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He painted a red streak down the back of my coat. Then they walked away, laughing.

 

 

 Books by and about Daisy Bates

Long Shadow of Little Rock (Daisy Bates,1998)  / Daisy Bates Civil Rights Crusader from Arkansas (Grif Sockley, 2005)

The Power of One: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine (Fradin, 2004) / Young and Black in America (Julius Lester,1972)

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The Death of Daddy

By Daisy Bates (1914-1999)

 

The summers of the following years, for the most part, were spent on our farm in eastern Arkansas where my grandmother lived with a brown hound dog, an old gray riding horse, a temperamental milk cow, and pigs fattening for winter meat. Occasionally we would take a trip to other states, or I would be sent to visit friends or relatives of my parents.

I was in my teens. On one of my visits away from home my mother sent for me. My father had been taken to the hospital. When I arrived home, the doctor told me it was just a matter of time. Daddy was gravely ill. The bottom had dropped out of my world.

One night Daddy told Mother to go home and get some sleep. “Daisy will stay with me,” he assured her.

When Mother and the nurse had left, I stood looking down at his tired dark face against the white of the bed linen. I saw the wrinkles etched deep by a lifetime of struggle, and I saw a stubborn chin and proud high forehead. I started to cry, softly. He opened his eyes. “Don’t cry Daisy,” he moaned. “I know I’m going to die, but-”

I started to protest, but his upraised hand stopped me. He knew I knew, and to deny it would make meaningless the honesty we’d always held to in our lifelong relationship with each other. He said calmly, “I’ll be better off.” I knew this was so. He had cancer.

I haven’t much to leave you, Daisy, so come close and listen and remember what I have to say to you.”

I drew a chair close and place my hand in his.

“You’re filled with hatred. Hate can destroy you, Daisy. Don’t hate white people just because they’re white. If you hate, make it count for something. Hate the humiliations we are living under in the South. Hate the discrimination that eats away at the soul of every black man and woman. Hate the insults hurled at us by white scum--and then try to do something about it, or your hate won’t spell a thing.”

“I’m listening to every word you say Daddy, and I’ll try to do what you say. But rest--you must rest now.”

He closed his eyes and shook his head impatiently. “I’ll decide when I need rest.”

How I loved this strong man who all his life had not been able to use his strength in the way he wanted to. He was forced to suppress it and hold himself back, bow to the white yoke or be cut down. And now that his life was ebbing, he was trying to draw on that reservoir of unused strength to give me a lasting inheritance.

“Daisy,” he resumed, “nothing’s going to change all of the sudden, and any Negro speaking out alone will suffer. But more and more will join him, and the blacks, acting together will one day . . .”

His voice grew faint. I held my breath. Starting afresh, he continued haltingly, “I remember the day of your mother’s funeral. I went to the post office for the mail. I had on my best dark suit. When I came out of the post office, there were three young white hoodlums standing on the steps. One of them said, 'Look at that dressed up ape! You live here, boy?' When I didn’t answer, two of them blocked my path and the other one said, 'I know what’s wrong, he needs something red on!' He picked up a brush from a paint bucket left there by a painter who’s been painting the brick foundation around the buildings. He painted a red streak down the back of my coat. Then they walked away, laughing. I stood there with murder in my heart. I could’ve crushed the life out of him with my bare hands. But I knew if I touched one hair on his head I could be lynched.

“On the way home I met one of the deputy sheriffs. I showed him my coat and told him what had happened. He laughed and said, 'Don’t get so upset about a little thing like that. They were just having a little fun. Turpentine will take the paint out of your coat'.”

Daddy stopped talking and closed his eyes. I just sat there, constantly patting his hard knuckles, hoping he would speak again. He did. This time his voice, still distinct, was softer than before but more labored.

“Sometimes,” he said, “you know later when you should have died. I ought to have died the day they put paint on my coat. I should have taken those guys and wrung their necks like chickens. But I wanted to live--for what, I sometimes wonder.”

I stopped patting the back of his hand, and he drifted off into sleep. Looking back at him, I sensed he would never awaken. It was now nearly daybreak. When the Catholic Sister came into the room, I greeted her warmly. It was the first time in several years that I had spoken to a white person in a pleasant voice.

