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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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If we can set up a talent, skills, data bank of all these professors and writers and musicians . . .

from New Orleans and environs, whatever programs or conferences that occur within

the next year would have a means of contacting them, helping them, and inviting them to

speak, to perform, or give papers or reports as a means of putting money in their pockets. . .



New Orleans Flood Relief

Bulletin Board 


September 1, 2005 

Good Work

Hi Rudy,

It's great that you and ChickenBones are supporting efforts to help the victims. We in the school system are developing a plan. ChickenBones continues to do well. That's great. Be blessed,  Yvonne 

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Creating Community 

I have to admit that I am grieving, Rudy.

Got to find a way to make a meaningful contribution. I'm cleaning out my clothes closet and gathering up other supplies. The whole scene has put my mother back in bed. She's 87. She lives with me and we used to live in New Orleans.  The racism in the reporting is so deep.Your friend, Joyce

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CLA and Aid to Katrina Victims

Miriam and all my dear friends,

I am going to start a clothes drive.  Many are without clothes, shoes, etc. until they can get settled.  We have a faculty member here from New Orleans who has lost her home.  Her mother is in a hospital along with her sister and can't evacuate.  I will work with all to help in any way I can.  Has anyone heard from Karen, Jerry, Bernardo and others?  Dellita, how is your family? Caroll

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Katrina Victims/Talent/Skills DataBank

Dear Caroll, Dellita, and James,

I am writing to you because you are friends and colleagues, as well as present or former officers of CLA to see if there's something that we can do to help our colleagues at Dillard, Xavier, and Southern Universities who have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina.  I have been thinking about friends like Karen Becnel Moore, Elizabeth Brown Guillory, and Jerry Ward, who are long-time members of CLA, and about other college professors, artists, and scholars from New Orleans.  You will remember that this group hosted the 2001 CLA convention in New Orleans.

Yesterday I received an indirect communication from a noted writer who was forced to relocate to Houston, where he has no home or job.  I learned today of another professor who was staying in a Houston hotel for $79, but had to move to an army facility where he pays $19.  The plight of students and faculty from these historically-Black colleges is desperate, and we should try to help.  We can do three things: 

1.  LOCATEWe can tap into the networks of these professors--their friends, colleagues, and families--to get their phone numbers, addresses, fax numbers, e-mail addresses, anything that might help us to reach them.

2. CONTACTWe can send messages to them to find out how they are, where they're located, and what we can do to help.

3. ASSISTWe can use our contacts at schools, colleges, universities, libraries, churches, and other institutions to open up opportunities for lectures, readings, consultantships, editing jobs, part-time teaching, etc.

The devastation of the hurricane is overwhelming, but if each of us does ONE positive thing, it will help to ease the burden.

Can someone volunteer to look through the list of members in a recent issue of CLAJ to obtain names & addresses of those located in the Gulf Coast area. (My CLAJs are in Memphis)  Could you send me those names on an e-mail attachment.

Once we have a list, could you, James, as Treasurer, provide us with any e-mail addresses that you have for those members?

In the meantime, will you forward this message to other CLA members whom you know.

Most important:  Will you talk to your dept. chair, dean, or provost about inviting one of these professors to come to your college/university--with an honorarium & travel expenses.

Finally, we can contribute to one of the organizations that have established relief funds to help these colleges: The United Negro College Fund (, the National Association of Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (, and, the largest online destination for HBCU students & alumni, at In peace, Miriam 

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Miriam, peace and blessings,

I think your approach is sound. If we can set up a talent, skills, data bank of all these professors and writers and musicians and other articulate people from New Orleans and environs, whatever programs or conferences that occur within the next year would have a means of contacting them, helping them, and inviting them to speak, to perform, or give papers or reports as a means of putting money in their pockets and pulling their lives back together.

