter the city and visit the devastation.
That first visit contributed a lot to what would happen later but, I was prepared for that October visit because of an earlier occurrence.
For a week or so following the storm, I couldnt draw. Then I went to Baton Rouge to get close to the action and find out what I could.
Ironically, September 11th, 2005 opened a door for me emotionally.
I was driving on Government Street and listening to WRBH radio. Kidd Jordan, Alvin Batiste and Deacon John at WRBH Radio where they were on air with another friend, Zia Tamami, talking aboutwhat else (?)New Orleans. I decided to stop by the studio to say hello.
I was told to stop by the home of Wes Anderson, a musician friend who was having a party for his friends who had evacuated New Orleans, many of whom had stopped in Baton Rouge. A lot of other musician friends were there. The music was great, driven by feeling and played by some of the best in the business. One of my mentors, Alvin Batiste, was there in the middle of it all, Wes, Herman Jackson, Wynton Marsalis, Irving Mayfield, Harry Anderson, to name a few, let off a lot of steam that evening.
I had a chance to talk to Kidd Jordan, who always has a calming effect on those around him and this was one of those evenings when it was good to experience his presence.
Wes and Desi had a warm home and folk spilled into the back yard. The talk was about the storm and the flood and there were lots of hugs and good to see yous being passed around.
Mr. Bat led Do You Know What It Means (To Miss New Orleans)” and every player put his body and soul into the tune. I looked around the room and the humidity was high around every eye. A few were raining.
Synaesthesia describes a response in one mode to a stimulus from another. In this case the music stimulated a drawing response and I was up all night after returning to my mothers house and a few works, Exodus and Scream were among the works born that morning.
I hadnt picked up a pen from the time we had arrived in Carrollton, Texas, after a fourteen-hour drive, expecting a short visit and a return home in a few days to get on with our lives. We had arrived at my brothers home at about 4a.m. Monday morning as Katrina was coming ashore.
On Wednesday morning I went to pick up a paper, and folk at the supermarket could see the shock on my face as I walked back to the car. My house had made the front page of the Dallas Morning Window with water two-thirds the way up to its eves. I counted houses from the nearby canal to be certain and my sons basketball goal sticking up out of the water verified that it was, indeed, our house.
Other works happened and life became strange though we managed to find something that approached normalcy after a lot of emotion had flowed under the bridge. The rebuilding process, even away from New Orleans, is still going on.
Nearly three years passed before Katrina, the picture, happened. It came as the result of a burst of emotion after work on another piece related to the hurricane as I was preparing for an exhibit. When I looked at it, I scared myself. I saw a captive evil. Perhaps just a piece of the force that had worked to disrupt and take so many lives. Close friends had been transitioning to the ancestral village in numbers greater than I had experienced before.
I put it away and resisted the urge to burn it or rip it apart.
As the fifth anniversary of the storm approached, I realized that maybe I had managed to take a bit of evil out of its dimension and made it captive to be seen in ours.
Maybe capturing the evil will serve to protect that Crescent City that I care for but can no longer live in. Maybe it is just superstition. From a known cynic, that could be saying a lot.
Im willing to hope for the best and wish the best to all of those who survived and are moving forward.
I cant say, as some have, that I hate Texas. I hate what happened to Louisiana and hope that those who made things worse get their just desserts.
From Carrollton, in uptown New Orleans, to Carrollton in upstate Texas.
Its been a long strange trip.
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A thousand voices / agonizing in deep / water with no / relief in sight — “Exodus” Artwork by Charles Siler, N’awlins Survivor
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Bob Marley was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician. He was the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for the ska, rocksteady and reggae bands The Wailers (19641974) and Bob Marley & the Wailers (19741981). Marley remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music, and is credited for helping spread both Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement (of which he was a committed member), to a worldwide audience.
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By Bob Marley Exodus! Movement of Jah people! oh-oh-oh, yea-eah! Well uh, oh. let me tell you this:
Men and people will fight ya down (tell me why!) When ya see Jah light. (ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!) Let me tell you if you’re not wrong; (then, why? ) Everything is all right. So we gonna walkAll right!through de roads of creation: We the generation (tell me why!) Trod through great tribulationtrod through great tribulation. Exodus! All right! Movement of Jah people! Oh, yeah! o-oo, yeah! All right! Exodus! Movement of Jah people! oh, yeah! Yeah-yeah-yeah, well! Open your eyes and look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living? uh! We know where we’re going, uh! We know where we’re from. We’re leaving Babylon, We’re going to our father’s land.
One, Two, Three, Four Exodus! Movement of Jah people! oh, yeah! Movement of Jah people!send us another Brother Moses! Movement of Jah people!from across the Red Sea! Movement of Jah people!send us another Brother Moses! Movement of Jah people!from across the Red Sea! Movement of Jah people! Exodus! All right! oo-oo-ooh! oo-ooh! Movement of Jah people! oh, yeah! Exodus! Exodus! All right! Exodus! now, now, now, now! Exodus! Exodus! oh, yea-ea-ea-ea-ea-ea-eah! Exodus! Exodus! All right! Exodus! uh-uh-uh-uh!
