ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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Thus from a global meeting of East and West / A black Irishman with midwestern roots
Offspring of an Atheist/Transcendentalist Union / (Never Catholic. Never Muslim)
Came to Chicago / Where a Dark Madonna with big shoulders / Taught him the black Jeremiad



Books by Wilson Jeremiah Moses

Golden Age of Black Nationalism, 1850-1925 (1988)  / The Wings of Ethiopia  (1990)

 Alexander Crummell: A Study of Civilization and Discontent (1992)  / Destiny & Race: Selected Writings, 1840-1898  (1992) 

 Black Messiahs and Uncle Toms: Social and Literary Manipulations of a Religious Myth (1993)

Liberian Dreams: Back-to-Africa Narratives from the 1850s  / Afrotopia: The Roots of African American Popular History (2002)

Creative Conflict in African American Thought (2004)

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Books by Barack Obama

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance  / The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

Obama's Greatest Speeches (CD set)

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Obama Poem

                  By Wilson J. Moses


Obama married black America
The mighty wife
And two precocious little girls
Innocent, elite, dainty
Prettiness comes as naturally to them
As skipping.

But lest we forget
(And this to me is important)
His folk were not from Niger or from Congo
They spoke a Nilotic language
And fought for cattle on Afric’s eastern plains
They did not furnish captives
For the dungeon of Cape Coast Castle
Or dance under the lash
On decks of slave ships
No dreams deferred of forty acres
And a skinny mule

The father he barely knew
Was a Kenyan goatherd
With a Disneyland T-shirt
And a bright American scheme
Leaving on a jet plane
Crossing a continent to gaze on the Pacific
Towards a land where palm trees swayed
And a cute white girl from Kansas swam within his ken
Doing a hippy love-dance

Mather’s University was Cotton
That seemed within his reach
But beyond, alas, his grasping fingers
The apostate father slipped back
To Africa.  Resourceful mom
Moved on to Indonesia

Thus from a global meeting of East and West
A black Irishman with midwestern roots
Offspring of an Atheist/Transcendentalist Union
(Never Catholic. Never Muslim)
Came to Chicago
Where a Dark Madonna with big shoulders
Taught him the black Jeremiad
And becoming African American for the first time
Obama married black America.

Copyright©2008, by Wilson J. Moses

November 20, 2008

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Other Obama Poems


Forty Acres: a poem for Barack Obama

                                              By Derek Walcott


Out of the turmoil emerges one emblem, an engraving —

a young Negro at dawn in straw hat and overalls,

an emblem of impossible prophecy, a crowd

dividing like the furrow which a mule has ploughed,

parting for their president: a field of snow-flecked


forty acres wide, of crows with predictable omens

that the young ploughman ignores for his unforgotten

cotton-haired ancestors, while lined on one branch, is

a tense

court of bespectacled owls and, on the field's

receding rim —

a gesticulating scarecrow stamping with rage at him.

The small plough continues on this lined page

beyond the moaning ground, the lynching tree, the tornado's

black vengeance,

and the young ploughman feels the change in his veins,

heart, muscles, tendons,

till the land lies open like a flag as dawn's sure

light streaks the field and furrows wait for the sower.

Source: TimesOnLine

The West Indies poet Derek Walcott, winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature

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The New Dawn of a Thousand Splendid Suns

                                               By  Rose Ure Mezu


With just one vote cast in America, everywhere a new world is born

Morning yesterday, and late into the next day, it was still morning

Morning here and there and everywhere, cold and misery stopped

For just One Moment as faces smiled, laughter boomed forth, fists

pumped into the air, Horns hooted the night owl away to make room

For the cheery heart even as tears of joy and awe rolled down cheeks 


It is the dawn of a New Day, from happy hearts new plans are afoot

For now it is okay to smile, it is fashionable to dream dreams again

Not just to plot and scheme looking for a gun and a gain

Not just to shoot in the foot and hurl all the bad names in the book

For just One Perfect Moment, the Unbelievable did indeed happen

For One Unsullied Moment of palpable ecstasy with no help from drugs

The world beheld a figure uniting the West, Orient and land of the Rising Sun.


And now, it’s the in-thing to feel young again, young as this new dawn

Indeed, the Age of Aquarius is with us anew, a golden age of adventure

The Age of a Thousand Splendid Suns, of baking heat; something’s cooking

Something, something good to eat, and share, and then some to give away

Not hoarding according to creed or tongue or color or race; an Age of the

New Moon when the old sit around and watch the young at moonlit play


From coast to coast, from all peoples black and white and brown and yellow

Jubilant shouts fill the air, caps and scarves like confetti get thrown up in the sky

A thrilling new moment that captures the end of an old order of rancorous dislike

The passing of an age of strife and wars that turned the world into a wasteland

And pitted hearts against hearts, nations against nations, people against people

Making their mock against the divine dictum of Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself


Upon us once again is the Age of Romance and idealism that stirs and thrills the soul

When a tall, lanky, young Black, self-assured, with the DNA and voice of a Kenyan griot

Stands tall and proclaims that we are all nation – no black or brown or white or yellow

That all nations are all one people, one God-ordained rainbow world, and we all can be,

If only we can believe in the Change We Need, and that Oh, yes, We Can, indeed!

Articulate and young, with flourishing oratorical skills, he dares all to dream again


If Barack Obama is a man of destiny, no human being can change it. 

Four years ago, there was no Obama on the national scene, but today there is

Barack is a creature come to fill a vast and deep void that is crying to be filled. 

