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send me where my brother reigns, / And I will fill thy hands

With store of ivory from the plains, / And gold dust from the sands

 

 

Books by and About William Cullen Bryant

Poetical Works / An American Voice / Letters 1809-1836 / Letters (1836-1849) / Letters (1858-1864)

Letters (1865-1871) / Letters (1872-1878) /

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The story of the African chief, related to this ballad, may be found in the African Repository for April 1825. The subject of it was a warrior of majestic stature, the brother of Yarradee, king of the Solima nation. He had been taken in battle, and was brought in chains for sale to the Rio Pongas, where he was exhibited in the marketplace, his ankles still adorned with the massy rings of gold which he wore when captured. The refusal of his captor to listen to his offers of ransom drove him mad, and he died a maniac.

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African Chief

By William Cullen Bryant

 

Chained in the market-place he stood

A man of giant frame,

Amid the gathering multitude

That shrunk to hear his name--

All stern of look and strong of limb,

his dark eye on the ground:-

And silently they gazed on him,

As on a lion bound.

vainly, but well, that chief had fought,

He was a captive now

Yet pride, that fortune humbles not,

Was written on his brow.

The scars his dark broad bosom wore

Showed warrior true and brave;

A prince among his tribe before,

He could not be a slave.

Then to his conqueror he spake--

"My brother is a king;

Undo this necklace from my neck,

And take this bracelet ring

And send me where my brother reigns,

And I will fill thy hands

With store of ivory from the plains,

And gold dust from the sands."

"Not for thy ivory nor thy gold

Will I unbind thy chain;

That bloody hand shall never hold

The battle-spear again.

A price thy nation never gave

Shall yet be paid for thee;

For thou shalt be the Christian's slave,

In lands beyond the sea."

Then wept the warrior chief, and bade

To shred his locks away;

And, one by one, each heavy braid

Before the victor ay.

This were the platted locks, and long,

And deftly hidden there

Shone many a wedge of gold among

The dark and crisped hair.

"Look, feast thy greedy eye with gold

Long kept for sorest need;

Take it--thou askest sums untold,

And say that I am freed.

Take it--my wife, the long, long day,

Weeps by the cocoa-tree,

And my young children leave their play,

And ask in vain for me."

"I take thy gold--but I have made

Thy fetters fast and strong,

And ween that by the cocoa shade

Thy wife will wait thee long."

Strong was the agony that shook

The captive's frame to hear,

And the proud meaning of his look

Was changed to mortal fear.

His heart was broken--crazed his brain:

At once his eye grew wild;

He struggled fiercely with his chain,

Whispered, and wept, and smiled;

Yet wore not long those fatal bands,

And once, at shut of day,

They drew him forth upon the sands,

The foul hyena's prey.

 

William Cullen Bryant, born in Cummington, Massachusetts, on November 3, 1794, was a lawyer by training,. After 10 years practicing law, Bryant moved to New York City in 1825, where he became the editor of the New York Review and Atheneum Magazine.  Though these publications failed, he remained in New York and signed on as an editorial assistant with the New York Evening Post, eventually rising to part owner and editor in chief

Bryant used the Post to crusade for  free trade, free speech, and the abolition of slavery. A leader of the anti-slavery/Free-Soil movement within the Democratic Party, he was one of the founders of the Republican Party. Early on. he was a political backer of Abraham Lincoln and a staunch Unionist during the War Between the States. After living a long life and amassing great wealth, Bryant died after a fall in 1878. He was 84 years old.

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
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#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
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#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

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#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

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#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

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#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

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#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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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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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

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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 29 December 2011

 

 

 

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