ChickenBones: A Journal

for  Literary & Artistic African-American  Themes

   

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

Google
 

A life of destruction, it seems no one cares, / A manchild alone with burdens to bear.

Trapped in a life of crime and hate, / It seems the ghetto will be my fate.

 

 

 

Poem at Central Booking

                     By DeAndre McCullough

Silent screams and broken dreams

Addicts, junkies, pushers and fiends

Crowded spaces and sad faces

Never look back as the police chase us

Consumed slowly by chaos, a victim of the streets,

Hungry for knowledge, but afraid to eat.

A life of destruction, it seems no one cares,

A manchild alone with burdens to bear.

Trapped in a life of crime and hate,

It seems the ghetto will be my fate.

If I had just one wish it would surely be,

That God would send angels to set me free

Free from the madness, of a city running wild,

Freed from the life of a ghetto child.

Source: The Corner (1997) by David Simon and Edward Burns

*   *   *   *   *
 

The Corner

The bleak reality of drug addiction is captured with unflinching authenticity in The Corner, an excellent, reality-based HBO miniseries. Having lived on the streets of West Baltimore, Maryland, where this compelling drama takes place, actor-director Charles S. Dutton knows the territory, physically, socially, and emotionally, and his compassionate approach is vital to the series' success. Dutton cares for his characters deeply enough to give them a realistic shred of hope, even when hope is consistently dashed by the ravages of addiction. This is, at its root, a family tragedy, focusing on errant father Gary (T.K. Carter, in a heartbreaking performance) a once-successful investor trapped in a tailspin of heroin dependency. His estranged wife Fran (Khandi Alexander) was the first to get hooked, and she's struggling to get clean, while their 15-year-old son DeAndre (Sean Nelson, from the indie hit Fresh) deals drugs, temporarily avoiding their deadly allure while facing the challenge of premature fatherhood.

Through revealing flashbacks and numerous local characters, we see the explicit fallout of addiction, and while violence occasionally erupts, its constant threat is secondary to Dutton's dramatic vision, which remains steadfastly alert to the humanity and neglected potential of these lost and searching souls. The Corner is, essentially, the civilian flipside of HBO's equally laudable series The Wire, which approaches a similar neighborhood from a police-squad perspective. Performances are uniformly superb, details are uncannily perfect, and for all of its human horror, The Corner is riveting, not depressing. A closing interview with the characters' real-life counterparts bears witness to the fact that these lives--with inevitable exceptions--need not be lost forever.—Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com

*   *   *   *   *

The Corner (YouTube video)

The Corner is a 2000 HBO television miniseries based on the book The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood by David Simon and Ed Burns and adapted for television by Simon and David Mills. The Corner chronicles the life of a family living in poverty amid the open-air drug markets of West Baltimore.

The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood

This is a powerful book, a window on aspects of America most people would rather ignore. To their great credit, the authors--David Simon wrote Homicide, the basis for the popular television show; Edward Burns is a former Baltimore police officer, now a public school teacher--refuse to sensationalize their subject or make its people into stereotypes.

For a year the two hung out in a West Baltimore neighborhood that was a center of the drug trade. At the center of the narrative is the McCullough family—DeAndre, age 15, and his drug-addicted parents, Gary and Fran. While reading The Corner, there are times when we pity them, times when they make us angry. The book's strength, though, is that we always understand them.

This portrayal of a year in drug-crazed West Baltimore will satisfy neither readers looking for a perceptive witness to the urban crisis nor those in search of social analysis. Simon (Homicide, LJ 6/1/91), a crime reporter, and Burns, a Baltimore police veteran and public school teacher, mask their presence in the scene with an omniscient style that strains credibility, and the chronological framework blunts the impact of their most compelling themes. The authors salute the courageous but futile efforts of individual parents, educators, and police officers but deny the possibility of a social solution to the devastation they acknowledge is rooted in social policy. A more compelling account is Our America: Life and Death (LJ 6/1/97) on the South Side of Chicago, based on interviews conducted by 13-year-old public housing residents LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman in 1993. For larger public libraries.—Library Journal

*   *   *   *   *

The Corner—DeAndre and Prop Joe 

The Corner—The Real Fran, DeAndre, Tyreeka and Blue!

