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Sitting ducks herded into a hellhole / controlled by men in army fatigues and guns,

Children cry old people die, thugs shoot / Women exhausted holding their babies 



Sitting ducks at the superdome

By Claire Carew


One day in America the dirty secrets were revealed

Hurricane Katrina, Neglect and the Levee broke

New Orleans August 2005

God bless America

African Americans herded into a superdome,

Lying, dying in darkness waiting to be rescued,


Waiting for the descendants

who captured their ancestors into slavery, 

Forcing them in shackles ashore

on the waters to the Americas,

Cramped tight on ships where many died

of lack of food and water.

Waiting they sit in the super dome,

Cramped tight dying of lack and food and water.

Surrounded by the dirty sewer

swamp waters of New Orleans.

Without electricity, air conditioning broken, 

no one in authority  “It is a free for all.”

Backup toilets and no running water,

The stench forces the soldiers to wear masks,

Afraid to enter the washrooms that stinks

of human waste and thugs

People resort to defecating in the open area

of this here super dome.

Outside water knee deep, corpse floats

and disease abounds,

Dehydrated in sweltering heat they wait,

Sitting ducks herded into a hellhole

controlled by men in army fatigues and guns,

Children cry old people die, thugs shoot

Women exhausted holding their babies 

Men wandering, yelling,

futile attempts whose fruits bear nothing,

having lost their instincts to protect and to survive.

Sitting ducks hold up in America.


People scramble for food, water and diapers

from closed stores,

The looters raid the stores for guns and CDs,

Miscued priorities, thugs shooting and raping,

you can't shoot water. 

Chaos and still they wait 4 days

before the first rescue convoy of trucks

arrive with food, water and guns.

"Point your guns down," the soldiers are ordered


The GUN only thing they know. The GUNS to take control.   


The plight, trauma and sadness has turned to anger,

Race and class are uttered off the lips of many,

Would it take so long to rescue Middle Class White America?


This lack of response is so blatant, bold -faced and racist

No love, No compassion,

The dirty secrets of America revealed.

We all see the poverty in their sunken eyes,

swollen bellies. Ill clad clothing on the sun burnt

backs of the black people

Where are the Indians, the Native Americans?

What happened to them?

Old black man with a cane limps with a flour sack,

as he makes his way to an airplane.  2005?

or is he a sharecropper in 1905 

A slave visiting us through a time machine?


Dead woman sits in a wheel chair

with a blanket on her face,

someone’s mother, a grandmother,

teenager has a diabetic coma, "I don't want to die like this."

Families torn apart, values and dignity torn asunder.

Woman cries with her dead husband at her side,

wrapped in a shroud he survived the hurricane.

Died from lack of medical attention.

Middle age black man wails for his dead wife

holding his two young sons, 

“she gone” … he retells the journalist

shooting the image,

his wife letting go of his hand,

his home splitting in two her last words… .

“you can’t hold me, take care of the kids and grand kids”

Hurricane Katrina, floods caused from neglect

broke the levee and revealed to the world

the underbelly of American society.

The Emperor’s naked, the under Bush speak the truth. 

“that part of the world”

Isn’t New Orleans a part of America?

while Laura Lee speaks of how well

the White people in La la land

have managed to organize and stem the tide of chaos.

The hidden racist message plain to see…


A country vulnerable to natural and human disasters

that many with warped minds

are now  fine tuning their plans on how to exploit

this new found knowledge,

as they work in the middle of the night

to bring American to its knees.


Sitting ducks are my brothers and sisters.

Sitting ducks are all of us.

We have lost our instincts to survive in the wild.

A wake up call to plan and prepare

for whatever dreams and nightmares may come.

Roof tops, attics and superdomes can’t be our answers. 

Sitting ducks in the Americas.

posted 4 September 2005

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Claire Carew was born in Guyana and is of African, Arawak and European ancestry. She began her visual arts career over 25 years ago with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Guelph and studies at private art schools.  Carew also holds a Diploma in Education, a Visual Arts Specialist from McGill University and has completed studies in drama at the University of Toronto. Carew’s work has been shown in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Her work is also in private collections in Brussels, England, Guyana and Russia.

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The Persistence of the Color Line

Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency

By Randall Kennedy

Among the best things about The Persistence of the Color Line is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley. He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr. Smiley consistently “voiced skepticism regarding whether blacks should back Obama” . . .

The finest chapter in The Persistence of the Color Line is so resonant, and so personal, it could nearly be the basis for a book of its own. That chapter is titled “Reverend Wright and My Father: Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism.”  Recalling some of the criticisms of America’s past made by Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with feeling about his own father, who put each of his three of his children through Princeton but who “never forgave American society for its racist mistreatment of him and those whom he most loved.”  His father distrusted the police, who had frequently called him “boy,” and rejected patriotism. Mr. Kennedy’s father “relished Muhammad Ali’s quip that the Vietcong had never called him ‘nigger.’ ” The author places his father, and Mr. Wright, in sympathetic historical light.

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The Last Holiday: A Memoir

By Gil Scott Heron

Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King's birthday ended up becoming a national holiday ("The Last Holiday because America can't afford to have another national holiday"), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered. Gil uses Lennon's violent end as a brilliant parallel to Dr King's assassination and as a biting commentary on the constraints that sometimes lead to newspapers getting things wrong. —Jamie Byng, Guardian / Gil_reads_"Deadline" (audio)  / Gil Scott-Heron & His Music  Gil Scott Heron Blue Collar  Remember Gil Scott- Heron

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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 / 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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updated 1 November 2007 




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