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BLACK LITERARY EXPERIENCE
UNIVERSITY OF MASSACH&iSE T-J.r
IT HAS COME TO THE ATTENTION OF THE EDITORS
AND STAFF OF DRUM THAT TWO POEMS, "HE STANDS
ALONE" AND "KUPENDA" BY SHARLEEN DICKINSON
SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED. THE POEMS
WERE ACCIDENTALLY LEFT IN OUR OFFICE AND WE,
HAVING NO PRIOR KNOWLEDGE THAT THEY WERE NOT
TO BE PRINTED, INCLUDED THEM IN THIS PUBLICATION.
WE UNDERSTOOD ON LY THAT THEY WERE EXCELLENT
PIECES AND THOUGHT THAT THEIR QUALITY WOULD
GREATLY ENHANCE THIS EDITION.
WE ARE NOT PERFECT AND THEREFORE WOULD LIKE
TO APOLOGIZE TO SISTER SHARLEEN FOR ANY IN-
CONVENIENCES SHE MAY HAVE SUFFERED.
In addition to our Staff member
listing we would like to include:
STACfc ALLEN • Layout
An Appeal From The World Federation
Queen Mother Moore
Future Trends In Zimbabwe
God Bless The Child
M. Shareef Rasool
Leroy Clark and Douens
David G. Brizan
"My Hero Is A Heroine . . ."
Bright An' Mowin' Star
The Great Pyramid
My Father Is A Hero
Significance of Pan African Dance
Nefertiti and Akhenaton
Janet Renee' Butler
The Drum, Winter 1978-79 Volume 10 Number 1
Editorial, Circulation and Advertising Offices
Located at 115 New Africa House,
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, Mass. 01003 ^- :'---i;•-
To The Above Address.
Copyright by Drum, 115 New Africa House
Printing: Hamilton I. Newell, Inc., Amherst, Mass.
CARL E. YATES Editor Layout Staff
JOYCE ALLEN Writer "To look into myself and find myself and then share that beauty with others."
CYNTHIA D. WILLIAMS Layout Staff "To create meaningful images of art that reflect my own
KIMBERLEY GREEN Layout Staff "Writer "I feel communication in all perspectives is a vital mechanism
toward the endurance, power and unity of the black race."
DEBORA SULLIVAN Distribution
MARK HAYMORE Distribution
NADINE KEE Layout Staff -Writer "To properly educate the young minds in order for them to
successfully survive and flourish in such a repressive society."
CALUCHA VEIGA Writer "Let us unite in order that we may accomplish what we have been denied."
EARNESTINE BROWN Layout Staff "Writer ' 'To be a positive force towards the blossoming of the minds
of those who shall flourish from the knowledge that I can radiate."
WAYNE MONROE Writer
JANET R. BUTLER Writer *T think that being myself is the most important thing of all, no matter what
anyone says. I also feel that it is important to have a mind of your own and not let anyone influence
you into doing something against your own judgments or personal values."
ROBERT E. DAVIS, JR. Writer
PROFESSOR MIKE THELWELL Consultant and Faculty Advisor W.E.B. DuBois Department of Afro-
A Special Thanks to WILLIAM L. JACKSON for this graphic expertise
E HAVE TOUCHED TIME. WE HAVE
PEEPED INTO OURSELVES AND FOUND; SPIRIT. WE
HAVE FOUND ONE OF THE MANY FORMS OF GOD; OUR
HEROES. ENTHRONED AS KINGS ANDQUEENS AND EM-
BODIED AS THE TEACHERS OF TRUTH.
WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF OUR FATHERS; SONS AND
DAUGHTERS OF OUR MOTHERS WHO HAVE GIVEN US
WE HAVE TOUCHED TIME AND ITS ABOUT TIME WE
HONORED YOU. TO YOU A GIFT. TO YOU WE DEDICATE
CARL YATES, EDITOR
Very recently I received from your
office several complimentary copies
of Drum. And after having con-
sidered what I presume to be your
motives for accommodating my re-
quest, while being conscious of the
desperate urgency of present cir-
cumstances, I feel compelled to im-
pose upon you further for another
type of positive expression.
On November 9, 1978 a Latin
prisoner, by the name of Edmond
Negron, was transferred to what the
pig officials euphemistically
designate as the Special Housing
Unit. But what we more accurately
describe as "The Box" for allegedly
throwing a glass jar at a prison guard
while locked in his cell. The motives
for Negron 's action, if in fact it did
occur, is an issue I feel should be ad-
dressed in itself; for no prisoner un-
necessarily provokes the Beast. But
for the moment there is a more im-
portant issue to contend with; and
that is that upon arrival to the box, or
shortly thereafter, Edmond Negron
was murdered by a number of prison
guards while handcuffed and
The prison authorities would have
us, the prison /slave population,
believe that Negron committed
suicide by hanging himself. But not
only does past experience /observa-
tion tell us that this is a standard pig
cover-up tactic, we are also in the
more certain position of having a
number of witnesses to substantiate
our suspicions. These brothers are
not afraid to testify to what they saw
and heard; but they need our sup-
port — both inside and out — so that
they in turn will not become victims
of the States insanity.
Therefore, in behalf of my prison
peers, I urge you to publicize the
above information if the means is
available to you. Expectedly the pig
media has either totally ignored or
distorted the recent events here at
Attica. But it is only natural for the
conventional news outlets to come to
the aid of their "crimeys". And I
feel that it is only natural we too turn
to those progressive /struggling peo-
ple with whom we share a common
interest when we experience a battle
that we can not wage alone.
Start a letters campaign: write to
Attorney General Griffin Bell,
demanding a Federal investigation
into this and other atrocities at At-
tica. Write the Corrections Commis-
sioner, N.Y.S. Richard (Hungista),
denouncing cover-up attempts. De-
mand that all guilty parties be
brought to trial, supporting an in-
mate spearheaded internal investiga-
tion into committee, to work in con-
junction with a federal probe; write
the Governor of New York, asking
that he also launch an investigation
into the recent death and that he also
investigate the conditions at Attica in
general. Also help us, the prison
population, to build a coalition of
progressive people for the purpose of
bringing a just end to these recent
events. Without consistent support
we inadvertently endorse the op-
pressors self-proclaimed license to kill
the oppressed. And those who know
of our plight-always precarious,
always a breath away from brutality
and death- but fail to act in our
defense, condemn us to die or be
broken. We need support.
I implore you to do whatever is in
your power to do.
