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Nina’s song makes me feel. She reaches into the depths of me, stirs up

memories decades old, describes deliberations I made

yesterday looking upon the disaster that is post-Katrina New Orleans

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Nina Simone CDs

Forever Young, Gifted & Black: Songs of Freedom and Spirit (2006)  /   Anthology  (2003)   Nina: The Essential Nina Simone  (2000, 2003) 

 The Very Best Of Nina Simone, 1967-1972 : Sugar In My Bowl (1998)  / The Blues (1968, 1991) / Compact Jazz: Nina Simone (1989-1991)

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Nina Simone The Emotional Depths of the Spirit World

Emergency Ward  Reviewed by Mtume ya Salaam & Kalamu ya Salaam

--from Breath of Life

 

These two songs are long-form Nina taken from Emergency Ward / It Is Finished / Black Gold a 2-CD collection of Nina’s last three LPs on the RCA label. Both selections, each over ten minutes long, are stellar examples of sustained intense expression done as only Nina can. Like church service, Nina throws her all in the pot as she conjures up a process that transform the physical into the spiritual.
 
Although this style of singing has sometimes been described as letting it all hang out or letting one’s self go, there is a huge amount of discipline and artistry required to successfully execute these kinds of performances where the artist clearly becomes a vessel ridden by some invisible force.

Over forty years ago, my younger brother Kenneth and I were in Choir #3, the young people’s ensemble of my grandfather’s Greater Liberty Baptist church located at 1230 Desire Street in New Orleans. This particular time was not a Sunday service, but rather a week night gathering. It may have been a Bible study session or it may have been a reception for out of town visitors, or perhaps a preacher passing through. In any case, whatever the specific occasion, we were singing. Ms. Cherie, the choir-master and master organist, had us rocking. It got good. Church good.

Now when it gets church good, everybody knows—at least everybody in that world knows—people be falling out. Literally rolling on the floor, flailing about screaming and shouting. As youngsters we used to think some, if not all, of it was show, was people putting on or at least acting out. In fact, we would secretly mimic and make fun of some of the parishioners who were known for what was called “catching the spirit.” It was as if “the spirit” was some invisible force flying around the church and these people could throw up their hands and ensnare God’s spirit, snatch it clean out the air and infuse it into their bosoms, and once they did, like grabbing a live wire of electricity, these spirit catchers would jerk uncontrollably, their whole bodies simultaneously going stiff as a corpse on a cooling board and writhing like a snake whose head has just been cut off.

We’d seen it so often we could almost predict who was going to go off. But it was never us. And because we never were the ones thrashing about on the floor, we used that lack of experience to suggest to us that there was something artificial about other people shouting.

So we were up there rocking. I don’t remember the song. I just remember the feeling. How time has no dominion when it gets church good. How sight no longer becomes reliable. How clearly in that moment, you hear the music and only the music. That moment when it seems no one else exists, nothing else matters. And like the excruciating pleasure of biblical knowing, this feeling hurts so good, you want the feeling to keep on, never to end. You want to hold it in at the same time you need to let it out. And when both feelings gets so strong that it’s no longer possible to maintain both a holding on and a letting go, that’s when you scream. Oh my God!

I believe Audrey was her name. She lived across the street from the church. She was a tall teenager, five-foot six or seven. Slender as a bean stalk. A regular girl. No pretenses about her. Kenneth and I were on the third row, she was in front of us. She sang alto. We sang whatever no-singing young Negro males sing.

Suddenly it was like Jesus called her number and, bingo, her lights went out. Like struck by lightening, she collapsed to the floor. I don’t remember her foaming at the mouth or anything like that. But I do remember that neither Kenneth nor I, nor for that matter both of us together, could hold her down. Between us, we probably outweighed her three times over but we couldn’t hold her down. I believe I was trying to hold her arms and Kenneth had her legs, or maybe it was the other way around. Neither one of us was able to achieve our aim.

We were futilely attempting to hang on to Audrey as if we were trying to keep her from slipping off into some invisible abyss. Meanwhile, the choir was steady rocking. The music was rolling on. I remember looking up at Kenneth. Neither of us could believe we couldn’t hold down Audrey. That was the moment we knew the spirit was real. Had to be. Had to be something greater than Audrey cause we knew we could handle Audrey. But whatever this was, it was something greater than us, greater than lightweight Audrey, greater than husky Kenneth and husky me.

