Three Girls Stood In A Line On National TV. What They Do? I Have CHILLS!| Little Things

“Get Lit” – Changing the World, One Word at a Time!

What these girls learned in school is not pretty, but well articulated.

These outspoken, brave girls are part of Get Lit, “the leading nonprofit presenter of literary performance, education, and teen poetry programs in Southern California,” according to their website.

The remarkable young girls were featured on the Queen Latifah Show to perform a slam poetry piece called “Somewhere in America,” and as you will see, their powerful words strike up many emotions in just a few seconds.

via Three Girls Stood In A Line On National TV. What They Do? I Have CHILLS!.

America’s Dangerous Turn to Anti-Intellectualism | Alternet

America's Dangerous Turn to Anti-Intellectualism | Alternet

Recently, I found out that my work is mentioned in a book that has been banned, in effect, from the schools in Tucson, Arizona. The anti-ethnic studies law passed by the state prohibits teachings that “promote the overthrow of the United States government,” “promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” and/or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” I invite you to read the book in question, titled Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, so that you can decide for yourselves whether it qualifies.

via America’s Dangerous Turn to Anti-Intellectualism | Alternet.

Revolutionary Hope: A Conversation Between James Baldwin and Audre Lorde

James Baldwin & Audre Lorde

The Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts republished this conversation between iconic Black thinkers James Baldwin and Audre Lorde on their Tumblr page. The conversation took place at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA and was was originally published in ESSENCE in 1984.

The dialogue reveals the importance of recognizing that shared racial histories cannot overshadow the divergent gendered histories between Black men and women.

via Revolutionary Hope: A Conversation Between James Baldwin and Audre Lorde.

Goodness: Altruism and the Literary Imagination

The annual Ingersoll Lecture on Immortality was presented on December 6 by Toni Morrison, the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emerita, Princeton University, and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In a talk titled “Goodness: Altruism and the Literary Imagination,” she explored how authors illuminate concepts of good and evil. She also examined the treatment of goodness in her own novels.

Toni Morrison Takes White Supremacy To Task

Few intellectuals have waged a public battle against white supremacy and patriarchy like Toni Morrison. Morrison has both examined and challenged systems of domination throughout her intellectual life. With her novels, essays, and interviews she has taken critical looks at the interlocking systems of race and gender oppression. In this interview she is asked by PBS’s Charlie Rose what it is like for her to encounter racism. In true Morrison fashion she turns the question on its head, and places the onus for explaining racism back into the hands of White people. She asks Rose what he thinks of racism, why do Whites hold onto, and what are they going to do about it ending it. She rejects the notion that racism is simply something that Black people must grapple with, insisting, demanding, that White people also grapple with it. Fearless. Brilliant. Powerful.

Study: Reading Fiction Makes People Comfortable With Ambiguity

Critical Reading

A trio of University of Toronto scholars, led by psychologist Maja Djikic, report that people who have just read a short story have less need for what psychologists call “cognitive closure.” Compared with peers who have just read an essay, they expressed more comfort with disorder and uncertainty—attitudes that allow for both sophisticated thinking and greater creativity.

via Study: Reading Fiction Makes People Comfortable With Ambiguity.

Gurrrl, You Just Have to Read This! The 2013 Clutch Reading Challenge | Clutch Magazine

Gurrrl, You Just Have to Read This! The 2013 Clutch Reading Challenge

readingThis is what happens when bookish black women start talking about good literature on a lazy holiday weekday. I asked folks on Twitter andFacebook to help me craft a list of 10 books by black women that everyone should read. Instead of 10, I got 100.

Rwanda revisited with Mahmood Mamdani’s When Victims Become Killers

Teaching African History or Politics this semester? Don’t forget to add “When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda” by Mahmood Mamdani to your suggested reading list.

