ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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



Or Send contributions to: ChickenBones: A Journal / 2005 Arabian Drive / Finksburg, MD 21048  Help Save ChickenBones


Uncrowned Queens Project Table

Directors Barbara A. Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram


Barbara A. Seals Nevergold                                                                                          Peggy Brooks-Bertram


 Books by Peggy Brooks-Bertram

Uncrowned Queens:  African American Community Builders  /  Wonderful Ethiopians of the Cushite Empire  (Book II)  / Go, Tell Michelle

*   *   *   *   *


In 1999, historians Dr. Peggy Brooks- Bertram and Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold created the Uncrowned Queens project to celebrate the accomplishments of African American women community builders in Western New York. Their most recent collaborative effort is Uncrowned Queens: African American Women Community Builders of Western New York. This soft-covered book, recognizing and honoring African American women, is the first in a series to document the contributions of these women, some well-known, but many without previous recognition. The book features the biographies and photographs of one hundred extraordinary women from myriad educational, economic, religious, and social backgrounds.

"Uncovering the Past to Preserve the Future:  A Decade of Progress” is the title of a series of events being planned by the Institute to commemorate our tenth anniversary.  A focus group of the Women’s Pavilion 2001, the goal of the focus group was to develop a program to commemorate and celebrate the activities of African American women from the time of the Pan American Exposition to 2001. UncrownedQueens/

*   *   *   *   *

Peggy Brooks-Bertram and Barbara Seals Nevergold

 Co Editors  of: Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady


*   *   *   *   *

Racism: A History, the 2007 BBC 3-part documentary explores the impact of racism on a global scale. It was part of the season of programs on the BBC marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. It's divided into 3 parts.

The first, The Colour of Money . . . Racism: A History [2007]—1/3

Begins the series by assessing the implications of the relationship between Europe, Africa and the Americas in the 15th century. It considers how racist ideas and practices developed in key religious and secular institutions, and how they showed up in writings by European philosophers Aristotle and Immanuel Kant.

The second, Fatal Impact . . . Racism: A History [2007] - 2/3

Examines the idea of scientific racism, an ideology invented during the 19th century that drew on now discredited practices such as phrenology and provided an ideological justification for racism and slavery. The episode shows how these theories ultimately led to eugenics and Nazi racial policies of the master race.

And the 3rd, A Savage Legacy . . .  Racism: A History [2007] - 3/3

Examines the impact of racism in the 20th century. By 1900 European colonial expansion had reached deep into the heart of Africa. Under the rule of King Leopold II, the Belgian Congo was turned into a vast rubber plantation. Men, women and children who failed to gather their latex quotas would have their limbs dismembered. The country became the scene of one of the century's greatest racial genocides, as an estimated 10 million Africans perished under colonial rule.

*   *   *   *   *




African Sisterhood

Amina, French-speaking magazine

Barbara Ann Seals Nevergold  (bio)

Dear Michelle (request for submissions and book review)

Generosity of Asa Hilliard 

Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady (book)

Go, Tell Michelle Comes to the Stage

Like a Tortoise Shell

Nappy Headed Women

Nuking Nagasaki  & Hiroshima, Our Nuking Nevada

Origin of Civilization from the Cushites (review)

Peggy Brooks-Bertram  (bio)

Righting an 86-Year-Old Injustice 

The Simplest Acts Are Disarming

Uncrowned Queen at the Trash Dump  (Flowers for the Trashman)

Uncrowned Queens: African American Women (review)

Uncrowned Queens Products (other books)

Women Talking to Michele (book review)

*   *   *   *   *

Go, Tell Michelle
African American Women Write to the New First Lady

Edited Barbara A. Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram

Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady  (book reviews)

Why White America Perhaps Fears Michelle More Than Barack  / Obligation to Fight for the World as It Should Be (Michele Obama) 

*   *   *   *   *


Related Files

African Libraries Project ((Runoko)

Asa Hilliard Obituary (Asa Hilliard)

Banished: How Whites Drove Blacks Out of Town

Black Presence in the Bible: A Selected Bibliography (Runoko)

