ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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I too . . . am Emmett Till, under a glass-top casket / am Joshua, finisher of the great work,

knower of rivers, of the four winds / am a son of the South, of the soil

am an American




I Too

     By Rudolph Lewis

am beautiful

as a flower is.


am “soft too as an open petal

receiving the mist

of a midnight raindrop.”


am English

am African (Kenyan)

am Hawaiian

am the Big Apple

am Harvard

am the City of Broad Shoulders


am “where the city ends”

am Emmett Till, under a glass-top casket

am Joshua, finisher of the great work,

knower of rivers, of the four winds

am a son of the South, of the soil

am an American


am sweet water after the rain

am the sins of small baffled souls,

of Hitler and socialism

am the hate that hate forgot

like the Big Easy after Katrina

am the guilt of adolescence,

of a country after its birth

am mad heart breaking stickiness

like Confederate flags and gun racks in trucks

am the mysteriousness that cannot be cleaned.


am the color of Southern Comfort

am ash all around from Iceland

am a car losing control, a falling elevator

am hanging from a limb, doused with gasoline

am the centerpiece of an exclusive picnic

am a bird fleeing to nowhere

am a world turned upside down, coughing

am rattling inside like a snake.


am Melville’s white whale

mistaken “for an island with dark beaches”

pulling down ships, like the Devil himself

tricking at the sea’s edge like Marie LaVeau

fools who rush to be eaten at hell’s gate

am Ahab clinging to ropes, going down

am an old metaphor drawn

from over familiarity and ignorance

yet I be about beauty


am thrown bread on sullen days.

am the crust & crumb

around which crows gather in winter.

am spring in all its greening

the hope that hope hoped for

am the bright morning star that fades

in the eternal rising of the sun.


am Shakespeare, the Muslim of Europe,

the darker brother of ancient poets.

am he who drinks wine with lifelong

companions under winking stars


am the executioner's song crumbled

to the ground, timeless in my Beloved’s embrace

whose desires are mine melting the universe.

26 April 2010

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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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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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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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posted 26 April 2010




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