The Struggle continues, Atiba Askari
Greetings /Peace: My Struggling
Companions of Third World Ex-
istence. May this communication
reach your struggling souls and con-
sole, some what, your aching minds
knowing that your message is being
received by another in-
dividual/comrade who cares about
your plight though in another part of
Before I go through the formality
of introducing myself, I would like to
explain how I came about writing
Haphazardly, I was given a copy of
DRUM: SPRING 1976, by a fellow
inmate /captive. After reading, stu-
dying, contemplating the material
therein, finally I decided to answer
the cry "Dare To Struggle-Dare to
Win". I dare, again!! I say again
because I have been the victim of be-
ing by myself many times. Looking
behind me and constantly finding
myself by myself literally and
physically. But that's a story which is
to be accepted as a repetitious ex-
My name is Muhammad Hassan
Abdullah (s/n-Eugene Anderson). I
am a captive of New York State's
penal device; serving a sentence of 15
to life in their reknown camp; AT-
TIKA. Needless to say, I am, too a
struggling soul combating the
atrocities perpetuated by
pusillanimous individuals of the U.S.
I have been incarcerated for 7 1/2
years thus far, and hope to be releas-
ed within the next three. I am /will
be 26 the 28th of this honorable
month of September.
I am working towards my B.A. in
Sociology, hopefully to be attained
by 1980. It would have been done by
now if I had not procrastinated going
back to school during early years of
penal seclusion. But being the
trouble-maker that they call me I
wasn't really afforded the chance. I
too, hate writing about myself
because I always seem to leave the
best part. So, . . .
The vibe I got from reading
DRUM was very positive, and
stimulating to my mind. Though it
brings back bitter memories. But I
sincerely hope the ideals of the
magazine is opening up the eyes of
the community and those who hap-
pen to have the opportunity to read
it. Again, haphazardly, the topic of
the Spring '76 issue happens to be
one of forms of art; MUSIC. I once
wrote a persuasive discourse in my
English 102 course in music. The in-
structor thought I was mad!!! But I
understood where the crap was com-
ing from, he doesn't know what
Black music is. Perhaps he should
have asked us to write an informative
I received most of my musical
understanding from the Black Drum
Workshop when I was a teeny-
bopper, but it never left me. Then
while attending the University of
Buffalo, Pharoah Sanders and Alice
Coltrane et al, put on a spectacular
show which I'll never forget which
enhanced my understanding a great
I initially wanted to write about
particular articles in the magazine,
but I always seem to get off into
something else. But what I really
would like to know is, if I can be sent
the prior issues of DRUM and too, if
I can be sent the futures issues? If
there is a cost to be paid you can
write and let me know and I'll send
Too, perhaps I can send some
poetry that will be permissable to
print in one.
I sincerely hope that the residents
of the New Africa House reach their
objectives and hopefully one day I
shall be afforded the liberty to come
and visit. Now is Not Forever. Shar-
ing your mental and spiritual battles,
I remain, yours in the universal strug-
gle for unity and freedom.
Muhammad Hassan Abdullah
Just a note of appreciation, to let
you know that I received the Drum
Magazines that you sent. I look for-
ward to some very interesting nights
I must compliment your staff and
editors, you are putting together a
very noteworthy publication for those
that are looking for more than just
another magazine with /by a group of
I hope that you continue to do
what you are now doing and that
your readers understand what it is
that you are trying to give to them.
I remain, sincerely,
Muhammad Hassan Abdullah
I begin by saying I'm with the
sincere hope that when this letter
enters the positive realm of your of-
fice, that it finds you and the whole
staff mentally and physically alive
At present I'm being held prisoner
by the State of New York, at the At-
tica correctional facility. No doubt
you receive countless letters from
brothers who for various reasons are
also incarcerated throughout this
country, and who are being made to
suffer the almost unbearable weight
of monotony and loneliness.
I think you would agree, that there
is hardly anything that can make one
happier than to know /feel one
counts for something with other peo-
ple. Maybe some young lady or
brother out there can help ease some
of this loneliness I'm now faced
with? I welcome all sincere responses.
I would also like to congratulate you
and the staff on the very
stimulating /enlightening job done
with your publication.
If there is a follow-up book we
would appreciate it if we could ob-
tain a copy, or any other enlighten-
"Robert Mitchell" and
Peace and Love,
I was afforded with the opportuni-
ty of reading the magazine, "The
drum." There were poems in it that
expressed in essence the total picture
of our Black experience.
Being incarcerated in the bowels of
our great society and fighting daily
for my sanity. I'm proud to see that
the struggle hasn't ended in the free
world. Right-on and power to your
Through my reading I have re-
educated myself and I write a little
also. Myself along with the brother at
Attica would like to know if we could
send you some of our work?
I am also interested in obtaining
some back issues of the Drum. If you
could enclose the price I could for-
ward a money order.
The seed for growth is within us all
and with your help through "The
Drum, ' ' that Black seed just might
Keep the faith and remember our
worst enemy is ourself!
77-C-578 Box l49
Attica, N.Y. 14011
AN APPEAL FROM THE WORLD FEDERATION OF AFRICAN
PEOPLE TO OUR YOUTH:
Dr you students who have miraculously
made it this far, who have overcome the
racist obstacles and whose endurance is
about to be further tested with racist,
biased examinations while the white
students sitting next to you are furnished
with the answers. We offer this appeal to
you-we your elders need your genius,
your bodies, your spirits, courage,
creativity and determination, today,
tonight, tommorrow and into the next
generations. As you prepare to enter the
next phase of your life called Higher
Education, remember you are only re-
ascending the -heights of knowledge,
wisdom and understanding from which
we were once severed when our op-
pressors so ruthlessly stole us from our
continent. Mother Afrika, and then stole
our continent from us. Since then they
have done everything to blind us, debase
us, demoralize us, denature us,
dehumanize us, alter us, europeanize us,
and then substitute other inferior
knowledge in place of our original
achievements, wherein today we no-
longer love learning for the sake of learn-
ing as in our ancient days. Europeans
have brazenly insulted our heritage;
Forgetting it was our ancestors who
taught them to stand up upon their two
hind legs. To the Greeks to whom we
long ago brought the keys to unlock the
knowledge of higher worlds, let us re-
mind them that the name "Aesop" who
taught the Greeks through the use of
"fables" was in reality the Greek pro-
nunciation of Ethiopian. Our own stories
such as Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox, the Tur-
tle and the signifying monkey, far
preceded Greek civilization.
We Afrikans gave the Greeks the zero
or cipher, and their gods. We Afrikans
gave the world chemistry and algebra.
We gave them the secrets of our
pyramids, without which there would be
no trigonometry. We gave them the
secrets of preserving foods; of embalm-
ing bodies, and the secrets of nuclear
We taught them how to plan cities
and how to engineer tools and living
structures. We taught them the secrets of
blood, and the science of blood pressure,
plasma, and the blood bank. These are
only a few concrete examples of where
the oppressor obtained from their vic-
tims what they falsely attributed to
To you students who plan to pursue
knowledge of your heritage, we ask you
to realize that the Greek fraternities and
sororities are offering you a stolen legacy,
of which they only possess a small part.