Britannica Negro 1910

Chancellor Williams (Oggi Ogburn)

Delany and Blyden (Runoko)

The Exhilarating Generosity of Asa Hilliard (Peggy Brooks-Bertram)

Global Perspective of John Henrik Clarke (Obadele Williams)

If I Ain't African (Glenis Redmond)

Life And Times of John Henrik Clarke (Review)

Niger and the National Museum  (Runoko)

On the Passing of Asa Hilliard (Wilson Jeremiah Moses)

Pan-African Nationalism in the Americas (Obadele Williams)

Photos of Global African Presence (Runoko)

Recollections of Ivan Van Sertima    

Runoko in Budapest      

Runoko in Papua New Guinea

Runoko Rashidi  (Junious Ricardo Stanton)

Tribute to Ivan Van Sertima (Runoko)

*   *   *   *   *

Uncrowned Queens Institute series

Uncrowned Queens, Volume 1  African American Women Community Builders of Western New York
Peggy Brooks-Bertram - Author and editor
Barbara A. Seals Nevergold - Author and editor

Uncrowned Queens, Volume 2  African American Women Community Builders of Western New York
Barbara A. Seals Nevergold - Author and editor
Peggy Brooks-Bertram - Author and editor

Uncrowned Queens, Volume 3  African American Women Community Builders of Western New York
Peggy Brooks-Bertram - Author and editor
Barbara A. Seals Nevergold - Author and editor

Uncrowned Queens, Volume 4  Afrrican American Women Community Builders of Oklahoma
Barbara A. Seals Nevergold - Author and editor
Peggy Brooks-Bertram - Author and editor

Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire  Origin of the Civilization from the Cushites
Drusilla Dunjee Houston - Author
Peggy Brooks-Bertram – Editor

*   *   *   *   *

Drusilla Dunjee-Houston's

Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire , Book II

Edited and Introduction by Peggy Brooks-Bertram

Origin of Civilization from the Cushites Unearthed!! (Review)

Uncrowned Queens:  African American Women 

Community Builders of Western New York, Volume I 

Written and Edited by

 Peggy Brooks-Bertram, Dr. P.H., Ph.D. and Barbara Seals Nevergold, Ph.D. 

Uncrowned Queens: African American Women Book Review

 *   *   *   *   *

Uncrowned Queens Project

Directed By

Barbara A. Seals Nevergold

and Peggy Brooks-Bertram



At the end of the 19th century, the City of Buffalo began making plans to host a major world’s fair.  After years of preparation, the Pan American Exposition opened in May 1901 and immediately made Buffalo, New York, the destination for more than 8 million visitors.  The Pan American Exposition was one of the most historic events to occur in this region during the last century.  Thus given the significance of the Exposition, several groups in the City of Buffalo and the Western New York Region proposed a yearlong series of events to observe and celebrate the centenary of the Pan Am.  One of these groups, the Women’s Pavilion Pan Am 2001, Inc. was organized to develop and implement projects that highlighted the role of women in the original Pan American Exposition and in the commemoration activities of 2001. 

Conceived, in 1999, by co-founders, Barbara Seals Nevergold, Ph.D., and Peggy Brooks- Bertram, Dr. P.H., Ph.D., the Uncrowned Queens Project was initially a focus group of the Women’s Pavilion Pan Am 2001, Inc.  The group’s name, Uncrowned Queens, was derived from a poem of the same name by Drusilla Dunjee Houston.  Written in 1917 to honor African American Women this poem conveys the essence of the UQ Project:  acknowledging the contributions and accomplishments of hundreds of unsung heroines

The Project has a dual purpose, however, as it also provides an extensive examination of the role that the African American community played in the Pan American Exposition of 1901.  The Uncrowned Queens website provides an historical overview and photos of the exhibits that purported to represent Africans and African-Americans at the 1901 Exposition, and of the activities of Buffalo’s African American community in response to the Fair.  The site details the nature of these activities as well as the individuals and specific groups who were participants in these momentous events.  As such, the Uncrowned Queens Project has compiled a chapter of the local history of Buffalo’s African American community that has only received scant attention, to date.

