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Literary New Orleans

Poems, Essays, Reports, etc.

About, from those outside or those in the Big Easy





At his funeral, one of the officiating pastors said, "The Chief of Chiefs is being sent to see the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords." . . . All the Indians wearing masks — called masking — crowded the street between the church and the hearse and bowed down on the ground as pallbearers in black suits with bright white gloves marched slowly, carrying the casket of the Chief of Chiefs to the horse-drawn hearse. Then another voice yelled "Maudi kudi fiyo!" and the entire crowd answered with the slow-paced, traditional chant, "Indian Red." Before long, Indian Red gave way to a faster paced "Tuway Packiway," the horseman snapped the reins, the horse started walking and the parade began to move.

Traditionally in New Orleans, jazz funerals maintain a slow, sorrowful pace until the point of "cutting the body loose," but the burial of a man of Montana's stature proved difficult to pace. The thousands of second-liners seemed to be busting at the seams, celebrating all the way to the cemetery, doing the samba-like second-line strut to the rhythm of the brass bands, twirling umbrellas, chanting old songs and shaking tambourines. Dozens of Mardi Gras Indian tribes, from Montana's Yellow Pocahontas, to the Golden Star Hunters to the Spirit of Fi YiYi, met each other in the streets enacting ritual war dances, stand-offs, and peace treaties.

Even for New Orleans, it was a rare occasion to witness. On Mardi Gras Day, St. Joseph's Day and Super Sunday the Indians usually come out in large numbers. But on this day, even old Indians who hadn't masked in years came out in full regalia complete with new feathers and plumes on old suits for the funeral of funerals for the Chief of Chiefs. Big Chief Allison Tootie Montana

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Treme: Beyond Bourbon Street (HBO)

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Racism: A History, the 2007 BBC 3-part documentary explores the impact of racism on a global scale. It was part of the season of programs on the BBC marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. It's divided into 3 parts.

The first, The Colour of Money . . . Racism: A History [2007]—1/3

Begins the series by assessing the implications of the relationship between Europe, Africa and the Americas in the 15th century. It considers how racist ideas and practices developed in key religious and secular institutions, and how they showed up in writings by European philosophers Aristotle and Immanuel Kant.

The second, Fatal Impact . . . Racism: A History [2007] - 2/3

Examines the idea of scientific racism, an ideology invented during the 19th century that drew on now discredited practices such as phrenology and provided an ideological justification for racism and slavery. The episode shows how these theories ultimately led to eugenics and Nazi racial policies of the master race.

And the 3rd, A Savage Legacy . . .  Racism: A History [2007] - 3/3

Examines the impact of racism in the 20th century. By 1900 European colonial expansion had reached deep into the heart of Africa. Under the rule of King Leopold II, the Belgian Congo was turned into a vast rubber plantation. Men, women and children who failed to gather their latex quotas would have their limbs dismembered. The country became the scene of one of the century's greatest racial genocides, as an estimated 10 million Africans perished under colonial rule.

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Ahmose Zu-Bolton


     Beachhead Preachment 

     Candelight Vigil


      ZuBolton Channels Ancestors 


Amin Sharif


     Amin Sharif

     Big Easy Blues  

     The Day the Devil Has Won  


Caroline Maun  




Clair Carew


     Claire Carew

     It Ain't About Race

     Sitting ducks at the superdome  


Denay Fields


     A Survivor's Poem  


Eleanor Early


     Lives and Times of the Quadroons


Jerry Ward


     After the Hurricanes


     Portrait of a Suicide/Death in Yellow Flooding


Joe Williams


     I'm in the Eye of Katrina 


Jordan Flaherty

The Battle for New Orleans Continues

Fifth Anniversary of Katrina

Jena Ignites a Movement  

K-Ville (TV Show Review) 

Media Crisis and Grassroots Response

Nooses and a legal lynching in Jena, Louisiana      

NOPD Verdict Reveals Post-Katrina History

Notes from Inside New Orleans 

Strange Fruit in Jena

World Social Forum Diary    

Jose Torres Tama


     Above America 

     God Fear America

     Hard Living in the Big Easy

     In Exile Close to the Equator  

     Stars Are Eyes   

Kalamu ya Salaam


     Kalamu ya Salaam 

     my father is dead, again   Tom Dent Bio



     There's no big accomplishment

     Have You Ever Been a Saxophone


Latorial Faison


     After Katrina . . .  


