ChickenBones: A Journal

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David Ruggles (1810-1849), born in Norwich, Connecticut, is probably the first known African-American

book collector. He was  was known for his intimate knowledge of law as it related

to cases of formerly enslaved escapees on the Underground Railroad.  

                            Arna Bontemps                                                                       Macus Bruce Christian

 

 

 

A Chronology of Events in Black Librarianship

in the Handbook of Black Librarianship, 2nd edition

A List First Developed by Casper LeRoy Jordan and E.J. Josey 

 

1808 --An Inquiry Concerning the Intellectual and Moral Faculties and Literature of Negroes was published by Henri Gregoire.

1810 -- birth  in Norwich, Connecticut of  David Ruggles (died 1849), probably the first known African-American book collector. He was  was known for his intimate knowledge of law as it related to cases of formerly enslaved escapees on the Underground Railroad. 

1816 -- A school and library were organized for African Americans in Wilmington, Delaware.

1826 -- publication of Alexander Mott Biographical Sketches and Interesting Anecdotes of Persons of Color. This work contains slave narratives, news items, and other literature pertaining to early personalities of African descent.

1828 -- William Whipper, the wealthy and respected abolitionist and book collector, organized the Reading Room, for "the mental improvement of people of color in the neighborhood of Philadelphia."

1832 -- The Library Company of Philadelphia was founded by African Americans as a literary society.

1833 -- David Ruggles (1810-1849) became America's first African-American bookseller when he opened a bookstore near Broadway

1838 -- birth of David Ruggles' Mirror of Liberty (New York), the first magazine produced in the United States by an African American.

1839 --  publication of Theodore Dwight Weld’s most famous hard-hitting and searing pamphlet, American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses (1839), a collection of sketches, testimonies, reports and narratives. According to Harriet Beecher Stowe, one of Weld’s converts, American Slavery  influenced the writing of her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852).

1854 --  The Banneker Institute opened, named for the well-known African-American scientist and astronomer from Maryland, Benjamin Banneker. The Institute housed a large portion of Banneker’s papers as well as an impressive library of books and other documents related to the African diaspora. These materials were donated in the 1930s to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania .

1870 -- Andrew Dickson White, the first president of Cornell University, was instrumental in bringing an extensive collection of slavery and abolitionist materials gathered by his close friend, Reverend Samuel Joseph May, to the Cornell Library. Numbering over 10,000 titles, May's pamphlets and leaflets document the anti-slavery struggle at the local, regional, and national levels. Much of the May Anti-Slavery Collection was considered ephemeral or fugitive, and today these pamphlets are quite scarce. Sermons, position papers, offprints, local Anti-Slavery Society newsletters, poetry anthologies, freedmen's testimonies, broadsides, and Anti-Slavery Fair keepsakes all document the social and political implications of the abolitionist movement. The pamphlets in Samuel J. May's great Anti-Slavery library are now available as electronic searchable text for the first time. The May Anti-Slavery pamphlets can be accessed through Cornell's catalog, and by searching the collection from this Web site. By 2004, the collection will be digitized for full online access. www.library.cornell.edu/mayantislavery/

1871 -- Daniel Alexander Payne Murray joined the staff of the Library of Congress as personal assistant to Ainsworth Rand Spofford, Librarian of Congress.

1872 -- Arthur and Lewis Tappan, two wealthy brothers from New York State who were known for their dedication to the abolitionist cause, donated over 2,000 anti-slavery writings to Howard University in Washington, D.C.

1875 -- Richard T. Greener functioned as university librarian at the University of South Carolina, reorganized the library, and prepared a catalog. Greener was also the first black person to receive a degree from Harvard University.

1880 -- Daniel A. P. Murray was appointed assistant librarian at the Library of Congress.

1884 -- Providence Public Library, Rhode Island purchased its first, and still its largest special collection in the C. Fiske Harris Collection the Civil War and Slavery. Caleb Fiske Harris (1818-1881) was a New York businessman

1894 -- Edward Christopher Williams was appointed librarian of Western Reserve University’s Adelbert College. 