The rest is still locked up in you, the
sleeping giants and in the archives in
Rome. We urge that you pledge
yourselves to serious study; master the
sciences, address yourselves to the con-
crete, day to day liberation struggles of
yourselves, your minds, your potential
and above all the liberation of your
Motherland, Afrika, and her dispersed
children everywhere. Your knowledge
and tireless physical energies have
liberated the European nations giving
them ideas and leisure time during
which they grew strong from the strength
they took from your enslavement, which
resulted in psychological handicaps, now
our handicaps have grown into the
psycho- neurosis of the oppressed, which
causes us to destroy, forever, our identity
as Afrikans. And today we find ourselves
listed as non-entities, without a na-
tionality even by the u.s census. You,
the youth, are our true hope. It is with
your minds and upon your shoulders
that we will build a future compatible
with our own wellbeing. We ask you to
pledge yourselves to only take those
courses which will aid in the higher
development of mind, body and spirit
and toward making the fullest contribu-
tion to the resurgence of our people. We
need to stop majoring in Football,
Basketball and the like.
Register for courses such as English as
a /foreign language, since this is not your
mother tongue, take engineering,
metallurgy, chemistry, technology, ar-
chitecture, city planning, nuclear
physics, biology, archaeology,
astronomy, mathematics, Afrikan
history, Afrikan languages. Marketing,
Business management, economics and
agronomy. We ask that the only pledge
you give will be to yourselves, to your
people and to our unborn generations.
We ask that you pledge yourselves to
community control of public education.
Pledge yourselves to strengthening the
National Black Students' Association,
locally and nationally, by joining their
ranks and enhancing their efforts. We
firmly believe that it is you and your
generations who are destined to pilot our
ship through the storm of oppression
and to restore again the Afrikan civiliza-
tion which once astonished the world. It
is you who represent the Steve Bikos, the
Patrice Lumumbas, the Mrs. Mandelas of
south africa. It is you who represent the
Harriet Tubmans, the Malcolm X's, the
Frederick Douglasses, Muhammad Ahm-
ed and the Queen Mother Moores. Long
live our future generations.
Queen Mother Moore,
Mt. Addis Ababa
Parksville, N.Y. 12748
Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns.
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll nse.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don 't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin ' in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
: You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history's shame
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide.
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave,
FUTURE TRENDS IN ZIMBABWE
I ^eo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Russian novelist and social
reformer, said of Moscow waiting for Napoleon, "this city
seems like a criminal being led to the gallows, who knows
that in a minute he must die but yet stares about him and
straightens the cap sitting awry on his head." The capital
city of Rhodesia-Salisbury fits that description. The follow-
ing catalog of events represents a larger sample of the
writing on the wall:
QueQue — A police reservist car was ambushed by
liberation forces. The police reservist and his car were
destroyed. October 1977.
Grane-Borne Barracks — An explosive device laid by ur-
ban freedom fighters exploded and seriously injured one
member of the Rhodesia Light Infantry-October 1977.
Kariba — Liberation forces killed four enemy soldiers
during a raid on an observation post. October 1977.
Chirundu — Enemy land rovers were detonated and two
soldiers lost their lives. October 1977.
Kariba — 11 enemy soldiers were ambushed and an-
nihilated. November 1977.
Karoi — Tour police reservists guarding a comma:nd post
were gunned down. November 1977.
Lately there have been several reports of enemy
engagements within the borders of the main city centers.
Surely, Salisbury's appointed hour with the hemlock is fast
At the advent of one-person-one vote majority rule,
Rhodesia (English for 'land of Rhodes' 1889), will revert to
Zimbabwe (Zezuru for 'a huge dwelling of stone' -1200).
Mr. Albert Mitchell is one of a growing number of
farmers who have reluctantly abandoned their ill gotten
possessions in the face of repeated attacks from freedom
fighters. His Gutu farms and warehouses, once lucrative,
have been attacked more than a dozen times and the
farmer is finding it increasingly difficult to hire Black ser-
vants. He has finally left the farm behind and is heading
for South Africa. He was heard to say, "We are going to
lose everything, we've got to go. We just have to face the
fact that we are losing the battle."
Prime Minister Ian Smith and other terrorist leaders
have appealed vigorously to whites to stay. Economic
restrictions are being levied against would-be emigrants.
The Government Reserve Bank which is the central clear-
ing house for Rhodesia's economy, will permit departing
families to take only up to $1,400 in foreign currency with
them. Real estate title deeds must be surrendered to state
authorities who hold them in escrow.
In spite of governmental appeals, restrictions and
penalties of financial and property losses, the rate of white
emigration from the country is rising steadily and sharply.
The departures include very high percentages of young and
middle-aged professionals and artisans whose anxieties
have overtaken their oft misplaced patriotism. The pro-
spects of an uncertain future displace the material well-
being and ill-gotten privileges most whites here enjoy.
Government figures released during the first week of
November, 1978, indicate that the white population
declined by 1,595 in September which represents the
largest single monthly loss in the history of the country's
emigration. Bankers and economic experts have told the
government that the figures for the final quarter will show
still higher rates of departure reaching a new peak during
the school vacations in December. According to official
statistics, about 11,550 whites have left in the first nine
months of this year. This is about 4.8 per cent drop from
the 250,000 whites who lived here at the beginning of the
year. It should be taken into account that the figures given
do not include mortal statistics. The policy of the regime is
to conceal information of white deaths caused by the
liberation forces. The reason is that the monthly fatalities
The emigrational trend is bound to continue right up to
the hour of majority rule. After that, people will be able to
judge for themselves whether what they have is acceptable
or not. All the anxieties and uncertainties will be exposed.
Many whites will return to Zimbabwe to continue their
lives having turned over a new leaf. A substantial number
will stay on under a dubious and illusionary cloud of pater-
nalism as illustrated by one white business woman who
said, "I have frequently thought of taking the 'gap' but
have been deterred by my liberal beliefs. It is a vicious cy-
cle. The more of us leave, the more standards for blacks as
well as for whites will decline, and then, still more whites
will go. Finally, the poor black people will find themselves
with a country that has too few doctors, too few mechanics,
and too little of anything but pain."
The reverse trend theory is borne out by the following:
One doctor complained that the departure of many of
his colleagues had caused a patient-doctor overload. He
then concluded, "We'll soon have to stop taking new pa-
tients or be obliged to provide inferior medical services."
