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All dissent looms seditious to the youth / who squanders his action affirmatively,

who rebels amidst his privileged wealth along the cheerleader's

halls of unearned learning,

 

 

 
 

 

#95, Bloody Borders

By Mackie Blanton

 

 

Stripped naked, the next households

were ordered to the rim of their grave.

Numbed into duty, they waited their turn to step down into

the pit brimming with the dead before them. The father,

placing a hand on his daughter's head, with his other hand turned

her chin up toward his breaking face. His mother softly stroked temple hymns from her

throat into his infant's ear. Armed guards barked at the family after them to peel

 

away their rags. Two families

shuffled and squirmed at their

mound of earth and naked stumbled and slipped

into the ditch scarred out for them from the land.

The soldiers' guns silenced the hymn and stilled the tremors quaking

in their limbs. Sitting along the edge of the open tomb, they teased ammunition from

their stroked weapons, shattering bone, shearing muscle and brain, of the no longer

 

living. What has changed then, since 1941?

On this evening now, across the gulf,

the jagged light of the neighboring mountains of Jordan

shifted through oranges, reds, purples, and lastly into blues,

as the sun crimsoned the clouds above the blue mountains before disappearing.

Then, in descending darkness, a full moon grayed mountain summits, as the lights of

Eliat and Aqaba sparkled the night. The Red Sea reflected back the neon of tourist

 

scows. On this Shabbat, it's Eid

Al Adha in Israel. Darboukas

and the Qur'an rhymed the night air. Over campfires

along the beach, Palestinians tended to coffee and

barbecues. Jewish youths further up crooned American rock lyrics

in English and Hebrew to a strummed guitar and boombox. Why am I ambivalent?

Mostly empty near the Egyptian border, amidst the sunset of the southern beach,

 

an earlier flock of seagulls swooped

and soared above gently shimmering waves

lapping above a mosaic of pebbles and shells. The wildflower

sanctuary and coral reefs of the Negev had lulled us into

a moment's forgetfulness among endangered families of gazelles, eagles,

and falcons. In my sad bones and sore eyes I remembered conversations of the beauty

of the legendary, sacred land of the Marsh Arabs along the border of Iran and Iraq.

 

Where is Eden now? The lush

tributaries of the Euphrates

are soaked dry in executions, chemicals, and bombs.

A high court in Belgium indicts the bloodsoaked chronicles

and sadistic flowering roses of Saddam and Sharon as our nation

rattles dice in the dynastic back rooms of dismissive sighs. Blueblood presidents, like

elite generals, always gamble their war of choice. The people are never their mission

 

--unless they belong to someone else.

Interest and belief caress the guns.

Our nation, once a revolution in its youth, now carves

out revolt and rebellion in the world's neighborhoods.

Loudmouth demagogues splatter blindly against our nightly screens.

Politicians shield their confusing heart in battles of bombast. Fathers once pushed for

the diplomat's peace. Now sons sweep the world with an adviser's broom of war.

 

Our balance of power is an unbalanced Eden.

Our nation reports that we have no funds for

health and education as it negotiates aid with new Europe.

We are made poor and poorer as the military becomes rich

and wealthier in protective gear and weaponry. Our paradise needs no

protecting angel at the gate. All men are now avengers. Peace like war has never come

cheap, though the costs are not the same. Ambivalent are our blood, heart, and brain.

 

All dissent looms seditious to the youth

who squanders his action affirmatively,

who rebels amidst his privileged wealth along the cheerleader's

halls of unearned learning, while the people struggle for rights

more civil than the envious rivalries of slothful, covetous, guffawing boys; who

soon becomes thoughtfully tightlipped, reflecting himself in men as dull as tonguetied

bells, as the lights of libraries across our cities extinguish the joys

 

of books and come on again in suburban

citadels. As for the supercilious strutting

before lecture halls, the humanists dismiss objectivity

as inherently oppressive, while the scientists disparage

qualitative interpretation as mere personal opinion. We create on earth

sheer absences as we reduce and force one another into enmity. Compassion

has died. Once the very incarnation of liberation and human rights, we now

                                                                                                    court suicide.

