ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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The absence of dialogue in a community is also an indication of the absence of ideology.

Men and women give us ideas, not children. We give children our ideas and values,

and we hope they will build a better foundation from our lives and wisdom      



Books by Walter Mosley

  What Next: A Memoir Toward World Peace  / Life Out of Context / Devil in A Blue Dress / Fear of the Dark  (audiobook )


Little Scarlet (An Easy Rawlins Novel)  / Cinamon Kiss (audiobook) / This Year You Write Your Novel  /  Fortunate Son

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Responses to Walter Mosley's "A New Black Power"

 E. Ethelbert Miller, Jonathan Scott, Dennis Leroy Moore, Joyce King, and Rodney D. Foxworth, Jr.


From The E-Notes 

I really like Walter Mosley. I love his fiction. But what he wrote for the latest issue of The Nation (February 27, 2006) deserves closer scrutiny. The title of his essay is "A New Black Power." Of course this caught my attention. I loved Carmichael (Ture) when I first headed off to college. Next to my books by Marshall McLuhan was a copy of Black Power. Reading Mosley's essay, I suddenly realized it's graffiti. Something on a wall you read because it's there. I subscribe to The Nation. Graffiti is shorthand.

Mosley means well and so I respect him as much as I like Mariah's voice. But I'm not listening to Aretha and Mosley is not C.L.R. James or Walter Rodney. Instead of providing serious intellectual thought, his essay sounds like a response to the Gary Convention, or maybe Jesse Jackson after four years of the Carter presidency. Remember when folks were upset with the Democratic Party and didn't know what to do? 

Some became Republicans and made money the old fashioned way. They run things today. The rest of us fell apart like the Berlin Wall and entered a world with no ideological direction. We became a race of weepers with no King, no Malcolm. We embraced the image of Mandela like it was a mandala. Something to wear but not believe in. How many of us really call ourselves socialists or communists?

Mosley has two good suggestions for what we need:

1.     Rehabilitation for people trapped inside the legal system. Suffrage for all ex-convicts who have served their sentences.

2.     A universal healthcare system.

I think Easy Rawlins would support # 2. The guy is getting older with each book. However, before Mosley ends his essay we get that sunlight that reveals nonsense. Mosley would like our youth to take the reins of leadership. He asks the question I ask everyday when I'm riding the  # 70 bus down Georgia Avenue in D.C.

"What are the young people telling us when they talk about bitches and ho's, motherfuckers and niggahs and bling?"

Well Walt, they are not telling us anything. I don't want to follow kids. I don't even want them to drive the bus or sit in the seat where Rosa Parks sat. Let's be honest. Adults lead movements. Young people lead movements when they have an ideology, so my hat will always go off to a young Fidel and Che. I will always respect the members of SNCC who risked their lives to help black people in the South obtain the power to vote. Those young people had a worldview and a commitment to service. They also listened to people like Ella Baker.

Without adults taking the lead you can't move forward. The Lost Generation is us, Walt. Folks who are in their 50s. We are the Lost Generation, not our children. We have witnessed the decline of our communities as a result of violence and drugs. Of course, we could also be in Sierra Leone or Liberia, looking down the barrels of guns held by 12 and 14 year olds. Well, in some places in the United States we do. I don't expect a 14 year old to lead Africa and I don't expect a 12 year old to lead D.C. or Philadelphia.

When he was the leader of Tanzania, Nyerere said that if you want immediate change you must change the behavior of adults and not children. I named my son after the man because he was smart. You can't hand over the leadership of the race to children. When I went to those old socialist countries many years ago and sat down with "youth" from around the world, many of the people were in their late 30s.some were even in their 50s.

Do you remember when a "young" writer was a middle-aged person? Hip Hop messed with our age. The motion of everything speeded up and we've lost control. We don't want to admit it because too many of us want to be hip and sing the latest songs and wear cool clothes.

The absence of dialogue in a community is also an indication of the absence of ideology. Men and women give us ideas, not children. We give children our ideas and values, and we hope they will build a better foundation from our lives and wisdom instead of destroying things. I remember my father going to work during the early days of graffiti in New York. Here was a hard working man who sat on a subway train and knew something was changing and not for the best.