In their roles as co-chairs of the Uncrowned Queens focus group, Drs. Brooks-Bertram and Nevergold envisioned the project as a vehicle to honor the Black women of Western New York who had lived or live in the era from the Pan American Exposition to the present.  What has evolved in the weeks and months since the February 2001 official launch of the Uncrowned Queens website is a dynamic program that has engaged an entire community and traversed the world via the World Wide Web.

This innovative and exciting project utilizes the technology of the Internet and website development as a principle medium for:

  1. A repository and tool for the collection, dissemination and preservation of the history of individual Black women and Black women’s organizations, as well as the history of the Black community of Western New York, in particular that associated with the Pan American Exposition of 1901,

  2. A mechanism to recognize and honor these women for their accomplishments and contributions to community building,

  3. An educational resource for the enhancement of local history and sociology

  4. A community resource that encourages, enhances and helps to formulate partnerships and collaborations between diverse sets of organizations, e.g. community based organizations, civic groups, private and public sector businesses, educational institutions, faith-based institutions, and media groups.

This project has far exceeded the expectations of its founders and others who expected it would sunset with the Women’s Pavilion in 2002.  However, the project has received tremendous, documented support.  It is no exaggeration to say that individuals from Australia to Zimbabwe visit the site regularly.  The site is receiving more than 20,000 hits a month and the total hits are increasing steadily each month.  Personal anecdotes of the impact of having a biography on the site are frequently communicated to us.  The site has received four website awards to date for its “ease of navigation, interesting and well-written content, professional design and layout, and innovative management.”  Further, the Project and its co- founders, Drs. Nevergold, and Brooks- Bertram have also been the recipients of numerous community service and recognition awards from various community organizations.

In addition to the website, the Uncrowned Queens Project has stimulated community educational workshops in community based organizations, universities, colleges, schools and churches.  The first annual Uncrowned Queens sponsored conference, Lifting as they climbed:  one hundred years of community building 1901-2001 was held November 9, 10 and 11, 2001.  A second conference is planned for November 2002.  A monthly e-mail newsletter provides readers with up-to-date information on the activities of our “community-builders” and innovative additions to our programs.

The Uncrowned Queens’ co-founders have appeared on countless radio and television programs and have been interviewed for numerous newspaper and magazine articles.  Drs. Brooks-Bertram and Nevergold have each authored papers on the Pan American 1901 experience and will co-author two planned books:  Africans, Darkies and Negroes:  Black Faces at the Pan American Exposition, Buffalo, New York 1901 and Uncrowned Queens:  African American Community Builders.  Both publications are due out in 2002.

Future plans for the Uncrowned Queens Project include incorporation of the project as an organization that will perpetuate the work initiated under the original mission and vision.  The Uncrowned Queens Institute for Research and Education on Women, Inc. is envisioned as an organization that will conduct research, compile and disseminate information and provide educational enrichment on issues concerning and affecting women of color.

In many respects, the website speaks for itself.  As a dynamic entity, the website changes continuously as updates and additional information are added frequently. Therefore, readers of this short background statement are encouraged to spend time “surfing” the Uncrowned Queens site at

*   *   *   *   *

Uncrowned Queens Institute series

Uncrowned Queens, Volume 1  African American Women Community Builders of Western New York
Peggy Brooks-Bertram - Author and editor
Barbara A. Seals Nevergold - Author and editor

Uncrowned Queens, Volume 2  African American Women Community Builders of Western New York
Barbara A. Seals Nevergold - Author and editor
Peggy Brooks-Bertram - Author and editor

Uncrowned Queens, Volume 3  African American Women Community Builders of Western New York
Peggy Brooks-Bertram - Author and editor
Barbara A. Seals Nevergold - Author and editor

Uncrowned Queens, Volume 4  Afrrican American Women Community Builders of Oklahoma
Barbara A. Seals Nevergold - Author and editor
Peggy Brooks-Bertram - Author and editor

Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire  Origin of the Civilization from the Cushites
Drusilla Dunjee Houston - Author
Peggy Brooks-Bertram – Editor


To order a copy of Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire,

call: (716) 829-6047 (daytime) / (716) 832-7928 (evenings)

*   *   *   *   *'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

*   *   *   *   *

It's The Middle Class Stupid!

