HISTORY: The black and white  group shot above  shows  Dr. King (center)  with Arthur O. Eve (far left next to Kr. King) , George  K. Arthur, (rear right) , Ms.Marion Bass and others following King's speech at Kleinhans in 1967. The color photo is of Toni Morrison.

HISTORY: The black and white  group shot above  shows  Dr. King (center)  with Arthur O. Eve (far left next to Kr. King) , George  K. Arthur, (rear right) , Ms.Marion Bass and others following King's speech at Kleinhans in 1967. The color photo is of Toni Morrison.

Just Buffalo Literary Center’s THE CIVIL WRITES PROJECT continues with non-stop programming leading up to Nobel prize winner Toni Morrison’s BABEL appearance on November 9th at Kleinhans Music Hall. This historic event marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "The Future of Integration" speech here in Buffalo--50 years to the day on the exact same stage. For more information go to www.justbuffalo.org or call 832-5400

The Future of Freedom with Alexis De Veaux

By: Kevin Thurston

ALEXIS DEVEAUX

ALEXIS DEVEAUX

In anticipation of this momentous event, award-winning author Alexis De Veaux will facilitate a conversation on “The Future of Freedom” at Canisius College’s Montante Cultural Center, 2001 Main St, on Thursday, November 2nd, from 7:00-9:00 pm.

Using Dr. King's "The Future of Integration" as the inspiration for this conversation, De Veaux hopes to focus the discussion on what the word "freedom" means in the current moment. “We can barely imagine the so-called Founding Fathers, and they most certainly couldn’t imagine us today,” said De Veaux in an interview last week. In her award-winning novel, Yabo, expressions of freedom are everywhere, and overlapping--the freedom to express gender as one sees fit, the freedom to pursue sexual pleasure (with consent), the freedom to simply be in the body you are born with or choose to alter, all-encompassing freedoms that are both simple and complex, prosaic and poetic.

It would be foolish to think that De Veaux loses site of the Black body and how it has even farther to go towards achieving freedom. In Yabo one of the characters, a professor, requires her students to sit in a dark classroom, chairs so close together that knees touch, hands in chains, with sounds of the ocean waves hitting a boat, so that they can better understand what people actually went through, what happened to their bodies. However freedom, for De Veaux, would require everyone to be free, which includes, for example, white people being freed from being tools of racial oppression.

Sounds like the right person to lead a community conversation about the future of freedom? We think so too. When asked what to expect at this event, De Veaux said, “I do not want to be 'the expert' up there who gives a lecture and then takes a few questions.” So what should people expect? “I have a few prompts if things slow down, but I really feel this is a conversation that many people want to have. We’ve seen, since Trump, that there are a lot of people still invested in having their freedom at the expense of others. But we have also seen many people come forward who never have before, and who want to work together to figure out tomorrow,” De Veaux said. “Now, I’m not so foolish as to necessarily believe or have hope that this will happen quickly—what is hope anyway?—but I do think we would be foolish not to try and work together on building tomorrow.”

Alexis De Veaux was born and raised in Harlem, the product of two merging streams of Black history in New York City–- -immigrants from the Caribbean on her mother’s side and migrants from North Carolina on her father’s side-–who settled in Harlem in the early decades of the Twentieth Century. As a freelance writer and contributing editor for Essence Magazine in the 1980s, Alexis penned a number of socially relevant articles, traveling on behalf of the magazine to Zimbabwe, Kenya and Egypt.

She was chosen by the magazine to go to South Africa in 1990 to interview Nelson Mandela upon his historic release from prison, making her the first North American writer to do so. As an artist and lecturer she has traveled extensively in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, Japan and Europe. Alexis published a second award-winning children’s book, An Enchanted Hair Tale (1987) before moving to Buffalo, where she finished graduate school, earning a doctorate in American Studies in 1992. A project nearly ten years in the making, her biography of Audre Lorde, Warrior Poet (2004) has been the recipient of several awards, including the Gustavus Meyers Outstanding Book Award (2004), the Lambda Literary Award for Biography (2004), the Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award, Nonfiction (2005).

 

Our Top 3 Picks for Visual Books on Natural Hair

Add These  Beautiful, Inspirational and Educational Books on Black Hair To Your Collection 

#1 AFROS A Celebration of Natural Hair

Afros: A Celebration of Natural Hair, by Author Editor Photographer Michael July is fresh perspective and celebration of natural black hair and beauty. The thick coffee table book has over 100 pages of photos and quotes from the subjects both men and women who specifically wear their hair natural Afro style. Images from around the world are featured in this wonderful book.

 

 

 

#2 QUEENS Portraits of Black Women and their Fabulous Hair

Crowns Portraits of Black Women and their Fabulous Hair photographer Michael Cunningham and author and journalist George Alexander have captured the marvelous trinity of black women, hair, and beauty salons from USA to Africa to London in styles from the afro to the ponytail to dreadlocks to braids to relaxed hair to fantasy hair and everything from “good hair” to bad hair days.

