ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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


That type of "forgetting" or denial is evident in the recent polls. .  .  . In a poll released

this morning, it was 48% to 48%.  What happened to the 10% who changed their minds?

 Did they forget?



Rebuilding New Orleans Who Decides

Do New Orleans Folk Have a Choice?

"No choice . . . It ain't nothing nice" -- "Forgetting" 

"Are we getting ready for the Holiday?"


It Ain't Nothing Nice

i don't think folk understand... people ain't let them do nothing... there is no choice. they starve your ass and then offer you food and water and a ride on a bus, and when you wake up you are wherever they sent you... and then they put you on a plane and you are in utah and what you got... you ain't got nothing, you don't know where you at, you're totally dependent on... you got no choices. no choices. no.

that's the name of that game and it ain't nothing nice.

*   *   *   *   *

Miriam on Forgetting

Rudy, I've just now had time to reflect on your statement, and I agree with you that forgetting is not the problem.  I applaud your optimism where the American people are concerned, for I, too, am an optimistic person who believes that human beings are basically good.  I also believe that it's the act and not the thought that is important right now;  we need praxis and not theory. 

Thus, I have argued with some of my intellectual friends that now is the time for SURVIVAL.  Some of us tend to spend too much valuable time and energy on theorizing, blaming, criticizing; of course we have to do that too—eventually—but right now we have to concentrate on the matters at hand:  locating the lost, reuniting the dispersed, finding housing for the dislocated, creating jobs for the unemployed, healing—both physically and psychologically—the aged and infirm, donating to grassroots organizations (church, health, labor, environmental groups) that are working hard, usually unpaid and often unheralded, and reaching out in whatever way we can to help someone.

Now what I mean by "forgetting" is the deliberate loss of memory that occurs with denial (i.e. hiding our heads in the sand and returning to Main Street USA where the livin' is easy because we can't or don't want to deal with the horrible images: corpses in the street, lost babies, Black folk crying for food and water, old people cast aside like detritus) and then the implications of those images:  racism, classism, poverty, corporate greed, criminal neglect by the government, and an unjust war that diverts human and material resources. 

That type of "forgetting" or denial is evident in the recent polls.  Last week, 39% of the American people polled supported the administration's handling of Katrina, while 70% did not.  In a poll released this morning, it was 48% to 48%.  What happened to the 10% who changed their minds?  Did they forget?  Are they in denial?  Or did they willingly fall for Bush's public relations campaign—photo ops, trips to New Orleans, overnight off   the coast, "acceptance" of responsibility, and "French Quarter chat to the nation" tonight.  Has the P. R. campaign outweighed the cyberspace truth?  Only time will tell.Miriam

*   *   *   *   *

Let's Get Ready for the Holiday

A Note to Miriam

Yeah, you right, as they say down in New Orleans. You speak for true. Americans have forgotten to do what they supposed to do—out of self-blindness, negligence, selfishness, and downright meanness. We have historians who can point your message out in detail. There’s been a continual history of this betrayal, much more poignant than that which the old plantation Southern aristocracy whines about. And moves of betrayal are now afoot.

The task before us is enormous. We agree and there’s a lot of detailed, daily work that got to be done, and some oversight of what plans are being made to reconstitute or as they say rebuild New Orleans. For that struggle to get it done as it should there’s gone to be a need for “theorizing, blaming, criticizing.” Bush has already outlined his plans. Are we ready to counter what the wise boys, the neo-cons got planned for us.

Mr. Bush will not make this lost of an American city, and a devastated region a national problem. He will not allow it to rise, in his rhetoric and policies, to a national mandate, with the federal government in the lead, to reconstruct, not only the region of Hurricane Katrina, but the rest of America. This gonna be the 1875 plan. Federal government cannot deal with the problems of all these displaced Negroes. So the feds are not gonna rescue us, they won’t be looking out for us. They gonna give us back to the States.

In his vision Mr. Bush intends to scatter the forces of resistance. The problem has been gently lobbed into the courts of state governments. The good-hearted Senate Republicans, fulfilling a tradition, have always wanted to make the impoverished, slave-ridden South a federal problem. But they were never able to sustain that position. They had the right impulse, which suggests that Middle America itself might want to make it a national problem. Why? They see how the failure in one region can impact all the rest of us.

