to the Editor 2004
“Driving the Blues Away”
Excellent piece Uncle Rudy!
I'm pleased for you that you two were able to
spend time together over the holidays.
* * * *
Your memoir, “Driving the Blues Away,” is so warm and
truly makes you feel like my brother, being raised in the Negro
Baptist church, your father’s prayers at the table, your
mother singing in the choir . . . these are also my memories.
My father died in March 2001 (two months before his 89th
birthday). I was a “daddy’s girl,” and prayed incessantly
for years that he would not leave me. It was selfish prayers . .
. still I needed him for a long time . . . well into middle age.
Finally, I was ready to let him go . . . In those final days my
father could not speak except through the movement of his
fingers as I sang yet one more spiritual I’d heard as a child
when he was younger and they were common at our church at the
corner of 23rd and Jefferson Avenue in Newport News.
The intimacy we shared in those last days was wonderful, I think
as much so as when I was a baby.
God truly answers prayer (as your mother reminded you) in the
most unpredictable and loving ways.
I wish peace for you and your family during this holiday
* * * *
I just read your article of
your Grandmother. It was wonderfully written, the pace was
astounding, the voicing beautiful. I guess all that we can do is
hope for the best in these situations. I have just spent the
holiday talking with my brother and working out the finances for
my mother's funeral. She is 79 now. I hope that you are taking
care of yourself. Stay Strong! amin sharif
* * * *
an opportunity to read the piece at home last night. It is a
very moving piece. I love when you share your feelings in your
writing. I like how you spoke about the past and present in this
piece. I could visualize everything you wrote about. You made
the words come alive for me. Because I had an opportunity to
meet Mama, it was near and dear to my heart. I like the way you
bridge the past, present and even future. Your discussion of the
incident with the gun was very moving.
wondered about how old you were. I know you love your Mama very
much, but you seem to be more understanding of Lucinda than in
the past. I really like that. I really can relate
to how you feel because of the health problems of my mother.
am so proud of you for being able to put your feelings down on
paper. It took me a very long time to want to share my feelings
with anyone after the deaths of my husband and son. Mama is
alive and so is my mother. We should cherish every minute that
they are with us. You are such a good writer.
happy about the book and the success of ChickenBones.
Somehow money and even success
pails when we think about our families and special loved ones.
Well, that's enough preaching . Have a blessed day. Let's keep
* * * *
That's a great piece.
* * * *
much for sharing your story and for the inspiration to face all
the Mondays ahead. It sounds like you have great genes to
* * * *
course, it is a good piece. i would reverse the last two
paragraphs so that you complete the circle established by the
title. there are a couple of other grammar/technical matters, but
nothing you won't catch if you read it aloud when you do a final
i like the autobiographical nature. it is really "you
talking" and even though the subject matter is ostensibly
your mother, the deeper subject is you and your thoughts about
mortality and living a good life. i like pieces like this. it's a
i would like to put it on e-drum. what sayeth thou? aye or nay?
awaiting your reply,
* * * *
doin up dis early? That was real good, quite moving.
Sounds like you had a good visit.Fred
* * * *
you for sharing a powerful portrait of your mother. I cried
as I read it, because, for weeks, I have been holding my breath
for my Ashanti mother who it seems is waiting for God to call her
home. It is sad, yet the bravery of a mother is comforting.
Thank you for your comforting words.
bless you and your family.
* * * *
Good day, Rudy,
Despite my long silence, you
have been on my mind as you toil away on 33rd street. I hope
you are making progress in your monumental challenge to expose the
young people to the vast world of knowledge you understand and
hold the key to for them in the library. . . .
But I have spent sometime
journeying to Jerusalem with you in this article of your recent
visit, always a respite in the peace of that rural scene, so
filled with tenderness in the midst of the hard life lived there
by too many in the past, and still.
Thanks for continuing to
include me in that circle of your personal remembrance.
