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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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Ouologuem, from a vantage point uniquely his own, reveals a world in which white

colonialism is preceded by black and Arab colonialism, In his endeavor

to demystify African history, he is kin to Frantz Fanon



Bound to Violence

Yambo Ouologuem

Bio-Sketch & Review


Yambo OuologuemBorn 1940 in Bandiagary in the Dogon country French Sudan (now Mali), the only son of a landowner and school inspector. He learned several African languages and became fluent in French, English, and Spanish. After matriculating at a Lycée in Bamako (Mali), Yambo went to France in 1960 to continue his education there at Lycée Henry IV and from 1964 50 1966 taught at the Lycée de Clarenton in Paris and then continued his studies for a doctorate in sociology.

He wrote the controversial Le Devoir de violence (1968; translated in English as Bound to Violence in 1971). The book initially was widely received and well-reviewed. After winning the prestigious French literary prize, Yambo received much media attention: appeared on NBC's Today Show; interviewed and written about in many prominent publications. Then the bottom dropped out  with charges of plagiarism.

An interesting and exciting novel, Bound to Violence  incorporated passages from Graham Greene's It's a Battlefield, Andre Schwarz-Bart's The Last of the Just, and works by Guy de Maupassant. In his paper, "Yambo Ouologuem's Pastiche of Authentic Identity," Richard Serrano of Rutgers University argues, "The work is a parody of Western notions of African history, as embodied in anthropological discourse, the Negritude movement and African pseudo-nationalism, and not, as most critics would have it, an inept first novel by a hack who got undeservedly good press because he was black."

Yambo currently lives in Mopti, Mali. In the late 1970s he returned to his home country and worked until 1984 as a director of a youth center near Mopti.

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An African Empire from the Middle Ages to our time comes blazingly alive in this black epic, hailed as the first truly African novel and awarded the Prix Renaudot.

This first novel by a brilliantly gifted young African intellectual has been hailed by critics as the first truly African novel. It fuses legend, oral tradition, and stunning realism in a vision arising authentically from black roots.

The author draws on the history and culture of the great medieval empire of Mali, Nakem, the imaginary name he gives to a country that is real, was unified in the 13th century by the Saif dynasty. Their ruthless rule is shown as a bloody, tragic adventure.After a brief, violent fresco depicting Nakem's past, the story moves into the 20th century. The Saifs continue in power. When the French arrive as colonizers, they unwittingly become puppets in the hands of the astute native rulers who continue to dominate by witchcraft and crime.

Scenes of violence and eroticism, of sorcery and black magic appear as natural parts of human activity. from this sumptuous and frightful background emerges the book's main protagonist, Raymond Spartacus Kassoumi, the son of slaves, sent to France to be educated and groomed for a political post and so to become another puppet in the hands of the Saifs. Ouologuem, from a vantage point uniquely his own, reveals a world in which white colonialism is preceded by black and Arab colonialism, In his endeavor to demystify African history, he is kin to Frantz Fanon. In the lyrical intensity of his images -- French critics have compared him to Rimbaud -- he is powerfully himself. he is the voice of an Africa unknown to the West, articulate here for the first time.Publisher, Book Cover

Perhaps the first African novel that truly merits the name . . . Doubtless, along with Léopold Sedar Senghor, Ouologuem is one of the rare intellectuals of international stature to come out of black Africa.Le Monde


A very beautiful and powerful book . . . Violent, sensual, dramatic, pregnant with the scents of the earth and the flesh of Africa . . . His great scenes of eroticism and violence are terrifying . . . despair and passion speak at every moment their gentle or their cruel native language.Le Figaro Littéraire


An extraordinary book . . . The condensed history, legendary, poetic, and realistic, of black Africa.Le Nouvel Observateur

A revelation . . . an epic of all African history.Jeune Afrique

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Roger P. Smith reports that Christopher Wise, editor of Yambo Ouologuem: Postcolonial Writer, Islamic Militant (1999), has gathered updated information from friends and acquaintances of Yambo. Smith concluded that the author of Bound to Violence now believes "the worst enemies for blacks right now are racist Arabs."  Smith continues: "People who know him personally dismiss him as a madman who hates the French and has washed his hands of writing in French, and as a man who hates Jews and misguided African Americans and who says that he often speaks with Muhammad, Jesus, and the angel Gabriel. He remains bitter toward the French literary establishment."

This writer recommends that one reads the book and settle the matter for oneself. (RL)

Bound to Violence  by Yambo Ouolohuem; translated by Ralph Manhein. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. New York, 1971

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Chiefs in Cape Coast, Ghana  /  Grand Durbar Parade

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Guarding the Flame of Life / Strange Fruit Lynching Report

Contemporary African Immigrants to The United States  / African immigration to the United States

African RenaissanceKwame Nkrumah, Kenyatta, and the Old Order / God Save His Majesty  

For Kwame Nkrumah  / Night of the Giants /   The Legend of the Saifs  /  Interview with Yambo Ouologuem   

Yambo  Bio & Review     African Renaissance (Journal)

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Our African Journey

We stood in El Mina slave dungeon, on the Cape Coast of Ghana on a recent trip to West Africa, overwhelmed by despair, grief, and rage. Without needing to verbalize it, we were both imagining what reaching this spot must have felt like for some long-ago, un-remembered African ancestor as she stood trembling on the precipice of an unknown and terrifyingly uncertain future.