Furniture merchant, political activist, bookseller, and pioneer black bibliophile, Robert Mara Adger (1837-1910) labored to compile one of the finest book collections of the 19th century. His Catalogue of Rare Books and Pamphlets: Subjects Relating to the Past Conditions of the Colored Race and the Slavery in this Country was published in 1894. Adger was one of the original organizers of the Banneker Institute (see above, 1854)

1896 -- George Washington Forbes was designated assistant librarian, West end Branch of the Boston Public Library, where he served generations of diverse patrons for over thirty years. The United States Supreme Court decision Plessy v. Ferguson established the "separate but equal" doctrine as a "reasonable" use of state police power and was responsible for segregated library facilities for African Americans. The decision remained in effect until the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision. 

1897 -- Alexander Crummell organized the American Negro Academy to promote literature, science, and art and to foster higher education.

Afro-American Historical Society established. 

1900 -- Daniel A. P. Murray edited his Preliminary List of Books and Pamphlets by Negro Authors for the Negro Exhibit prepared for the Paris Exposition of 1900.

Edward C. Williams graduated from the New York State Library School, the first professionally trained Afro-American librarian.

S. W. Starks was appointed West Virginia State Librarian and held the position until 1906.

1903 -- Charlotte (NC) Public Library created a separate library for Negroes with an independent board of governance, the earliest example of an independent African American library. Cossitt Library, Memphis, Tennessee, entered into a contract with Lemoyne Institute to provide library service to African Americans.

 The General Education Board was founded to promote education without discrimination, and became a great force for progress in Afro-American education and librarianship.

1904 -- Carnegie Library buildings were erected at Alabama A. & M. College, Atlanta University, Benedict College, Talladega College, and Wilberforce University.

Edward C. Williams joined the library school faculty at Western Reserve University.

Rosenberg Library of Galveston, Texas, established a Negro branch for African American patrons. This was the first structure erected to provide public library quarters for exclusive use of the African Americans.

1905 -- Atlanta University Press published A Select Bibliography of the Negro American, compiled by W. E. B. Du Bois.  Carnegie libraries were built at Cheyney State Teachers College, Johnson C. Smith University, Livingstone College, and Fisk University.

The Hampton Institute Library began special black collections with the gift of the George Peabody Collection on the Negro.  The thousand-volume collection of Tucker A. Malone was bought for Hampton Institute by George Foster Peabody.

The Louisville (Kentucky) Free Public Library established the first public library in America exclusively for African Americans. It was operated and administered entirely by African Americans, although supervised from the main library.  

Thomas Fountain Blue joined the staff of Louisville Free Public Library becoming the first African American to head a public library branch.

1906 -- A Carnegie library was erected at Wiley College, Marshall, Texas. Savannah, Georgia, initiated independent governance for Negro branch service, the second instance of this type of action.

1907 -- Carnegie libraries were built at Howard University and Knoxville College.

1908 -- The Department of Records and Research was founded by Monroe Nathan Work at Tuskegee Institute.

1909 -- The birth of the idea of an Encyclopedia Africana by W. E. B. Du Bois.

1910 -- James H. Gregory of Marblehead, Massachusetts, funded a traveling library extension service for southern African Americans. The service was known as the Marblehead libraries and the extension service for African Americans was administered by Atlanta University.  In the Louisville Free Public Library, an apprentice class for African Americans was organized, the first example for any attempt in the South to provide library training for the prospective African American librarian. The last classes were held in 1928-29.

1911 -- The Negro Society for Historical Research was begun.

1912 -- The first edition of the Negro Yearbook appeared, edited by Monroe Work. Nine editions in all were published (1912-1938).

1913 -- William F. Yust attempted, perhaps for the first time, to establish the status of the Negro in the American public library scene with his "What of the Black and Yellow Races?" 

1914 -- The Moorland Foundation Collection was formed at Howard University as a gift of Jesse Moorland, a Howard trustee and bibliophile.

1916 -- A Bibliographical Checklist of American Negro Poets was published by Arthur A. Schomburg.