I remember my father on his few days off, polishing his black Dodge, outside our housing project. This was one of his few joys in life. Now, I open the newspapers every day and somewhere in the world a young person is burning a car. It's my father's car. And when I look at the pictures of young, laughing faces and flames around their grins, I think of the cars of our fathers.

Our children are also burning. Maybe in the midst of chaotic joy their clothes trapped a spark. I was always reminded not to play with fire. I was taught this by the adults in my house. Now we are fumbling trying to pass a torch to another generation, and the words burn, baby, burn take on a new meaning.

E. Ethelbert Miller

February 17, 2006

To turn EVIL backwards is to LIVE

*   *   *   *   *

E, I have received your response to Mosley's "A New Black Power ." On the whole I like your common sense view of things.

I am not sure yet what age group Mosley is making reference to when he speaks of black youth, whether he's thinking of 14 year olds or 24 year olds. I think that makes a difference.

I have had Mosley's essay for over a week now and I have yet to read The Nation article. Matter of fact, I have never read Mosley, neither his novels nor his book of essays. He has never turned me on in any particular way so that I'd be encouraged to read him. It's probably a shame. But he's probably not the only black writer that I have been reluctant to read.

I also agree with you, though I have not read Mosley, but rather about him, that he is not a political thinker, but rather a concerned black citizen who is dissatisfied with the status quo of present electoral politics. I am going to read "A New Black Power ." I'm sure I will sympathize greatly with his measure of dissatisfaction of the status quo of Republicrats.

I did read a small review of his latest book of essays in which the reviewer says that Mosley called for a black political party. I was impressed by that progressive thinking. I had called for the same thing last fall and, of course, I was ignored, and, of course, I think he will on the whole be ignored for his politics also.

But Mosley is probably as qualified as West or Gates or Dyson or other black preachers with doctorate degrees, that is, to be a public intellectual. They tell me that there's money in it, that is, opportunity. And I suppose we have enough room for one more opportunist in the field of black politics. He seems to be making the rounds. I saw his image today, dressed in a long black coat and black hat, in the recent Crisis magazine (NAACP). Very spiffy!

But I promise you I will read Mosley's the Nation article, by and by. You can definitely conclude that I am more interested in reading you than I am Mosley.Rudy

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I'm with Rudy in that I haven't been particularly a fan of Walter Mosley's writing. This isn't a knock against his writing ability I assure you; I'm simply not much of a fan of crime or science fiction, interesting considering my childhood love affair with comic books and horror fiction. I thought that The Man in my Basement, Mosley's attempt at existentialism, was mediocre at best. Give me The Stranger or The Outsider instead. Of course, one of my favorite of contemporary novelists happens to be Walter Kirn, which is perhaps indicative of my immature reading interests.

Still, I was gravitated to the essay in question because of Mosley's call for a Black political party. I do recall Rudy expressing this months ago, and yes, the response was lukewarm at best. I'm surprised that the Right has yet to dig their fangs into Mosley's plea. Can you imagine a Black political party? How divisive! How anti-white working class! How racist! How un-American!

I wrote an essay regarding the need for a new party led by the interest of blacks sometime before my 20th birthday. It was originally a letter to then Congressional Black Caucus president Elijah Cumming, right after the CBC decided to strong arm Nader. To me it is all common sense; we just get bogged down by the bullshit. Of course, I got no response from the CBC. Just another letter from yet another angry, young black male.

I agree with Rudy that it makes a difference as to whether Mosley is referring to 14 year olds or 24 year olds. I assume that E is being facetious when he writes that he doesn't want a 12 year old to lead D.C. or Philly. I don't want that either. Of course, one can suppose that they might fare at least as poorly as the present day leadership. 

And almost anything might be an improvement over Bush, who often at least appears to have the mental development of a 12 year old. Let's assume that "young people" is that age between 16 and 24. In Maryland, this is the age group used most often in reference to young people, statistically speaking. Of course, I am in this group. So I might be sensitive to these matters. I am fallible.

