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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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Yr 40 acres has barbed wire around it / yr picnic grounds is covered with crosses

in the newspaper a pile of enemies; a bigger pile / of / friends.



Books by Amiri Baraka

Tales of the Out & the Gone  / The Essence of Reparations / Somebody Blew Up America & Other Poems  / Blues People

 Autobiography of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka / Selected Poetry of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones / Black Music

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New Work by Imamu Amiri Baraka

(Black World, May 1973)

We Know Directions

We know directions. They are wide and bright for the faintly visionary. They are roads, clearly marked, if you looking. Like shouted ideologies. Fast and loose, if you say eat, we have at least, some movement you know? But then the general directions becomes itself a randomness, if steps are not firmly placed and some focus is not brought to bear upon some singular particular place.

To do is too general. To go is also. To be is saying nothing. We want to know we must know just what you are going to do when you get to that exact place you must get to for that action to have meaning. We need facts figures precision and skill. It is work and study that will change the world. The rest is clearly bullshit.



 OK Shoot! / US /  In The Midst of Chaos / Habari Gani  /  Afrikan Revolution


OK Shoot!


Too bad love is encumbered like all spirit

in flesh or stone

and cardboard



             in steel men, counters, bricks named after dudes

             grinning crowds of animaleaters, eating pieces of animals

             and frightened of the sun

             Too bad we are here in the slave world

             we wanted to be elsewhere, thought for too many years

             that this was

             else where and we were

             somebody else.

             All you can see is fools gold

             but all our pockets are full

             we bent from picking and pilling

             we varicose veins nerve forest slobbering

             over meat or paper or smoke or noxious liquids

But name something needs to be built and that is yrself in another world. Yrself in the building world. Are you a poem that little dudes tell time and their fortune by. Yrself in the sound world, screams and moans some sister hums you, connecting that with a way out a way in a path to herself. Yrself in all worlds, is yrself in this one. It’s the same and real nigger real. Weself in the theyself world. He, She, It, in the I World. All all those worlds impinge. All watched under the motormurderer spirit time. Ourself in the our world. Wish need desire. Run time and smoke disappear like a dwarf of kiss. We sit and watch the air reproduce. And touched things sing and zig zag forever.

In our endless trip to be God. We must experience all there is. We are you in love with us. We sing our own songs remembering All beginnings and the open door of sun to Jesus.

What is encumbered sings to change its meaty box. The dirt is full of music. I see you have some questions.

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Pressure, sap

rising up a stalk

eyes collect am, night too

banjo banjo moon moon

all the cryin’s gone

get down,

don’t square up on us

ready get ready

the devil’s comin



Yr 40 acres has barbed wire around it

yr picnic grounds is covered with crosses

in the newspaper a pile of enemies; a bigger pile



saxophone sunshine. some crazy nigger with his arm full.

he trying to beat up everything.


i went

you went

we all saw america together

we were a family digging it go down

not abstract mischief poets and knowits,

create a flying squadron of Afrikan institutions

yr son is waitin

yr old man’s waitin

yr mama’s waitin

the world, is


even you waitin

some niggers debatin

as to whether its right

for us to survive

But we done survived

got passt

the rip off

move on time, consolidate, get efficient

get technical on the chump, learn how to do it


for the life of the nation

for the beauty of the world


Afrika’s bringing science

Afrika’s bringing life

Afrika’s bringing ujamaa



Afrika’s nationalism, is the finding of the Afrikans

And they hook up the Black nations


Afrika’s bringin renewal

                   bust the limits on the old

                   reach, reach, reach, liberate yr mind

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In The Midst of Chaos


In the midst of chaos, and near injury

we survive, because we are still young and correct

and black enough to be tough

to kill, and even harder

to keep still.

