ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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i have noted how rudy of chickenbones was able to transform his informal network

of  intellectual dialogues into an effective clearinghouse of timely and enabling

information,  an instrument that was not possible before the advent of the net.



Books by Arthur Flowers

De Mojo Blues   /   Another Good Loving Blues   / Cleveland Lee's Beale Street Band

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Magical Negro: The Root

Where’s the Afrospiritual Practitioners

"effective instruments of empowerment"

By Arthur Flowers


looking back its hard to remember my first knowledge of the conqueror
what i always knew about was the root

the root was big in my family, but i dont know that it was necessarily
connected to the conqueror as entity

it wasnt until i started my own hoodoo studies that i came across the
conqueror himself

and that i think was thru zora neale hurston riff
and later jackie torrence
zoraneale & jackie riffed him as a returning cultural hero
and that riff has stuck with me

what i need to do is ask my northcarolina folk
who are the hoodoo branch what they know
about the conqueror as entity, perhaps they
passed it on when i was too young to catch it

as happened with much of the family hoodoo knowledge
i knew of them but like much of the rest of the family
my baptist upbringing more tolerated them than listened to them

when i was a youngster i just didnt get it
and most of the oldschool ones have died off now

wasnt until i decided to walk the path myself that i had
to dredge up old knowledge, and shame to say
highjohn as entity wasnt part of that

the root always been there though


September 13, 2005

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Where’s the Afrospiritual Practitioners


i went by the narc site to see what they were saying on katrina
i was real underimpressed, both by what they had to say

basically that god is mad at us

and at the site in general

ran across an article abou their last conference that sent me there

i thought 250 dollars was excessive but then folk know i got issues
with atrs preoccupation with the dollars

dont get me wrong i know folk got to make a living but there
is a difference between payment for services rendered and
being a moneychanger in the temple,

i dont claim thats what
they are but i do believe thats an issue for atr reform
along with issues like potential for abuse in the godparent system and
so on and so forth, but let me not go there

i dont claim these are endemic in atr but these are some of the
reform issues that atr is going to have to address in its effort
to manifest as a mainstream religion

i went through the rest of their site to see what else they were offering
and it was real slack, i mean absolutely nothing of value
except that god is mad at us

and if their site is the public face of what they are and what they about
they got a long way to before they are ready for primetime

i know some of you kinda believe in them and have testified
so i assume they are more primetime than their site indicates

but i didnt see anything on their site that gave me
confidence that they are ready to be competitive
with the christians and muslims or anybody else
for that matter

i assume that they are more than their website shows
but having a functional website is like fundamental in this day and age
and they not covering their fundamentals

all it did was ask for money
and talk about how katrina was cause
god is mad at us - thats tired, thats really tired

with the understanding that new orleans is
one of the afrospiritual centers of the americas
i would expect a lot more from some organization
that wants to represent afrospiritual practitioners

most hoodoos are not that excited
about being 'accredited'

if they want my money/support
'i need a little less moneychanging
and a lot more wisdom


September 13, 2005

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effective instruments of empowerment

i am moved by the response of the black community to the challenge of katrina.  i am impressed with the armies of volunteers that have emerged fully armored from the ground.  i am impressed by the adhoc networks that have sprung out of thin air.  i have noted the adhoc network forged by miriam willis of memphis from resources forged from years of struggle.

i have noted how rudy of chickenbones was able to transform his informal network of  intellectual dialogues into an effective clearinghouse of timely and enabling information, an instrument that was not possible before the advent of the net. i have noted how black america web has positioned itself and listserv groups like vivaarts out in california

have suddenly manifested as effective instruments of empowerment in a manner never before possible.  what were casual networks have been transformed by adversity into instruments.  melvin gibbs of the hoodoo way called it a testing and so far i judge black america to have met the test. i salute you.

i have also noted the lack of timely response by mainstream black organizations, the naacp and the national urban league have been tardy, as have alternative leadership like the nation of islam and the black radical congress.  ah but the people, by god the people have done me proud, based on what i know to be happening in memphis, i assume to be

happening in the other sanctuary cities and the Black Net(work) has become a force to be reckoned with. for all the tragedy this has been, the africanamerican community has pulled together in response and shown itself to be an effective force in our first true challenge of the 21st century.  i am proud to be part of this moment

in struggle

rickydoc flowers

September 2005

posted September 14, 2005 

Arthur Flowers, a Memphis native, is the author of two novels, De Mojo Blues and Another Good Loving Blues (Ballantine Books), and a children's story, Cleveland Lee's Beale Street Band. He is a Vietnam veteran, blues singer, co-founder of the New Renaissance Writer's Guild. In addition, he is the webmaster of Rootsblog: A Cyberhoodoo Webspace and a performance artist whose presentation, Delta Oracle: A Griot Speaks in Tongues, keeps him busy and Professor of MFA Fiction at Syracuse University.

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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Michelle Alexander: US Prisons, The New Jim Crow  / Judge Mathis Weighs in on the execution of Troy Davis

The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness 

By Michelle Alexander

The mass incarceration of people of color through the War on Drugs is a big part of the reason that a black child born today is less likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born during slavery. The absence of black fathers from families across America is not simply a function of laziness, immaturity, or too much time watching Sports Center. Hundreds of thousands of black men have disappeared into prisons and jails, locked away for drug crimes that are largely ignored when committed by whites. Most people seem to imagine that the drug war—which has swept millions of poor people of color behind bars—has been aimed at rooting out drug kingpins or violent drug offenders. Nothing could be further from the truth. This war has been focused overwhelmingly on low-level drug offenses, like marijuana possession—the very crimes that happen with equal frequency in middle class white communities.

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The Persistence of the Color Line

Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency

By Randall Kennedy

Among the best things about The Persistence of the Color Line is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley. He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr. Smiley consistently “voiced skepticism regarding whether blacks should back Obama” . . .

The finest chapter in The Persistence of the Color Line is so resonant, and so personal, it could nearly be the basis for a book of its own. That chapter is titled “Reverend Wright and My Father: Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism.”  Recalling some of the criticisms of America’s past made by Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with feeling about his own father, who put each of his three of his children through Princeton but who “never forgave American society for its racist mistreatment of him and those whom he most loved.” 

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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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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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update 24 May 2012




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Related files:  Mojo Rising -- 5th Movement    Mojo Rising -- Reviews & 1st Movement   Another Good Loving Blues  Another Good Loving Blues Essay  De Mojo Blues  

Rootwork and the Prophetic Impulse     Up Against the Wall in Haiti