And so when it is said that without adults taking the lead, we can't move forward, I'm not sure how to respond. It doesn't appear that we are moving forward right now, and I don't think anyone in leadership is younger than 50. It is clear that we are digressing if anything. Yes, it is true that ideas and values are transmitted to the succeeding generation. I think Mosley is referring to this exchange when he speaks of the elders' fumbling. What values and ideas are being reproduced?

Critical worldview and commitment to service? This is doubtful. The 50 and over crowd had King and X; I was given Sharpton and Jackson. And we wonder why the spiraling has occurred. Opportunism and indifference to the status quo of Republicrats – thanks for the lovely terminology Rudy – seems more like what was truly handed down.

But I don't know. Let me learn my place instead. I am no one's leader. I don't have an ideology. I prefer my moral compass instead. As Baldwin said, one must find their own moral center and move through the world hoping that it will guide them true. There's no need to hand the leadership of the race to a group of children, as the current leadership is doing a fine job of masquerading as adolescents.

The statement that hip hop messed with our age seems to carry some prejudice to me. I don't know though, it is late. Hip hop did nothing to alter what it meant to be a young writer. Mailer was 25 when he published the Naked and the Dead; Vidal was 19 or 20 for Williwaw. Capote was at the New Yorker in his teens. More recently, Easton Ellis was 19 for Less Than Zero. All privileged white men. And Shelley was a pup when she wrote Frankenstein. Literature is ripe with the accomplishments of the young, way before the seeds for hip hop were ever sewn.

Mosley does raise valid questions. Why aren't the major thinkers amongst the youth distinguished from the thugs? Are the differences between a Common or Andre 3000 or Mos Def not pronounced enough to distinguish them from 50 Cent and the gang that raps "Laffy Taffy?" I don't mean to imply that those three are major thinkers, but they aren't exactly 50 Cent, either.

And so we come full circle. Is there a dread of our young people, as Mosley suggests? Perhaps. This I know: there isn't much left for us to destroy. Our task isn't to build upon, but to rebuild. And it is an ambitious task. I don't mean to be doom and gloom. But I do think that the buck is being handed down to my generation. The debt. The massive inequality that continues to grow. The mass incarceration. The miseducation. All the problems but few ideas on how to actually solve them. No direction. So Mosley is right that we must take the reigns.

If not us, then who? My grandfather and I have the greatest of relationships and we are a generation or two apart. He is my greatest influence. He served in the Korean War. He's what I jokingly refer to as a blue-collar scholar and he's all but given up on his peers. Too set in their ways, he says. But this is just one man's opinion. Perhaps the majority possesses the progressive thinking of a Rudy Lewis or my grandfather. Or maybe they all fell apart like the Berlin Wall or became Republicans and Democrats, as Mr. Miller suggests.

In Baltimore, when the public school system was in debt and began firing teachers to alleviate said debt, it was the students that were leading the demonstrations. 14 and 16 year olds. They inherited a debt and tried to do something about it. The children are most certainly burning. But the mothers and fathers burned long ago.Rodney

Rodney D. Foxworth, Jr.
Associate Editor, LiP magazine
cultural journalist & freelance writer
Ronald E. McNair Scholar
Ph.: (410) 978-0045

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Thanks so much, Rudy, for sharing E's essay. I think we met once out in the Bay Area—SF—at an affair for Sylvia Wynter. I've read Mosley's essay. You are right to welcome another voice into the mix—preacher, philosopher or not. I think the Hip Hop Convention also laid out a credible agenda that could inform this discussion and Mosley's position. It was published in I probably have it in a file. Let me know if you want it.

I don't agree totally with E that (some) youth don't bring something—so I'm not lumping all the youth in the single (car burners) category. Your point about the age of the young people is important—likewise—their experience. Let's not do a "Bill Cosby" on the young folks.  Like most stuff it's complex. Ella Baker's role with SNCC youth was not just as a leader but she taught the youth in a very particular way how to draw out their own thoughts and capabilities. That kind of teaching is sorely needed and something we need to be passing along as well.

