ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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



Letters in Support of Maryland House Bill 101

To Proclaim January & February “Black History Months.”

Carter G. Woodson                                                                                                                          Floyd Hayes



Books by Floyd W. Hayes, III

A Turbulent Voyage: Readings in African American Studies / Forty Acres and a Mule: The Rape of Colored Americans

*   *   *   *   *

Rudy, I received a message from the MD bill's sponsor saying the the assembly failed to take it up this session. --Floyd (12 April 2007)

*   *   *   *   *

To: / /  /  / / /  /  / s /  /  /


March 15, 2007

Delegate Wendell R. Beitzel / Delegate Joanne C. Benson  / Delegate Eric M. Bromwell / Delegate Robert A. Costa / Delegate John P. Donoghue / Delegate Donald B. Elliott  / Delegate James W. Hubbard / Delegate A. Wade Kach / Delegate Nicholaus R. Kipke
Delegate Sue Kullen / Delegate Patrick L. McDonough / Delegate Heather R. Mizeur / Delegate Karen S. Montgomery
Delegate Dan K. Morhaim / Delegate Shirley Nathan-Pulliam / Delegate Nathaniel T. Oaks / Delegate Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk
Delegate Shane E. Pendergrass / Delegate B. Daniel Riley / Delegate Shawn Z. Tarrant / Delegate Veronica L. Turner / Delegate Richard B. Weldon, Jr.

Health and Government Operations Committee
General Assembly
Maryland State Government
Annapolis, MD  21401-1912

RE: House Bill 101

Dear Honorable Delegates:

I am writing in support of House Bill 101, which proclaims the months of January and February to be “Black History Months.”

More than two hundred years before Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915, and Negro History Week in 1926, captured African slaves and their American descendants were making American history in the midst of despair.  The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade violently dislocated Africans from their homelands, relocated them in America’s agrarian lands, and isolated them on dehumanizing plantations.  Yet, we survived the Holocaust of Enslavement, even as its legacy continues into the present.  And we continue to make American history. 

As this history changed and expanded, the meaning and value of Black American history also increased.  The 1960s witnessed the expansion of Negro History Week to Black History Month.  Indeed, this decade gave rise to the Black Studies Movement in colleges and universities across America; it also set in motion the serious examination of the Black American experience in many European universities.  The evidence is unchallengeable that the historical experience of African-descended Americans is of world-wide significance.  Forged in the cauldron of anti-slavery and anti-racist struggles, Black American history is the living narrative that all Americans need to embrace.

We have an obligation to remember the past if, for no other reason that we live in the presence of the past.  Hence, the ethics of memory calls on us to remember the past and learn its important lessons.  This is a major flaw in the American personality, for the drive to focus on the future often has prevented this nation from paying attention to its
past.  The proposed House Bill can encourage Americans, especially Maryland citizens, to overcome this limitation.  All Americans need to study the meaning of Black American history—to take seriously the transformative power of the past and its impact on this nation’s present and future.

By proclaiming January and February as “Black History Months,” the Maryland General Assembly recognizes the continuing growth and significance of a people’s historical experiences, which are central to meaning of American history.  Therefore, I support House Bill 101 most enthusiastically.

Sincerely yours,

Floyd W. Hayes, III, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer
Department of Political Science

Coordinator of Programs and Undergraduate Studies
Center for Africana Studies
The Johns Hopkins University
Greenhouse 107
3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
Phone: 410-516-7659
FAX: 410-516-7312

*   *   *   *   *

Dear state legislators:

I support HB 101, which proposes to extend Black History Month. an outgrowth of Negro History Week, conceived by Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1926 to combat racism and racial insensitivity. In addition, this Black History month helps to focus on the wide array of African American accomplishments in the arts, sciences, and many disciplines.

It is  important to have more than a month for this celebration so that all Americans, not just those of African descent, can honor and learn about the often overlooked achievements, experiences, and events that are part of the history of a group of American citizens. We hardly have enough time to study the richness of the legacy of Black Marylanders within the month of February, so an additional month would be welcomed. By honoring black history in our state, we move towards equality in our classrooms and curricula by increasing our understanding and experiences of this group of Americans. I recently learned that the Parliament of Canada officially recognized Black History month in Canada, so it is gaining global acceptance.

Some think that by setting aside a month or two to honor the contributions of African Americans trivializes it. However, this commemoration does not trivialize it, though  sometimes the way it is implemented in a school curriculum, for example, does trivialize it. It’s what James Banks, a prominent educator, calls the “Contributions Approach” to integration of diverse content into one’s curriculum. Its emphasis is on merely inserting the heroes and events and other cultural components into the curriculum without studying them in their historical context. This type of addition usually results in a superficial understanding of this racial group and serves to reinforce stereotypes and misconceptions. One example of an African American personality who has been trivialized is Martin Luther King, who has been reduced to that of a dreamer. Most young people, if they know anything at all about King, have heard of his “I Have a Dream” speech. However, King was a remarkable scholar who has produced volumes of books and speeches.

Again, I applaud the legislator who proposed the extension of the celebration of Black History in Maryland so that we have more time to study the spectrum of Black accomplishments, not only in Maryland, but those from Africa and the Diaspora.

HB 101 is a terrific idea, which I wholeheartedly support.


Lena Ampadu

Associate Professor of English

Director, African and African American Studies Program

Towson University

 *   *   *   *   *

To All,

I support the passing of HB 101. Please consider my vote as an approval request of this bill.

Salahudin Majeed
IT (Analyst)
Social Security Administration

 posted 16 March 2007

*   *   *   *   *'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

*   *   *   *   *

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. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. WashingtonPost

*   *   *   *   *

The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits.

*   *   *   *   *

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. . . .

*   *   *   *   *

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        


*   *   *   *   *

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)






update 21 May 2012




Home  Floyd W Hayes III Table

Related files: A Carter G. Woodson Bibliography  The Negro Washerwoman