1917 -- Negro Education, a Study of the Private and Higher Schools for Colored People in the United States by Thomas J. Jones, was published by the U.S. Bureau of Higher Education.

1920 -- Catherine Allen Latimer became the first black professional librarian at the New York Public Library; she was assigned to 135th Street Branch, which is now the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

1921 -- The American Library Association established the Work with Negroes Round Table.

Daniel A. P. Murray retired from the Library of Congress after 52 years of service.

J. Arthur Jackson was appointed State Librarian of West Virginia.

Thomas Fountain Blue addressed a session of the ALA Conference in Detroit; he is regarded as the first black to have a place on an ALA program.

1923 -- Sadie Peterson Delaney started the library at Tuskegee Veterans Hospital and began her pioneering efforts in the field of bibliotherapy.

Virginia Procter Powell Florence graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, the first professionally educated female black librarian.

1925 -- The Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints was established at the New York Public Library.

Hampton Institute (Virginia) Library School was established with Florence Rising Curtis as director.

1926 -- Negro History Week was inaugurated by Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.

 The Schomburg Collection was purchased with funds provided by the Carnegie Corporation at the behest of the National Urban League for the New York Public Library.

1927 -- The Carnegie Corporation financed a conference of librarians at Hampton, Virginia.

Thomas Fountain Blue founded the Negro Library Conference at Hampton, Virginia.

Miriam Matthews was appointed as the first African American professional Librarian in the Los Angeles system.

1928 -- Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and America.  was compiled by Monroe N. Work.

1930 -- A conference for Negro librarians was held at the Morehouse-Spelman Summer school financed by the Rosenwald Fund.

Louis S. Shores published "Public Library Service to Negroes," Library Journal 55 1931

A Negro Library Conference was held at Fisk University under the direction of Louis S. Shores, November 20-23.

1931 -- Anson Phelps Stokes implements the idea of an Encyclopedia of the Negro, with Du Bois as general editor

1932 -- Arthur A. Schomburg was appointed curator of the black research collection, New York Public Library, which was later to be named for him.

1933 -- The Commission on Interracial Cooperation called a conference on "Education and Race Relations" to discuss the treatment of Negroes in textbooks.

1936 -- The American Library Association took a stand against holding segregated conferences.

1938 -- The Ella Smith Elbert Collection established at Wellesley College. This collection of approximately 800 volumes on slavery, emancipation, and Reconstruction was assembled by Ella Smith, class of 1888, the second black graduate of Wellesley College, and by her husband, Dr. Samuel G. Elbert.

In 1904, they purchased a collection of more than 300 volumes gathered by Robert Mara Adger (1837-1910), a member of the Banneker Institute and the American Negro Historical Society. This became the nucleus of The Elbert Collection, which was presented to the College in 1938. Mrs. Elbert and her son Samuel added to it until 1955. Personal narratives, autobiographies, tracts, and pamphlets share the shelves with volumes of poetry, novels, and folklore. Works by Charles Chestnutt, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and James Weldon Johnson are strong.

1939 -- Hampton Institute Library School closed.

1940 -- Eliza Atkins Gleason was awarded the first Ph.D. in librarianship to an Afro-American. Her University of Chicago dissertation was entitled "The Southern Negro and the Public Library."

1941 -- The Atlanta University School of Library Service opened with Eliza Atkins Gleason as dean.

The North Carolina Central University’s School of Library Science was inaugurated with Susan Grey Akers, dean of the Durham school and the library school at Chapel Hill. She held both deanships until 1946. The Carnegie Corporation and the General Education Board financed a library conference at Atlanta University, heralding the opening of the A.U. School of Library Science.

1942 -- The Carnegie Corporation financed the establishment of a Field service Program to enrich African American school libraries in the South; the program was under the direction of Hallie Beacham Brooks of Atlanta University.

The establishment of the James Weldon Johnson Collection was announced at Yale University Library as a gift from the noted writer, Carl Van Vechten.

1943 -- Arna W. Bontemps was named the first African American university librarian of Fisk University. Two illustrious white librarians, Louis S. Shores and Carl White, immediately preceded Bontemps.

