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"Last December," which has the most drastic musical changes and movements,

"Did u ever find a reason Y u had 2 die?/ Or did u just plan on leaving/ Without

wondering y? . . . In ur life did u just give a little/ Or did u give all that u had?/

Were u just somewhere in the middle/ Not 2 good, not 2 bad?"

 

 

Books by C. Liegh McInnis

 

Scripts:  Sketches and Tales of Urban Mississippi  /  Da Black Book of Linguistic Liberation

 

Confessions: Brainstormin' from Midnite 'til Dawn  /  Matters of reality: Body, mind & soul

Prose: Essays and Personal Letters  /  Searchin' for Psychedelica

The Lyrics of Prince:  A Literary Look at a Creative, Musical Poet, Philosopher, and Storyteller

 

*   *   *   *   *

Prince's The Rainbow Children Reaches for a Higher Musical Mantle

A Review by C. Liegh McInnis

 

First, if you are looking for a cd filled with nicely cut and packaged hit singles that are radio and Billboard friendly, The Rainbow Children ain't for you. However, if you are looking for a diversified musical experience with lyrics that take you further than the sheets, then The Rainbow Children is up your alley. The biggest knock on Prince's latest efforts is that his albums sound incoherent because the songs stop and go with no specified direction. The truth, however, is that his albums are coherent, and they do have direction; it is just that the direction is not toward Billboard, nor is he attempting to craft songs that are easily packaged for radio.

No, Prince's direction has been to become the best musician and lyricist that he can, which often means to stretch pass the charts, to juxtapose notes, sounds, chords, and other musical and lyrical ideas that produce—God forbid!!!—something . . . different!?! Many see Prince as one who has ceased to fulfill his potential. On the contrary, The Rainbow Children is proof that Prince continues to fulfill his potential. It is just that he never saw hit records as the "be all—end all" of his potential.

Most of the songs on the album have at least three musical movements. These multiple movements become a motif, as Prince continues to be one of the best in the pop field to use sound as a metaphor. For instance, in "The Work, Pt. 1" he is noticeably using a James Brown inspired riff that echoes soulful, black power semantics, which he laces with lyrics about the "hard" but necessary "work" that needs to be done for "revelation to come to pass." The music sets a mood of the black power struggle, then Prince infuses his notions of a metaphysical struggle, which exists along side the physical struggle. "Every time I watch the other people news/ I c a false picture of myself, another one of u/ They try 2 tell us what we want, what 2 believe/ Didn't that happen in the Garden/ When somebody spoke 2 Eve?"

This connecting the black struggle to the metaphysical is quite essential to Prince's own theory, as evidenced by how he uses the term "Devil" throughout the cd to refer to the physical devils who exploit people for their wages. He then uses those physical devils as a trope for the metaphysical "Devil" in "Rainbow Children" and "Muse 2 the Pharaoh" because in Prince's theory the ultimate battle is in the metaphysical realm and not the physical realm, as also evidenced by "Digital Garden" and "The Everlasting Now." On one level, the multiple movements create a trope for Prince and his inability to be confined to arbitrary categories. On another level, the multiple movements represent his need to continue to grow, searching for the sound or idea to take him to the next level.

As he states in "Last December," which has the most drastic musical changes and movements, "Did u ever find a reason Y u had 2 die?/ Or did u just plan on leaving/ Without wondering y? . . . In ur life did u just give a little/ Or did u give all that u had?/ Were u just somewhere in the middle/ Not 2 good, not 2 bad?" The musical movements combine with questioning lyrics to echo the desire of the jazz musicians, such as Sun Ra, who wanted to show that within the soul of the music was a desire to go somewhere and become something that transforms us. Thus, the lyrics of The Rainbow Children are pointing the listener in a direction, and the music is acting as a guide.

For the first two-thirds of the cd, Prince is challenging our notions of what a "pop" song can be by challenging the conventions of what sounds can be combined. While the first few songs are held on our musical radar by well measured/regulated beats and a soul-like mesh of hypnotic keyboards, Prince takes from that line and constructs grooves in various directions, attempting to expand himself and what we know as "popular music." Again, this expansion serves as a trope that works as a backdrop for what the lyrics want to do, which is to destroy our archaic understanding of what it means to be man and woman, what it means to be human, what it means to be living in truth, which also reflects in what it means to make art.

