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White youths . . . hit [me] in the back of the head with a baseball bat. I still carry that scar.

At Westport Elementary School #225, I was called names like buckwheat, midnight,

monkey, ink spot, darky, spade, blacky, black boogey, tar baby, koon, and nigger.

 

 

Preface to Eyes of a Poet

By Kalb Faouly Attimn Tshamba

 

My first name is Kaleb, "kah-leb," the first name of my father. Kaleb is an ancient name, regional and a biblical name from North Africa with several meanings, such as "he who is capable, he who is faithful, he who enters into the land of Canaan." In ancient Assyria, Kaleb means "a loyal servant of a messenger." Kaleb is a name for an Ethiopian male, and means "He who is born to challenge, or defy." It is a warrior's name meaning, "fearless, bold, brave." Kaleb was Emperor of the Christian kingdom of Axum (now northern Ethiopia) from 514-542 A.D.

So what's in your name? Do you know what you name means? If your name has no meaning, then your name is not a word, nor is it an idea. It is just a hollow vibration of sound spoken and received by your ears to get your attention, like the nature sound of falling rain, or a gust of wind before the storm, nature sound that exists only to get one's attention.

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The early years of my life were spent living in the Westport Housing project, which is located in South Baltimore. In 1956, we became the first Afrikan Amerikans to move on Maisel Court. The public housing project where we lived was a predominantly poor, lower-class white community.

When I was ten years old, I became a victim of racial violence. I was attacked by a neighborhood gang of White youths, and while defending myself I was hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat. I still carry that scar. At Westport Elementary School #225, I was called names like buckwheat, midnight, monkey, ink spot, darky, spade, blacky, black boogey, tar baby, koon, and nigger.

I have witnessed police brutality by racist cops and their unprovoked attacks on Afrikan-Amerikan men with my own eyes. I myself was once a victim of a crude game of Russian roulette, was threatened and called a nigger by two white police officers who had picked me up from the Carroll Park Golf Course. I still can remember those wooden telephone poles on Annapolis Road with homemade mannequin models of Afrikan-Amerikan men hanging from a rope tied around their necks, and at night in Westport's big park there were cross burnings.

These events and images didn't make much sense to me at that particular time. They didn't cause me to dislike or hate White people. In stead they helped me to be more aware of and mistrusting of that kind of behavior and attitude expressed by some Whites Whites that I felt were not civil or humane. These past events and mental images were embedded deep inside my memory many years ago. I hadn't even thought about them until now, after being advised that I should say something in this book about my own evolution as a man and a social conscious, political poet.

I am a product of those dreadful times, but I really believe that the late sixties and the early seventies affected me the most. I think my evolution as a social conscious person began with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On April 4, 1968, the riots and revolts followed. I was in my last year of high school and i had a job working at a paper factory after school. i graduated from Edmondson High School on June 17, 1968.

The country was in a turmoil with a national debate on the Vietnam War. The written songs and the music had a common theme based on love, peace, freedom, solidarity, self-pride, political protest, and social awareness. there was a whirlwind of political events, social activities, and street protest demonstrations that had sprung from the Civil Rights Movement into a movement of movements. There were the anti-war movement, the black-power movement, the women liberation movement, the student movement, and so on.

On February 10, 1969, I was hired by Carr Lowrey Glass Company in Westport. My employer informed me about a labor union for white employees and a labor union for black employees. And asked if I wanted to work, I would have to join GPPAW Local #33, the black union. I wasn't thinking about the economic inequity experienced by people of color in segregated labor unions at that time. I wasn't concerned about the social ills of this society, nor the political events that were taking place in the streets.

I was a young male full of fun still in my teens, in the years to come. It wouldn't be until the seventies that political education began May 11, 1969, when I was drafted into the Vietnam war. My tour of active duty was in the U.s. Navy. It is where I learned about a code of conduct and the most powerful meaning of words such as pride, courage, loyalty, honor, self-discipline, respect, justice, equality, and inclusion.

I learned that the military will transform boys into men and make followers into leaders. It was in the military that I obtained manhood. My military experience gave me something to believe in, something to fight for and something to die for. My tour of duty in the United States military had indeed made me more aware and strengthened me.

My travels to far distant lands, meeting with people of different cultures was an eye-opening experience. These experiences shaped my perception of how other people live, how they worship their God, and it gave me a new perception about the world we live in. It transformed and made me more conscious of the social and political condition of Afrikan-Amerikan people, and how Amerikans view people of other nations.

As a result of my political education and experiences, I obtained in the U.S. military I received an Afrkan last name. I had a goal, a mission, a new attitude, and I was forever changed. After being discharged from active service on may 11, 1971, I came home to the State of Maryland, back to Baltimore City, a stronger, a wiser and a more conscious person than when I left. I didn't know then, but I would later be applying those values gain in the U.S. military to my own experience in the struggle for the upliftment of my own people.

