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Essays, Poems, and Books

By Rose Ure Mezu



Books by Rose Ure Mezu


Women in Chains: Abandonment in Love Relationships in the Fiction of Selected West African Writers (1994) / Songs of the Hearth (1993) /

Homage to My People (2004) / A History of Africana Women's Literature (2004)

 Black Nationalists: Reconsidering Du Bois, Garvey, Booker T. & Nkrumah (1999) Chinua Achebe: The Man and His Works (2006)

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Dr. Rose Ure Mezu was born in Nigeria and studied in Port-Harcourt, (Nigeria), Abidjan, (Côte d’Ivoire ), Buffalo (New York) and Paris (France) where she graduated with a Diplôme d’Études  from the Sorbonne. She obtained a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature in 1993, specializing in Francophone and Anglo-phone Feminist Literature. She had been a Commissioner of Social Welfare in Imo State, Nigeria, and is currently an Associate Professor of English, Women Studies and Comparative Literature at Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.  She is also the founder and Co-ordinator of WADS: Black Creativity & the State of the Race, which organizes international and interdisciplinary conferences on Africa and the Diaspora.

A widely published scholar, her books include Women in Chains : Abandonment in Love Relationships in the Fiction of Selected West African Writers (1994, Songs of the Hearth (1993), Homage to My People (2004), A History of Africana Women's Literature (2004), and with Dr S. Okechukwu Mezu, Black nationalists: Reconsidering Du Bois, Garvey, Booker T. & Nkrumah (1999), Chinua Achebe: The Man and His Works (2006)

She has published numerous articles in magazines in Africa, America and the Commonwealth.  An Afrocentric scholar and exponent of Womanism, Dr. Rose Ure Mezu is the Founder/Coordinator of Morgan State University Forum, and  the International, Interdisciplinary Black Creativity Conference - Writers of African Descent Speak (WADS).  A former Commissioner for Social Welfare in the civilian government of Imo State of Nigeria, Dr. Rose Ure Mezu designed to help the urban population bridge the digital divide.

She gives public lectures on Women, Pan-Africanist, and motivational issues Morgan   AcademyPress

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An Africana Blueprint for Living


Africana Women: Their Historic Past and future Activism


Black Nationalists 

Reconsidering Du Bois, Garvey, Booker T. & Nkrumah (1999) 

     Contents Black Nationalists: Reconsidering Du Bois, Garvey, Booker T. & Nkrumah 

     Introduction to Black Nationalists: Reconsidering

Chinua Achebe: The Man and His Works  (2006)

     Introduction  Preface and Contents

     Women in Achebe's World 


The Fourth World Multiculturalism as Antidote to Global Violence


A History of Africana Women's Literature (2004)


     Contents of A History of Africana Women's Literature


Homage to My People (2002) 

     Introduction Homage to My People


Leadership, Culture, and Racism


Of National and Racial Archetypes


Of the Passing of Mama Ezinne Bessie Chiege Iwuji Okeke


Imo State Gubernatorial Campaign


Contract with the People of Imo State

To the Imo Heartland in Search of Votes


Photo Exhibit 

     Igbo Marriage

Pope John Paul II: A Life with a Mission

Problem of Evil: Reflections on Aurora Massacre

Religion and Society (1999)  

     Preface to Religion & Society

    Religion and Society Contents 

Songs of the Hearth (1997)

     Introduction to Songs of the Hearth  

     Songs Contents  


Of the Passing of

Mama Ezinne Bessie Chiege Iwuji Okeke


By Rose Ure Mezu


Women in Achebe's World

Related files

Achebe Another Birthday in Exile 

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Mama, I Still Think of You


You know, Mama

We kind of thought

You will live forever


Even though old, bent and a mere shadow

Of the woman you were, yet still indomitable,

Your fragile frame packed so much substance

So much vibrant life.


Mama, every waking day, I think of you because


So much of you was simply amazing

So much of you was so solid

So much of you so endearing

So much of you so reassuring

So much of you still enduring


You battled so hardily, so bravely

To overcome so many obstacles

We thought you were the rock of our times

That forever, you will remain

                                                a keeper of dreams,

                                                a tenderer of our common garden

                                                a nurturer of our new offspring


Now, your kind presence is to be felt everywhere

The thought of you is in every breath we draw

 And now all know that you are a saint we know you are


Because that about you which I knew and felt and wrote about

That which is the very same essence of you that

                              The Bishop saw and knew

                              The priests felt and testified

                               The neighbors sampled and confessed


It is the haloed aura of you that friends keep speaking about

                 For to all you were compassionate

                  To all you were so very wise and just

                   To all you were so grandly giving

                    To all you were prodigally consoling


Your life, sweet Mama, was layered like the onion

Each layer tells a different story

Each phase marks a different phase

You near-century was prodigiously and richly endowed

Each decade reads like a different book of history.