He begins with a creation song, as all good myths do, but his creation begins with the fall and then redemption of mankind in "Rainbow Children." "With the accurate understanding of God and His Law they went about the work of building a new nation: The Rainbow Children." Playing on the myth of Osiris and Iris and Adam and Eve, Prince asserts that the new nation will only be created if we are able to build constructive relationships between man and woman. "As prophesied, the Wise One and his woman were tempted by the Resistor. He, knowing full well the Wise One's love 4 God, assimilated the woman first and only. Quite naturally, chaos ensued and she and 5 others were banished from the Rainbow...4ever."

This ideology is nothing new for Prince, for man's fall from grace and salvation have always been linked directly to man's relation to woman, most notably in "And God Created Woman" and in a more secular sense in "Raspberry Beret" and "Forever in my Life," where it is the female who has the power to fertilize man's life. In fact, he affirms this by invoking a line from a much older tune, "Sexuality," with "Reproduction of the new breed leader Stand up and organize!" This line affirms that Prince is using sex as a metaphor for metaphysical union and that sexuality is a trope of human identity.

The following songs continue to pontificate over the fall and redemption of mankind. The music acts as a guide, continually changing the mood as the lyrics take us down a sundry of issues and solutions. The songs are an amalgamation of jazz, with an avant-garde sensibility, where Prince pushes the instruments to their limits of sound, hoping his moving in various musical directions will push the listener to free his mind and become open to the messages.

The Rainbow Children is avant-garde in that it is pushing and questioning what we know as truth and beauty in the sense of pleasing music and gratifying ideology. It is not avant-garde in the sense of "wanting to be art for the sake of art." Prince is too influenced by black musicians to think of art outside the context of man's daily existence, even if his inclusion of the metaphysics has put him at odds with what has been on the charts for the past ten years. Working with the definitions provided by Walter Davis in his essay, "So You Wanna Be An Avant-Garde Fan," The Rainbow Children is avant-garde in the sense that the "Freebop" or Ornate Coleman, the "Expressionism" of Coltrane, "Restructualism," and the "Post-Modernism" of Wynton Marsalis all come together to serve as aspects and foundations of what the term "avant-garde" meant to the artists who were working within that certain framework. In accordance, the music of The Rainbow Children seeks to open alternative musical pathways and ideas that are then articulated through the lyrics.

In "1+1+1 is 3" he asserts, "As she fell in2 the Sensual Everafter, out of body/out of mind, he stroked her hair a hundred times. And as she fell deeper in2 the hypnotic unwind, he counted his way in2 the suggestive mind. Planting a seed that bears fruit on the tree, he said, 'repeat after me...1+1+1 is 3.'" Throughout the cd, the songs interact in a circular, call and response manner, where the emotion of urgency and the notion of a quest is amplified by the experimental fusion of varying sounds. On top of the silhouetted jazz grooves, Prince coordinates funk, soul, and gospel in a manner that shows both the brilliance of black music as well as the innate and organic link that black music has to spirituality in all of its forms.

Just when you have slipped into the experimental form of this album, he hits you with "Family Name," which is classic Prince: classic in that Prince is able to take what he has done in the past and evolve it into where he is now . . .classic in that it's Prince's electrified, thumping bass line beneath his piercing falsetto . . . classic in that it's Sly and the Family Stone meets Curtis Mayfield, and at the end of this meeting, the song explodes into Prince making his case that he is the best guitarist of his time, which he proves later in the final movement of "Last December." "Family Name" is about the fallacy of the oppressor's story and how this fallacy is used to oppress the Children of the Rainbow.

"First of all, the term 'black and white' is a fallacy. It simply is another way of saying 'this or that'...'this' means the truth, or 'that' which is resistant 2 it. When a minority realizes its similarities on a higher level—not just 'black'—but PEOPLE OF COLOR, and higher still 'INGIGENOUS,' and even higher still, 'FROM THE TRIBE OF --' and yet higher -- the 'RAINBOW CHILDREN'...When this understanding comes, the so-called minority becomes a majority in the wink of an eye. This action will cause a Reaction or Resistance. The source of this Resistance must b banished as it is in direct conflict with the initial action. It cannot b assimilated, 4 its very nature is resistance. In other words, ONE CANNOT SERVE 2 MASTERS. U r either 'this' or 'that' which is not 'this.'"

