ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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


Mr. Randolph said he felt Nkrumah was largely responsible for the startling lack

of bitterness on the part of the people of Ghana toward the British

who had ruled them for almost a century as a result of a pact which was signed


 Books by Ellen Tarry

The Third Door: The Autobiography of an American Negro Woman (1955) / Janie BelleMy Dog Minty / Hezekiah Horton

 Young Jim: The Early Years of James Weldon Johnson / The Other Toussaint  /  Saint Katherine Drexel

*   *   *   *   *

Books on A. Philip Randolph

A. Philip Randolph: Pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement / A. Philip Randolph: A Life in the Vanguard

A. Philip Randolph: A Biographical Portrait  /  A. Philip Randolph and the African American Labor Movement

*   *   *   *   *

Mr. Randolph Visits Ghana

By Ellen Tarry


Listening to A. Philip Randolph, International President of the brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and first Negro to become a vice-president of the powerful A. F. L.-C.I.O., talk about his recent trip to Africa where he represented American labor at the Independence Day Ceremonies in Accra, Ghana, was a great experience. Besides sharing Mr. Randolph's impressions of this portentous occasion, we also had the privilege of hearing him discuss his views on the type of opportunity Ghana offers the American Negro; and to learn that most of the African leaders he met received their earlier training in Catholic mission schools.

In Mr. Randolph's voice, there was a note of awe, tinged with the humility found only in the truly great, when he described his impression of the ceremony which signaled the birth of Africa's newest nation. he spoke of the tremendous crowd on the grounds outside the parliament House in Accra which waited in almost breathless silence for the moment when the cry of "Freedom! freedom!" could ring out in observance of the end of years of struggle for independence from great Britain.

"As I stood in the midst of that great concourse of people on march 6th and, at one minute past 12 o'clock, watched the new red, green and gold flag of Ghana replace the British colors," he said. "I knew I was witnessing a part of the African drama which is so bewildering--as regards scale and scope--that not even the Africans realize its full import. Though normally imperturbable, i was visibly touched," Mr. Randolph admitted.

In pursuit of a lighter note, he described the colorfulness of the crowds attending the various ceremonies; the women in their gaily flowered skirts and blouses; the men in toga-styled robes of brilliant hues, with the native chieftains resplendent in ceremonial dress, protected by ornate umbrellas, which servants held over these native rulers even when indoors.

Any discussion of Ghana takes on added significance when mention is made of Kwame Nkrumah, prime minister and head of the incumbent Convention People's Party who was elected to office while serving a prison term for "unlawful agitation." Mr. Randolph said he felt Nkrumah was largely responsible for the startling lack of bitterness on the part of the people of Ghana toward the British who had ruled them for almost a century as a result of a pact which was signed by a group of native chieftains, who had thereby unwittingly transferred most of their power to England and her civil servants. 

Mr. Randolph said Ghana's prime minister had explained this lack of bitterness to him as being the result of the determination of the people of the Gold Coast, the Ashanti, the northern territories and Togoland--the four areas which united to form Ghana--to achieve "consolidation and freedom, not revenge."

Mr. Nkrumah's attitude toward the thinking behind the popular slogan, "Africanization of Africa," which is heard throughout Africa and Asia, was of special interest to Mr. Randolph.

"The prime minister admitted that he looks forward to the day when his people can man the various agencies and services of their government." Mr. Randolph said, "but he maintained that though his administration would be in complete control of policy, it would be some time before Ghana would be in a position to dispense with the services of the British specialists who have kept the wheels of government running for so many years."

"What does all this mean to the American Negro?" we asked. "do you feel that Ghana offers us any opportunity?"

"I will say this," Mr. Randolph paused, "Ghana needs technicians. For American Negroes with technical training who are looking for opportunities, I feel they will find them in Ghana," and he spoke for several minutes of the need of this new nation for a broad diversification of its economy which, he said, is presently tied too closely to the cocoa crop grown largely in the Ashanti section. he saw great hope for diversification if and when the Trans-Volta dam is completed. this one project, he pointed out, would supply enough power to launch numerous manufacturing industries.