His concern is mostly for white patients who use doctors
more frequently. The comment comes at a time when ill
health is affecting many whites as a result of the strenous
circumstances brought about by the sagging economy as
well as being on the losing side of the battle. One physi-
cian wrote that there was an unusually large number of
prescriptions written for tranquilizers.
More than half of the men and women who are leaving
are between the ages of 25 and 45 years. Translated into
jobs, the greatest losses among the professionals are
engineers, draftsmen, engineering technicians, accoun-
tants and auditors. In the category of production workers,
the largest losses are among mechanical engineers, motor
mechanics, construction workers and electricians. People in
these categories are among those who enjoy 'one of the
world's highest standards of living.' Based both on their
ages and on the fact that they have been materially spoiled
rotten for a good portion of their lives, they are most
unlikely to be eager about retraining for a different career
or to accept a lower standard of living.
Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) has a significant number of
African professionals and mechanics. A number of major
commercial and industrial enterprises have stepped up ef-
forts to train and recruit Africans to take up critical posi-
tions as they are vacated. Thus, it is clear to the whites that
jobs left behind by them will not go begging and that it
will not be easy for them to regain them.
It is, therefore, squarely in the interest of the whites that
a political climate should be effected which will least
disrupt their needs and interests. Pressure will be exerted
by both the temporary deserters and those who are 'hang-
ing on' inside on the intransigent regime to come to terms
with the true sons and daughters of Zimbabwe. In addi-
tion, unlike whites in Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and
Angola, whites in Rhodesia will not have South Africa,
South West Africa and Rhodesia to hide in.
A prominent journalist visited Salisbury recently and
observed that, "Shops and sidewalks are bustling with
business, autos crowd the streets, American Express and
Diners Club cards are accepted at Echo car rentals, where
new Renaults are available, and prices startle the inflation-
weary visitor — $14 a night for a first class hotel room and
$6 for a good steak dinner (about $19 and $8 American)."
Among the explanations are the following: Blacks supply
more than ample cheap labor; large agricultural estates
produce food for local consumption and South Africa, at
the Southern border, is waging a vigorous battle against
sanctions as well as providing needed subsidies and
military equipment. Furthermore, other 'progressive' na-
tions including the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Israel
and Japan have openly unobserved the sanctions that they
The veneer of prosperity observed by the journalist is
more cosmetic than real. Both Africans and whites in the
country admit that the force of sanctions has been more
serious than may appear in the eyes of a sojourner. White
bread, an urban food mainstay, has gone up by two cents
to twenty two cents a loaf. To affluent visitors and readers,
the prices seem low, but most African urban families are
locked up in low-income brackets. They have been hardest
hit by general food prices that have risen by ten per cent
since January of 1978. Transportation costs show a leap of
six per cent in the September quarter. Unemployment
among whites, though government figures are
unavailable, is on the increase. Among Blacks, it is serious
as it worsens beyond the twenty per cent mark. The inter-
national ostracism of Rhodesia is no longer a matter for
contemptuous laughter. Rhodesian goods and currency are
taboo elsewhere in the world. Around and beyond
Salisbury, not the rough-cast good life, but spreading and
fierce liberation warfare is the reality.
Sooner than later, both officials and ordinary civilians
will grow tired of 'putting on a face' and will opt for a
meaningful and genuine change. The new generation of
whites are familiar with the state of limbo that their
parents have experienced. They will be less inclined to
allow the sins of their parents to be visited on them.
Wholesale support of the African masses by whites is only a
dream. However, the support once enjoyed by the die hard
loyalists is surely giving way to the realization that 'ZIM-
BABWE MUST BE FREE' means 'Rhodesia must go.'
An ex-Rhodesian, an author and a college professor
spent five weeks in Zambia recently. While he was there,
he had contacts with the representatives of the Interna-
tional Red Cross, the United Nations High Commission
for Refugees as well as the Zambian Council of Churches.
From these contacts and from the local press, the observer
obtained substantial information about the state of the
Zimbabwe refugees. Here is his story:
At the end of April, 1978, there were 8,700 Zimbab-
wean refugees in Botswana and more than 35,000 in Zam-
bia. Based on available projection figures, about 40,000
more were being expected in about three weeks. In camps
in the vicinity of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, there were
some 13,000 boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 14
years of age. Most of these youngsters are unaccompanied
by their parents or relatives.
The sheer numbers are staggering. The land space that
continued on page 31
Larcus Mosiah Garvey, a black Jamaican im-
migrant, is considered to be the only successful man to
create an international mass movement of black people.
His program still reverberates within present day liberation
Marcus Garvey was born on August 17, 1887 in St.
Ann's Bay in Jamaica. He was the fifth of eleven children.
Garvey grew up in an atmosphere where color separated
blacks, whites and mulattoes into a caste system. Being
black was always in the lowest classification. Garvey 's first
twenty-nine years of life was a scene of color discrimination
in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Marcus Garvey believed that masses of black people
would never get into the mainstream created by whites and
his hope was to create one of their own.
In 1914, he founded the Universal Negro Improvement
Association (U.N. I. A.) to promote Negro betterment and
unity. Through this movement Garvey sought to lift black
masses to self-esteem that they never believed possible.
In 1916 Garvey moved the Association to the United
States where the scene was also racist as he had experienced
already in the Caribbean. As a result of this, his goal was to
create a black nation in Africa where blacks would be free
At this time Garvey had an emotional appeal and was
able to attract mass following. But at the same time his
movement was criticized by whites and black intellectuals
wh© were brainwashed by whites.
Through his movement, Garvey launched the Black Star
Line, a steamship line to trade between the various Negro
areas of the world. It consisted of three small ships, which
he purchased through the sale of stocks.
He also established the Negro Factories Corp, and
published a weekly paper called the Negro World which
preached the philosophy of militant black chauvinism.
The movement reached its peak in 1920 when he had an
international convention which included Negroes from all
parts of the world. After the war many of the discontented
postwar veterans joined the movement. Through their in-
volvement the movement began to expand and had more
than two million members in the organization.
White America, puzzled and amused at this movement,
began to fear it once they saw that there was some kind of
leadership among blacks. The combination of White
American prejudice and black intellectuals misunderstan-
ding what Garvey was trying to do, contributed to the
downfall of the Garvey Empire. The Black Star Line went
defunct in 1923. Later he was convicted of alleged mail
fraud and deported to Jamaica where he attempted to
revive the movement with no success in 1934.
Marcus Garvey died on June 10, 1940. Garvey died but
the movement did not die with him. His movement in-
spires all of us; what we can accomplish for our betterment
and it created a unity among us.
The Garvey movement may have not fully accomplished
its purpose (creating a black nation) but it has helped the
black masses create a group to work for their betterment.
WJl>y does it seem that my mind makes me sad?