One line I remember from Mosley's essay asks why we (older heads) are listening to the Blues and not Hip Hop—or something like that. I think there is definitely a need for dialogue for the "torch" to be passed. E is absolutely right about that. My kids are in their thirties (a school principal and a physician) and I can say I learn from their experiences all the time. But keeping communication open means they can come to me for an interpretation of their experience that draws on mine. I don't know if Mosley is just out to make a buck.

I've read his fiction and I enjoy his work. This is not his first non-fiction, political-oriented foray. I think he has another book of essays, if I recall. The character "Mouse"—an unrepentant career criminal—and brother from the hood—is one of my favorite characters. His line: "What you leave him wid me for, if you didn't want him dead"—reminds me that "we" as a people are comprised of many "types" of folks—whom we may need from time to time. Endesha Mae Holland and Corretta Scott King represent two very different women's experiences of the Civil Rights Movement.

It's up to us not to forget the Endesha's and the Mouses if we are to be a whole people following our own not some other folks' ideology.

Cheers for you and E and "all of we"Joyce

*   *   *   *   *

Rudy, Well...the wheel has come full circle. Now, pardon me, but I must ramble as I do occasionally when I am excited about something. I am writing a mile a minuteso pardon the typos!

What E has written is powerful and one of the most honest pieces I have read by an elder statesman, so to speak. I should like to contact him, perhaps even share some of my film work with him. I have a feeling he may appreciate it. When I read what he wroteso simply and truthfully, I thought: "A voice of reason. Thank god someone has had the guts to point a finger at his own generation and take responsibility."   

It is refreshing and encouraging to read what older (50s and up) Black Americans are really feeling and thinking. Meaning, as someone who is just now emerging from his youth. (I just turned 30 Wednesday.) I can begin to see the similarities, the shared sentiments that I have now with some older and wiser artists, teachers, activists, etc,. - such as yourself - who certainly benefit from having lived longer and experienced more. But I can still see the other side of the coin.

The "Youth" that Mosley refers to is probably anyone in my generation and below (meaning 35 and under). It is rather general, but not really considering that my generation mocks and ridicules serious thought or anything "heavy" for fear of being "too serious" or not being hip. It is actually a very American attitude, since Americans have always been afraid of serious thoughts or "serious" art or what have you.

My generation is the MTV generation for better or for worse.  Mutant Television Voices.  We have been literally brought up by Mass Media and now we are part of that awful machine and there are serious frictions amongst us; which is why we are so fragmented and hard to organize.  I am speaking about my generation overall (black, white, Asian, etc.).

What I am aware of, and what scares me still is that Mosley is not saying anything new or different, necessarily, than what many other frustrated and concerned (and conscious) Black Americans would say. But his call to arms is simply bouncing back within itself, as if caught in an echo chamber.

When August Wilson made his "The Ground on Which I Stand  " speech in the mid 1990s,  it roused and divided. Great! That is what we need. However nothing came of it. And if you remember in that little memory piece I wrote about Wilson. I met him in person and told him I was trying hard to realize his manifesto. And he thought I was nuts. And he didn't take me serious cause I was young, and alone.

E is write about young activists and minds challenging and inspiring and taking action (Che, Panthers, SNCC, etc.). But what no one understands simply because they are not exposed to it is that very few of the younger cats nowadays feel confident to take anything into their own hands. I have battled this alone within my art for years.

The past ten years I have been an independent, underground artist who always ran into problems with collaborators of his own age and group because of the zeal I often had - which was real and honest. It was the only thing I had going for me. I know most of the activist groups in NYC and of those that "Young" people subscribe to.  They are simply trying to regurgitate the past, rather than building upon it, being inspired by it and forcing something new.

That is a serious problem. This generational conflict and misunderstanding is huge and there are many opportunists who are faking the funk - they need this level of disease and shattered communication - or else they wouldn't exist.

E's response and thoughts were quite profound, I thought. I must tell you lately I have been reading more and more thought-provoking statements through ChickenBones than anywhere else in the world. The cross section it has is always great, but I am getting very deepened by the real thought and honesty and pointed accuracy of what Sharif or E have written lately.

Thank you for passing this on to me and not forgetting me. Hope you are staying warm and keeping your spirit alive.

