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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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Her sagas peppered now and then / With unctuous chieftains and perfidious wives

No other odyssey or quest / Can rival that of Grandma’s / Yester years and now.

 

 

 

My Grandma Rocks the Cradle and Rules the World

For All Africa Grandmothers

 

By Ellen Dunbar

 

 The sweet breeze fans

The savory aroma

of Grandma’s pepper soup,

Hot and boiling

In the heavy, blackened kettle.

With the familiar smell of smoke

Piercing my nostrils

And the drone of her soothing voice,

I can tell

That home is really

Where the heart is.

 

I sit on the mat,

My head on her soft lap

As she braids my hair.

Grandma tells me

Of days gone by,

Of chaste maidens

And strong brave men;

Of valor, love, honor

And riches untold.

Her sagas peppered now and then

With unctuous chieftains and perfidious wives

No other odyssey or quest

Can rival that of Grandma’s

Yester years and now.

 

The letters of her name,

She’ll never read,

Even if written bold and big

Across the sky,

But a reader of minds

This strong, Kpelle woman is,

And everyone will agree

That my grandma

Is queen of the countryside.

 

For many have suckled

At her breast

And at her fire hearth

The village has fed.

Countless navel strings

Buried in her backyard,

My Grandma’s palava hut

Is like a  village square

Where many gather

In search of justice, consolation

Advice or blessings.

 

Veteran Midwife, Mother Confessor,

Judge, Babysitter,Spiritual Advisor

My grandma’s hands rock the cradle

And rule the world

From her hammock in the thatched hut.

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A Reflective Poem

                     

                              By Ellen Dunbar

 

The sun and sea meet

In tight embrace

And kiss the day good bye

For night is near.

 

The golden ball of fire

Resting at dusk

upon the shoulder

of the shiny ocean

Shows that fire and water

Do interlace

But only in reflection.

 

For the glowing sun

Will soon be gone

Swallowed into the evening

By the deep, blue sea.

 

Oh deep, calm sea,

With undercurrents unseen,
Must I vainly wrestle,

Or accept the end?

 

The soothing, rocking motion

Of the waves

And dancing reflection

On your surface

Draw me to you.

 

The warm, gentle breeze

Lull me to sleep

And in my mesmeric state

I forget

That time and tide

Wait for no one.

 

I'm strong but small

And not as profound.

Your tidal pull

Unyielding, unrestrained

May cause me to drown.

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Sister, I'm Here

                       By Ellen Dunbar

You've been there for me
Throughout the years
You've given me courage,
And dried my tears
You've shared my joy
And shared my fears
You've heard my laughter
And seen my tears
You've been there for the good times
And the bad
You know when I'm happy
And when I'm sad.

I want you to know
How much I care
Remember always
Sister I'm here
And now that you're hurting
My true blue friend
I'll stay by your side
Until the end.

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Remembering You

For everyone who was ever an African teenager

                               By Ellen Dunbar


From the earliest days of our youth,
When we fetched water on our heads,
To when I watched you make your first rubber sling,
I have loved you.
Your memory has never left me
Though I am so far away,
For how could I forget when you got drunk with stolen palm wine
And put your arms around my waist?
Or the times I caught you looking
when in my early teens I learned to sway my hips?
Seems like it was only yesterday
When I first experienced young love
As you held me in your arms and said you'd never leave me.
How well I remember your funny stories
Told as we sat around the fire hearth at night.
I long for the lazy days
Of lying on the grass under the moonlight,
Just me and you, two young souls,
Our hearts pure, dreaming
Of nothing but the best
That life had to offer.

Ellen Dunbar left Liberia in the midst of civil unrest and news of impending war to start a new life in the United States.  During her early years in the U.S. she worked in the healthcare industry and free-lance writer and fashion designer.  She was a negotiator at Concentra Preferred Systems until 2003 when she made a decision to devote her time to creating opportunities for African women.

The eldest daughter among fourteen children and groomed for many years to make decisions affecting those around her, it is no wonder that the Miss Africa International® and Miss Africa Diaspora® pageants are products of her creative imagination.  Her pageants held at some of the most prestigious venues have been well-discussed in entertainment circles. 