I walked out into the silent streets. The grass, heavy with dew, caught the sun’s early rays. In most of the yards flowers still bloomed, and in many, red roses. I thought of another such morning years ago, and of the red rose I couldn’t bare to pick. I knew like that rose which clung to its branch in a last, flaming farewell, my father would die before the end of the day. I did not cry for I realized that he was at peace with himself for the first time in years.

As I walked along the streets taking in the freshness of the early morning air, I knew that as surely as my father was dying, I was undergoing a rebirth. My father had passed on to me a priceless heritage--one that would sustain me throughout the years to come.

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Daisy Bates Desegregating Little Rock 

By Julius Lester

On May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. This historic ruling struck at the very core of the social structure of the South and it was to be expected that many cities and states would be unwilling to put it into practice. The first big confrontation came in Little Rock, Arkansas, in the fall of 1957.

Nine black students were to enter all-white Central High School. A few days before school was to open, Orval Faubus, then governor of Arkansas, ordered the National Guard to surround the school. He reasoned that violence would occur when the nine blacks tried to enter the school. However, instead of ordering the National Guard to stop any violence which might occur, he ordered the Guard to keep the blacks out of the school. This was the first open defiance of the Supreme Court decision by a top state official.

The nine black students, their parents, and advisers, had a difficult decision to make. Should the students still try to enter Central High? It was decided that they should. When the day came mobs of whites lined the sidewalk and filled the streets in front of the school. The National Guard blocked the entrances, pointed bayonets at the black students, and refused to escort them to safety through the crowd of whites. As the students tired to make their way through the mob, they were spat upon and beaten.

The central figure in the drama was Mrs. Daisy Bates, state president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Born and raised in the small town of Huttig, Arkansas, Daisy Lee Gatson married when she was eighteen years old and with her husband, L. C. Bates, moved to Little Rock. There, they decided to assume the ownership of a weekly newspaper, the State Press. Together, they slowly made the paper into the voice of blacks in Arkansas, protesting police brutality, the lack of equal rights in housing, in jobs, and in the courtroom.

In 1952 Mrs. Bates was elected president of the Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP. The NAACP had taken the lead in the fight for the desegregation of schools. It was involved in trying to make sure that the 1954 ruling was put into practice. Such an effort required not only the skills of lawyers, but also the commitment of many anonymous people, like Mrs. Bates, who were responsible for building strong organizations on the local level to prepare for the day when desegregation came. Just how important such preparation was did not become clear, however, until the confrontation around Central High.

When the governor said that there would be no desegregation, the blacks of Little Rock could either bow their heads or fight. Much of the burden for the decision was carried by Mrs. Bates, as a leader of the black community. The decision to fight placed the lives of all who were involved in danger. Without the kind of leadership and courage shown by Mrs. Bates, the ordeal could not have been endured.

Mrs. Bates’ life was constantly threatened and for many months. She did not leave her home without carrying a gun, or go to bed at night without armed guards posted outside her home. The newspaper which she and her husband had built was forced out of business by whites. Yet Mrs. Bates and the blacks of Little Rock persevered. Her book, The Long Shadow of Little Rock is more than a personal story. It is the story of countless blacks who, in extraordinary times, have had to show extraordinary courage

Source: Young and Black in America (1972), edited by Julius Lester

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Commentary on Daisy Bates’ How My Mother Died

By Amin Sharif 

Daisy Bates is representative of the kind of unselfish black woman raised under the Old South tradition of racism and segregation. Not a feminist, nor a womanist--Daisy was a Race woman who placed the needs of her people before her own. In her How My Mother Died, we are given a unique portrait of how complicated life was for every black man, woman, and child in the early and middle decades of the 1900’s.

Told from the perspective of an eight year old, Daisy’s writings soon confronts the reader with issues of race and murder-subjects one would think would hardly enter into the mind of one so young as an eight year old. Yet these subjects are not only on Daisy’s mind, they forever separate her from her childhood joy. When she is confronted with her first incident of racism by a white butcher, Daisy finds herself  “praying that the butcher would die.” And later, when Daisy finds out that her mother was murdered at the hands of white men, she gives up “dolls and games” and vows to find the men who had killed her mother.