It was hard to process the fact that for over three hundred years, millions of women, men and children, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, brothers, potters, weavers, had begun their long and brutal journey of being captured, kidnapped, sold, and enslaved from the very spot where we now stood the portal now infamously known as the door of no return.
Growing a Global Heart

Belvie and Dedan at the Door of No Return

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Bob Marley— Exodus

Bob Marley was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician. He was the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for the ska, rocksteady and reggae bands The Wailers (19641974) and Bob Marley & the Wailers (19741981). Marley remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music, and is credited for helping spread both Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement (of which he was a committed member), to a worldwide audience.

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           By Bob Marley

Exodus! Movement of Jah people! oh-oh-oh, yea-eah!
Well uh, oh. let me tell you this:


Men and people will fight ya down (tell me why!)
When ya see Jah light. (ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!)
Let me tell you if you're not wrong; (then, why? )
Everything is all right.
So we gonna walk
All right!through de roads of creation:
We the generation (tell me why!)
Trod through great tribulation
trod through great tribulation.

Exodus! All right! Movement of Jah people!
Oh, yeah! o-oo, yeah! All right!
Exodus! Movement of Jah people! oh, yeah!

Yeah-yeah-yeah, well!
Open your eyes and look within.
Are you satisfied with the life you're living? uh!
We know where we're going, uh!
We know where we're from.
We're leaving Babylon,
We're going to our father's land.


One, Two, Three, Four
Exodus! Movement of Jah people! oh, yeah!
Movement of Jah people!
send us another Brother Moses!
Movement of Jah people!
from across the Red Sea!
Movement of Jah people!
send us another Brother Moses!
Movement of Jah people!
from across the Red Sea!
Movement of Jah people!

Exodus! All right! oo-oo-ooh! oo-ooh!
Movement of Jah people! oh, yeah!
Exodus! All right!
Exodus! now, now, now, now!
Exodus! oh, yea-ea-ea-ea-ea-ea-eah!
Exodus! All right!
Exodus! uh-uh-uh-uh!


One, Two, Three, Four
Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Move!

Open your eyes and look within.
Are you satisfied with the life you're living?
We know where we're going;
We know where we're from.
We're leaving Babylon, yall!
We're going to our father's land.

Exodus! All right! Movement of Jah people!
Exodus! Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!

Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Move!

Jah come to break downpression,
Rule equality.
Wipe away transgression.
Set the captives free!

Exodus! All right, all right!
Movement of Jah people! oh, yeah!
Exodus! Movement of Jah people! oh, now, now, now, now!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!

Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! uh-uh-uh-uh!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people)!
Movement of Jah people! Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people)!
Movement of Jah people)!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!
Movement of Jah people!

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The Slave Ship

By Marcus Rediker

Strange Fruit Lynching Report / Anniversary of a Lynching

  Willie McGhee Lynching  / My Grandfather's Execution

Dr. Robert Lee Interview / African American Dentist in Ghana

African Aid breeds African dependency

Speaking Truth to Power: Selected Pan-African Postcards

By Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem (Author)

 Salim Ahmed Salim (Preface), Horace Campbell (Foreword)

Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem (1961-2009) was a Rhodes scholar and obtained his D. Phil in Politics from Oxford University. In 1990 he became Coordinator of the Africa Research and Information Bureau and the founding editor of Africa World Review. He co-founded and led Justice Africa's work, becoming its Executive Director in 2004, and combined this with his role as General Secretary of the Pan-African Movement. He was chair of the Centre for Democracy and Development and of the Pan-African Development Education and Advocacy Programme in Uganda and became the UN Millennium Development Campaign's Deputy Director in 2006.

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

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#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


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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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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. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign.  The Economy

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Allah, Liberty, and Love

The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom

By Irshad Manji

In Allah, Liberty and Love, Irshad Manji paves a path for Muslims and non-Muslims to transcend the fears that stop so many of us from living with honest-to-God integrity: the fear of offending others in a multicultural world as well as the fear of questioning our own communities. Since publishing her international bestseller, The Trouble with Islam Today, Manji has moved from anger to aspiration. She shows how any of us can reconcile faith with freedom and thus discover the Allah of liberty and love—the universal God that loves us enough to give us choices and the capacity to make them. Among the most visible Muslim reformers of our era, Manji draws on her experience in the trenches to share stories that are deeply poignant, frequently funny and always revealing about these morally confused times. What prevents young Muslims, even in the West, from expressing their need for religious reinterpretation?

What scares non-Muslims about openly supporting liberal voices within Islam? How did we get into the mess of tolerating intolerable customs, such as honor killings, and how do we change that noxious status quo?

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






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Home  Transitional Writings on Africa

Related files: Interview of Yambo Ouologuem  The Legend of the Saifs  Night of the Giants  Yambo Bio and Reviews