"Family Name" climaxes right into "The Everlasting Now," where the album shifts into overdrive, leaving us with the question, "What the hell happened to the direction of first part of this album?" Where jazzy soul was the dominate form of the first two-thirds, funk dominates the last third. As with the other songs on this album, "The Everlasting Now" has at least two musical movements—three, depending on how you are counting. Again, it is the funk chords and the refrain of "Don't let nobody bring you down!" that drive this groove, which is seconded by the horns that come late into the jam, which, in one final movement, shifts into James Brown cookin' with Jimi Hendrix at 2:30 a.m. With the lyrics, Prince is once again employing the metaphoric "I" as a way to connect the individual to the collective. Many of the verses seem quite true to his personal story, but he uses the impressionistic style best seen in Around the World in a Day or in "Sacrifice of Victor" from 1992's Symbol [O(+>] cd, which allows his novel to assert the universal. Prince is continuing his theme of freedom and liberation and his ability to link that theme with the collective, moving from a focus on the individual to a focus on the masses. He is definitely talking about his liberation from Warner Bros. and from a world that he sees as based on entropy, but he is also using his personal as a metaphor for liberating the masses with truth.

"Mirror, mirror what u c?/ Have I still got those dark clouds over me?/ Or am I really feeling what I feel?/ The last days of the Devil's deal/ Mirror what u c?/ Devil, devil what u know?/ U been here since 1614, but now u got 2 go/ U been hidin' behind corporate eyes/ U wanna war, but u can't fight/ Devil u got 2 go . . .Teacher, teacher what u say?/ Did we really come over in a boat?/ Did it really go down that way?/ Or did I arrive b4 u and ruin Thanksgiving Day?/ Teacher, what u say."

Driving The Rainbow Children is the notion that the songs are meant to please and enlighten--to move both our bodies and our souls in a positive direction. Prince bookends the cd with love, because, in his theory, only love can save us. The first song, "Rainbow Children," concentrates on the love between man and woman. The last song, "Last December," concentrates on the love between God and mankind. "Did u love somebody/ But got no love in return?/ Did u understand the real meaning of love/ That it just is and never yearns? When the truth arrives/ Will u b lost on the other side?/ Will u still b alive?/ In the name of the Father/ in the name of the Son/ We need 2 come 2gether/ Come 2gether as one."

The motif is still liberation—the liberation that has been there since day one—but now Prince has successfully merged his desire for individual liberation with the necessity of collective liberation. And this liberation must take place in the metaphysical before we can achieve physical liberation. With the insight of Stevie Wonder, The Rainbow Children is able to construct a theology of George Clinton's "Free your mind and your ass will follow," and the music is another lesson in just how spacious the spectrum of music can be if we allow it to be all that it has the potential to become.

Source: MDAH State

*   *   *   *   *

C. Liegh McInnis is an instructor of English at Jackson State University, the publisher and editor of Black Magnolias Literary Journal, and the author of seven books, including four collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction (Scripts:  Sketches and Tales of Urban Mississippi), and one work of literary criticism (The Lyrics of Prince:  A Literary Look at a Creative, Musical Poet, Philosopher, and Storyteller).  He has presented papers at national conferences, such as College Language Association and the Neo-Griot Conference, and his work has appeared in Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Sable, New Delta Review, The Black World Today, In Motion Magazine, MultiCultural Review, A Deeper Shade, New Laurel Review, ChickenBones, and the Oxford American

In January of 2009, C. Liegh, along with eight other poets, was invited to read poetry in Washington, DC by the NAACP for their Inaugural Poetry Reading celebrating the election of President Barack Obama.  He has also been invited by colleges and libraries all over the country to read his poetry and fiction and to lecture on various topics, such creative writing and various aspects of African American literature, music, and history.McInnis is editor of Black Magnolias Literary Journal.—PsychedelicLiterature

*   *   *   *   *

Rainbow Children

                  Lyrics by Prince


With the accurate understanding of God and His law they went about the work of building a new nation:

The Rainbow Children

Just like the sun, the Rainbow Children rise,
Flying upon the wings of the New Translation
See them fly, fly
The covenant will b kept this time
Just like the sun, the Rainbow Children rise

Rainbow children, it's time 2 rise!
Rainbow children, it's time 2 rise!

As prophesied, the Wise One and his woman were tempted by the Resistor. He, knowing full well the Wise One's love 4 God, assimilated the woman first and only. Quite naturally, chaos ensued and she and 5 others were banished from the rainbow.4ever.

