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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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I think that dam broke on purpose, that's what I think. I think they wanted to clear

New Orleans, and get all of the Black people from out there. I don't think

 they want nobody to come back. But I am going back."



Survivors of New Orleans say

 "They treated us like dogs . . . wristbands"

FEMA Runs out of Plastic


Houston, TX  - The fight for survival goes on in Houston. Families spent all day traveling miles back and forth across the city, looking for opportunities  to register for aid that may or may not be there.

Many picked up food, water, clothes and toys for their children; walking with awkward loads to wherever they are stuck sleeping for the night.

At the Astrodome/Reliant Center, the fury is spilling over and the repression is building. This morning, the number of police at the barricades was five times what is was yesterday. One outraged resident, Celesta Johnson, of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, exploded, "They have us with bands on our wrists. They make you wear bands when you're in  prison."

She was outside the Astrodome with her friend Felicia Mudro, also of Jefferson, and Felicia's daughter Curston. The women explained that  if the children lost their wristbands, or if a person's wristband appeared too large, the police would take the band and they would not be allowed back in to the Astrodome at all.

"We saw a three-month old baby and her mom sleep out on the street because the baby lost his wristband." There were many others sleeping out last night because of the curfew, according to the pair.

Many are outraged at what they have been seeing from the time they left New Orleans and are suspicious of what will happen to their city. According to Mark Hooktin, 33, staying in a hotel with his 2-year old and one-year old sons and fiancé,

"Everyone should have been evacuated 50 hours, 60 hours or more before the hurricane come. I think that dam broke on purpose, that's what I think. I think they wanted to clear New Orleans, and get all of the Black people from out there. I don't think they want nobody to come back. But I am going back."

Hootkins's feelings about the future of the city were echoed by Roy Camry, a tenth-grade student at the (former) McDonald Senior High in New Orleans, "It's not going to be really for Black people. To tell you the truth, I think they're going to make it all a big suburb."

Ms. Mudro and Ms. Johnson also spoke of their harrowing trip out of Jefferson Parish and into Houston. Felicia Mudro recounted her experience, "They treated us like dogs, the military police. They wouldn't give us water, wouldn't give us food, passed us up for three days on the highway with our children. The whole world needs to know they are screwing us over." Both women said they had no choice about coming to Houston. "We didn't ask to come to Texas, they loaded us up and made us come here."

A man who worked at what was Tulane University, who wandered with his wife and three children from Mississippi to Arkansas and then to Houston in search of help, said,

"I'm from Bangladesh and there they do a damn good job (of disaster relief), but here...I was just joking that they should send them FEMA) over there, to train them. Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world, and they do a better job." 

Today at the Astrodome, many people continued to  arrive from other states. FEMA showed up in force  for the first time. FEMA agents wearing dark blue uniforms were handing out flyers under signs that said, "No debit cards here today." For the past few days, people have been scrambling to get emergency debit cards worth $2,000 to meet basic necessities, move into apartments or leave town.

Late yesterday afternoon, people were told to show up for their cards by 8:00 a.m. this morning.  Last night it was announced around 9:00 p.m. that FEMA had cancelled the card program. FEMA spokesman Tom Costello was quoted in today's Houston Chronicle: "We regret the late announcement."

FEMA said they 'ran out' of plastic needed to make the cards. Instead, FEMA will direct deposit money to those who have bank accounts or mail checks to those who have mailing addresses.

Besides lining up for hours a day at the Astrodome, people also lined up at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, to continue chase after FEMA and other aid. One woman, who got sick of getting nowhere on the telephone, said, "I called FEMA at 2:30 a.m. in the morning. I put the speaker on and said if she (the operator) came on,  I'll wake up. I did three families in one phone call. I said, 'Baby don't hang up cuz I got three families staying in this place and everybody lost everything."

posted 13 September 2005

*   *   *   *   *'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

#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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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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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 30 January 2012




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