Help Save ChickenBones—Our Literary Journal

An Appeal by The Committee to Keep ChickenBones A Journal
Send contributions to: ChickenBones: A Journal /  2005 Arabian Drive / Finksburg, MD 21048

I became aware of Rudy Lewis’ labor of love a few short months ago during a visit to Kalamu ya Salaam’s e-drum listserv. As soon as I saw the title of the journal I knew it was about Black folks, and the power of the written word.  A quick click took me into a journal that’s long on creativity, highlighting well-known, little known, and a little known writers, and commitment to the empowerment of Black folks. I contacted Rudy to ask if he’d consider publishing some of my work. His response was immediate, and a couple of days after I’d forwarded some poems to him—they were part of ChickenBones. What I didn’t know was that this journal has been surviving for the last five years with very little outside financial support. . .  If we want journals like this to “thrive” we need to support them with more than our website hits, praise, and submissions for publication consideration.—Peace, Mary E. Weems (January 2007)

Rudy, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it recently but ‘bones looks great.  There’s not much out there to compete with it as a presenter of Black literary and philosophical thought. I’m constantly referring folk to it.—Chuck (9/28/07)

Dear Friends of ChickenBones:

We have all been blessed over the last several years by the on-line journal known as ChickenBones: A Journal . We have had everyday access to original intellectual work by some of the most important artists and theorists of the past 100 years, made possible by the dedicated and selfless labor of the singular Rudy Lewis.

Rudy has been performing the same kind of cultural labor that earned Langston Hughes his respect as a midwife of the Harlem Renaissance and Dudley Randall his own as the man behind Broadside Press and the Black Arts Movement. One glance at the ChickenBones website is enough to convince anyone of this idea.

We cannot forget that behind every great artist there is a whole army of talented everyday workers such as Rudy who, like Dudley Randall did, takes the greatest pleasure in simply raising up other artists, and who has no problem with the anonymity that often comes with this kind of behind-the-scenes labor. And yes, like the great Dudley Randall was in his life, Rudy is a librarian.

Rudy is hardly anonymous to those of us who know him and depend personally on his work at ChickenBones, but, for the million readers who visited the site last year, he probably is. This year ChickenBones was visited by 1.5 million people, and this coming year we expect even more. For information about the basic facts of ChickenBones, read the Conversation on ChickenBones Survival

What most readers of ChickenBones do not know is that Rudy carefully maintains the website without any financial support from readers or grant-giving institutions. The time has come for things to change here, because we simply cannot lose ChickenBones, it’s not an option.

There are essential infrastructural improvements that must be made. For example, there is an urgent need for new hardware, software, DLS internet provider, web hosting and security services, as well as technical assistance.   Our fund-raising goal is $25,000. But, even more important, there is the fact that Rudy needs to be compensated for his valuable editorial labors. We are asking folk to join us in helping to support Rudy and his irreplaceable work at ChickenBones.

In concluding his great book The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual , Harold Cruse wrote that the intellectual horizons of the black intelligentsia have been so narrowed in scope and banalized by the American corrosion that Negro creativity has been diminishing since the 1920s. The staying power of Rudy Lewis’s work at ChickenBones is the way he has helped to reverse this trend, all by himself, by broadening our horizons each and every day. Tell Rudy you know this by cutting him a check.

Donations (check or money order) should be made out to ChickenBones: A Journal and sent to:

ChickenBones: A Journal
2005 Arabian Drive
Finksburg, MD 21048

ChickenBones Statistical Activity

ChickenBones is not listed as a charitable organization. Patrons will need to make individual decisions regarding how they wish to claim for income tax purposes.

Thank you for your support.


The Committee to Keep ChickenBones Alive

            Rudolph Lewis, Founding Editor

            Miriam DeCosta-Willis

            Jerhretta DaFina Suite

            Eugene B. Redmond

            Jeannette Drake

            Joyce E. King

            Louis Reyes Rivera

            Jonathan Scott

            Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

            Sandra L. West

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Responses from Friends


African American Writers Meet Rudolph Lewis   The man behind ChickenBones   By Jane Musoke-Nteyafas   First published: April 18, 2006

The Death of a Prophet, of Creative Militancy  / The Heart & Soul of America Are at Stake — Which Way Now?  / Remember Cheikh Anta Diop

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Support ChickenBones: A Journal

We need your help. Any level of support would be greatly appreciated

–$10, $15, $25, or more.  Donations of any amount should be made out to

ChickenBones: A Journal. Please send your check or money order to:

ChickenBones: A Journal

2005 Arabian Drive

Finksburg, MD 21048