Berlin is cold and frothing over the celebrities at the Berlinale. The tensions between the Europeans and the Arabs are increasing (I got into a scuffle with a couple of Germans the other day and was bruised a bit, but the real shame was that the Black woman I was talking to outside a barber shop did not understand and could not see the parallels of what is happening between the Anglo and the Arab and the entire history of, say, Black Americans and White Americans. But I digress and that is another story completely)

My wife is well. And it is time I get down to the theater. I have a class to teach.

Peace to you and I will check out E's website.Dennis Leroy Moore

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In re-reading Walter Mosley's piece "A New Black Power," I think the main point he makes is that the liberal-left (or the Democratic Party as a whole) has fumbled the cup, and so now we have to do something dramatic. In squandering the great gains of the civil rights and Black Power era, the American Left has offered to the Right a whole generation of young people. In other words, a whole generation has been taken out of politics, which has made the Right's triumph possible.

I've been teaching Black youth at the college level for the past 16 years, in both Detroit and New York.

 It never ceases to amaze me how quick most young people are to dive into Margaret Walker, DuBois, Fanon, Baraka, Angela Davis, the speeches of Maurice Bishop and the writings of Langston Hughes. They become political in less than 3 weeks of reading. Then they want to know what to do about it, about this new consciousness.

In my opinion, the problem that Mosley hits on the head is that the older generation has left the Political. This is a complex story that needs to be told, and I'm not the one to tell it. I can only comment on what I've experienced the past 20 years in higher education. In short, the Political has been replaced by the Cultural. This is Mosley's great insight, I think: that the older generation got what they needed from the 1960s and 70s anti-racist and anti-imperialist movements, which was a place for themselves in the society, however unstable that place is. And this place is not a political place, it is a cultural place.

The college campuses today are completely barren politically. Contrast this to the 1980s when it was hard to find a campus that was not up in arms about apartheid in South Africa, U.S. imperialism in Central America, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. These movements were powerful and they put local leaders in office at the city and state and even national levels. Jesse Jackson won the Democratic Primary in Michigan convincingly in 1988, behind the power of these student movements.

So I think this is what Mosley is arguing for—a simple return to the unfinished business of the 1970s and 80s, when to be Political was what everyone was about, not being Cultural. To be Cultural is easy and it only pleases the ruling class.

In this way, Mosley is right to ask, Who is leading our youth today? What is really happening on college campuses across the country? What are teachers and professors actually teaching their students? Are they showing them how to be Political? Are they teaching how to take power?

*   *   *   *   *

The supposed generation gap is something that I've had to grapple with both personally and intellectually as of late. Rudy is right to suggest that we are facing a consciousness crisis, not a generational one. It is easy to be caught up in what may be termed as "generational warfare." We are always told to pull our pants up, and our peers aren't the ones admonishing us. But this is trivial really. Communication can solve for these sorts of small matters. We are all susceptible to stereotyping.

Elders equals complacent, arrogant and preachy; youth equals disrespectful, crass, and uncritical. I've only had positive, meaningful exchanges with my grandfather and people like Rudy and Miriam. And I can relate to Dennis' feeling of alienation amongst his peers. But we have to be careful not to make this a generation thing. I'm not sure that, on the whole, the 50 and over crowd is any more conscious or sacrificing than the 35 and under crew. Any difference is negligible.

I am reminded of Norman Podhoretz and his criticism of Baldwin that he spoke not as a Negro but as an American social critic. Baldwin said that we didn't want to be integrated into a burning house; Podhoretz countered that many Negroes would be content with a healthy helping of the American pie.

Russell Simmons, the millionaire hip-hop impresario, made a similar comment when praising Michael Steele, the black Republican running for U.S. senate in Maryland. He suggested that, if not for economic inequity—that is, blacks not getting their fair of the pie—blacks would probably be overwhelmingly Republican. There is a kernel of truth here. I'm not sure we—and by we, I mean the many—are concerned with American imperialism, global exploitation, or smugness.

These concerns are generally associated with dissidents against the status quo, not those that are complacent. And we are complacent. Hence, the consciousness crisis. John Hope Franklin said that we are an indifferent, uncaring people on Charlie Rose. Very blunt and very true.

