ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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Often, Black women work several jobs, layer multiple income strategies to make it. 

More often than not, white women can afford to stop working to bare and raise

their young, or to reduce stress as one academic I know.



Books by Mona Lisa Saloy

Red Beans and Ricely Yours: Poems

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Mona Lisa on IT

Hey now Rudy,

Just getting online after Tropical Storm Cindy, and bracing for Dennis.  Thanks for keeping me in the loop.  As usual, your thoughtful comments are well taken. I, too, feel IT challenged, and am bracing for the promotion of my book, Red Beans and Ricely Yours; Poems, due out in September.  I need to learn to do a web site, et al.

Especially noted were two comments: one from Ms. Boof: ``Her charge is that there is a proclivity of well-off American black men to consort with mulatto (or ‘high yalla’) or white women." Black people are so much more than a color; we are a world culture with some basic similarities in World Viewbelief in the DIVINE, FAMILY, and COMMUNITY or extended familyand a whole lot of differences in how we express all of that. 

In most of the world, we have been colonized, therefore, mixed. Some of our greatest proponents of "Black" ideology were/are fair: W. E. B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Sonia Sanchez (our Mother of BAM), Toi Derricotte, Deborah E. McDowall, Haki Madhubuti, Nikki Giovanni, Manning Marable, and Cornel Westand others in between those.  The reality is that many fairer-skinned Blacks, like myself, come from very dark-skinned mothers or fathers, and are culturally rich and proud of their heritage and traditions. 

For more recent examples, take for instance Jessica Care Moore [spoken-word Diva who won five consecutive Live at the Apollo contests] and Devorah Major, former San Francisco Poet Laureate; both have white mothers but are deliciously Black at heart, to which their work is a testimony.  [Devorah's father is Reggie Major, author of The Panther is a Black Cat; James Baldwin was her God Father.]  Please, let us get over color as a measure of who we are.

The other comment noted is this one. "So we have a stark absence of female essayists, journalists, literary critics. They just have not submitted."

This is unfortunate.  The reality is that many Black women are struggling to survive alone, without partners in life.  This comes with a tremendous economic burden, and feelings of inadequate preparation for later in life.  While I cannot cite the source readily, apparently Black women make more money than white women over the course of their lives. 

Often, Black women work several jobs, layer multiple income strategies to make it.  More often than not, white women can afford to stop working to bare and raise their young, or to reduce stress as one academic I know.  She's had the Ph.D. for only a few years, but teaching at a small undergraduate teaching college and trying to write while raising one son who needs tutoring plus a handicapped husband has caused her to have high blood pressure; this is real. 

Still, economically, she is deciding to work part time or stop altogether for her health, and she can afford this.  There are other sisters who bear these stresses and more but cannot imagine slowing down, let alone not working.  It's just that Black women do all of the above and carry the high blood pressure to an early grave.  Statistics prove this.  It is no wonder that we are losing input into these important discussions.

As a recently minted Ph.D. (graduate in August), getting this last union card is my individual effort at positioning myself for longevityGOD WILLING—inside and outside of the academy.  Along the way, it was difficult to choose when and not to enter debates.  The years of teaching at an HBCUTHANK GOD I HAD A JOB WITH BENEFITSwith loads of needy students, kids who like me are first-generation degree holders, slowed me down.  I could not cheat my kids; I had to give them my all and then some.

Layer this with the years of care of my Alzheimer's Dad until he passed;  these were the most fulfilling of my life, knowing my Father as a grown woman, to learn who he really was as a man, the struggles, the love. These years were more fulfilling than my short marriage which left me with a broken pelvis and lost memory from a near-fatal car accident [which was why I did not bare kids when young]. 

The only time I've had unconditional love was and is from my family.  I am BLESSED, and I know it.  My life, maybe not the particulars, “is” common.  In many ways, we can agree that we have come very far by faith, but surviving the new millennium is more than a notion.  So understand that we, sisters, are here, and we are stepping up to the plate, by our timeline, maybe just not yours.

Red Beans and Ricely Yours, Mona Lisa

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Dillard University's Creative Writing Program

Study with Published Awarded Writers

Mona Lisa Saloy and Dedra Johnson


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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 11 July 2005 /posted 27 June 2008



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