"Do the Ghanaians see a relationship between their recent struggle for freedom and the American Negro's fight for civil rights?" we asked.

"Our problem is so different from the situation with which they were confronted inasmuch as we are seeking recognition and integration instead of the independence they sought that I am afraid the relationship is not too obvious to them," Mr. Randolph explained that the Africans do not have access to our Negro press, through which they might learn more of the Negro's fight for the first class citizenship. Though their leaders are familiar with the problems which face their American brothers, the masses are more aware of America as a world power.

"They have heard much about American policy, pro and con," he continued, "And in considering the American scene in general, I would say that Vice-president Nixon was a most valuable and effective ambassador of good-will on this African trip.

It was impossible to overcome the temptation to ask Mr. Randolph why he thought the Vice-President of the United States would travel thousands of miles to spread good-will in Africa and at the same time refuse to accept the invitation of Negro leaders to visit our own southern states for the purpose of observing the manner in which brown Americans are denied their constitutional rights in Dixie.

Tactfully, Mr. Randolph reminded us that Mr. Nixon is not the president of the United States and must still take orders from his superior and the Republican Party.

Being aware that we had strayed from the subject, asked Mr. Randolph what his impressions were of the youth of Ghana. he said Mr. Nkrumah and his administration are launching plans to speed up their educational program as one means of preparing the future leaders and also cutting the rate of illiteracy, which is estimated to be between 75 and 80%.

Without knowing that his statement would fall on prejudiced ears, Mr. Randolph said that most of the African leaders he met on the trip had been trained in Catholic mission schools. He said he thought the Catholic missionaries had gotten closer to the Africans because they had granted the natives more recognition than had any of the other religious groups. Though two-thirds of Africa is still pagan, he is of the opinion that, numerically, Catholicism is second only to Moslemism on that continent.

Mr. Randolph smiled as he told how he happened to meet a dignitary well-known to the Catholic reading public. "I saw a Negro priest standing a few feet from a crowd attending one of the ceremonies," he said. "I went up and introduced myself and the priest turned out to be Bishop Bowers.

"The Most Reverend Jospeh O. Bowers, S.V.D., Bishop of Accra, whose consecration at Bay St. Louis, Miss., in 1954 attracted world-wide attention, was so pleased that A. Philip Randolph had introduced himself. He took him on a tour of his mission school there in Accra.

"If Catholicism and Moslemism are so strong in Africa," we asked, "what about communism? Is it a real threat?"

(Photo left) Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago and the Most Rev. Joseph O. Bowers, SVD, Bishop of Accra, Gold Coast (Ghana) with Sargent Shriver and other officers of the Chicago Interracial Council

"There is no doubt that Africa is communism's major target," Mr. Randolph declared. "The Soviet Union sent the largest delegation of any of the countries to Ghana and they entertained more lavishly than any of the others. There was little doubt about their intentions." "Do you foresee a struggle between Democracy and communism in Africa?"

Mr. Randolph thought a second before he answered; "I see three separate struggles going on in Africa at the same time. There is the battle between paganism and Christianity, then comes the struggle between Catholicism and Moslemism, and finally the struggle between Democracy and communism."

As to the outcome of the triple faceted African struggle, Mr. Randolph had this to say: "First, Christianity must be divorced from colonialism. Then Democracy, as practiced in America, must be aware that it will not have wide-spread appeal or integrity until the American Negro is given full recognition. Both transformations must takes place if Christianity and Democracy hope to win in Africa. if, on the other hand, Africa is allowed to go the way of Red China--" Mr. Randolph shook his head and the implication of doom needed no further words to reinforce its meaning.

The wisdom of the charming, copper-colored man before us who has been leading his people in their fight for integration more than a quarter of a century, was reflected once more when we asked if he was of the opinion that the United States should send an American Negro to Ghana as Ambassador.