To us your offspring you are so very precious

To each you gave your all with yet more to give

Such that each tells a different, special tale of your love

Your talent was to make each feel so very specially loved

Each of our faults you knew and yet, you still loved us

So, so very fair-minded, you always spoke the truth of things


Our memories of you, mother dearest, make of your life

                                         a varied, multi-colored quilt of love

Our Mother’s love, as nearly pure as our Maker’s perfect love


You were humble too, for you begged pardon for all your faults

Bessie Chiege Iwuji Okeke, intercede with the Lord for your family

To know how to be penitent, honest, humble and lovingly peaceful.

Rose Ure Mezu

December 2008 – January 12, 2009.

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Of the Passing of

Mama Ezinne Bessie Chiege Iwuji Okeke

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Davasting Earthquake in Haiti

Hundreds of thousands expected killed

The Caribbean nation of nine million is the poorest country in the Americas with an annual per-capita income of $560. It ranks 146th out of 177 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index. More than half the population lives on less than $1 a day and 78 per cent on less than $2. There is a high infant mortality rate and the prevalence of HIV among those between ages 15 and 49 is 2.2 per cent. Haiti's infrastructure is close to total collapse and severe deforestation has left only two per cent of forest cover.  About 9,000 UN police and troops are stationed in the country to maintain order

Latest updates on the Haiti earthquake / Why the Haiti earthquake was so devastating / Video: Haiti beset by natural disasters

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The Lament of a Crushed People: in Port-au-Prince

                                                                  By Dr. Rose Ure Mezu

Where are they now – the people laden with gold?

Who keep caskets made of silver, and other gems

And sleep in beds encrusted with rubies in diamonds

The ones who blow uncounted wealth in fat bonuses

Where are they? For Haiti needs that gold and other gems


Give what you have, peoples of the earth, give and, again give

Rich, middling and even poor, keep the riches a-coming

In cent, dollar, in their hundreds and hundreds of thousand

For the count of a crushed people remains untold

The lament of the crushed puts it beyond hundreds of thousands

So, keep them a-coming- Pound, Franc, Yen, RMB,

the Euro, the Naira, Rubble—keep them a-coming

For what the Robber nations with their blockades took

From Haiti, riches and its spirit of freedom are worth more.

Beyond tomorrow comes death and this gold is the useless


See the vagaries of fortune, this is the way of the world,

The Day before Yesterday, all was well

The Day after Tomorrow all will never be well

Injured bodies strewn around, wounds bleeding raw

Fear-wracked faces; and from hoarse and crying voices

We now hear the lament of the crushed people of Haiti

“Why? Why? Why?” the young boy yells in anguish.

This is the song of the Forgotten, the Forsaken of Port-au-Prince

Song of a valiant people crushed by nature gone crazy and wild

Song of a once free people forever unused to any expectation

From fat, amoral leaders so accustomed to giving them nothing


In Port au Prince of Haiti, the Earth shook, and split open

And my peoples’ voices croaked in pained lamentations

Mouths open in loud screams of unutterable pain

Wounds gape open and flies buzz busily around

The Forsaken Dead litter the now untidy open spaces

Become open graveyards where the living scamper for shelter

Roaming aimlessly like zombies, dazed look in their wide eyes

Vacant eyes, dead eyes, staring, peering, looking without seeing

What a world we live in! No fireball in a festive bonfire


He queries, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”

O, Haiti, in these days, in your crowded ancestral spaces

That is where to search out your dead - among your living

These open spaces now bestows equality to the living and dead

Its air filled with the stench of the decaying among the living

And the griots’ voices tremble in songs of remembered joys


Gone, gone now are the fun memories of those days of bliss

In this tropical Isle poor and suffering but full of warmth

Here, the golden sun blazed as youths cavorted in its warmth

Here, palm branches swayed in grace in the evening breeze

The air once so sweet it tasted like flavored tangerine


And in those days, you could see the babies of Port-au-Prince

Poor but greedily drinking the free milk of green coconut fruits

Poor but healthily nourished with the free bounty of sunrays

Poor women of the city used to stride by balancing on their heads

Country baskets filled with bananas, pawpaw, oranges—all

Those golden fruits from a benevolent sun and gentle Earth


But that was before the tom-tom fell silent and the music stopped

But that was before the Earth became not a mother but a wild,

Vengeful Murderer, crushing hands and legs, sandwiching

Limbs trapped between crumbling floors of cemented concrete

It is enough to rend the heart to see my people so, so crushed!