Sometimes I feel sooo good
But always the sadness returns.
My family encourages me
In me they do believe
My sister thinks I'm smart
I wish I could be.
My friends think I'm brave
for coming all the way to the east.
However for myself 1 feel none of these good things
Rather I feel utterly alone and stupid.
Before it was different
I used to feel good.
I played both parts in school
I ditched and still got A 's
In between classes I found my way to the
bathrooms to either smoke or play spades.
I considered coming to the east just
a much farther, better trip,
a place to meet some white folks
a place to become smarter yet.
However here I am for the second year and
to repeat myself I feel utterly along and stupid.
Victoria F, Hicks
I'M SUCH A FOOL
You insisted I get degrees
That would set me free
And discard my native dress
But what is worse
You put lye on my hair
And told me what to wear:
A contented smile
And for a while
I thought I was cool.
Now I know I'm such a fool
For you quickly pointed to my face
That native mark I can't erase
GOD BLESS THE CHILD THAT'S GOT ITS OWN, NAME.
M. Shareef Rasool
Living in America has caused the Biklian (Black) com-
munity to undergo many physical and psychological
changes. During the late 60's and the early 70's Bilalians
began to re-define themselves and their communities.
Black studies and the need for comprehensive programs to
establish cultural bases were initiated.
One facet of this re-definition was and is the change of
names from the Christian or European to African or Arabic
names. This name change was initiated by the Nation of
Islam under the Honorable Elijah Muhammad (peace be
upon him) and reached its zenith during the ministry of
Malcolm Shabazz (Malcolm X). This is not to say that
Bilalians weren't previously re-defining themselves but
that the Nation of Islam was the spearhead for a concerted
effort to separate from the names of the slave master.
There are hundreds and thousands who have changed
their names. Basketball star Lew Alcindor changed his
name to Karim Abdul Jabbar; Leroi Jones, a noted poet, is
now Imamu Baraka; and the list goes on: Cassius Clay to
Muhammed Ali; McCoy Tyner to Suleiman Saud; Doug
Carn to Abdul Rahim Ibrahim; Ahmad Rashad of the
Minnesota Vikings; and Abbey Lincoln to Aminota
Why the name change? Because a name is more than a
label. ' 'Names not only tell us who we are but they also tell
us where we came from," said Haki Madhubuti (Don L.
Lee). Names are indicators of those who wear them. In the
book of Daniel chapter 1 verses 6, 7, states; "Now among
these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah; Unto the prince of the eunuchs gave
names: for he gave unto Daniel the name Belteshazzar;
and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael of Meshach;
and to Azariah of Abednego." It was after Nebuchadnez-
zar king of Babylon captured Jerusalem that the names
Why should Bilalians adopt Arabic names? Many of our
people were once Arabs or embraced the religion of Al
Islam (Kunte Kinte) but they were never Caucasians; Ara-
bian, Jordanian, Moroccans, Egyptians, and Sudanese are
called Arabs and Bilalians certainly have a physical
resemblance to them.
If one's name is Ruth Jones, Jones most likely came from
the slavemaster. The Jones should be dropped but Ruth is
a good name. Ruth is a Biblical name with historical
significance. We should love the names that our parents
gave us unless it is a name with a bad meaning. Some peo-
ple don't like their parents or their family. That is not a
good reason to change a name. Anyone wanting to change
their last name should do it unless they know they didn't
get it from slavery.
Today 1978 we still hear Caucasian people referring to
Bilalians as "our Negroes, our colored people." Our good
Christian names are not the problem but the names that
still identify us as property are the problem. Bilalians are
one of the few people that name their children after the
"He is God, the Creator, the Evolver, the
Bestower of Forms (or Colours). To Him
belong the most beautiful names;
whatever is in the heavens and on earth,
doth declare His praises and glory; and He
is the exalted in might, the wise. "
Holy Qu 'ran, Yusuf Ali translation Sura LIX
God bless the child that's got its own, name.
I've watched your image on, the mirror
With frying hairfumes —
Your face a Plaster-of Paris.
I've seen it fade into a carbon copy
of Marilyn Monroe.
Your bedroom a mist of the beauty parlour.
Forgive me i walked by
I mistook you for those paper models
Males hang on prison walls.
LEROY CLARKE AND DOUENS
David G. Brizan
I Roy Clarke tackles the recurring theme of Third
World suffering with incredible freshness and vigor. Soar-
ing high above other contemporary Caribbean painters, he
betrays, in an unprecedented utilization of Trinidad
folklore, a frightening reality on canvas. He is also a poet
whose socio-political message harmonizes his artistic sen-
sibility with the Douen metaphor to form a fairytale of
reality transmuted into myth. But the message never
obscures the genius of his creativity, neither in his pain-
tings nor in his poetry. Such is the effectiveness of his work
that Natural History magazine used his drawings to il-
lustrate its theme in an article on poverty in the Third
World called the Starving Roots of Population Growth —
Douens, part two of a series of paintings, poems and
drawings called "The Poet", do more than assault the
senses of the painter's audience. Cemeteries and evil
spirits. Aborted babies and moko jumbies. The polluted
sky becomes a beast strutting across a stage of images that
do a ritual dance of association. To some, there is a
diabolical symbolism to all this confusion, a kind of Freu-
dian negativism that denies God in man. But to under-
stand Le Roy Clarke is to understand his burning commit-
ment to life, to people, to Trinidad. From this commit-
ment springs the raw, rustic quality of his work; from this
commitment derives that quintessential and spiritual
quality which gives his work a mysterious, inexplicable
In an era when Frantz Fanon and Aime Cesaire have
anatomized the psychology and humiliation of the col-
onized and neo-colonized, there seemed to be little scope
for a painter whose formal learning stopped at high school.
Ironically, it is perhaps this absence of formal education
which contributes so heavily to the artist's understanding
of life. Has the Caribbean not witnessed an influx of Ox-
fordians and other doctoral banner-wavers who, tootoolbay
with education, fall short of extricating us from the post-
colonial mire? The African poet, Okot p'Bitek, said their
testicles were smashed with large books. Unlike them, for-
tunately, Le Roy Clarke has lost neither a sense of decency
nor a sense of purposeful goals. Unlike them, he feels the
magnitude of God, of the earth; he feels himself a spirit of
life, free and at one with life, addicted to life. Life hits him
always like a blast of new light.
Therein lies the total secret of the artist.
The apparent pivotal importance of blood and death in
his work is misleading. Death is not at all his thematic
focal point. It is life. Serious and uncompromising, Clarke
maintains respectable distance between him and the comic
element which he leaves to the quicker wit of calypsonians.
