ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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This unyielding and resounding Black presence has shown its resiliency in every facet of society,

proving Blacks are no longer separate, but equal and worthy of celebration.

 

Van G. Garrett                                                                                                                                                         Carter G. Woodson 

 

 

It’s That Time Again

By Van G. Garrett

 

Last February feels like a blur that transpired eons ago. A lapsed time since I lectured extensively about the limitless contributions African-Americans have made since their forced emigration to America. It also seems like an eternity since my students asked me the famous question, “Why do black people have to have a month-long celebration to learn about their history?” 

At any rate, it is another Black Heritage Season, one that is sure to be festive and informative as it attempts to address questions of its merit and its conception.

In 1926, historian and educator, Dr. Carter G. Woodson determined America should have a week to commemorate the exceptional strides Negroes made nationwide. Negro History Week which later became Black History Month occurred to highlight the achievements of Negroes, as well as pay homage to Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, men Woodson felt impacted Negroes the most. This revolutionary tribute was designed not only to educate the Black populace but to educate the world.

Black History Month, in bold candor, announces monumental feats like: W.E.B. Du Bois becoming Harvard’s first Black Ph.D., Booker T. Washington organizing Tuskegee University, J. Standard inventing the refrigerator, Garrett A. Morgan inventing the traffic signal, Mary McLeod Bethune founding the Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls (now Bethune-Cookman College), Phillis Wheatley writing the first volume of poetry to be published by an African-American, Paul Cuffe paying $4,000 in 1815 to transport 38 African-Americans to Sierra Leone, and Tunis Gulic Campbell writing the first American-published book on hotel management. 

This small offering is but a fraction of the rich continuum of artists, athletes, scholars, and authors that have been trailblazers not only for the Black race but for the human race as well.

People of color have been resourceful, knowledgeable, and determined, before the exodus from Egypt, the antebellum era, slavery, and post-slavery, the Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights and modern times. This unyielding and resounding Black presence has shown its resiliency in every facet of society, proving Blacks are no longer separate, but equal and worthy of celebration.

The African-American influence in literature, music, art, and film has provided a culture that is widely studied, imitated, and appreciated. Major colleges and universities now offer courses that study hip-hop (a Black music form) as a form of literature; Broadway has lauded plays and performances written, produced, and directed by African-Americans; and the drummers that supplied the backbeats for this year’s Grammy’s are people of color. It is obvious former second class citizens have become mainstreamed.

As I reflect on the strides my ancestors and contemporaries have made I experience a wonderful pride. However, I wonder if my students make the correlation of legacy and accomplishments. I wonder if my pride is misconstrued as being discriminatory. I wonder. At any rate I hope my students will at least have an idea of why Dr. Woodson saw a need to recognize his peers and ancestors. 

I hope they understand it’s a pride thing, not a racist thing that should be celebrated by all races, "for if a race has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated" (Dr. Carter G. Woodson).

Van G. Garrett, a writer, photographer, and teacher from Houston, TX can best be described as a “contemporary courier of creativity.”  Garrett, a 1999 graduate of Houston Baptist University, has a BA in English (with an emphasis in creative writing) and Mass Media (with an emphasis in print) which he has utilized as demonstrated by his various publications and honors.

He was awarded the Danny Lee Lawrence prize for poetry in 1999, a 2002 Callaloo Creative Writing Fellowship for poetry, and his poems have appeared in Rolling Out, Life Imitating Art, Swirl, Drumvoices Review, Curbside Review, Shanks’ Mare, Urban Beat, E! Scene and elsewhere. His photography has appeared in Source, has been contracted by Capitol Records, and has been on display at the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston. v.g.garrett@usa.net

posted 8 July 2008 

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Black History Month 2009

We went into slavery a piece of property; we came out American citizens. We went into slavery pagans; we came out Christians. We went into slavery without a language; we came out speaking the proud Anglo-Saxon tongue. We went into slavery with slave chains clanking about our wrists; we came out with the American ballot in our hands. Progress, progress is the law of nature; under God it shall be our eternal guiding star.Booker Taliaferro Washington

After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world, — a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world.W. E. B. Du Bois

God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.—Marcus Garvey

You know my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression ....If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. And if we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to Earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie, love has no meaning. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.—M. L. King

<-------artist Chuck Siler   

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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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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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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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Enjoy!

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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

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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 15 February 2012

 

 

 

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Related files: Instructions for Your New Osiris  The Cruelty of Age     12 jazz haiku  for nia long   It's That Time Again   African Folktales    Lorenzo Thomas Panel 

Make History, Not Excuses  National African American History Month 2009  Demise of Black History Month