Thus, Sufferings abound galore in total destruction and desolation

Young girls and boys walking with helpless arms widely stretched,

Walking, running, screeching silent screams of anguish unutterable

Images in conflict with the unflinching valor of ancestral braves like

Toussaint, Dessalines, Boukman—heroes of a self-emancipated nation


These people so often tried in the furnaces of suffering

Will rebound for sure in renewed grace and strength 

Will in time rebuild and regain their fierce freedom spirit

Their painful desolation of 1/12 will usher in a Haiti reborn

This your rite of passage has sown seeds of future growth

As nations of the Earth touched by fiery darts of sublime grace

Rise to the Divine mandate to be each one another’s keeper

Led by a cool, fresh-faced leader Obama imbued with compassion

There sprouts in awakened hearts the promise of a new world order

People of the world, let us forego the second mink coat for Haiti

Let us forego the Cadillac 2010 Escalade, or Bentley for one a year old

Let us forego one more smoke and save the price of a pack for Haiti

Let us forego the gambling tables of Monaco and Vegas for just one week

Let us forego one day safari in Kenya for the price of water for Haiti

Let us forego one sly retort that starts a quarrel for one prayer

Let us forego the leisure time for an hour of diligent writing for Haiti

For writing, painting, sculpting, creating lyrics—all are activism

For only love and sacrifice will help to rebuild Port-au-Prince for Haiti

For only love will remake Haiti and at the end save Our Common Humanity

January 14, 2009

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Chinua Achebe wins $300,000 Gish prizeBy Philip Nwosu—Monday, September 27, 2010—The author of the epic novel, Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, has emerged winner of the United States Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize. The Gish prize, which was established in 1994 by the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize Trust and administered by JPMorgan Chase Bank as trustee, is given annually to “a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.” The prize is worth $300,000. . . . Achebe’s writings examine African politics and chronicle the ways in which African culture and civilization have survived in the post-colonial world. Some of his acclaimed works include A Man of the People (1966) and Anthills of the Savannah (1988). [The 80-year-old author has founded a number of magazines for African art, fiction and poetry.] Achebe, who is paralyzed from the waist down due to a 1990 car accident, is currently Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.SunNewsOnline

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Response to "Women We Hate"

Rudy, the essay by Folasayo Dele-Ogunrinde is actually very well-written, very intelligently and compassionately argued.  It is also fair and balanced.  All of the issues about which she is concerned are actually treated exhaustively in Women in Chains: Abandonment in Love Relationships in the Fiction of Selected West African Writers (Black Academy Press, 1994)the book is already in featured in the web page you created of my writings in  Rather than lopsided, Folasayo's essay also pinpoints the areas in which Yoruba / Nigerian women (who could somewhat be extended to mean African  women) sell themselves short, and become willing victims of their own oppression.

On the other hand, the rejoining essay (and I really do not care to get into its polemics) trivializes really serious cultural and personal attitudes and issues that determine the happiness or misery of many unfortunate womeneducated or illiterate, urbanized or rural.  His light / frivolous style reminds me of that of the Nigerian writer Chinweizu.

Generally, African male / female relationships have, and will continue to sustain in-depth exploration by all humanist writers / theorists who want a changeindeed an obliterationof those negative features of African culture promoted by male attitudes, dictated by an overblown ego, and by an unjust but entrenched sense of male entitlement.  So much harm is done in the name of culture whereas it is actually all about what is right, human and godly.

Concerned women and empathetic men called gynandristssee  writings by the Kenyan Ngugi wa Thiong'o, the Congolese Henri Lopez, the Camerounian Mongo Beti, Nigerian Isidore Okpewho, and especially Senegalese Ousmane Sembene (moderately Chinua Achebe, and by many other more modern and younger socio-cultural writers)are actually striving to change the retrogressive aspects of the traditional status quo, while retaining the good features that will usher Africa into a period of progress, peace, tolerance and prosperity.  Such revisionists ideas (no doubt to be opposed by the self-indulging male)  are grounded on an equitable treatment of the female population encouraged in ways that will not only empower women but contribute to the maintenance of a stable, family structure - which is the bedrock of African humanism.  Women in Chains . . .  and A History of Africana Women's Literature   (BAP 2004) deal exhaustively with all these.  In all the arguments, enlightened men who are secure in their maleness because thery are successful as well as just have nothing to fear, and everything to gain from any female educated or not who is happy, respected and secure in her womanhood.  Man and womanAfrican or otherwisedeserve to be happy in relationship to each other. Take care.Dr. Rose Ure Mezu 