In a period marked by political turbulence, social tur-
moil and a gargantuan sense of materialism, in a period
when Caribbean leaders seem devoid of every attribute ex-
cept the most despicable, Le Roy Clarke compels us, if we
dare, to seek the alternative of spiritual invigoration. What
then is the most powerful current underlying his social
theme? We have seen the total importance of life. Life?
What does he mean? The absence of political corruption,
prostitution, pestilence, and hunger? Our right, not just to
life, but to a decent quality of life, which the disparity in
wealth distribution and all its ramifications render highly
improbable. That being the case, Clarke does not depict
social, psychological and ideological problems peculiar on-
ly to Trinidad. The universality of his theme becomes im-
mediately apparent and his being Trinidadian becomes a
mere geographical accident.
Too few Caribbean painters — and poets — have the
courage to step out of the quiet ranks of complacency and
demand for us our star in the galaxy. Too few lack the
perception and vision to see beyond the far side of
disaster — an invariable consequence of their impotence
and Godlessness. The reality, as Clarke depicts it, shocks
our nervous system and forces us into unexpected self-
analysis, however fleeting. The visual bombardment of im-
ages sometimes overwhelms his own implicit philosophical
appeal to man's potential for universal brotherhood.
Within the framework of the Third World experience, Le
Roy Clarke's work is a powerful instrument of revolution.
The colonial past marred more than our appreciation for
art; it took in its ruthless sweep the pride of ethnic belong-
ing and cultural allegiance, without which, we are blown
about in a vortex of uncertainty and can do no more than
sense the probability of a better life. Yet this cultural
holocaust, perpetuated as it is by modern neo-colonialism,
has provided the impetus for Clarke's volcanic eruption.
In these days of political insanity, when we ostracize ar-
tists, imprison visionaries, cold-bloodedly murder revolu-
tionaries, and sport a smile of comphcity with foreign in-
telligence agencies, the metaphor of Douens has sudden
and timely relevance. Douens becomes an indictment on
those who have destroyed life.
continued on page 14
In Trinidad folklore douens are the spirits of premature
babies who die before religious rites are performed and
who linger perennially in a dismal twilight. The painter
utilizes the mythical connotation of futility to suggest the
frustration that accompanies our striving toward light. But
he does not lack optimism. We must emerge from this
twilight, must break out of this mess. Whatever counter-
psychology we choose, whether we become a nation of nar-
cissists or obeah — workers, we have to reach for the clear
Because Clarke's artistic life is not distinct from his life
as a representative of Third World progress, the Douen
drama transcends its own reality and becomes a symbolic
emotional catalyst for the artist's self- scrutiny and self-
Here, the issues lie in their ugly symbolic nakedness,
painfully excruciating and artistically accomplished. If we
were not so familiar with his vivid, folklore imagery, we
might incorrectly conclude that the artist has launched his
work into a realm of precarious experimentalism.
Gigantic trees grow snakes and provide the eerie
meeting ground for I'agahoo, soucouyant and other evil
spirits. In a dramatic role reversal, a woman's breasts suck
her spineless babies. Crosses and crucifixions grow
familiar. Through the parade of fleshless bodies and mar-
rowless bones, the replication of innocence and guilt fuse
to intensify the scream. A child coughs up splinters; a
woman, pregnant with a distorted fetus, raises the skeleton
of her burning head in vain appeal to an absent God.
Down the streets, natives, dead or walking away from their
lives. A labyrinth of wombs that harbor evil.
The temptation to categorize this work as surrealist is
overwhelming. But the artist's depiction of the polluted
sky, for example, is no mere translation of his ecological
posture. It is an outcry against the paradox of technology
and industry; it is a protest against a crucial part of a
disillusioning whole, in no way divorceable say, from the
genocide of Maya and Carib and Arawak, or from the cur-
rent genocidal conduct toward Blacks everywhere. An in-
Where then is the optimism? Our perception must roam
beyond the woman who suddenly displays male genitals;
we must work our way through a maze of wombs and
graves, the beginning and end of life. Then we begin to
catch refreshing glimpses of the new poet, the one who will
rechart the ruin, who will piece it together. What is the
single, most important characteristic of this savior? He is
armed with a spiritual quality that hurls our small and
despicably material world into proper perspective. God's
wish for man must precede man's wish for himself. In the
painting "Fern Gully", for example, Clarke chooses a
biological affirmation to illustrate the need for reclamation
of innocence and spirituality. Boy and girl embrace and
melt into each other, and from the prisine purity of their
embrace springs the first blossoming of flowers and a gen-
tle, almost ethereal fluttering of wings. Baby fish swim in
the new birth. All is born again. We have reached the
great transition to spiritual ascendancy.
This visualization is the legitimate outcome of the
artist's recalcitrance in the face of degradation, his refusal
to be the ash that was produced by a great fire. His work is
more than simple creativity. Its sustained intensity pulls
and pushes us by dint of its sheer elemental force.
In Douens, Le Roy Clarke presents the problem. It is to
'El Tucuche' that we must look for rebirth ('El Tucuche' is
the third part of this epic). El Tucuche is Trinidad's second
highest mountain. Its choice as the metaphor for spiritual
ascendancy demonstrates the artist's resourcefulness in
employing the Trindad landscape in his work. The biblical
current runs strong: "Who shall ascend into the hill of the
Lord. . . He that hath clean hands and a pure heart." We
cannot begin to climb into our higher selves and realize the
highest potential that is the right of Man, until we
recognize the Douen problem, until the prerequisite of
firm, unwavering resolution to thrust outward and upward
has been satisfied.
For LeRoy Clarke, to be involved in the process of
change is not enough. He must be the instrument of that
change. The artist must be the revolution, submitting to
no system of repression, propagating hope in our youth,
lending himself to life.
The lack of scholastic quality finds easy compensation in
the more sobering quality of honesty and truthfulness.
LeRoy Clarke speaks of his work in a rich, deep tone. His
eyes, restless and unexpectedly light brown, beam a decep-
tive docility, as he elucidates the bitterness of his youth.
He attributes the privation and ouen-like past to the
callousness of the so-called civilized world. Rage has over-
whelmed discretion. His words are unequivocal and rugges
with candor as his hands cut. through the air with emphatic
gestures. His whole personality is lulling and latent with
Born in Gonzales in Trinidad, Clarke taught for nine
years at St. Phillips Elementary School. He dreamed of
becoming a surveyor or an engineer or even a pilot, but
nocurnal winds whistling through the magnificent
hogplum and rain pattering on galvanized roofs stirred
poetry in his soul. His love of poetry led to a search for im-
agery, which he found in surprising abundance in the
Trinidad landscape. continued on page 16
' 'Swiftly passing, no earth has gathered under our feet . . . roots wilt in the air . . . day before
yesterday it was the Afro-American; yesterday it was the African; today is the 'bacchanal' West
If something unique and permanent is to arise in the world, we must sacrifice every contrite
limb and muscle, we must burn from our memory every slogan and shelter, we must burgeon
with a new intelligence that will challenge the grain of other minds . . .
