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“Niggers have to wait ‘til I wait on the white people.

Now take your meat and get out of here!”


 Books by and about Daisy Bates

Long Shadow of Little Rock (Daisy Bates,1998)  / Daisy Bates Civil Rights Crusader from Arkansas (Grif Sockley, 2005)

The Power of One: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine (Fradin, 2004) / Young and Black in America (Julius Lester,1972)

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What It Means to Be Negro

By Daisy Bates (1914-1999)


I was born Daisy Lee Gatson in the little sawmill town of Huttig, in southern Arkansas. The owner of the mill ruled the town. Huttig might have been called a sawmill plantation, for everyone worked for the mill, lived in houses owned by the mill, and traded at the general store run by the mill.

The hard red clay streets of the town were mostly unnamed. Main Street, the widest and longest street in town, and the muddiest after a rain, was the site of our business square. It consisted of four one-story buildings which housed a commissary and a meat market, a post office, an ice cream parlor, and a movie house. Main Street also divided “White Town” from “Negra Town.” However, the physical appearance of the two areas provided a more definite means of distinction.

The Negro citizens of Huttig were housed in rarely painted, drab red “shotgun” houses, so named because one could stand in the front yard and look straight through the front and back doors into the back yard. The Negro community was also provided with two church buildings of the same drab red exterior, although kept spotless inside by the Sisters of the church, and a two-room schoolhouse equipped with a potbellied stove that never quite succeeded in keeping it warm.

On the other side of Main Street were white bungalows, white steepled churches and a spacious white school with a big lawn. Although the relations between the Negro and white were cordial, the tone of the community, as indicated by outward appearances, was of the “Old South” tradition.

As I grew up in this town, I knew I was a Negro, but I did not really understand what that meant until I was seven years old. My parents, as do most Negro parents, protected me as long as possible from the inevitable insult and humiliation that is, in the South, a part of being “colored.”

I was a proud and happy child--all hair and legs, my cousin Easy B. used to say--and only child although not blessed with the privileges of having my own way. One afternoon, shortly after my seventh birthday, my mother called me in from play.

“I’m not feeling well,” she said. “You’ll have to go to the market to get meat for dinner.”

I was thrilled with such an important errand. I put on one of my prettiest dresses and my mother brushed my hair. She gave me instructions to get a pound of center-cut pork chops. I skipped happily all the way to the market.

When I entered the market, there where several white adults waiting to be served. When the butcher had finished with them, I gave him my order. More white adults entered. The butcher turned from me and took their orders. I was a little annoyed but felt since they were grownups it was all right. While he was waiting on the adults, a little white girl came in and we talked while we waited.

The butcher finished with the adults, looked down at us and asked, “What do you want, little girl?” I smiled and said, “I told you before, a pound of center-cut pork chops.” He snarled, “I’m not talking to you,” and again asked the white girl what she wanted. She also wanted a pound of center-cut pork chops.

“Please may I have my meat?” I said, as the little girl left. The butcher took my dollar from the counter reached into the showcase, got a handful of fat chops and wrapped them up. Thrusting the package at me, he said, “Niggers have to wait ‘til I wait on the white people. Now take your meat and get out of here!” I ran all the way home crying.

When I reached the house, my mother asked what had happened. I started pulling her toward the door, telling her what the butcher had said. I opened the meat and showed it to her. “It’s fat, Mother. Let’s take it back.”

“Oh, Lord, I knew I shouldn’t have sent her. Stop crying, now, the meat isn’t so bad.”

“But it is, Why can’t we take it back?”

“Go on out on the porch and wait for Daddy.” As she turned from me, her eyes were filling with tears.

When I saw Daddy approaching, I ran to him, crying. He lifted me in his arms and smiled. “Now, what’s wrong?’ When I told him, his smile faded.

“And if we don’t hurry, the market will be closed,” I finished.

“We’ll talk about it after dinner, sweetheart.” I could feel the muscles tighten as he carried me into the house.

Dinner was distressingly silent. Afterward my parents went into the bedroom and talked. My mother came out and told me my father wanted to see me. Daddy sat there looking at me for a long time. Several times, he tried to speak, but the words just wouldn’t come. I stood there, looking at him and wondering why he was acting so strangely. Finally he stood up and the words began tumbling from him. Much of what he said I did not understand. To my seven-year-old mind he explained as best he could that a Negro had no rights that a white man respected.

He dropped to his knees, in front of me, placed his hands on my shoulders, and began shaking me and shouting.

“Can’t you understand what I’ve been saying?” He demanded. “There is nothing I can do! If I went down to the market I would only cause trouble for my family.”

As I looked ay my daddy sitting by me and with tears in his eyes, I blurted out innocently, “Daddy, are you afraid?”