* * * *
for sharing your beautiful mother's story with me. I read every
drop to the finish. It is a great narrative and a great story. You
should send it to a magazine. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving final minutes
* * * *
I really enjoyed reading
that. I, like you, can see so much of this in me. I'm
a different generation being 31, but I was raised by my
grandparents (mama and daddy) because of a 17 yr. old mom's
circumstances, and everything that you capture in your writing I
can identify with first hand.
My grandparents are 73 and 85
right now. Daddy (85) is giving Mama a run for her money.
He's crabby, still wants to drive all over town, won't wear his
new glasses and will never see a dentist. I talk to her
several times a week, and she makes me laugh. He's
forgetting things all the time. He had a bunion removed last
week, and mama caught him elevating his other leg (smile).
Her stories are so funny, but everyday, I know that they both get
closer and closer to the end. I try not to think about
nothing except that they have paid the ultimate price in this life
and that they have instilled so much "good" in me that I
should never go bad. Thanks for sharing.
Your memories and experiences always spark so much in me. Happy Holidays.
* * * *
Greetings from Mexico City!
Words cannot express how so very moving this piece was for me.
It is very touching!
* * * *
I am so glad to see your web site. It is a
great idea to promote
Marcus Christian. I do admire this author. I discovered his
photo in Quebec City at the library of the University during my
PhD. Then I went to UNO and I discovered the immense work he has
done. He was a remarkable man. I would like to write in French
his biography one Day and to promote his life and work. I hope I
will succeed in my project. Thank you so much
* * * *
Congratulations on ChickenBones: A Journal:
a very fine web site, both current and historical, extensive and
informative. It has become a favorite of mine, prompting several
visits a week.
One slight error in transcription on page
About 5/6 of the way through you show "But Toussaint, like
Robespierre, destroyed his own left-wing, and with it sealed his
own doom. The tragedy was that there was need for it."
The original text includes "no" in
the second sentence and reads "The tragedy was that there
was no need for it." p. 286, Vintage Edition, 1963.
In these times we need intelligent,
compassionate voices - keep up the good work. With respect
* * * *
ChickenBones: A Journal is most excellent.
I guess you remember me. (smile) I just wanted to
let you know that I love your site. . . . I was telling a
friend about ChickenBones: A Journal and decided to
hobble to the computer to write you. I am never
disappointed when I view your site. You are so talented, I
am proud to know you. I need to rest now but will do
better with keeping in touch. Continued blessings, Jerhretta Dafina
* * * *
for posting the piece. Outstanding website!
Progressive, diverse voices, authentically creative and
artistic. I'll be sure to send more pieces your way as things
come to mind. John
* * * *
Rivera on Toussaint & ChickenBones
I agree practically totally with your
assessment of Toussaint & his impact [on the 19th Century!
and...] on social struggle throughout the Americas . . .
By the way, after I read a few of the pieces regarding Toussaint,
Oge, Christophe, Dessalines, etc., I reached back to review the
interview you did on me... It's amazing to me how well it all
reads and how relevant it is to the exposition of ideas,
especially with the pimping of our hunger that goes on (thus,...
your three amigos) . . .
When you get a chance, you should review your items to clean up
the little errors that have been popping up as late. lower case
when it should be Capitalized, misspellings here and there... Your
site is going to go on for ever, even after you stop doing it...
it still serves as a collection of contemporary history and views
not likely to be found anywhere... You take care. Hapy New Year!
* * * *
Dear Mr. Lewis:
Permit me to introduce myself. My name is
Benjamin Albert Dent, son of Jessie Covington Dent and Albert W.
Dent (President of Dillard University for many years), and brother
of the late poet Tom Dent. I was recently goggling around, and
found your article entitled, Jesse Covington Dent, Concert
Artist & Humanist. Thank you for the kind article about my
mother and father.
With apologies for being a nit-picker, I
thought you might like to know about a couple of minor spelling
errors in the article.
My mother's first name is spelled
"Jessie," (with an "i"). She always told us
that the feminine form of the name was spelled "Jessie,"
whereas the masculine form of the name was spelled
"Jesse" (without the "i"). In fact, her
father's name was Benjamin Jesse Covington -- the source of both
my mother's name "Jessie" and my own name
"Benjamin." In any case, she spelled her name
I also noted another very common misspelling --
it's "Juilliard," (with two "i's"). See
Best wishes for the Holiday Season,
* * * *
for letting me know that you received this essay and how you are.