What has changed then, since 1941

as we stroke the smartest gun?

posted 17 November 2008

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History of the Genocide in Rwanda

As the smallest country in Africa with the largest population, 7 million, Rwanda has had to overcome famine, overpopulation, and, most recently, a massive genocide which reduced their population by a huge amount. The country of Rwanda has had an interesting history due to their two supposed ethnic groups, the Hutus, the majority, and the Tutsis, who consist of about 15-18% of the population. The Tutsis were more prominent in the royalty and hierarchy of the country but most of them were still peasants. The Hutus were the farmers and the Tutsis ran the cattle. During the time of European Colonization, the Belgians came to Rwanda and decided to further the gap between the peaceful Hutus and Tutsis. The Belgians saw the Tutsis as more like themselves; therefore, they took them under their wing and educated them and brought them up to be the upper echelon of society. The Europeans created tribal cards to differentiate between the two groups. Believing that they were just furthering what the Tutsis had created, the Belgians created a class system. Due to their presence, the Belgians made the discrimination between the two groups greater and yet the Hutus and Tutsis were still living together peacefully. The Hutus, having no power, accepted the role of the oppressed.

In 1962, Rwanda gained their independence from Belgium. The Europeans, however, left the country in a state of discord due to the majority of Hutus who were able to gain back their power from the Tutsis, who were viewed as feudal overlords. Soon the Party of the Hutu Emancipation Movement (PARMEHUTU) came into power. The once oppressed Hutus decided to take revenge and many Tutsis were killed. 200,000 Tutsi refugees fled to neighboring country to escape the violence that was taking place in their country. . .  .—Trincol

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A Brief History 1400 - 1994

Once, Hutus and Tutsis lived in harmony in Central Africa. About 600 years ago, Tutsis, a tall, warrior people, moved south from Ethiopia and invaded the homeland of the Hutus. Though much smaller in number, they conquered the Hutus, who agreed to raise crops for them in return for protection.

Even in the colonial era—when Belgium ruled the area, after taking it from Germany in 1916—the two groups lived as one, speaking the same language, intermarrying, and obeying a nearly godlike Tutsi king.

Independence changed everything. The monarchy was dissolved and Belgian troops withdrawn—a power vacuum both Tutsis and Hutus fought to fill. Two new countries emerged in 1962—Rwanda, dominated by the Hutus, and Burundi by the Tutsis—and the ethnic fighting flared on and off in the following decades.

It exploded in 1994 with the civil war in Rwanda in which hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. Tutsi rebels won control, which sent a million Hutus, fearful of revenge, into Zaire and Tanzania.

In Burundi, the Tutsis yielded power after a Hutu won the country's first democratic election in 1993. He was killed in an attempted coup four months later, and his successor in a suspicious plane crash in 1994, in which the Hutu leader of Rwanda was also killed.CNN

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Why is there conflict between Tutsis and Hutus?

The bloody history of Hutu and Tutsi conflict stained the 20th century, from the slaughter of 80,000 to 200,000 Hutus by the Tutsi army in Burundi in 1972 to the 1994 Rwanda genocide in which Hutu militias targeted Tutsis, resulting in a 100-day death toll between 800,000 and 1 million.

But many observers would be surprised to learn that the longstanding conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi has nothing to do with language or religion—they speak the same Bantu tongues as well as French, and generally practice Christianity—and many geneticists have been hard-pressed to find marked ethnic differences between the two, though the Tutsi have generally been noted to be taller. Many believe that German and Belgian colonizers tried to find differences between the Hutu and Tutsi in order to better categorize native peoples in their censuses.

Generally, the Hutu-Tutsi strife stems from class warfare, with the Tutsis perceived to have greater wealth and social status (as well as favoring cattle ranching over what is seen as the lower-class farming of the Hutus). The Tutsis are thought to have originally come from Ethiopia, and arrived after the Hutu came from Chad. The Tutsis had a monarchy dating back to the 15th century; this was overthrown at the urging of Belgian colonizers in the early 1960s and the Hutu took power by force in Rwanda. In Burundi, however, a Hutu uprising failed and the Tutsis controlled the country.WorldNews

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Hutu vs Tutsi

With the arrival of catholic missions in the African great lake Region, there was a resistance from Tutsi community against conversion. The missionaries were successful with the Hutu. Properties of Tutsis were taken away from them and given to Hutus. This was the beginning of the conflict between the two ethnic groups.

Culturally, Rwanda has a monarchy system of Tutsi monarch, the Mwami. The other area that is the northwestern part is ruled by Hutu society. The rule of the king was demolished after it received independence. Currently there seem to be no cultural difference between the Tutsi and Hutu and they speak the same Bantu language. There were marriages between a Tutsi and a Hutu. The child was reared up as per the father’s culture. The impression is that Tutsi is a class and not an ethnic identity. But there are several dissimilarities in the two groups of societies.

