ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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You broke in mind pain. / Genius child evicted  / Priceless Instruments

Silent gig in a garbage / Truck, while you stood / Handcuffed



CDs of Charles Mingus

Mingus Ah Um (CD 1990)  / Pithecanthropus Erectus (1956,1990)  / The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady (1963, 1995)  

Blues and Roots (1959, 1990)  / Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus (1960, 2000)  /  Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (1963, 1995)

Mingus Dynasty (1959, 1999)   /   Let My Children Hear Music (1971, 1992)   /   Epitaph (1990)   /  Cumbia & Jazz Fusion (1976, 1994)

The Clown (1957, 1999)  / Tijuana Moods (2001)

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Books by Cliff Chandler


The Paragons  / Devastated  /  Vengeance Is Mine


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Sir Charles Mingus

 By Cliff Chandler

Oh tormented soul

Against thy heart and pain

Yet your steady beat haunts us

And your tortured melodies

Soothe us, sometimes

Confuse us in its genius.


Oh lonesome soul

Your foot prints and

Peggy’s Skylight melodies

Hail your brilliance in song.


Song of Farbus

Song of America’s pain.


Bright star flutter in a musty loft

A rifle for a friend, puny rifle against

Strong glass ceilings from which

You broke in mind pain.


Genius child evicted

Priceless Instruments

Silent gig in a garbage

Truck, while you stood

Handcuffed by an adoring

Fan weeping for you and us.


Thump on Charlie

Thump on with Charlie and Duke

Basie and Billy songs of Holiday

And Eskstine.

Play your tunes of gold.

Play on and rest.

Cliff Chandler ©  Cliff Chandler, Award Winning Author,

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Happy Birthday Charles Mingus

Charles Mingus, Jr. was born on April 22, 1922 in Nogales, Arizona on a military base and raised in Watts, California. Charles first became interested and exposed to music through the church and when he was eight he heard Duke Ellington on the radio for the first time. Mingus began learning music on trombone and later cello. Charles later studied bass formally with H Rheinshagen from the New York Philharmonic and studied composition with Lloyd Reese. By the time Mingus was in his teens he was already composing advanced pieces that would be considered in the "third stream" movement of Jazz. Charles later recorded these early compositions in 1960 with Gunther Schuller and called the album Pre-Bird.

Mingus quickly created a name for himself in Jazz and in the 1940s toured with Louis Armstrong, Russell Jacquet, Howard McGhee and Lionel Hampton. In the early 1950s Charles joined the New York scene and performed with Charlie Parker who was a major influence for Mingus. During this period Charles also played with Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Max Roach, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington. Also in the 50s Mingus formed his own publishing and recording company with Max Roach to document and protect his music. The most notable album on Debut Records from this period is the Massey Hall Concert with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell and Max Roach.

Mingus pursued one of his visions around this time called the "Jazz Workshop" which enabled musicians to come together and support each other in testing their limits and pushing ahead to new ground in Jazz. These groups led to Mingus developing the sound we know him for today and some of the musicians who played in the Jazz Workshop were Pepper Adams, Jaki Byard, Booker Ervin, John Handy, Jimmy Knepper, Charles McPherson and Horace Parlan. In the late-50s and into the 1960s Mingus began releasing albums as a leader at an incredible pace especially considering the originality in all of his music.

Charles began with Pithecanthropus Erectus  in 1956 with Mal Waldron, Jackie Mclean and J. R. Monterose followed by The Clown in 1957. In 1959 Mingus released three of his most legendary albums; Blues and Roots, Mingus Ah Um and Mingus Dynasty. In 1960 he recorded Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus with Eric Dolphy, Dannie Richmond and Ted Curson. Incredible music kept flowing from Mingus and he recorded The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady in 1963 which is considered a masterpiece and one of the greatest works of arranging and orchestration in Jazz history. Also in 63 Mingus showed us his skills on the piano with the album Mingus Plays Piano which features only Charles playing solo piano.

Charles was a warrior for civil rights and his music reflects his willingness to put himself out there for what he believed in. Mingus’ tune "Fables of Faubus" best demonstrates his willingness to call it as he sees it and if you search the song title on Jazz On The Tube you can hear the version of this song with words by Charles as well. In the late 1960s and early 70s Charles’ incredible pace slowed just a little bit but the music didn’t stop. In 1971 Mingus was awarded the Slee Chair of Music and spent a semester teaching at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Also in 71 his autobiography was published entitled Beneath the Underdog.

In 1974 he formed a band with Richmond, Don Pullen, Jack Walrath and George Adams and they recorded the albums ‘Changes One’ and ‘Changes Two’. During the mid 1970’s Mingus also toured Europe, Asia, South America and America until he developed a rare nerve disease in 1977. Even though Charles could no longer play after this, he still composed by singing tunes into a tape recorder, showing his love and determination to create. Charles Mingus passed away in 1979 and his ashes were scattered in the Ganges River in India. Both New York City and Washington D.C. honored him after his passing with a “Charles Mingus Day.”

Charles Mingus recorded over 100 albums and wrote over 300 scores in his life and leaves a legacy as one of greatest composers in American history and certainly in the history of Jazz. Some of the awards Mingus has received include being inducted into the Down Beat Hall of Fame, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, his album ‘Mingus Dynasty’ was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp in his honor, and the National Endowment of the Arts provided grants for a nonprofit called “Let My Children Hear Music” in which they cataloged all of Mingus’ works and made them available at the New York Public Library. Charles Mingus was a genius, a Jazz master, a warrior for civil rights and in my humble opinion a true American hero.