He sprang to his feet in an anger I has never seen before. “Hell, no! I’m not afraid for myself, I’m not afraid to die. I could go down to that market and tear him limb from limb with my bare hands, but I am afraid for you and your mother.”

That night when I knelt to pray, instead of my usual prayers, I found myself praying that the butcher would die. After that night we never mentioned him again.

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Daisy Bates Desegregating Little Rock 

By Julius Lester

On May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. This historic ruling struck at the very core of the social structure of the South and it was to be expected that many cities and states would be unwilling to put it into practice. The first big confrontation came in Little Rock, Arkansas, in the fall of 1957.

Nine black students were to enter all-white Central High School. A few days before school was to open, Orval Faubus, then governor of Arkansas, ordered the National Guard to surround the school. He reasoned that violence would occur when the nine blacks tried to enter the school. However, instead of ordering the National Guard to stop any violence which might occur, he ordered the Guard to keep the blacks out of the school. This was the first open defiance of the Supreme Court decision by a top state official.

The nine black students, their parents, and advisers, had a difficult decision to make. Should the students still try to enter Central High? It was decided that they should. When the day came mobs of whites lined the sidewalk and filled the streets in front of the school. The National Guard blocked the entrances, pointed bayonets at the black students, and refused to escort them to safety through the crowd of whites. As the students tired to make their way through the mob, they were spat upon and beaten.

The central figure in the drama was Mrs. Daisy Bates, state president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Born and raised in the small town of Huttig, Arkansas, Daisy Lee Gatson married when she was eighteen years old and with her husband, L. C. Bates, moved to Little Rock. There, they decided to assume the ownership of a weekly newspaper, the State Press. Together, they slowly made the paper into the voice of blacks in Arkansas, protesting police brutality, the lack of equal rights in housing, in jobs, and in the courtroom.

In 1952 Mrs. Bates was elected president of the Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP. The NAACP had taken the lead in the fight for the desegregation of schools. It was involved in trying to make sure that the 1954 ruling was put into practice. Such an effort required not only the skills of lawyers, but also the commitment of many anonymous people, like Mrs. Bates, who were responsible for building strong organizations on the local level to prepare for the day when desegregation came. Just how important such preparation was did not become clear, however, until the confrontation around Central High.

When the governor said that there would be no desegregation, the blacks of Little Rock could either bow their heads or fight. Much of the burden for the decision was carried by Mrs. Bates, as a leader of the black community. The decision to fight placed the lives of all who were involved in danger. Without the kind of leadership and courage shown by Mrs. Bates, the ordeal could not have been endured.

Mrs. Bates’ life was constantly threatened and for many months. She did not leave her home without carrying a gun, or go to bed at night without armed guards posted outside her home. The newspaper which she and her husband had built was forced out of business by whites. Yet Mrs. Bates and the blacks of Little Rock persevered. Her book, The Long Shadow of Little Rock is more than a personal story. It is the story of countless blacks who, in extraordinary times, have had to show extraordinary courage

Source: Young and Black in America (1972), edited by Julius Lester

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Commentary on Daisy Bates’ How My Mother Died

By Amin Sharif 

Daisy Bates is representative of the kind of unselfish black woman raised under the Old South tradition of racism and segregation. Not a feminist, nor a womanist--Daisy was a Race woman who placed the needs of her people before her own. In her How My Mother Died, we are given a unique portrait of how complicated life was for every black man, woman, and child in the early and middle decades of the 1900’s.

Told from the perspective of an eight year old, Daisy’s writings soon confronts the reader with issues of race and murder-subjects one would think would hardly enter into the mind of one so young as an eight year old. Yet these subjects are not only on Daisy’s mind, they forever separate her from her childhood joy. When she is confronted with her first incident of racism by a white butcher, Daisy finds herself  “praying that the butcher would die.” And later, when Daisy finds out that her mother was murdered at the hands of white men, she gives up “dolls and games” and vows to find the men who had killed her mother.

All of this would seem like so much sensationalism if these issues were not handled so well by Daisy. There is more sadness than rage in Daisy’s writing. And we find out early on why Daisy’s response to her mother’s death and white racism does not set her on a path of self-destruction or pessimism. The reason for Daisy’s stability is her father or step-father. It is this man who established a rock solid relationship with Daisy and who shepherds her through her early crisis. As much as the themes of racism and violence, the theme of love between these two--father and daughter--draws the reader into Daisy’s complex world. In the end, it is the love of this wise, understanding man that would transform Daisy and make her into one of the giants of the Civil Rights Movement.

