ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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On a social level, because we are without specific ethnic interest, we may be

the only Africans capable of helping Africa transcend the limitations of tribalism.

On a psychological level, we may be the lever to force Africa to turn over

the rocks of colonialism and examine what has been hidden beneath.

 

 

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)

 

*   *   *   *   *

Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa But I Can

M-N-O-P-Q-R: PANAFEST 1994

By Kalamu ya Salaam

 

M: Always Don’t Last

            At the colloquium on the first day I heard a paper by Kwadwo Opoku Agyemang from the University of Cape Coast. "Culture Under Siege: The Making Of Africa's Heart Of Darkness" addressed the issue of how the slave trade affected those who were left behind. 

            A society that lives under a real and constant threat of enslavement consists of potential slaves; and a society of potential slaves will experience a psychological development peculiar to the environment. The culture of the besieged society will acquire certain characteristics and tendencies in order to fight, adapt to or in some way survive the catastrophe. When a society is so placed and must bend all its strengths to preserve its collective life and cannot grow beyond shrill survival, then its culture will fold into itself; it becomes a grim and conservative society, its people huddle together, furtive and afraid, in a state of shock and suffering traumata, a wounding. 

            He spoke about the phobias resulting from this trauma. He talked about moral breakdown. Moral stories that were told to children. In these stories the thief doesn't get caught nor punished.

            Kwadwo suggests that the point of the story was to teach children not to trust people. Why? Because, during the period of the slave trade, the people you trust just might be the ones to sell you into slavery.

            Some of the responses took exception. They offered no disproving evidence. They didn't even offer alternate theories. They just didn't want to accept that slavery had affected those left behind to that extent.

            Many Ghanaians are very, very proud of their traditions. But suppose a lot of what was created, was created in reaction and relation to the slave trade? Suppose significant aspects of one's proud culture wasn't really self-determined traditions but rather reactions to the slave trade? Suppose negatively reacting to the slave trade was a major part of one's cultural tradition?.

            Kwadwo talked about scarification. A concept almost indelibly identified with traditional Africa. Kwadwo searched for the beginning of scarification. He found periods where there was no scarification. He found slave documents suggesting that slave traders avoided slaves with unsightly scars. He talked about "a little gem of a short story by the Senegalese writer and filmmaker, Sembene Ousmane," called "Tribal Scars or the Voltaique" in which a father brutally scars his little girl's face and body to protect her from slavery. He talks about the absence of scarification in the New World. He talked about how scarification was a survival tactic.

            During the question and answer period, I shared information I had read in The Bush Rebels, A Personal Account Of Black Revolt In Africa by Barbara Cornwall, a freelance, American journalist who walked through the bush with Frelimo in Mozambique and PAIGC in Portuguese Guinea. 

Fortunately we were met by a Land Rover along the route and were soon rolling to a halt at the edge of a clearing where long columns of barefooted Mozambican civilians had set down their loads for barter. They were Makondes from a tribe in Cabo Delgado, a purportedly fierce people who at puberty carve geometrical designs across their faces and then rub charcoal into the fresh wounds. The scarring is done during a ceremony for both boys and girls and the final result on their dark skins is quite impressive. More startling at first encounter are two additional operations, both optional, during which a metal peg is driven into the initiate's upper lip and secured on each side by an iron disc, then the teeth are filed to points. The entire practice of maiming is a custom dating from the slave trade era when the Makondes hoped, often justifiably, that slavers would pass them over because of their grisly appearance. Their market price would not have covered the cost of their transport because few buyers would bid on a fanged slave when more presentable ones were available. (p. 20) 

            Kwadwo Opoku Agyemang stated that when it came to analyzing the beginnings  and origins of some social practices, many, many Africans have an amnesia surrounding the slave trade. They simply say "that's the way things were always done."

            Kwadwo Opoku Agyemang made me understand that "always" is only five hundred years long. Always is really not that long.

            Besides always is a Eurocentric concept used to justify their dominance. Nothing that is material or social is eternal. Everything must change. That law of life is our greatest hope. Always don't last forever.

N: Under Siege Too

            On 6 December 1994, the day Nia and I left for Ghana, New Orleans, the murder capital of the United States had reached 393 murders for the year. By the time we get back on 20 December 1994, the murder rate will surely be over 400. The overwhelming majority of these murders are "Black on Black."

