ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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Trained as a social worker, my studies now are being transferred into art . . . passion and love. 

I believe my diverse family background, and my travels have been the pallet from which I now

spring and my main educator, for which many of my paintings and sculpting works reflect. 



That which binds . . .‏

A Lovely Letter from Sedona Artist Bev Jenai


Well Rudy . . .

The house is quiet again after help'n cousins fill in relative gaps, and my endless smiles while watching the many familiar family gestures of the "who's bad" walks and words of sassiness re-surface a couple of days ago.  My cousin and me have not been in touch for more years than I care to say . . . at least 20 . . . but . . . noth'n has changed . . . our love, our affections remain the same. 

My cousin's daughter especially brought back memories of me at her age . . . mannerisms and all.  We looked over a few family photos...and I remembered . . . Remembered my past self, as I took the liberty of continual glimpsing over at my 60 yr ole' cousin who sat across from me at the kitchen table, noting that she had yet to escape from the prisms of our past and whose Spirit appeared to be aging her beyond her years. 

When I offered her wine . . . she scolded me for not remembering that she dare not drink - and never had, after experiencing her childhood memories of the women alcoholics in our family.  My cousin's sadness dug a hole into my soul as I drew pictures around, and revisited her memories. I also listened intently as her daughter kept loudly tell'n her mother that she needed to find a man so that she (her daughter) would no longer have to assist in supporting her. 

My cousin is still a beautiful woman at 60, but she wears a brooding mood, and heavy drooping bags beneath her eyes.  Her pleasure . . .  her passion is in driving a school bus.  Vivid memories continued, and were re-traced as I listened intently to her memories of visiting our uncle in the country area of MI.  This is where most of the kids in our family were drenched with southern traditions, where our Uncle Mac kept decrepit farm animals; a one eyed horse that limped and always wore blinders, a huge dirty hog that we use to ride, and lots of chickens and mean roosters. 

My cousin told me of one of the traumas she had experienced there on the farm . . . of how she and her sisters went out in the yard one morn'n to find a hen tied up to a tree and how they had named the hen and lovingly played with it all day only to find it had disappeared later, and how it had been placed on the dinner table in front of them that evening.  She and her sisters were punished (probably with a switch) because all of them were boohooing and defiantly had refused to partake in the succulent meal placed before them . . .  this chicken had become their friend (smiles) . . . after all, how could they eat their friend. 

We both reminisced about having to trek to the out house in the middle of the night with full bladders that we had held as long as possible . . . a dreaded trip, while Aunt Lizzie held the flashlight steady for us.  The out house of course was always buzzing with horse flies and we don't know what else.   We think the out house was built exclusively for our Uncle Mac who weighed at least 350lbs. It had two gigantic openings (black smelly disgusting holes that lead to hell...(smiles) . . . Our terror of course was in falling in . . . which meant our arms often had to be held while sitting on it.  We both remembered how we preferred the big pot in the house.

The weekend continued with . . .

My friend Thereasa from the AZ Valley ushering herself in the next day . . . 4 hrs. late.  She never can come to visit me alone . . .  she always manages to bring a tribe . . .  a tribe of her girlfriends, a couple of whom I can now relate to as friends.  I always luv  see'n her face when she walks through the door . . .  she's always beaming with light always smile'n as she announces to her friends that are 1st visitors . . . "now I want yall to  know . . .  this is all Bev's art work on the walls . . . and check out her sculpting" . . . and then she proceeds to give them a tour of the house. 

She and her guest always come with bags and hugs . . .  bags of goodies which this time included Mimosa ingredients . . .  Mimosas which were to be served with breakfast the  next morn'n . . . Mimosas which this time, turned out to be used as a traditional Libation toast . . . as we all raised our glasses the next morning and did a prayerful and thankful  toast to "sisterhood" . . . sisterhoods that will always bind us together based on where we've come from and where we're still moving to and have yet to go. 

Our Mimosas went with what turned out to be our breakfast of grits, left over salmon (I had grilled the night before), chocolate croissants from Trader Joes, fruit and omelette w/ cheese and sun dried tomatoes.  After my first and second sip, my Mimosa ended up marinating for half the day . . .  but I eventually finished it.  The youngest member of the group (who was in her 30s) had cooked breakfast . . . something which she had asked  to  do . . .  She was getting and had gotten a lot of advice from her elders (us) all that past weekend . . .  so I like to think that she was cooking to show her appreciation of her "Nanas". . . which in Ghana of course means those elders who have achieved a degree of wisdom and honor . . .  even though in our cases, we're still work'n on it (smiles) 

Sistahs in the House (smiles)!!! 

