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Kalamu ya Salaam

Essays, Poems, & Interviews


Books by Kalamu ya Salaam


The Magic of JuJu: An Appreciation of the Black Arts Movement  /   360: A Revolution of Black Poets

Everywhere Is Someplace Else: A Literary Anthology  /  From A Bend in the River: 100 New Orleans Poets

Our Music Is No Accident   /  What Is Life: Reclaiming the Black Blues Self

My Story My Song (CD)


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Kalamu ya Salaam was born Vallery Ferdinand III on March 24, 1947 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended Carleton College (1964-1969), and Delgado Junior College from which he earned an A.A. (Associate Arts) degree in business administration. 

Mr. Salaam is a professional editor/writer, filmmaker, producer and arts administrator. 

He served as a senior partner in the New Orleans based public relations firm of Bright Moments Inc. (1984 – 1996) and is a co-founder (with Kysha Brown) of Runagate Multimedia, Inc. He is the founder and director of NOMMO Literary Society, a New Orleans-based Black writers workshop. Salaam is also the founder and moderator of e-Drum, an informational listserv for Black writers and diverse supporters of literature worldwide.   more bio / Kalamu ya Salaam Interview

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Life of Kalamu ya Salaam

By Antoine Battle

Kalamu ya Salaam is a professional editor/writer and arts administrator. He served as the editor of The Black Collegian magazine for thirteen years. Continuing his work in journalism, Mr. Salaam worked as the Arts & Entertainment Editor for The New Orleans Tribune, Modern Jazz Editor for Wavelength, The New Orleans Music Magazine and a regular contributor to The Louisiana Weekly newspaper. Mr. Salaam’s plays have been widely anthologized and a 1987/88 production of his BLK LOVE SONG #1 won a “Best of Fringe” award from the Manchester Evening news in England.

Kalamu ya Salaam is the author of several books of poetry, including The Blues Merchant (1969), Hofu Ni Kwenu/My Fear Is For You (1973), Pamoja Tutashina/Together We Will Win (1974), Ibura (1976), Revolutionary Love (1978), Iron Flowers (1979), A Nation of Poets (1989). His latest book is Speak the Truth to the People, an anthology of NOMMO Literary Society workshop writers co-edited with Kysha N. Brown. He has also done numerous pamphlets on political issues, particularly the issue of apartheid. He is the leader of the Wordband, a poetry performance ensemble. His latest CD is My Story, My Song. He is co-founder/editor of Runagate Press.

Mr. Salaam is currently the video production instructor at local public schools. He teaches the concept of NEO-Griot. NEO-Griot is writing with sound, text, and light.

Source: XULa 

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Travels_with_Charley: New Orleans: Kalamu ya Salaam

John Steinbeck’s last major book, Travels with Charley, recounts his experiences while on a road trip across America with his poodle, Charley.

Fifty years later, we follow in Steinbeck’s footsteps to see how those places have changed or stayed the same. T

his week we’re in New Orleans, where Steinbeck witnessed angry crowds protesting the desegregation of a public school.—Studio360

Audio: My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)


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music website > writing website > daily blog > twitter > facebook >

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Treme: Beyond Bourbon Street (HBO)

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Table of Contents  


Kalamu Bio / Kalamu Neo-Griot / Kalamu ya Salaam Biblio 

Kalamu ya Salaam: A Primary Bibliography

(in Progress) by  Jerry W. Ward Jr.

Poetry reading by Kalamu ya Salaam

Furious Flower 1994 Conference James Madison University

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Art for Life: My Story, My Song (Table)


           2 SISTERS


           expected you yesterday  

           no entrance  

           those good things there be that are




           And Black women!  

           NAMES, PLACES, US  

         The Blues

         HIWAY BLUES

           NTOZAKE SHANGE 



           TOP 40


           all that’s black ain’t brother

           Diapers and Dishes

           Tomorrows’ Toussaints

           Beyond The Boundaries 

           PA FERDINAND 


            haiku #7  

           THE CALL OF THE WILD 

           a moment in a mississippi juke joint

           Tasty Knees

            haiku #79 

            haiku #37  

            haiku #123 

            haiku #48     

            haiku #112

            haiku #58

           The Meaning Of Life 

           haiku #125

           Earth Day

           For my wife when I do that thing

           For my child when I do that thing

           Whi/te Boy Gone to the Moon

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Breath of Life: A Conversation about Black Music (Music Blog)