Lee M. Grue


     At the French Market

     Booker: Black Night Keep on Falling  

     Billie Pierce  

     Ellis Marsalis on Wednesday at Snug Harbor


     Miss Marva Wright  

     Turbinton: The African Cowboy at Charlie B's

     Walter Washington    


     Young Men in Wheel Chairs


Legendary KO


     George Bush Doesn't Car


Mackie Blanton


      After Katrina  Chapter I  (Neighbors and Invaders) Chapter 2 ( Earthquakes and Baklava)  Chapter 3   (The Lens in Plato’s Eye)

      Neighbors and Invaders


Marcus Bruce Christian


     Marcus Bruce Christian  



Marvin X


     Marvin X

    Where's Fats Domino? 


Mimi Read


    Germaine Bazzle


Mona Lisa Saloy, ; Winner of the the 2005 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry


     For Frank Fitch  For Daddy V   

    Mother with Me on Canal Street, New Orleans  

    Winner of the PEN Oakland National Literary Award


Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, author of Monrovia Women


     There's Another New Orleans

P r o f e s s o r   A R T U R O


       My Name is New Orleans 

     Poem for Our Fathers

     Shine & the Titanic  

Robert Borsodi

     Remembering Borsodi

Rudolph Lewis 

 Mosquitoes Fly Out My Head

     Address on the Battle for New Orleans 

     Can You Quilt a Life, Now Dead? 

     Didn't He Ramble  (Buddy Bolden)

     Down by the Riverside 

     Dropping Shucks on Baudin

     Heartbreak Hotel  

     Home Aint No Cakewalk

     I Gave My Heart to That Woman  

     Mosquitoes Fly Out My Head

     My Room Without You

     A New Day Is Coming

     No Mardi Gras Without Soul

     No Woman to Be Rollin 

     Ode to a Magic City

     The Propaganda of History 

     Raining in This Terrible Land   

     A Sideshow in Your Mind

     There's No Way Out This Sadness?   

     Waiting for the Great Tragedy

     We Be No More Than We  

     What Does It Mean to Survive N'awlins    

     What Shall It Be, Stick or Broom? 

     When They Flooded New Orleans

     Wintertime in America

     Your Love Ain't Loving My Blues (Satchmo & horn)


Tom Dent


     Return to English Turn

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Jerry Ward

     The Art of Tom Dent: Early Evidence   Tom Dent Bio

     The Katrina Papers

     On Richard Wright and Our Contemporary Situation   

     Trouble the Water (book)


Kalamu ya Salaam  Table 


     Forty-Five Is Not So Old (story)

     Could You Wear My Eyes (story) 

     Murder (story)

     Raoul's Silver Song (story)

     Tom Dent & Nkombo

     What Is Black Poetry (essay) 

     WORDS: A Neo-Griot Manifesto (essay) 


Kam Hei Tsuei

     Hurricane Katrina: Did the Chinese Help 

Lee M. Grue


     French Quarter Poems  -- Introduction

Marcus Bruce Christian


     Diary Notes 


    Marcus Bruce Christian 

Rachel Breunlin

     The Legacy of the Free Southern Theater in New Orleans

Rudolph Lewis Mosquitoes Fly Out My Head

     Christian's Bio-Bibliographical Record  (literary essay on Christian)

     The Conspiracy to Whiten New Orleans (editorial)

     Feminism, Black Erotica, & Revolutionary Love (on Kalamu's short stories)

