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You are doing a wonderful thing in bringing his writing into print and establishing him

 in the canon of African American authors. I regret that an extremely full schedule

 

 

[Editor's note: Below is my first attempt to get the poems of Marcus Bruce Christian published. The editor in effect told me that LSU does not publish dead poets, even if he is a native son. RL

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Letters from LSU and Skip Gates

on Publishing the Poems Marcus Bruce Christian

 

October 22, 1985

Louisiana State University Press

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70893

Mr. Rudolph Lewis

Department of English

University of New Orleans

Lakefront

New Orleans, LA 70148

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Thank you for your letter of October 20. I'm sorry we are not bale to invite submission of "The Selected Poems of Marcus Bruce Christian." We have a very modest series of publishing original poems, generally by living poets. But we have been forced to adopt a policy of not considering selected or collected poems, since our own series is so modest. We do appreciate your thinking of the Press with Mr. Christian's work, and we wish you the best of luck with finding a suitable outlet for it.

Best regards,

(Ms.) Beverly Jarrett

Associate Director & Executive Editor

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[Editor's note: Having been frustrated by the white folks. I went to my brother Skip, with hat in hand pressed tightly against my chest, to see if he could help in our efforts to bring Marcus Bruce Christian from out of the pit that had been dug for him. It was hope against hope, for I knew that Skip was part of the problem because he had left Christian out of his Anthology. He had been involved in publishing however, another Louisiana writer, Alice Dunbar Nelson (which there was little interest other than that she was a black female writer). Below is his response. RL

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October 12, 1999

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Director

W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities

W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research

Harvard University

Barker Center

12 Quincy Street

Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138-3879

Dear Mr. Lewis:

Thank you much for your recent letter and the copy of Marcus Christian's poems. You are doing a wonderful thing in bringing his writing into print and establishing him in the canon of African American authors. I regret that an extremely full schedule means that I simply have no time for an additional time project, no matter how interesting, and so I cannot take on the writing of an introduction to the publication of another collection of Christian's poems. I regret this, but I know we can all trust your dedication to bring Marcus Christian and his work to the attention they deserve.

Sincerely,

[signed "Skip"]

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

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[Editor's note: We also sent Joyce A. Joyce, while she was chair of Temple's Afro-American Studies Department, a copy of I Am New Orleans & Other Poems By Marcus B. Christian to review. I knew she too was part of the canon problem because I had attempted to get her to include Christian in the Anthology she worked on in the late 80s. I brought up the Christian poems then. As I understand it, she was too busy cleaning up after the maid to respond, even though I went out of the way to bring her to Baltimore for a speaking engagement at Enoch Pratt Free Library. Another excuse was that Asante and his posse in the department were threatening to do her bodily damage. RL]

posted 20 August 2005

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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man's turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners' plans to give him a "necktie party" (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by "the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn't operate in his own home town." Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson's magnificent, extensively researched study of the "great migration," the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an "uncertain existence" in the North and Midwest.

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Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change

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So Rich, So Poor: Why It's So Hard to End Poverty in America

By Peter Edelman

If the nation’s gross national income—over $14 trillion—were divided evenly across the entire U.S. population, every household could call itself middle class. Yet the income-level disparity in this country is now wider than at any point since the Great Depression. In 2010 the average salary for CEOs on the S&P 500 was over $1 million—climbing to over $11 million when all forms of compensation are accounted for—while the current median household income for African Americans is just over $32,000. How can some be so rich, while others are so poor? In this provocative book, Peter Edelman, a former top aide to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and a lifelong antipoverty advocate, offers an informed analysis of how this country can be so wealthy yet have a steadily growing number of unemployed and working poor. According to Edelman, we have taken important positive steps without which 25 to 30 million more people would be poor, but poverty fluctuates with the business cycle.

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Weep Not, Child

By Ngugi wa Thiong'o

This is a powerful, moving story that details the effects of the infamous Mau Mau war, the African nationalist revolt against colonial oppression in Kenya, on the lives of ordinary men and women, and on one family in particular. Two brothers, Njoroge and Kamau, stand on a rubbish heap and look into their futures. Njoroge is excited; his family has decided that he will attend school, while Kamau will train to be a carpenter. Together they will serve their countrythe teacher and the craftsman. But this is Kenya and the times are against them. In the forests, the Mau Mau is waging war against the white government, and the two brothers and their family need to decide where their loyalties lie. For the practical Kamau the choice is simple, but for Njoroge the scholar, the dream of progress through learning is a hard one to give up.—Penguin 

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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

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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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