ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



But here in this brutal attack on Ms. Rice, he comes off as a henchman in defense of

American racism and imperialism. His primary tactic is to redirect criticisms of

America’s shortcomings elsewhere. From Crouch’s perspective, we are too indulgent

in “romantic blubberings about Africa,” a continent, for him, which is more noted for

the production and sale of slaves or, worst, for genocide.



Books by Stanley Crouch

Considering Genius: Writings on Jazz (2007) / The Artificial White Man: Essays on Authenticity (2005) / 

The Essential Harold Cruse: A Reader (2002)  /  The All-American Skin Game, or, The Decoy of Race: The Long and the Short of It, 1990-1994 (1995)

Notes of a Hanging Judge: Essays and Reviews, 1979-1989 (1991) /  Always in Pursuit: Fresh American Perspectives (1998)

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An Introduction to Stanley Crouch’s “Clichés”

By Rudy Lewis


Unlike my former regard for Haki Madhubuti, I have never cared for Stanley Crouch. Moreover, I have been unable to get through more than a page of anything he has written. Though he comes off as quite learned and brilliant, especially when it comes to a knowledge of music, I sense he writes with a little white man standing on his shoulder directing him hither and thither. I will not be so bold as a Malcolm X or an Eldridge Cleaver and refer to him as the House Nigger who exclaims “Master, master, our house is on fire.” Mr. Crouch is much more skilled and glib than his 19th-century predecessor.

I was extremely surprised when I discovered he had posted his “cliché” tirade against a youthful writer such as LeVon Rice, whose gender he stupidly mistook. But Mr. Crouch is the sort of company that Haki now wants to keep, a man who gives him a back hand with respect to “his former black nationalist intellectual limitations” as Don L. Lee. For, you see, Crouch has always had his alliances down pat. From his point of view black people have always been their worst enemies.

A keen African historian as well as a music critic, Crouch reminds LeVon that there “was NO abolition movement in Africa,” which, I suppose, from his limited point of view excuses America’s military support of American slavery. Wasn’t Robert E. Lee at Harper’s Ferry? Did not the Governor of Virginia send troops to squelch Nathaniel Turner’s holy war in Southampton? But, no, Mr. Crouch wants to speak to us about Anthony Benezet, the 18th century Quaker and abolitionist, as if he managed American slavery and the oppression of black people . If he wants Benezet for his God, that’s fine and good. For my taste he should keep his household gods in his house.

I have not done a careful reading of Crouch’s many writings. But here in this brutal attack on Ms. Rice, he comes off as a henchman in defense of American racism and imperialism. His primary tactic is to redirect criticisms of America’s shortcomings elsewhere. From Crouch’s perspective, we are too indulgent in “romantic blubberings about Africa,” a continent, for him, which is more noted for the production and sale of slaves or, worst, for genocide. We should turn our eyes more kindly back home and look at and appreciate better the kindness and generosity of white Americans, the source, I assume, of his comfort, security, arrogance, and obnoxiousness.

It is such “romantic blubberings” that sustains our “intellectual genocide,” according to the learned Crouch. Instead of pointing out the wrongs of white America, we should look at what we do to ourselves: “street criminals ‘of color’ who have murdered, LITERALLY, thousands upon thousands over the last 30 years, raped thousands, sold drugs to thousands, and have maintained the kind of reign of terror that skinheads never could.” In my estimation, this is not a black-white, either-or situation. I think we are intellectual enough indeed, even the Negro drop-out can hold more than one idea in his head at a time.

Instead of having hatred for our historical oppressors, Mr. Crouch prefers to generate or to instill hatred in us of the “Islamic world.”  For, indeed, American whites probably learned their despicable behavior toward blacks from the Arabs: “the fundamental racist images of black people might well have arrived, first, in the the tale that opens A Thousand and One Nights.” In addition he points out that “the Durban Conference on Racism . . . did not address the racism of Arabs toward black Africans or the tribal racism of black Africans toward other black ethic groups.” 

