ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



 “In most cases, I’ve chosen projects that have to do with

an individual who has faced seemingly insuperable obstacles

to deal with an extraordinary challenge,” Mr. Johnson once said.



 Blacks in Film

In Class with Hancock  / Don Cheadle  /

Hustle and Flow

/ Tupac / Douglass

Cotton Comes to Harlem / The Spook Who Sat by the Door / Putney Swope / Education of Sonny Carson


Lumumba / Sometime in April / The Agronomist  /  Black Orpheus / The Sidney Poitier DVD Collection

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Lamont Johnson, Emmy-Winning Director, Dies at 88

By Dennis Hevesi


Lamont Johnson, an Emmy-winning television director known for bringing an understated touch to delicate subjects, died on Sunday at his home in Monterey, Calif. He was 88. The cause was heart failure, his son, Chris, said. Mr. Johnson, the director of more than 150 television shows, miniseries and movies of the week, received 11 Emmy nominations during his 45-year directing career.

He won critical acclaim for “My Sweet Charlie” (1970), a look at tensions in interracial relationships; “That Certain Summer” (1972), one of television’s first attempts to explore homosexuality; and Crisis at Central High (1981), about the civil rights movement. His 1975 television movie, Fear on Trial, examined the blacklisting of the 1950s, a subject with which Mr. Johnson identified, having once found himself on such a list. One of Mr. Johnson’s specialties was epic accounts of historical figures.

 In 1986 he won a directing Emmy for Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story (1985), a miniseries about Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of approximately 100,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. Three years later he won another Emmy for Gore Vidal’s Lincoln, starring Sam Waterston, which examined the Civil War through Abraham Lincoln’s eyes as he contended with generals who balked at going into battle and politicians who undermined him. “In most cases, I’ve chosen projects that have to do with an individual who has faced seemingly insuperable obstacles to deal with an extraordinary challenge,” Mr. Johnson once said.

Source: NYTimes

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My Sweet Charlie

Movie on DVD Directed by Lamont Johnson

Having tried and failed to produce the David Westheimer novel and play My Sweet Charlie as a theatrical film, Richard Levinson and William Link had to be content with making the property as a TV movie-which turned out to be one of the very best of its kind. Al Freeman, Jr. plays Charlie, a black New York lawyer falsely accused of a crime in a rural Texas town. Escaping from his tormentors, Charlie takes refuge in a boarded-up farmhouse. Here he meets another fugitive: unmarried, pregnant Marlene Chambers (Patty Duke). Hostile towards each other at first, Charlie and Marlene become friends. The story’s tragic ending nonetheless holds a glimmer of hope. Emmy Awards went to star Patty Duke (the first ever given to a TV-movie actress) and to the script by Levinson and Link. First telecast January 20, 1970, My Sweet Charlie  was later given a brief  theatrical release.—Ecrater

Set during the Civil Rights Movement, Charlie Roberts is a militant African American attorney from New York City falsely accused of murder during a demonstration in rural Texas.

Escaping from his captors, Charlie breaks into a vacant coastal vacation home, where he encounters white Marlene Chambers, an uneducated, prejudiced, unwed pregnant teenager who has been shunned by her father and boyfriend due to her pregnancy, and who sought refuge in the vacant home a few weeks before Charlie arrives.

Realizing their survival depends upon their willingness to help each other, their relationship, at first defined by mutual contempt, prejudice, and hostility, slowly evolves into a touching friendship. In 1966, Westheimer adapted his novel for a play that opened at Broadway‘s Longacre Theatre with Bonnie Bedelia and Louis Gossett in the leading roles. It ran for 12 previews and 31 performances.

