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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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There are some black men / That spoke fire / That gathered millions / That burned plantations

 

poem from Black Girls Learn Love Hard

 

 

Books by Ras Baraka

 

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

 

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There Are Some Black Men

By Ras Baraka

 

There are some black men

who don't represent Nike around the world

that are not poster boards or cartoons

some that never shuffled

 

There are black men that can't dance

That are not pop stars

Or that don't say nigger in every other word

Or paint bull's-eyes on our children's backs

 

Some black men walk hood streets

Not as pimps or gangsters

Who don't need to be seen

That never sold a vial of crack

Or bag of weed

Or smoked a black and mild

They're comfortable with the sweat on their brow

how dark they get in the sun

or the man their momma made them

 

There are some black men

that work sun up to sun down still

that kiss their children to sleep

that walk them to the corner store

that despite their pain poverty and subjugation

fight back with love and gentle stares

with purpose and dignity

that raise their families

Black men that build for themselves

That will never accept slavery

That died on plantations and killed too

Some Black men actually loved their wives and

Provided for their families

 

There are black men that are not apologist mouthpieces

Or that get paid to defecate on our hopes

Or sell us right wing dreams for larger smiles

A seat on a talk show and a hat full of coins

 

Some black men are not funny

They know no punch lines

They can't act

Don't giggle in corners

Or look at the ground when they speak

 

There are some black men

That spoke fire

That gathered millions

That burned plantations

That challenged lies

That stood in the way of hatred

That cursed poverty

And found cures

That smashed jim crow

That held their fist in the air

That told the truth!

 

There are black men

hundred of them

That were never criminals or begged or stole

or victimized their community

But as steelworkers, longshoremen, laborers,

sanitation workers, custodians, teachers, fathers,

and even some as grandfathers

 

There are black men that stood up and died

for democracy

From sea to shining sea

From the segregated south to the south of Canada

men that were black on purpose

Race Men

Revolutionaries

Workers

Heroes!

Source: Black Girls Learn Love Hard

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Ras Baraka Bio 

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

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

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

Baraka ran for Newark's Mayoral position in 1994, garnering nine percent of the vote—a significant task for the then 24 year old. In 1998, he ran for Newark Councilman-at-Large and won the general election, but missed in the run off election. In 2002, once again he ran for Councilman-at-Large impressively marshalling over 13,000 votes but again missing in the run-off. His political leverage did not go unnoticed.

On September 27, 2002, Ras was sworn in to serve as Deputy Mayor for Newark Mayor, The Honorable Sharpe James until October 31, 2005. On, November 2, Ras was voted by Newark’s Municipal Council to serve out the remaining Councilman-at-large seat vacated by the death of Councilman Donald K. Tucker.

photo left: Ras Baraka and Barack Obama

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

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

posted 3 March 2006

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

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

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

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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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)

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies. As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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Enjoy!

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 4 March 2006   

 

 

 

 Home  Amiri Baraka Table 

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