German rulers gave special status to Tutsis as the rulers found them to be superior to Hutus. Tutsis are well turned-out people in relation to Hutus, who are shy and timid. This earned Tutsis the chance to get educated and find a place in the government. The Hutus were in majority and this special status sparked off conflicts between the two groups. This policy was followed by the Belgians who took over control of the region after World War I. Finally in the year 1959, Belgians changed their stand and allowed Hutus to form the government through proper mandate.DifferenceBetween

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Tutsi, Hutu and Hima—Cultural Background in Rwanda

Burundi and Rwanda had already become separate Tutsi kingdoms before European occupation as the Tutsi-Hima empire broke up.  The Tutsis were a minority in both territories, and currently make up about 15% of the Burundi population and about 9% in Rwanda.  But do not overlook the fact that the Tutsis and Hutus had intermarried considerably, even with the tribal class distinctions.

Some Tutsis have more Bantu features than the "pure" Tutsis.  But the Tutsis have commonly been referred to as "the tall ones" and the Hutus "the short ones."  Many observers of the region comment that there has been no real difference other than superficial differences in features, and that the "tribal" division referred to in recent history was a class distinction exploited by the Germans and treated only by the colonialists as a difference in ethnicity.

The Colonial Era
Animosity between the "indigenous" people and the Tutsis increased due to the German, then the Belgian, colonial pattern of indirect rule.  The colonials chose the Tutsi minority as their ruling class under the suzerainty of the Belgian Empire.

Under German colonial domination from 1890, Germany first occupied what is now Burundi until the end of World War 1, when Burundi and Rwanda were joined by the League of Nations under Belgian administration as Rwanda-Urundi.

Initially Belgian indirect rule supported Tutsi power, but tension built between the two tribes.  Clashes have broken out periodically in both countries.  The Tutsis have remained dominant in military and politics in Burundi, though recently Hutus have been brought into the government.OrvilleJenkins

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Hutu and Tutsi

It has been theorized that the distinctions between Hutu and Tutsi were not emphasized until the area was colonized by European settlers. When conducting census counts, the Belgians separated Africans into Tutsi and Hutu groups based solely on appearance or wealth. The colonists believed that the Tutsi were superior because they were taller and had longer noses and therefore more similar to Europeans. On this basis, only Tutsi were allowed to participate in government or seek education. Naturally, this caused dissatisfaction among the Hutu majority. In 1959, the Belgian government reversed this practice and implemented a Hutu government. Civil wars and genocides instigated by both sides have occurred periodically ever since.Mahalo

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Hutus vs. Tutsis

The ethno-racial clashes between African tribes have been particularly murderous in Rwanda and Burundi because these two small areas are the densest in Africa. Rwanda, for example, has about seven million people in an area the size of Vermont – not a lot by Western European standards, but very dense for Africa. In this relatively small area there have lived for centuries, side by side and at each other's throats, two very different racial tribes: the Hutu and Tutsi. The Tutsi are familiar to all those who saw the grand epic movie, King Solomon's Mines (the 1950 version with Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr); they are a tall, slender, graceful, noble-looking tribe, there called the Watusi. The Tutsi are an Ethiopid, Nilotic people. The Hutu, on the other hand, are short, squat Bantu, a closer approximation to what used to be called "Negro" in America. "Negroes" are now called "black," but the problem here is that the skin color of both the Tutsi and the Hutu are much the same. The real issue, as in most other cases, is not skin color but various character traits of different population groups.

The crucial point is that, in both Rwanda and Burundi, Hutus and Tutsis have coexisted for centuries; the Tutsi are about 15 percent of the total population, the Hutu about 85 percent. And yet consistently, over the centuries, the Tutsi have totally dominated, and even enserfed, the Hutu.LewRockwell

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Hutu and Tutsi  

By Aimable Twagilimana

As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda

By Catherine Claire Larson

Rwanda Ten Years after   Rwanda Genocide Conference  Clinton Administration  The Struggle Odes  Ode #95

The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo (Film Review by Kam Williams)

 

 

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Rape Crisis in Congo Tied to Mining ActivityWashington Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, helped launch an international awareness raising campaign called V-Day in 2007 to end sexual violence in eastern Congo. UNICEF estimates that hundreds of thousands of girls have been raped in the last decade in the two eastern provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu. "Corporate greed, fueled by capitalist consumption, and the rape of women have merged into a single nightmare," Eve Ensler said at U.S. Senate hearings on May 13. "Women's bodies are the battleground of an economic war." Ensler said that international mining companies with significant investments in eastern Congo value economic interest over the bodies of women by trading with rebels who use rape as a tactic of war in areas rich in coltan, gold and tin.

"Military solutions are no longer an option," she said. "All they do is bring about the rape of more women." The United States has invested more than $700 million in humanitarian aid and peacekeeping to Congo, according to the U.S. Department of State.

Prendergast said this money will do nothing to root out the economic causes of eastern Congo's conflict and sexual violence.