As used to be said in disgust at stupidity, “What does that have to do with the price of tea in China.” I won’t go further. As one professor told me, this is a free country: a stupid man (or an opportunist) has a right in America to say whatever turns him on.” I am sure there are many who are in Crouch’s camp to buoy him up.

What is important in all of this is LeVon Rice decided to stand up to the great men — to Haki and to the great Stanley Crouch. I admire her spirit. It is a sign that our young people will not be hoodwinked by our leaders who have made their peace with the oppressors of the poor and the weak. Below is LeVon’s final response on the barrage that came against her in support of Haki’s capitulation. I like indeed what she has written, and written well.

Addendum: An Apologia

A Response to Stanley Crouch’s Victory Is Assured 

By LeVon Rice


article removed by request of author)

Gabrielle Daniels’ attack on Levon Rice can be found at (search “e-drum,” April 9, 2003)

*   *   *   *   *’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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A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story

By Elaine Brown

Brown here relates the dramatic story of her youth, her political awakening and her role in the Black Panther Party when she succeeded her lover Huey Newton to become the group’s first female leader. Though smoothly written, the book contains much reconstructed dialogue that may daunt readers. Brown’s memoir takes her from a Philadelphia ghetto to California, from college to cocktail waitressing, from wanting to be white to joining the black power movement. She meets Eldridge Cleaver, George Jackson and Bobby Seale, goes to jail, visits North Korea and North Vietnam, debates Marxism and gets involved in Oakland, Calif., politics. When other Black Panthers seemed to lose sight of the revolution and seek power for its own sake, Brown, with a growing feminist consciousness, left the group.

She now lives in France and expresses ambivalent feelings about the party she once loved. Having made her acquaintance, the reader wonders about her present life.—Publishers Weekly

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The Black Press: New Literary and Historical Essays

By Todd Vogel

In a segregated society in which minority writers and artists could find few ways to reach an audience, journalism gave them access to diverse U.S. communities. The original essays in this volume show how marginalized voices attempted to be heard in their day. The Black Press progresses chronologically from abolitionist newspapers to today’s Internet and reveals how the black press’s content and its very form changed with evolving historical conditions in America. The essays address the production, distribution, regulation, and reception of black journalism, illustrating a more textured public discourse, one that exchanges ideas not just within the black community, but also within the nation at large. The contributors demonstrate that African American journalists redefined class, restaged race and nationhood, and reset the terms of public conversation, providing a fuller understanding of the varied cultural battles fought throughout our country’s history. Dayton Library  / Questia

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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration

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 Prize–winning 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. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.

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Race, Incarceration, and American Values

By Glenn C. Loury

In this pithy discussion, renowned scholars debate the American penal system through the lens—and as a legacy—of an ugly and violent racial past. Economist Loury argues that incarceration rises even as crime rates fall because we have become increasingly punitive. According to Loury, the disproportionately black and brown prison populations are the victims of civil rights opponents who successfully moved the country’s race dialogue to a seemingly race-neutral concern over crime. Loury’s claims are well-supported with genuinely shocking statistics, and his argument is compelling that even if the racial argument about causes is inconclusive, the racial consequences are clear.

Three shorter essays respond: Stanford law professor Karlan examines prisoners as an inert ballast in redistricting and voting practices; French sociologist Wacquant argues that the focus on race has ignored the fact that inmates are first and foremost poor people; and Harvard philosophy professor

Shelby urges citizens to break with Washington’s political outlook on race. The group’s respectful sparring results in an insightful look at the conflicting theories of race and incarceration, and the slim volume keeps up the pace of the argument without being overwhelming.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

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

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Ancient African Nations

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

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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

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update 20 June 2012




Home  Amiri Baraka Table  Black Arts and Black Power Figures

Related Files:  Haki Madhubuti Bio  Haki’s Hard Truths  A Response to Hard Truths  Stanley Crouch’s Response to Hard Truths   Response to Crouch’s “Cliches”  

The Poetry of Don L. Lee by Paula Giddings  Black Male Development Tour