I sought employment at my former job, Carr Lowrey Glass Company under the Veteran's Reemployment Rights Act. As I re-entered Carr Lowrey's workforce, i noticed that the company was still behind the times and was unlike the U.S. military which had ended the practice of segregating members by race. Carr Lowrey was still a predominantly white company that openly practiced and engaged in acts that were racist and discriminatory. It was common knowledge that Carr Lowrey did knowingly encourage and maintain segregated labor unions, departments, and bathrooms.

Unlike the military, Carr Lowrey had a practice of excluding Afrikan Amerikans from promotion opportunities. the company had a special test only for Afrikan Amerikans. I became a victim of the company's racist testing policies. It was later revealed that this test was illegal and not supposed to have been given to anyone in the State of Maryland. Unlike the military, where Afrikan Amerikan men were addressed by their names, Carr Lowrey's management and staff called Afrkan Amerikan men "boy."

It had been a few months since my separation from the Vietnam conflict and now I was about to enter another type of conflict, except this was more personal. i felt that it was my duty as a man to get involved in this struggle, to fight for equal rights and social justice on the job and off the job. i had now become a labor activist, agitator, and union organizer.

On June 30, 1975, the Court certified Car Lowrey's Black employees as a class. On November 15, 1981, in the Court Order consent Decree Settlement of this class action lawsuit, Carr Lowrey Glass Company agreed to the terms of this settlement that Black employees who applied for and were denied promotion to craft positions were to receive backpay and a promotion to craft positions which they were previously denied, and to reinstate fifteen black employees who were discharged and to distribute backpay to fifty present and former employees.

The company also agreed to "provide equal employment opportunities to all regardless of race or color in their recruitment, hiring, promotion, testing, job assignment, job classification, job qualification, discharge and discipline, practices, policies, and system and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment would be maintained and conducted in a manner that does not discriminate on the basis of race in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act."

My participation as a union activist on my job in this struggle for justice and equality prepared me to engage and speak out against other social ills of society. Seeing people every day crippled by addiction, unemployment, racial discrimination and poverty, I supported and helped my own neighborhood of Westport. I started a community-based information and educational grocery store in Westport, which I named Umoja Harambee Community Grocery Store. I joined and got involved with the different religious, political, cultural, and community-based organizations in Baltimore City and I supported the struggle of those Afrikan liberation movement abroad.

I became a social conscious, political activist, a community organizer and trade unionist. It was my involvement in these combined struggles of promoting human rights, and social justice for all people that led me to enroll in college. My related college experience as an undergraduate student, majoring in political science at Morgan  and Coppin State between 1977-1981, provided me with the knowledge and training that eventually led me to evolve into a full-fledged social conscious, political poet.

Through my poetry I began expressing my activism and my protest. iIhave been invited to perform at numerous protest demonstrations outside the prisons, at City Hall, the State House, at recreation centers and parks, at colleges and universities, and a large number of churches and radio stations throughout Baltimore City by reading my political poetry. . . . Poetry can be used to educate as well as entertain the listener or the reader. . . . To understand me is to understand my story. These poems are part of my story and my evolution.

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Facing a possible arrest over the fatal shooting of an unarmed former Marine after a night of club-hopping, Baltimore Police Officer Gahiji A. Tshamba continues to pop in to the Eastern District station where he worked for years. Here, the 15-year veteran is among friends and colleagues, known not as a killer enraged by slights over a woman but as the quiet, studious-looking officer who, as one colleague put it, would "do anything to help you." . . . 

Tshamba, a reserved and smallish man who in photographs looks more like an R&B singer than a streetwise officer, grew up in the Baltimore area and has three siblings, including twin brothers, records indicate. No one responded when reporters visited their homes, scattered from North Baltimore's Winston-Gardens to Bolton Hill. They and others, including the father's ex-wife, who lives in Woodlawn, did not respond to interview requests.

Facing a possible arrest over the fatal shooting of an unarmed former Marine after a night of club-hopping, Baltimore Police Officer Gahiji A. Tshamba continues to pop in to the Eastern District station where he worked for years.

Here, the 15-year veteran is among friends and colleagues, known not as a killer enraged by slights over a woman but as the quiet, studious-looking officer who, as one colleague put it, would "do anything to help you." . . .    .

Tshamba, a reserved and smallish man who in photographs looks more like an R&B singer than a streetwise officer, grew up in the Baltimore area and has three siblings, including twin brothers, records indicate. No one responded when reporters visited their homes, scattered from North Baltimore's Winston-Gardens to Bolton Hill. They and others, including the father's ex-wife, who lives in Woodlawn, did not respond to interview requests.

Public records for family members point back to the same three-story brick rowhouse on West North Avenue owned by Kaleb Tshamba, identified in a court divorce file as the officer's 60-year-old father. Virtually every relative has listed that address as a residence at one time or another over the past decade. The home appears occupied, but nobody has answered the door on repeated visits or responded to notes requesting interviews.