All of this would seem like so much sensationalism if these issues were not handled so well by Daisy. There is more sadness than rage in Daisy’s writing. And we find out early on why Daisy’s response to her mother’s death and white racism does not set her on a path of self-destruction or pessimism. The reason for Daisy’s stability is her father or step-father. It is this man who established a rock solid relationship with Daisy and who shepherds her through her early crisis. As much as the themes of racism and violence, the theme of love between these two--father and daughter--draws the reader into Daisy’s complex world. In the end, it is the love of this wise, understanding man that would transform Daisy and make her into one of the giants of the Civil Rights Movement.

Source: Young and Black in America (1972), edited by Julius Lester

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Charles Mingus: Fable of Faubus

"Fables of Faubus" is a song composed by jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus. One of Mingus' most explicitly political works, the song was written as a direct protest against Arkansas governor Orval E. Faubus, who in 1957 sent out the National Guard to prevent the integration of Little Rock Central High School by nine African American teenagers. The song was first recorded for Mingus' 1959 album, Mingus Ah Um. Columbia refused to allow the lyrics to the song to be included, and so the song was recorded as an instrumental on the album. It was not until October 20, 1960 that the song was recorded with lyrics, for the album Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus, which was released on the more independent Candid label. Due to contractual issues with Columbia, the song could not be released as "Fables of Faubus", and so the Candid version was titled "Original Faubus Fables."

The personnel for the Candid recording were Charles Mingus (bass, vocals), Dannie Richmond (drums, vocals), Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone), and Ted Curson (trumpet). The vocals featured a call-and-response between Mingus and Richmond. Critic Don Heckman commented on the unedited "Original Faubus Fables" in a 1962 review that it was "a classic Negro put-down in which satire becomes a deadly rapier-thrust. Faubus emerges in a glare of ridicule as a mock villain whom no-one really takes seriously. This kind of commentary, brimful of feeling, bitingly direct and harshly satiric, appears far too rarely in jazz." The song, either with or without lyrics, was one of the compositions which Mingus returned to most often, both on record and in concert.—Wikipedia

photo left: As fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Eckford tried to enter the school, soldiers of the National Guard, under orders from Arkansas Governor Faubus, would step in her way to prevent her from entering.

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Fable of Faubus

                                   By Charles Mingus

Oh, Lord, don't let 'em shoot us!
Oh, Lord, don't let 'em stab us!
Oh, Lord, don't let 'em tar and feather us!
Oh, Lord, no more swastikas!
Oh, Lord, no more Ku Klux Klan!

Name me someone who's ridiculous, Dannie.
Governor Faubus!
Why is he so sick and ridiculous?
He won't permit integrated schools.

Then he's a fool! Boo! Nazi Fascist supremists!
Boo! Ku Klux Klan (with your Jim Crow plan)

Name me a handful that's ridiculous, Dannie Richmond.
Faubus, Rockefeller, Eisenhower
Why are they so sick and ridiculous?

Two, four, six, eight:
They brainwash and teach you hate.
H-E-L-L-O, Hello.

Orval E. Faubus was the governor of Arkansas in 1957 and against desegregation. He sent the National Guard to prevent black children from attending high school in Little Rock.

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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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Ancient, Ancient: Short Fiction

By Kiini Ibura Salaam

Ancient, Ancient collects the short fiction by Kiini Ibura Salaam, of which acclaimed author and critic Nalo Hopkinson writes, ''Salaam treats words like the seductive weapons they are. She wields them to weave fierce, gorgeous stories that stroke your sensibilities, challenge your preconceptions, and leave you breathless with their beauty.'' Indeed, Ms. Salaam's stories are so permeated with sensuality that in her introduction to Ancient, Ancient, Nisi Shawl, author of the award-winning Filter House, writes, ''Sexuality-cum-sensuality is the experiential link between mind and matter, the vivid and eternal refutation of the alleged dichotomy between them. This understanding is the foundation of my 2004 pronouncement on the burgeoning sexuality implicit in sf's Afro-diasporization. It is the core of many African-based philosophies. And it is the throbbing, glistening heart of Kiini's body of work. This book is alive. Be not afraid.''