The E. Azalia Hackley Memorial Collection on African American music, dance, and drama opened in the Detroit Public Library.

The North Carolina Negro Library Association was granted chapter status by the American library Association.

1943 -- Virginia Lacy Jones was awarded the second Ph. D in librarianship to an African American; her dissertation was The Problems of Negro High School Libraries in Selected Southern Cities (University of Chicago).

The School of Library Science, North Carolina College, Durham (now North Carolina Central University) opened.

1944-1950 -- Marcus Bruce Christian, poet and historian and supervisor of the Dillard Historical project, is assistant librarian at Dillard University, New Orleans 

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1945 -- North American Negro Poets: A Bibliographical Checklist of Their Writing was published by Dorothy Porter.

Dr. Dorothy Porter Wesley  wrote "Early American Negro Writings: A Bibliographical Study," published in The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, which also compiled a list of early instituted literary and historical societies, most of which were located in Philadelphia 

1946 -- The Arthur Spingarn Collection of Black Authors was purchased by Howard University to form the Moorland-Spingarn Collection.

The Henry Proctor Collection was purchased by the Atlanta University Library as the nucleus of its African American Collection.

1946 -- publication of  the Encyclopedia of the Negro; preparatory volume with reference lists and reports. by W. E. B. Du Bois and Guy B. Johnson prepared with the cooperation of E. Irene Diggs, Agnes C. L. Donohugh, Guion Johnson, et all. Introduction by Anson Phelps Stokes. New York: The Phelps-Stokes Fund, Inc..

1947 -- The Atlanta University School of Library Service held a six-day conference for 97 African American public librarians.

1949 -- The Atlanta University School of Library Service initiated a graduate program leading to a master’s degree. 1950

Gwendolyn Brooks received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the first African American to receive the coveted award.

1952 -- Clarence R. Graham, of Louisville Free Public, became the first public librarian in the South to open the main library to African Americans.

1953 -- Augusta Baker was appointed Assistant Coordinator of Children’s Services and Storytelling Specialist, becoming the first African American to hold an administrative position in the New York Public Library. 1954

The ALA approved the idea of a single library association in a state, which led to integrated associations in the South.

In Brown v. Board of Education, the US Supreme Court ruled that school segregation was unconstitutional.

1956 -- The ALA Conference at Miami Beach, Florida, was probably the first completely desegregated Association meeting held in the South. Charlemae Rollins became the first black to receive the Grolier Foundation Award.

1957 -- Alma Jacobs became the first African American elected president of the Pacific Northwest Library Association.

Charlemae Rollins became the first black elected president of the Children’s Services Division of the American Library Association. 1958

Dorothy B. Porter edited and published A Catalogue of the African Collection in the Moorland Foundation.

Effie Lee Morris received the E. P. Dutton-John Macrae Award for advancement of library service to children and young people.

1960 -- Alma Jacobs was elected president of the Montana Library Association.  Rice Estes questioned the American Library Association about its position on race and libraries.

1961 -- Albert P. Marshall was elected as the first African-American president of the Missouri Library Association.

Annette Hoage Phinazee solicited an accounting from the ALA at the Cleveland, Ohio, conference as it pertained to race and American libraries.

John E. Scott served as the first African American president of the West Virginia Library Association.

1963 -- Access to Public Libraries, a research study prepared for the American Library Association by International Research Associates, Inc., documented discrimination, both direct and indirect, in library service to Negroes in the United States.

Effie Lee Morris was appointed Coordinator of Children’s Services at the San FranciscoPublic Library.

1964 -- Alma Jacobs was elected the first African American member of the Executive Board of the American Library Association.

E.J. Josey presented a resolution to the American Library Association Conference (St. Louis Missouri) that would prohibit American Library Association officers and staff members from attending, in their official capacity at American Library Association expense, the meetings of state associations that continued to practice segregation. This resolution led to the integration of the remaining four state associations that refused to extend membership to African Americans.

1965 --A.P. Marshall was appointed the first African American of the ALA to chair the nominating committee.

