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Arthur, peace and blessings,

Thanks for covering ChickenBones: A Journal's responses to these two February events: Gates' "Two Nations" and Burnett's "Nat Turner." It is indeed ironic that we have two black men, well-thought of in some circles, voluntarily act as hatchet men in misrepresenting black life and culture.

I tell you true, I take no special pleasure in opposing these two black men who are deservedly applauded in their specialized fields. Here, they are evidently operating outside them for private gain, that is, without the "collective" interest, foremost. Selfless action is indeed the measure of the man and of "blackness."

We cannot be silent when such instances of betrayal as that of Gates and Burnett occur. We canot allow such "authorities" go unchecked. Like Du Bois v. Booker T. other voices must force themselves onto the media stage to let it be known that such stereotypical portrayals of black life will not be tolerated.

I recently underwent a phone interview by NYTimes writer Felecia R. Lee. Somehow she heard of ChickenBones: A Journal's opposition to the Turner film. Her article is scheduled to appear in Saturday's NYTimes. I have no idea how she will deal with the story or whether it will indeed appear. This development might be one that your audience might want to check.

I watched last evening the first installment of Gates' documentary -- blacks in the South and in Chicago. One would get the impression that all blacks in the South are upper-class and well-off and all blacks in Chicago live in the underclass projects or Cook County Jail. While in Memphis, one would have thought that Gates would have checked with the Sanitation Department workers in that it was their struugle that King was engaged at his death. Or Gates could have checked out Orangeburg, South Carolina -- which remains a hotbed of grassroots political activity to improve the conditions of black people.

I plan to watch the 2nd installment tonight. I hope our folks are paying attention to this travesty.

From my view, both films are skirmishes we had/have to engage. They are not the war. The struggle will continue and I am confident we will eventually win. As Martin said, "we as a people will get to the Promised Land." As ever and always, Rudy


Arthur, peace and blessings,

Since you have come clean on Skip, I suppose I should also. Like others I have had my rejection letter from Skip. Gates also left Marcus Bruce Christian, a significant New Orleans poet and historian, out of Norton also. So did Joyce Joyce.

Christian has been dismissed in the recent Black literature anthologies, except one by Jerry Ward. Christian's poems were published by Crisis and Opportunity; an essay or two found its way in Phylon. He was a close acquaintance of Bontemps; and there was correspondence between him and Hughes and also Sterling Brown.

So we got a selection of 50 poems published; the first publication other than Christian's own self-publication endeavors. In order to get Christian the recognition he deserved, I contacted Skip. I thought he might write a preface or an introduction. He wrote back and said he was too busy and was bogged down with other projects.

Of course, I was disappointed, but at least he had responded thanking me for a copy of "I Am New Orleans & Other Poems By Marcus B. Christian." There were others who ignored me altogether, like Joyce Joyce, former chair of Temple's African American Studies Department.

It was these kinds of rejections that gave rise and cause to ChickenBones: A Journal. So I ain't mad with Joyce or Skip because of their shortcomings with respect to good causes.

But in that now I have some means that my voice can be heard, I will speak the truth as much and as long as I may. As ever and always, Rudy

Moral delimma

I would be sure to have my camera loaded with some Ilford Black and white.

I would have my fast winder ready.

I would shot several pictures of George as he approaches me in the water.

I would reach a hand out for him. (Not to help, but as a picture prop to show my hand reaching for his in the shot, being careful not to let my foot that I am kicking him with be seen)

I would take several shots as he goes under, after which I would run to my car for some Alka Selzer to throw in the water and take pictures of the bubbles as if they were George's last breath.

Then, in the tradition of the slaves who put glass in the massa's soup. I would attribute his drowning to the will of God.

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