The last ten minutes from the HBO series The Corner, where Charles S. Dutton, the director talks to the real life characters, the story was based on.

*   *   *   *   *

McCullough portrayed in The Corner dies of apparent overdose—Justin Fenton—4 August 2012— De’Andre L. McCullough, the young protagonist of the book “The Corner,” which chronicled a year on a drug-plagued street corner in West Baltimore and was turned into an HBO miniseries, died Wednesday of an apparent overdose in Baltimore County, according to police and relatives.

It marked the end of a long struggle with addiction for McCullough, 35, who showed promise of getting his life on track but was being sought at the time of his death on warrants charging him with two armed robberies at Baltimore pharmacies, police said. Baltimore County police said McCullough was found at about 6:20 p.m. on Aug. 1 by a girlfriend inside a residence in Woodlawn. The medical examiner's office has not determined a cause of death, but family said there was evidence of an overdose.

“De’Andre was very special and very talented, but he could get in his own way quicker than his shadow,” said Donnie Andrews, who was an inspiration for the “Omar” character on “The Wire” and married McCullough’s mother, Fran Boyd, in 2007. “It was a demon inside of him that he couldn’t get rid of.”

David Simon, the former Baltimore Sun reporter who co-wrote the 1997 book The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood, said Deandre grew up in a hopeless area of Baltimore. As a young teen he slung drugs on the corner with friends—“a rite of passage in places like Fayette Street”—and lived in a home where both parents struggled with severe addiction .“He was living in a rough house, a house where police kicked in the door twice a month whether [they] needed to or not,” Simon said. “It was a level of addiction in his household that was quite dramatic.”

McCullough was smart and had a biting sense of humor, once explaining to Simon, whom he saw wandering the city’s tough neighborhoods, why he decided to help him research the book. “You looked so stupid and so out of place that I felt sorry for you,” Simon recalled him saying. . . . McCullough earned his G. E. D., attended Baltimore Community College for a semester, and held several jobs, including working at a youth counselor.

Simon helped him land work on his television projects, both acting—he appeared on The Corner and The Wire, the latter as an assistant to the character Brother Mouzone—and behind-the-scenes, including set construction on Treme, which was filmed in New Orleans. “It was my great hope not to see him fail, and to see him have a meaningful life,” Simon said. “When he would express interest in working on the television shows from ‘Homicide’ on, invariably, the longest run was a couple of paychecks before he started falling out.”—baltimoresun

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

Civilization: The West and the Rest

By Niall Ferguson

The rise to global predominance of Western civilization is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five hundred years. All over the world, an astonishing proportion of people now work for Western-style companies, study at Western-style universities, vote for Western-style governments, take Western medicines, wear Western clothes, and even work Western hours. Yet six hundred years ago the petty kingdoms of Western Europe seemed unlikely to achieve much more than perpetual internecine warfare. It was Ming China or Ottoman Turkey that had the look of world civilizations. How did the West overtake its Eastern rivals? And has the zenith of Western power now passed? In Civilization: The West and the Rest, bestselling author Niall Ferguson argues that, beginning in the fifteenth century, the West developed six powerful new concepts that the Rest lacked: competition, science, the rule of law, consumerism, modern medicine, and the work ethic.

These were the "killer applications" that allowed the West to leap ahead of the Rest, opening global trade routes, exploiting newly discovered scientific laws, evolving a system of representative government, more than doubling life expectancy, unleashing the Industrial Revolution, and embracing a dynamic work ethic. Civilization shows just how fewer than a dozen Western empires came to control more than half of humanity and four fifths of the world economy.