The hungry heart to stay alive will always grab at the food and drink it is offered

And since the old track road is dusty, foot-worn and strewn with pricking thorns

Peoples tread this New Path in answer to the call of this throbbing freshly-strung Drum

Seeking to Spread the Wealth of the New Deal’s warmth both at home and abroad


Barack Hussein Obama – as unlikely a name as Guess Who comes to Dinner

But in a world in which old and young dare to laugh again, hope and dream

Nothing, nothing it seems is impossible and anything, anything can happen!

He has other names too – Inspirationally Kennedyesque, New Camelot Reborn

Transformational, Transgenerational, Transcendent, PostCivil Rights, PostRacial

MLK, Jr. like Moses sees the Promised Land but Joshua’s Obama sets foot in it.

But I call him TransAfrica – a New World Hybrid of Black and White Love


That comes to lay to quiet rest the ghosts of slavery, greed and ignorance

That comes to cleanse and heal and soothe the gaping wound on Africa’s soul

That comes to wipe clean the stain on the soul of America, this New World of wonder

That is an experiment on multicultural living with colors as bright as the Rainbow

That heralds the New Age of a thousand brilliant suns, and is it any wonder,

That in Africa, we always believed that it is Yet Morning on God’s Creation Day.

Dr. Rose Ure Mezu – April 5, 2008

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Drum Roll/New Sheriff In Town


                                               By Ted Wilson



Words roll out with the distinct deliberateness

of notes from Miles  Porgy and Bess

and the loveliness of Flamenco Sketches

at a speed matched with a force only Muhammad Ali could deliver


There’s a new Sheriff  in town bringing forth lines

with the melodic sweetness of Coltrane’s notes

making sense to all who know and don’t or didn’t want to

slick as Bird with the rhythm of Max   Ron Carter   Hancock and

Horace with the silver glimmering in his      smooooth    silk tie  


There’s a new Sheriff in town   inspiring    bringing new life

into a new way like be bop did   punctuated by hard bop

giving birth to and propagating twenty-first century hip hop

spoken through Jay Z and Will I Am   saying yes I will   can

and shall do


There’s a new Sheriff bringing new hope to new life

in a way not quite seen for a long  long while

bolstered by a soulful mama giving a soulful view through

touch and feel that a queen brings


All hail Barack Obama   Let the music play and

Remember! Reparations is serious business

and stands as the title of this new play      


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Poems for Barack

                     By Mona Lisa Saloy


1.  We’ve been fighting


Fighting, fighting

For freedom

Since Virginia’s first Black backs

Went from indentured servants

To slaves overnight

We’ve been fighting

Fighting, Fighting

Almost 400 years

Almost 4 centuries

Fighting the specter of racism

Till November 4th 2008

When 100 year old women and men

Black, Brown, Red, White, and Yellow,

Native and newly naturalized citizens

Pressed buttons pushing votes

To change our lives forever

To turn hope into possibility

To say no “to welfare for Wall Street

Without help for Main Street”

To say yes to a future with the promise

To fulfill the American Dream

To bring America back to Democracy

To say no to a past of pain

To say no to indifference and yes to equality

To say no to fear and yes to faith in tomorrow

Thank you all.  God bless America.                       


2. All day, my students asked:


What were you doing last night Doc?

Last night? November 4, 2008?

When American history exploded

Transported more than half a nation

Into a frenzy, into shock, into smiles and more shock?

I cried, cried, cried again, big ballooka tears raining down

My face, clogging my nose, my eyes leaked until

Words escaped me, until joy covered me in a

Blanket of tears and rain, tears erasing doubt,

Tears writing hope across my cheeks, streaked,

Fear drowning in tears.  

I cried for Emmet Till, for Malcolm X, for JFK, for my grandfather

Frank who was born a slave in Sumpter, Alabama, and walked to

New Orleans to be free, but landed in Laurel, Mississippi; so for

Most of my life, I thought he’d left slavery along the Natchez Trail,

Stealing into swamps by day, saved by Indians—some Natchez, then Houma by

Night, hopping over alligators and slave catchers

Muddy mounds, and braving thundershowers under palmetto palms

I cried for Martin Luther King, for Robert Kennedy, for my chocolate-faced

Mother who had to explain too many times whose pale-olive baby she was keeping

When they saw me in tow, hanging on to her skirts, and breath, stories, and wisdom.

Last night, I cried for all those shoulders, backs, and bridges Barack Hussein Obama

Climbed to become the 44th President of the United States of America.

I cried for joy because for the first time in my life,

America, all these smiling faces in

Chicago’s Grant Park, a rainbow in faces,

Crying joyful rain with me, rejoicing realize

America is its people,

All of its people,

All of them, all of us,

We, as one nation under God. 

God bless us all.  Now, pinch me.

(c) 2008 Mona Lisa Saloy, New Orleans, Louisiana

posted 20 November 2008 

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A conversation with Gwen Ifill of PBS

and author of

The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama

The Bridge The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

By David Remnick

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

Edited Barbara A. Seals Nevergold and Peggy Brooks-Bertram

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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#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

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#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

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#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

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#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

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#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.

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The Last Holiday: A Memoir

By Gil Scott Heron

Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King's birthday ended up becoming a national holiday ("The Last Holiday because America can't afford to have another national holiday"), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered. —Jamie Byng, Guardian /

Gil_reads_"Deadline" (audio)  / Gil Scott-Heron & His Music  Gil Scott Heron Blue Collar  Remember Gil Scott- Heron

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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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update 1 May 2012




Home    Wilson Jeremiah Moses Table   Obama 2008 Table  

Related files:  Dear Michelle Letters  Obligation to Fight for the World as It Should Be   The Crossings     Why White America Perhaps Fears Michelle More Than Barack  

Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady (book)  Responses to Barack Obama Winning The Presidency of the United States of America