Source: Young and Black in America (1972), edited by Julius Lester

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Charles Mingus: Fable of Faubus

"Fables of Faubus" is a song composed by jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus. One of Mingus' most explicitly political works, the song was written as a direct protest against Arkansas governor Orval E. Faubus, who in 1957 sent out the National Guard to prevent the integration of Little Rock Central High School by nine African American teenagers. The song was first recorded for Mingus' 1959 album, Mingus Ah Um. Columbia refused to allow the lyrics to the song to be included, and so the song was recorded as an instrumental on the album. It was not until October 20, 1960 that the song was recorded with lyrics, for the album Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus, which was released on the more independent Candid label. Due to contractual issues with Columbia, the song could not be released as "Fables of Faubus", and so the Candid version was titled "Original Faubus Fables."

The personnel for the Candid recording were Charles Mingus (bass, vocals), Dannie Richmond (drums, vocals), Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone), and Ted Curson (trumpet). The vocals featured a call-and-response between Mingus and Richmond. Critic Don Heckman commented on the unedited "Original Faubus Fables" in a 1962 review that it was "a classic Negro put-down in which satire becomes a deadly rapier-thrust. Faubus emerges in a glare of ridicule as a mock villain whom no-one really takes seriously. This kind of commentary, brimful of feeling, bitingly direct and harshly satiric, appears far too rarely in jazz." The song, either with or without lyrics, was one of the compositions which Mingus returned to most often, both on record and in concert.—Wikipedia

photo left above: As fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Eckford tried to enter the school, soldiers of the National Guard, under orders from Arkansas Governor Faubus, would step in her way to prevent her from entering.

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Fable of Faubus

                                   By Charles Mingus

Oh, Lord, don't let 'em shoot us!
Oh, Lord, don't let 'em stab us!
Oh, Lord, don't let 'em tar and feather us!
Oh, Lord, no more swastikas!
Oh, Lord, no more Ku Klux Klan!

Name me someone who's ridiculous, Dannie.
Governor Faubus!
Why is he so sick and ridiculous?
He won't permit integrated schools.

Then he's a fool! Boo! Nazi Fascist supremists!
Boo! Ku Klux Klan (with your Jim Crow plan)

Name me a handful that's ridiculous, Dannie Richmond.
Faubus, Rockefeller, Eisenhower
Why are they so sick and ridiculous?

Two, four, six, eight:
They brainwash and teach you hate.
H-E-L-L-O, Hello.

Orval E. Faubus was the governor of Arkansas in 1957 and against desegregation. He sent the National Guard to prevent black children from attending high school in Little Rock.

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Bill Moyers Interviews Douglass A. Blackmon

Douglas A. Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II (2008)

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#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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What This Cruel War Was Over

Soldiers Slavery and the Civil War

By Chandra Manning

For this impressively researched Civil War social history, Georgetown assistant history professor Manning visited more than two dozen states to comb though archives and libraries for primary source material, mostly diaries and letters of men who fought on both sides in the Civil War, along with more than 100 regimental newspapers. The result is an engagingly written, convincingly argued social history with a point—that those who did the fighting in the Union and Confederate armies "plainly identified slavery as the root of the Civil War." Manning backs up her contention with hundreds of first-person testimonies written at the time, rather than often-unreliable after-the-fact memoirs. While most Civil War narratives lean heavily on officers, Easterners and men who fought in Virginia, Manning casts a much broader net. She includes immigrants, African-Americans and western fighters, in order, she says, "to approximate cross sections of the actual Union and Confederate ranks." —Publishers Weekly

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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.  . . .—WashingtonPost

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today.

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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 Shadows of Youth

The Remarkable Journey of the Civil Rights Generation

By Andrew B. Lewis

With deep admiration and rigorous scholarship, historian Lewis (Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table) revisits the ragtag band of young men and women who formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Impatient with what they considered the overly cautious and accommodating pace of the NAACP and Martin Luther King Jr., the black college students and their white allies, inspired by Gandhi's principles of nonviolence and moral integrity, risked their lives to challenge a deeply entrenched system. Fanning out over the Jim Crow South, SNCC organized sit-ins, voter registration drives, Freedom Schools and protest marches. Despite early successes, the movement disintegrated in the late 1960s, succeeded by the militant Black Power movement.

The highly readable history follows the later careers of the principal leaders. Some, like Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, became bitter and disillusioned. Others, including Marion Barry, Julian Bond and John Lewis, tempered their idealism and moved from protest to politics, assuming positions of leadership within the very institutions they had challenged. According to the author, No organization contributed more to the civil rights movement than SNCC, and with his eloquent book, he offers a deserved tribute.—Publishers Weekly

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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 13 February 2012




Home    Civil Rights: Struggle for Black Power   Religion & Politics   Amin Sharif Table

Related files: What It Means to Be Negro  The Death of Daddy  The Death of My Mother  The Little Rock Nine