So there’s one masterful stroke. How so? The feds are not forced into a position of setting national standards for pertinent matters like wages. We need a more equitable income distribution. There ain’t no doubt about it. That means a severe raise in minimum wage, a $10 minimum for all reconstruction work. We need this minimum for all city, state, and federal contracts, tourist or otherwise. We must do this for New Orleans. So he doesn’t want to deal with the matter of race and poverty, not as a national priority. The question becomes how we counter the master’s stroke.

I ain’t in for doing a critical sweep of black leadership. But I’m not for allowing Nagin to escape responsibility or any of the former black mayors of New Orleans including the Morials. The blame should fall where it’s just. But, you right, we must go farther than pointing fingers. The thing is what Nagin gon do now, hang out in Texas. He got a plan for his city that he’s sharing with anybody. Or is he looking for a big-money corporate job? What I want to know is what they got ready for the battlefield.

I know the forces are arrayed against us. I don’t expect Middle Class America just to roll over and be entirely different from the way we were two weeks ago, in a mind, a thinking that allowed an American city to be destroyed. They/we have to be won over. They/we have to be shown the error of neo-con ways. They/we must be convinced that New Orleans’ folks should have a say in how their city should be rebuilt. We need to develop a means for these folks to speak for themselves and when they can’t speak in their interest.

I think each of us has a role to play in this matter. What can we put on the table. I ain’t got no money and I ain’t in the region. I can help broadcast what the folks are saying. And what people are saying about what the folks are saying. Expose what I see is the plan for our folks and as much as I can inform them and others what’s the deal. I don’t think we can give up before the Battle for New Orleans begins. Before we know clearly what the plan is and whether that Plan can be modified in the interest of the black and the poor.

If most New Orleaneans want to return to their neighborhood and houses they should be allowed to do so. We should not allow the neo-cons to raze one house until that family determines what he or she wants to do. Taking people homes, on spurious constructions standards, that kind of rebuilding policy should not be decided by state officials or federal officials. The poverty is not in the houses, but in opportunities that pay "living wages." These New Orleans folks should decide for themselves. In that struggle, we ought to be. And we can win, this one, if we willing to go out on the battlefield.

If I were New Orleans, I wouldn’t let’em get me too far from Louisiana. The State should be able to support all of its citizens. If I were them I’ll hold up wherever – Baton Rouge, Monroe, Lafayette, Covington, anywhere, hold on to stay on top of New Orleans and the “plans.” 

I would plan for Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge. I would use it as a political staging ground to rebuild New Orleans in their image. In this we all can play a role. We can all meet next year in Baton Rouge to perform the official ceremony of our allegiance to the long distance struggle to right race and poverty in America. Our goal is to establish a renewed seeing and thinking in America?Rudy

*   *   *   *   *

Bush Vision for Rebuilding New Orleans?

Bush to Focus on Vision for Reconstruction in Speech Tonight.NYTimes (9/15/05)


Outline of Mr. Bush' Vision for Rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf:

1) feds will play "supportive role" rather than a lead road

2) there will be no Marshall Plan as Senate Republicans desired (Bill Frist)

3) each state has to presents its own plan "home-grown" plan that must be created by city and state authorities.

4) New Orleans must have stricter construction standards

5) Karl Rove will coordinate the present reconstruction efforts

What are the implications of  the "plan." I know our black economists, socio-economic analyzers are busy doing their tabulations and have other plans that they can put before the Congress. Is anybody geared up for the struggle to rebuild New Orleans?

I wonder what implication 4) will have for the future of those houses in the Ninth Ward and the Seventh Ward, Treme, and other places -- these old wood-framed houses that have withstood numerous storms and are generally owned by black families.

Will there be assurances to labor? To displaced workers like school employees? Will wage standards be raised. Here's where the thrust has to be given. Morial seems to want to be the Reconstruction Czar. They should be ready tonight to offer a counter proposal. Or will they just go along to go along? Are they willing to go down on the battlefield?

Or will we have business as usual? Everybody struggling to get his cut of the pie, that dwindling 10 percent?Rudy

*   *   *   *   *

economic spirit of rebuilding

Will social justice be the spirit of the rebuilding of New Orleans, that's the heart question for Mr. John William Templeton, Editor, What role can native New Orleaneans have in the rebuilding of their beloved city? From disaster should flow indeed  prosperity for the many, Mr Templeton suggests.

I have no special disregard for black entrepreneurs. There must indeed be business. My concern is that it is not business as usual—profit at whatever cost, and the more the profit the blinder we become. Baltimore native Parren Mitchell, bless his soul, and our first black congressman from Maryland, it was he who pushed the Minority Business Agenda, back in the 1970s, it spawned a certain black business sensibility and success.

