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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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Our cries became louder more desperate / as the war waged on year after year
after year. / Legislative strategies ended / the war eventually,
after millions of stanzas were / sung and almost as many young men died. 



All We Are Asking

By June Labyzon


We sat surrounding a fountain
in our Country's capital
linked together chanting
"all we are asking is give
peace a chance".  
We were a small nation
of sitting militants,
"sit-in, speak-out,
Coming towards us sprinting
down the mall, five
or so blocks away, were
tens of  "law
enforcement officers"
sticks in hand; their
actions sanctioned by the state.
We scattered the peaceful
generation that we were.
We weren't buying bus tickets
to our own funerals. 
My husband, Ed always
the minute man,
grabbed my
hand and together we made
a run for it, giddy with
the danger, puffed up
with virtue.. 
We didn't get arrested,
not that day . Hand in hand
we made it to our VW van
and made love mingling
our tears with our desires. 

My activism was born from my groin 
in those days, nurtured.
We  were resilient;
not open to compromise.  And we
were everywhere, $100 a plate dinners,
having our own 25 cents rice dinners
across the street, inaugurations, impeachment
rallies, political celebrations, election days.
Yes we meant to be seen and heard,
"Hell no we won't go".

Our cries became louder more desperate
as the war waged on year after year
after year.
Legislative strategies ended
the war eventually,
after millions of stanzas were
sung and almost as many young men
Time has not refined the animalistic
instincts of our leaders. 
On National TV last week in a display of
the worst form of political hysteria I've ever
witnessed, the president announced
War on Iraq.  

 "We will have victory and bring peace and
freedom to the Iraqi people. However a result
of this victory will mean that some
of our military personnel come home in
body bags."  The stink of imperialistic
nostalgia regurgitates my anger   
I go to bed livid,
"Mr. Bush, that's my body
in a bodybag." 
In the righteousness of the night,
I dream of Bush's severed head laying in
a body bag next to body bags
filled with the bodies of "children"
I've taught over the years. 
My family members are proud of their
president "we have no
choice, war is the only answer".
Philosophic dissentions from
ethics collide with the principles
of the individual.
My mother
in a second of compassionate
emergence rises from her
demented inertia
"that's because they don't
have sons the age to go".
And I think perhaps she isn't
as crazy as she seems.   

 Humanity shouldn't be one of life's big
questions. Our children aren't cervical
specks to be disposed of at our
leaders' wills, to fight their battles,
soothe their egos.  The  media
reports that "a significant number of the
soldiers in Iraq are African American";
These  racial constructionists plot to
kill off the promise of smart kids,
planning the system their way.
The  world's game is not just a game.
There's a possibility we may never
know the specifics.  With national
steam, strength of awkwardness,
pushing aside our fears and
neuroses we need to revolt against
this counter culture of war. 

This war
will be exposed for what it is,
a destructive fatal obsession with power. 
Laundering our fenced in fears
will not whitewash this dirty bombshell
called war.  We
must scoop our dreams off this glassy
surface of economical ownership.
We know what's wrong;
we know what to do.
Thirty years later we are still linked
together in chant
"all we are asking is give peace
a chance".

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
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#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

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

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#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

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#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

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#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

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#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
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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.

*   *   *   *   *

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 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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