 The Atlanta University School of Library Service held a conference on "Materials by and about American Negroes." The school also sponsored a conference on "The Role of the Library in Improving Education in the South." Dudley Randall, a Detroit poet and librarian, founded Broadside Press. E. J. Josey became the first black librarian given membership in the Georgia Library Association.

1966 -- ALA established an ad hoc Committee on Opportunities for Negro Students in the Library Profession, chaired by Virginia Lacy Jones.

 In Brown v. Louisiana, 383 US 131, the U.S. Supreme Court held that "persons could not be punished for using the library peacefully to protest the illegal segregation of the library itself" (argued in 1965). The Negro Handbook was published by the Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.

1967 -- The Atlanta University School of Library Service’s Conference on the "Georgia Child’s Access to Materials Pertaining to American Negroes" was held. The first edition of The Negro Almanac, a comprehensive reference work was published.

The Tuskegee Institute News Clipping File was organized by Monroe N. Work, who used it to provide data for Negro Yearbooks published at Tuskegee beginning in 1912. The comprehensive microfilm edition—Tuskegee Institute Clippings File, 1899–1966 (microfilm, 252 reels, Ann Arbor, 1978), available from University Microfilms International—includes the texts of all published volumes of the Yearbooks. See John W. Kitchens, ed., Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Tuskegee Institute News Clipping File (Tuskegee: Carver Research Foundation, 1978).

The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. Yale Center for International and Area Studies.

1972 -- publication  of the Hampton Institute, Hampton, VA. Collis. P. Huntington Library. Dictionary Catalog of the George Foster Peabody Collection of Negro Literature and History. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Company. 33,000 cataloged itemsthe thousand-volume collection of Tucker A. Malone was bought for Hampton Institute by George Foster Peabody.

1981 -- Wendy Ball and Anthony Martin publish Rare Afro-Americana: a Reconstruction of the Adger Library, Boston, G.K.Hall.

1983 -- Charles L. Blockson, a Pennsylvania bibliophile and collector of Afro-Americana, donates the core collection of The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection to Temple University, one of the nation's leading research facilities for the study of the history and culture of people of African descent. Temple University’s Blockson Collection is comprised of materials that date from 1581 to the present. It is among the largest collection of items relating to the African Diaspora experience. 

Charles L. Blockson, Afro-American Collection Curator

Over forty-five years, Blockson acquired a variety of historical artifacts—printed books, pamphlets, addresses and speeches, art catalogs, newspapers, periodicals, manuscripts, broadsides, handbills, lithographs, tape recordings, stamps, coins, maps, oil paintings, and sculpture—that all relate to African, African-American, and Caribbean life and history. According to Mr. Blockson, "no race of people should be deprived of the knowledge of itself."

 He insists that "historical knowledge must be given unto the world to whomever will accept it." As primary custodian of the Afro-American Collection, Blockson continues the long tradition of Afro-American bibliophiles in preserving the past for the future.

1997 -- Rudolph Lewis awarded MLS from University of Maryland, College Park. The first African-American raised in Jarratt, Virginia to become a librarian. This is noteworthy in that Sussex County in which he lived and was educated for sixteen years and in which his family has resided for over a century never had an accessible public library within 40 miles while he attended grade school. 

1999 -- publication of Encarta Africana by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

2001 -- founding of ChickenBones: A Journal (www.nathanielturner.com), an online educational journal dedicated to Marcus Bruce Christian of New Orleans and Nathaniel Turner of Southampton. Its major activity is to provide access to archival information or books that are no longer accessible or out of publication or to writers and their writings who are unable to publish or unable to distribute their wares to a large number of readers.

2002 -- founding of the ChickenBones Education, Arts, and Literary Society, or simply the ChickenBones Society, which was establish to sustain the efforts of ChickenBones: A Journal.

Note: There have been numerous additions made to the initial list by Casper LeRoy Jordan and E.J. Josey 

Source: Valdosta Books / Charles L. Blockson's "Bibliophiles and Collectors of African Americana Cornell

 

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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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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."

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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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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)

 

 

update 5 January 2012

 

 

 

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