*   *   *

            At first the major barter item was the gun. Guns came to Africa from Europe. Once in the hands of African mercenaries, then the slave trade began in earnest. Those who were without guns were preyed upon by those who had them.

            Soon guns were everywhere, even though everyone did not have a gun, and there was a complete breakdown of social order in the face of constant marauding, constant murdering and constant enslaving. The proliferation of guns historically has resulted in social chaos.

*   *   *

            The gun make you feel funny, feel like you different, almost invincible. Don't have to take nothing off nobody. Can do whatever you want.

            Gun culture is aggression and instantaneous obliteration of whomever troubles you.

            In a moment of anger, if you got a gun, you pull the trigger. Had it been a fist fight it would have been different. You may even have knocked the man down, kicked him once or twice, but rarely actually beat him to death with your hands. But with a gun, umh. Let that fellow look at you wrong, and, boy, he dead for sure. You fire him up.

            And the stuff happens so fast, so fast.

            Gun culture is swift death even before you have time to think about what you are doing. Put a gun in the hands of a man who feels less of a man than "the man" and the armed creature stiffens like an aroused prick.

            I watch the soldiers with guns in Ghana. You don't see them often. Around the President, at some official function when there are big people to protect. But wherever you see them, the hard stance is the same. Gun eyes look at you. Daring you to do something untoward, not to mention flat out wrong.

            Man with gun always speaks in bullets.

            Gun culture. The gun. You walk around with a perpetual hard-on, always ready to fuck someone.

Source: WordUp

O: The Forts and Castles of Ghana

 In the absence of any physical landmarks of this historical journey into chaos, other communities of African people may seek refuge in collective amnesia as a natural defence against the unbearable trauma of the savageries of the slave trade. But for the people of Ghana, there can be no escape from a historical reality as palpable as the slave castle. Ultimately, Ghana's Pan African consciousness reaches far into a fractured, deeply wounded collective unconscious that insists on being uncovered so that it may be healed back to wholeness. The slave forts and castles are the most immediate though confusing gateway into the collective unconscious. To contemplate and, above all, to penetrate the puzzling, even frightening mystery of these monuments of enslavement is to come to terms with our history of fragmentation, the basis of Pan African consciousness and struggle.            

 —Excerpt from Slave Castle, African Historical Mindscape & Literary Imagination by Kofi Anyidoho, University of Ghana.

*   *   *

            Elmina—1482. Built by the Portuguese, is the first of the slave castles. I ask questions. The more I try to find out, the less I learn. There is broad confusion as to how many castles there are in Ghana. In West Africa.

             Castles. These military forts which served as administrative centers for colonial government and the administration of the gold and slave trade, including the temporary housing of items of trade: guns, beads, alcohol, cloth from Europe and, sine qua non, gold and human flesh from Africa's interior.

 In Elmina I find one small book, Forts and Castles of Ghana by Albert van Dantzig, and one small pamphlet, The Castles Of Elmina by Tony Hyland of the Department of Architecture, University of Science & Technology, Kumasi.

In her prescient manner, Nia somehow strikes up a conversation with Albert van Dantzig who just happens to be passing through at that time. I am upstairs in the little gift shop, feeling prideful because I have purchased these two writings and a few other books about Ghana. When I descend the steps clutching my catch, Nia introduces me to Mr. Dantzig. He is seventy some years old, from Holland, now living in Ghana. We talk briefly. He autographs his book for us.

Danzig's book focuses on a chronological summary of the construction and administration of the 50 forts and castles of Ghana.