We have survived, long past, and are now

putting out deeper roots and broader brighter blossoms

The development, of food and cities and the weather

of a good place. Trying to be ourselves healthy. Trying

to be ourselves, unlimited by cold storekeeper dudes

ghostlovers. Trying to be ourselves, intouch with

every good part of us. Trying like we say to be black

and all that means, unified, self determining, working collectively

distributing our wealth of energy and love cooperatively, struggling

life anew, and the new philosophies of vibrant black life, and finally

to have deep faith that we are beautiful enough and bad enough and

conscious enough, to do it. Yes, in the midst of chaos, crazy slaves

babbling, white folks plotting our character, and mental, and political

and legal and economic, and physical assassination, in the middle of all

this way out wildness, we still come on like lovers and brothers, a new

generation of black fathers and mothers. We say Pamoja Tutashinda,

jive elements of the universe, Pamoja Tutashinda. Together we will win.

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Look Inside


Son, Sun, no pockets of sorrow, except beat through beast made

and day by dat-flat day, we find out, sun son, we find out

study and work, and get better close to knowin how

we find out, study and work work


we are finding out what we are when we rule ourselves

how we sound when we teach our selves

how we look when we judge our selves

we are finding out, need to

need to

Look Inside, Somebody’s There

the deep picture fronts a sun, rising, new day

                                                               to day

                                                                   find out how we need to do

                                                                                                     to do

The Afrikan powerless Afrikan

The Black World powerless Black World


to find in there, what words we need

               objectively consider what skills we lack

               objectively consider what must be accomplished

               calmly check out the distances, the terrain, our own

               dispositions. Look plainly at our strengths our weaknesses

               the needed acquisitions. LOOK INSIDE, And outside too

               Where Change, and Transformation, Progress and Movement,

Where all these suns come from. From out of the darkness of our own

thrilling consciousness. From out of the black fertility of mind. Weight

all things Afrikans. Weigh All Things.

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Habari Gani

the wake-ing colony yawns world wide

Yawning  dance and  yawning  singers  pimps  yawn  turning the corner

in a grey world—scattered cement, scattered lots,  vacant  gaps of ugly

colony a yawning  void threatening black sanity  with its  constant nega-

tive criticism niggers  sharper than doo doo doing  the doo doo which is

not about doing any thing real, they yawn, it’s early morning in their head, or maybe early evening pre-war sluggishness a permanent blown mind a snaggle brained dope dipper whining in tune with Nixon’s wooden constipation. Pat sprays Roy says something about one flag for all americans, Essex slays a half a dozen raw funky hunkies, braises them for history to eat up, history of a race waking up. Yawns, right now, is our real national anthem, race waking up. Brothers stretching they arms stiff, sisters raring back stretching their mouths, race waking up, wake up race. Get finished yawning in a minute, do the cat stretch good till electric tunes back in from sole to soul, hair be fire, fingers be clenchin  and  itchin  to be at something.  Wake up  race. Its really  way

foday,early early morning. Quiet in the universedespite the insane clat-ter of the real dream of devils runin the earth, it’s a real dream, that blood   and  screams  and  maniacs  in  cheap suits and white faces that

real dream, go way if you wake up, race, yawning, yawning first breeze

eastern hum is niggers mouths popping wide open and them stretching trying  to open they eyes,  wake up race . . .  its history  history  history

we watchin spooky motion picture mist blown away, cold air, brace you, wind across cool lakes, cool bright morning, wake up race, we wakin, you watchin a whole race wake up.

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Afrikan Revolution

[Conakry, Guinea, February 4, 1973

After Amilear Cabral’s funeral]


Afrikan People all over the world

Suffering from white domination

Afrikan People all over the world

Trying to liberate their Afrikan nation(s)

Afrikan People all over the world

Under the yoke, the gun, the hammer, the lash

Afrikan People all over the world

being killed & stifled melted down for the white boys cash

Afrikan People all over the world

conscious, unconscious, struggling, sleeping

resisting, tomming, killing the enemy killing each other

Being hurt, surviving, understanding, held in ignorance

Bursting out of chains, lying for Nixon, drowning colonialists

Being shot down in the street

Afrikan People everywhere

Afrikan People all over the world

Evolving because of & in spite of ourselves

Afrikan People all over the world, trying to make Revolution

The world must be changed, split open & changed

All poverty sickness ignorance racism must be eradicated

Who ever pushed these plagues, them also must be eradicated

All capitalists, racists, liars, Imperialists, All who can not change

they also must be eradicated, their life style, philosophies

habits, flunkies, pleasures, wiped out—eliminated

The world must be changed, split open and changed

Transformed, turned upside down.

