ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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In 1992, the Los Angeles "Rodney King Rebellion" occurred, and Lil Joe wrote political graffiti 

that advocated class war and denounced the State. Lil Joe was protected by the people in

the community, but, finally, the cops caught up with him and he was picked up and interrogated by

the cops and the FBI. After that, the cops were constantly harassing Lil Joe . . .



A "Lil Joe" Bio


Joseph "Lil Joe" Johnson grew up in the Pueblo Del Rio housing project in South Central Los Angeles (the "Pueblos"). At the age of 11 or 12 years old, Joe became a "gang" member in the "Pueblo Condors." A so-called "gang" is an organization of working-class youth, organized on a community basis. Joe was the youngest in this teenage group.

In 1959 or '60, Joe moved with his family from the Pueblos to Compton, California. In Compton, Joe joined the local community "gang" that called themselves the "Barbarians." Again, Joe was the youngest and, consequently, the smallest member of that "gang." Because Joe was the youngest and smallest of the "gang," Joe was called "Little Joe." The nickname stuck and, to this day, he is referred to as "Lil Joe" from Compton.

The Compton Barbarians merged with a Watts "gang" calling themselves the Baby Orientals. The Baby Orientals were based in the Imperial Courts housing projects in Watts, California. In about 1961, Lil Joe was arrested for being "incorrigible, " and for fighting. At the age of 13, the Juvenile Court sentenced Lil Joe to six months at a "junior camp" called Camp Hondo.

At Camp Hondo, Lil Joe organized the Black inmates into a "Blood Brotherhood." After a "race riot," Lil Joe was expelled from Camp Hondo and sent to Nellis in Whittier, California, a part of the California Youth Authority. At the age of 14, and after spending about a year and a half  in custody, Lil Joe was released (in 1963) from the California Youth Authority. Lil Joe remained "free," and on the streets on parole for the next six months. At 15, Lil Joe was arrested for fighting, and was returned to California Youth

Authority , this time sent to Preston in Ione, California . He was incarcerated for another year and a half.   

At Preston, Lil Joe was assigned to an all day school unit. Together with five or six others who were a part of the school unit, Lil Joe used his spare time to read Encyclopedia articles about Africa and Islam. While studying about Islam, Lil Joe read an article by Louis Lomax on Malcolm X, entitled "When the Word Is Given." After that, Lil Joe became "Muslim. "

At Preston, Lil Joe and others organized the Blacks into a Black organization. But, Lil Joe was singled out as the so-called "leader" of this Black organization, and was placed in solitary confinement for six months. The prison psychiatrist used to do ideological battles with Lil Joe, but did allow him to have a Koran – which was the first book that he read.

Although he was Muslim, Lil Joe had to capitulate and pretend to be Christian in order to be released from Youth Authority. In 1964, Lil Joe was released from Preston. The Watts Riot in 1965 changed the consciousness of most young Blacks in Los Angeles, and gang members became revolutionaries instead. Those who were serious found their way to Marxism, but, at any rate, to "Maoism." Many became members of the Black Panther Party.

Lil Joe did not agree with the "10 Point Program" of the Black Panther Party and, therefore, he never became an actual member -- although he worked closely with the Party.

On the street, and back in Compton, Lil Joe organized tenant associations against "landlords." The Compton police tried to kill him, which forced him to go underground and to leave Compton.

Lil Joe resisted conscription (the "draft"), and became part of the anti-war movement. In the anti-war movement, Lil Joe came into contact with communists of varying strata -- Stalinists, Trotskyists, etc. – and began to study their literature.

At age 23, in 1971, Lil Joe was arrested for possession of a gun and did six months in the County Jail in downtown Los Angeles. Joe organized the Trustees at Old County into a "union," and the Trustees went on strike. The newspapers reported the strike, which prevented the Guards from carrying out their plan to have Lil Joe assassinated by an inmate. Instead, Lil Joe was transferred to the "New County Jail," where he did the remainder of his time in isolation.

By the 1980s the "black liberation movement" in America was all but destroyed, and Lil Joe found himself homeless for 10 years. He ended up in the Pico-Union District, which is largely comprised of immigrants from Central America. Lil Joe used to argue with other homeless people about the political events, the cops, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the War on Iraq, and other issues. By this, Lil Joe came to the attention of an underground Meso-American group that was involved in protecting immigrants from police and lumpen abuse. Lil Joe joined and worked with this group for 10 years in defense of the community.

In 1992, the Los Angeles "Rodney King Rebellion" occurred, and Lil Joe wrote political graffiti that advocated class war and denounced the State. Lil Joe was protected by the people in the community, but, finally, the cops caught up with him and he was picked up and interrogated by the cops and the FBI. After that, the cops were constantly harassing Lil Joe, and he could no longer work effectively in the community or regularly write his political graffiti.

Because of the police harassment, Lil Joe was forced from the Pico-Union District, and he found living space in a home for the elderly and disabled in the general Los Angeles area. There, Lil Joe re-established contact with survivors of the "black liberation movement" from the '60s and '70s and he, subsequently, joined Labor Party Advocates.

Once the Labor Party had its founding convention (in 1996), Lil Joe and others fought for a class political perspective within the Labor Party. Because of their radical political perspective within the Los Angeles Chapter of the Labor Party, that Chapter stopped having regular meetings.

 Lil Joe and his comrades from the '60s established connection with a union local located in the Pico Union District, and organized the "Inner-City Los Angeles Labor Party Organizing Committee," which did outreach, political, and community work in that immigrant community of the Pico Union District.

The national leadership of the Labor Party forced the Inner-City Los Angeles Labor Party Organizing Committee to disband.

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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#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

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#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An 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

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#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

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#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

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#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
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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

Browse all issues

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


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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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updated 17 January 2012




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