            Danzig suggests "To our knowledge the following list of castles, forts and lodges—from west to east—could be regarded as complete." Complete? Can there ever be a complete history of the slave trade and all of the institutions it engendered? For me Dantzig's book is a beginning, a point of departure, an indication, a partial map, the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Tradeposts, fortified or not, have been built in various parts of the world, but nowhere in such great numbers along such a relatively short stretch of coast. At various places, such as Accra, Komenda and Sekondi, forts were actually built within gun-range of each other. Within three centuries more than sixty castles, forts and lodges were built along a stretch of coast less than 300 miles (500 km) long. Many of these buildings are still in existence at the present, and if some of them could be regarded as important individual monuments, the whole chain of buildings, whether intact, ruined or merely known as sites, could be seen as a collective historical monument unique in the world: the ancient 'shopping street' of West Africa. The 'shops' varied greatly in size and importance. If some could be  compared with department stores, others were hardly more than village stores. (p. vii)

*   *   *

The essential purpose of all these buildings was to serve as store-houses for goods brought from Europe and bought on the Coast, and as living quarters for a permanent commercial and military staff. If the earliest of these buildings were mainly fortified on the land-side against enemies expected from that side, soon the real danger appeared to come rather from the side of the sea, in the form of European competitors. During the sixteenth century a growing number of French and English ships came to trade in what was supposed to be a Portuguese monopoly area. An even more serious threat to Portuguese supremacy on the Coast came from the Dutch, who had arrived in large numbers on the coast by the end of that century . . .(p. xii)

*   *   *

It should be pointed out that the Europeans did not have any territorial jurisdiction beyond the walls of their forts; the very land on which they were built was only rented. Each European nation tried to reserve exclusive trading rights for itself with the local rulers. It is therefore not surprising that political disintegration set in all along the coast, and consequently the tradeposts had to be armed not only to drive competitors away, but also to protect the traders inside the forts or the people on whose territory they were built against attacks by neighboring African states.

It was also for geographical reasons that all this European commercial activity concentrated in this relatively small area: first of all there is the obvious fact that Ghana is the only area where there are substantial gold deposits comparatively near to the coast. But Ghana's coast is also suitable for building forts because it is rocky, thus providing building material and strong natural foundations, and access from the interior to the sea is not, as in neighboring areas, interrupted by lagoons and mangrove swamps . . . (p. xiii)      

                     The 96 page book has only eight indexed references to slavery, and most of those are cursory.

*   *   *

            Since 1876, down through the current administration, Christiansborg Castle has served as the seat of government.

            Some castles are used as prisons.

            Others as administrative offices, post offices and the like.

            Others are museums and national monuments.

            Some are in total disrepair.

            Some are merely decaying archeological sites.

            Elmina has been recently painted and remodeled. Ironically painted bright white. Whitewashed. Inside there is a photo exhibit with a narrative. The exhibit was created by the French. Plaques have been placed. Some original plaques have been preserved. A few new ones have been added. There is a sign listing the admission prices.

            All kinds of subterranean rumblings bash the stones of Elmina. Something, I can never get the straight of the story to say exactly what the "thing" was, but something about slavery was put up and then taken down. Taken down allegedly because the Ghanaians didn't want to offend whites.

            Didn't want to offend. Whites.

            Diaspora Africans living in Ghana are rightfully incensed by the vacillations.

            Outside Elmina there is a beach party.

            Butts shaking on sacred ground.

            Dr. Robert Lee who went to Ghana during Nkrumah's days. Whose son and wife died in Ghana. Dr. Lee who has spent over thirty years of his life in Ghana. Who operated a clinic for the poor of Ghana. Dr. Lee's pocket was picked during the solemn commemorative program at the castle.

             A brass band played. People danced. The procession was not so solemn.

            There was no written program. There were no informative speeches. No story telling. No rituals of remembrance.

            Frankly, this whole recognition effort is just now seriously getting underway and Ghana is not quite sure how to do it.

            I am told: If anything substantial is to happen with respect to the castles you people will have to make it happen. It will not be given to you. You will have to take it.

            They took the old door down. They painted everything pretty and new.

            When will the truth be told?

*   *   *

            Within the stones of the castle our ancestral spirits are entombed. They silently await excavation. Await our detailed investigation.

            A sankofa seed is planted. I want to return to Ghana and do a collaborative work with a Ghana scholar. I want to focus on the impact of the slave trade on Africans, both continental and Diaspora. Towards the end of our trip, as the idea becomes clearer, I approach Kwadwo Agyemang. He eagerly accepts.

            It's on. There is no concise, point of origin history of the slave trade, not to mention no afrocentric assessment of the impact of slavery. Let's look at the real history, who played what role. Let's investigate and meditate, confront and come to grips with the positives and negatives of our history.