 

 

 

#3 HAIR TALK Stylish Braids From African Roots

Hair Talk: Stylish Braids From African Roots By Author Duyan James is a colorful and beautifully photographed guide to the art of braids. Complete with stories, folklore and traditional hair care secrets. This amazing book gives a full sense of the history of many braiding styles.

Suggested readings by Kenneth and Sharon Holley It’s summertime…..It’s reading time!

If you have been waiting since fall, winter and spring to relax with good reading, now is your time. Take a book to the park, to the waterfront, on your front or back porch and immerse yourself in the words and images painted by a number of African American writers. Make your choice…biography, mystery, comedy, politics, history, romance…we have a book for you!

•The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell : Tales of a 6’4”, African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama’s Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian.

•Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women by Susan Burton and Cari Lynn

•Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It by Charlamagne Tha God •Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50 Year Friendship On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul- Jabbar

•Getting It Right: A Novel by Karen E. Osborne

•I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart

•The Wide Circumference of Love: A Novel by Marita Golden For the children:

•How to Become a Successful Young Woman with workbook by Mercedes Woodberry •How to Become a Successful Young Man with workbook by Diamond D. McNulty

Zawadi Books is located at 1382 Jefferson Avenue (across from Jim Bell Cleaners). Open Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 12 noon - 4 p.m. Call (716) 903-6740 for more information.

Book Release For “Daddy’s Girl Club: Scarlet’s Diary”

                            Phil Davis Sr. 

                            Phil Davis Sr. 

 Alemaedae Theater Productions is hosting a book release and signing event featuring Phil Davis Sr., author and creator of the "Daddy's Girl Club" TV Series, who will be reading excerpts from the novella "Scarlet's Diary" inspired by the television series on Saturday, July 1 at4 p.m. at the Oakk Room Lounge, 1435 Main Street. 

The TV Series follows the lives of four women whose issues stemming from their relationship with their fathers still affect them in adulthood. "Scarlet's Diary" is told through the character Scarlet during her teenage years, as she exposes her many issues and revelations growing up as a senator’s bi-racial daughter that is exposed to a world of sex, drugs, racism, and alcohol after her parents’ divorce.  Admission is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase. For more information call 716-250- 9935 or visit daddysgirlclubtv.com.

Book Review By Professor Hakim Bruce Cosby

Herbert Berg-Elijah Muhammad- Makers of the Muslim World

  Honorable Elijah Muhammad

  Honorable Elijah Muhammad

Elijah Muhammad by Herbert Berg is an effort to understand the significance of Elijah Muhammad to African Americans and the Muslim world at large. How is it that a man who labored successfully for forty years to build the Nation of Islam, an Islamic organization, is so grossly neglected by scholars? Heretofore, only two scholarly books have been written about Elijah Muhammad: Claude A. Clegg’s An Original Man: The Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad (1997) and Karl Evanzz’s The Messenger- The Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammad (1999). Berg, a professor of religion specializing in Islam in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the Book Review By Professor Hakim Bruce Cosby Herbert Berg, Elijah Muhammad- Makers of the Muslim World University of North Carolina Wilmington, seeks to add to this meager scholarship by situating the Nation of Islam in American history and comparing Elijah’s theology to other Islamic movements.

He grounds this analysis in the sporadic history in which Islam was introduced to the United States. Documents confirm that Islam came to North America as early as 1527 with the presence of Estevan or Stephen the Moor, a Moroccan Muslim. He was followed by Job Ben Solomon (d.1773), Abd ar-Rahman Ibrahima (d 1829), Lamine Kebe (d 1837), and Umar ibn Said (d.1864). It is estimated by some scholars that one third of enslaved Africans shipped to North America were Muslims. Berg is clear on what happened to this history: “Slavery as practiced in the United States erased many African ethnicities and identities, replacing them with a single racial identity: the Negro.” This was a stark contrast to “the Caribbean and Brazilian expressions of other African religions such as Candomble, Macumba, Umbanda, Santeria, and Voodoo.” Islam therefore had to be reintroduced to African Americans.

There was little missionary zeal among the Arab Muslims, who immigrated primarily from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine to the United States between 1875 and 1921. The first Muslim missionary was actually a white American, Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb (d.1916), who had converted to Islam in the Philippines. However, his message of universal brotherhood made few converts. Shaykh Daoud Ahmed Faisal founded the Islamic Mission, the first Sunni African American organization in New York City, in 1924.

