National Black Book Festival

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Black Kindle - 12 Years a Slave - Michael Baisden

I did see the movie.  I was upset and cried like a baby.  I wish I could put into words what I saw, but I don't need to, Mr. Baisden did it for me. Read on, read on.....


Michael Baisden - I woke up in the middle of the night still troubled by the images I had seen in the movie, 12 Years A Slave. I couldn’t get the scenes out of my mind of the families being torn apart and auctioned off to different plantations; mother and child and brother and sister never to see each other again. As my eyes slowly opened... slightly watery I played back the horrific sound of the slave masters whip as it tore the flesh off the black female character’s back. The sight of the blood shooting profusely from her body made my blood boil. I was pissed!

But my anger wasn’t only for the institution of slavery or the cruel slave masters that raped, tortured, and murdered our people, my disdain was focus mainly on those black and brown people who don’t realize we are still enslaved…in many ways worse than legalized slavery.

Instead of black families being tore apart at the auction block millions of black men and women are voluntarily walking away from their children leaving them vulnerable to being rape, molested, and imprisoned. There is no need for plantations where we pick cotton or mine coal in the relentless summer heat, those industries have been replaced by “For Profit” prisons were the government pays corporate slave masters 60,000 a year to lock away poor black and brown people for many more years than whites for the same crime and then contract them out to other greedy corporations to earn higher profits.

So what’s worse, a system of slavery where we are forced to be violent, ignorant, and stab each other in the back, or a system where we voluntarily kill one another, abandon our children, and refuse to read a book? You tell me!

What was most disturbing was that the story of Solomon Northup being kidnapped and sold into slavery was a true tale. He was one of many thousands, the majority of who would never see freedom or their families again. Most of them died breaking their backs eighteen hours a day in horrendous conditions. It took him 12 years in the worse conditions imaginable to finally make it home. But you and I have the freedom today to stop this madness and start working together as a people to improve our social and economic condition. But we seem unwilling or unable to do so, and to me, that’s worse than slavery!

And we wonder why other races don’t respect us. We waste our valuable resources trying to keep up with the Joneses, we as black men disrespect our women, in frustration our women shout, “I don’t need a man!”, we abandon our children out of selfishness, and we refuse to pool our resources together and instead beg other races for employment and money to educate our children. That’s worse than slavery!

I tried to go back to sleep but as you can see from the time of this post at 6:15 am, I was unable to. I couldn’t help thinking about the nearly empty theater I sat in to watch this amazing film. With the exception of the people I invited, teacher Mr. Wheeler, and the 20 young men we mentor at Evans High School the majority of people in attendance were white. How in the hell can we expect to move forward when we are too lazy or ashamed to acknowledge our own history and pay tribute to those who made it possible for us to be here? And that, to me, is worse than physically slavery; it’s mental slavery! Wake up people, the fight is not over!


But my anger wasn’t only for the institution of slavery or the cruel slave masters that raped, tortured, and murdered our people, my disdain was focus mainly on those black and brown people who don’t realize we are still enslaved…in many ways worse than legalized slavery.

Instead of black families being tore apart at the auction block millions of black men and women are voluntarily walking away from their children leaving them vulnerable to being rape, molested, and imprisoned. There is no need for plantations where we pick cotton or mine coal in the relentless summer heat, those industries have been replaced by “For Profit” prisons were the government pays corporate slave masters 60,000 a year to lock away poor black and brown people for many more years than whites for the same crime and then contract them out to other greedy corporations to earn higher profits.

So what’s worse, a system of slavery where we are forced to be violent, ignorant, and stab each other in the back, or a system where we voluntarily kill one another, abandon our children, and refuse to read a book? You tell me!

What was most disturbing was that the story of Solomon Northup being kidnapped and sold into slavery was a true tale. He was one of many thousands, the majority of who would never see freedom or their families again. Most of them died breaking their backs eighteen hours a day in horrendous conditions. It took him 12 years in the worse conditions imaginable to finally make it home. But you and I have the freedom today to stop this madness and start working together as a people to improve our social and economic condition. But we seem unwilling or unable to do so, and to me, that’s worse than slavery!