            As significant as the castles are and as many of them as there are in Ghana, there is a paucity of documentation. This lack is a clear manifestation of Ghana's historic amnesia. But also a clear manifestation of Diaspora ignorance. Yet what goes around, comes around.

            We were cast out. We shall return. Like a stone flung at the sun. Like a boomerang. Like a child separated from its mother.

*   *   *

            The history of people is movement. I can sense in the Diaspora a slow turning. A serious seeking for alternative. In conversations throughout our stay in Ghana invariably the thoughts we expressed amongst ourselves pivoted on the notion of moving. Africa, in general, and Ghana, in particular, is a magnet.

            No news here, but certainly relevance. The communal implosion and resultant disintegration of social life in the United States will invariably fling individuals away from that center toward the peripheries where other realities exist.

            For practical reasons: life and development. For historical reasons: birth and essence. For cultural reasons: temperament and lifestyle. For the love of self and Blackness—Africa. Africa, in all its contradictions, in all its weaknesses, revulsions, convulsions, repulsions, internal chaos and material un(der)development. Africa, remains a pulsing heart attracting her blood, her brood, back to herself.

            Most of us will not voluntarily go—but more of us will return than have ever thought about it since the fifties. A significant number, providing leadership by example, will begin the pilgrimage back into ourselves. Of that number, some will remain and others won't, but life will go on. America will continue downward and Africa will keep struggling upward. This is not theory but the inexorable march of the life force.

            After maturity there is decline and death. Before maturity there is the opportunity for growth and development. Who is in a period of "decline after maturity" and who is struggling to develop? The distinction is plain. Especially when we look at the African world collectively, who we are, where we are, and what we have to live for.

*   *   *

            The forts are brute manifestations of penetration. Male movement into fecund  earth. Testimony to the mauling of Africa by marauders and by co-conspiratorial African merchants and mercenaries.

            Facing a fort, I feel my foreignness, my estrangement from this birth earth, but also I feel my essence, my connections. Both rupture and rapprochement, as well as reentry and embracement.

            As an individual, I was born in a nation of immigrants, movement is my history—and yet everyday, folk in America give you 57 arguments, 997 facts as to why going back to Africa is unrealistic. Just five hundred years ago the American migration started in earnest and now these conquering nomads argue that migration is an exercise in futility. The majority of Whites are less than five generations on American soil. Most came not speaking English and with only as much possessions as they could carry. When nomads consul that it is foolish to migrate, who should listen?

            Why are these forts here if moving here is so undesirable?

            There is more than gold in them there hills of Ghana.

            The old itinerant preachers and blues bards used to forcefully sing: "You got to move / When God get ready / You got to move!"

            Could it be that those castles, the last we saw of Africa, those prisons where we were held, could it be, that those symbols of slavery will become beacons, lighthouses, guiding us back into ourselves?

            Moreover, we are each other's completion.

            Africa may need the Diaspora more than the Diaspora needs Africa because Africa can never be whole until the Diaspora is embraced.

            On purely a material level, our skills and resources are needed. On a social level, because we are without specific ethnic interest, we may be the only Africans capable of helping Africa transcend the limitations of tribalism. On a psychological level, we may be the lever to force Africa to turn over the rocks of colonialism and examine what has been hidden beneath. We may be the epiphany that sparks the memory, that shatters the amnesia, that cleanses the wound of slavery, that immense maiming that arrested the continent and continues to unbraid every developmental effort that does not confront this awfulness.

            If and when the Diaspora returns, the returning will force the host to deal with a historic reality which, for so long, too long, has been ignored. Perhaps it's a larger plan than individuals in the Diaspora returning home "to drink water from an ancient well" in hopes of quenching a thirst for completion that no other liquid can satisfy. Suppose that's only the romance.

            Suppose the real deal is that Africa can not rise without us. Suppose Africa needs us far more than any of us have yet admitted. Far more than any of us have ever imagined or thought about.

            Suppose we are the seed that must be planted in fertile soil, the only stone upon which the future can be built. I do not mean this as self flattery but rather as a reflecting on a most terrible reality: what continent can stand the removal of millions and millions and millions of its strongest and still develop?