I am saddened to hear about your concerns about your decisions to
put out ChickenBones.
I want to
tell you how much ChickenBones has meant to me. I
feel very indebted to ChickenBones for the space you have
provided me and other writers, artists and activists. You
have certainly made many sacrifices in your own life to do so, and
I know that has not been easy. Your willingness to continue
on, despite the sacrifices and set-backs is one of the reasons I
appreciate you and ChickenBones so much.
created such an important space, one that, as the hits to the site
can attest to, people are eager to have, both to publish work and
to read and learn from. I think that the sharing of ideas is
such a pivotal part of movement and social change, it has the
potential to broaden our horizons, deepen our understanding, and
provide us with vocabulary to understand the world and our
place in it. I know that it has been other people's words
that have soothed me, helped me think through a situation, and to
locate my own humanity through all of this mess.
Rudy, you help to create such an opportunity for many,
many others. You have helped to archive and reclaim history
and to also showcase today's voices, the ones who are trying to
carry on a beautiful and inspiring legacy of self-affirmation,
resistance, and the determination to create alternative ideologies
and a new world. You have helped to bridge the past with the
In short, ChickenBones
has such a special place in my heart. And you, dear Rudy, as one
of the first people who reached out to me when I began
to write publicly, provided me a space to present my views,
and who has also been kind enough to engage me about my
work and life, you have a special place in my heart as well.
You have helped to nurture, nourish and encourage me as an
emerging writer, and I am so very grateful to you for that.
how truly appreciative people, including myself, are to you for
all of the work and sacrifice put into ChickenBones. Take
* * * *
I read your journal on a regular basis...I like
to know whats going on in Baltimore. I used to live in Baltimore,
as a matter of fact, I was born there. I now reside in Atlanta. I
was wondering what if anything is going on with the LeftBank Jazz
Society? Are they still active? That was once a Wonderful
* * * *
Thanks so much! The promo is wonderful, and I am sure the
contributors will be thrilled. All Best, Sheree
* * * *
I am intrigued and
will certainly be on the lookout for info about the Nat Turner
film. While I'm appreciative of Mr. Lewis' dedication in
tracking the making of the film, I have to say that he seriously
weakens his credibility as a
serious cultural critic with the unnecessary name-calling
("fuckers," "Judas"). I suppose he got my
attention, but only to the extent that I now want to see the film
and judge for myself.
* * * *
I find this Nat Turner film travesty
worse than the Cold Mountain flap because it denigrates the most
basic Black revolutionary impulse: liberation from the most
long-standing and systematic attempt at dehumanization of a people
in the history of the world. In this sense, it is an attack
against us and our ongoing struggle. It seems that at the very
least we must mount a letter writing campaign. But there should be
other strategic moves we could make as well.
Other ideas, brothers and sisters?
author of Living Water: A Novel
* * * *
Hi. I am a reporter
for the New York Times writing about Nat Turner and was
interested in your comments about the film documentary, as seen on
the ChickenBones website. I can be reached at 212 556
1768. Thanks Felicia Lee
* * * *
It is with a troubled heart that I hear of yet
another documentary film that tokenizes people of color, ignores
white supremacy, and takes a liberal stance on revisionist (his)story.
I read Junious Stanton's critique of the film,
and what resonated the most with me was the following:
"Little is known about Nat Turner's
background. The film does not endeavor to shed any light on him as
a person caught in the mire of a debasing and degrading social
system. To do so would have given the film a definitive point of
view, shown Turner's world through his eyes and engendered
sympathy for his plight, if not his actions. Christopher and
Greenberg were not about to do anything like that. ***To do so
would have been a revolutionary act on their part and they never
would have gotten funding to make the film in the first
It is definitely challenging to think about
revolutionary people of color spaces when the funding is
controlled by white people. Sounds as though much of the film's
problems began in its pre-production stages. It's always sketchy
when two white men, of all people, get one person of color on
board, Charles Burnett in this case, to front for them, liberal
white men, in order to prove that they "really care"
about affirmative action and getting the "true story".