His political philosophy paralleled Franz Fanon’s anti-colonialism, while simultaneously advocating American patriotism. The first Muslim-born missionary to come to the United States was an Ahmadi- Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, who arrived in the America in 1920. His proselytizing Ahmadiyya school of thought among African Americans was not well received. The Ahmadis were founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1875-1951), who was proclaimed to be the divinely appointed Mujadid (Renewer) of Islam, the promised Messiah of the Christians and Mahdi awaited by Muslims. (However, Berg does not mention, which is significant, the impact of Ahmadiyya on some of the most creative jazz musicians- Art Blakey, Ahmad Jamal, Mc- Coy Tyner, and Yusef Lateef, to mention a few.) Indirectly the Ahmadis influenced the Nation, as evidenced by the adoption of books written by Maulana Muhammad Ali, a leading Ahmadiyya; his English translation of the Quran and Anti-Christ, Gog and Magog were required reading in the Nation of Islam.

The first indigenous African American formulation of Islam was established around 1915 by Noble Drew Ali in Newark, New Jersey. Drew Ali wrote his own “Koran,” which was an eclectic mix of Christianity, Freemasonry, Egyptology and theosophy. He taught that African Americans were not Negroes, Black or even Colored -- they were “Asiatics” or specifically Moors. Thirty thousand Moorish Scientists survive today. In addition, Muhammad Ezaldeen, a former follower of Noble Drew Ali, founded the Addeynu Allahe Universal Arabic Association in the 1930s, an impactful movement in New Jersey and Upstate New York. Elijah Muhammad would establish the second indigenous African American formulation of Islam in the United States.

According to Berg, the more direct antecedents of “prominent features of Elijah Muhammad’s Islam” can be found in the teachings of two African American Christian clergy: the Pan-Africanism of Edward Wilmot Blyden (1834- 1912) and the African-centric theology of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner (1834-1915). Blyden’s classic Islam, Christianity and the Negro Race, theorized a unique African Personality and the notion that being an African is affirmed more in Islam than Christianity. Bishop Henry McNeal Turner of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is best known for the proclamation that God (or at least the image of god) was a Negro. Elijah Muhammad “almost single-handedly developed an indigenous form of Islam in the United States.” He “converted a large number of Americans to a religion which at that "time was almost completely foreign to American soil.” And he did so “in face of strong and sustained opposition [from the United States government].”

By the end of his life there were mosques in almost every major city, and Islam was no longer a religion merely of immigrants and their descendants. He converted hundreds of thousands perhaps millions to Islam. His significance is often eclipsed in the dominant media by his high profile followers, Malcolm X, Warith Deen Muhammad, Muhammd Ali and Louis Farrakhan. However, in Berg’s assessment, scholars have missed the foundation of these well known Muslims by not paying sufficient attention to the legacy of Elijah Muhammad. Berg’s analysis seeks to move beyond the racial mythology of Elijah Muhammad teachings. He achieves this by focusing on two questions: was Elijah unique in his seemingly unorthodox teachings, and in the final analysis, can he be considered a Muslim? On these questions Berg introduces a set of novel conceptual tools. Berg argues that it is a major mistake to approach Islam as a monolith. Few scholars “recognize that Muslims have been divided from the beginning on doctrines, practices, and polity…” Schools of thought will vary from Sunni, Sufi to Shia.

A Sunni Muslim in Indonesia may not recognize the practices of a Mouride of Senegal. Because the history of Islam is characterized by different schools of thought (or denominations), it is more proper to speak of multiple formulations or Islams. Another way of understanding the theology of Elijah Muhammad in the larger Islamic context is to compare his teachings with those of the ghulat, a term “used by heresiographers to accuse Muslims of exaggeration or hyperbole (ghuluw) in religious matters.” It was employed (often in internal debates among Shiites, Druzes and Ismailis) to disapprove of the exaltation of imams above ordinary humans. One example is the idea that “Ali did not die or that he was an incarnation of Allah.” Though different, Elijah’s theology suffers from three similar characteristics.

Suggested readings by Kenneth and Sharon Holley

TURNING PAGES AT ZAWADI BOOKS

“I was unhappy for a long time and very lonesome, living with my grandmother – then it was that books began to happen to me.”  Richard Wright

“Whether we are in need of a stimulus or a comforter, a passport to a new world or an explanation for this one, we can find satisfaction in the pages of a book.” Black Pearls for Parents

•At Mama’s Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White by April Ryan

•Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet – Book Two by TaNehisi Coates

•Colorations: The Art of William Cooper (Coloring Book)

•Never Caught: The Washington’s Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar

•Slaves of the State: Black Incarceration from Chain Gang to the Penitentiary by Dennis Childs

•We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement by Akinyele Omowale Umoja

For the children:

•Little Professor Skye Favorite Things by Munson Street

•Jaden Toussant, The Greatest (series) by Marti Dumas

•Positive Messages to Uplift and Empower Black Children by Baba Sekou Africa and others.