            In some ironic manner befitting the convolutions of what it means to be African, the Diaspora is the Africa that the continent is struggling to become. The Africa concerned with the whole of itself rather than self-defeatingly focused on specific and antagonist ethnicities and nationalities.

            I don't know. Fathoming this is more than my brain can contain. All I know is that I want to know more. I want to return and learn what I left, I want to return and understand the origin of what I brought over with me. I want to return. I am seeking myself.

            Rummaging through the history of a fort. Sitting next to a centuries old cannon. Standing in an empty storeroom, perhaps in the very spot a not too distance ancestor stood.

Everything I know is nothing compared to the immensity of what this fort teaches me I do not know. And the fort also teaches me an even more brutal reckoning: as ignorant as I am, I still know more about what happened then do the majority of Africans on the continent. As ignorant as I am, I am more aware of my Africanness precisely because I have no African nationality, no African ethnicity. I have no one tribe or nation. I have all of them, and in having all I transcend each one.

Both my consciousness and my ignorance are deep. Deep knowing. Deep ignorance. But that's no news; I'm African.

P: Stone Songs

            #1

            the silent stone so

            full of voices, the spirit

            sound your insides feel

 

            #2

            i am tempted to

            go to the wall and tongue lick

            stone in search of words

 

            #3

            i want to piss on

            dungeon floor, spit on dungeon

            door, eye break stone down

 

            #4

            stone stand, stand stone, stone

            cold dead  at the auction stand

            stand  stone cold dead  still

Source: WordUp

Q: Abanun

             The castles were the seat of colonial government.

            The Ghanaians never had nor needed a word for jail or prison.

            The castles were where the prisons were.       

            The Akan word for fortification is Aban.

            Along the coast where the castles were, the Akan coined a word for both the colonial government and for prison: Abanum.

            Literally, "inside the fortifications".

            Prison: the government has you.

            We have a hell of a lot of castles in America.

R: Family Values

             There is something about this man thing.

            Tarzan was a man. Tarzan left his woman behind. Eventually they sent Jane, but Tarzan still dug Cheeta, the monkey. Tarzan and Jane didn't have any children. Then they sent boy. One child. Tarzan. Jane. Cheeta. And boy. Never a girl. The classic European nuclear family.

            Most Ghanaian men don't look or act anything like Tarzan. I'm closer to . . .

            Me, Tarzan. You, Jane. I'm in charge.

*   *   *

            I worked in my office literally until the last minute and there was almost no time left to return to the apartment, grab my unpacked bags, throw some clothes in (I'm sure I left something), stop to pick up my son who is caring for my car, and drive like crazy to get to the airport on time. Nia had already called me to let me know that I was late. This is her first trip to Africa. This is my first trip to Ghana. We make the Delta flight. With maybe two minutes to spare. No, I'm exaggerating. It was something like five minutes to spare.

            The plane stops in Atlanta. Stephanie Hughley is going. Steve Browser meets her there. He has recently returned from Ghana and gives her some pictures to take back to share with folk. Gives us both some good advice. I start feeling really, really good about this trip.

            Ghana Airlines is in the same terminal we arrive in on Delta. Everything goes smoothly. I've been up all night, so I slept from New Orleans to Atlanta. Slept from Atlanta to New York. And plan to sleep on the way over from New York to Accra.

            And then this Ghanaian brother gets on. He has on a big black coat. A big black hat. He's got all kinds of bags hanging off him. A little girl in tow. As he settles in, I see that one of the "bags" is actually a baby cradled against his stomach. The baby is two months old. Her older sister is 18 months old.

            Brother man carefully unstraps. Unpacks with precision. And for the next nine hours takes such loving care of those kids that everybody complements him. He wasn't the only one with kids on the plane. He wasn't even the only man accompanying kids. But he was so beautiful to watch.

            He says he loves his kids. He must. And they must love him. He fed them. Changed them. Rocked them to sleep. They were quiet.

             I mean when I first saw him coming down the aisle I almost passed him off as a hip cat dressed all in black with a felt hat cocked to a bad lean. After we got off in Accra, there was no doubt in my mind. This was a hip cat. A Ghanaian man. And his lean was straight and tall.