Gwendolyn Brooks


Gwendolyn Brooks is my favorite poet since she has shown the most versatility in her poetics and style. During the 1940’s to 1967, Brooks published three poetry collections and a novel. A Street in Bronzeville, Annie Allen and The Bean Eaters Brooks’ poetics were heavily structured and followed strict European methodology, ie: ballads, Shakespearian sonnets and rhythms. Her “Gay Chaps at the Bar” consists of twelve sonnets with inconsistent rhyme schemes. Still their style is orderly tight and firm as the language they are written in. Her free verse measures conservatively compared to modern experiments with diction and verse. Brooks chiseled lines for “the old marrieds” such as; “But in the crowding darkness not a word did they say,/ Though the pretty-coated birds had piped so lightly all the day.” The Pulitzer Prize winning Annie Allen series is the tightest of Brooks’ poetry. The tension between the verses and the heavy modernist imagery make it difficult reading, yet it is the most crafty of all her works.


Clogged and soft and sloppy eyes

Have lost the light that bites or terrifies.


The mainstay of Brooks’ work is her preoccupation with the black perspective. Although she writes in the language of Shakespeare, her subjects are WWII black soldiers, prostitutes, families and the average black men and women of her Bronzeville, Chicago neighborhood. 1953’s murder of a young black man, Emmett Till, the Brown vs the Topeka anti-school segregation decision, and their aftermaths brought the revolutionary spirit into Brooks’ poetry. The Bean Eaters featured the “A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi/ Meanwhile, a Mississippi Mother Burns Bacon” and “The Chicago Defender Sends a Man to Little Rock.” “A Bronzeville Mother Loiters in Mississippi/ Meanwhile, a Mississippi Mother Burns Bacon” was the most creative ballad in the collection yet it silenced many of Brooks’ white business and social acquaintances with its publication.

These subjects took on new positions with the increase in black consciousness and black philosophical scholarship. Black artist became exceptionally important in 1960’s Civil Rights era. Black intellectuals realized that political and economic gained no sure- footing without a cultural re-evaluation. This was the Triple front approach to revolution of the black persona in America. The symbolism of white supremacy and black inferiority had become so ingrained in the black society that no amount of voting rights could undo the damage of years of involuntary African slavery. Pan Africanism became the solution for many radical black leaders across the globe.

Gwendolyn Brooks had always been an integrationist. But an integrationist with a stable sense of black self and community would eventually give way to the Pan Africanist community and ideology.

In 1967, Gwendolyn Brooks entered the halls of Fisk University to find blacks angry and no longer willing to settle for the fringes of a white society. They had declared themselves a culture equal to that of any other, and set out to prove it through their art and letters. Her years of teaching from 1963 to 1971 afforded her access to the African American world outside of the Bronzeville Black Belt. Brooks’ adaptation to the discard of European forms of writing and criticism freed her to experiment with the familiar rhythms of the African heart while keeping control of her language. Her poetry, with structure not altogether abandoned, expressed the freedom and clarity to bridge her crafty pen with the new Black Aesthetic of the Black Arts Movement. From this change came, Riot, a series of poems dedicated to the underlying currents of black society in this unruly state.

A clean riot is not one in which little rioters

long-stomped, long-straddled, BEANLESS

but knowing no Why

go steal in hell

a radio, sit to hear James Brown

and sun themselves in Sin


However, what

is going on

is going on.


Riot was later included in to disembark, a collection of poems directing the masses of angry blacks, away from the self-destructive impulse to destroy its own neighborhoods and people, towards unification and African identification. As a chronicler of the early years of black history, Brooks stayed true to her calling as racial poet despite her detour into political outcry.

Brooks’ post Civil Rights poetry has settled back into home and hearth, but mostly her concerns are for black children and their education. The most interesting of her 1987 Montgomery and other Poems is the selections from Children Coming Home,


According to my Teachers,

I am now African American.


They call me out of my name.


BLACK is an open umbrella.

I am Black and A Black forever.


I am one of The Blacks.


The journey from Chicago housewife and regional poet to world examiner and Pan Africanist is documented throughout her works. It had been a long journey from A Street in Bronzeville to Children Coming Home. Brooks’ is not only a poet but a historian of African American literature.