Something sovereign character is alive and untouched in its fires and its snows have survived
the centuries and awaits us way down past the precipitous path , in the navel of the West Indies.
I do not propose here an easy view, but a rather difficult and unpopular one, even unseeming
to hold onto in times such as 'ours ' where our head is a stranger to our feet, where the body is in-
condite and mass debauchery adrift in world spit.
It is our turn. A large promise awaits us, virtually new people; which is total fulfillment, fruit
for new possibilities in a quest that must shatter our sluggish demise.
It is up to the few artists left to plunge into that uncharted abyss, stripping the 'bands ' with
boldfaced courage and criticism to gather and to reveal an authentic conception of rhythms and
ideas . . . a new language.
The Douen concept, while innovative and ingenious,
has its African countetpart in Abiku. But no other artist
has utilized it so extensively, focusing the metaphor with
telling relevance on the problems of the Third World. For
this reason, Le Roy Clarke is the most significant painter to
emerge from the Caribbean. By comparison, other Carib-
bean painters, who unfortunately do not possess Clarke's
poetic talent, continue to produce dormant, pastoral
pieces which perhaps best reflect the image that tourists
have of the Caribbean.
The artist's drawing "To go Tipping on Water to Nest
in a Lullaby of Light" forcibly reveals his sense of urgency.
In one dynamic sweep, the Poet, who is the spiritual pro-
tagonist of this Douen drama, attempts to hurl himself out
of the cesspit where others engage in a celebration of
moribundity. Significantly, the Poet's flight is restrained
by the very forces he tries to escape. But there is a counter-
force growing in the Poet, a force motivated by the vision
of peace and sharing and purity. The spiritual has staked a
claim for man's soul.
Throughout his work, the artist's concern for the plight
of children is insistent, and he defines the role of women as
one of bringing life and the subsequent sustaining of that
life. Women and children occupy a central stage in his
work as in his heart. They are the essence of the earth and
the hope for future generations.
Douens. The looking-glass of a nation that will not look,
lest truth destroys the comfort of delusion. A generation
perishing without realizing its fullest potential. The con-
cept would be fascinating if the reality could be presented
euphemistically. The painter/poet imitates his own anger,
but his anger never obscures or diminishes his depiction,
because we all understand that point where manhood
borders precariously on a kind of controlled hysteria.
Recognition should be routine.
Le Roy Clarke— painter, poet, revolutionary. His
strength lies in his vision and in his commitment to that vi-
sion. In recognizing himself in Douens, he jumps the first
hurdle to solitude. What awaits him at the end cannot be
the geography of distance from the beginning, but the joy
of ascension from the mire. •
photo by Tony Barboza
oJ^^^L^ y^Tt i> ■'rT^
•^ -s:^ I 5i-,l-i ^ i-.^^l III
^ ^~§i-^c§ ^s^^g^: ~^;5^^^
"MY HERO IS A HEROINE AND MY HEROINE IS
MY SISTER, SHIRLEY"
Gilbert H. Caldwell
Campus Minister University of Massachusetts Amherst
n choosing to write about my younger sister, I in no way
intend to show disrespect to my wife, my other sisttts (who
don't want to be called older sisters), my mother, or to
other women who are important to me. I have chosen my
younger sister because the writing of this article gives me
an opportunity to say in print what I have never said and
what I probably would never say to her face to face, or
eyeball to eyeball.
Shirley is of heroic proportions, first of all, because she
suffered through and survived the experience of being my
only younger sister, (smile) To be my younger sister was to
live in the midst of danger and frustration. All of the
frustrations that were mine as a result of parents, other
relatives, personal health problems, a hostile world ... all
of these frustrations, and the fears that they caused,
resulted in my making Shirley my occasional scapegoat.
But through it all, she persevered and transformed the
meaninglessness of being the "baby" into an existence
that had meaning. Some would say that ALL younger
sisters and brothers should get medals; possibly so, but to-
day I write about Shirley.
But Shirley's heroism is more significant because she
survived successfully being the daughter of a Methodist
Preacher. We are called "preacher's kids", (p.k's.).
Despite, or because of, the honor, respect, and position
that is automatically accorded the Black Preacher in the
Black community, his children have a struggle being
children, being human, and being "for real". Often we
who are the sons and daughters of preachers become ar-
tifically over-zealous in our efforts to be either "bad" or
"good". We sometimes exaggerate our lifestyles as a
response to being the son or daughter of a "Preacher
Shirley, unlike myself, worked daily and successfully to
maintain her humanity and uniqueness in the midst of the
artificiality and superficiality that is sometimes projected
in the name of religion. She did not conform to the expec-
tations that Church members had of what the preacher's
daughter ought to do and be. She did not dance to the
tunes of expectation that were played by her teachers and.
Lord knows, she did not march to the drumbeat of our
Shirley and the rest of us grew up at a time in the Black
community (it was the Negro community then) when peo-
ple talked about "good" hair and "bad" hair. Shirley had
"good" hair and had to suffer through all of the pain of
praise that was directed toward those among us who were
"blessed" with soft, straight, shiny, long hair. Her brother
(me) because of the texture of his hair, did not have to suf-
fer through all of this. As I look back, I realize that Shirley
did not appreciate the Teacher, the Church member, or
even the Relative who praised her because she was pretty
and had "good" hair. She, intuitively, I believe, saw
through the praise and identified the empty irrelevance of
anyone who was hung up on appearance. Shirley, at a very
early age, helped me discover that life was about more
than looks, pedigree, conformity and success.
The trait of resistance to the expected did not disappear
when she entered college. Shirley entered a private. Black
Women's College and very early decided that this
prestigious, church-related college was not the place for
her. I am sure with much agonizing, she decided to
transfer and attend a state college in a nearby town where
she could prepare for her career in nursing. She did this
knowing full well that our parents, the friends of parents,
Methodist Bishops and others would not or could not
understand why the daughter of the "distinguished"
(Rev.) would leave a Methodist school to attend another
school. Nevertheless, she made the switch and benefitted
Now I know it sounds as though I am making my
younger sister out to be a rebellious, non-conformist, hell-
raiser. Such is not the case. I am writing about my sister
because I now recognize that in those early days of sibling
rivalry and whatever, she was able to be faithful to her in-
ner voice, an inner compulsion that put her at odds with
what was expected of her by others.
In her adult personal life, Shirley has known struggle.