If we can get these people on their feet they will be better able to help others in the region. Of course, we at ChickenBones: A Journal will do whatever we can to make that databank available to organizations and groups who are preparing programs. As ever and always, Rudy

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Rudy, I agree with you, I think what Miriam has done is very good. Herbert

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That's a GREAT idea, Rudy.  If you can use ChickenBones: A Journal as a data bank, I'll feed you all the info that I can get.  I haven't visited the site in ages, but will do so now.  Herbert said that you have a lot of info about K. on the site. Miriam

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Yes, Rudy this is in the direction and more functional and real then donating to the goddamn Red Cross. I want to help and be useful, not throw away money and energy into phony organizations. I am waiting to hear back from Kalamu about wiring him some cash.

Keep me posted as I want to help our brothers and sisters. It's really strange writing this from another country. Dennis

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Don't forget your museum people. In fact, my wife, Rhonda Miller was teaching at Dillard and running a program at the Louisiana Children's Museum.  There is a lot of displaced talent out here.  I'm glad that I've got a third floor storage in New Orleans so that some of my artwork might have survived. Chuck

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Katrina Networking

Dear Rudy, Brenda Marie Osbey has a long note on Ethelbert's blog for 9-1-05 that may be of use in some way. Jeannette


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Dear Ethelbert,

Love you, love you and bless you and all who've asked and expressed concern. My internet access is limited and people are waiting in line to use the three computers here at thehotel. I've sent the following to NBC Nightly. Please do me the favor of forwarding it to any interested news service you can.


Much love always,
Brenda Marie
1 September 2005

1 September 2005

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To Whom It May Concern:

Those of us who did leave the City before the hurricane are scattered and waiting to return to begin again. Reports of looting, shooting and fires are distressing; but we hold on to faith that order will be quickly restored. What is most important is that those housed at the LA. Superdome not be forced to remain in what is clearly an untenable situation. Medical attention and supplies, food, clothing and transportation out of the City must be provided them. Repairs of levees and pumps must begin now.

Many Americans know New Orleans primarily as a tourist destination, a playground of tourists and wealthy businessmen. The fact is that this is one of the greatest cities this country has known. It is unique in the history of the nation and through such industries as oil & gas, shipping and transportation and the growth and spread of jazz and the music culture that has grown out of it,  has provided the backbone for much of what the rest of the world knows and thinks of as "American." Years ago we were dubbed "the City that Care Forgot," "
Big Easy," "Silver City" not only because we knew how to enjoy life, because we were and are an open-handed and open-hearted people. New Orleanians the world over intend nothing less than the salvation of our City. Report that.

I, my Mother and my companion left New Orleans on Sunday afternoon, traveled through Mississippi and Arkansas, and landed eventually in Shreveport, LA. at the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel. My brother remained in the City and still has land-line telephone service and water. Presently, I am able to make but not receive calls on my cell phone. We are safe and anxious to return to our City.

New Orleanians are a people of unimaginable strength and resilience and New Orleans will be rebuilt as a great city. I am returning to begin again as soon as possible. Report that. Tell that to the world again and again.


Brenda Marie Osbey, Poet Laureate
State of Louisiana
3319 Dumaine Street
New Orleans 70119

1 September 2005


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Clearinghouse of Information

Dear Arthur,

It was so good hearing from you, with news about your new novel, grounded in Memphis history, and your efforts with regard to Riverside Park.  It seems that you are centered in a very creative phase of your life. I was happy to hear that the Flowers have found refuge in the city and are managing to survive the crisis.