This is an infuriating form of "compassionate
One of my friends interned with PBS American
Life series, and he had definite issues with the editing of the
films. Much of the problems related to films is white revisionist
visionings of films. My friend despises Ken Burns, and I heard
that many of the interns would mock Burns's dry, ethnographic
filming style. Basically, the guy makes shitty documentaries.
As for "Nat Turner: A Troublesome
Property", I am disgusted by the title itself, which
reinforces the idea that black people are property. It's such a
liberal thing to use euphemisms like that - "property"
to somehow make the brutality of enslavement of African people
If it would help, perhaps there could be a
petition sent to California Newsreel, or a series of letters
stating why this film is problematic. It is difficult to think
about the ways in which (his)stories are still being whitewashed
and made palatable. The film is essentially blaming African people
for the pathological system that was North American chattel
slavery. Malcolm says it clearly when he talked about the
incarceration of his mother into a mental institution:
"I knew I wouldn't be back to see my
mother again because it could make me a very vicious and dangerous
person - knowing how they had looked at us as numbers and as a
case in their book, not as human beings. And knowing that my
mother in there was a statistic that didn't have to be, that
existed because of a society's failure, hypocrisy, greed, and lack
of mercy and compassion. Hence I have no mercy or compassion in me
for a society that will crush people and then penalize them for
not being able to stand up under the weight."
I don't think people understand the anger and
violence that all people are capable of, and that it is not just
under extraordinary circumstances where people become capable of
killing another human being. There is a book by a Filipino man,
Carlos Bulosan, where he talks about the violence of oppressed
migrant workers, most of whom are immigrants to North America.
This can also be seen in the discussion of Israeli occupation of
Palestinian territories, where the idea of killing people is seen
as other, when in fact, the people judging are actually unwilling
to acknowledge their own violence. And violence is deeply
connected to power and control.
Peaceful living is sometimes a, for lack of a
better word, privilege. Let me know if there is anything I can do
to be in solidarity. If that means writing many letters, and
making phone calls, so be it. These responses are not reactionary
- they are necessary as long as people and institutions perpetuate
white supremacy. I can also spread the word. i am on an anarchist
people of color list serv and if you are not averse, i could
forward the critiques onto that website. i know people would be in
solidarity with critiquing this film. let me know what you think. i hope you are doing well, rudy. in struggle and solidarity,
* * * *
Rudy, thanks for this message re. the Turner.
Though I'm not informed as you are re. him and his history, what
your message says sounds sadly familiar. What can you do? Contact
PBS and insist that they listen to your concerns and see if they
can't put a rebuttal spot on after the film.
Write the newspapers. But here's my question: have
you seen the film yet? If not, is there a way to do so before it
is broadcast and that way you can fine tune your argument against
the film. Burnett has creds, doesn't he, Killer of Sheep, etc. And
not all white film producers are what you think they are; in fact,
the racial b-s cuts both ways, to wit Ken Burns' travesty JAZZ,
where he capitulates to the Marsalis line of history as his family
likes to see it. But....it souonds like there's a lot more at
stake re. the Turner project. I wish you luck with this, but don't
History is not what it used to be, its
teaching, its filming, its importance; it isn't about truth any
more, if it ever was. I've done some reading about how the Right
controls the content of what goes in history text books for the
nation's schools and it makes me want to buy a gun. Of course, the
feel-good liberals, though they don't have control, are also
selective, so there you go.
Question: what's with Turner being fathered by
his master? Any hard evidence on this? Doesn't surprise me, but if
it's the case , it loads the issue even more. Strom, are you
listening . . . Best, Sibbie
* * * *
suggest organizing a community education
program--nationally/internationally--to educate the community as
they view and discuss this Nat Turner film. Any money for
that? If not, pass the hat. Black Churches used to sponsor films
when segregation prevented us from going to their theatres.
