ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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

Google
 

Would you seek a loving wife and give her one-hour to leave her home?

Depart from all she knows and those she loves / And go where? / You do not care!

 

 

 

 

Would You . . . ?

By Sitawa Namwalie

Would you wield a panga in Burnt Forest, and cut a stranger down?

You slashed that man as he pleaded with you for life.

Instead you led the crowd baying for his blood

A stranger you did not even know.

He cowered and cried out, bleating like a lamb

Innocent of any crime

Death unwilling to take him,

He died long and hard, way before his time.

His blood has watered your farm like acid rain.

How will you live?

 

Would you?

 

Would you catch a running girl?

Escaping a church fire in Eldoret?

Place her roughly on the burning pyre

A parody of father, tender, laying his baby girl to sleep, on downy bed.

No lullaby can drown her keening dread.

Her fear of eternal coming sleep

Your pitiless face did not soothe.

Now you must be careful for your child.

 

Would you?

 

Would you seek a loving wife and give her one-hour to leave her home?

Depart from all she knows and those she loves

And go where?

You do not care!

And you call that an act of charity

When she pleads with you to kill her then,

To wield a blunt blade,

Carve out her heart!

For all is lost,

At 59 where does she go to start again?

You stood resolute

You did not yield

 

Would you?

 

Would you turn against your neighbor’s son?

The one who lent you salt in halcyon days,

That same who nursed your wounds and soothed your troubled heart

And flush that son out of his hiding place

And hand him over to certain death,

Ignore beseeching eyes of your neighbor friend

Who stands too stunned to make a sound?

Now your own son is done,

 

Would you?

 

Would you serrate your friend with words of hate?

Spoken cruel to cause a mortal wound,

She’s the one you used to call a chum

Your careless hatred has sown seeds of harm

Now you stand alone in fulsome deed?

 

Would you?

 

posted 22 January 2008

*   *   *   *   *

Betty Wamalwa Muragori is especially interested in how Africans are constructing new identities as they redefine their place in the world.  She believes in the power of words.  She has a BSc degree from the University of Nairobi and MA in Environment from Clark University in Worcester Mass. USA.  Currently Betty works for an international conservation organization in Nairobi, Kenya. 

*   *   *   *   *

 

Exporting American Dreams

 Thurgood Marshall's African Journey

By Mary L. Dudziak

Thurgood Marshall became a living icon of civil rights when he argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court in 1954. Six years later, he was at a crossroads. A rising generation of activists were making sit-ins and demonstrations rather than lawsuits the hallmark of the civil rights movement. What role, he wondered, could he now play? When in 1960 Kenyan independence leaders asked him to help write their constitution, Marshall threw himself into their cause. Here was a new arena in which law might serve as the tool with which to forge a just society. In Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall's African Journey (2008) Mary Dudziak recounts with poignancy and power the untold story of Marshall's journey to Africa

*   *   *   *   *

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.

*   *   *   *   *

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.

Gil uses Lennon's violent end as a brilliant parallel to Dr King's assassination and as a biting commentary on the constraints that sometimes lead to newspapers getting things wrong.Jamie Byng, Guardian 

Gil_reads_"Deadline" (audio)

*   *   *   *   *

To the Mountaintop

My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement

By Charlayne Hunter-Gault

A personal history of the civil rights movement from activist and acclaimed journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault. On January 20, 2009, 1.8 million people crowded the grounds of the Capitol to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama. Among the masses was Charlayne Hunter-Gault. She had flown from South Africa for the occasion, to witness what was for many the culmination of the long struggle for civil rights in the United States. In this compelling personal history, she uses the event to look back on her own involvement in the civil rights movement, as one of two black students who forced the University of Georgia to integrate, and to relate the pivotal events that swept the South as the movement gathered momentum through the early 1960s. With poignant black-and-white photos, original articles from the New York Times, and a unique personal viewpoint, this is a moving tribute to the men and women on whose shoulders Obama stood.

*   *   *   *   *

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        

Enjoy!

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

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, and more)

 

 

 

 

 

update 19 June 2012 

 

 

 

Home  Betty Wamalwa Muragori Table  Transitional Writings on Africa   The African World