One, Two, Three, Four Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Open your eyes and look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living? We know where we’re going; We know where we’re from. We’re leaving Babylon, yall! We’re going to our father’s land. Exodus! All right! Movement of Jah people! Exodus! Movement of Jah people! Movement of Jah people! Movement of Jah people! Movement of Jah people! Movement of Jah people!
Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Jah come to break downpression, Rule equality. Wipe away transgression. Set the captives free! Exodus! All right, all right! Movement of Jah people! oh, yeah! Exodus! Movement of Jah people! oh, now, now, now, now! Movement of Jah people! Movement of Jah people! Movement of Jah people! Movement of Jah people! Movement of Jah people! Movement of Jah people! Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! uh-uh-uh-uh! Movement of Jah people! Move! Movement of Jah people! Move! Movement of Jah people)! Move! Movement of Jah people! Movement of Jah people! Movement of Jah people)! Movement of Jah people)! Movement of Jah people! Movement of Jah people! Movement of Jah people!
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“New Orleans: Second Line — Walking in Water” Artwork by Charles Siler, N’awlins Survivor
posted 24 August 2010
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#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
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By James Carville and Stan Greenberg
Its the Middle Class, Stupid! confirms what we have all suspected: Washington and Wall Street have really screwed things up for the average American. Work has been devalued. Education costs are out of sight. Effort and ambition have never been so scantily rewarded. Political guru James Carville and pollster extraordinaire Stan Greenberg argue that our political parties must admit their failures and the electorate must reclaim its voice, because taking on the wealthy and the privileged is not class warfareit is a matter of survival. Told in the alternating voices of these two top political strategists, Its the Middle Class, Stupid! provides eye-opening and provocative arguments on where our governmentincluding the White Househas gone wrong, and what voters can do about it.
Controversial and outspoken, authoritative and shrewd, Its the Middle Class, Stupid! is destined to make waves during the 2012 presidential campaign, and will set the agenda for legislative battles and political dust-ups during the next administration.
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Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis
Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America.
This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as “the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field ‘cut their teeth’.”
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By Isabel Wilkerson
Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper’s wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man’s turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners’ plans to give him a “necktie party” (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by “the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn’t operate in his own home town.” Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Wilkerson’s magnificent, extensively researched study of the “great migration,” the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an “uncertain existence” in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind.
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Edited by Maurice O. Wallace and Shawn Michelle Smith
Pictures and Progress explores how, during the nineteenth century and the early twentieth, prominent African American intellectuals and activists understood photography’s power to shape perceptions about race and employed the new medium in their quest for social and political justice. They sought both to counter widely circulating racist imagery and to use self-representation as a means of empowerment. In this collection of essays, scholars from various disciplines consider figures including Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and W. E. B. Du Bois as important and innovative theorists and practitioners of photography. In addition, brief interpretive essays, or “snapshots,” highlight and analyze the work of four early African American photographers. Featuring more than seventy images, Pictures and Progress brings to light the wide-ranging practices of early African American photography, as well as the effects of photography on racialized thinking.
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The Katrina Papers provides space not only for the traumatic events but also for ruminations on authors such as Richard Wright and theorists like Deleuze and Guattarri. The result is a complex though thoroughly accessible book. The struggle with formthe search for a medium proper to the complex social, personal, and political ramifications of an event unprecedented in this scholar’s life and in American social historylies at the very heart of The Katrina Papers . It depicts an enigmatic and multi-stranded world view which takes the local as its nexus for understanding the global. It resists the temptation to simplify or clarify when simplification and clarification are not possible. Ward’s narrative is, at times, very direct, but he always refuses to simplify the complex emotional and spiritual volatility of the process and the historical moment that he is witnessing. The end result is an honesty that is both pedagogical and inspiring.Hank Lazer
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By Marcus Rediker
In this groundbreaking work, historian and scholar Rediker considers the relationships between the slave ship captain and his crew, between the sailors and the slaves, and among the captives themselves as they endured the violent, terror-filled and often deadly journey between the coasts of Africa and America. While he makes fresh use of those who left their mark in written records (Olaudah Equiano, James Field Stanfield, John Newton), Rediker is remarkably attentive to the experiences of the enslaved women, from whom we have no written accounts, and of the common seaman, who he says was a victim of the slave trade . . . and a victimizer. Regarding these vessels as a strange and potent combination of war machine, mobile prison, and factory, Rediker expands the scholarship on how the ships not only delivered millions of people to slavery, [but] prepared them for it.
He engages readers in maritime detail (how ships were made, how crews were fed) and renders the archival (letters, logs and legal hearings) accessible. Painful as this powerful book often is, Rediker does not lose sight of the humanity of even the most egregious participants, from African traders to English merchants. Publishers Weekly
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 12 July 2012