The Best of the Staple Singers, as BAM Artis

Bob Marley: The Black Survivors

The Divine Music of Alice Coltrane

From Mozart to Headhunters (Herbie Hancock)

Gil Scott-Heron & His Music

Hugh Masekela: Out of the Hell of Apartheid

James Brown — Messing with the Blues

Modern Jazz Quartet

Nina Simone: The Emotional Depths of the Spirit World

One Mississippi, Two Mississippi: John Hurt. Fred McDowell

Ornette Coleman: The Shape of Jazz to Come

Parliament Funkadelic—P-Funk

Police Brutality and Rappers

Young, Gifted, and Black (Weldon Irvine)

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What To Do With The Negroes? (Kalamu ya Salaam)


Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa But I Can


By Kalamu ya Salaam

Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa But I Can


By Kalamu ya Salaam

 Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa But I Can I-J-K-L: PANAFEST 1994 (Kalamu ya Salaam) / The Importance of an African Centered Education


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     ACTION all out to stop the war  / Peace Yes War No

      Black Arts Movement (literary history)

     Black Stacey: Saul Williams

     Clapping On Two and Four

     Do Right Women (musical history)

     Guarding the Flame of Life The Funeral of Big Chief Donald Harrison Sr.

     Is A Sonnet More Than Fourteen Lines

     The Importance of an African Centered Education

     It’s Hard

     James Baldwin: The Preacher Poet

     Let’s Have Some Fun

      Liberated Zones in Cyberspace

     On Writing Haiku

     Our Women Keep Our Skies From Falling (Book)

Preface: It Aint Easy

Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

Revolutionary Struggle/Revolutionary Love

Debunking Myths

Rape: A Radical Analysis

     Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa, But I Can — PanaFest 1994


African Criticisms of the Diaspora 

Foreign Exchange 

The Forts and Castles of Ghana   

Haile Gerima in Ghana 

Once You’ve Been There  

Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa But I Can (A-B-C-D) 

Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa  (E-F-G-H)

Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa (I-J-K-L)  

Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa  (M-N-O-P-Q-R)   

Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa (S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z)

What’s Your Name? 

The Whole of Ourselves   

       *   *   *   *   *

     That Old Black Magic (on black writing)

     Tribute to Douglass Redd: Essay and Poem 

     TWO TRAINS RUNNING BLACK POETRY 1965-2000: What Is Black Poetry (literary history)  

     W.E.B. Du Bois:More Man Than Meets the Eye

     What Is Life? (Book) What Is Life: Reclaiming the Black Blues Self


Impotence Need Not Be Permanent 

If the Hat Don’t Fit     

The Murder of Amilcar Cabral

     What Renaissance?

     What To Do With The Negroes?

     when a man loves a woman (29 April 2010)

     WORDS: A Neo-Griot Manifesto



Guarding the Flame of Life

The Funeral of Big Chief Donald Harrison Sr.

By Kalamu ya Salaam

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Men We Love, Men We HateSAC writings from Douglass, McDonogh 35, and McMain high schools in New Orleans.

An anthology on the topic of men and relationships with men

Ways of LaughingAn Anthology of Young Black VoicesPhotographed & Edited by Kalamu ya Salaam

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Interview I  (Table)

Interview II

     What Is Life    Nia

Interview III

     Digital Technology & Telling Our Story  

Interview IV

     Never Too Much The Sensitive Luther Vandross

An Interview With Luther Ronzoni Vandross, Jr.

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Kalamu ya Salaam Interview Table


     Malcolm My Son

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Black Poetry Text & Sound

Two Trains Running: Black Poetry 1965-2000

(notes towards a discussion & dialogue)

By Kalamu ya Salaam

What is poetry? That is not a rhetorical question. What it is we are discussing? I define poetry as “stylized language.” Within the context of what is generally called literature, I further specify that poetry is language stylized to have an emotional impact on its audience. Within the world of English-language poetry, the chief methods of stylization are: 1. meter and/or rhythm 2. the specific use of sound usually in terms of a. rhyme b. assonance/consonance c. alliteration d. onomatopoeia 3. figurative language, chiefly simile and metaphor.

The canonical standards for contemporary American poetry have their beginnings in England with Shakespeare and their most important developments in the modernist movement of the 1920s (T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, e.e. cummings and William Carlos Williams). The fountain heads of contemporary American poetry are considered to be Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. 

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     4 Movements / 12 Moments

     Both Water & Bridges

     Bush Mama

     Iron Flowers

     I Stare Into The Air

     The Last Redd Light!