     Introduction to I AM NEW ORLEANS (literary essay on Christian)

     Jessie Covington Dent (a biographical sketch)

     A Life Won with Blood & Tears (book review Red Beans and Ricely Yours, 2005)

     Poetic Journey with New Orleans Writers (a biographical essay)   Tom Dent Bio

     Southern Journey (Review of Tom Dent's book)

     A Theory of a Black Aesthetic  (literary essay on Christian)

Tom Dent

     The Art of Tom Dent (Jerry Ward essay)

     Jessie Covington Dent (bio of mother)

     Dillard Project (letter by father)

     The Legacy of the Free Southern Theater in New Orleans

     My Father Is Dead (Kalamu poem)

     Southern Journey (book Review)

     Tom Dent

     Tom Dent & Nkombo


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Ahmose ZuBolton

     Ahmos Zu-Bolton HooDoo Poet

     Candelight Vigil for Ahmos Zu-Bolton

Chuck Siler


Call for Artists and Photographers

Katrina . . . somethin' 'bout a storm 


Jordan Flaherty

Jena Ignites a Movement 

K-Ville (TV Show Review)

Media Crisis and Grassroots Response

Media as a Weapon: New Orleans' 2-Cent

Notes from Inside New Orleans

On the Fifth Anniversary of Katrina Displacement Continues

World Social Forum Diary 


Kalamu ya Salaam


     at Clemson  in Baltimore at MIT 

     in houston in Dallas  

     Kalamu ya Salaam Table

     kalamu visits home

     Listen to the People Update 

Kam Williams

Strange Fruit in Jena

Katrina New Orleans Flood Index

    Katrina & Kalamu (Rudy, Miriam, Clare, and others)

    Magical Negro: The Root (Arthur Flowers)

    New Orleans Flood Relief Bulletin Board  (lots of people)

     (8/ 31- 9/ 1)   (9/ 2)   9/ 3   9/ 4  9/ 5/2005 


Robert Borsodi 


     Remembering Borsodi

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Poems on Katrina Flood   


After Katrina . . .   (Latorial Faison) 

After the Hurricanes (Jerry Ward)

Battle for New Orleans ( Rudolph Lewis)  

Big Easy Blues (Amin Sharif )

I'm in the Eye of Katrina  (Joe Williams)

It Ain't About Race (Claire Carew    

Neighbors and Invaders (Mackie Blanton)

Sitting ducks at the superdome  (Claire Carew)  

A Survivor's Poem (Denay Fields) 

Where's Fats Domino?  (Marvin X) 


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Related files 

17 Poets Reading Series at the GOLD MINE SALOON

Big Chief Allison Tootie Montana

Katrina New Orleans Flood Index 

Literary New Orleans: Poems and Prose

Mosquitoes Fly Out My Head 

Saint Augustine Closed

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Obama Remarks at Xavier University

    YouTube - The Jena Six   /  Nooses and a legal lynching in Jena, Louisiana  / Jordan Flaherty about New Orleans

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 Francine Witte, Ahmos ZuBolton, Arthur Pfister, Mona Lisa Saloy at Copastetic 1990!


Mona Lisa Saloy on Culture, Faith, and Struggle


My work is a mix of forms: free verse, some with attention to the vernacular (I love people’s voices), narratives, lyrics, sonnets, haikus, and villanelles. I read work that feeds me, that informs humanity and the spirit, from Nikky Finney to Niyi Osundare, from Sonia Sanchez to Seamus Heaney, Natasha Trethewey to Li-Young Lee, so I read writers who respect the past and their cultural histories. I read for the songs in their work as much as for the silences and what transpires between lines. This range inspires me to better articulate what I’m after, not just preserving the past but expressing purposeful life as we Southerners do. It’s no wonder that I admire Jennifer Reeser’s sonnets, and also Alison Pelegrin, who is a riot—what humor! . . .

