ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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

Google
 

Only we can heal us.  Only we can protect us.  So, “You, brother! You protect us.”   You are going

to protect us or we are not going be protected.  Sorry, brothers, I am tired of the rhetori

 

 

Our Soul Is the Witness

By Jerhretta Suite

 

A few years ago, I was threatened on a job site.  My last thought was of calling the police.  Actually, I had no thought of calling the police.  My first and only thought was to call my MAN.  We paid dearly for me having confidence in him. When the police were called to "save the day"not by me, mind youthe “script was flipped."  The threatened, the victim, the “good guy” in the script became the accused.  We became the threat.  But, if we had to do it again, we would.

However, the question is, do most sisters defer to brothers to protect them?  In a recent broadcast news story concerning the rape of a Black Woman in Baltimore, a brother in the background cried out, “Who is going to protect these black women?”  His cry for help referred to the lack of police protection offered in our communities.  My response to his cry, “YOU, brother!”

Although I understand our right to be protected just like other “citizens,” his cry for help saddened and sickened me.  It was as if he had not been Black in America all his life.  True, I do not know the brother, but I do know that ours is a tentative citizenship.  And, the only true protection Sisters have are Brothers.  Our history in this country should be proof enough that if our well-being is going to be attended to, we must attend to it.   Why do we keep expecting anything other than what we receive from folks other than ourselves?

The district police commissioner issued a memorandum mandating that all black males that entered the area, where the Sister was raped, be stopped as suspects.

So, through memos we are being terrorized.  What’s new?  Inherently exclusive memos in this country, also referred to as laws, terrorize us every minute of every hour of every century that we succumb to this psychological beating.  I am in no way suggesting that the suspicion of all or any Black males be condoned.  I am suggesting that we stop crying about it and place our lives in our own hands. 

Of course, I do not want to feel my brothers terrorized because of the intimidating truth of melanin; but I do want to see, feel, hear and know that my brothers are protecting us because of the majesty of our melanin. And, because our genetic memory demands that we protect us.  Our concern must be with what we are doing, not with what other folks are or are not doing for us.  We are so often, so easily diverted from our real issues. One being that a sister is hurting. Sisters are hurting. Brothers are hurting.  Our sister is hurting.  I trust that the Ancestors will heal her heart, body and soul.  Her mind.

Our other real issue is that we refuse to control our own lives.  Only we can heal us.  Only we can protect us.  So, “You, brother! You protect us.”   You are going to protect us or we are not going to be protected.  Sorry, brothers, I am tired of the rhetoric, as I watch you step past, walk around, close doors on and make excuses about why you can’t get along with the women who look just like your mothers.  I am tired of the rhetoric espousing the greatness of our Ancestors without honoring their work through continued action. 

No more words, ‘til action.  No more crying out about who is going to do something for us unless we are crying out to us.  No more insults to the Ancestors by burying our heads in the very earth their blood nourishes.  These are not weak shoulders we wobble on.  The Ancestors’ shoulders are strong enough to stand on.  So, stand on them.  No more “intellectuals” over analyzing an answer. The solution is simple.  Your women; you protect!

If a sister seems afraid of you, show her that she does not have to be.  So what if your feelings get hurt.  Better us than a memo.  Besides, we are worth it.  This is not a “slamming the brothers” piece.  This piece is about our peace.  It’s about love: our true, enduring love for each other. 

I remember a time when I shushed my husband when he was taking a stand I thought would hurt us.  Then he helped me realize, that if I wanted a man, I had to be a woman.  And, that if I loved him, truly, the way I proclaimed, I could not suffocate his manhood as if we were slaves afraid to become "strange fruit.The traditional Poplar Tree is not the only method of madness used to lynch us.  We must not lose our minds in other people’s madness.  

What use is the body if we can’t protect it? What use are we to us if we don’t come to terms with our fear of white folks and why?  Once we state that fear and the reason, it will start to dissolve.  What use is our body if we don’t have our own mind?  For that matter, my husband explained, we might as well be the fruit that Billie sings about if we don’t honor our Ancestorsour genetic memory.  Or perhaps what James Baldwin wrote was correct “[Our] memory stammers.”  

But, ain’t our soul the witness?

(Original quote by James Baldwin, “My memory stammers: but my soul is a witness.” From, The Evidence Of Things Not Seen)

posted 13 October 2004

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

By  Frank B. Wilderson, III

Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson's stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who've accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela's rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela's regime deems Wilderson's public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America. Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Wilderson's observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid's last days.Publishers Weekly

*   *   *   *   *

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        

Enjoy!

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

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 31 March 2012

 

 

 

Home    Mau Mau Aesthetics   Guest Poets      ChickenBones Short Stories  

Related files: Charm School  Haiku  I Wept Rivers   Mama and Me   Smiles   I Am Memory    Our Soul Is the Witness