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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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vision boldly naked. A flight of / birds in a wind field of icy blue

We are linked by dreams, ships / & blood. Stars in purple night



Starlight by Starlight

                                     By Rudolph Lewis


Crossing an ocean in a boat, captain, slave, and poet

become entwined—dancers in a troupe, instruments

in a jazz band not yet created for the European stage.


On some nights, I’d strip down to trade tears for sweat.

I’d see a vision boldly naked, glistening black. A flight

of birds in a wind field of icy blue—strings fade into


horizon. Linked by dreams, ships, & blood, stars in

purple night are not as they used to be in storms or on

clear nights when waves dash upon the bow. Seasons


change by four. I look for a happy face, a plot of land.

 From east to west, I travel a path of error, of hooded

men & terror. In a red clay bowl I reach up to the sun,


then fall back to earth from green mountains strange

as doubt. I press longing on a meadow of indifference.

No pepper soup, my rags are few; my hands are cold.

23 February 2006 / revised 1 December 2011

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This poem not only makes me think about all those times (as a very little girl) I strained to see what a star really was, it also makes me think about one of my great uncles who was a merchant marine and how he said it felt to be in the middle of the ocean at night. Maybe the paucity has to do with the speaker's being small compared to the horizon, the stars, the light from stars... This poem feels surreal. This is one of my favorite poems that you have written.  I will read it over and over but already I love it!Jeannette

Rudy, I really liked 'Starlight'. It too, is a visual and a 'feeling' kind of poem. A yearning and a lostness.Anita

nice imagery again, even if I don't exactly get it. Kam

Rudy, this is a lovely poem, particularly in the contrast between the beauty of the cold, starlit night and the horrors of the Middle Passenger as he travels through time and space. . . . . the poem is very different in tone from other ones that you've written.  I meant to tell you how much it reminds me, in theme & tone, of the beginning stanzas of Cuban poet Nancy Morejón's "Black Woman," which I'll forward to you on my return to D. C., as well as a beautiful poem on Phillis Wheatley by Madgett.  Both poems depict a woman who's journeying through the Middle Passage but who manages spiritually to transcend that horrible experience by focusing on the natural beauty of the sky and ocean and seagulls.  They are both extraordinary poems and among my favorites because they express my philosophy of life--that it's through art, creativity, and spirituality that we finite human beings are able to endure the horrors of life.Miriam

Hope you have recovered from your illness and all is well. This works on many levels and I feel you have found a flow that fits, so go with it and as long as you are comfortable with the style and rhythm, stick with it. "It's better to ride a donkey that likes you than a stallion that throws you..."Charles H. Atkinson

posted 23 February 2006

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#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

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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

#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 New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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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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update 30 November 2011




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