*   *   *

            To know the pear we must taste the pear. Knowledge is not the result of simply and solely thinking but rather the result of sensing and reflecting on our experiences. Regardless of whether the tasting is a result of our own direct experience or a vicarious tasting as a result of the experiences of others, some mouth has to taste the pear in order to fully know pearness, in order to fully conceive of the pear as a pear.

            There is a world of difference between thinking of (or imagining) how a pear tastes and knowing how a pear tastes. Obviously, it is both necessary and important to think, but thinking alone is insufficient. Moreover, if we start off any social investigation simply with thoughts then we have misled ourselves.

            We should start with "what is" (i.e., our social realities) and think of ways to either maintain or change reality. Maintain reality when it befits us and change reality when it is necessary. So while we argue that the battle is for the hearts and minds of our people, we also understand that ultimately that battle is a battle to influence the behavior of our people and to understand and celebrate the historic and hereditary aspects of our culture and ourselves, historic and hereditary aspects which are beyond our control to fundamentally change.

            The fact that many of us (including some of our most notable celebrities) have spent big bucks, long hours and suffered painful operations in order to physically change our appearance (e.g., the shapes of our nose and lips, the color of our skin, the texture of our hair) does nothing to alter the basic fact we are of a specific ethnic heritage. Genetically, we are still what we are, and, if we have children, they will not inherit our surgically changed features, but rather will inherit the features dictated by our ethnic DNA. The basic fact is that individual thoughts and actions, no matter how bizarre or deviant from the norm, do nothing to change our essential make-up. Our ethnic identity remains intact, regardless of how we alter our physical image. The same applies to our history.

            In order to influence how people think, we must first "recognize" and analyze our realities. Ignorance of our social, historical and ethnic realities is the biggest obstacle to our individual and collective development. After surveying the field, then and only then are we able to move forward with some degree of certainty in terms of influencing both "how" and "what" people think.

            The surest way to change one's mind is to engage in behaviors which indicate and reinforce the contemplated change. In fact, we have not actually changed our minds until we change our behavior, otherwise we have merely only "thought about" changing our minds. This is why the slave master is more concerned with controlling behavior than with controlling thinking.

            Among many of us it is popular to quote and misapply Carter G. Woodson's observation about educating a man to go to the back door and that once so educated, the man will always seek the back door, and if he does not find a back door, he will work to create a back door. This backdoor observation is used to illustrate the power of brainwashing the mind, but the truth is not to be found in the power of the mind, but rather the power of miseducation.

            We must realize that miseducation is not simply a thought in the master's mind put into the oppressed person's mind by osmosis, but rather is transferred through the process of dominant culture education which is itself a real practice designed to institutionalize specific behavior. The critical aspect of the backdoor theory is not what the backdoor man "thinks" but rather the "process of teaching" him to think the way he does, "and the social reinforcements" which make sure that he continues to think in backdoor ways.

            None of the above is to deny the power of the mind, the power of positive thinking (to use a well-worn catch phrase). However, the real question is what does it take to reach the hearts and minds of our people? How do we change people's mind? How do we change our own minds? Obviously, we must educate ourselves and reinforce the education. Education is process, a learned behavior.

            Moreover, from a philosophical standpoint, all thought should start with an assessment or appreciation of reality, then move to a critique of reality, then an application of the critique, and then an assessment of the success, or failure, of the application. This is not a linear process in the sense that everything happens sequentially, one, two and then three. Rather it is a dialectical process in the sense that starting with what is, we think about reality, move to change reality and/or change our behavior in response to reality, and then reevaluate reality in light of our "new thoughts" which thoughts are actually our new behavior and our new reality. So forth and so on.

            The Ghanaian brother caring for his children is engaged in true revolutionary education. His thoughts about what it means to be a man, about the relationship of fathers to children, about the division of labor along gender lines, about nurturing as a male activity, all of that is profoundly affected by his behavior of actually caring for his kids on the plane from New York to Accra.

            Those of us who saw him were also affected. It may have caused some of us to reexamine our ideas, or seeing him may have reinforced some ideas we had. In any case, for him, for his children, for all of us who witnessed him, and for the future of the Pan Africa world, his social behavior was the critical intervention altering reality.