Plants hang in the windows and flowers bloom in a pot outside. A sign in the window warns: "No loitering or sitting on the steps. Will result in your arrest. By order of the Baltimore Police Department."

The home's answering machine asks callers to leave a message if they want to schedule an event at the Arch Social Club, located a few blocks to the east at West North and Pennsylvania avenues. Founded in 1912, it is one of the city's oldest African-American clubs and was once a venue for famous jazz musicians.

Kaleb Tshamba keeps a poetry journal on an Internet site called ChickenBones, described as a literary publication of African-American themes. The elder Tshamba has written a—

 lengthy personal history describing growing up in southern Baltimore's Westport public housing developments and being one of the first black families there in 1956.

He writes about racism at the hands of white police officers in the 1950s and 1960s, and of working for a defunct glass company after graduating from Edmondson High School.

In the late 1970s, the father writes, he became a "full-fledged social conscious political poet" who spoke at demonstrations outside Baltimore prisons, City Hall, the State House, churches and universities. His personal history does not contain any references to family or to his son the police officer.—Officer in shooting led turbulent life, Trouble on and off the force

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Tshamba's turbulent past  / Justified Ltr - Non-fatal Shooting of George McAleer (Tshamba)

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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

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Africa Makes Some Noise—Documentary on contemporary music from Africa

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Guarding the Flame of Life

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New Orleans Jazz Funeral for tuba player Kerwin James / They danced atop his casket Jaran 'Julio' Green

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Track List
1.  Congo Square (9:01)
2.  My Story, My Song (20:50)
3.  Danny Banjo (4:32)
4.  Miles Davis (10:26)
5.  Hard News For Hip Harry (5:03)
6.  Unfinished Blues (4:13)
7.  Rainbows Come After The Rain (2:21)/Negroidal Noise (15:53)
8.  Intro (3:59)
9.  The Whole History (3:14)
10.  Negroidal Noise (5:39)
11.  Waving At Ra (1:40)
12.  Landing (1:21)
13.  Good Luck (:04)

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music website > http://www.kalamu.com/bol/
writing website > http://wordup.posterous.com/
daily blog > http://kalamu.posterous.com
twitter > http://twitter.com/neogriot
facebook > http://www.facebook.com/kalamu.salaam

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The transcendent power of music has long been recognized as a vehicle for spiritual practice and a path to spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment. Spiritual music, a universally powerful form of prayer, has for millennia provided human beings with a sense of the greater spiritual universe. Chanting forms part of many religious rituals, and diverse spiritual traditions consider music as a means of opening the individual to spiritual experience. I

n this episode of Global Spirit, host Phil Cousineau explores the transcendent qualities of spiritual and sacred music with guests Rev. Alan Jones and Grammy-award-winning singer and member of the Native American Onondaga tribe Joanne Shenandoah.  Experience the power of liturgical musical performances in Latin from Grace Cathedral in San Francisco (where the Rev. Jones serves as Dean) and witness powerful, live studio performances by Joanne Shenandoah and her daughter.

This episode also includes a hauntingly moving, seven-minute sequence from Peter Brook’s film, Meetings with Remarkable Men, in which the young mystic Gurdjieff learns the power of sacred sound as it resonates from the Afghan mountaintops.—Music, Sound and the Sacred

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Among the many forms in which the human spirit has tried to express its innermost yearnings and perceptions, music is perhaps the most universal. It symbolizes the yearnings for harmony, with oneself and with others, with nature and with the spiritual and sacred within us and around us. There is something in music that transcends and unites. This is evident in the sacred music of every community—music that expresses the universal yearning that is shared by people all over the globe.—His Holiness the Dalai Lama

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John Coltrane A Love Supreme

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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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Hopes and Prospects

By Noam Chomsky

In this urgent new book, Noam Chomsky surveys the dangers and prospects of our early twenty-first century. Exploring challenges such as the growing gap between North and South, American exceptionalism (including under President Barack Obama), the fiascos of Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S.-Israeli assault on Gaza, and the recent financial bailouts, he also sees hope for the future and a way to move forward—in the democratic wave in Latin America and in the global solidarity movements that suggest "real progress toward freedom and justice." Hopes and Prospects is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the primary challenges still facing the human race. "This is a classic Chomsky work: a bonfire of myths and lies, sophistries and delusions. Noam Chomsky is an enduring inspiration all over the world—to millions, I suspect—for the simple reason that he is a truth-teller on an epic scale. I salute him." —John Pilger

In dissecting the rhetoric and logic of American empire and class domination, at home and abroad, Chomsky continues a longstanding and crucial work of elucidation and activism . . .the writing remains unswervingly rational and principled throughout, and lends bracing impetus to the real alternatives before us.—
Publisher's Weekly

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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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)

 

 

update 11 January 2012

 

 

 

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