*   *   *   *   *'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

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The New New Deal

The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era

By Michael Grunwald

Time senior correspondent Michael Grunwald tells the secret history of the stimulus bill, the purest distillation of Change We Can Believe In, a microcosm of Obama’s policy successes and political failures. Though it is reviled by the right and rejected by the left, it really is a new New Deal, larger than FDR’s and just as transformative. It prevented an imminent depression, while jump-starting Obama’s long-term agenda. The stimulus is pouring $90 billion into clean energy, reinventing the way America is powered and fueled; it includes unprecedented investments in renewables, efficiency, electric cars, a smarter grid, cleaner coal, and more. It’s carrying health care into the digital era. Its Race to the Top initiative may be the boldest education reform in U.S. history. It produced the biggest middle-class tax cuts in a generation, a broadband initiative reminiscent of rural electrification, and an overhaul of the New Deal’s unemployment insurance system. It’s revamping the way government addresses homelessness, fixes infrastructure, and spends money.

Grunwald reveals how Republicans have obscured these achievements through obstruction and distortion. The stimulus launched a genuine national comeback. It also saved millions of jobs, while creating legacies that could rival the Hoover Dam: the world’s largest wind farm, a new U.S. battery industry, a new high-speed rail network, the world’s highest-speed Internet network.  Its main legacy, like the New Deal’s, will be change.

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Becoming American Under Fire

Irish Americans, African Americans, and the Politics of Citizenship

During the Civil War Era

By Christian G. Samito

In Becoming American under Fire, Christian G. Samito provides a rich account of how African American and Irish American soldiers influenced the modern vision of national citizenship that developed during the Civil War era. By bearing arms for the Union, African Americans and Irish Americans exhibited their loyalty to the United States and their capacity to act as citizens; they strengthened their American identity in the process. . . . For African American soldiers, proving manhood in combat was only one aspect to their quest for acceptance as citizens. As Samito reveals, by participating in courts-martial and protesting against unequal treatment, African Americans gained access to legal and political processes from which they had previously been excluded. The experience of African Americans in the military helped shape a postwar political movement that successfully called for rights and protections regardless of race.   For Love of Liberty

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Captain of the Planter: The Story of Robert Smalls

By Dorothy Sterling

Dorothy Sterling’s biography of Robert Smalls is Captain of the Planter: The Story of Robert Smalls (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1958). In most history books, the contributions of Negroes during the Civil War and Reconstructions are ignored. Robert Smalls was one of the heroes who is rarely mentioned. He was a Negro slave who stole a ship from the Confederates, served on it with the Union Army with distinction, and finally served several terms in Congress.

All this was accomplished against the handicaps first of slavery, then of the prejudice of the Union Army, and finally of the Jim Crow laws, which eventually conquered him. Besides its value in contradicting the history book insinuation that the Negro was incapable of political enterprise and that the South was right in imposing Jim Crow laws, Captain of the Planter is an exciting adventure story. Captain Smalls’ escape from slavery and his battle exploits make interesting reading, and the style is fast moving.—Barbara Dodds

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Who Fears Death  

By Nnedi Okorafor

Well-known for young adult novels (The Shadow Speaks; Zahrah the Windseeker), Okorafor sets this emotionally fraught tale in post apocalyptic Saharan Africa. The young sorceress Onyesonwu—whose name means “Who fears death?”—was born Ewu, bearing a mixture of her mother's features and those of the man who raped her mother and left her for dead in the desert. As Onyesonwu grows into her powers, it becomes clear that her fate is mingled with the fate of her people, the oppressed Okeke, and that to achieve her destiny, she must die. Okorafor examines a host of evils in her chillingly realistic tale—gender and racial inequality share top billing, along with female genital mutilation and complacency in the face of destructive tradition—and winds these disparate concepts together into a fantastical, magical blend of grand storytelling

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Aké: The Years of Childhood

By Wole Soyinka

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

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Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

By  Frank B. Wilderson III

Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson's stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who've accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela's rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela's regime deems Wilderson's public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America. Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness.

Wilderson's observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid's last days.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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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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update 25 July 2012