            On one level I don't know what brotherman thought about what he was doing. On another level, I know that his thoughts were profoundly human, profoundly caring, and ultimately inspiring. In fact, his thoughts were revolutionary, not because of what he thinks, but rather because of what he does and how his doing informs and reorders the social world. We need revolution in terms of social change, not simply philosophical conjecture about what was, is and could be. We need more brothers like brotherman, a baby strapped to his stomach, showering his daughters with nurturing attention that inculcates into them in particular, and all others who observe him, a new and revolutionary concept of African manhood.

            Did you ever see Tarzan feed boy, change boy's diaper, rock boy to sleep? Well?

Source: WordUp

*   *   *   *   *

Ghana—Samia Nkrumah

Ghana became African's first country to gain freedom in 1957 and has since grown tremendously both politically and economically. Kwame Nkrumah is known as the country's founding father and we meet his daughter Samia Nkrumah in our next story -- who is determined to follow in her fathers footsteps.

If This Country Burns, We Burn With It—Kuweni Serious

There is a difference between the one who rents a house, and the one who owns a house. The one who rents a house doesn't care if the walls crack and crumble, they can always move to another house. The one who owns a house knows that no one else will take care of it, thus they paint the walls and mend the cracks. More than 60% of Kenya's population consists of young men and women like us. The problem is that we behave like tenants of Kenya. We have let the older generation tear this country apart. We have let them use us to fight their battles. We have let them loot this country. We have let them fool us into thinking that we're not fit to run this country ourselves. So we hide in our alcohol, in our religions and on the Internet as if there is some other Kenya out there that we shall move to when this one crumbles. We sit at home and wait for others to fight for us on the streets. We want green cards instead of voter's cards. We are angry, but we are too scared to do anything about it. It is not Obama's job to save this country. It is not the donors' job, and the government has shown that it is not their job, either. Responsibility is not shared, it is earned. Freedom is not given, it is taken. When we decide we want freedom, we will have to get it ourselves. Because if this country burns, we burn with it.

*   *   *   *   *

One Love

       By Bob Marley

One love, One heart
Let's get together and feel all right
Hear the children crying (One Love)
Hear the children crying (One Heart)
Sayin' give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right
Sayin' let's get together and feel all right

Let them all pass all their dirty remarks (One Love)
There is one question I'd really love to ask (One Heart)
Is there a place for the hopeless sinner
Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?
Believe me

One Love, One Heart
Let's get together and feel all right
As it was in the beginning (One Love)
So shall it be in the end (One Heart)
Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right
One more thing

Let's get together to fight this Holy Armageddon (One Love)
So when the Man comes there will be no no doom (One Song)
Have pity on those whose chances grove thinner
There ain't no hiding place from the Father of Creation

Sayin' One Love, One Heart
Let's get together and feel all right
I'm pleading to mankind (One Love)
Oh Lord (One Heart)

Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right
Let's get together and feel all right

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When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You don't have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his "proper place" and will stay in it.—Carter G. Woodson

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Ghana Music Video  / The Curse of Gold—Ghana  / Rice Farming in Afife, Ghana

Busy Internet Ghana  /  Africa Open for Business—Ghana

African Slave Castle  / Coming Home—Ghana

West Africa Before the Colonial Era: A History to 1850

By Basil Davidson

African Slave Trade: Precolonial History, 1450-1850

By Basil Davidson

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 Relations Between Africans and African Americans: Misconceptions, Myths and Realities

By  Godfrey Mwakikagile

 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: National Academic Press, 2005) 302 pages

 

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Chiefs in Cape Coast, Ghana  /  Grand Durbar Parade

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Dentist Dr. Robert Lee

Championed African-American Community in Ghana

In the mid-1950s, Dr. Robert Lee, a dentist from South Carolina, moved to Ghana to escape racism in the south. Over the next half century, Lee became a fixture in the African-American community in the West African country. Dr. Lee died on Monday, July 5th at the age of 90. But few here in his home state, or in the States at all, knew of his work. But in Ghana, he made a name for himself. Dr. Robert Lee, trained as a dentist, moved to Accra in the mid-1950s. Over the past half century, Lee became a fixture in the black American ex-patriot community in Ghana. NPR

Host Michel Martin talks to NPR West African correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton about his life and legacy. Dr. Robert Lee NPR Interview

