ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

Home  ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more) 

Google
 

Our adversaries are promoting the preposterous notion we live in a “post racial society.” Their disingenuousness knows

no bounds. They point to the selection of Barack Obama, a man of bi-racial history as their prime exhibit for

the death of racism. . . . they always present a version of “Black History” that is palatable to whites.

 

 

Make History Not Excuses

By Junious Ricardo Stanton

All great people glorify their history and look back upon their early attainments with a spiritual vision.—Kelly Miller 1906

 

As we celebrate Black History Month 2012 it baffles me that we the people with the longest most storied chronicle of achievement and greatness in human existence celebrate ourselves during the shortest month of the year rather than year 'round. The truth is, we always need to validate and reaffirm ourselves and honor our ancestors by remembering their accomplishments as a way to build for the future. As I write this I'm looking at a hand carved wooden figure on the top of my computer nook of the Sankofa bird. Sankofa is an Adinkra word and symbol from the Akan people of Ghana. Their symbols and icons re-enforce their world view and cultural values. These symbols are the guides and glue that holds their culture together from generation to generation. Sankofa means “go back to the past in order to build for the future.”  One of the symbols for the idea and word Sankofa is a bird. The author of the Adinkra Dictionary A Visual Primer on The Language of Adinkra, W. Bruce Willis writes, “Sankofa is symbolic of the spiritual mindset and cultural awakening African people are experiencing in the decades after independence on the African continent. Though the concept may seem new, it is an old tradition that links a people to the discovery of their past, which is a fundamental building block for the future.”

It is vitally important that African people discover and re-member our history, meaning reconnect to our genetic and cultural memories/accomplishments. Why? Because in so doing we will learn about the greatness, genius, and resilience of our ancestors. Black history is world history. Black History transcends even the accomplishments of the aboriginal inhabitants of Africa! Black history is more than remembering or reciting dates and periods. It is painting in our minds a broad canvas and tapestry documenting the activities and accomplishments of the first humans to walk upright and organize civil society (civilization).

Our ancestors not only invented tools of wood, stone and metal, we invented things we normally take for granted such as government, clothing, rituals, rites of passage, ceremonies, music and dance. Stop and think about this for a moment. We, African people, invented marriage as a way of codifying the mating process and establishing rules of conduct to recognize, formalize and institutionalize families as part of the growth, harmonious co-existence and social organization of the tribe and clan. Our ancestors set up governments, created ethics, rules of conduct, to get along and work together co-cooperatively to mutually benefit the whole community, so the tribe's needs (physical, social, psychological and spiritual) were met. In this regard we invented openly paying homage to the CREATOR what many would call religion. We invented morality and the outgrowth of that notion in practical application to benefit the community.

We rarely think about these things. Why? Because we have been taught to think others did them, not us. It's ironic the descendants of the people who invented marriage and established the social cohesion of the extended family as the building block of civilization now think marriage is a “white thing,” something other folks do but we don't. I know there are a myriad of reasons for this misguided and maladaptive approach to living but now is not the time to delve into them. Suffice it to say we need to go back, look back at the origins of marriage, family, government and civilization so we can rebuild a way of life that insures all our people are cared for, nurtured, affirmed and supported as opposed to the ignorance, fragmentation, and disunity we experience today.

Africans invented thousands of musical instruments, drums and percussion instruments, flutes aerophones, harps, lyres, guitar, zithers and chordophones. They incorporated these instruments into their daily routines, their work, play, and ceremonies. The invention of the instruments was part of our spiritual nature a way to resonate outwardly with the intrinsic rhythms inside us. This is where we get our swagger, sway, and soul. But in this society we don't control the distribution and marketing of our creativity. We make the music the world loves and we do all kinds of creative things, but we allow soulless, immoral heathenish corporations to high-jack our creativity.

They exploit it, pervert and debase it and turn it into weapons they use against us to debase us and get us off track. The good news is the old model of recording, marketing and exhibiting is dying fast and new technology is making it easier for conscious artists, filmmakers, videographers to gain public access and get exposure for their works. More of our artists need to apply the concept of Sankofa to their work and dedicate their efforts to uplift, encourage, and empower our people.

Our adversaries are promoting the preposterous notion we live in a “post racial society.” Their disingenuousness knows no bounds. They point to the selection of Barack Obama, a man of bi-racial history as their prime exhibit for the death of racism. This of course is the same type of clap trap they said after the Plessey v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision. If we don't know our history we are unaware that this egregious travesty of jurisprudence established what they called “Separate but equal” status; it codified US racial and color apartheid enforced by government sanctioned violence, terrorism, and intimidation. This is why the educational system discourages real Black History. This is why when they do acknowledge it, they always present a version of “Black History” that is palatable to whites.