Just like the sun, the Rainbow Children rise
Flying upon the wings of the New Translation
See them fly, fly
The covenant will b kept this time
Just like the sun, the Rainbow Children rise

Just like the sun, the Rainbow Children rise
Flying upon the wings of the New Translation
See them fly, fly
The covenant will b kept this time
Just like the sun, the Rainbow Children rise

Who is ur real father?
The everlasting one
The one who came from nothing
And yet from this one, everything comes

The one who commands ur momma
With the simple phrase "I am"
And every time that she obeys
She gives birth 2 the Son of Man
Who is this?

Reproduction of the new breed leader/Stand up and organize!
Reproduction of the new breed leader/Stand up and organize!

The Agreement—
With every birth, we keep it so/Never changing one piece of it
In fear of what would unfold/The scales would then become unbalanced
And thus would begin the fall/The sin of one would become
The sin of one and all

Rise, rise, rise.
Rise, Rainbow Children, rise
Rise, Rainbow Children, rise

The Wise One who understood the law that was handed down from God long ago, held fast in his belief that the Lord would bring him another one who loved him so.

Source: LyricsMania

 Prince—Rainbow Children

*   *   *   *   *

Family Name

             Lyrics by Prince


Welcome. U have just accessed the Akashic Records Genetic Information Division. This program is required 4 those wishing 2 obtain a marriage blessing from The Kingdom. When u wish 2 begin this program, place ur right hand on the scanner and tightly clench up ur buttcheeks as u might feel a slight electrical shock. Please select the race history u desire. U have selected African-American. This is your history:

First of all, the term "black and white" is a fallacy. It simply is another way of saying "this or that". Let's examine the term "this or that" in its ultimate form which is: "this" means the truth or "that which is resistant 2 it. When a minority realizes its similarities on a higher level- not just "black"—but PEOPLE OF COLOR, and higher still "INDIGENOUS", and even higher still, "FROM THE TRIBE OF.", and yet higher—the "RAINBOW CHILDREN". When this understanding comes, the so-called minority becomes a majority in the wink of an eye. This action will cause a Reaction or Resistance. The source of this Resistance must b banished as it is in direct conflict with the initial action. It cannot be assimilated, 4 its very nature is resistance. In other words, ONE CANNOT SERVE 2 MASTERS. U r either "this" or "that" which is not "this."

End of part one. 2 continue, select the program Family Name and type in the current government name u wish history on.

(London, England sometime in the early 1600s)

"We have the God-given right 2 run out of our colonies anyone who does not bow down 2 our law. Hear, hear?"

"Come on, come on keep it moving here. What's your name boy?"
"Abu Cah"
"Well it ain't now; it's Tom Lynch."

Mirror, mirror what u see?
Have I still got those dark clouds over me?
Or am I really feeling what I feel? The last days of the Devil's Deal
Mirror, what u see?

Devil, devil what u know?
U been here since 1914, but now u got 2 go
U been hidin' behind corporate eyes
U wanna war, but u can't fight
Devil, u got 2 go

U might say, "what u mad about?"
But u still got ur Family Name
Pleased 2 meet u, Mr. Rosenbloom
I'll b John Blackwell just the same
What's ur Family Name?

Teacher, teacher what u say?
Did we really come over in a boat?
Did it really go down that way?
Or did I arrive b4 and ruin Thanksgiving Day?
Teacher, what u say?

Preacher, preacher is it true?
That Jesus wants me 2 give my money 2 the likes of u?
Ride around in ur Lexus Coupe/Drive us 2 the cleaners in a pinstripe suit
Preacher, that ain't truth!

U might say, "what u mad about?"
But u still got ur Family Name
Pleased 2 meet u, Mr. Pearlman
U can call me Clay. Can I play?

People, people what's ur name?
Maybe we should start all over
Let everybody get in the game
Put up a one-gloved fist
Make a sound, Violet Brown

U might say "what u mad about?"
But u still got ur Family name
Pleased 2 meet u Mr. Goldstruck.

We found this tape in the Akashic records. This is Thomas Jefferson:

"My fellow Americans, if there is a just God, we're gonna pay 4 this!"

"Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics will b able 2 join hands in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last!"

Source: LyricsMania

Prince—Family Name

*   *   *   *   *

1+1+1 Is 3

             Lyrics by Prince

If u ain't got no place 2 stay
Come on baby 'round this way
Stay with me baby
But let me tell u how it's gonna b

There's a theocratic order.
There's a theocratic order now

This is how it's gonna b
If u wanna b with me
Ain't no room 4 disagree
1+1+1 is 3

Take ur time and think it thru
If this is what u wanna do
I ain't really that hard 2 please
Cuz 1+1+1 is 3

Stroke ur hair a hundred times
Let me c what I can find
D u know about the order.
Do u know about the order, now?