Dentist Championed African-American Community In Ghana

Dr Robert Lee passes on

Dr. Robert Lee (right) in 2009 with Kwame Zulu Shabazz

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Cape Coast Castle. A Collection of Poems By Kwadwo Opoku-Agyemang

Cape Coast Castle is one of three slave castles on the coast of Ghana. The poet believes that a place so savaged became a victim of society, and a new orientation can only come about by breaking the ancient silence. Naming the trauma involves him in exploring the condition of the African world. Weaving an intricate network of powerful images, his verse is both forceful and lyrical. A teacher of literature at the University of Cape Coast, the poet is acknowledged as a strong voice among the new generation of African poets.

Forts and Castles of Ghana by Albert van Dantzig

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music website > http://www.kalamu.com/bol/
writing website > http://wordup.posterous.com/
daily blog > http://kalamu.posterous.com
twitter > http://twitter.com/neogriot
facebook > http://www.facebook.com/kalamu.salaam

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Men We Love, Men We Hate
SAC writings from Douglass, McDonogh 35, and McMain high schools in New Orleans.

An anthology on the topic of men and relationships with men

Ways of Laughing
An Anthology of Young Black Voices
Photographed & Edited by
Kalamu ya Salaam

The Slave Ship (Marcus Rediker)  /John Henrik Clarke—A Great and Mighty Walk

 

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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

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

Hopes and Prospects

By Noam Chomsky

In this urgent new book, Noam Chomsky surveys the dangers and prospects of our early twenty-first century. Exploring challenges such as the growing gap between North and South, American exceptionalism (including under President Barack Obama), the fiascos of Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S.-Israeli assault on Gaza, and the recent financial bailouts, he also sees hope for the future and a way to move forward—in the democratic wave in Latin America and in the global solidarity movements that suggest "real progress toward freedom and justice." Hopes and Prospects is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the primary challenges still facing the human race. "This is a classic Chomsky work: a bonfire of myths and lies, sophistries and delusions. Noam Chomsky is an enduring inspiration all over the world—to millions, I suspect—for the simple reason that he is a truth-teller on an epic scale. I salute him." —John Pilger

In dissecting the rhetoric and logic of American empire and class domination, at home and abroad, Chomsky continues a longstanding and crucial work of elucidation and activism . . .the writing remains unswervingly rational and principled throughout, and lends bracing impetus to the real alternatives before us.—
Publisher's Weekly

*   *   *   *   *

Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam

By Fred A. Wilcox  and  Introduction by Noam Chomsky

Scorched Earth is the first book to chronicle the effects of chemical warfare on the Vietnamese people and their environment, where, even today, more than 3 million people—including 500,000 children—are sick and dying from birth defects, cancer, and other illnesses that can be directly traced to Agent Orange/dioxin exposure. Weaving first-person accounts with original research, Vietnam War scholar Fred A. Wilcox examines long-term consequences for future generations, laying bare the ongoing monumental tragedy in Vietnam, and calls for the United States government to finally admit its role in chemical warfare in Vietnam. Wilcox also warns readers that unless we stop poisoning our air, food, and water supplies, the cancer epidemic in the United States and other countries will only worsen, and he urgently demands the chemical manufacturers of Agent Orange to compensate the victims of their greed and to stop using the Earth’s rivers, lakes, and oceans as toxic waste dumps. Vietnam has chosen August 10—the day that the US began spraying Agent Orange on Vietnam—as Agent Orange Day, to commemorate all its citizens who were affected by the deadly chemical. Scorched Earth will be released upon the third anniversary of this day, in honor of all those whose families have suffered, and continue to suffer, from this tragedy. Noam Chomsky & Fred Wilcox Book-TV

*   *   *   *   *

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)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


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

 

 

 

 

 

posted 8 August 2010

 

 

 

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Related files: Dark Tourism in Ghana: The Joseph Project   Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa (A-B-C-D)   Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa   (E-F-G-H)  Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa  (I-J-K-L)  

Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa   (M-N-O-P-Q-R)    Tarzan Can Not Return to Africa (S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z)  Wright's Ghana in the 1950s    Miriam in Ghana  Pilgrimage  to Ghana   Randolph Visits Ghana