The television production was filmed on location in Port Bolivar, Texas in 1968 and was plagued by almost as many racial tensions as those depicted in the film. According to Patty Duke in her autobiography, her friendship with Freeman led to rumors of an affair. Marijuana was planted in Duke’s Galveston hotel room by locals, though it was quickly determined not to belong to Duke. Texas governor, John Connally, intervened with local authorities to stop harassment of the production company and Duke.—Wikipedia

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That Certain Summer

Directed by Lamont Johnson

That Certain Summer is a 1972 American television movie directed by Lamont Johnson. The teleplay by Richard Levinson and William Link was the first to deal sympathetically with homosexuality. Produced by Universal Television, it was broadcast as an ABC Movie of the Week on November 1, 1972. A novelization of the film written by Burton Wohl was published by Bantam Books.

Divorced San Francisco contractor Doug Salter is looking forward to a summer visit from his fourteen-year-old son Nick, who lives in Los Angeles with his mother Janet. What the boy doesn’t know is that his father is gay and committed to Gary McClain, his life partner of several years, who opts to move out temporarily in order to keep Nick’s possible suspicions at bay.

When he finds evidence of his father’s secret life, the teen—filled with shame and disgust—runs away. Once reunited with his son, Doug attempts to explain his sexual orientation to him, with decidedly mixed results.—Wikipedia

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Crisis at Central High

Directed by Lamont Johnson

This is an awesome movie that accurately describes the struggles of the black students that integrated the all white Central High School in Arkansas. It details what they went through every day, not only in school but out of school. this is a movie about courageous kids that fought for an equal education. This is a film for the whole family, for the history lover, or for anyone that wants to see a good movie. I highly recommend this movie!—amazon customer

This is a wonderful film that was based on the real life journal teacher Elizabeth Huckaby kept during the 1957 integration that took place at a Little Rock high school. This is an intense and gripping drama that stars the talented Joanne Woodward along with Charles Durning, Henderson Forsythe and William Russ. Be sure to see this film!—amazon customer

I saw this movie some years ago and found it so gripping that I wanted to own a copy. At last I found it here (after 7 years of looking) and am elated. It is a well done and very personal movie done from the point of view of “Mrs Huckaby” the lead character. Watch it, buy it, it’s worth it!—G.W. Jackson 

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Crisis at Central High was a 1981 made-for-television movie about the Little Rock Integration Crisis of 1957, based on a draft of the memoir by the same name by former assistant principal Elizabeth Huckaby.

William Link and Richard Levinson wrote the screenplay and were executive producers together with David Susskind of Time-Life Productions. The film starred Joanne Woodward as Huckaby and told the events from that character’s point of view, although one obituary at the time of Huckaby’s death cited her as saying the TV-movie enlarged her role. Woodward was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Special and a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV, in 1981 and 1982 respectively.

Reviewer John O’Connor of The New York Times observed, “In the end, of course, the real heroes of this piece are the nine black students,” whom O’Connor described as “played to quiet perfection.”

Actors highlighted for their portrayals included Calvin Levels as Ernest Green (the only senior in the group) and Regina Taylor as Minnijean Brown, launching that actress’ professional career.—


We Gotta Have It: Twenty Years of Seeing Black at the Movies, 1986-2006

By Esther Iverem—Reviewed by Kam Williams

posted 30 October 2010

*   *   *   *   *’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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Hopes and Prospects

By Noam Chomsky

In this urgent new book, Noam Chomsky surveys the dangers and prospects of our early twenty-first century. Exploring challenges such as the growing gap between North and South, American exceptionalism (including under President Barack Obama), the fiascos of Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S.-Israeli assault on Gaza, and the recent financial bailouts, he also sees hope for the future and a way to move forward—in the democratic wave in Latin America and in the global solidarity movements that suggest “real progress toward freedom and justice.” Hopes and Prospects is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the primary challenges still facing the human race. “This is a classic Chomsky work: a bonfire of myths and lies, sophistries and delusions. Noam Chomsky is an enduring inspiration all over the world—to millions, I suspect—for the simple reason that he is a truth-teller on an epic scale. I salute him.” —John Pilger

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

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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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

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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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 5 July 2012




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