ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



For according to our wayward brother, “the plain truth is that we are all individuals.” He has

also given up his romantic ideas about Africa. So for him Pan-Africanism has been tossed

out with the bath water. He said, “I often thought of migrating to Africa.”

But now he believes, he can help Africa by “working hard to be a success.”



 Books by Don L. Lee/Haki Madhubuti

Think Black  / Black PrideWe Walk the Way of the New World  / Directionscore: Selected and New Poems  /  To Gwen with Love

Dynamite Voices I: Black Poets of the 1960s  /  Book of Life  /  From Plan to Planet  /  Enemies: The Clash of Races

Say That the River Turns: The Impact of Gwendolyn Brooks  / Killing Memory, Seeking Ancestors  / Black Men: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous?

Why L.A. Happened: Implications of the `92 Los Angeles Rebellion  / Claiming Earth: Race, Rage, Rape, Redemption

 Million Man March/Day of Absence: A Commemorative Anthology

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Generational Perspectives

of Haki Madhubuti’s Hard Truths

& Stanley Crouch’s “Clichés”

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An Introduction to Haki’s “Idea of America”

By Rudy Lewis


Sometime this year in the midst of America’s vociferous argument to make war on Iraq, the once militant poet and African-American writer and publisher issued and distributed an essay titled “Hard Truths: September 11, 2001 and Respecting the Idea of America.” I had to read it four or five times to really get into my head the drift of Haki’s argument in support of the American Way of Life or what he blithely calls the “Idea of America.” I mentioned the essay to a couple of friends and told them how troubling I found the essay in light of what I viewed as Haki’s black militant past. 

To my bosom brothers, I railed about Haki and those of his generation and militant past having given up the struggle in order to possess the prestige and the comforts of middle-class success and to ape the posture of the Whitney Youngs and the Roy Wilkins and others of the elite black establishment that we as young men had railed against for their patience with the pace of American progress with respect to the lack of well-being and desperation of the masses of black folk. And I was almost content to leave it at that until I read a short response on Kalamu’s e-drum by a young writer named LeVon Rice.

I contacted her immediately for I felt that she mirrored my own uneasiness toward Haki’s capitulation and kow-towing to the corporate-military complex of America’s ruling elite, about which Haki says proudly, “I will never speak ill of it.” The attack on America’s corporate center, according to Haki, was “personal.” For he had fears for his daughter who worked nearby America’s corporate center. You see, Haki has gotten his Ph.D. and he has taught at many universities and he has been applauded on many stages by the well-to-do and he has his own company and he has started a few philanthropic programs for the poor. So he has a different point of view now than he had then in his militant past when he was just struggling against white power in America. In his own words, his success has “enlarged” him “in unexpected ways.”

Haki, it seems, is no longer interested in our struggle and liberation as a people. For according to our wayward brother, “the plain truth is that we are all individuals.” He has also given up his romantic ideas about Africa. So for him Pan-Africanism has been tossed out with the bath water. He said, “I often thought of migrating to Africa.” But now he believes, he can help Africa by “working hard to be a success.” It seems that Haki secretly desires to be a Bill Gates and then he can toss a few billion here and there and feel good about the “Idea of America.” Reassuringly, from his comfortable couch, Haki tells us, the black poor and the oppressed shouldn’t despair, because “we do have realistic options in America.” For others can do like he did and “make their own statements about success and attainment.”

And finally the coup de grace, Haki caters to our ethnic pride in the manner of a Stanley Crouch, “African Americans have more freedoms, prosperity, liberties, and possibilities in the United States than Black people any place in the world today.” This bit of racial pride and American patriotism overwhelms me and I feel quite embarrassed for Haki and his ilk.

It was not my intent to go this far. I am an old fogey, a former 60s militant, still living in the past when service and sacrifice and principle gave us hope and vision. When I hear the deceptive comments of those of my own generation purporting to provide wisdom and leadership for the youth of today, I get carried away. So without further to do, I present LeVon’s challenge to Haki Madhubuti’s Hard Truths:

A Response to Haki Madhubuti’s 

“Hard Truths: September 11, 2001 and Respecting the Idea of America”By LaVon Rice(article removed by request of author)

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

“This system, that has already made mad cows, is making mad people too.” –Ahmed Ben Bella, Porto Alegre, 2002

*   *   *   *   *’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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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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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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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 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 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 

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