This level of indifference and non-consciousness has strands in every generation. We just want a piece of the American pie, no matter as to whether or not it was ripped from the hands of an Iraqi or African or South American child. This doesn't speak well of our willingness to sacrifice.

I think that the relatively few numbers of us who might be described as conscious ought not to be bogged down by this drivel of a generational conflict. We need to start communicating and exchanging ideas. We should learn from one another.

My experiences as a young, black male in Baltimore might differ from Rudy's. We might not make the same conclusions but this is where the communication takes place. The exchange. We all have things to offer that are born of our distinct experiences. I'm done with my brief spiel. Best.Rodney

posted 18 February 2006 

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Walter Mosley on Writing

I didn’t start off writing detective novels. The first thing I wrote was Gone Fishin’, which is Easy Rawlins and Mouse, but it wasn’t a detective novel. I sent it out, and everybody said to me, "Well, it’s good writing, but who’s going to read this?" And I go, "What do you mean?" Said, "Well, you know, white people don’t read about black people. Black women don’t like black men. And black men don’t read. So who’s going to read your book?" And so, you know, I accepted it. A lot of people, their first book, don’t get published.

So I went back, and I wrote another book about Easy and Mouse, but this time it was a mystery. And everybody was like, "Wow! That’s great! A black detective!" One guy actually said, "But, you know, there already is a black detective." And I said, "Well, you know, there’s a whole bunch of white detectives." And he goes, "I don’t see what you mean by that." But that worked.

And then it worked in ways that I didn’t expect, because everybody reads mysteries, and they don’t care who the detective is. They care about the mystery itself. And then a world gets revealed throughout that. You know, that starts with Sherlock Holmes. You know, he kind of reveals the whole empire through those short stories. And so, I just said, "Wow! This is really great. This is working. I’m getting all kinds of people to read this book." And, you know, and that’s really wonderful. . . .Well, you know, I’ve always been really bad in school. I can’t study anything I’m not interested in, or that I don’t—I can’t see a direct reason for studying it. And that was always a really bad thing. I always tell people that, you know, if you—well, if you come to, like, a young black woman and she’s going to be a writer, she’ll say—you’ll say, "Who influenced her?" And she’ll say, "Well, Phillis Wheatley and Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker and Toni Morrison and Edwidge Danticat and Zadie Smith." She’ll say names to you that will make you put her in higher esteem. You know, you’re going to be like Toni Morrison.

The truth is, you learn how to read when you’re a kid. Who influenced you was Nancy Drew, right? If you read Beloved at the age of eight, you would either kill yourself or your mother, right? You know, I mean, you’d say, "Mom, I read this book, and I don’t buy it. You know, so one of us has to go." I mean, that’s what you would say. You have to be an adult. But when you learn how to read, you’re a child. You love literature. It’s real. You really experience it. Your imagination is the most powerful it will ever be. You’re closer to your unconscious than you will ever again be. So you read these things that are not great literature, as E.M. Forster talks about in his book about writing. But you take the things that you love, and you make them into something.

So, like I’m really influenced by the stories my father told about his childhood. I’m very influenced by comic books: Jack Kirby and Stan Lee and Marvel Comics really kind of structured my life. Later on, you know, I read Gabriel García Márquez and Albert Camus and André Malraux, and they influenced me. But the big thing was, you know, the Fantastic 4 when I was a kid.—DemocracyNow

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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.

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The 5th Inning by E. Ethelbert Miller

The 5th Inning is poet and literary activist E. Ethelbert Miller's second memoir. Coming after Fathering Words: The Making of An African American Writer (published in 2000), this book finds Miller returning to baseball, the game of his youth, in order to find the metaphor that will provide the measurement of his life. Almost 60, he ponders whether his life can now be entered into the official record books as a success or failure.

The 5th Inning is one man's examination of personal relationships, depression, love and loss. This is a story of the individual alone on the pitching mound or in the batters box. It's a box score filled with remembrance. It's a combination of baseball and the blues.

To see a clip of Ethelbert reading The 5th Inning click here:

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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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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

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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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Negro Digest / Black World

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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

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 5 March 2012




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