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Today, we have people fighting for sexual freedom. Sexual freedom is based on the freedom to do what

we please with our bodies. Yet, it is another form of racial arrogance to believe that we can have healthy

sexuality when we have all been physically and emotionally raped by racism.



Books by Kalamu ya Salaam


The Magic of JuJu: An Appreciation of the Black Arts Movement  /   360: A Revolution of Black Poets

Everywhere Is Someplace Else: A Literary Anthology  /  From A Bend in the River: 100 New Orleans Poets

Our Music Is No Accident   /  What Is Life: Reclaiming the Black Blues Self

My Story My Song (CD)


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Responses to Rudy's Essay

Feminism, Black Erotica, & Revolutionary Love

'Womanness' in the Writings of Kalamu ya Salaam (1968-2002)



you know, i make it a practice not to respond to literary criticism because i want to encourage a wide variety of responses rather than debate why i believe i am right. i deeply appreciate that you decided to review my work in the context that you did. in and of itself, your overview of my work is a validation of the work as far as i am concerned. 

today, i would not argue that sexism, as we know it, is solely a product of the western worldview. although i would argue that the western worldview is the dominate and dominating view, as well as the western worldview is intrinsically sexist. 

i also appreciate how you contextualized my support of anti-sexist struggles as a career long quality of my work rather than a conclusion i recently articulated. 

one note of correction, although you have the correct publication dates--"where do dreams come from" is in two parts. the second part is "joyce's dream." the first part is "rabbit's narration." also, that story was actually written based on characters from a novel i wrote back in 1965. the novel is long since lost and unpublished. of the stories you reviewed, i think dreams is the oldest story. 

finally, i would stress that there are other stories, poems and essays with women at the center but that do not have erotic elements per se. i think if the body of my work is examined, then anti-sexism and spotlighting black women would be of the two salient characteristics of my work. the other would be the privileging of black music as both trope and metaphor, as well as black music as a structural basis for the writing as text and vehicle for the presentation of the writing in performance.

thanks again for the work you did.

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Hi Rudolph,

I love it!  I had written Mr. Salaam a long letter of praise a few days ago, but he never wrote me back.  I think maybe he was embarrassed by the flattery...or maybe he's of that school that think I'm a man-hater.  I pray not.  He's one of my heroes. But anyway, I truly love your work, Rudolph.  It's so hopeful when I read this kind of insight and beauty coming from Black men. There is hope for us after all.  Kola

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I love that you're speaking up about a subject that usually men in general do not address. You did a great job. I'm sure the audience will love it. I often tell people that it is the Western mode of sexuality and love that is riddled with perverse sexism. A perversion under international White power that has spread. Before Africa was ravaged, African women walked around topless without having to worry about their lack of body-consciousness being misinterpreted as promiscuity.  The real savages were the foreigners who came with unsettling gazes. 

Africa was proof that the Garden of Eden once existed. A place where people were not ashamed of the body. Metaphorically speaking Africa was the Garden of Eden before the White serpent shamed our original mother and father into the savage/sadistic form of humanity we see today.  Today, we have people fighting for sexual freedom. Sexual freedom is based on the freedom to do what we please with our bodies. Yet, it is another form of racial arrogance to believe that we can have healthy sexuality when we have all been physically and emotionally raped by racism.

With more and more people publicly addressing the return to our roots, we will realize that Africans were feminists before the entire world had a term for it. African women were heads of their respective communities, loved by men and women. In America, Black women did what was considered men's work in the plantations while trying to keep their unrecognized/invisible families together. You are right, it is when Black men tried emulating Western forms of patriarchy/dominance that they became torn apart. Unlike White men, Black men were not intimidated by equality. 

At any rate, if I'm rambling on like this, I know you're going to have a very lively reaction to your views. Good Luck!

Also, I feel honored that you even considered my opinion-Thank you. Carol Chehade 

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Rudy, Peace and blessings, 

I came home and after getting settled was going to e-mail you to encourage you. I was happy and surprised to learn that you completed the essay. I read the entire essay. Outstanding job! I mean it. I remain so proud of you. I learned a great deal from reading the essay. I have to read more of Kalamu's work. Those short stories seem quite interesting. You are so good at sticking to a topic. You have done a great job of sharing Kalamu's views and thoughts by sharing his writing. We have to have a conversation one day about how much of this you agree with. (smile) One thing on page 4 in the sentence that starts, Sylvia believes......., should it be want from men or women? Again, Rudy I am proud of the work you have done.Yvonne

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Rudy:  This looks fine. I think the analysis is sound and the excerpts are compelling. If i were you, the only thing I would do is elaborate on the four rape categories before citing examples in the works. Good luck with the presentation. JB

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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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 / 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 5 March 2012




 Home     Kalamu ya Salaam Table  Kalamu Feminist Erotica  Short Stories

Related files: Negro Psychosexuality  Exploring Sexuality from a Black Perspective   Equality in African Relationships   Feminism in Africa  Women We Hate   Feminism, Black Erotica, & Revolutionary Love