The Banished Ones:

"We are the Banished Ones and we have come 2 dance
If u will not let us, we'll have 2 kick ur pants!"

Who's that knockin' on r door?
Didn't we throw u out b4?
I'm 'bout 2 get rowdy!
I'm 'bout 2 get rowdy, now!
Make me wanna do something.

We could b surrounded in the palace
"Everybody wants 2 get u!"
I don't care

How many y'all just came 2 dance?
Let me c u shake ur pants
We don't give a duck what u got on
U just need 2 work that sexy body all nite long
Come on

Where them Banished Ones at?
"Said they 'round the back"
Don't cut 'em no slack
"I'm gon' tap, tap, tap"
But should I keep this party going?
"Brotha u know that!"

Moneyapolis, sing-Rainbow Children, raise ur hands
If we can't do it, nobody can!

Here they come y'all
Rally 'round the palace now
U know what we got 2 do!

How'd that fool get up in here?
Snagglevoice.

Source: LyricsMania

Prince—1+1+1+3

*   *   *   *   *

The Everlasting Now

               Lyrics by Prince

I knew this dude
He was very cool
He used 2 rule
Until he went 2 school

Not a normal school
That breeds a fool
But the ones that teaches
Men aren't fit to rule

That's when he took his pearly crown
He raised it up and spun it 'round
And tossed in2 the deep blue underground

No longer lead by the ways of men
He looked 4 the kingdom deep within
That's when the drums in his head began 2 pound

Don't let nobody bring u down
Accurate knowledge of Christ and the Father
Will bring the Everlasting Now
Join the party, make a sound
Share the truth, preach the good news
Don't let nobody bring u down
The Everlasting Now

Now turn the page, at an early age
This brutha on stage, he was all the rage
He taught an integrated world 2 sing
The color u are don't mean a thing
Everybody's a star all the everyday people sang

He changed the funk, put it in a bag
Then he changed the colors of the flag
But u can't teach a dog new tricks if his tail don't wag
Don't know matter how much money u made
All the cars u got and all the women u laid
Mess with the flag and 2 them u're still a spade

Don't let nobody bring u down
Accurate knowledge of Christ and the Father
Will bring the Everlasting Now
Join the party, make a sound
Share the truth, preach the good news
Don't let nobody bring u down
The Everlasting Now

See this girl in her make-believe world
Plastic boobs and clip-on curls
'Round the pole see her big butt twirl
There r the dreams that do unfurl
Never everlasting

Don't let anybody bring u down
The Everlasting Now

Watch that girl in her make-believe world
Plastic boobs and clip-on curls
'Round the pole see her big butt twirl
Electric beaches skin do bake
Vanilla fudge and wedding cake
If u should die b4 u wake
U got any last requests 2 make?

The Everlasting Now
The Everlasting Now
The Everlasting Now

Johnny, B. Well and bring the beat

From this day forward 'til times indefinite, those who love Christ r the
ones who benefit. All the players' ice melted in2 one platinum chain and in
a downward spiral it dropped down the chain.

"U know, this is funky but I wish he'd play like he used 2, old scragglyhead."

Don't let nobody bring u down
Accurate knowledge of Christ and the Father
Will bring the Everlasting Now
Join the party, come on make a sound
Share the truth, preach the good news
Don't let nobody bring u down
The Everlasting Now

The Everlasting Now
The Everlasting Now
The Everlasting Now
Now, now, now
The Everlasting Now

Source: LyricsMania

Prince—The Everlasting Now

*   *   *   *   *

Prince Rogers Nelson was one of the most critically and commercially successful solo musicians of the 20th Century, thanks to his impressive technical proficiency and a spell of outrageous creativity in the 1980s. In a career spanning almost 30 years, he has released almost 30 studio or soundtrack albums, all of which were entirely written, arranged, performed and produced by Prince himself. His back catalogue of singles is similarly impressive—with 19 Top 10 hits in the US (including five No.1s), and 17 in the UK, his work has achieved massive commercial success while still being revered by music critics. Commonly known just by his first name, Prince also attracted notoriety in 1993 for changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol as a result of a dispute with his label.