Afterwards I don’t think we talked about it, but we knew. We knew the spirit was real. In these performances you can feel Nina roaming through the spirit world, her song a night-black-mare of emotions galloping full out, powerful and fleet, but also immense and deliberate. If you’ve never had the experience of catching the Holy Spirit, this is some of what it feels like.

The first selection improbably merges “My Sweet Lord,” a song by George Harrison of the Beetles and “Today Is A Killer,” a poem by Gylan Kain of the Original Last Poets, except this gospel arrangements sounds nothing like the Beetles and Nina’s reading of the poem sounds more like an improvised statement of determination rather than a reciting of poetry. Not just anybody can do this, can go on for nearly twenty minutes of singing and shouting, holding notes impossibly long, stuttering and twisting syllables into abstract symbols communicating both resignation and relief, uttering both shouts and sighs. Oh my God!

“Isn’t It A Pity” is more like a prayer, a plea when everything seems hopeless. A heartfelt laying down of burdens at the feet of the Lord. Clearly this is a song that is sung when conditions come forth that are beyond our abilities of comprehension. So we fling our incomprehension out into the universe and hope we hear back a communication from God, a sacred word or feeling that will let us know that what seems so hopeless is not totally lost cause. 

All of the above and much more is what these examples of Nina’s song makes me feel. She reaches into the depths of me, stirs up memories decades old, describes deliberations I made yesterday looking upon the disaster that is post-Katrina New Orleans. How could she have been there in another century when I was teenager in a little church in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward and yet be so right-on here and now in my senior years dealing with the aftermath of the drowning of a metropolis?

I don’t know if I’ve helped you, dear reader, understand Nina Simone (or understand me) but hopefully, like the realness of another world that Kenneth and I recognized in Audrey writhing uncontrollably on the church floor, hopefully, you recognize there is another world and hopefully, as it does for me, hopefully for you this music is the vehicle for an all too brief visit (or at least fleeting sighting/sounding) into the emotional depths of the spirit world.
—Kalamu ya Salaam

 

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A category of one       

If you let me use both hands, I can count for you the number of times I’ve set foot in a church, mosque or synagogue. It’s just not my thing. That said, I know a little bit about the spirit Kalamu is describing. If you listen to much black music, you can’t help but hear it. (Aretha Franklin’s mighty, mighty sixteen-minute performance of "Amazing Grace" comes to mind right away, but there are countless other examples.)

On a different note, given that Nina Simone is the most frequently posted artist here at Breath of Life, it should be obvious that both Kalamu and I are completely taken by her work. This time around, I want to comment on one specific aspect of Nina’s style, and that is her spontaneity. Or maybe I should say, "her apparent spontaneity," because there is nothing I know of that proves that the spontaneity of hers wasn’t planned.

I’m referring to the way Nina tends to deviate from the literal text of the song. Sometimes it’s an ad-lib, adding something that isn’t ’supposed’ to be there. ("We’ve been programmed that way!" - Around 9:15 of "Isn’t It A Pity.") Sometimes, it’s unexpected silences. (They’re all over the place. Just listen.) Sometimes, it’s the odd way Nina holds or bends a note or word. ("Everything is plas…tic…kuh." Right near the end of "Pity.") Most amazing about Nina’s deviations is that she does it all while sounding completely natural and self-assured. It never sounds gimmicky or forced. If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear that both of these recordings were made in Nina’s living room with her holding court at her piano, cigarette and drink within reach, her only audience a small group of close friends and associates.

It’s both curious and oxymoronic that Nina often sounds so casual and unstudied. The extraordinary ease with which she performs belies a highly dedicated and very, very intense performer. If you’ve ever read or heard an interview of Nina’s, you know that she takes both herself and her music very seriously. Almost to a fault, I’d say. The woman never suffered a fool, gladly or otherwise. It wasn’t uncommon for her to interrupt an interview to inform an ignorant interviewer as to the exact breadth and depth of his or her ignorance.