And we wonder why other races don’t respect us. We waste our valuable resources trying to keep up with the Joneses, we as black men disrespect our women, in frustration our women shout, “I don’t need a man!”, we abandon our children out of selfishness, and we refuse to pool our resources together and instead beg other races for employment and money to educate our children. That’s worse than slavery!

I tried to go back to sleep but as you can see from the time of this post at 6:15 am, I was unable to. I couldn’t help thinking about the nearly empty theater I sat in to watch this amazing film. With the exception of the people I invited, teacher Mr. Wheeler, and the 20 young men we mentor at Evans High School the majority of people in attendance were white. How in the hell can we expect to move forward when we are too lazy or ashamed to acknowledge our own history and pay tribute to those who made it possible for us to be here? And that, to me, is worse than physically slavery; it’s mental slavery! Wake up people, the fight is not over!








Saturday, November 9, 2013

Black Kindle - Twelve Years a Slave


NUMBER 168

It's a got damn shame that so many places in these here United States will not show the movie, "Twelve Years a Slave." My BookClubGroupies have been checking around Charleston and it's surrounding area to see where it is showing. So far, no place and I mean no place in the state of South Carolina is it showing.  


They should be damn ashamed of themselves.  All is the history of South Carolina: Market street in downtown Charleston has one of the original "slave market." Boone Hall Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina is one of the oldest "working" antebellum plantations. Aiken Colored Cemetery in Aiken, SC. Schofield School, founded by the Freedmen's Bureau after the Civil War. Howe Hall Plantation in Goose Creek. Aiken-Rhett House Slave Quarters in downtown Charleston. The Avery Institute which now called the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, which many African American authors have come there to talk and sell their books. Denmark Vesey House in Charleston. Sweetgrass baskets off of route 17 in Mt. Pleasant.  The language of Gullah.  The home of Dizzy Gillespie, William H. Johnson, a 20th century artist.  Go see the movie! Go buy the book!

I drafted this blog last week and just found out yesterday that there will be some theaters showing the movie.  I wonder what happen? Backlash! They still alt to be ashamed of themselves.

Twelve Years A Slave: Full Book and Comprehensive Reading Companion


I could go on for freaking forever and list page after page of the sweat, tears, anger, hope, love, hatred, money hungry low down scalawags, and the heinous atrocities known to man. That won't get rid of the hurt nor solve anything.  What will solve many things is to not forget and remember where we came from and how much many African Americans endured. If it wasn't for them, we would not be where we are today. Now if we can only remember that, may be we will stop complaining and running scared from a movie and do something about it.  I'm not letting a damn soul forget our history.  I remember I was always preaching at the Asylum about Black History and I hope they picked up a few things.

Let's do some Black History books.  Not from years past, but current. We have some good writers out there and I hope you support them.  I am by promoting this blog to get money to buy their books, to promote, and push their works like a drug dealer on the street corner. 

C. MICHAEL FORSYTH - THE BLOOD OF TITANS - $2.99 - - - The Blood of Titans is unique love story set in the Golden Age of Africa. It is the tale of Halima, a teenage princess who falls in love with a warrior king. Enormous obstacles lie in the way of their happiness. In the course of their adventures, Princess Halima learns about loss, duty, and the high price of romantic love -- and must make a choice that determines the future of kingdoms.


EDWARD P. JONES - THE KNOWN WORLD - $7.99 - - - I truly did enjoy reading this book and meeting him. The story of Henry Townsend, a black farmer and former slave who falls under the tutelage of William Robbins, the most powerful man in Manchester County, Virginia. Making certain he never circumvents the law, Townsend runs his affairs with unusual discipline. But when death takes him unexpectedly, his widow, Caldonia, can't uphold the estate's order and chaos ensues. In a daring and ambitious novel, Jones has woven a footnote of history into an epic that takes an unflinching look at slavery in all of its moral complexities. 


