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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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If the hill is too steep, teach them to climb. / If they don't know, teach them it's time.

If they suffer from insomnia, teach them to wake. / If they are dead, teach them to live.



Teach Them


By Jeremiah Mickens


If someone is drowning, teach them to swim.

If someone is crawling, teach them to walk.

If they can't speak, teach them to talk.

If ugliness prevails, teach them their beauty and they'll never fail.

If someone is hateful, teach them love.

If the hill is too steep, teach them to climb.

If they don't know, teach them it's time.

If they suffer from insomnia, teach them to wake.

If they are dead, teach them to live.

If someone is selfish, them them to give.

If someone is falling, teach them to fly.

If they are violent, teach them peace.

If he is her, teach him to be him.

Teach them to teach them, to teach them,

to teach them, to teach them . . .


Jeremiah Mickens' autobiographical statement:

I was raised in Baltimore, Maryland. I attended Rognel Heights, Harlem Park, and Liberty elementary schools. My family traveled to California when I was in the fourth or fifth grade.

As we traveled my mother taught us in the motor home that lived in. It was my stepfather, mother, and three sisters. On the way to California we stopped briefly and lived in a house in Phoenix, Arizona. When we finally arrived in Los Angeles it was almost six months later. We stayed in our motor home and lived partly in a house and partly in the motor home of a family friend. We stayed there a year. I attended Charles drew Elementary. My mother taught me at home for a long time because when I went back to school I was in the eighth grade.

I graduated from Charles drew, Jr. High. Somehow we ended up in Malibu, California. the lifestyle was completely different from Compton and East LA. Here we again stayed partly in a house and partly in a trailer. The part of Malibu we lived in was known as Point Dume. There I would ride the horse down to the beach daily. When Angel [the horse] would feel the sand under her feet she would take-off running.

I also began to lift weights and jog from Point Dume to Trancas. I attended Samo High in Santa Monica, California. I stayed there for two years partying and having a good time. It was my second year at Samo that I began to enjoy acting in my second play Nicholas Nickleby. I played three characters -- Pluck, Curdle, and Belling. It was acting that began to give me the focus I needed on education.

The focus was just in time because we moved again. this time we moved to Venice, California. I attended Venice High School. In Venice I became a member of the Venice High School Thespians. I acted in independent films, school plays, and tributes by Beverly Hills West Chapter LINKS.

My grades were not up to par so I was not allowed to act in any plays. My focus for school became even sharper. After school I would play football and basketball, avoiding hanging out with the many gangs that wanted to jump me in. I was focus mentally. I knew what I wanted to do. I was determined to do, be the best.

My mother changed that focus when she explained that we were moving back to Baltimore. I did not want to go. We came to California with a whole family of six. Now it was only a family of three. Soon it would be a family of none. We flew back to Baltimore.

In Baltimore I saw friends get shot. Many guns were pointed at me by robbers and police. I held the hands of the bleeding and dying. I cried on the shoulders of mothers and fathers. So many people I knew made it to the front page of the Baltimore Sun.

I ended up at Walbrook High School. I went through all of the graduation ceremonies but would not graduate from Walbrook. I graduated from Harbor City. I then went straight to Baltimore City Community College. After taking a break from college and cooking for five years in a Mexican restaurant in 1995 I married my high school sweetheart. We now have five children.

In 1996, I began to substitute in Baltimore City Public Schools. I started working in Companions extended Daycare in 1998. While there I attended college and graduated from Sojourner Douglass in 2000. I am now studying reading at Johns Hopkins University.

I have seen and been through a lot. But I never let go of my dream to be an actor, writer, teacher. One must have a dream. Hold onto it. Don't squeeze it too tight because it may slip away. Find the median and once you do you'll have the perfect grip. That's the time to hold on and don't let go, when it's good times or bad times. Just remember don't let go.

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
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#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
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#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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#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
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#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
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#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what's in your heart than what's in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America's shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, "Happy can make you money, but money can't make you happy."

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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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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 21 February 2012




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