ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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My son's question reacquainted me with my own haunting experience with the history of lynching.

I wasn't even born when Emmett Till was killed, but I remember seeing the photograph

at some point during my childhood. I recall being repelled by and likewise drawn to his image



 Books by Carol E. Henderson

James Baldwin's Go tell It on the Mountain: Historical and Critical Essays  / Scarring the Black Body


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Scarring the Black Body

Race and Representation in African American Literature


By Carol E. Henderson


The writing of this book has been a profound journey. Along the way, the kindness of strangers and friends alike has influenced in innumerable ways this offering placed before you. To name them all would require a book in and of itself. Yet I cannot, in all good conscience, complete such a journey without acknowledging, at least in part, the names of those most essential to its completion. To my son, Kelsey, who provides a wonderful balance between "Mom" and "Dr. Henderson" and who handles the challenge of a working mother with dignity and grace-I love you. May this small token in some way help make this world a better place for you to grow and mature as an individual and person. 

To my mother, Barbara J. Henderson, who is my best friend and confidante and has always told me "she gave birth to genius"-thanks, Mom, for the love, the support, the unwavering belief that your daughter would complete this journey. In you I have a wonderful example of hard work, perseverance, and true grit; as any good genius knows, you are only as good as the root. To my brother, Willie "Bobby" Henderson Jr., and my sister, Latonya Johnson-your faith in your big sister has been my sustaining grace; I thank you for always welcoming me home. To my father, Willie Henderson Sr., who made intimate the process of wounding and its aftermath-I offer you this book as a gesture of understanding, for in it I have come to recognize the complicated sojourn of the black man in this country. 

To my church family at Bethel AME, my pastor Rev. Silvester S. Beamon, and my godparents Reverends Eloise and James Wilmore Sr.-thanks for the many prayers, the pep talks, the hours of sustained ministering. You know the depths of our pain as Christians, as black people, as human beings. Thank you for providing me a space to rejuvenate when the journey got tedious. To you I will be eternally grateful.

I also wish to thank those individuals whose contributions are reflected in the very inspiration behind this project. To my extended family, both here and abroad, I acknowledge your spirit of struggle and compromise. Your fortitude nurtures me; your courage inspires me. To the community of artists, critics, authors, and activists who continue to lay before the nation the wounds of our people, I salute you. Keep your eyes on the prize and keep "keepin' on." To the many colleagues who listened to partially articulated ideas, read earlier drafts, and offered spiritual and intellectual encouragement, I honor you here. Special thanks go to Carla Peterson, Ed Guerrero, Cheryl Wall, and Dolan Hubbard. I am particularly indebted to Emory Elliott. As mentor, confidant, nurturer, and safe harbor, you have shepherded me through the murky waters of academia with humility and grace. Your wonderful wisdom and keen intellect will always be a constant source of strength. And to "the Sergeant," whose unabashed belief in the spirit of yemoja set the stage for a new generation of scholars, thank you. I could not have made it without you, girlfriend!

My colleagues in the English Department at the University of Delaware were also helpful during the time I was completing this project. Alvina Quintana and Barbara Gates have sustained and inspired me in countless ways since my arrival in Delaware. I am grateful for their invaluable friendship and intercollegiate spirit. Special thanks go to Ron Martin, who took time out of his busy schedule to read and comment on more than one version of this manuscript. He went beyond his normal responsibilities as colleague and provided unfailing support during the final stages of this project. To Ann Ardis, Jeannie Pfaelzer, Mckay Jenkins, and numerous others who offered words of encouragement, a needed hug, or a kind gesture-thank you. You continue to make the English Department a unique place to be. To my students of African American and American Studies-you never cease to amaze me. Your boundless energy and passion for learning prove that the classroom is a wonderful space of intellectual exchange.

As well I would like to thank my writing group at the University of California, Riverside, who inspired me in the early stages of my research. Geoff Cohen and Marilyn Mehaffy proved to be stimulating company, both as colleagues and as faithful readers of my dissertation chapters. The gems gleamed from those discussions provide the impetus for many of the dialogues set forth in this current study. Over the intervening years, this dialogue has continued to grow in interesting ways as we accept the challenges of our demanding careers. But it is their enthusiasm, along with that of teachers like Katherine Kinney and Carol Anne Tyler, that has continued to expand the exciting possibilities of "body" scholarship.

Debts of another kind are owed to Carol Rudisell and William Simpson in the Morris Library at the University of Delaware, Donna Wells and Joellen ElBashir at Moorland-Spingam Research Center, Mary Markey at Maryland Historical Society, and the unnamed dedicated staff at Delaware Historical Society, who gave of their time and expertise at crucial junctures during the completion of this project. Similar gratitude is extended to the generous editorial staff at Modem Fiction Studies, who graciously allowed me to reprint portions of my article "The Walking Wounded: Rethinking Black Women's Identity in Ann Petry's The Street" in this current study. I particularly want to thank the journal's editor, William J. Palmer, for his interest in my work and his confidence in my scholarship. He and the anonymous readers were pivotal in helping to shape the tenor of this essay.

Last, I want to acknowledge the wonderful people at the University of Missouri Press. Clair Willcox-what can I say? You are the reason this book has an audience. Thank you for your patience, your passion, and your vision. You saw the light at the end of the tunnel and encouraged me to see it also-even in those darkest moments. Thanks also go to the manuscript reviewers who, anonymity notwithstanding, aided me in pushing the boundaries of my scholarship in ways I have only now come to appreciate. This final product is a credit to their keen eye and scholarly intuition. Jane Lago, Beverly Jarrett, Karen Renner, and Jennifer Brown helped give finer shape to this project as it moved from "idea" to production. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And a special thanks goes to Jane Lago, who served as copyeditor for this manuscript as well. You know this project as well as I. Thank you for walking in my shoes with exceptional grace and wit.

And finally to those who will read the humble offerings of this author. May the ancestors help you find peace in the time of storm, courage in the heat of battle, and purpose in your daily walk. And may you come to know the struggle and your place in it.

Source: Scarring the Black Body: Race and Representation in African American Literature

Dr. Carol E. Henderson is an Assistant Professor of African American and American Literature at the University of Delaware, Newark campus. She has published articles is such journals as Modern Fiction Studies and Religion and Literature. Her recent publications include a 7,000 word critical biography on the noted cultural theorist bell hooks in Dictionary of Literary Biography series, and a forthcoming article entitled "In the Shadow of Streetlights: Loss, Restoration, and the Performance of Identity in Black Women’s Literature of the City," in Alizes, Journal of the Universite de La Reunion, France.

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign.  The Economy

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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

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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






update 4 March 2012




Home Yvonne Terry Table   Lynching

Related files: Contents  Acknowledgments  Coda  Scarring the Black Body Reviews