ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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Letters from the

Archives of Marcus Bruce Christian

From & To Friends, Colleagues, & Wife

 
 

Books by Marcus Bruce Christian

Song of the Black Valiants: Marching Tempo / High Ground: A Collection of Poems  / Negro soldiers in the Battle of New Orleans

I am New Orleans: A Poem / Negro Iron Workers of Louisiana: 1718-1900 /  The Liberty Monument

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Letter 2

 

Christian Responds to Criticism

of Elmer A. Carter, Editor

 

New Orleans, La.

April 9, 1934 

 

Mr. Elmer Anderson Carter,

1133 Broadway 

New York City

 

Dear Mr. Carter: 

   Yours of March 2nd received. I should like very much to thank you for the suggestions contained therein. Concerning them, I should like to state, in explanation, that my irregular meter and varied rhyme schemes were purposedly done in most instances.

   Certain so-called poetic authorities assert that such things are permissible in strictly modern poetry. However, your kind letter has caused me to realize that perhaps I have placed a  wider interpretation than was intended. Viewed in this light, your suggestions were indeed necessary.

   One of the most pathetic cases in the world is a Negro trying to write fine poetry in the South. Very often the environment is not sympathetic to indigenous poetry.

   I am hoping that you will perhaps find something of interest in these poems which I am sending. 

Sincerely, 

Marcus B. Christian

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Elmer A. Carter (1890-1973), editor and a prominent Republican, was the first chairman of the New York State Commission Against discrimination (the predecessor of the State Division of Human rights) and first director of the State Human rights Division until his resignation in 1961. He then served for two years as special assistant to Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller on issues of race relations. In 1937, while editor of Opportunity, a journal published by the Urban League, Carter was appointed by Governor Herbert Lehman to the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. He thus began a career in public service devoted to eliminating racial bias in housing, employment, and public accommodation. Carter's wife, the former Thelma Johnson, died just a few weeks before her husband. The Carters lived at 409 Edgecombe Avenue from the 1940s until their deaths

OpportunityJournal of Negro Life, the official organ of the National Urban League, completing in December thirteen brilliant years under the able editorship of distinctive contribution to the literature dealing with the problems of interracial contacts in America. Dispassionate, factual data and illuminating articles from the pens of some of America's most distinguished students and writers graced the columns of the magazine -- establishing it in the minds of discriminating readers as one of the indispensable sources of light on "America's most baffling problem." Opportunity Journal, thanks to its perceptive, broad-minded editors, first, Charles S. Johnson, and then Elmer A. Carter, was a leading venue for the work of African-American artists.

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Opportunity magazine was published from 1923 to 1949 by the National Urban League (at first as a monthly, later as a quarterly). . . .Charles S. Johnson served as its first editor for five and a half years; Elmer A. Carter took over in 1928. The magazine published both sociological reporting on conditions of African American life and poetry and literature written by young black writers. . . . After Johnson left the magazine for Fisk University in 1928, the magazine continued to stress socio-economic analysis of northern, urban African Americans. Though he never stopped publishing stories and poems, Elmer A. Carter, Johnson's successor, "directed his attention to the sociological and economic aspects of the Negro's relation to American life," as one early historian of the publication put it. The magazine focused on working conditions of African Americans during the Great Depression--and their precarious relationship with America's labor unions. Then it focused on the Fair Employment Practice Committee during the 1940s and the general fight for racial equality which occurred during and immediately after World War II.

Opportunity magazine accomplished a great deal for a publication with a small circulation. In every possible way, it promoted the work of black writers and documented the lives of a growing number of African Americans in northern cities. “Opportunity.” St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture, Jan 29, 2002.  Find Articles

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Selected Letters  Selected Diary Notes

Memories of Marcus B. Christian (CainsChristian's BioBibliographical Record    Introduction to I AM NEW ORLEANS 

A Theory of a Black Aesthetic   Magpies, Goddesses, & Black Male Identity

Activist Works on Next Level of Change   Intro to I Am New Orleans   Letter from Dillard University

A Labor of Genuine Love  Letter of Gift of Photos   Letters from LSU and Skip Gates

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Negro Iron Workers of Louisiana: 1718-1900

By Marcus Bruce Christian

 

Study of the blacksmith tradition and New Orleans famous lace balconies and fences.

Acclaimed during his life as the unofficial poet laureate of the New Orleans African-American community, Marcus Christian recorded a distinguished career as historian, journalist, and literary scholar. He was a contributor to Pelican's Gumbo Ya Ya, and also wrote many articles that appeared in numerous newspapers, journals, and general-interest publications.

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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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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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A Wreath for Emmett Till

By Marilyn Nelson; Illustrated by Philippe Lardy

This memorial to the lynched teen is in the Homeric tradition of poet-as-historian. It is a heroic crown of sonnets in Petrarchan rhyme scheme and, as such, is quite formal not only in form but in language. There are 15 poems in the cycle, the last line of one being the first line of the next, and each of the first lines makes up the entirety of the 15th. This chosen formality brings distance and reflection to readers, but also calls attention to the horrifically ugly events. The language is highly figurative in one sonnet, cruelly graphic in the next. The illustrations echo the representative nature of the poetry, using images from nature and taking advantage of the emotional quality of color. There is an introduction by the author, a page about Emmett Till, and literary and poetical footnotes to the sonnets. The artist also gives detailed reasoning behind his choices. This underpinning information makes this a full experience, eminently teachable from several aspects, including historical and literary—School Library Journal

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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

Browse all issues


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

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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posted 17 April 2010

 

 

 

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