Thinking about it now, we might say that Nina’s well-practiced unaffectedness is ‘Ali-esque’ in both its impudence and effectiveness. Whether in the studio or on stage, the woman is honestly in a category of one: the greatest.—Mtume ya Salaam

posted 12 February 2007

Ain't Got No...I've Got Life (video) / Four Women (video) / / Feelings (video)

Harlem Festival, Part 2 (video)  / Harlem Festival, Part 3  (video) / Harlem festival, Part 4 (video)

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Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), better known by her stage name Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music. Simone aspired to become a classical pianist while working in a broad range of styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.

Born the sixth child of a preacher's family in North Carolina, Simone aspired to be a concert pianist. Her musical path changed direction after she was denied a scholarship to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, despite a well-received audition. Simone was later told by someone working at Curtis that she was rejected because she was black. When she began playing in a small club in Philadelphia to fund her continuing musical education and become a classical pianist she was required to sing as well. She was approached for a recording by Bethlehem Records, and her rendering of "I Loves You Porgy" was a hit in the United States in 1958. Over the length of her career Simone recorded more than 40 albums, mostly between 1958—when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue—and 1974. Her musical style arose from a fusion of gospel and pop songs with classical music, in particular with influences from her first inspiration, Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied with her expressive jazz-like singing in her characteristic contralto. for equal rights in the US.—wikipedia

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Nina SimoneKalamu ya SalaamNina is not her name. Nina is our name. Nina is how we call ourselves remade into an uprising. Eunice Waymon started out life as a precocious child prodigy—amazingly gifted at piano. She went to church, sang, prayed and absorbed all the sweat of the saints: the sisters dropping like flies and rising like angels all around her. Big bosoms clad in white. Tambourine-playing, cotton-chopping, tobacco-picking, corn-shucking, floor-mopping, child-birthing, man-loving hands. The spray of sweat and other body secretions falling on young Eunice's face informing her music for decades to come with the fluid fire of quintessential Black musicking.

But there was also the conservatory and the proper way to approach the high art of music. The curve of the hands above the keyboard. The ear to hear and mind to understand the modulations in and out of various keys. The notes contained in each chord. She aspired to be a concert pianist. But at root she was an obeah woman. With voice and drum she could hold court for days, dazzle multitudes, regale us with the splendor, enrapture us with the serpentine serendipity of her black magic womanistness articulated in improvised, conjured incantations. "My daughter said, mama, sometimes I don't understand these people. I told her I don't understand them either but I'm born of them, and I like it." Nina picked up Moses' writhing rod, swallowed it and now hisses back into us the stories of our souls on fire. Hear me now, on fire.

My first memory of Nina is twofold. One that music critics considered her ugly and openly said so. And two that she was on the Tonight show back in the late fifties/very early sixties singing "I Love You Porgy." Both those memories go hand in hand. Both those memories speak volumes about what a Black woman could and could not do in the Eisenhower era. They called her ugly because she was Black. Literally. Dark skinned. In the late fifties, somewhat like it is now, only a tad more adamant, couldn't no dark skinned woman be pretty. In commercial terms, the darker the uglier. Nina was dark.

My first memory of Nina is twofold. One that music critics considered her ugly and openly said so. And two that she was on the Tonight show back in the late fifties/very early sixties singing "I Love You Porgy." Both those memories go hand in hand. Both those memories speak volumes about what a Black woman could and could not do in the Eisenhower era. They called her ugly because she was Black. Literally. Dark skinned. In the late fifties, somewhat like it is now, only a tad more adamant, couldn't no dark skinned woman be pretty. In commercial terms, the darker the uglier. Nina was dark.

She sang "Porgy" darkly. Made you know that the love she sang about was the real sound of music, and that Julie Andrews didn't have a clue. Was something so deep, so strong that I as a teenager intuitively realized that Nina's sound was both way over my head and was also the water within which my soul was baptized. Which is probably why I liked it, and is certainly why my then just developing moth wings sent me shooting toward the brilliant flashes of diamond bright lightening which shot sparking cobalt blue and ferrous red out of the black well of her mouth. This was some elemental love. Some of the kind of stuff I would first read about in James Baldwin's Another Country, a book that America is still not ready to understand. Love like that is what Nina's sound is.

