ChickenBones: A Journal

for  Literary & Artistic African-American  Themes


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white men . . . regarded all white women as their property while black men feel that black women belong to them.

Both groups were upset when the women declared that they owned their own bodies, their souls, and their minds.

In Soul on Ice, the women are either madonnas or whores.




Books by Eldridge Cleaver


Soul on Ice Post-Prison Writings and Speeches  / Target Zero; A Life in Writing  / Conversation with Eldridge Cleaver


Being Black / Education and Revolution / Eldridge Cleaver  / Eldridge Cleaver Is Free


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“Preface” to Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice 

By Ishmael Reed


On Malcolm & Black Male Rhetoric 

Malcolm made wolfing and jive an art form, and though his battles were fought on television (Marshall McLuhan referred to him as ‘the electronic man’) and his weapons were words, he was a symbol of black manhood; our living ‘shining prince’ was the way Ossie Davis put it, in a eulogy delivered at Malcolm’s funeral.

Manhood—much on the minds of black men during the sixties . . . black children were blown to bits during church services in Birmingham, Alabama . . . the desperate cry of men whose women were being poked with cattle prods and beaten to the ground by white thugs in uniform [We were in need of an Avenging Angel].

That’s how we saw Malcolm. He would make them pay. Pay for the humiliations we suffered in a racist country. Young black intellectuals were out for revenge. They were in a Kikuyu warrior mode.

Elijah & Religious Rhetoric

Elijah Muhammad’s generation called whites devils, because they had come out of the Southern racist hell where the whites had shown themselves to be capable of the most fiendish acts.

Cleaver's Literary Development in Prison 

Cleaver—in jail—reading, writing, meditating, and practicing his intellectual style of mentors, who was obviously no match for his probing, hungry intellect.

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 “former career as a rapist”  --  “a recovering racist” – “a former black muslim, who read and admired Norman Mailer’s “The White Negro.”

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[Cleaver's] recurring theme – “eternal struggle between the black supermasculine menial and the white omnipotent administrator—a struggle that continues in various forms, to this day"

White Male Backlash

while white males were on the receiving end of criticism by black writers during the sixties and early seventies, some white male writers and media commentators have since gotten even by  bonding with the black feminist movement an criticizing the treatment of black women by black men.

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 In this war, women are regarded as bargaining chips and loot for both sidea, the black one, Amazons, the white ones, gullible Barbie dolls.

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white men . . . regarded all white women as their property while black men feel that black women belong to them. Both groups were upset when the women declared that they owned their own bodies, their souls, and their minds. In Soul on Ice, the women are either madonnas or whores.

Cleaver & the Old Left

 [Cleaver] published as a celebrity by the New York Old Left and its branches in Northern California and Los Angeles – “black prisoner as proxy in their fight against capitalism”

 [Cleaver] “quintessential American” – in that he uses – “guile, wit, and flattery to accomplish their ends. – “You knew I was a snake.”

Cleaver the Trickster

[In Soul on Fire, Cleaver] worked his tricks too many times; the book was ignored and his description of his conversion to Christianity mocked (he  said he joined the fundamentalists because they had brought him from exile, and if the Panthers had brought him home he would have sided with the,”

Cleaver & Panthers Pawns for White Left

[Cleaver and Huey Newton and the Panthers were] used as pawns in a struggle between the white Right, who destroyed them, and the white Left who piled an agenda on them that went way beyond their original community concerns, and who viewed them as cannon fodder

In this political and cultural environment Cleaver seems a has-been and the villain in his book . . . --in comparison the sinister crowd in power now—seem like populists from the quaint old days of the America Weimar

Cleaver & Panthers Abandoned by White Left

Former white allies that prove that prove that the authors were white nationalists all along because they omit, or give scant attention to, the role of blacks, who created the political and cultural matrix for that decade.

Importance of Soul on Ice

The reissue of Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice will challenge the current bleaching out of the black influence on the cultural and political climate of the sixties. This book is a classic because it is not merely a book about that decade, regarded as demonic by some and by others as the most thrilling and humanistic of the century. Soul on Ice is the sixties. The smell of protest, anger, tear gas, and the sound of skull-cracking billy clubs, helicopters, and revolution is present in its pages.

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Ishmael Reedpoet, essayist, and novelistwas born in 1938 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was raised in Buffalo, New York, and attended the University of New York at Buffalo. Reed's first novel, The Free-Lance Pallbearers, was published in 1967. That same year he moved to Berkeley, California, later relocating to the adjacent city of Oakland, where he currently resides with his wife, Carla Blank, a dancer and choreographer. They have a daughter, Tennessee. Reed also has a daughter, Timothy Brett, from a previous marriage.

Reed named his philosophy and aesthetic processes Neohoodooism. Hoodoo, the African American version of voodoo, appeals to Reed because of its "mystery" and its eclectic nature, thus provided him with a metaphor for his understanding and realization of art. 

Reed's view of neohoodooism can be found in his first book of poetry, Conjure (1972)--especially "Neo-HooDoo Manifesto," "The Neo-HooDoo Aesthetic," and "catechism of d neoamerican hoodoo church"--while the most successful actualizations of neohoodooism as a practice are his novels Yellow Back Radio Broke Down (1969), the aforementioned  Mumbo Jumbo, and Flight to Canada  (1976).