Ask the churches to do the same. This is an excellent opportunity
for real education. Somebody could also contact Haile Garima (SANKOFA)
because he used community networks to market his film. Fort Valley
State Univ has an African Film Festival. We might ask them to show
the film, critique it, do a video of the critique and make that
available to folks.
should respond. What about Ashe Cultural Center as a venue? I
also know a film maker in NYC who might be interested in joining
the effort. Maybe Charles Burnett would respond to an invitation
to COME to present the film, given the controversy. We have a
formidable network and we ought to use it.
am copying a couple of friends.
* * * *
I never received an email from you... I got
your email address from your advertisement at the Turner website.
I read your critique and two other critques ("The Uncertain
Identity of Nathaniel Turner: The Scholars Debate" by:
Rudolph Lewis & "A Bio-Religious TIMELINE for Nathaniel
Turner (1800 - 1831) compiled by Rudolph Lewis).
I'm certainly not qualified to critique your
work but I can say unequivocally what I feel -- To say I was
disappointed is an understatement; you had a prime opportunity to
answer directly the unsubstantiated ramblings of the guy Rudolph
Lewis and you don't even
Touch on many of the points that he is trying
to make about the authenticity of Nat Turner (like his mother and
who his father is -- we do know that his father is white -- that's
for sure -- a fictional white father by the name of GRAY; and some
"hocus pocus" stuff about NAT being a gifted child who
could read without being taught, and speak several languages to
boot; but instead you yourself rambled on... spiting forth poison
against Gates, Greenberg, Styron and others -- things that only
you can understand. You
did not attack the authenticity of Turner's
Mother; you did not attack the authenticity of Turner's
"supposed white father," and you took 30 plus paragraphs
into your critique to even mention William Lloyd Garrison and The
Liberator article (which you give short rift to) and that's
it... you go back to attacking Gates and the others about various
and sundry things that had nothing to do with a critique of Nat
Turner. Lynn L. Smith
PS: Humble yourself for your
people (they're dumb and lost), lower the price on the book--
unless you're only interested in selling your BLACK LIBERATION
work to White people; who're really not interested except in terms
of a curiosity - "Oh, how inciteful, can I get a copy
free?" Hope to have most of your money to you before
Fall... Right now I'm very very sick and taking full responsiblity
of my children. But your money will come....
* * *
I am a student in a Caribbean Art History class
online (www.govhs.org), and right now I am
working on a project that deals with aspects of religion in the
Caribbean, and how religion has affected art in the area. I
discuss the practice of Vodou in my project, and I need examples
of Vodou-influenced art. The article "Experiment in
Haiti" by Dewitt Peters on your website http://www.nathanielturner.com/experimentinhaiti.htm
has several images that could be of use to me, and I will properly
cite where the images are from. Where can I ask for permission to
use these images? Thank you, Allison Weide
* * * *
My name is Angelica Journagin and I attend Middle Tennessee State
University in Murfreesboro, TN. I am currently working on a
project for a class preparing a flyer and I was wondering if I
could have your permission to use the picture of Linda Brown and
her new classmates located on page.
Thank you for your time Angelica
* * *
Messages from Ravindra Babu
Dear Brother RUDY
Grace and peace to you, to your Dear family and
Brother & Sisters there with you in Christ. Many more
greetings to you in His most worthy and Fair name.
At present, we are being covered out our works
in 6 poor villages, from next month April 2004, on words we had
decided to do our works in 5 poor villages, besides these 6
villages. The following are the respective name of these 5
There are 55 poor widows and old age woman, 32
poor and destitute children being here in each village. We
are going to extend our services for this poor people. Five
villages’ together, poor widows and old age persons: 275 Five
villages together, the poor and destitute children are: 160 In
this aspect, we are going to take special interest and care and we
will extend our services for these poor people in due course of
time and we do strongly feel and believe that the God will
definitely utilize our services for these poor people.
Hence, in order to do our service more effectively and fruitfully,
your help support and specifically the Lord’s Grace is highly
mandatory in all our proposed Herculean endeavors.