I’m Black and Creole, innately Southern, and certainly American. When one is raised with names that return centuries here, when the stories of those folks inform our sensibility, traditions that teach how to make each day precious, and we grow up enjoying those traditions, appreciating the specialness we each bring to continuing these ways, I can’t help but be thankful. In New Orleans, there lives a recognizable culture, and it’s here to stay.

About “Black” vs. “African-American”: again, it’s complicated, and not everyone agrees. It took “Negroes,” or the “Colored,” centuries to be proudly “Black,” which originally was a derogatory term. During that time of blossoming, many blacks learned the positive past in Africa—massive kingdoms, architectural and engineering feats in agriculture and arts. Claiming that heritage brought on the term African-American; at the same time, there is an awareness of more recent Africans, who are not descendants of slaves, and as a result, many Blacks currently use those terms interchangeably. The lines blur: people use the term they feel best describes them, though this is an over-simplification. Anyone interested should pursue the subject in depth.

The versatility of verse brings great creative freedom and challenge. While I come from a strong oral tradition, I expect my poems to work on the page. The older poems are just that—earlier efforts, written over time focusing on New Orleans culture pre-Katrina, a sensibility that is Creole in tradition and Black. In America, just as in Africa, there is no monolithic Black culture, but on many things we agree. The result is that my poems work nationally and internationally. Some of that is an articulation of oppression and its subtleties, linguistic expression and folk stuff that most folks recognize, whether it’s endearment or attacks. See “The N Word,” which was banned in Virginia, then published by University of Virginia Press in Furious Flower: African American Poets from the Black Arts Movement to the Present.

Seven years post-Katrina devastation, I’m rebuilding my family home. I’ve moved fifteen times, had twelve addresses in three states since then, and this is not uncommon. No short film can ever contain what it means to rebuild post unnatural disaster when everyone you know and love also lost everything, and there’s no place to live. For me, the new collection attempts to capture the old-world friendliness that is New Orleans, our joie de vivre, then the smack-down of post-Katrina, the leaving, the homelessness, returning to the ghost of a grander life, and by Grace and Faith, rebuilding one brick at a time, which takes a lot of heart. Finally, I hope the collection pays tribute to that stalwart nature and celebrates a strong foundation continuing with joy. . . .

As a kid, I attended church a lot. I’m a cradle Catholic, for my mother, the eldest of a Baptist minister, converted to marry my Dad. My maternal grandfather co-founded his church, Mt. Zion Baptist, on North Robertson before Katrina; it did not return. At Papa’s church, we had fried chicken and potato salad after services, and we studied the entire Bible. Between the Baptist experience and Catholicism, I grew up with a great sense of sacred traditions: an appreciation of God’s bounty in nature and knowing all gifts are from God. That’s why we call it “the present!” I’m active in my church and worship with my family; I sing in the choir, lector when scheduled, even minister to the infirm when called. My new collection reflects this appreciation especially since I want to show that more than “Sin City,” New Orleans is holier than folks think.

These Christian family traditions built up a strong sense of faith that has carried me through more car accidents—one left me crippled for a time—than I care to recall, a divorce, multiple disasters (earthquakes out west, hurricanes in the south, being a caregiver, loss of dear ones), and struggles of a female artist competing for support. I’m thankful, for these trials carved the character that I am becoming, the writing to come, and tomorrows of adventure, promise.—diannblakely

Writer and folklorist Mona Lisa Saloy is winner of the PEN / Oakland Josephine Miles Award in Poetry, as wells as finalist for the Story Line Press Morgan Poetry Prize. This year 2012 she was awarded a sabbatical and fellowship from the UNCF/Mellon Foundation to complete her second collection of verse, which will continue to discuss Creole culture, the disaster of post-Katrina and hurricanes, plus the heart of NOLA folk to rebuild and keep the faith while preserving a fabulous, unique milieu.

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Audio: My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)



Men We Love, Men We Hate
SAC writings from Douglass, McDonogh 35, and McMain high schools in New Orleans.