Her piano was always percussive. It hit you. Moved you. Socked it to you. She could hit one note and make you sit up straight. Do things to your anatomy. That was Nina. Made a lot of men wish their name was Porgy. That's the way she sang that song. I wanted to grow up and be Porgy. Really. Wanted to grow up and get loved like Nina was loving Porgy. For a long time, I never knew nobody else sang that song. Who else could possibly invest that song with such a serious message, serious meaning? Porgy was Nina's man. Nina's song. She loved him. And he was well loved.

In my youth, I didn't think she was ugly. Nor did I didn't think she was beautiful. She just looked like a dark Black woman. With a bunch of make-up on in the early days. Later, I realized what she really looked like was an African mask. Something to shock you into a realization that no matter how hard you tried, you would never ever master white beauty because that is not what you were. Fundamental Blackness. Severe lines. Severe, you hear me. I mean, you hear Nina. Dogonic, chiseled features. Bold eyes. Ancient eyes. Done seen and survived slavery eyes. A countenance so serious that only hand carved mahogany or ebony could convey the features. . . .—wordup

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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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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. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.WashingtonPost

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The New New Deal

The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era

By Michael Grunwald

Time senior correspondent Michael Grunwald tells the secret history of the stimulus bill, the purest distillation of Change We Can Believe In, a microcosm of Obama’s policy successes and political failures. Though it is reviled by the right and rejected by the left, it really is a new New Deal, larger than FDR’s and just as transformative. It prevented an imminent depression, while jump-starting Obama’s long-term agenda. The stimulus is pouring $90 billion into clean energy, reinventing the way America is powered and fueled; it includes unprecedented investments in renewables, efficiency, electric cars, a smarter grid, cleaner coal, and more. It’s carrying health care into the digital era. Its Race to the Top initiative may be the boldest education reform in U.S. history. It produced the biggest middle-class tax cuts in a generation, a broadband initiative reminiscent of rural electrification, and an overhaul of the New Deal’s unemployment insurance system. It’s revamping the way government addresses homelessness, fixes infrastructure, and spends money.

Grunwald reveals how Republicans have obscured these achievements through obstruction and distortion. The stimulus launched a genuine national comeback. It also saved millions of jobs, while creating legacies that could rival the Hoover Dam: the world’s largest wind farm, a new U.S. battery industry, a new high-speed rail network, the world’s highest-speed Internet network.  Its main legacy, like the New Deal’s, will be change.

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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. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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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.

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The Last Holiday: A Memoir

By Gil Scott Heron

Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King's birthday ended up becoming a national holiday ("The Last Holiday because America can't afford to have another national holiday"), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered.

Gil uses Lennon's violent end as a brilliant parallel to Dr King's assassination and as a biting commentary on the constraints that sometimes lead to newspapers getting things wrong.—Jamie Byng, Guardian

Gil_reads_"Deadline" (audio)  / Gil Scott-Heron & His Music  Gil Scott Heron Blue Collar  Remember Gil Scott- Heron

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Season of Adventure

By George Lamming

First published in 1960, Season of Adventure details the story of Fola, a light-skinned middle-class girl who has been tipped out of her easy hammock of social privilege into the complex political and cultural world of her recently independent homeland, the Caribbean island of San Cristobal. After attending a ceremony of the souls to raise the dead, she is carried off by the unrelenting accompaniment of steel drums onto a mysterious journey in search of her past and of her identity. Gradually, she is caught in the crossfire of a struggle between people who have "pawned their future to possessions" and those "condemned by lack of learning to a deeper truth." The music of the drums sounds throughout the novel, "loud as gospel to a believer's ears," and at the end stands alone as witness to the tradition which is slowly being destroyed in the name of European values. Whether through literary production or public pronouncements, George Lamming has explored the phenomena of colonialism and imperialism and their impact on the psyche of Caribbean people.

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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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Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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update 19 August 2012

 

 

 

Home Kalamu ya Salaam Table Music and Musicians  Chick Webb Memorial Index  Fifty Influential Figures

Related files: Bio-Chronology   Nina Simone: The Emotional Depths of the Spirit World  Nina Remembers   Remembering Nina  Four Women  To be Young, Gifted and Black 

Well Done, Miss Simone