What has become of it? What kind of ethics flow out of societal generosity and grace. Obviously it has not spoken well to the issue of black poverty. Many of these business cats and their political hacks that benefited from the program have worked consistently against "living wage" and a $10 minimum. I mean this has occurred in the very home of Parren Mitchell. And they always talk about how much they love him, bathing in his light. Parren wasn't about perpetuating poverty. With these men we should be wary, and impatient.

I have no problem with pushing the ceiling up, but those who want us who beg our support in pushing up the ceiling for the exceedingly talented, these men of business got to be just as ardent in pulling the bottom up, and not joining in on the feeding frenzy.

One, the minimum wage needs to be raised severely. We must set a $10 minimum for all reconstruction jobs in New Orleans. We can no longer afford programs that perpetuate poverty among Americans. And we shouldn't support business proposals of whatever color—from Washington or from New Orleans-- if they only continuate systemic poverty and crime. What a waste.

So here's Mr. Templeton: Potential to Double Black Entrepreneurship Rudy

*   *   *   *   *

templeton's rebuilders

You know the attorney general has already set up a fraud unit. So you know they expecting the funk to come on, the carpe diems. It's gonna take a lot of money to put New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region back together. 

A humpty dumpty situation. It ain't gonna be easy. 

They in this Darwin thing all right. But it ain't gonna be that way, not from the get go. Bush and his cronies gonna cut out about 90 percent and then throw the rest to the wolves, the sharks, then it gonna be Darwin. The fraud unit will not investigate the 90 percent; they will referee the 10 percent.

Now that's the ruse. Now what this here brother's talking about is getting a certain cut out of the 10 percent, a guaranteed cut. But what's the incentive for that. The 90 % ain't got no reason to guarantee the wanna-be-black entrepreneurs nothing. They'll say all yall go on get in the ring, and start swinging. So if you ain't ready to organize with every body else you gonna be in trouble. There's too many wise guys and not enough workers.

The brother's selling a book. If the book sells or the appearances multiply, it'll probably matter little whether the idea works for the wanna-bes, it would have worked for him as a public intellectual. He points out the potentiality of government to correct wrongs, to start afresh with higher social and moral goals. This brother's ideas are ahead of his time. And he knows that, just like anybody with eyes and ears knows that.Rudy

posted 15 September 2005

*   *   *   *   *

Zippety Doo Dah, Zippety-Ay: How Satisfactch'll Is Education Today? Toward a New Song of the South

Dr. Joyce E. King on Black Education and New Paradigms

*   *   *   *   *


music website >
writing website >
daily blog >
twitter >
facebook >

*   *   *   *   *


Men We Love, Men We Hate
SAC writings from Douglass, McDonogh 35, and McMain high schools in New Orleans.

An anthology on the topic of men and relationships with men

Ways of Laughing
An Anthology of Young Black Voices
Photographed & Edited by
Kalamu ya Salaam

*   *   *   *   *'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

*   *   *   *   *


The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man's turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners' plans to give him a "necktie party" (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by "the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn't operate in his own home town." Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson's magnificent, extensively researched study of the "great migration," the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an "uncertain existence" in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.

*   *   *   *   *

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

By  Ilan Pappe

It is amazing, according to Pappe, how the media had not managed to see the similarities between the ethnic cleansing that was happening in Bosnia with the one that is happening in Palestine. According to Drazen Petrovic (pg.2-3), who has dealt with the definition of ethnic cleansing, ethnic cleansing is associated with nationalism, the making of new nation states and national struggle all of which are the driving force within the Zionist ideology of Israel. The consultancy council had used the exact same methods as the methods that were later to be used by the Serbs in Bosnia. In fact Pappe argues that such methods were employed in order to establish the state of Israel in 1948.

The book is divided into 12 chapters with 19 illustrations in black and white, with 7 maps of Palestine and 2 tables. These include old photographs of refugee camps, and maps of Palestine before and after the ethnic cleansing of 1948. Pappe continues his writing as a revisionist historian with the intention of stating the bitter truth to his Israeli contemporaries and the fact that they have to face the truth of their nation being built upon an ethnic cleansing of the population of Palestine. One can sense an optimistic hope in Pappe’s writing when he talks about the few who are in Israel who are aware of their country’s brutal past especially 1948 and the foundation of the state upon ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.—PaLint

*   *   *   *   *

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.

*   *   *   *   *


Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

*   *   *   *   *

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 / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

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 9 March 2012




Home  KyS Table   Conversations with Kind Friends