Generally and usually there are thousand of
poor widows, old age persons, neglected persons and destitute
children in India. In regard to these poor people, there is
a lot to be done by us on humanitarian grounds. I had
strongly decided to dedicate my Entire Life for the cause and
service of these poor and destitute people I do stand by my word
and I am promising you in the Name of Lord Jesus Christ. And more
over, I shall always feel and think that I had a good brother in
U.S.A, for which you will be the only good brother to me, who
wishes for our good, in the world.
In the same way kindly do think and regard me
as your brother, pastor p. Ravindra Babu in India and don’t
forget me ever and forever. We are constantly and
continuously urging the God that our cordial relations are to be
continued ever and forever, despite some hardships and
constraints. We are all constantly praying the God for you,
your respective family members, Ministry members, for your
respective Board Members and for your other fellow Ministry team.
Therefore brother, by taking all these specific
matters and factors in to consideration and notice, we do hope you
may react very peacefully for my specific concerned and we do
anticipate for your further the most fruitful and optimistic
decision and we shall await for your most earliest response in
this aspect with fervent hope.
Yours Brother in
Pastor P. Ravindra
President / Founder
HOLY FIRE MINISTRY
* * *
Dear Beloved Brother RUDY
Greetings in JESUS Name
Here in India, we will have our own problem and
hard ships and we are hereby forwarding our prayer request lists
pertaining to hardships. Hence, please kindly pray for all
1. Street children and abundant children are to
2. The handicapped people should able to walk
3. Pray for Mentally retarded children in order
to get good memory power, sound health and be regarded as rightful
citizens in the society.
4. To have a rightful and reasonable change in
the attitude and behavior of the persons who are deeply addicted
to the alcohol.
5. To have a rightful and proper change in the
youth, these who are infested with HIV / AIDS.
6. To be healed and cured for persons affected
by AIDS at present.
7. The criminals who are struggling with the
court and as such for a favourable judgment for them.
8. To have a sound health and rightful memory
power for the mentally disturbed people.
9. To have a child for those who had no
10. The separated husbands and wives to be re
11. At present, the patients who are suffered
from different diseases in hospitals and their diseases are to be
12. To have affection and feeding for widows.
13. To have a rightful and strong change in the
attitude and tendency of the young stars, who are deeply addicted
to narcotic drugs.
14. The Gospel to be spread to, villages,
towns, cities, metropolitan cities and different countries in the
15. To have a world peace.
16. To have a change in the way of thinking and
attitude of Naxalites and Terrorists.
17. Unemployment problem in India is to be
18. To have a good and sound health for old age
19. The persons struggling with different
family problems and their family problems to be sorted out.
Myself, our family members, Ministry members,
church pastors and Glory to God Orphan Home Children are sending
their heartful good regards and best wishes to you, for your
Family, your Ministry members, your respective Board Members and
Other Fellow Ministry Members.
Anticipating for your further fruitful and
favorable response at an earliest in this regard with hopefully
Yours Brother in
Pastor P. Ravindra
* * *
My dear Beloved
Brother RUDY in CHRIST,
Warmest greetings to
you in his most wonderful Name of our Lord, soon coming savior
Jesus Christ. I received your e-mail and understood
all the contents of the same in a most comprehensive outlook.
Thank you very much for your e-mail.
Received by me from
the internet café on 03-03-04 noted its contents there in. At the
outset, I apologize to you dear brother for the inordinate delay
in responding to you immediately, because, I am completed to visit
the cyclone victims and spent with them till day before and
returned back to headquarters TENALI to day and picked up your
e-mail from the mail box and therefore, the delay is inevitable
and pardon me for the same dear brother.
Yes: dear brother, as
asked for by you, I am expecting to receive the pictures from the
photo studio concerning the devastation caused by terrible
cyclonic storm and will be going to send the same by postal mail
on 5th March, 2004 which you may receive with in week and request
you to kindly pray for the same. On coming to know of your
physical ailments from your mail, myself, my mother merry, my
father Joseph and church pastors started immense praying for 4
hours today and continuing still praying for you and we are
confident that you may
resume to work by this time, by
the MIRACLE power of God. Praise the Lord for his Glory.