Mother’s Day cards and Graduation cards are hereat Zawadi Books, 1382 Jefferson Avenue (across from Jim Bell Cleaners). 716-903-6740. Open Wed, Fri Sat. 12-4p.m.

Two New Authors :

Janate Solar Ingrim Pens 'Cast Iron Omissions' and Kezia Pearson Pens  'Because I Am Me and You are You'  

Solar “The Community’s Daughter” Pens Cast Iron Omissions

                                Janate Solar Ingram

                                Janate Solar Ingram

Janate’ Solar Ingram, atalented, spirit-filled successful business woman, has been active in the Western New York Community for over 30 years, earning her the respected title of “Solar The Communities Daughter.”  She wears the crown well!

Ms. Ingram is not only a community activist, she is also a poet, playwright and author.  She most recently penned her Memoir, “Cast Iron Omissions,” through Still Standing Publishing out of Atlanta, GA. 

“Cast Iron Omissions” chronologically depicts the struggle of the author’s ability to withstand obstacles as her secular and spiritual worlds collide and at times, seem to threaten to knock her out by the blowscoming from all angles. A true survivor, she finds in retrospect that those harsh experiences enabled her to teach others that it is possible to stay strong in the midst of adversity.” 

She celebrated her 40th birthday with a combination book signing in Buffalo March 9.  “Cast Iron Omissions” is available on amazon.com andis also now available in the Erie County Library.   Janate’ was previously published, along with eleven other acclaimed co-authors last May,  in “Wounds-to-Wisdom, the Survivor’s Series,” where sheboldly and truthfully told her story about experiencing and confronting domestic violence.

Her books serve as powerful testimonies as to how she overcame seemingly insurmountableobstacles with the help of God to emerge a victor!  Ms. Ingram is a young and vibrant Evangelistic woman who has had to come to grips with her own mission; which is to faithfully go abouther life’s work promoting health and healing to others. 

-Janete’ Solar Ingram-

Janate’, an active Member of the Apostolic Rock Temple of the Living Godsince her late teens, has worked in the field of communications and radio broadcasting for major local networks. Currently Ms. Ingram has evolved to her place in the first Black Owned and Operated Station in WNY, WUFO 1080 AM, soon to be 100.7 FM. 

Here she finds that being the “Community’sDaughter”  holds to be particularly true. She is the assistant to Sheila L. Brown, CEO, who says of the rising star, “Solar has an awesome ability to articulate the message of the community via Black media. Whether it’s putting together a promotion, voicing commercials, or being her edgy self on Relentless Café, Solar is no stranger to tough work or challenging conversations.”

When asked how she juggles it all, Solar replied, “I have the best mentors, church Family, and community family members from all walks of life, and I embrace that catch phrase ‘Solar, the Communities Daughter’  with Frank Handley live inside Relentless Café on wufoam.com from 2 – 5pm.”

She is the proud Mother of four sons and two grandsons and is famous for her own homemade cuisines, one of her favorite being, ‘Pastellitos’.  She loves to cook, write poetry, and share spoken word, dance, and travel. Her passion for spreading the good news about business and events led Ms. Ingram to create Rezultz Marketing, a service created while completing her degree to help non-profits survive in todays economy. As a graduate of Bryant and Stratton Business Institute, she earned her A.A.S. Degree in Business Management and years later was afforded the opportunity to have worked as Enrollment Representative for her Alma Mater. 

For many years Solarserved effortlessly on the board for one of the most attended African American festivals in the country, Juneteenth of Buffalo Festival, which celebrates the anniversary of the emancipation of slavery.  And along with her very own Liturgical Dance Ministry, she has graced the aisles of many secular and religious stages alike.

Clearly the Creator has endowed Janate’ Solar Ingram – author, mother, mentor, radio personality, motivational youth advisor and more – withmany gifts; treasures that she continues to share with all who will receive them.


Book Signing and Reading to Feature Buffalo Author Kezia Pearson

On Saturday April 1, 2017 from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., East Community High School will host a book signing and reading by Buffalo Public School teacher, Kezia Pearson.  We are requesting the public come out and be a part of this exciting experience. There will also be a meet and greet/ question answer session.

Please bring your children so they too can be a part of this experience.

Kezia Pearson has worked for the Buffalo Board of Education for over 17 years where she currently teaches English Language Arts at East Community High School for 9th graders. She obtained her Bachelors of Arts in English and Master of Arts and Humanities in Film and Performance from the University of New York at Buffalo. 

Kezia writes poetry, short stories, and screenplays. She’s taught creative writing at James Madison University for The Institute, she’s a professional photographer as well as shoot videos for existing and up and coming entertainment artist.  She is also a designer. 

She has written and produced a number of African American History plays.  Her first published book is titled “Covered Mirrors” and recently she authored the book entitled “Because I Am Me and You are You.”. Her earliest master piece talks about “When you realize the greatest person you can be is you, you become amazed. Find your path and stay on it.” 