     Lonely Woman

     MAAFA: Remembrance & Renewal

     Murder of Amilca Cabral

     New Poems (2010)

    Nia: Haiku, Sonnets, Sun Songs (Table)

     Queen Nzinga’s Army  

     You’ll Never See My Byline in the Times-Picayune


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Infamous Algiers 7 police brutality case of 1980 has parallels to today

Thirty years ago this week, a single gunshot changed New Orleans’ relationship with its police force. A young, white cop, Gregory Neupert, took a fatal bullet to the neck. In short order, four black citizens were killed in a hail of police gunfire. The chief of police was eventually forced out amid a racially tinged uproar. The mayor felt the wrath of an outraged citizenry.

The violent police response to Neupert’s killing led to the federal indictment of seven officers in one of the earliest, wide-ranging civil rights probes of the New Orleans Police Department. Three of the so-called “Algiers Seven” were eventually convicted in an exhaustive trial that relied on the testimony of a fellow cop who broke ranks. Though four citizens were dead, the conviction centered on the beating and abuse of other citizens, but not on the killings.

This week, another dark chapter in the history of the NOPD begins, one with haunting parallels to the Neupert case. Starting Monday, a new group of officers will be tried in federal court for numerous alleged civil rights violations in Algiers. Prosecutors say that in the days after Hurricane Katrina, one officer shot Henry Glover, other officers burnt his body to bits of bones and beat his companions, and others helped cover the whole matter up.—NOLA

photo above right—The six demonstrators who occupied Mayor Ernest Morial’s office for three days in June, 1981, march with fists raised as they leave New Orleans City Hall. From left are: Kalamu ya Salaam , Macio Duncan, Cynthia Riley, Daniel Johnikin and Martin Lefstein. The sixth protester is out of view inside the doorway. The signs around their necks bear the names of the people killed in the Algiers 7 shootings

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Young, Gifted, and Black

The Genius of Weldon Irvine

Music Commentary by Kalamu ya Salaam

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     All Hands on Deck (Kalamu)

     american studies association conference houston, 15 november 2002

     at Clemson

     at MIT

     Bowery Poetry Club Benefit

     evacuating new orleans  new orleans,  15 September 2004

     Generations at Thanksgiving

     gwendolyn brooks writers conference (Chicago Report, October 23-26 2002)

     Hurricane Library Relief (Kalamu)

     I Am Ashamed Of Myself

     in Dallas

     in houston

     It’s Hard: Post Katrina New Orleans (19 June 2006)

     I WANT TO BUT I DON’T (Kalamu)

     in the hot house of black poetry (Harrisonburg, VA; 22 Sept. 2004)

     kalamu in the carolinas (1 – 2 November 2002)

     Kalamu in Baltimore (Reports & Reviews; 4 November 2005)

     Kalamu Needs Work  

     kalamu on the road  9 oct 2005

     Kalamu Travel Update  

     Kalamu Update (“I’m in Nashville”) 

     kalamu visits home

     kalamu update 30 sept 2005 

     Listen to the People Update            

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Kalamu ya Salaam Reports: Post-Katrina New Orleans

     It’s Hard   I’m Crazy  Cracking Up  Stephanie   Take Deep Breaths   Spirits in the Dark


     Katrina & Kalamu   


     Listen To The People (Kalamu; 7 September 2005)

      LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE: The Neo-Griot New Orleans Project (15 September 2005)

     lorenzo thomas panel  houston, 15 november 2002

     mama what’s an afro geek?  (5 May 2004)

     mama what2s an afro geek (2)

     Neo-Griot Workshop (Kalamu)

     quick notes from the field (Kalamu)

     The Storyteller of New Orleans  by Elizabeth D.

     Tenderloin Book Fair Report  (1/30/04 — 1/31/04)

     where in the world is kalamu

     zora smiles–kalamu at zora neale hurston festival (part 2 of 2)


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Short Stories

     Kalamu’s Feminist Erotica (kalamu notes)

4 Movements / 12 Moments

Ain’t Going Back No More  (New)

And Then They Laughed

Alabama  (New)

And Then They Laughed  (New)

Buddy Bolden

Clifford Brown: You Get Used to It  (New)

Do Right Women   

Where Do Dreams Come From      

Forty-Five Is Not So Old   

I Sing Because…

Could You Wear My Eyes?  