JOEL B. REED – MURDER IN THE CHOIR (THE JAZZ PHILLIPS MYSTERY SERIES) - - $ 99 Cents - - -   When a famous black musician is shot down at his eightieth birthday celebration in a small settlement in rural Arkansas, no one can imagine why. Smiley Jones was a living legend, a sweet fatherly soul loved by all, and there is intense political pressure to find his killer. To solve the case the sheriff calls in Jazz Phillips, renowned former head of the Arkansas CID. Unfortunately, the governor calls in the FBI, whose bumbling senior agent almost blows the case.
Despite the incompetence of the senior agent, Jazz quickly discovers a dark side of Smiley Jones that yields a wide field of suspects. Narrowing down the list, Jazz discovers this is no simple murder and he finds himself plunged into the shadow world of national security. Jazz also discovers he is on the trail of an international assassin and finds himself no longer the hunter. He is also the prey of the man never seen; a professional assassin who leaves no loose ends.
DANTE FEENIX – BLACK BUTTERFLY – $2.99 Cents - - - This is book one of three and I never heard of him and saw some good and some bad reviews of his books, but for 99 cents, I will at least give it a try.
Set in Baltimore City, I expected Black Butterfly to be just another urban drama. Guns, drugs, and gangsters. Predictable, but entertaining. However, amidst the violence, local slang, and dark backdrop there is an unpredictable, intelligent, and heart wrenching story. A single mother and her extremely intelligent young son share a close relationship built on support. The dynamics of that relationship is tested when the mother becomes a local celebrity on the first all black soap opera, Black Butterfly. She's ultimately sucked into a world of fame and the dirt that comes with it, when art imitates life and she's accused of murder! As she flees to clear her name she encounters bad guys and bad situations she ultimately deals with in an unpredictable fashion.
Got to stick on one for Black History Year.  
PAMELA SAMUELS YOUNG - THE SETUP - $ 99 cents - - - I call Mrs. Young, the “John Grisham” of black lawyer writers, she got the “Gift” and damn sure using it well.  I will buy anything and everything from this woman, she knows murder.
When a star running back is gunned down by a cop with a questionable history, the city of L.A. is on the verge of a racial explosion. Enter a lawyer who comes to the cop's defense, but a desire for justice hasn't nothing to do with it.


JOHN HOPE FRANKLIN - FROM SLAVERY TO FREEDOM - $34.33 (paperback $23.99) - - - This is a classic and remains the most revered, respected, and honored text on the market. The preeminent history of African Americans, this best-selling text charts the journey of African Americans from their origins in Africa, through slavery in the Western Hemisphere, struggles for freedom in the West Indies, Latin America, and the United States, various migrations, and the continuing quest for racial equality. Building on John Hope Franklin's classic work, the ninth edition has been thoroughly rewritten by the award-winning scholar Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. It includes new chapters and updated information based on the most current scholarship. With a new narrative that brings intellectual depth and fresh insight to a rich array of topics, the text features greater coverage of ancestral Africa, African American women, differing expressions of protest, local community activism, black internationalism, civil rights and black power, as well as the election of our first African American president in 2008. The text also has a fresh new 4-color design with new charts, maps, photographs, paintings, and illustrations.






Saturday, November 2, 2013

Black Kindle - The Asylum Characters

NUMBER 167

First thing first.  I made a boo boo in my last blog.  Jesse (Not Jessie) Owens won four gold medals in 1936 not 1036.  I should know better because I know my black history. "Get it together, VaLinda, get it together!"  I got to be extra careful with my blogging. Now on to my story.

I am a little disappointed about being released from the "Part Time Job At The Asylum."  I'm going to miss writing about and working with those screwed up people and their deranged lives and antics. I will miss:

(A) The bathroom drug taker. 

(B) The crying woman who lives in a rundown trailer park with a boyfriend who does not work. I think and have heard that he sells drugs, but who knows.

(C) The young shift manager pregnant with baby number 3 by daddy number 3 who is the brother to the prostitute.