Because I am me and You are You! Will be the featured book for Saturday, April 1, 2017.  This children’s book is about becoming the best you that you can be!

Suggested Readings from Zawadi Books 

turning pages.jpeg

Strong communities starts at home. By building a basic library you put within reach the answers to many of your own and your children’s questions, questions that might otherwise go unanswered.  Oftentimes, the questions are much more important than the answers.”  Dorothy L. Ferebee How to Create Your Own African American Library, 2003.

Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips

The Meaning of Michelle: 16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own edited by Veronica Chambers

My Life, My Love, My Legacy – Coretta Scott King as told to the Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynoldz

The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved From Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation by Daina Ramey Berry

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson

“They Can’t Kill Us All” : Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery

Still in print:

Acts of Faith: Daily Medications for People of Color by Iyanla Vanzant

Black Pearls for Parents: Medications, Affirmations and Inspirations for African

Suggested readings by
Kenneth and Sharon Holley


“Incarceration” and “School to Prison Pipeline” are terms that have been frequently talked about in the African American Community.  Writers, such as Malcolm X certainly explored the issue in “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” as well as George Jackson in “Soledad Brother.”  Locally, the organization, Prisoners are People, Too meets monthly to discuss  prison reform and issues of incarceration.  We offer these titles on incarceration for your reading and information.

•Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur

•Felon Attorney by TheArthur A. Duncan II, Esq.

•Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

•Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Ones by Hill Harper

•The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

•A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival and Coming of Age in Prison by R. Dwayne Betts

•Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon
•Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal
•Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death and Redemption in an American Prison by Shaka Senghor

Suggested readings

by Kenneth and Sharon Holley Of Zawadi Books

 

Zawadi is a Swahili word that means “gift.”  According to Dr. Maulana Karenga, the Creator of Kwanzaa, “Gifts are given mainly to children, but should always include a book and a heritage symbol.  The book is to emphasize the African value and tradition of learning stressed since ancient Egypt, and the heritage symbol to reaffirm and reinforce the African commitment to tradition and history.” (Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture, 1998)

   At Zawadi Books, we have a wide selection of gifts and books for both children and adults:

Suggested titles for Adults

Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates

Charcoal Joe – Walter Mosley

The Coming – Daniel Black

Taking Bullets: Terrorism and Black Life in Twenty-first Century America – Haki Madhubuti

Underground Railroad – Colin Whitehead

Young Adult

Another Brooklyn – Jacqueline Woodson

The Crossover – Kwame Alexander

Children

Stop Calling Me That! My Name is Araminta – Virginia Batchelor, PhD.

 by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews.  Children’s picture book biography.

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement – Carole Boston

Graphic Novels

Black Panther v.1: A Nation Under Our Feet – Ta-Nehisi Coates

March – Book one, two and three – John Lewis, et. Al.

2017 calendars + journals+ puzzles

Author/Publisher Releases Scathing New Novel About Teachers Double Life! 

      Author: Banke Awopetu-McCullough

      Author: Banke Awopetu-McCullough

ROCHESTER, NY - The scathing novel Always Want More is back. This story of a teacher’s double life has created an appetite among readers everywhere. The second edition of Always Want More was released in June.

Originally released in 2014, the second edition includes a page titled "What Can I Do?" that suggests ways readers can contribute to urban education. A page titled "Want More of Always Want More?" provides information for book clubs and readers interested in engaging with the author.

Always Want More chronicles Tracy Mitchell’s journey as a first-year teacher in an inner-city school district and the deliciously dangerous balancing act she walks between her professional and personal life. When the two worlds collide she is left with a decision. Will her desire to reach children classified as "hopeless" be enough to keep her from a forbidden life with her soulmate?

Always Want More is a teacher’s story,” states author Banke Awopetu-McCullough.  “Teaching was my whole world when I was writing it and honestly I think I resented that a bit. I always imagined that teaching would be a passing career and when it required so much I was little rebellious. I imagined another life,one more exciting and dangerous. 

“The character of Tracy arose from that.,” she continues. “I wrote what I wanted to read—something soulful; rooted in Blackness that was sexy, stirring, and fast paced. By writing this story I was able to explore all that I felt in the classroom—power, obligation, pride, duty, disappointment. It was cathartic.” 

Teaching by day and writing at night, it took McCullough three years to complete her debut novel. It took an additional three years of trying to secure a book deal before she established her own publishing company, Concrete Rose Publications (whose name is inspired by Tupac Shakur’s “The Rose that Grew From Concrete”).

Always Want More can be purchased on banketheauthor.com, amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and 30 other online retailers.

ABOUT BANKE AWOPETU-MCCULLOUGH

Banke Awopetu-McCullough is an adjunct professor at Monroe Community College. Ms. McCullough and her husband reside in Rochester, New York. Visit her online at banketheauthor.com.