Lots of B.S. talk'n, practice'n the latest hussles, sing'n with Jill Scott & Angie Stone, ocassionally, we'd let Boney James in . . . heads wrapped tight cause of perms, and that night . . .  the play'n of Spades with the traditional cocked heads, twisted mouths, and of  course the "I don't need no man" explosions . . . and of course you can never play Spades  or Bid Whist without those citified certifiable intimating looks, the staring ya' down looks of the eyes while talk'n mucho stuff especially when someone stands up and yells "it's a mis-deal" cause the dealer was talk'n too much and wasn't pay'n attention. 


Only thing is . . . I'm not sure I want Thereasa bring'n her Puerto Rican Harlem friend  back here, even though Racquel's been here several times before . . . I almost had to get Detroit on her you know what...after a few careless almost play'n the dozen type comments she made . . .  She think she bad (smiles) cause she's from Harlem (smiles).  We seriously did have to go over a few of her carelessly thrown out comments . . . But, after  I sat down with her later the next day and we talked . . . I found out she had more than a reason and a notion to be uptight and defiant in a way.  I may be losing my  friend Thereasa to D.C.  She will be interviewing for a $140,000 position next week . . . Even though I had fussed at her about digging out my Rhinestone Diva cap and wear'n it  to go on a walk after breakfast Monday morn'n . . . She knows . . . she can wear that cap anytime (smiles).


How did your full house go this weekend and how's the editing going?? I am so happy Rudy that your words . . .  your new friendship is causing me to write . . .  and write furiously again . . . In relating these stories to you, I also had realized that many of the stories that I had related to you in the past . . . had not been passed on to my children . . . so  my writing to you is becoming kinda' like my online journal of memories and when appropriate I'll share my side of our conversation to you with my kids.  

Hugs & Blessings! bev

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Bev Jenai Bio

Responsibilities were at the forefront of my life until I became a permanent resident of Sedona, AZ in January 2005 after retiring early from the University of Michigan Health System.  After a trip to Ghana in that year, I seriously pursued my dream of becoming a serious artist. “When sub consciousness becomes consciousness, the seeds in our winter clad selves turn to flowers, and the silent life in us sings with all its might.” 

As an artist . . . I AM now singing.

I guess if one cares to label me, I’m mainly a figurative artist who tries to pick up the tiniest of nuances/movements in the faces and figures of my subjects.  Infused on the foreheads of most of my paintings/pastels are blends of many strong earthy hues of color, which Sedona embraces, and then creatively transfers to inhabitants.  I’ve been strongly influenced by the old masters, Henry Moore especially, and contemporary artists such as J D Challenger, Simmie Knox, Hung Liu, Gary Grier, and Charles Bibbs. 

My ethnic kinships and respect are for the many African American women who sculpted during the 20s & 30s.  At that critical time, many in order to find acceptance, were forced to move to Europe, especially Paris in order to grow and continue their studies, i.e., Augusta Savage, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet, and Meta Vaux Warwick Fuller.  My admiration for the contemporary sculptors Eddie Dixon (African American sculptor of the Buffalo Soldiers) and Dr. John M. Soderberg here in the Verde Valley is beyond measurement. 

Trained as a social worker, my studies now are being transferred into art, which has always been my first passion and love.  I believe my diverse family background, and my travels have been the pallet from which I now spring and my main educator, for which many of my paintings and sculpting works reflect.  I AM now creatively home at last . . . however my past was/is my pavement and the structure that now enable me to be the artist I am today.  I’m told my works are “refreshingly different.”

I’ve studied art at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI, with Jon Lockard, a professor at the University of Michigan, Sculpting at Purdue University and the Ann Arbor Center for Creative studies with Norma Penchansky.  My quest towards perfection in the arts continues here at the Sedona Art Center where I’ve studied with Gretchen Lopez, Joyce Killebrew, and Jan Sitts.— Beverly Myers

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Kin'lin for the Soul

 (For Those Who've Loved, and Dare to Love Again)

Poetic Renderings by Beverly Jenai




My calendar signing in Detroit.