A true humanitarian at heart known for her dedication to African women and children, Dunbar is a source of inspiration to the many African young women whom she mentors. She has a very strong relationship with various corporations, NGOs, African governments and United States officials. She has given many talks on African beauty, fashion and the trials and strength of the African woman of the new millennium.

Aside from creating the pageant, she has helped to raise funds for several charities. In an expanded outreach, her self-funded charitable foundation has sent educational materials to Benin, supported kids in Ethiopia, raised funds with the World Bank for hunger victims in Niger, donated to a project for female prisoners in Senegal and is working on humanitarian projects in her native Liberia. Her favorite projects are those that enhance independence and self-esteem in African women.

An ascending doyenne of international diplomatic circles, Dunbar keeps very busy in Washington, D.C. where she resides with her two sons, runs a consulting firm and helps raise funds for charities.  She has authored many essays, poems, short stories and is currently working on a radio program segment for the Voice of America and a screenplay.

Her writing can be found in various publications and websites under her pen name. One never knows what to expect of this strong, creative daughter of Liberia. For more information on Ellen Dunbar, visit www.missafricainternational.com.

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Nobel Peace Prize Winners are Subjects of Prominent PBS BroadcastsThree women—Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, her compatriot Leymah Gbowee, and pro-democracy campaigner Tawakul Karman of Yemen — have been named co-recipients of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for their nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy, and gender equality. Their remarkable stories are part of public media’s Women and Girls Lead pipeline of documentaries. Public media leaders from ITVS, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting joined the rising chorus of voices congratulating Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, her co-patriot Leymah Gbowee, and pro-democracy campaigner Tawakul Karman of Yemen, the three women named co-recipients of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” Pray the Devil Back to Hell   / Leymah Gbowee Wins 2011 Nobel Peace Prize

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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

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Pray the Devil Back to Hell

A film directed by Gini Reticker

Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a captivating new film by director Gini Reticker. It exposes a different story angle for the largely forgotten recent events of the women of Liberia uniting to bring the end to their nation's civil war. This film is amazing in the way it captivates your attention from the earliest frames. It doesn't shy away from showing footage of the violent events that took place during the Liberian civil war. But the main story of the film is that of Leymah Gbowee and the other women uniting, despite their religious differences, to force action on the stalled peace talks in their country. Using entirely nonviolent methods, not only are the peace talks successful, but Charles Taylor, the president of Liberia, is forced into exile leading to the first election of a female head of state in Africa. The women of this film are truly an inspiration and no one can fail to be moved by the message of hope that comes through clearly in this film. These are heroes that deserve to be remembered and with Pray the Devil we are able to do that, gaining both a knowledge of the history we are ignorant of through archival footage and an understanding of the leaders of this movement through close-up interviews with the many women who lead it. The film also offers a great soundtrack & inspirational song- "Djoyigbe" by Angelique Kidjo & Blake Leyh.Amazon Reviewer

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Mighty Be Our Powers

How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War

By Leymah Gbowee

As a young woman, Leymah Gbowee was broken by the Liberian civil war, a brutal conflict that tore apart her life and claimed the lives of countless relatives and friends. Years of fighting destroyed her country—and shattered Gbowee’s girlhood hopes and dreams. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn her bitterness into action, propelled by her realization that it is women who suffer most during conflicts—and that the power of women working together can create an unstoppable force. In 2003, the passionate and charismatic Gbowee helped organize and then led the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who sat in public protest, confronting Liberia’s ruthless president and rebel warlords, and even held a sex strike. With an army of women, Gbowee helped lead her nation to peace—in the process emerging as an international leader who changed history. Mighty Be Our Powers is the gripping chronicle of a journey from hopelessness to empowerment that will touch all who dream of a better world.—Beast Books  / Pray the Devil Back to Hell

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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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Enjoy!

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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 23 April 2012

 

 

 

Home Patricia Jabbeh Wesley Table    Transitional Writings on Africa   The African World   Guest Poets  

Related files:  Willis Knuckles Saga  I, Momolu or Liberia in the Bush   African President Addresses US Congress  After All the Flame   Deposing Charles Taylor   My Grandma Rocks the Cradle

Liberia Beauty Pageant    Background Reading on Afrocentrism