"I think it is important," he said, "that the American Ambassador to Ghana be a person of sound democratic instincts and possess a high degree of statesmanship, along with a keen awareness of the world situation. If there are Negroes in line for this position who possess these qualities, they might well be screened by the State Department with this in mind. However, I do not think the Ambassadorship of Ghana should be limited to persons of color just as I do not feel that American Negroes in diplomatic should be limited to assignments in African or Asian countries."

Taking leave of A. Philip Randolph, we could not help but reflect that he possessed the very qualities he had underscored as important qualifications for an ambassador who is charged with the task of representing the United States, whether the assignment be to the new nation of Ghana, whose birth he had witnessed, or to a country like Great Britain where diplomacy is a fine and age-old art.

Source: Interracial Review, May 1957

Ellen Tarry (September 26, 1906 – September 23, 2008) was an African-American author of literature for children and young adults. Tarry was the first African American picture book author. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Although raised in the Congregational Church, she converted to Roman Catholicism in 1922. She attended Alabama State Normal School, now Alabama State University, and became a teacher in Birmingham. At the same time, she began writing a column for the local African-American newspaper entitled "Negroes of Note", which focused on racial injustice and promoted racial pride. In 1929, she moved to New York City in hope of becoming a writer. There she befriended such Harlem Renaissance literary figures as Langston Hughes, Claude McKay and Countee Cullen.

She was also a civil servant, social worker, and educator. A friend of Claude McKay and James Weldon Johnson she attended the Writer's Laboratory in New York and obtained a job as writer-researcher in New York's Federal Writers' Project. She also joined White Russian Catherine de Hueck's Harlem movement "The House of Friendship." She was the author of such children books as Janie Belle, My Dog Minty, Hezekiah Horton, Young Jim: The Early Years of James Weldon Johnson and made many aware of The Other Toussaint.


*   *   *   *   *

Asa Philip Randolph was born April 15, 1889 in Crescent City, Florida, the second son of the Rev. James William Randolph, a tailor and minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and Elizabeth Robinson Randolph, a skilled seamstress. In 1891 the family moved to Jacksonville, Florida, which had a thriving, well-established African-American community.

From his father, Randolph learned that color was less important than a person's character and conduct. From his mother, he learned the importance of education and of defending oneself physically against those who would seek to hurt one or one's family, if necessary. Randolph remembered vividly the night his mother sat in the front room of their house with a loaded shotgun across her lap, while his father tucked a pistol under his coat and went off to prevent a mob from lynching a man at the local county jail.

He was a leader in the U.S.'s Negro civil-rights movement and the American labor movement. He organized and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first predominantly Negro labor union. In the early civil-rights movement, Randolph led the March on Washington Movement, which convinced Franklin D. Roosevelt to desegregate production-plants for military supplies during World War II.

In 1963, Randolph was the head of the March on Washington, which was organized by Bayard Rustin, at which Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his I Have A Dream speech. Randolph inspired the Freedom budget, sometimes called the "Randolph Freedom budget," which aimed to deal with the economic problems facing the Negro community, particularly workers and unemployed Negroes. . . .

Randolph died May 16, 1979.  A statue of A. Philip Randolph was erected in his honor in the concourse of Union Station in Washington, D.C. In 1986 a nine-foot bronze statue of Randolph by Tina Allen was erected in Boston's Back Bay commuter train station. On February 3, 1989, the United States Postal Service issued a 25 cent postage stamp in his honor. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed A. Philip Randolph on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans

Books on A. Philip Randolph

Jervis Anderson, A. Philip Randolph: A Biographical Portrait (1973; University of California Press, 1986).

Sarah E. Wright, A. Philip Randolph: Integration in the Workplace (Silver Burdett Press, 1990),

Paula Pfeffer, A. Philip Randolph, Pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement (1990; Louisiana State University Press, 1996).

