ChickenBones: A Journal

for  Literary & Artistic African-American  Themes


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we ought to face ourselves. / One night you ought to get down

on your knees, / on the lonely mountainside / of prayer / and talk to God about yourself.

O LORD! / Wrestle with him / all night long. /Wrestle with him / struggle with him

struggle with the demon / that’s in you, / struggle with all those evil spirits

that are within you. / O LORD! / Tell the Lord, / just tell the Lord / O



CDs by C.L. Franklin

My Favorite Sermons  /  Sermons and Hymns  /  Legendary Sermons Only a Look (with Aretha Franklin)


The Eagle Stirreth in Her Nest  /  And He Went a Little Farther


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The Sermonic Closings of C. L. Franklin


The Eagle Stirreth Her Nest

My soul is an eagle / in the cage that the Lord

has made for me. / My soul, / my soul, / my soul

is caged in, / in this old body.

Yes it is, / and one of these days

the man who made the cage / will open the door 

and let my soul go. / Yes he will.


You ought to be able to see me / take the wings 

of my soul / YES, YES, / YES, YES!

YES, one of these days. / One of these old days.

One of these old days./ Did you hear me say it?

I’ll fly away / and be at rest.


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Moses at the Red Sea

Don’t lose faith / and don’t give up courage

Oh, wait on the Lord. Oh, wait on the Lord,

Oh / Just wait on him. Just wait on him.


He’ll lead you across your Red Seas.

He’ll make you overcome your enemies.

He’ll bring every Pharaoh down

to be your footstool

if you’ll just wait a little while.

If you’ll just wait a little while.


You may be standing now / before your Red Seas,

you may be standing now / before your enemies,

but oh, wait on the Lord. / Did you hear what I said?

I said, just wait on the Lord. / O!

Oh, wait on the lord. / He’ll make sure

He’s with you. / He’ll make sure.


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Jacob Wrestling the Angel

O Lord. You know / there are wrong things about us all

that we do not admit even to ourselves, we ought to face ourselves. / One night you ought to get down

on your knees, / on the lonely mountainside

of prayer / and talk to God about yourself.

O LORD! / Wrestle with him / all night long.

Wrestle with him / struggle with him / struggle with the demon

that’s in you, / struggle with all those evil spirits

that are within you. / O LORD!

Tell the Lord, / just tell the Lord / O

Ohh / tell the Lord / Ohh / just tell the Lord / Ohh 

Tell the Lord, / "I want to be a better child,

I know I’ve been wrong, / I know I’ve even thought wrong,

I know my whole outlook on life was wrong,

but O Lord, / Ohh, / I want to be a better child, / YES!

Make me / strong where I’m weak, / prop me

up where I’m leaning, / YES!

Build me up / where I’ve been torn down, / YES!


Lord, here’s my life, / Lord, here’s my heart,

LORD! / here’s my all. / YES! / YES!

Here’s my all. / Make out of me 

what you want me to be. / LORD! / LORD! / Ohh!

Lord, Lord,

Source: Jeff Todd Titon, ed. Give Me This Mountain: Life History and Selected Sermons (1989)

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Clarence Vaughn Franklin (C.L.Franklin)--born 1915 in a Mississippi sharecropper family--became a nationally known and respected Baptist minister of Detroit, Michigan. He was known as the "man with the golden voice," not only for his singing, but also for his command of the classical style of Negro preaching. His parents were Rachel and Henry Franklin.

Precocious, he was Baptized at ten and at sixteen nominated for ordination and then accepted as an associated pastor of St. Peter's Rock Baptist Church in Cleveland Mississippi.

He later served as pastor in Memphis at New Salem Baptist Church  and then at Friendship Baptist Church in Buffalo, NY. he then settled down for 33 years at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit.

C.L. Franklin married Barbara Siggers, a church pianist, and had five children: Erma, Cecil, Aretha and Carolyn, as well as half-brother Vaughn. At Bethel, Franklin started a food ministry for those who could not afford sustenance for themselves or their families, offered financial and legal help for the homeless, and conducted a prison ministry.

He also became involved in politics by urging voters to go out to the polls and vote for the qualified candidates he was endorsing and was an active member in the civil rights movement.

He co-organized the 1963 "Walk Toward Freedom March" with his close friend, Martin Luther King, Jr. He was also actively involved in such organizations as the Urban League, NAACP, and on the Executive Board of the Southern Christian Leadership Council.

C.L.'s sermons were broadcast on radio nationwide under the Chess Recording Company banner. Rev. Franklin also released 76 live recordings of his sermons and music. He preached at churches all over the country and often brought his daughter, Aretha, though all the children joined CL in his road entourage at one time or another.

His life was shorten, in June 1979, when he was shot during a robbery attempt on his house in Detroit. He remained in a coma for 5 years and died on July 27, 1984. Over 10,000 people attended his funeral at New Bethel Baptist Church. 

Detroit's mayor, Coleman A. Young, renamed Linwood Street as C. L. Franklin Boulevard, and renamed the park, (located 2 blocks from C. L. Franklin's house), C. L. Franklin Park.

Reverend C.L. Franklin—Except I Shall See in His Hand the Print of the Nails (part 1)

Reverend C.L. Franklin—Except I Shall See in His Hand the Print of the Nails (part 2)

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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#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

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#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

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#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


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#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
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#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

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Life on Mars

By Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted the collection's "lyric brilliance" and "political impulses [that] never falter." A New York Times review stated, "Smith is quick to suggest that the important thing is not to discover whether or not we're alone in the universe; it's to accept—or at least endure—the universe's mystery. . . . Religion, science, art: we turn to them for answers, but the questions persist, especially in times of grief. Smith's pairing of the philosophically minded poems in the book’s first section with the long elegy for her father in the second is brilliant." Life on Mars follows Smith's 2007 collection, Duende, which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, the only award for poetry in the United States given to support a poet's second book, and the first Essence Literary Award for poetry, which recognizes the literary achievements of African Americans. The Body’s Question (2003) was her first published collection.

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The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story

of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government

By Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer

American democracy is informed by the 18th century’s most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. We’ve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economics—the cutting-edge ideas of today—generate these simple but revolutionary ideas: (The economy is not an efficient machine. It’s an effective garden that need tending. Freedom is responsibility. Government should be about the big what and the little how. True self interest is mutual interest.

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



update 5 March 2012




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Related files:  Mahalia Jackson   C L Franklin Review  Doubting Thomas  Sermonic Closings   Funeralizing Mahalia  Du Bois Negro Church 

Three Views on Black Church  The Spirituals and the Blues  I Have a Dream  The Black Religious Crisis   Howard Thurman