Dear brother Rudy:
please kindly note that our Ministry is an independent Ministry,
striving for Him in India with utmost Faith and we have no help
and support received from within an Abroad. We were
struggling hard to meet the needs of Orphan Children, neglected
people and poor widows living in all our congregations who are
suffering for food, clothing, shelter and medication. You
are well aware that Christians are very poor and are living below
the poverty line in India, and further you are well aware of the
Ministry needs too.
You are in our
personal, family and assemble prayers dear brother and request you
to continue to pray for us, for rending a regular monthly help and
support to meet the needs of Ministry and further pray for the
abundance of our Ministry in India. Please let us know the
present situation of your physical ailment whether you are freed
from all pains and swelling suffering for the same, to enable us
to take a Fasting prayer for you to commence soon after hearing
Anticipating for your
further fruitful and favorable response at an earliest in this
regard with hopefully and prayerfully.
in his services,
P. Ravindra Babu,
* * *
* * *
The Warmth of Other Suns
The Epic Story of America's Great
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
Wilkerson deftly incorporates
sociological and historical studies into the novelistic
narratives of Gladney,
Starling, and Pershing settling in new
lands, building anew, and often finding
that they have not left racism behind.
The drama, poignancy, and romance of a
classic immigrant saga pervade this
book, hold the reader in its grasp, and
resonate long after the reading is done.
* * *
Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change
By John Lewis
The Civil Rights Movement gave rise to the protest culture we know today, and the experiences of leaders like Congressman Lewis have never been more relevant. Now, more than ever, this nation needs a strong and moral voice to guide an engaged population through visionary change. Congressman John Lewis was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a key role in the struggle to end segregation. Despite more than forty arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. He is the author of his autobiography, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of a Movement, and is the recipient of numerous awards from national and international institutions, including the Lincoln Medal; the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award (the only one of its kind ever awarded); the NAACP Spingarn Medal; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, among many others.
* * * * *
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.
The structure of today’s economy has stultified wage
growth for half of America’s workers—with even worse
results at the bottom and for people of color—while bestowing billions on those at the top. So Rich, So Poor delves into what is happening to the people behind the statistics and takes a particular look at the continuing crisis of young people of color, whose possibility of a productive life too often is lost on their way to adulthood.—
* * *
Weep Not, Child
Ngugi wa Thiong'o
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 country—the
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
* * * *
The New New Deal
The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era
By Michael Grunwald
Time senior correspondent Michael Grunwald tells the secret history of the stimulus bill, the purest distillation of Change We Can Believe In, a microcosm of Obama’s policy successes and political failures. Though it is reviled by the right and rejected by the left, it really is a new New Deal, larger than FDR’s and just as transformative. It prevented an imminent depression, while jump-starting Obama’s long-term agenda. The stimulus is pouring $90 billion into clean energy, reinventing the way America is powered and fueled; it includes unprecedented investments in renewables, efficiency, electric cars, a smarter grid, cleaner coal, and more. It’s carrying health care into the digital era. Its Race to the Top initiative may be the boldest education reform in U.S. history. It produced the biggest middle-class tax cuts in a generation, a broadband initiative reminiscent of rural electrification, and an overhaul of the New Deal’s unemployment insurance system. It’s revamping the way government addresses homelessness, fixes infrastructure, and spends money.
Grunwald reveals how Republicans have obscured these
achievements through obstruction and distortion.
The stimulus launched a genuine national
comeback. It also saved millions of jobs, while
creating legacies that could rival the Hoover Dam:
the world’s largest wind farm, a
new U.S. battery industry, a new high-speed rail
network, the world’s highest-speed Internet network.
Its main legacy, like the New Deal’s, will be
* * * * *
The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
* * *
Ancient African Nations
* * * * *
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* * * * *
Negro Digest /
Browse all issues
* * * * *
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
George Jackson /
* * *
The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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update 2 November 2011