Another Duke Ellington Story    


Raoul’s Silver Song


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Related Files

The African World

After Hours Contents

After Hours Contributors

     Simmons Review   After Hours Contributors      Introduction to After Hours

Amilcar Cabral Bio  

The Art of Tom Dent 

The Black Joan of Arc

Black Tech Review  

Feminism, Black Erotica & Revolutionary Love  Essay by Rudolph Lewis


Cabral Sketch  

Court Order Can’t Make Races Mix

Guest Poets


Literary New Orleans

Poetic Journey   

The Quotable Cabral  

Responses to Feminism, Black Erotica, & Revolutionary Love

Southern Journey

The State of Black Erotica

The Tenderloin Book Fair

Tom Dent Bio   

Tom Dent Speaks

Zora Neale Hurston Chronology   

zora smiles 

zora smiles 2 

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02_My_Story,_My_Song.mp3 (24503 KB)

(Kalamu reading “My Story, My Song”

Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

Track List 1.  Congo Square (9:01) 2.  My Story, My Song (20:50) 3.  Danny Banjo (4:32) 4.  Miles Davis (10:26) 5.  Hard News For Hip Harry (5:03) 6.  Unfinished Blues (4:13) 7.  Rainbows Come After The Rain (2:21)/Negroidal Noise (15:53) 8.  Intro (3:59) 9.  The Whole History (3:14) 10.  Negroidal Noise (5:39) 11.  Waving At Ra (1:40) 12.  Landing (1:21) 13.  Good Luck (:04)


*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



#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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Ancient, Ancient: Short Fiction

By Kiini Ibura Salaam

Ancient, Ancient collects the short fiction by Kiini Ibura Salaam, of which acclaimed author and critic Nalo Hopkinson writes, ”Salaam treats words like the seductive weapons they are. She wields them to weave fierce, gorgeous stories that stroke your sensibilities, challenge your preconceptions, and leave you breathless with their beauty.” Indeed, Ms. Salaam’s stories are so permeated with sensuality that in her introduction to

Ancient, Ancient

, Nisi Shawl, author of the award-winning Filter House, writes, ”Sexuality-cum-sensuality is the experiential link between mind and matter, the vivid and eternal refutation of the alleged dichotomy between them. This understanding is the foundation of my 2004 pronouncement on the burgeoning sexuality implicit in sf’s Afro-diasporization. It is the core of many African-based philosophies. And it is the throbbing, glistening heart of Kiini’s body of work. This book is alive. Be not afraid.”

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The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story

of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government

By Eric Liu and Nick Hanaper

American democracy is informed by the 18th century’s most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. We’ve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economics—the cutting-edge ideas of today—generate these simple but revolutionary ideas: The economy is not an efficient machine.

It’s an effective garden that need tending. Freedom is responsibility. Government should be about the big what and the little how. True self interest is mutual interest. We’re all better off when we’re all better off. The model of citizenship depends on contagious behavior, hence positive behavior begets positive behavior.

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Debt: The First 5,000 Years

By David Graeber

Before there was money, there was debt. Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systems—to relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? There’s not a shred of evidence to support it. Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods—that is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors.  Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections.

He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words like “guilt,” “sin,” and “redemption”) derive in large part from ancient debates about debt, and shape even our most basic ideas of right and wrong.  

We are still fighting these battles today without knowing it. Debt: The First 5,000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known history—as well as how it has defined human history, and what it means for the credit crisis of the present day and the future of our economy.  

Economist Glenn Loury

  /Criminalizing a Race

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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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Predator Nation

Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America

By Charles H. Ferguson

If you’re smart and a hard worker, but your parents aren’t rich, you’re now better off being born in Munich, Germany or in Singapore than in Cleveland, Ohio or New York. This radical shift did not happen by accident.  Ferguson shows how, since the Reagan administration in the 1980s, both major political parties have become captives of the moneyed elite.  It was the Clinton administration that dismantled the regulatory controls that protected the average citizen from avaricious financiers.  It was the Bush team that destroyed the federal revenue base with its grotesquely skewed tax cuts for the rich. And it is the Obama White House that has allowed financial criminals to continue to operate unchecked, even after supposed “reforms” installed after the collapse of 2008. Predator Nation reveals how once-revered figures like Alan Greenspan and Larry Summers became mere courtiers to the elite.

Based on many newly released court filings, it details the extent of the crimes—there is no other word—committed in the frenzied chase for wealth that caused the financial crisis.  And, finally, it lays out a plan of action for how we might take back our country and the American dream.—Read Chapter 1

*   *   *   *   *

Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake.

She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—


*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

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

Browse all issues

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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

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 9 July 2012