No more Poverty!

No more dirty ragged black people, except from hard work

to beautify & energize a world we help create

Death to Backward Powers

Death to Bad Dancers

            No more trash piled up in the streets

            No more wind in the bedroom

No more Europeans in penthouses & colored people in tents with no houses

Death to disease & carriers of disease

All disease must be cured!

“Individuals” who love disease must be reeducated

If they resist world unity and the progress of all races

Kill them. Don’t hesitate! Kill them. They are the Plague

No more filthy places for us to live and be uneducated

No more aimless black children with nothing to do, but die

Death to the creators of unemployment

What do they do for a living? They are thieves.

Jail them! Nixon is a sick thief why does he

Remain alive? who is in charge of killing him?

Why is it Cabral, Lumumba, Nkrumah, Moumie,

Malcolm, Dr. King, Mondlane, Mark Essex, all can

be killed by criminals, & the criminals are not

hung from bridges? No more unfair societies!

We are for world progress. Be conscious of your

life! We need food. We need homes; good

housing—not shacks. Let only people who want to

live in roach gyms live in roach gyms

We do not want to live with roaches. Let

Nixon live with roaches if he wants to. He

is closer to a roach. What is the difference

between Nixon and a roach?

Death to bad housing

Death to no work

We need work. We need education so

we can build houses and create work for

ourselves. All over the world we Afrikans

need to make progress. Why do Europeans

Why do white people why do ignorant

People of our own race obstruct us.



           OUR OWN RACE

           Niggers, NeoColonized Amos & Andies

           Everywhere in the Afrikan World.

No more traitors! Death to traitors

           Dope Pushers should be killed

           Niggers who inform on Revolutionary Movements

           Should be killed

           Assassins masquerading as heroes

           Butlers masquerading as presidents, of

                 Afrikan, & Asian & South Amerikan

                  Nations. They have made them Dough-Nations

So the white boy can make his bread.

            Leaders who want dialogue with South Afrika

            Leaders who want to box in South Afrika

            Leaders who want to sing in South Afrika

            Leaders who want to observe South Afrika

     These are not Leaders but Pleaders and

      They should be beaten till their yoke and

      Their white are stiff & exposed

No more useless pain

We must refuse to be sold out by anyone

The world can be changed, we do not have to lick

            the pavements

All over the world the world can be changed

No more stupid ugliness everywhere

Death to the vultures of primitive disease

            ignorance, America must change or be

            destroyed. Europe must change or be

            destroyed. Capitalism must be destroyed.

            Imperialism will die. Empty headed

            mummified niggers who support white

            rule over black people will be killed too.

            Dope peddlers, Pimps, Teachers who teach

            Europe’s lies, doctors who love money more

            than people, muggers, pretenders of revolution,

            Sterile intellectuals, Soul singers who

            Sold their soul to the soulless—live people who live

            their lives for the dead—all—change or die!

The world revolution cannot be stopped. Understand the

new criteria of life or forfeit what little life you have.

            We will not be poor any longer

            We will not be dirty, or ashamed of ourselves

            Racists, Capitalists, Imperialists, Sick People

            Fascists, white rulers of Black.

