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We are the spirit of this suffering land, / the hands of the many indigenous

whose lands have been / discovered,  repopulated,

drug into a sick modernity, screaming / for the preservation of traditions lost

 

 

Letter to a Relative

 

By Ayodele Nzinga

Leonard Peltier

 

You sent a letter to your relatives

on your 63rd birthday

I heard your missive

and became your relative.

We are joined by our tears,

the breath of Crazy Horse,

and the war cries of Ann Nzinga.

We are of the blood of

indigenous warriors

soldiering unto now

locked in rebellion, survival, and the cages

the pilgrims have brought to the new land.

 

We are the spirit of this suffering land,

the hands of the many indigenous

whose lands have been

discovered,  repopulated,

drug into a sick modernity, screaming

for the preservation of traditions lost

to concrete, Mac Donald's, and plastic.

 

They have caged you my brother,

for over 30 of your 63 summers,

for being the breath of Crazy Horse.

I cry out to you in the name of Ann Nzinga

Never Give Up.

 

We are all in cages.

They came for you

none of us are safe

the wolf whistles

as he moves in stealth

among blind sheep.

 

Removed from the earth, encased in stucco

linoleum, cultivated greed, chained by

created need, we prescribe our own demise.

 

The blade of grass you wished to be

(so like water you could flow free)

would find mother earth much changed.

It would tell you of our common plight;

the mournful song the water sings,

the way the sun reflects

the waste of those who use war

as a ruse for power and money.

 

Chess games played

with human beings

reveal wage slaves,

a new company store,

diseased governments,

ethnic cleansing,

battles against a

criminalized poor

and the forever wars.

 

The trees would whisper to you

of depleted uranium,

acid rain, how

the earth answers;

in cyclone

and hurricane .

All of us

at the mercy

of the insane.

 

My brother,

I say all and

nothing has changed.

Destiny is calling here.

All any of us have

is the breath of Crazy Horse

the cries of Ann Nzinga.

I stand with you until

you stand in the sun again

and we shall

Never Give Up.

 

Know you are free

in the hearts of those who

can hear Crazy Horse and

Nzinga chanting in the night

Never Give Up.

 

Pray for us

and the blades of grass.

Never Give Up

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Leonard Peltier Justice and the PresidentNothing seems to change for native activist Leonard Peltier. Despite 27 years of imprisonment, Peltier continues to steadfastly maintain he's innocent of a double murder involving FBI agents at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. . . . Peltier can't even get a proper parole hearing to tell his side of the story.

Astonishingly, he has been repeatedly denied this basic right, routinely given to individuals who have served the mandatory 200 months for a murder charge.

The latest blow to "early release" came a few months ago when Denver's 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to grant Peltier a parole hearing, even though the court acknowledged that the "government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed."

The apparent government vendetta against Peltier has resulted in Amnesty International labelling him a "political prisoner." Amnesty believes Peltier should "immediately and unconditionally be released." The Windsor Star December 23, 2003 freepeltier.org

posted 16 September 2007

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Ayodele Nzinga is a dramatist, arts lecturer and performance poet living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the Artistic Director of The Lower Bottom Playaz and The Sister Thea Bowman Memorial Theater in West Oakland. She is a force to be reckoned with on the West Coast spoken word circuit. Well known for her take no prisoners style. As the WordSlanger she is loved by vets and admired by young poets.

She is affiliated with Marvin X’s Recovery Theater.  She holds an MA and an MFA in Writing and Consciousness. She is currently a candidate for PhD at the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco CA.

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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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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.

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.”

We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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Ratification

The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788

By Pauline Maier

A notable historian of the early republic, Maier devoted a decade to studying the immense documentation of the ratification of the Constitution. Scholars might approach her book’s footnotes first, but history fans who delve into her narrative will meet delegates to the state conventions whom most history books, absorbed with the Founders, have relegated to obscurity. Yet, prominent in their local counties and towns, they influenced a convention’s decision to accept or reject the Constitution. Their biographies and democratic credentials emerge in Maier’s accounts of their elections to a convention, the political attitudes they carried to the conclave, and their declamations from the floor. The latter expressed opponents’ objections to provisions of the Constitution, some of which seem anachronistic (election regulation raised hackles) and some of which are thoroughly contemporary (the power to tax individuals directly).

Ripostes from proponents, the Federalists, animate the great detail Maier provides, as does her recounting how one state convention’s verdict affected another’s. Displaying the grudging grassroots blessing the Constitution originally received, Maier eruditely yet accessibly revives a neglected but critical passage in American history.Booklist

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Representing the Race

The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer

By Kenneth W. Mack

Representing the Race tells the story of an enduring paradox of American race relations, through the prism of a collective biography of African American lawyers who worked in the era of segregation. . . . Mack reorients what we thought we knew about famous figures such as Thurgood Marshall, who rose to prominence by convincing local blacks and prominent whites that he was—as nearly as possible—one of them. But he also introduces a little-known cast of characters to the American racial narrative. These include Loren Miller, the biracial Los Angeles lawyer who, after learning in college that he was black, became a Marxist critic of his fellow black attorneys and ultimately a leading civil rights advocate; and Pauli Murray, a black woman who seemed neither black nor white, neither man nor woman, who helped invent sex discrimination as a category of law. The stories of these lawyers pose the unsettling question: what, ultimately, does it mean to “represent” a minority group in the give-and-take of American law and politics? / For Love of Liberty

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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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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 25 June 2012

 

 

 

Home  Marvin X Table   Black Arts and Black Power Figures   The Claude McKay--Romare Bearden    Literature & Arts

Related Files: The Ground on Which I Stand   Professor Sandra Shannon   Situating August Wilson   The Dramatic Vision of August Wilson   

Ayodele Nzinga Directs Gem of the Ocean   Duet for The Godfather   Blessings Are Due  Leonard Peltier: Letter to a Relative  Beyond Religion toward Spirituality