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Day of Tears

By Julius Lester

This powerful and engaging historical novel is told in dialogue and through monologues. It also moves around in time, from the period when the story takes place to "interludes," in which the various characters look back on these events years later. It begins with a factual event—the largest slave auction in United States history that took place in 1859 on Pierce Butler's plantation in Georgia. The book introduces Butler, his abolitionist ex-wife Fanny Kemble, their two daughters, the auctioneer, and a number of slaves sold to pay off Butler's gambling debts. Emma, a fictional house slave, is the centerpiece of the novel. She cares for the master's daughters and has been promised that she will never be sold. On the last day of the auction, Butler impulsively sells her to a woman from Kentucky. There she marries, runs away, and eventually gains her freedom in Canada. Lester has done an admirable job of portraying the simmering anger and aching sadness that the slaves must have felt. Each character is well drawn and believable. Both blacks and whites liberally use the word "nigger," which will be jarring to modern-day students.

The text itself is easy to read and flows nicely. Different typefaces distinguish the characters' monologues, their dialogues with one another, and their memories. Still, middle school readers may have some difficulty following the plot until they get used to the unusual format. Altogether this novel does a superb job of showing the inhumanity of slavery. It begs to be read aloud, and it could be used in sections to produce some stunning reader's theatre.—School Library Journal

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today.

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Representing the Race

The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer

By Kenneth W. Mack

Representing the Race tells the story of an enduring paradox of American race relations, through the prism of a collective biography of African American lawyers who worked in the era of segregation. . . . Mack reorients what we thought we knew about famous figures such as Thurgood Marshall, who rose to prominence by convincing local blacks and prominent whites that he was—as nearly as possible—one of them. But he also introduces a little-known cast of characters to the American racial narrative. These include Loren Miller, the biracial Los Angeles lawyer who, after learning in college that he was black, became a Marxist critic of his fellow black attorneys and ultimately a leading civil rights advocate; and Pauli Murray, a black woman who seemed neither black nor white, neither man nor woman, who helped invent sex discrimination as a category of law. The stories of these lawyers pose the unsettling question: what, ultimately, does it mean to “represent” a minority group in the give-and-take of American law and politics? / For Love of Liberty

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The Shadows of Youth

The Remarkable Journey of the Civil Rights Generation

By Andrew B. Lewis

With deep admiration and rigorous scholarship, historian Lewis (Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table) revisits the ragtag band of young men and women who formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Impatient with what they considered the overly cautious and accommodating pace of the NAACP and Martin Luther King Jr., the black college students and their white allies, inspired by Gandhi's principles of nonviolence and moral integrity, risked their lives to challenge a deeply entrenched system. Fanning out over the Jim Crow South, SNCC organized sit-ins, voter registration drives, Freedom Schools and protest marches. Despite early successes, the movement disintegrated in the late 1960s, succeeded by the militant Black Power movement.

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Karma’s Footsteps

By Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie

Somebody has to tell the truth sometime, whatever that truth may be. In this, her début full collection, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie offers up a body of work that bears its scars proudly, firm in the knowledge that each is evidence of a wound survived. These are songs of life in all its violent difficulty and beauty; songs of fury, songs of love. 'Karma's Footsteps' brims with things that must be said and turns the volume up, loud, giving silence its last rites. "Ekere Tallie's new work 'Karma's Footsteps' is as fierce with fight songs as it is with love songs. Searing with truths from the modern day world she is unafraid of the twelve foot waves that such honesties always manifest. A poet who "refuses to tiptoe" she enters and exits the page sometimes with short concise imagery, sometimes in the arms of delicate memoir. Her words pull the forgotten among us back into the lightning of our eyes.—Nikky Finney /  Ekere Tallie Table

Her Voice   / Mother Nature: Thoughts on Nourishing Your Body, Mind, and Spirit During Pregnancy and Beyond  www.ekeretallie.com  

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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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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 28 May 2012

 

 

 

Home    Civil Rights: Struggle for Black Power    Religion & Politics   Amin Sharif Table

Related files: What It Means to Be Negro  The Death of Daddy  The Death of My Mother  The Little Rock Nine  Sylvia Hill Post 6th PAC   No Easy Victories (Damu) 

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