            Lovers of disease, change or die

            Oppressed People of the world change

            or die

            Afrikan People, all over the world Rise

            & Shine



Afrikan People all over the world, the future is ours

We will create on our feet not our knees

It is a future of Great works, and Freedom

But we can not crawl through life drunk &

unconscious we cannot dance through life

or read the NYTimes through life, or wear vests

      all our life give our lives to parties, & work with no

reason but life in a prison of white domination

Be conscious. Black People


                       Colored People

                       AfroAmericans       Be


You know you can run your own life

You can have all the money & food & good life

you need

            Be conscious

            meet once a week

Meet once a week. Talk about how to get

more money, how to get educated, how

          to have scientists for children rather than

          junkies. How to kill the roaches. How to

          stop the toilet from stinking. How to get a

          better job. Once a week. Start NOW.

          How to dress better. How to read.

          How to live longer. How to be respected.

          Meet once a week. Once a week.


All Over the world. We need to meet once a

      week. All over the world Afrikans, Soul

      Brothers Good Sisters we need to meet.

How to live longer be healthier build houses

run cities understand life be happier

Need to meet once a week

OK All over the world

Once a week

All over the world Afrikans

Sweat Beautiful Afrikans

New ark Afrikans (Niggers too)

Harlem Afrikans (or Spooks)

Ghana Afrikans (bloods)

San Francisco Afrikans (brothers)

Afrikan Afrikans (ndugu)

West Indian Afrikans (Hey man)

South American Afrikans (Hermano!)

Francophone Afrikans (Monsieur)

Anglophone Afrikans (Mister Man)

Anywhere Afrikans

Afrikans Afrikans Afrikans


Afrikans Afrikans Afrikans

Watu Wazuri

Afrikans all over the world

Moving to the new way

A world of Good people is coming!

We gonna help make that world

We gonna help eliminate the negative

accentuate the positive

yellow folks brown folks red

folks will too

they hurting

I cant speak for white folks, they’ll

speak for themselves

But the rest of us, Everybody Everybody

Everybody, let us first deal with us


All over the world, Yes, Everywhere Everywhere

Everywhere, we are Afrikans

& going to make change

Change or die


Change or die

to the Whole world too

we are Afrikans

Love is our passport to the perfectability of humanity

Work & Study

Struggle & Victory

—Imamu Amiri Baraka


Source: Black WorldMay 1973 • Vol. XXII No. 7 • Chicago, IL 60605

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Frantz Fanon Documentary—Black Skin, White Mask

Explores the life and work of the psychoanalytic theorist and activist Frantz Fanon who was born in Martinique, educated in Paris and worked in Algeria. Examines Fanon's theories of identity and race, and traces his involvement in the anti-colonial struggle in Algeria and throughout the world.

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*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#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
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#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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Faces At The Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism

By Derrick Bell

In nine grim metaphorical sketches, Bell, the black former Harvard law professor who made headlines recently for his one-man protest against the school's hiring policies, hammers home his controversial theme that white racism is a permanent, indestructible component of our society. Bell's fantasies are often dire and apocalyptic: a new Atlantis rises from the ocean depths, sparking a mass emigration of blacks; white resistance to affirmative action softens following an explosion that kills Harvard's president and all of the school's black professors; intergalactic space invaders promise the U.S. President that they will clean up the environment and deliver tons of gold, but in exchange, the bartering aliens take all African Americans back to their planet. Other pieces deal with black-white romance, a taxi ride through Harlem and job discrimination. Civil rights lawyer Geneva Crenshaw, the heroine of Bell's And We Are Not Saved (1987), is back in some of these ominous allegories, which speak from the depths of anger and despair. Bell now teaches at New York University Law School.Publishers Weekly /  Derrick Bell Law Rights Advocate  Dies at 80

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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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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

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







update15 April 2012




Home   Amiri Baraka Table   Transitional Writings on Africa   The African World

Related files: The Fact of Blackness (1952)  Black World and Fanon  Fanon and the Concept of Colonial Violence  New Work by Baraka   a poem for kwame nkrumah

Ashanti Empire  Ashanti Chronology