ABOUT CONCRETE ROSE PUBLICATIONSConcrete Rose Publications tells beautifully painful stories that entertain, enlighten, and empower. It is our belief that carefully crafted art can uplift entire communities. Visit concreterosepublications.com.

COMFORT: A Poem for Tamir Rice and His Mother, Samaria

by Vonetta T Rhodes 

(12 year old boy assassinated upon arrival by a policeman for playing with a toy gun in a public park in Cleveland, OH )

I long to be a place of comfort for my son.

A cooling water of Zham Zham.

A drinking gourd of what’s to come.

A gentle wind across the eyelashes of oppression.

Suns are meant to rise and set and rise until The Lord says 

Thy Will be Done.

She wished to be a place of comfort for her son.

Way before the gun.

When he came as a seed announcing his presence in her womb.

She gave her body and food to take, eat, and do in remembrance.

He came from within her manger swaddled in a garment,

and she was there to give comfort  

with her chest,

her arms, 

her breath,

her breasts,

her heart,

her love,

her love,

her love.

Throughout many happy days,

morning were filled with the goodness of life, and peaceful, serene nights.

His bed was warm and welcomed.

His meals were soft flesh with a depth of deliciousness.

His smile was her insurance policy called Longevity Life.

She paid the premium timely, so adulthood would be his unalienable right.

Comfort… Boys play.

Boys seize the day.

Boys have a warrior quality.

Boys get lost in fantasy.

Boys spin and whirl and wiz.

Boys have a natural inclination

to take whatever it is and make it into a weapon,

a sword,

a laser beam, 

a lasso, and, yes, even a gun.

A 12 year old son,

exercising the comfort of boyhood,

playing and aiming a toy gun

into non-threatened, by-standing air,

was shot for feeling comfortable

to be a natural wonder-boy in brown skin.

Perhaps the Brown Hornet or Captain America even.

He fell to the ground without the comfort of a question like,

“Hey, what are you doing, Kid?”

No comfort allowed from his screaming, alarmed sister.

His mom not permitted to join him again,

as he laid now swaddled in bullet-riddled clothing,

in a rapidly moving, impersonal white manger.

No chance for resurrection of this shining young sun of God,

cuz he was not even given any resuscitation of the scene of danger.

Where is the comfort in yet another Black child being taken too soon?

Lately i wanna say that our wombs are our wounds.

There is comfort in knowing vengeance is mine saith The Lord.

It’s hard to find comfort in the uncertainty of life

and the cruel reality of police brutality and blue textured murder.

Where is the comfort in justice?

I long to be a place of comfort for my son.

A cooling water of Zham Zham.

A drinking gourd of what’s to come.

A gentle wind across the eyelashes of oppression.

A sun is meant to rise and set and rise and set and rise and set and rise and rise and rise.

Today,

tomorrow,

and the next day.

Living the comfort to happily say, “Amen.”

Where was his comfort in growing to be A MAN?

-©vonetta t. rhodes 12/30/15

 

Suggested readings by Kenneth and Sharon Holley

Never underestimate the value of reading; it is one of the keys to education. “My alma mater was books, a good library…I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.” Malcolm X

New and Recent Books

 

•The Coming by Daniel Black ( Daniel Black will be speaking at Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church, 641 Masten Ave. at 10 am service on Sunday, June 19th…book signing to follow.)

 

 

 

Taking Bullets: Terrorism and Black Life in Twenty-first Century America by Haki Madhubuti.  This is Haki’s first book of essays since Black Men: Obsolete, Single and Dangerous (1990).  It is a warning but more importantly a guide to survival for the 21st century.

 

 

 

Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death and Redemption in an American Prison by Shaka Senghor

 

 

 

 

 

•Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil: The Life, Legacy and Love of my son, Michael Brown by Lezley McSpadden

 

 

 

 

 

•Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in School by Monique W. Morris

 

 

 

 

 

•Kill‘em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul by James McBride

 

 

 

 

•The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America by Michael Eric Dyson

 

 

 

 

•For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education by Christopher Emdin

 

 

 

 

 

•Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.

 

 

“Readers Are Leaders!”

Suggested Readings by Kenneth and Sharon Holley

“I would like to make you love books more than your mama; I would like to bring their beauty right in front of your face.  It is greater than any calling.”   

Egyptian Philosopher Duauf on his love of reading.

We have recently read two books with the same theme. Both were written by African American men who served time in prison.  Both men stated that they had never read a book until they were in jail.  Neither came from families where there were books in the home and no family member showed an interest in reading except when it was required for school.  We believe that our children must see books in the home and they must see an adult reading and enjoying reading.  We urge mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles to pick up a book to read and give a book to a child. This one small action could change lives – yours and the child.