I'm trying to do what I can here and in Memphis to help because the N. O. crisis is just devastating;  as someone commented the destruction is of "biblical proportions":  it's this country's tsunami and New Orleans in the new Pompeii. I'll keep you posted. Peace, Miriam

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miriam, my url, its trying to set it up as a clearing house of information on katrina, i already have a post of yours on it
please keep me informed of anything you think i need to know to be effective be well

New Orleans Floods: The Historical Record

this is a selection from nytimes columnist david brooks column. in it it talks about the social impacts of previous natural disasters in neworleans and elsewhere arf

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Then in 1927, the great Mississippi flood rumbled down upon New Orleans. As Barry writes in his account, "Rising Tide," the disaster ripped the veil off the genteel, feudal relations between whites and blacks, and revealed the festering iniquities. Blacks were rounded up into work camps and held by armed guards. They were prevented from leaving as the waters rose. A steamer, the Capitol, played "Bye Bye Blackbird" as it sailed away. The racist violence that followed the floods helped persuade many blacks to move north.

Civic leaders intentionally flooded poor and middle-class areas to ease the water's pressure on the city, and then reneged on promises to compensate those whose homes were destroyed. That helped fuel the populist anger that led to Huey Long's success. Across the country people demanded that the federal government get involved in disaster relief, helping to set the stage for the New Deal. The local civic elite turned insular and reactionary, and New Orleans never really recovered its preflood vibrancy.

We'd like to think that the stories of hurricanes and floods are always stories of people rallying together to give aid and comfort. And, indeed, each of America's great floods has prompted a popular response both generous and inspiring. But floods are also civic examinations. Amid all the stories that recur with every disaster - tales of sudden death and miraculous survival, the displacement and the disease - there is also the testing.

Civic arrangements work or they fail. Leaders are found worthy or wanting. What's happening in New Orleans and Mississippi today is a human tragedy. But take a close look at the people you see wandering, devastated, around New Orleans: they are predominantly black and poor. The political disturbances are still to come.

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New Orleans & Black Relief

I was about to email you Kalamu my good friend today, I knew you would find someway of communicating. I am not sure if we can do anything here in the UK. But I am seeking permission to reproduce your message in BAA newsletter  Until I hear from you  may the gods keep you and Nia safe.With love SuAndi

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I would like to pull off something, but not in a group, because it will become more problematic for me and especially if money is involved.  I wouldn't be able to pull anything off now until January or February at the latest. The way we work at Pratt, we must advertise in the "Compass" which has deadlines. I am going to have to sell the idea to the powers to be.  I think I maybe able to sell the idea with possibly the help of Reggie

Harris, who works here at Pratt and is also a poet. If I can get a date and an acceptable fee for him, perhaps these other people and/or organizations can have him do programs while here in the area. But if I try to coordinate an event with others, I do not believe Pratt will be very helpful. Just thought I would mention this to you. As ever, Herbert

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August 31, 2005

Kalamu Needs Your Help (work)

Hello Rudy,

I see you are a strong brother unfazed by the hardships that we as a people must endure at times in our lives.

Stay Strong and proactive! Ukali 

PS My heart goes out to my people in New Orleans!! If there was an evacuation order where were the buses for the Blacks and the poor who had no cars or other means to evacuate. We ask the question but we know the answer just by  looking at what is going on in New Orleans!!! There were no buses for the Black and the poor!!!

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After thinking about Kalamu’s situation and those of others affected by the storm in NOLA like Vera of Community Bookstore, etc., I’ve come up with an idea that may work.  We need to reach out in our networks and find out who needs support and we might best use the Internet to enable the support. 

Each person will have a different way in which they will accept support. Kalamu has stated that he needs work.  If he could send me a short piece on each of his services along with related fees, I could pass that information on to my networks.  

Also, he might want to reach out to E. Ethelbert Miller, Director of the African-American Resource Center at Howard University and a poet.  He has significant connections within educational institutional networks.  Vernard 

posted 1 September 2005  

*   *   *   *   *'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

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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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.”  His father distrusted the police, who had frequently called him “boy,” and rejected patriotism. Mr. Kennedy’s father “relished Muhammad Ali’s quip that the Vietcong had never called him ‘nigger.’ ” The author places his father, and Mr. Wright, in sympathetic historical light.

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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

Browse all issues

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






update 20 January 2012




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