An anthology on the topic of men and relationships with men

Ways of Laughing
An Anthology of Young Black Voices
Photographed & Edited by
Kalamu ya Salaam

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Between thirty and forty percent of New Orleanians have not returned to the city since the levees failed in 2005. Some have found better lives elsewhere, but many yearn to come back. Living on Earth’s Ingrid Lobet has a portrait of one family’s struggle to return to their beloved city. . . . When you talk with some folks from New Orleans, whether recently returned or living far away, you can't help but be struck by a deep current of pain just below the surface. Two years after the floods caused by the failed levees, the webs of human relationships that bring life joy, or make a neighborhood a neighborhood, are still in shreds. There are those Katrina exiles who have found better circumstances elsewhere and settled down. But many city natives say they want badly to return, but can't. As part of our continuing coverage of the aftermath of the Gulf Coast disaster, Living on Earth's Ingrid Lobet gathered these impressions. Longing for New Orleans

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The Katrina Papers: A Journal of Trauma and Recovery

Seeing Things from Inside the Circle

By Jerry W. Ward, Jr.

 Returning to the Sources  / Imprisonment in Holding Cells at Tulane and Broad

The Katrina Papers, by Jerry W. Ward, Jr. $18.95  The Richard Wright Encyclopedia (2008)


The Katrina Papers is not your average memoir. It is a fusion of many kinds of writing, including intellectual autobiography, personal narrative, political/cultural analysis, spiritual journal, literary history, and poetry. Though it is the record of one man's experience of Hurricane Katrina, it is a record that is fully a part of his life and work as a scholar, political activist, and professor.  The Katrina Papers  provides space not only for the traumatic events but also for ruminations on authors such as Richard Wright and theorists like Deleuze and Guattarri. The result is a complex though thoroughly accessible book. The struggle with formthe search for a medium proper to the complex social, personal, and political ramifications of an event unprecedented in this scholar's life and in American social historylies at the very heart of The Katrina Papers . It depicts an enigmatic and multi-stranded world view which takes the local as its nexus for understanding the global.  It resists the temptation to simplify or clarify when simplification and clarification are not possible. Ward's narrative is, at times, very direct, but he always refuses to simplify the complex emotional and spiritual volatility of the process and the historical moment that he is witnessing. The end result is an honesty that is both pedagogical and inspiring.Hank Lazer

The Richard Wright Encyclopedia (2008) is a marvelous resource! It's not like any encyclopedia I've seen before. Already, I have spent hours reading through the various entries. So much is there: people, themes, issues, events, bibliographies, etc., related to Wright. Yours is a monumental contribution! The more I read Wright (and about him), the more I am amazed at the depth and breadth of his work and its impact on the worlds of literature, philosophy, politics, sociology, history, psychology, etc. He was formidable! Floyd W. Hayes


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Missing People in New Orleans—Its figures paint a dramatic picture of jobs and housing decline in the central city area. During the storm's aftermath, thousands of residents were evacuated from the city. Two years later, one in three households have still not returned, and the population has dropped from 455,000 to 274,000. Poor households with children are particularly likely to have stayed away, with the number of children in public schools at only 40% of its pre-Katrina level. To some extent, migrants from Mexico and Central America have replaced Afro-Americans in New Orleans, with an estimated additional 100,000 Hispanic people in the region. They have been attracted by some of the relatively well-paying jobs in construction and tourism. Looking for jobs—But overall, the News Orleasn metro area employs 113,000 fewer people than in August 2005, and the pace of job creation has slowed to a crawl. The biggest declines were in tourism jobs (down 24,500), government jobs (down 29,000) and healthcare jobs (down 23,000). And 4,000 smaller firms closed after the storm. "We apparently are at a place where the post-storm employment recovery is peaking," said demographer Elliot Stonecipher. "Those categorical drops in jobs paint a picture of a devastated economy and we have to stop acting like they didn't happen."  Steve Schifferes.  News BBC

