ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

Home  ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more) 

Google
 

I understood how Robert Johnson could have mystical experiences at the crossroads and be desirous

of making a pact with the Devil. Anything was better than the Mississippi sun in some

white manís fields. I understood the anxiousness to go somewhere else, to get away, to go north t

o Chicago and begin anew. Was not that the existential theme of black life in America?

 

 

Letters of an Abiding Faith:

Legacy of a Slave's GrandDaughter to her Son

written by Ella Lewis to her Son (Rudolph Lewis)

*   *   *   *   *

Letter 47

May 23, 1987

 

Dear Son,

Just a line to let you hear From me. I doing a little Better. I Sorry I So long answering your letter Just diden Feel like riten. The rest of the Family doing OK. Hope you are OK.

I look For you When I see you in my Yard. I hope you Bring your TV.* Rite me What the Date you are Coming home Just a note. Hope see you Soon. All is Glade you are Coming home.

So Bye now

From Mother

*   *   *   *   *

Commentary

*The semester was ending at LSU. My thoughts had gone beyond the state of Louisiana or even New Orleans. I was indeed unhappy. I had failed in my hopes. Mona Lisa and I had grown even more distant. I had gotten into irreparable arguments with several professors. I wanted out. My fellowship was renewable, but obtaining the degree was not motive enough to hold me there in Louisiana. 

Even New Orleans had lost its fascination for me. I had a great yard sale. I sold all the furniture, including the armoires of Yusef Komunyakaa. I had lugged it from New Orleans and I did not have the resources to store it any place. I also sold my books that I had brought from home to Monroe to New Orleans and then to Baton Rouge. I sold my school books, including those for the classes I had that semester. Oddly, one of the professors, a writer who taught the techniques of literature, bought his own book. We talked. I talked to him man to man, rather than as student to professor. I still do not think that he got it. He made no attempt to find out what was going on with me and why I was leaving the doctoral program. Nor did he attempt to persuade me to stay a bit longer.

I was carrying only that which could fit into to my Volkswagon bug. I, however, shipped Mamaís quilts by bus to Emporia, Virginia. .I took the long, slow way home. I knew that I would never drive this way again. I drove up Route 61, through the Mississippi delta. In one long flat stretch of land, there was cotton to my right, cotton to my left, and cotton behind me and before me. I did not see one tree, not even a live oak leaning. Then there were the lonely crossroads. I began to understand Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson and the existential wailing of their blues. The black people who hoed these fields and picked the cotton in the hot steamy sun, doubtless, took their meals in the fields. There was no shade. There was nowhere to go but into another cotton field. 

I understood how Robert Johnson could have mystical experiences at the crossroads and be desirous of making a pact with the Devil. Anything was better than the Mississippi sun in some white manís fields. I understood the anxiousness to go somewhere else, to get away, to go north to Chicago and begin anew. Was not that the existential theme of black life in America? It was always better somewhere else. I drove through Memphis and Nashville. I spent no time in these places. I then crossed the mountains into Virginia and drove Route 56 toward Emporia. I came down the hills at an average speed of about thirty-five miles an hour. But it was a wonderful descent because I was on my way home to Mama and my "peoples."  

Actually, the description above about driving through the Mississippi delta was probably after I left Monroe and NLU. This last trip I might have actually driven through Atlanta and then Charlotte. For I knew I spent some time in Charlotte with a group of Sudanese students I had known in Baton Rouge and picked up a girl at a nightclub in Charlotte and took her back to their place and she stayed the night.  The  Sudanese Muslim whom I knew and made friends with in Baton Rouge was Abu Gerris. He visited me that summer in Jarratt. We went to Baltimore, visited my friends, and returned. After he called once I lost track of him.

*   *   *   *   *

AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#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 Eroticanoir.com 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 Ė 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

Non-fiction

#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

*   *   *   *   *

Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what's in your heart than what's in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America's shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, "Happy can make you money, but money can't make you happy."

*   *   *   *   *

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

Iím a big fan of Charles Mannís previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Itís exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that itís anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, Iím proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, ďglobalizedĒ entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose ďsouthern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.Ē We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

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

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


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

Enjoy!

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)

 

 

 

 

 

update 30 December 2011

 

 

 

Home   AFLTable   Rudy's Page