There are many lists to choose from and we offer a few of our favorites.  Also check the Coretta Scott King Award Books (aalbc.com/books/csk-award-winning-books).

Young Adults

Cooper Sun  by Sharon Draper.  A story of the Underground Railroad going South.

Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake.  Learning to love who you are.

X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz.  A Fictional account of Malcolm X written by his daughter.

Shooter by Walter Dean Myers.  A shooting at school raises fear.

Crossover by Kwame Alexander.  A basketball novel.

Younger Children

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamerby Carole Boston Weatherford.

Minty by Alan Schroeder.  Early life of Harriet Tubman

Mama Mita by Donna Jo Napoli.  Story of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangara Mathai.

Never Forgotten  by Patricia McKissack.  Rembering the Middle Passage.

The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can by Dr. Tererai Trent.  A True Story

“Readers Are Leaders!”

Suggested Readings by Kenneth and Sharon Holley

“I would like to make you love books more than your mama; I would like to bring their beauty right in front of your face.  It is greater than any calling.”   

Egyptian Philosopher Duauf on his love of reading.

We have recently read two books with the same theme. Both were written by African American men who served time in prison.  Both men stated that they had never read a book until they were in jail.  Neither came from families where there were books in the home and no family member showed an interest in reading except when it was required for school.  We believe that our children must see books in the home and they must see an adult reading and enjoying reading.  We urge mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles to pick up a book to read and give a book to a child. This one small action could change lives – yours and the child.

There are many lists to choose from and we offer a few of our favorites.  Also check the Coretta Scott King Award Books (aalbc.com/books/csk-award-winning-books).

Young Adults

Cooper Sun  by Sharon Draper.  A story of the Underground Railroad going South.

Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake.  Learning to love who you are.

X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz.  A Fictional account of Malcolm X written by his daughter.

Shooter by Walter Dean Myers.  A shooting at school raises fear.

Crossover by Kwame Alexander.  A basketball novel.

Younger Children

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamerby Carole Boston Weatherford.

Minty by Alan Schroeder.  Early life of Harriet Tubman

Mama Mita by Donna Jo Napoli.  Story of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangara Mathai.

Never Forgotten  by Patricia McKissack.  Rembering the Middle Passage.

The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can by Dr. Tererai Trent.  A True Story

Black History Month Reading List 

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In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson began Negro History Week in February to acknowledge the birthdays  of two men whom he admired – Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas.  One hundred years later we are still honoring Dr. Carter G. Woodson with the celebration  of Black History Month during February.  We must remember however, that Dr. Woodson wanted us to use February to review what we have learned all year and not to begin and end the study of Black History only in February. Let’s get started with these  readings and build a background for study.

•Miseducation of the Negro by Dr. Carter Woodson.  This book was written in 1933 but it reads current for today.  Dr. Woodson distinguishes the difference between education and training.

•Introduction to African Civilization by John G. Jackson.  A panoramic view from dawn of prehistory to modern Africa.

•African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality  by Cheikh Anta Diop.  Answers the question with historical, archeological and anthropological evidence that the civilization of ancient Egypt is African.  

Introduction to Black Studies by Maulana Karenga.  A text for the discipline of Black Studies.

•Africa’s Gift to America by J.A. Rogers.  From the African background to the contributions of African Americans in America.

•Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race From 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D. by Chancellor Williams.  A comprehensive analysis of the African past with a suggested plan for the future.

•African Origins of the Major Western Religions by Yosef ben-Jochannan.  The African influence on Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

•Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization by Anthony T. Browder.  Understanding the Nile Valley Civilization of Ancient Egypt and its role in future civilizations.

After Outrage Publisher Pulls Happy Slaves Children’s Book

A Birthday Cake for George Washington makes it seem as though an enslaved father and daughter were perfectly fine with being oppressed.

Amidst growing criticism of a children’s book depicting happy slaves baking a cake for George Washington, publisher Scholastic has announced it is pulling the book from retailers. In a statement to the Associated Press, Scholastic said this: “While we have great respect for the integrity and scholarship of the author, illustrator and editor, we believe that, without more historical background on the evils of slavery than this book for younger children can provide, the book may give a false impression of the reality of the lives of slaves and therefore should be withdrawn.” Earlier The Root published a critique from Demetria Lucas-D’Oyley which read in part:

I learned about Scholastic’s new children’s book, A Birthday Cake for George Washington, when a friend emailed me on Friday to ask, “Uh … have you seen this [expletive]?” Her note was accompanied by the book’s back cover, which depicted an illustration of a smiling enslaved man and child, accompanied by their beaming master—America’s first president, George Washington. Washington had his arm around the enslaved man’s shoulder like they were bros instead of oppressor and oppressed. 