Andrew E. Kersten, A. Philip Randolph: A Life in the Vanguard (Rowan and Littlefield, 2006).

Cynthia Taylor, A. Philip Randolph: The Religious Journey of An African American Labor Leader (NYU Press, 2006).

Source: Wikipedia

*   *   *   *   *

Ghana—Samia Nkrumah

hGhana became African's first country to gain freedom in 1957 and has since grown tremendously both politically and economically. Kwame Nkrumah is known as the country's founding father and we meet his daughter Samia Nkrumah in our next story -- who is determined to follow in her fathers footsteps.

*   *   *   *   *

 Relations Between Africans and African Americans: Misconceptions, Myths and Realities

By  Godfrey Mwakikagile

 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: National Academic Press, 2005) 302 pages


*   *   *   *   *

Cape Coast Castle. A Collection of Poems By Kwadwo Opoku-Agyemang  / Forts and Castles of Ghana by Albert van Dantzig

Chiefs in Cape Coast, Ghana  /  Grand Durbar Parade

*   *   *   *   *

Dentist Dr. Robert Lee

Championed African-American Community in Ghana

In the mid-1950s, Dr. Robert Lee, a dentist from South Carolina, moved to Ghana to escape racism in the south. Over the next half century, Lee became a fixture in the African-American community in the West African country. Dr. Lee died on Monday, July 5th at the age of 90. But few here in his home state, or in the States at all, knew of his work. But in Ghana, he made a name for himself. Dr. Robert Lee, trained as a dentist, moved to Accra in the mid-1950s. Over the past half century, Lee became a fixture in the black American ex-patriot community in Ghana. NPR

Host Michel Martin talks to NPR West African correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton about his life and legacy. Dr. Robert Lee NPR Interview

Dentist Championed African-American Community In Ghana

Dr Robert Lee passes on

Dr. Robert Lee (right) in 2009 with Kwame Zulu Shabazz

*   *   *   *   *

Submission of King Prempeh—Lord Baden Powell of the boyscouts (who was said to love young boys a BIT too much)— who was buried in Kenya and killed many Africans, was the leader of the expedition to overthrow King Prempeh the First of Ghana. He made the deposed king kneel in front of him, as he sat on a throne made of boxes of biscuits.— Binyavanga Wainaina

The Downfall—Then came the demand for payment of the indemnity for the war. Due notice had been previously given, and the Ashantis had promised to pay it; but unless the amount, or a fair proportion of it, could now be produced, the king and his chiefs must be taken as guarantee for its payment. The king could produce about a twentieth part of what had been promised. Accordingly, he was informed that he, together with his mother and chiefs, would now be held as prisoners, and deported to the Gold Coast. The sentence moved the Ashantis very visibly. Usually it is etiquette with them to receive all news, of whatever description, in the gravest and most unmoved indifference; but here was Prempeh bowing himself to the earth for mercy, as doubtless many and many a victim to his lust for blood had bowed in vain to him, and around him were his ministers on their feet, clamouring for delay and reconsideration of the case. The only "man" among them was the queen. In vain. Each chief found two stalwart British non-commissioned officers at his elbow, Prempeh being undercharge of Inspector Donovan. Their arrest was complete.—PineTreeWeb

*   *   *   *   *'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

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

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.

*   *   *   *   *

Chiefs in Cape Coast, Ghana  /  Grand Durbar Parade

*   *   *   *   *

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        


*   *   *   *   *

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 10 February 2012




Home   Kalamu ya Salaam Table  The African World  Transitional Writings on Africa  Transitional Writings on Africa  Amin Sharif Table 

Related files: Dark Tourism in Ghana: The Joseph Project   Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa (A-B-C-D)   Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa   (E-F-G-H) Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa  (I-J-K-L)  

Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa   (M-N-O-P-Q-R)    Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa (S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z)  Wright's Ghana in the 1950s    Miriam in Ghana  Pilgrimage  to Ghana     Randolph Visits Ghana 

Right to Abode  Where Ghana Went Right