ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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Against whole centuries of blood dripping skies / Against the rape and burning flesh and twisted sinew

Against today's murder and oppression and indignities / While we struggle we must never forget that

 

 

Root Song

                           

                     for Daki

 

                         By Melvin E. Brown

 

 

In us and through us forever

There are native sons living

And we must always touch their origins

For they give us a pulse that reminds us

of the strangers in our bone.

 

In us and thru us forever

There are future black selves

And we must always touch their origins

For they give us the word that informs us

Of the strangers in our tongue.

 

Against whole centuries of blood dripping skies

Against the rape and burning flesh and twisted sinew

Against today's murder and oppression and indignities

While we struggle we must never forget that

 

In us and thru us forever

There are african spirits moving

And we must always touch their origins

For they give us heart that beats for the lives

That are so unfamiliar and so exalted.

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Melvin E. Brown was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, Brown received his M.A. in 1977 to 1981. He was the editor of Chicory Magazine, a publication of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. he has also been a faculty member at Sojourner Douglass College.

His first volume of poetry In the First Place was published in 1974. Most recently, his poetry appeared in In Search of Color Everywhere: A Collection of African American Poetry.

Blue Notes & Blessing Songs
 (Liberation House,1995)

Reviews

Melvin follows the tradition: griot, storyteller, musician. His poems are straight, clear thinking. In the words of Etheridge Knight, he too "sees through stone." Celebrate this new good book.

--Lucille Clifton, Pulitzer Prize Nominee, author of The Book of Light

Ooh, baby, baby--Melvin E. Brown, at times, writes the way Smokey Robinson once sang. Brown's latest volume is a book of remembrances. It's a collection of poems "coated" with the blues and filled with a special kind of love.

--E. Ethelbert Miller, Director, African American Resource Center, Howard University

It ain't just poetry to me. I hear the codes for honest living, the quest to become a better human being. I hear the love of friendship and memory, and the love of memorable friendships. I feel the caring, the hurting, the loving, the healing, the hoping. It's the heart-to-heart that's really got a hold on me. Unh, unh, it ain't just poetry to me.

--Peter J. Harris, author of Hand Me My Griot Clothes: The Autobiography of Junior Baby

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 The Corner / 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.

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Take This Hammer

KQED's film unit follows poet and activist James Baldwin in the spring of 1963, as he's driven around San Francisco to meet with members of the local African-American community. He is escorted by Youth For Service's Executive Director Orville Luster and intent on discovering: "The real situation of negroes in the city, as opposed to the image San Francisco would like to present." He declares: "There is no moral distance ... between the facts of life in San Francisco and the facts of life in Birmingham. Someone's got to tell it like it is. And that's where it's at." Includes frank exchanges with local people on the street, meetings with community leaders and extended point-of-view sequences shot from a moving vehicle, featuring the Bayview and Western Addition neighborhoods. Baldwin reflects on the racial inequality that African-Americans are forced to confront and at one point tries to lift the morale of a young man by expressing his conviction that: "There will be a negro president of this country but it will not be the country that we are sitting in now." The TV Archive would like to thank Darryl Cox for championing the merits of this film and for his determination that it be preserved and remastered for posterity.

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Straight Outta Hunters Point  / Malcolm X Birthday (1970)

KQED News report from May 19th 1970 on the Hunters Point community of San Francisco's celebrations and remembrance for what would have been the 45th birthday of political and human rights activist Malcolm X. Features scenes of local residents describing the personal impact that Malcom X had on their lives and people enjoying live music. Ends with views of public speakers addressing crowds outside the Federal Courthouse in downtown San Francisco, including the Reverend Cecil Williams who explains that: "We are talking about the liberation of the people! And that's what we want at this particular time."

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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

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The Last Holiday: A Memoir

By Gil Scott Heron

Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King's birthday ended up becoming a national holiday ("The Last Holiday because America can't afford to have another national holiday"), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered. Gil uses Lennon's violent end as a brilliant parallel to Dr King's assassination and as a biting commentary on the constraints that sometimes lead to newspapers getting things wrong. —Jamie Byng, Guardian / Gil_reads_"Deadline" (audio)  / Gil Scott-Heron & His Music  Gil Scott Heron Blue Collar  Remember Gil Scott- Heron

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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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 4 February 2012

 

 

 

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