Born in 1958 in Minneapolis, Prince developed a passion for funk and rock pioneers such as Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix, and learned to play over 20 different instruments. His first records, For You in 1978 and Prince the following year, were only minor successes, but 1980's Dirty Mind was a gold-seller and is regarded as his first great album—its synth-led funk and risqué themes breaking established boundaries. Controversy was a sequel with a classic title track, and 1999 possessed yet another memorable title track and an expansion of Prince's sound palette as he mastered yet more instruments. Having sold nearly 14 million units over five albums, his next full-length more than doubled that on its own—

 his masterpiece, 1984's Purple Rain. The soundtrack to a film starring Prince, it is routinely stated to be one of the greatest albums of the 1980s, while the film is largely forgotten. The soundtrack won three Grammys and an Oscar and spawned two No.1s— "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy" (the epic title track peaked at No.2). He followed this up with Around the World in a Day, before two more real classics—Parade (featuring "Kiss") and the eclectic double-album Sign "O" the Times. 1988's Lovesexy was the last of Prince's remarkable 80s run—eight successive albums of endless creativity fusing funk, pop and rock.

Subsequent albums were of varying quality. Come, which followed his dispute with Warner Bros., and Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic were particular disappointments, though the album known as Love Symbol was much better. A less prominent public profile followed but Prince's influence is still prevalent today—from OutKast and Missy Elliot to Justin Timberlake and Beck. He also continues to perform live, record new music and rebel against the music industry which he says is enslaving; in 2007 he released his new album, Planet Earth, for free in the British Daily Mail newspaper, much to the anger of record distributors and retailers. Amazon.com

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Black Magnolias Literary Journal is a quarterly that uses poetry, fiction, and prose to examine and celebrate the social, political, and aesthetic accomplishments of African Americans with an emphasis on Afro-Mississippians and Afro-Southerners. We welcome pieces on a variety of African American and Afro-Southern culture, including history, politics, education, incidents/events, social life, and literature. All submissions are to be made by e-mail as a word attachment to psychedeliclit@bellsouth.net . Each issue costs $12.00, and a year’s subscription is $40.00.

 

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
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#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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Civilization: The West and the Rest

By Niall Ferguson

The rise to global predominance of Western civilization is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five hundred years. All over the world, an astonishing proportion of people now work for Western-style companies, study at Western-style universities, vote for Western-style governments, take Western medicines, wear Western clothes, and even work Western hours. Yet six hundred years ago the petty kingdoms of Western Europe seemed unlikely to achieve much more than perpetual internecine warfare. It was Ming China or Ottoman Turkey that had the look of world civilizations. How did the West overtake its Eastern rivals? And has the zenith of Western power now passed? In Civilization: The West and the Rest, bestselling author Niall Ferguson argues that, beginning in the fifteenth century, the West developed six powerful new concepts that the Rest lacked: competition, science, the rule of law, consumerism, modern medicine, and the work ethic. These were the "killer applications" that allowed the West to leap ahead of the Rest, opening global trade routes, exploiting newly discovered scientific laws, evolving a system of representative government, more than doubling life expectancy, unleashing the Industrial Revolution, and embracing a dynamic work ethic. Civilization shows just how fewer than a dozen Western empires came to control more than half of humanity and four fifths of the world economy.

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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What This Cruel War Was Over

Soldiers Slavery and the Civil War

By Chandra Manning

For this impressively researched Civil War social history, Georgetown assistant history professor Manning visited more than two dozen states to comb though archives and libraries for primary source material, mostly diaries and letters of men who fought on both sides in the Civil War, along with more than 100 regimental newspapers. The result is an engagingly written, convincingly argued social history with a point—that those who did the fighting in the Union and Confederate armies "plainly identified slavery as the root of the Civil War." Manning backs up her contention with hundreds of first-person testimonies written at the time, rather than often-unreliable after-the-fact memoirs. While most Civil War narratives lean heavily on officers, Easterners and men who fought in Virginia, Manning casts a much broader net. She includes immigrants, African-Americans and western fighters, in order, she says, "to approximate cross sections of the actual Union and Confederate ranks." Based on the author's dissertation, the book is free of academese and appeals to a general audience, though Manning's harsh condemnation of white Southerners' feelings about slavery and her unstinting praise of Union soldiers' "commitment to emancipation" take a step beyond scholarly objectivity.—Publishers Weekly

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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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posted 24 June 2010

 

 

 

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