My knee-jerk reaction was a string of expletives as I tried to process this level of disrespect. Can you imagine a modern-day American publisher pushing a book about a cheery Jewish father and daughter on a trivial mission to bake a cake for the birthday of, say, an SS guard at Auschwitz? Can you picture a children’s book depicting a Jewish dad and child at a concentration camp snuggled up and cozy with Hitler? Never! So why is it somehow OK to show enslaved Black folks practically cuddling with their oppressors?

The real shocker: this reading material, aimed at 7- to 10-year-olds, is authored by Ramin Ganeshram, (a Black woman), a and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (also Black).

challenger community news/turning pages at zawadi books

Give The Gift of Heritage!

With the holidays approaching, Think Heritage – Think Zawadi Books!  We have a fine collections of books, cards, calendars, journals, bookmarks, pencils and buttons for you and for gift giving.

29 Years of Preparation: A Guide and Blueprint for Success by Sheila L. Brown.  iUniverse, 2015

Black Hollywood Unchained Commentary on the State of Black Hollywoodedited by Ishmael ReedThird World Press, 2015.

Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflection on Race and Medicine by Damon Tweedy, MD. Picador, 2015

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Beacon Press, 2015

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. Spiegel & Grau, 2015

Moment of Silence: Midnight III (novel) by Sister Souljah. Aria, 2015.


“You must never stop learning.  The world’s greatest men and women were people who educated themselves outside the university with all the knowledge that the university gives, and you have the opportunity of doing the same thing the university student does – read and study….One must never stop reading”   Honorable Marcus Garvey

*All Access: A Novel by Omar Tyree.  OTI

*Balm: A Novel by Dolen Perkins-Valdez.  Amistad

*Becoming Belafonte by Judith E. Smith.  U. of Texas Press

*The Face That Changed It All by Beverly Johnson. Atria

*Grant Park: A Novel by Leonard Pitts, Jr.  Bolden

*How To Teach Math To Black Students by Shadid Muhammad.  African American Images

*Silent Leader: The Biography of Freddie L. Thomas by Rodney Brown.  Brown Pub. *S O S Poems 1961-2013 by Amiri Baraka.  Grove Press

BOOK SIGNING!

Zawadi Books invite you to a Book Signing on Saturday, October 24 from 5-7 pm to meet and greet Mustapha Kashief author of I’m Saying What You’re Saying.

 


The Power of Reading to Your Child

“I would like to make you love books more than your momma; I would like to bring their beauty right in front of your face.  It is greater than any calling.”  Dauf, Ancient African Philosopher.

This ancient calling on the importance of reading has been handed down to African American people.  We have been beaten and killed for picking up a book, yet we must continue to hand down the importance of reading to our children.  The beauty in reading must start before they step into a school.  We have listed a few books to introduce and read to your young children.  The power of reading to your child, especially books that reflect their history and heritage is the greatest gift you can give.  Begin now.

*Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz.  Anthenum. 

*Every Little Thing (Board Book) by Bob Marley.  Chronicle Books

Nasty Nathan (the no-good gnat who never listened to nobody) by Djed Snead. Moon Water.

*I Love My Hair (Board Book) by Natasha Tarpley.  Hatchette

*Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson.  Harper Collins

*Firebird: Ballerina Misty Coleman Shows a Young Girl How to Dance Like the Firebird by Misty Coleman.  Putnam

*Lies and Other Tall Tales by Zora Neale Hurston.  Harper (not shown in covers above)

**Underground : Finding the Light to Freedom by Shane W. Evans.  Roaring Brook Press. (not shown in covers above)


Suggested Readings

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  

Random House, 2015.  

This is a letter that Coates has written to his adolescent son describing a history of growing up in a Black body in America.  An historical overview is given of the many challenges that he will face during his lifetime.  Coates’ narrative presents to his son and all our Black boys what it means to live in their Black bodies.

Complete Muhammad Ali by Ishmael Reed.  Barak Books, 2015.

Buffalo native, Ishmael Reed has written a biography of Muhammad Ali – the Icon.  He explores the man who stood up for his beliefs as well as the Ali who was influenced by those who took advantage of his greatness.  This book looks at the history of boxing from Jack Johnson to Floyd Mayweather.  It is a refreshing look of the one who is known as “The Greatest.”

God Help the Child

by Toni Morrison.  Alfred Knopf, 2015.

Bride, a young Black woman grows up “unloved” by her mother, Sweetness.  Her relationship with her boyfriend, Booker and her friend, Brooklyn are also on edge.  This novel speaks to the issue of what is done to people early in life affects their future and is never forgotten.

 

I’m Saying What You’re Saying

by Mustapha Kashief. 

 Xlibris Press, 2015.

Local author, Mustapha Kashief publishes a book of quotations that can be utilized in our daily lives.  “If your ears are attentive knowledge will be spoke into them.”

 

Zawadi Books is located at 2460 Main Street ,

 Buffalo, NY 14214 .

 (716) 903-6740