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.”

"In other words I am three. One man stands forever in the middle, unconcerned, unmoved, watching, waiting to be allowed to express what he sees to the other two. The second man is like a frightened animal that attacks for fear of being attacked.

"Then there's an over-loving gentle person who lets people into the uttermost sacred temple of his being and he'll take insults and be trusting and sign contracts without reading them and get talked down to working cheap or for nothing, and when he realizes what's been done to him he feels like killing and destroying everything around him including himself for being so stupid. But he can't—he goes back inside himself.

"Which one is real?

"They're all real."—Charles Mingus

Source: Jazz on the Tube

mingus 5 tet in belgium   / Freedom

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Charles Mingus—Triumph of the Underdog

Charles Mingus said of himself "I am half black man, half yellow man, but I claim to be a Negro. I am Charles Mingus, the famed jazz musician—but not famed enough to make a living in America."

"His statement summed up the conflict that plagued this musical genius his entire life: volatility, pain, prescience, and raw rage roiled inside a complex man, composer, bass player, and trombonist who transcended labels and refused to be pigeonholed into a single musical styleand who did not achieve real fame until late in his career.

The documentary is full of well-preserved footage and contains interviews with many Mingus followers like Wynton Marsalis as well as performances by icons Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Gerry Mulligan. The film traverses past the musical legend with insight and information into Mingus's personal life, his civil rights activism, and his final triumph in the music worldjust as his body began to deteriorate from Lou Gehrig's diseaseto his eventual death in 1979. Mingus left a legacy composed of genius, vulnerability, brilliance, anarchy, and, as one friend noted, "the entire range of human emotion that is reflected in his music."—Paula Nechak 

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Charles Mingus: Fable of Faubus

"Fables of Faubus" is a song composed by jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus. One of Mingus' most explicitly political works, the song was written as a direct protest against Arkansas governor Orval E. Faubus, who in 1957 sent out the National Guard to prevent the integration of Little Rock Central High School by nine African American teenagers. The song was first recorded for Mingus' 1959 album, Mingus Ah Um. Columbia refused to allow the lyrics to the song to be included, and so the song was recorded as an instrumental on the album. It was not until October 20, 1960 that the song was recorded with lyrics, for the album Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus, which was released on the more independent Candid label. Due to contractual issues with Columbia, the song could not be released as "Fables of Faubus", and so the Candid version was titled "Original Faubus Fables."

The personnel for the Candid recording were Charles Mingus (bass, vocals), Dannie Richmond (drums, vocals), Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone), and Ted Curson (trumpet). The vocals featured a call-and-response between Mingus and Richmond. Critic Don Heckman commented on the unedited "Original Faubus Fables" in a 1962 review that it was "a classic Negro put-down in which satire becomes a deadly rapier-thrust. Faubus emerges in a glare of ridicule as a mock villain whom no-one really takes seriously. This kind of commentary, brimful of feeling, bitingly direct and harshly satiric, appears far too rarely in jazz." The song, either with or without lyrics, was one of the compositions which Mingus returned to most often, both on record and in concert.—Wikipedia

photo left: As fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Eckford tried to enter the school, soldiers of the National Guard, under orders from Arkansas Governor Faubus, would step in her way to prevent her from entering.


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Fable of Faubus

                                   By Charles Mingus

Oh, Lord, don't let 'em shoot us!
Oh, Lord, don't let 'em stab us!
Oh, Lord, don't let 'em tar and feather us!
Oh, Lord, no more swastikas!

Oh, Lord, no more Ku Klux Klan!

Name me someone who's ridiculous, Dannie.
Governor Faubus!
Why is he so sick and ridiculous?
He won't permit integrated schools.

Then he's a fool! Boo! Nazi Fascist supremists!
Boo! Ku Klux Klan (with your Jim Crow plan)

Name me a handful that's ridiculous, Dannie Richmond.
Faubus, Rockefeller, Eisenhower
Why are they so sick and ridiculous?

Two, four, six, eight:
They brainwash and teach you hate.
H-E-L-L-O, Hello.

Orval E. Faubus was the governor of Arkansas in 1957 and against desegregation. He sent the National Guard to prevent black children from attending high school in Little Rock.

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Beneath the Underdog

By Charles Mingus

"Mingus was something else. A pure genius. I loved him." Miles Davis; "The jazz world has seen its fair share of compelling autobiographies but none to rival the quality of Beneath the Underdog. A shocking and brilliant book. Five stars." Q; "There has never been an autobiography like Beneath the Underdog. A riveting work of highly subjective reminiscences and tortured self-analysis." Richard Williams; "[Mingus'] autobiography teeters between derangement and genius." Time Out; "An outlandish, brilliant autobiography."—Newsweek

Mingus by Mingus. From the shabby roadhouses to fabulous estates, from the psychiatric ward of Bellevue to worlds of mysticism and solitude, these are the celebrated, demonic, anguished and, above all, profoundly moving memoirs of the great jazz bassist and compose Charles Mingus. First published in 1971, Beneath the Underdog is a masterpiece of memoir, a riveting insight into one of the giants of twentieth century music.—Publisher, Canongate Books

Mingus, Sue Graham. 2002. Tonight at Noon: A Love Story. New York: Pantheon Books.

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#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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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

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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 6 April 2012




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Related files: Charles Mingus Bio   The Queen Dinah Washington  Well Done, Miss Simone   Chandler Bio  The Paragons   In Search Of Our Culture   Devastated