Neohoodooism is an undeniable mix of ingredients in the New World. Instead of black essentialism, Reed argues for hybridity as a virtue. Immersion in blackness is simultaneously an immersion in Americanness. Africa helped to make America and there would be no America without Africa. America is a gumbo of cultures. Ishamel Reed's artistic vision is unique among American writers.

He is the author of five collections of poetry: New and Collected Poems (Atheneum, 1988), A Secretary to the Spirits (1978), Catechism of D Neoamerican HooDoo Church (1970), Chattanooga (1973), and Conjure (1972). Reed has also written nine novels including Japanese by Spring (1993), The Terrible Twos (1982), Flight to Canada  (1976), The Last Days of Louisiana Red (1974), Yellow Back Radio Broke Down (1969), and The Free-Lance Pallbearers. Among his plays are Mother Hubbard (1982) and The Ace Boons (1980).

He is also the author of four collections of essays: Airing Dirty Laundry (1993), Writin' is Fightin': Thirty-Seven Years of Boxing on Paper (1988), God Made Alaska for the Indians: Selected Essays (1982), and Shrovetide in Old New Orleans (1978).

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Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas The Black Panther Party for Self Defense, formed in the aftermath of the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965, remains one of the most controversial movements of the 20th-century. Founded by the charismatic Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, the party sounded a defiant cry for an end to the institutionalized subjugation of African Americans. The Black Panther newspaper was founded to articulate the party's message and artist Emory Douglas became the paper's art director and later the party's Minister of Culture. Douglas's artistic talents and experience proved a powerful combination: his striking collages of photographs and his own drawings combined to create some of the era's most iconic images, like that of Newton with his signature beret and large gun set against a background of a blood-red star, which could be found blanketing neighborhoods during the 12 years the paper existed. This landmark book brings together a remarkable lineup of party insiders who detail the crafting of the party's visual identity. Publisher Rizzoli

Douglas was the Norman Rockwell of the ghetto, concentrating on the poor and oppressed. Departing from the WPA/social realist style of portraying poor people, which can be perceived as voyeuristic and patronizing, Douglas’s energetic drawings showed respect and action. He maintained poor people’s dignity while graphically illustrating harsh situations.Wikipedia

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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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The Price of Civilization

Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity

By Jeffrey D. Sachs

The Price of Civilization is a book that is essential reading for every American. In a forceful, impassioned, and personal voice, he offers not only a searing and incisive diagnosis of our country’s economic ills but also an urgent call for Americans to restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity. Sachs finds that both political parties—and many leading economists—have missed the big picture, offering shortsighted solutions such as stimulus spending or tax cuts to address complex economic problems that require deeper solutions. Sachs argues that we have profoundly underestimated globalization’s long-term effects on our country, which create deep and largely unmet challenges with regard to jobs, incomes, poverty, and the environment. America’s single biggest economic failure, Sachs argues, is its inability to come to grips with the new global economic realities. Sachs describes a political system that has lost its ethical moorings, in which ever-rising campaign contributions and lobbying outlays overpower the voice of the citizenry. . . . Sachs offers a plan to turn the crisis around. He argues persuasively that the problem is not America’s abiding values, which remain generous and pragmatic, but the ease with which political spin and consumerism run circles around those values. He bids the reader to reclaim the virtues of good citizenship and mindfulness toward the economy and one another.

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The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788

By Pauline Maier

A notable historian of the early republic, Maier devoted a decade to studying the immense documentation of the ratification of the Constitution. Scholars might approach her book’s footnotes first, but history fans who delve into her narrative will meet delegates to the state conventions whom most history books, absorbed with the Founders, have relegated to obscurity. Yet, prominent in their local counties and towns, they influenced a convention’s decision to accept or reject the Constitution. Their biographies and democratic credentials emerge in Maier’s accounts of their elections to a convention, the political attitudes they carried to the conclave, and their declamations from the floor. The latter expressed opponents’ objections to provisions of the Constitution, some of which seem anachronistic (election regulation raised hackles) and some of which are thoroughly contemporary (the power to tax individuals directly). Ripostes from proponents, the Federalists, animate the great detail Maier provides, as does her recounting how one state convention’s verdict affected another’s. Displaying the grudging grassroots blessing the Constitution originally received, Maier eruditely yet accessibly revives a neglected but critical passage in American history.—Booklist

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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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update 26 February 2012




Home   Eldridge Cleaver Table  The Du Bois-Malcolm-King   Mau Mau Aesthetics   Books N Review   Interviews

Related files: Cleaver Bio   Retrospective on Soul on Ice By Sharif   Cleaver Speaks to Skip Gates   Tearing the Goats Flesh  Fire Last Time James Baldwin   Notes of a Native Son   Sermons & Blues  Fire Last Time  

Ishmael Reed's Preface   Maxwell Geismar's "Introduction"    Black Panther Platform & Program   Daniel Berrigan on Cleaver  How the Media Uses Blacks to Chatise Blacks    “Preface” to Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice  

The Return of the Nigger Breaker  The Dark Heathenism of Ishmael Reed