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

What This Cruel War Was Over

Soldiers Slavery and the Civil War

By Chandra Manning

For this impressively researched Civil War social history, Georgetown assistant history professor Manning visited more than two dozen states to comb though archives and libraries for primary source material, mostly diaries and letters of men who fought on both sides in the Civil War, along with more than 100 regimental newspapers. The result is an engagingly written, convincingly argued social history with a point—that those who did the fighting in the Union and Confederate armies "plainly identified slavery as the root of the Civil War." Manning backs up her contention with hundreds of first-person testimonies written at the time, rather than often-unreliable after-the-fact memoirs. While most Civil War narratives lean heavily on officers, Easterners and men who fought in Virginia, Manning casts a much broader net. She includes immigrants, African-Americans and western fighters, in order, she says, "to approximate cross sections of the actual Union and Confederate ranks."

Based on the author's dissertation, the book is free of academese and appeals to a general audience, though Manning's harsh condemnation of white Southerners' feelings about slavery and her unstinting praise of Union soldiers' "commitment to emancipation" take a step beyond scholarly objectivity.—Publishers Weekly

*   *   *   *   *

Sonata Mulattica: Poems

By Rita Dove

This 12th collection from the former U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize recipient is her third book-length narrative poem: it follows the real career of the violin prodigy George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower (1780–1860), a former pupil of Haydn, as well as the grandson/ of an African prince, or so his promoters and teachers in England said. Moving to Vienna during the Napoleonic Wars, the violinist met and befriended the famously moody Beethoven, who was prepared to dedicate his famously difficult Kreutzer Sonata to Bridgetower until a rivalry for the same woman drove them apart. Dove tells Bridgetower's story, and some of Beethoven's and Haydn's, in a heterogenous profusion of short poems, some almost prosy, some glittering in their technique. In quatrains, a double villanelle, what looks like found text, short lines splayed all over a page and attractive description, Dove renders Bridgetower's frustrated genius: Music played for the soul is sheer pleasure;/ to play merely for pleasure is nothing/ but work. Dove does not always achieve such subtleties—those who loved her early work may think this book too long: few, though, will doubt the seriousness of her effort, her interest at once in the history of classical music and the changing meanings of race.—Publishers Weekly

*   *   *   *   *

Aké: The Years of Childhood

By Wole Soyinka

Aké: The Years of Childhood is a memoir of stunning beauty, humor, and perceptiona lyrical account of one boy's attempt to grasp the often irrational and hypocritical world of adults that equally repels and seduces him. Soyinka elevates brief anecdotes into history lessons, conversations into morality plays, memories into awakenings. Various cultures, religions, and languages mingled freely in the Aké of his youth, fostering endless contradictions and personalized hybrids, particularly when it comes to religion. Christian teachings, the wisdom of the ogboni, or ruling elders, and the power of ancestral spiritswho alternately terrify and inspire himall carried equal metaphysical weight. Surrounded by such a collage, he notes that "God had a habit of either not answering one's prayers at all, or answering them in a way that was not straightforward." In writing from a child's perspective, Soyinka expresses youthful idealism and unfiltered honesty while escaping the adult snares of cynicism and intolerance. His stinging indictment of colonialism takes on added power owing to the elegance of his attack.

*   *   *   *   *

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 25 March 2012

 

 

 

Home  Thomas Long Table  Criminalizing a Race: Blacks and Prisons Table

Related files:  Putting Baltimore's People First  Dominance of Johns Hopkins   A Brief Economic History of Modern Baltimore   Walter Hall Lively   Root Song 

New Day Poem  A Smokey Slow Drag   The Big Boys  Industrial Me   Poem at Central Booking      Afaa Michael Weaver at Pratt Library    Henry Nicholas on Social Justice 

Last Man Standing  Understanding "Last Man Standing"   Portrait of Robert Moore