ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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Civil rights movement / exposed poverty, racism / clearly for all to see / desperate need for change

Police helped build strike / by beating BSU leaders / White students shocked /witnessing on campus

 

 

Books by Barack Obama

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance  / The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

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All good wishes

                              By Joy Magezis

Waking up to Obama
as new President
Warm sun shinning
clear through cold

Amazing symbol
of America at best
Patchwork of cultures
sewn into one blanket

Two million brave freeze
World watches on
enjoying shift
Spirit of hope

In our lifetime
seeming impossible
African-American
wins majority

Best candidate
way beyond colour
In desperate time
we send him blessing

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Ode to SF State Strike

 

                                 By Joy Magezis

 

Back in 1967

this radical girl

came to San Francisco State

from Community Organising

 

Link with SDS project

for housing, rent strike

and Baltimore students

also on campus

 

So joining SDS

at SF State

seemed so natural

with other projects

 

Spring’68 blossoms

worldwide struggles

from France to SF sit in

for ethnic admissions

 

September revives

zest for justice

Me now living

with my SDS guy

 

In telescoped time

we now return

somehow grandparents

Still partners in love

 

Back then Black Student’s Union

calls strike, sets demands

for department to study

hidden history, culture

 

Desire to define

their own destiny

In height of Black Power

BSU is leader

 

From the start

SDS backs strike

helps organise Committee

for White Strike Support

 

Now this may sound strange

but in emerging energy

for self determination

that was natural flow

 

Civil rights movement

exposed poverty, racism

clearly for all to see

desperate need for change

 

Police helped build strike

by beating BSU leaders

White students shocked

witnessing on campus

police treatment in ghettoes

 

More students joined strike

White Support Committee

As we picketed entrances

campus was polarised

 

Force field to do right

needed to make it happen

in our vision others students

part of solution or problem 

 

SDS saw source of problem

propping up racism

as Capitalist ‘me first’

militarist system

 

At San Francisco State

more working class students

trained to keep system running

not to see bigger picture

 

In that larger view

white students being used

To help them see how

we formed department caucuses

 

In Department of Psychology

students critiqued skewed view

that mental illness is within

divorced from socioeconomic

 

When I gave MMPI test

to my SDS women friends

we came out actively antisocial

labelled ‘juvenile delinquents’

 

We saw role of psychology

fitting ‘deviants’ back into system

So drink beer, watch TV burnings

of Vietnamese kids as Viet Cong

 

In Nazi Germany

was sanity beating Jews

and madness protesting

or other way round

 

For me as a Jew

connection was clear

with KKK Black hangings

and Nazi exterminations

 

White Student demands

for change in their courses

brought understanding

support for Ethnic Studies

 

As weather turned cold

and professors struck

‘On Strike, Shut it down’

became a reality

 

Arrests at free speech platform

brought 450 down to jail

We women were processed

then put in large holding cell

 

Anyone seen as threat

like woman asking for milk

for girl with stomach ulcer

were put into solitary

 

From large holding cell

we began to hear screams

of scared young woman

picked off and confined

 

Alone in tiny cell

more frightening

than she could bear

she shouted to be free

 

When guards wouldn’t listen

we acted together

banging and chanting

‘Let her out’, ‘Let her out!’

 

Our call vibrated

throughout jail house

down to Bryant Street

supporter crowd below

 

In ‘69 Women’s Lib sprouts

with some men still laughing

saying women’s place prone

while others saw struggle link

 

Back in ’67 at SDS Conference

woman asking us to meet

brought uproarious laughter

still some of women gathered

 

Problem with no name

begins to have words

Why are we left in background

Mostly not taken seriously

 

When women like me spoke at rallies

some guys just saw body parts

their long legs or large breasts

excuse for eclipsing their words

 

But in this time of rising

from Civil Rights to Ethnic Studies

struggling against oppression

helped us see ours as women

 

Earlier at Anti-Slavery Convention

barred for being female delegates

Mott and Stanton were inspired

to organise for women’s rights 

 

Strike women met when it ended

empowered by what we’d been through

Challenging old assumptions

exploring strengths, building movement 

 

So the rebirth of feminism

was there in that holding cell

when, beyond fear, we chanted

‘Let her out. Let her out!’

 

Guards dragged over fire hose

put nozzle through bars

Sudden force of water

knocking us off our feet

 

Drenched, we regained balance

and guards did let woman out

Our solid action together

engine vibrating deeply

 

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Forty year on lessons

power of energies united

Force beyond each one

belief in justice vision 

 

Mass march together

Agit Prop Theatre

Running from police chase

hiding, swapping jackets

 

Scared facing jail unknown

but not wanting to disappoint self

be Germans just looking on at

packed cattle cars of human cargo

 

In that youth of belief

that we can change world

though seemingly impossible

shifts ripple through country

 

Now celebrate achievements

of College of Ethnic Studies

Women’s Movement growth

Peaceful prosperous Vietnam

 

Much writings of Strike, SDS

even England, Shoe Store School

Gordon DeMarco now passed on

Bob Biderman and I

 

I want to share lessons

of traps we fell into

perhaps could be useful

for generations now

 

Seeing in absolutes

that blinder limiting vision

to either all right or wrong

allows no way to come together

 

Sectarian in fighting

finally destroyed SDS

Though reborn in this time

of new student challenges

 

It was our condemning vision

part of problem or solution

No middle ground possible

Needing to prove we’re right

 

I used to work out of anger

feeling the force of its power

rush against social injustice

keeping me active in struggle

 

I just couldn’t trust myself

to work from kinder emotion

For my external anger

also turned in on myself

 

Internalised as Guilt

needing to prove I wasn’t bad

seeing badness all round

limiting love getting through

 

Over decades life taught me

that anger is not most effective

Healing my own inner pain

compassion naturally flowed out

 

Better way to hand leaflets

against Iraq War

Not pushing them at ‘others’

but handing each person peace

 

More people take leaflets

feel safer beyond judgment

to touch inner peace yearning

have common ground to speak

 

Listening, more important

than my talking to convince

in deeply hearing others  

we find same core within

 

Then we see not separate

but interconnected

Poverty, racism hurts us all

in fairness we each benefit

Delivered October 2008 at 40th SF State Strike Commemoration

Joy Magezis is a poet, novelist, and non-fiction writer. Her works include Vanishing Act (1988); Winter Chills (Schuttelficast) (1992); Teach Yourself Women’s Studies (1996) and The Universe for Breakfast (2007). She was a lecturer for 17 years at the College of North West London in the Women’s Studies and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). As well as continuing to write poetry, Joy works as a Reiki therapist and teacher.

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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 – 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

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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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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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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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Enjoy!

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

 

 

posted 29 January 2009

 

 

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