ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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Her size never a factor / She played like a giant

And smiled on her way home / Yeah my sister had a mean game of b-ball

 

 

 Books by Ras Baraka

 

Black Girls Learn Lover Hard   /  In the Tradition: An Anthology of Young Black Writers

 

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A Poet Grieves for His Sister

poem from Black Girls Learn Love Hard

 

         #4

                 By Ras Baraka

Shani played a mean game of b-ball

She danced up and down the court

Swift moves to the basket

Teardrops kissing the bottom of the net

The ball rotated off her fingers and curved

through the oohs and aahs

of disbelief

You could hear it smack against the cotton

And she jumped on defense just as quick

 

They knew her name

The way she shadowed you to the basket

Got in your way

Made it difficult

Her size never a factor

She played like a giant

And smiled on her way home

Yeah my sister had a mean game of b-ball

Huh—she still does!

Source: Black Girls Learn Love Hard 

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Ras Baraka Bio 

Growing up in Newark, NJ, Baraka says, "What I write about I have witnessed. I always knew Black Girls loved hard because they are triply oppressed because of their gender, their nationality, and their class." As the son of revered poet-activists Amina and Imamu Amiri Baraka, activism and art have always been synonymous. "Poetry and art is culture," says Baraka. "Art is activism. There is no division for me with art and politics."

A graduate of Howard University, Baraka received his degree in political science and history in 1991. While a student he formed Black Nia F.O.R.C.E. (Freedom Organization for Racial and Cultural Enlightenment) - a student group at the forefront of campus political and social activism. Baraka served as Assistant Youth Coordinator for the Commission for Racial Justice, and traveled with G.E.T.B.U.S.Y. —a tour of rappers and political activists who lectured at jails and schools around the country.

In his junior year, Baraka successfully led the 1989 historic student protest to remove Lee Atwater, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, from the university’s Board of Trustees. The following year, Baraka was elected as Vice President of the Howard University Student Government.

Baraka ran for Newark's Mayoral position in 1994, garnering nine percent of the vote—a significant task for the then 24 year old. In 1998, he ran for Newark Councilman-at-Large and won the general election, but missed in the run off election. In 2002, once again he ran for Councilman-at-Large impressingly marshalling over 13,000 votes but again missing in the run-off. His political leverage did not go unnoticed. On September 27, 2002, Ras was sworn in to serve as Deputy Mayor for Newark Mayor, The Honorable Sharpe James until October 31, 2005. On, November 2, Ras was voted by Newark’s Municipal Council to serve out the remaining Councilman-at-large seat vacated by the death of Councilman Donald K. Tucker.

photo left: Ras Baraka and Barack Obama

It is no surprise this vice principal of Weequahic High School in Newark has been such an active participant in the politics and culture of his native New Jersey.  As an artist, Baraka independently released his debut spoken word CD, Shorty for Mayor, with the acclaimed single "Hot Beverage in the Winter" featuring Grammy award winning artist Lauryn Hill. Baraka also edited In the Tradition with Kevin Powell, and anthology of young Black poets and writers (1991). He recently appeared on Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry on HBO, and is currently working on his second book of essays and poem. more on RasBaraka

How Ras Baraka Beat Oscar S. James II for [South Ward Councilman]—Wednesday, May 12, 2010—James was defeated by Ras Baraka, the man that James replaced four years ago. New Jersey

posted 3 March 2006

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City of Newark 2010 Inauguration—Part 7—Ras Baraka Speech

On Thursday, July 1, 2010, the City of Newark inaugurated the Mayor and Municipal Council to new four-year terms.

"American Poem" Ras Baraka (Def Poetry) /  Lauryn Hill and Ras Baraka—Hot Beverage In Winter

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Justice, Not Drama, for Trayvon Martin (Margaret Kimberley) / Evidence Of A Police Cover-Up (Lawrence O"Donnell)

Lawrence O'Donnell Interviews Norton Bonaparte, Jr. / Trayvon's Persons at New York Rally

Three men plead guilty to federal hate crimes in Mississippi killing / Jonathan Turley explains the danger of Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law

Obama Speaks On Trayvon Martin  / Castle Doctrine: Bo Morrison Murdered (Ed Show)

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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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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.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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A Wreath for Emmett Till

By Marilyn Nelson; Illustrated by Philippe Lardy

This memorial to the lynched teen is in the Homeric tradition of poet-as-historian. It is a heroic crown of sonnets in Petrarchan rhyme scheme and, as such, is quite formal not only in form but in language. There are 15 poems in the cycle, the last line of one being the first line of the next, and each of the first lines makes up the entirety of the 15th. This chosen formality brings distance and reflection to readers, but also calls attention to the horrifically ugly events. The language is highly figurative in one sonnet, cruelly graphic in the next. The illustrations echo the representative nature of the poetry, using images from nature and taking advantage of the emotional quality of color. There is an introduction by the author, a page about Emmett Till, and literary and poetical footnotes to the sonnets. The artist also gives detailed reasoning behind his choices. This underpinning information makes this a full experience, eminently teachable from several aspects, including historical and literary—School Library Journal

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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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Enjoy!

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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 24 March 2012  

 

 

 

 Home  Amiri Baraka Table 

Related files: #1  #4  There Are Some Black Men  Baraka's Daughter Killed  Poems of Remembrance   Home-Going Celebration  A Plea from Amiri Baraka