This is why their ads and media programs present information, vignettes and stories showing us in servile, subservient, dutiful and loyal roles and positions. They never show freedom fighters like Nat Turner or Boukman, they never celebrate race first Blacks like Martin R. Dalany, Marcus Garvey or Elijah Muhammad. They don't want us to discover who we are and what we've come from. This is why they promote buffoonery, degeneracy and mindlessness in the corporate media. Their goal is to dumb us down so we replicate the caricatures and models they put before us; rather than being true to our ancestors and ourselves by actualizing our latent potential and genius.

Self-discovery is our job. It requires hard work and diligence. It is our responsibility to work at looking back, going back and discovering. This means we have to do the work ourselves. We cannot depend on others to uncover research and promote our greatness. If they do fine and there have been some who have done that like Basil Davidson, and Wallis Budge but they are the exception. I have books about world medicine, world history and world religion in my home library that don't mention Africa or Black people at all!!? It is up to us to rectify this deliberate omission; not for Europeans per se but for us! The best way for us to build on our great legacy of Black History and accomplishment is to know it, revere it, and honor it. This way it will be easier for us to continue to make progress and history.

*   *   *   *   *

Black History Month 2009

We went into slavery a piece of property; we came out American citizens. We went into slavery pagans; we came out Christians. We went into slavery without a language; we came out speaking the proud Anglo-Saxon tongue. We went into slavery with slave chains clanking about our wrists; we came out with the American ballot in our hands. Progress, progress is the law of nature; under God it shall be our eternal guiding star.Booker Taliaferro Washington

After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world, — a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world.W. E. B. Du Bois

God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.—Marcus Garvey

You know my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression ....If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. And if we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to Earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie, love has no meaning. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.—M. L. King

<-------artist Chuck Siler   

*   *   *   *   *

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. 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.

*   *   *   *   * 

The Adinkra Dictionary

A Visual Primer on The Language of Adinkra

By W. Bruce Willis

This is an excellent resource book for graphic artists, designers, textile designers, illustrators, - anyone in the arts field. But the extra kick with this book is that it gives you information on the background and history of the Adinkra symbology and even shows you how to make stamps so you can make and design your own fabric! . . . Contrary to the review of Oct. 16th, 2001, Adinkra is NOT a language of a secret society known by only a "select few." If it were, this dictionary should never have been published. I find this book to be a terrific resource (with a few minor errors that have been corrected by an addendum), full of meaning for everybody. I have owned a copy for a few years and highly recommend it. . . . This book arrived in great condition. It is going to be a graduation gift, so I'm very happy for the excellent condition. I own a copy of the book. It's a well-written reference for one of the most poetic and insightful elements of Ghanaian society. Volumes of wisdom can be learned from this one book!—amazon customers

*   *   *   *   *

AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#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 Eroticanoir.com 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

Non-fiction

#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

*   *   *   *   *

The Price of Civilization

Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity

By Jeffrey D. Sachs

The Price of Civilization is a book that is essential reading for every American. In a forceful, impassioned, and personal voice, he offers not only a searing and incisive diagnosis of our country’s economic ills but also an urgent call for Americans to restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity. Sachs finds that both political parties—and many leading economists—have missed the big picture, offering shortsighted solutions such as stimulus spending or tax cuts to address complex economic problems that require deeper solutions. Sachs argues that we have profoundly underestimated globalization’s long-term effects on our country, which create deep and largely unmet challenges with regard to jobs, incomes, poverty, and the environment. America’s single biggest economic failure, Sachs argues, is its inability to come to grips with the new global economic realities. Sachs describes a political system that has lost its ethical moorings, in which ever-rising campaign contributions and lobbying outlays overpower the voice of the citizenry. . . . Sachs offers a plan to turn the crisis around. He argues persuasively that the problem is not America’s abiding values, which remain generous and pragmatic, but the ease with which political spin and consumerism run circles around those values. He bids the reader to reclaim the virtues of good citizenship and mindfulness toward the economy and one another.

*   *   *   *   *

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

*   *   *   *   *

 

Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

*   *   *   *   *

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)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


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

Enjoy!

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)

 

 

 

 

 

 

posted 15 February 2012

 

 

 

     Home   JR Stanton

Related files:  It's That Time Again   National African American History Month 2009  Demise of Black History Month