By James Carville and Stan Greenberg

It’s the Middle Class, Stupid! confirms what we have all suspected: Washington and Wall Street have really screwed things up for the average American. Work has been devalued. Education costs are out of sight. Effort and ambition have never been so scantily rewarded. Political guru James Carville and pollster extraordinaire Stan Greenberg argue that our political parties must admit their failures and the electorate must reclaim its voice, because taking on the wealthy and the privileged is not class warfare—it is a matter of survival. Told in the alternating voices of these two top political strategists, It’s the Middle Class, Stupid! provides eye-opening and provocative arguments on where our government—including the White House—has gone wrong, and what voters can do about it. 

Controversial and outspoken, authoritative and shrewd, It’s the Middle Class, Stupid! is destined to make waves during the 2012 presidential campaign, and will set the agenda for legislative battles and political dust-ups during the next administration.

*   *   *   *   *

Aké: The Years of Childhood

By Wole Soyinka

Aké: The Years of Childhood is a memoir of stunning beauty, humor, and perceptiona lyrical account of one boy's attempt to grasp the often irrational and hypocritical world of adults that equally repels and seduces him. Soyinka elevates brief anecdotes into history lessons, conversations into morality plays, memories into awakenings. Various cultures, religions, and languages mingled freely in the Aké of his youth, fostering endless contradictions and personalized hybrids, particularly when it comes to religion. Christian teachings, the wisdom of the ogboni, or ruling elders, and the power of ancestral spiritswho alternately terrify and inspire himall carried equal metaphysical weight. Surrounded by such a collage, he notes that "God had a habit of either not answering one's prayers at all, or answering them in a way that was not straightforward." In writing from a child's perspective, Soyinka expresses youthful idealism and unfiltered honesty while escaping the adult snares of cynicism and intolerance. His stinging indictment of colonialism takes on added power owing to the elegance of his attack.

*   *   *   *   *

Faces At The Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism

By Derrick Bell

In nine grim metaphorical sketches, Bell, the black former Harvard law professor who made headlines recently for his one-man protest against the school's hiring policies, hammers home his controversial theme that white racism is a permanent, indestructible component of our society. Bell's fantasies are often dire and apocalyptic: a new Atlantis rises from the ocean depths, sparking a mass emigration of blacks; white resistance to affirmative action softens following an explosion that kills Harvard's president and all of the school's black professors; intergalactic space invaders promise the U.S. President that they will clean up the environment and deliver tons of gold, but in exchange, the bartering aliens take all African Americans back to their planet. Other pieces deal with black-white romance, a taxi ride through Harlem and job discrimination.

*   *   *   *   *

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.

*   *   *   *   *

Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake.

She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

*   *   *   *   *

Captain of the Planter: The Story of Robert Smalls

By Dorothy Sterling

Dorothy Sterling’s biography of Robert Smalls is Captain of the Planter: The Story of Robert Smalls (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1958). In most history books, the contributions of Negroes during the Civil War and Reconstructions are ignored. Robert Smalls was one of the heroes who is rarely mentioned. He was a Negro slave who stole a ship from the Confederates, served on it with the Union Army with distinction, and finally served several terms in Congress.

All this was accomplished against the handicaps first of slavery, then of the prejudice of the Union Army, and finally of the Jim Crow laws, which eventually conquered him. Besides its value in contradicting the history book insinuation that the Negro was incapable of political enterprise and that the South was right in imposing Jim Crow laws, Captain of the Planter is an exciting adventure story. Captain Smalls’ escape from slavery and his battle exploits make interesting reading, and the style is fast moving.—Barbara Dodds

*   *   *   *   *

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)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music)





update 115 July 2012