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Sanchez began teaching in the San Francisco area in 1965 and was a pioneer in developing black studies courses at

what is now San Francisco State University, where she was an instructor from 1968-1969. In 1971, she joined

the Nation of Islam, but by 1976 she had left the Nation, largely because of its repression of women.

 

 

 Books by Sonia Sanchez

Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems (1999) /  Like the Singing Coming Off the Drums: Love Poems (1998) 

 Does Your House Have Lions? (1995) / Wounded in the House of a Friend (1995)  /  Under a Soprano Sky (1987) / Homegirls & Handgrenades (1984)

I've Been a Woman: New and Selected Poems (1978) /   A Blues Book for Black Magical Women (1973) / We a BaddDDD People (1970)

 Homecoming (1969)  / A Sound Investment and Other Stories (1979)   /    The Adventure of Fat Head, Small Head, and Square Head (1973)

It's a New Day: Poems for Young Brothas and Sistuhs (1971)  / We Be Word Sorcerers: Twenty-five Stories by Black Americans (1973) 

 Living At The Epicenter (Morse Poetry Prize) (1995)

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Sonia Sanchez: Poet & Educator

 

Sonia Sanchez, on September 9, 1934,  was born Wilsonia Benita Driver in Birmingham Alabama. Her mother died a year later, and Sanchez lived with her paternal grandmother and other relatives for several years. In 1943, she moved to Harlem with her sister to live with their father and his third wife. In 1955, she earned a B.A. in political science from Hunter College. She also did postgraduate work at new York University and studied poetry with Louise Bogan. Sanchez formed a writers' workshop in Greenwich Village, attended by such poets as Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Haki Madhubuti (Don L. Lee), and Larry Neal. Along with Madhubuti, Nikki Giovanni, and Etheridge Knight, she formed the "Broadside Quartet" of young poets, introduced and promoted by Dudley Randall.

She married and divorced Albert Sanchez, a Puerto Rican immigrant whose surname she has used when writing, and married in 1968 the poet Etheridge Knight, with whom she had three children. During the early 1960s she was an integrationist, supporting the philosophy of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). But after considering the ideas of Black Muslim leader Malcolm X, who believed blacks would never be truly accepted by whites in the United States, she focused more on her black heritage from a separatist point of view. Sanchez began teaching in the San Francisco area in 1965 and was a pioneer in developing black studies courses at what is now San Francisco State University, where she was an instructor from 1968-1969. In 1971, she joined the Nation of Islam, but by 1976 she had left the Nation, largely because of its repression of women.

Sonia Sanchez is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, including Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems (Beacon Press, 1999), Like the Singing Coming Off the Drums: Love Poems (1998); Does Your House Have Lions? (1995), which was nominated for both the NAACP Image and National Book Critics Circle Award; Wounded in the House of a Friend (1995); Under a Soprano Sky (1987). Homegirls & Handgrenades (1984), a collection of autobiographical prose poems, received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. Titles of other works include I've Been a Woman: New and Selected Poems (1978); A Blues Book for Black Magical Women (1973); Liberation Poem (1970); We a BaddDDD People (1970); and Homecoming (1969).

Her published plays are Black Cats Back and Uneasy Landings (1995), I'm Black When I'm Singing, I'm Blue When I Ain't (1982); Malcolm Man/Don't Live Here No Mo' (1979); Uh Huh: But How Do It Free Us? (1974); Dirty Hearts 72 (1973); The Bronx Is Next (1970); and Sister Sonji (1969). Her books for children include A Sound Investment and Other Stories (1979), The Adventure of Fat Head, Small Head, and Square Head (1973), and It's a New Day: Poems for Young Brothas and Sistuhs (1971). 

She also edited two anthologies: We Be Word Sorcerers: Twenty-five Stories by Black Americans (1973) and Three Hundred Sixty Degrees of Blackness Comin' at You (1971).Living At The Epicenter (Morse Poetry Prize) (1995)

Sonia Sanchez has lectured at more than five hundred universities and colleges in the United States and traveled extensively, reading her poetry, in Africa, Cuba, England, the Caribbean, Australia, Nicaragua, the People's Republic of China, Norway, and Canada. She was the first Presidential Fellow at Temple University, where she began teaching in 1977, and held the Laura Carnell Chair in Englisd there until her retirement in 1999. She lives in Philadelphia.

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Poet, Activist, Sonia Sanchez Reading Toni Cade Bambara

Sonia Sanchez: Shake Loose Memories  / Sonia Sanchez speaks about Shake Loose Memories

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Sonia Sanchez on the State of Black Books I'm usually reading five or six different books at a time. I'm reading Dreams in a Time of War by Ngugi wa Thiong'o. I remember when Ngugi was writing this book because I was writing the first part of my memoir at the same time. The joy of this memoir is simply that he talks about his views as a boy during World War II. So we get a wonderful sense of who he is as a young man.

I'm reading the biography—the only biography—of John Oliver Killens [John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard], a great novelist who died too early, too young. I make sure all of my students read him. I'm also reading Isabel Allende's new book, The Island Beneath the Sea (La isla bajo el mar). I just love Isabel and what she writes and the musicality of her work. I just got in the mail yesterday Nairobi Heat, a detective novel by Mukoma wa Ngugi, Ngugi's son, that I can't wait to start reading.

And I'm reading the manuscript for this new anthology on rap, so I'm immersing myself in Chuck D, Rakim and Talib Kweli. I'm so happy this book is happening and that they asked me to write a blurb for it because they said I was one of the older people who support young rappers. And I do. I get up in the morning now and I play Rakim's "Casualties of War" to remind myself about the dead bodies that come home every day because of the two wars we are involved in.—TheRoot 

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#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 Eroticanoir.com 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

Non-fiction

#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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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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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

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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 22 December 2008 

 

 

 

Home  Black Arts and Black Power Figures

Related files: Sonia Sanchez: Poet & Educator  Sonia's Song  Sonia Sanchez and Ten Grandmothers  Wounded in the House of a Friend  (Marvin X Review)