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#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 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


#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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Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America

By Eugene Robinson

In this clear-eyed and compassionate study, Robinson (Coal to Cream), Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist for the Washington Post, marshals persuasive evidence that the African-American population has splintered into four distinct and increasingly disconnected entities: a small elite with enormous influence, a mainstream middle-class majority, a newly emergent group of recent immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, and an abandoned minority "with less hope of escaping poverty than at any time since Reconstruction's end." Drawing on census records, polling data, sociological studies, and his own experiences growing up in a segregated South Carolina college town during the 1950s, Robinson explores 140 years of black history in America, focusing on how the civil rights movement, desegregation, and affirmative action contributed to the fragmentation. Of particular interest is the discussion of how immigrants from Africa, the "best-educated group coming to live in the United States," are changing what being black means.

Robinson notes that despite the enormous strides African-Americans have made in the past 40 years, the problems of poor blacks remain more intractable than ever, though his solution--"a domestic Marshall Plan aimed at black America"--seems implausible in this era of cash-strapped state and local governments.—Publishers Weekly

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Life on Mars

By Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted the collection's "lyric brilliance" and "political impulses [that] never falter." A New York Times review stated, "Smith is quick to suggest that the important thing is not to discover whether or not we're alone in the universe; it's to accept—or at least endure—the universe's mystery. . . . Religion, science, art: we turn to them for answers, but the questions persist, especially in times of grief. Smith's pairing of the philosophically minded poems in the book’s first section with the long elegy for her father in the second is brilliant." Life on Mars follows Smith's 2007 collection, Duende, which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, the only award for poetry in the United States given to support a poet's second book, and the first Essence Literary Award for poetry, which recognizes the literary achievements of African Americans. The Body’s Question (2003) was her first published collection.

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The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story

of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government

By Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer

American democracy is informed by the 18th century’s most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. We’ve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economics—the cutting-edge ideas of today—generate these simple but revolutionary ideas: (The economy is not an efficient machine. It’s an effective garden that need tending. Freedom is responsibility. Government should be about the big what and the little how. True self interest is mutual interest.

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Black Rage in New Orleans
Police Brutality and African American Activism from World War II to Hurricane Katrina

By Leonard N. Moore

In Black Rage in New Orleans, Leonard N. Moore traces the shocking history of police corruption in the Crescent City from World War II to Hurricane Katrina and the concurrent rise of a large and energized black opposition to it. In New Orleans, crime, drug abuse, and murder were commonplace, and an underpaid, inadequately staffed, and poorly trained police force frequently resorted to brutality against African Americans. Endemic corruption among police officers increased as the city’s crime rate soared, generating anger and frustration among New Orleans’s black community. Rather than remain passive, African Americans in the city formed anti-brutality organizations, staged marches, held sit-ins, waged boycotts, vocalized their concerns at city council meetings, and demanded equitable treatment. . . . The first book-length study of police brutality and African American protest in a major American city, Black Rage in New Orleans will prove essential for anyone interested in race relations in America’s urban centers. LSU Press

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . . .—WashingtonPost

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The Cambridge Historyof African American Literature

Edited by Maryemma Graham and Jerry W. Ward, Jr.


The first major twenty-first century history of four hundred years of black writing, The Cambridge History of African American Literature presents a comprehensive overview of the literary traditions, oral and print, of African-descended peoples in the United States. Expert contributors, drawn from the United States and beyond, emphasize the dual nature of each text discussed as a work of art created by an individual and as a response to unfolding events in American cultural, political, and social history. Unprecedented in scope, sophistication and accessibility, the volume draws together current scholarship in the field. It also looks ahead to suggest new approaches, new areas of study, and as yet undervalued writers and works. The Cambridge History of African American Literature is a major achievement both as a work of reference and as a compelling narrative and will remain essential reading for scholars and students in years to come.

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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

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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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posted 18 December 2005