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Ghana Tiny Eyes 2007 Calendar



2007 – 2008 Exhibitions – Showings


2008 Exhibitions


Jan-May 2008 – Cathedral Rocks – Canyon’s Gallery, Sedona, AZ


March 2008 -“The Hummingbird Tatoo” (oil pastel)

Juried into the Professional Division Show – Sedona Art Center


April 2 – May 4th –  “Ole Shaman” (oil pastel

Kinion Sedona Art Vault – Sedona, AZ


 May 2-3, 2008  – Sedona Open Art Studios –

Open Exhibition


2007 Exhibitions


May 5 – 6, 2007 - Sedona Visual Arts Coalition’s Sedona Art Open Studios –


May – August, 2007 - Sedona City Hall Exhibit –  – “Red Rock Means” Oil painting


 June 16, 2007 - Detroit Institute of Arts Bal African,  

         Museum made presentation to

Nene Sakite II – Konor King of Ghana

Oil Painting of his Daughter - “Ghana’s Tiny Eyes”


July 6 – July 29, 2007 - Sedona Arts Center, Members Only Exhibit –

“Touchdown” Oil Painting was featured in the Red Rock News – August, 2007


Sept – Oct 2007 - Canyons Gallery (across from Tlaquepaque) “SACRED COLORS” Exhibit

Month long showing of approximately 18  Bev Jenai paintings –


Opening Reception

Canyons Gallery – Cathedral Mountain’s painting– ongoing showing


Oct 20th -Nov 19th, 2007 - Music of th Earth – Sedona Visual Arts Coalition, Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village




1993 – 2005 Authored/co authored numerous Youth Mentoring handbooks and booklets on behalf of the University of Michigan Health System and Johns Hopkins Health System


2003 “Kin’lin for the Soul” (for those who’ve loved and dare to love again) Published book of Poetic Sayings – sold on Barnes & Noble & Amazon.


Authored “Ghana’s Tiny Eyes”:  2007 Diversity Calendar

(historical info & printed oil paintings of 12 Ghana children) –

Distributed through


2007 - ChickenBones Site:  Essay, “My Friend Yictove/ “The Café Poet, accompanied by his oil painting




2007 Publicly advertised/acknowledged in, Verde Valley News, Red Rock News and Kudos.  Painting “And…Still I Dream” shown for several months in Sedona Monthly, and the “Ghana’s Tiny Eyes” series was featured in the “The Detroit Institute of Arts & The Friends of African & African American Art” publication. 


2008 The oil painting “In the Heat of Day” (Liberated Out) featured in west AAA HIGHROADS May/June 2008 issue representing the Sedona Artists Open Studio’s Tours.


Professional Associations


Sedona Visual Arts Coalition – Member since 2006

Sedona Art Center  - Member since 2006

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Bevjenai Order Page

"Its a fantastic print, I'm ordering my print and note cards today."

"Its a fantastic print, I'm ordering my print and note cards today.  I'm also sending your website info to my friends and associates and everyone who sends me those chain e-mails (and to everyone they send them to)" Deborah Knight-Kerr, Johns Hopkins Health System

New version of Obama—a 5x7 matted frame to 8 x 10 for tabletop display available for $40

Have you ordered your 5x7" Blank note cards...8 to a pk @ $18 a pk...

Contact Bev Jenai  Other works by Bev Jenai appear on her website:

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*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011


#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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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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Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President

By Ron Suskind

A new book offering an insider's account of the White House's response to the financial crisis says that U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner ignored an order from President Barack Obama calling for reconstruction of major banks. According to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind, the incident is just one of several in which Obama struggled with a divided group of advisers, some of whom he didn't initially consider for their high-profile roles. Suskind interviewed more than 200 people, including Obama, Geithner and other top officials . . . The book states Geithner and the Treasury Department ignored a March 2009 order to consider dissolving banking giant Citigroup while continuing stress tests on banks, which were burdened with toxic mortgage assets. . . .Suskind states that Obama accepts the blame for mismanagement in his administration while noting that restructuring the financial system was complicated and could have resulted in deeper financial harm. . . . In a February 2011 interview with Suskind, Obama acknowledges another ongoing criticism—that he is too focused on policy and not on telling a larger story, one the public could relate to. Obama is quoted as saying he was elected in part because "he had connected our current predicaments with the broader arc of American history," but that such a "narrative thread" had been lost.—Gopusa

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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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ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)






posted 28 May 2008 




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