(D) The prostitute. Yep, she works there too.  For a while I just thought she was lucky with men.  There were white and black men coming in and out the store, giving her rides home (she has no car), money and flirting.  I just thought she was a regular old slut, not a prostitute.  I have always said, if you are going to be a prostitute, be an expensive one.  Don’t charge 20 or 30 dollars, get some real money.  Contact what’s his name from New York who paid $5,000 for his hooker.  Get some money for your retirement.  

You would think with all of the urban books I have read, I would have picked up that she was a cheap hooker.  I finally got it when I overheard some of the employees snickering about her.  She is a nice looking young woman with the worse hair colors I’ve ever seen.  So, I didn't understand what they, men and a few women, saw in her, but to each it's own.  

(E) The long time employee who cleans that place like a mother, but will cuss you and a few customers out in a minute.  She has not been fired yet, because many of the customers who come into the store love her.  Written comments from customers have always been how she provides outstanding service and she does, when she is not angry.  She is the second longest employee there since the store open four years ago. She is also the one I had to hold on to and drag her outside of the store to stop her from physically fighting the prostitute. 

(F) The only other employee with more time, from the opening, is a black, retired military man who is plan old lazy and no bigger than a minute.  Nice enough fellow, but boy does he move slower than a turtle. 

(G) The young black kid who worked for two weeks, left to sell drugs, returned a few months later, then left again.  He told me he could not take getting up early. 

(H) The young black kid who came from another store, he was close friends with the first manager I worked with, stole $100.  The manager, who was really hurt by this since she went out of her way to hire him, called the police.  He tried to play it off, but the police showed him and all of us the video of him opening the safe and stealing it.  You can’t make this crap up. 

(I) Another pregnant young black woman arguing on Face book with another woman who was also pregnant at the same time by her current boyfriend.  She already have one kid by another guy and was pregnant by this guy when she found out.  She got an abortion.  I kid you not. 

(J) Older white woman who came on board after her son convinced the manager to hire her as a shift manager.  Her son was working there at the time.  A good kid.   He left a short time later to go back to school.  She was always boosting how she would be a better manager because of her expertise in running other fast foods chains.  I would just listen and sing in my head some random song.  I do that when I’m not interested in what the hell you are talking about.  It’s better than being rude, but sometimes I did say to her, “I don’t want to hear it.”  She is also living in a two bedroom apartment with her husband, (never saw a ring), their son and their 19 year old daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend with their two kids.  Do you think they need some more room?

(K) Shift manager who is the sister of the 3 baby mommy woman.  She was there maybe 6 months before she was fired for cussing out the manager.  She claimed it was a set up to get rid of her because she came back one week late from her maternity leave of her 2nd child.  She now has two kids by a married man.  She actually thought that when she became pregnant with the second baby, he would leave wife and live with her.  Noticed I said, “live” with her.  She did not want to get marry; it wasn’t worth it she stated.  A day after she was fired, she came to the store and started stalking everyone, except me. I asked her why she was jeopardizing her ability to get a decent reference.  She just said she was pissed.  I said, “noted and I’m sorry, now move your ass on and find another job and stop fighting the woman who can give you a good reference."

(L) Young white woman living with her black boyfriend and his son.  She called him her husband, but we knew better.  Son started dating the 3 baby mommy.  3 Baby mommy enjoyed the ride for a few months and then got tired of him because he was so clingy.  He also did not like her male friend visitors to the store.  The relationship didn’t last long.  According to her, he would not stop doing drugs. Check this out.  She didn’t mind him selling it, but using it was a different story.  Does this sound like a movie? 

One day while I was putting out the trash, 3 baby mommy and young white woman were arguing over the son.  White woman did not want her step-son to be hurt, especially by a woman with 2 kids (she was not expecting the 3rd one yet).  3 Baby mommy started cussing her out and sticking her finger in her face.  Before I could step in and calm them down, the young white woman started crying and ran down the street.  She quit two days later.  She told management she was scared that 3 baby mommy and her sister, who had just been fired, would come after her.  Are we in high school? 