He said a comprehensive long-term strategy to combat rape needs to change the economic calculus of armed groups. Prendergast asked senators to support the Congo Conflict Minerals Act, which was introduced by Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold in April of this year.

The bill aims to break the link between resource exploitation and armed conflict in eastern Congo by requiring companies trading minerals with Congo or neighboring states to disclose mine locations and monitor the financing of armed groups in eastern Congo's mineral-rich areas.

"The sooner the illicit conflict minerals trade is eliminated, the sooner the people of Congo will benefit from their own resources," said Prendergrast. U.S. consumers, Prendergrast said, can also help by pressuring major electronic companies - from Apple to Sony - to certify that cell phones, computers and other products contain "conflict-free minerals," a campaign tactic popularized by the Sierra Leone-based film Blood Diamonds.     Such a process would use a tracking system for components, similar to that developed in 2007 under the Kimberly Process. This international certification scheme ensures that trade in rough diamonds doesn't fuel war, as it did in Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone during the 1990s.

Germany has already developed a pilot fingerprinting system for tin that could be expanded to other minerals and help establish certified trading chains, linking legitimate mining sites to the international market. Truthout

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Congo has attracted attention in the media [as a place that is suffering] systematic rape in war. One statistic quoted is 200,000 rapes since the beginning of the war 14 years ago, and it is certainly an underestimate.

When in Congo, I met government representatives and particularly women who had been raped and violated. It was interesting but also disappointing - nothing is getting better and more and more civilians are committing rapes.

But I should be fair and say that there has been progress, the government has introduced laws against rape, it has a national plan and there is political will. There is a lot to do to implement the legislation, but now there is an ambitious legal ground to stand on to be implemented by the police, judiciary and health care. Margot Wallstrom - "There Is Almost Total Impunity for Rape in Congo"

*   *   *   *   *

How did Rwanda cut poverty so much?—16 February 2012—The small African nation of Rwanda recently announced that it had cut poverty by 12% in six years, from 57% of its population to 45%. That equals roughly a million Rwandans emerging from poverty -- one of the most stunning drops in the world.It's a remarkable achievement for Rwanda, which has emerged from civil war and a bloody ethnic genocide in the 1990s. How did it happen? The Times quizzed Paul Collier, director of the Center for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University, about the  numbers.

How did Rwanda cut its poverty so much?—There were one or two helpful events, notably the rise in world coffee prices, which pumped money into the rural economy, but, of course, overall the global economy since 2005 has not provided an easy environment for success. Hence, most of the achievement is likely due to domestic policies. Rwanda is the nearest that Africa gets to an East Asian-style “developmental state,” where the government gets serious about trying to grow the economy and where the president runs a tight ship within government built on performance rather than patronage. There were strong supporting policies for the rural poor—the “one cow” program [that distributed cows to poor households free of charge], which spread assets, and the improvements in health programs. Alongside this, the economy was well managed, with inflation kept low, and the business environment improved, both of which helped the main city, Kigali, to grow. Growth in Kigali then spread benefits to rural areas—the most successful rural districts were those closest to Kigali.

When you say well managed, what do you mean? What choices did the government make that were signs of good management?—Basically, [President Paul] Kagame built a culture of performance at the top of the civil service. Ministers were well paid, but set targets. If they missed the targets there were consequences. Each year, the government holds a whole-of-government retreat where these performances are reviewed: good performance rewarded, and poor performers required to explain themselves.An example is the strategy to improve Rwanda's rating on the World Bank's “Doing Business” annual rating, where over the course of six years the country moved from around 140th to 60th in the world rankings. Each component of the ratings was assigned each year to an appropriate minister. So over time, a cadre of government officials has been built up who believe in their ability not just to strategize but to get things done.— LaTimesBlogs

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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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The Persistence of the Color Line

Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency

By Randall Kennedy

Among the best things about The Persistence of the Color Line is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley. He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr. Smiley consistently “voiced skepticism regarding whether blacks should back Obama” . . .

The finest chapter in The Persistence of the Color Line is so resonant, and so personal, it could nearly be the basis for a book of its own. That chapter is titled “Reverend Wright and My Father: Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism.”  Recalling some of the criticisms of America’s past made by Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with feeling about his own father, who put each of his three of his children through Princeton but who “never forgave American society for its racist mistreatment of him and those whom he most loved.”  His father distrusted the police, who had frequently called him “boy,” and rejected patriotism. Mr. Kennedy’s father “relished Muhammad Ali’s quip that the Vietcong had never called him ‘nigger.’ ” The author places his father, and Mr. Wright, in sympathetic historical light.

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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 / 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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Related files:  Rwanda Ten Years after   Rwanda Genocide Conference  Clinton Administration  The Struggle Odes  Ode #95  Thinkable Genocide