There were others who came and went.  Their excuses: Not enough money, too much work to be done, to much cleaning to be done and too many customers to deal with.  

“Hey, (Talking to a customer at the counter), I’m on the phone trying to get a ride to the club tonight, can you wait a minute?” That was the normal way sometimes.  

When I was let go last week, after three years, I was the third longest employee on my last day.  Can you believe it?  I worked longer there than over 35 people in three years.  It’s a shame isn’t it?  It was just a part time job to get me on track with the Dave Ramsey plan to get out of debt.  It work and I must say I became an even better human being.  All because those people showed me how not to live and how to live.  I was able to get some of them to read the books I brought and I hope I did make their lives a bit better.  They made my life better and I’m very grateful for them.

MARLEN SUYAPA BODDEN - THE WEDDING GIFT - $11.04 - - - Another book I just got and have not started, but here's a review: 
When prestigious plantation owner Cornelius Allen gives his daughter Clarissa’s hand in marriage, she takes with her a gift: Sarah—her slave and her half-sister.  Raised by an educated mother, Clarissa is not a proper southern belle she appears to be with ambitions of loving who she chooses and Sarah equally hides behind the facade of being a docile house slave as she plots to escape. Both women bring these tumultuous secrets and desires with them to their new home, igniting events that spiral into a tale beyond what you ever imagined possible and it will leave you enraptured until the very end.


MARK LEIBOVICH - THIS TOWN: TWO PARTIES AND A FUNERAL-PLUS PLENTY OF VALET PARKING!-inAMERICA'S GILDED CAPITAL - $11.99 - - - As one reviewer on Amazon, Fareed Zakaria (CNN) stated, "Many decades from now, a historian looking at where America lost its way could use this book as a primary source."  He's right.  The backstabbing, game playing, money hungry, power hungry nuts running Washington, DC is hilariously funny, and in many ways, so damn true. I have never read anything by Mark Leibovich, but I enjoyed his writing style and it was not too, too politically inclined.  Maybe just a few names in the mix and you will remember many of the stories from the past.   Either way, I saw the book as another reminder that despite the fact that after all we have fought for, the constitution, the Declaration of Independence, Civil Wars, voting rights, women's rights, etc, we in America still ain't got our shit together.  I just want to know when will it stop.  Probably never. 



MICHAEL J. HEITZLER - THE GOOSE CREEK BRIDGE: GATEWAY TO SACRED PLACES - $16.19 Paperback - - - When I moved to SC years ago, I enrolled my kid into West View Elementary in Goose Creek. Goose Creek, a suburb of Charleston, as well as other smaller cites was facing an economically bad impact with the closing of the Navy Base.  Many families became jobless, houses were selling for dirt cheap, major grocery stores, restaurants and other services were gone. Here I am arriving from Washington, DC, a northern women who grew up in the heart of DC with all of it's "Chocolate City" mentality.  There at my kids school I met the principle, Michael J. Heitzler.  He was also the mayor of Goose Creek. It just floored the hell out of me.  So when I saw this book in the library last week, I could not believe it.  Have not read it yet, but I'm sure it will be interesting to learn a bit more about Goose Creek, South Carolina from the Principal and still Mayor of Goose Creek.  Even the name says "Mayberry R.F.D."


DAVE EGGERS - THE CIRCLE - $6.50 - - - I just got this book in the mail a few days ago.  Not even close to finishing it, but what I read so far, Face book better be on the look out.  It's going to be a creepy future with everyone watching everyone.



LAUREN WEISBEGER - REVENGE WEARS PRADA: THE DEVIL RETURNS - $11.04 - - - You have to be a fan of the movie to enjoy this book.  If nothing else, to find out what happens to the characters.  If you were not, then it will read just like another fluff story of girl gets fired from a one in a million job with the one and only who can even make the Devil cry, "Miranda Priestly." Ten years later she is a successful owner of a major magazine, which Priestly wants.  She marries rich and have a beautiful daughter.  The Devil will rise again and bring her usual havoc to all.  "That's all."