She has experienced divorce and re-marriage, sickness and
health. She has been misunderstood both within family
and outside of it. Yet she has continued to respond to the
God-given uniqueness that causes her to be who she is.
Over the years, she has given herself professionally and
personally to the struggles of all people, but especially to
Black people. She has been and is deeply spiritual without
being artificially religious.
In her academic life, since undergraduate days, she has
secured an M.A. in Sociology, an M.S. in Community
Mental Health Nursing and has completed course work for
a Ph.D. Professionally she has been Public Health Nurse,
Instructor in Psychiatric Nursing, Director of Nursing and,
as I write this, she is Instructor of Psychiatric Nursing, and
Maternal Child Nursing at Kennedy-King Community
College in Chicago.
Shirley wrote me one of her very infrequent notes not
too long ago. She wrote, " . . .In our own individual ways,
we have overcome some pretty heavy and crazy odds and
we have survived. In the final analysis, I guess that's what
life is about — surviving and being happy and sometimes
being sad. . ." •
Time in Test
It's times like these
when all our needs
seem greater than
was here. . .
is now . . .
and shall be. . .
forever more ....
Stay on your path,
Divorce all fear.
Endure the now and all-ways care.
Pay heed to your dreams
regardless of their I there pitch,
This life is yours, endure.
BRIGHT AN' MOWNIN' STAR
.RAVELING SOUTH FROM MEMPHIS on Highway
49, you cross over the last rolling hill and the Mississippi
Delta stretches before you like the sea, an unbroken
monotony of land so flat as to appear unnatural. So per-
vasive is this low-ceilinged, almost total flatness that one
loses all other dimensions of space and vision. An endless
succession of cotton and soybean fields surround the road.
A few weather-greyed shacks, stark, skeletal, and
abrasively ugly, perch m a precarious oasis hacked out in
the narrow, neutral strip between the road and the en-
croaching fields. Contemptuous of weather, time, and
gravity, they stand apparently empty, long-abandoned
and sheltering nothing but the wind. Then some appear,
no different in point of squalor and decrepitude from the
others, except that people stand before them.
At one point a single huge tree, off in a cotton field a
distance, breaks the horizon. It is the first tree of any size
that has appeared. This tree is an oak that bears small,
gnarled acorns so bitter that there is no animal that will eat
them. Its wood is very hard but is knotty, faulted, and
with a grain so treacherous and erratic that it cannot easily
be worked. It is used for nothing more durable than a
weapon. In this region they are called blackjacks, from the
soot-like darkness of the bark, and find utility mainly in
conversation as a metaphor of hardness, " tougher 'n a
This one is unusual beyond its mere presence and size,
having both name and history. Its appearance, too, is
unusual. The trunk and lower limbs are fire-charred to a
dull black. These limbs are leafless and dead, but the top-
most branches in the center of the tree continue to grow.
In a strange inharmony the living oak flourishes out of the
cinders of its own corpse. White folk call this tree the Nig-
ger Jack, while Negroes speak of it hardly at all. save on
tnose Sundays when the tree becomes the central symbol in
some hell -fire sermon, for it is widely known that the
flames that burned the oak roasted the bodies of slaves
judged dangerous beyond redemption or control.
Once, it is said, some young black men from the county,
returned from defeating the Kaiser, resolved to fell and
burn the tree. On the night before this event was to take
place, a huge and fiery cross was seen to shine at the base
of the tree, burning through the night and into the next
For many years — the space of three generations — the
land around this tree has lain fallow, producing annually
only a tangled transient jungle of rabbit grass and myriad
nameless weeds, for no Negro could be found who might
be bribed, persuaded, or coerced into working there.
Lowe Junior grunted deep in his chest as the heavy,
broadblade chopping hoe hit into the dry black earth. He
jerked it up, sighted on the next clump of wire-grass and
weeds, and drove the hoe-blade into the furrow just
beyond the weeds, and with the same smooth motion
pulled the blade towards his body and slightly upwards,
neatly grubbing out the intruder in a little cloud of dust
without touching the flanking cotton plants.
''Sho' do seem like the grass growin' faster' n the
cotton," He leaned on the hoe handle and inspected the
grubbed-up weed. "Hit be greener an' fatter'n the cotton
evrahtime. Heah hit is, middle o' June, an hit ain't sca'ce-
ly to mah knee yet." He ran his glance over the rows of
stunted plants, already turning a dull brownish green,
then squinted down the row he was chopping, estimating
the work left. He saw much "grass" wrestling its way
around and between the cotton. "Finish dishyer after din-
ner." he said, noting that the sun had already cleared the
tip of the blackjack oak which stood some ten rows into the
middle of the field. Dragging his hoe he started towards
the tree's shade.
Lowe Junior was tall, a gaunt, slightly stooped figure as
he shambled with the foot-dragging, slightly pigeon-toed,
stiff- backed gait that a man develops straddling new-
turned furrows while holding down the jerking, bucking
handle of a bull-tongue plow. His boots and the dragging
hoe raised a fine powder of dust around his knees When
he reached the tree he learned his tool against the trunk
and stretched himself. He moved his shoulders, feeling the
pull of the overalls where the straps had worn into his flesh
during the morning's work. Holding the small of his back,
he arched his middle forward to ease the numb, cramping
ache that hardly seemed to leave the muscles m his back.
Then he straightened up and stood for a while looking out
over his cotton.
Then Lowe Junior turned to the tree and took a pail
which hung from one of the broken stubs. He touched the
blackened trunk, running his hands over the rough
cinders. "Thet fiah oney toughed yo' up, thass all . . . an
there ain't nothin' wrong with thet." There was
something familiar, almost affectionate, in his voice and
action. When he first started working this section, he had
contiRued on page 24
carefully avoided the tree, sitting on the hot earth in the
lows to eat and rest. But he had become accustomed to the
tree now, was grateful for its shade, and he found himself
accepting it as the only other living thing he encountered
during the day. After all, he assured himself, "Hit cain't
be no harm to no tree fo' a certain fack."
He eased himself down ponderously, almost painfully,
like a man too old or too fat, and began to eat. In the pail
were butter-beans boiled with country peppers, wild
onions, and slabs of salted fatback. This stew was tepid,
almost perceptibly warm from the midday heat. The
coating of pork grease that had floated to the top had not
congealed. Lowe Junior briefly debated making a small fire
but decided against taking the time. He ate quickly, stirr-
ing the stew and scooping it into his mouth with a thin
square of cornbread, biting into the gravy-soaked bread,
then chewing and swallowing rapidly. Finishing his meal
he drank deeply from a kerosene tin filled with water and
covered with burlap (wet in the morning but now bone
dry), which stood among the roots of the tree.
He stretched himself again, yawned, belched, spat, and
braced himself firmly against the tree. He lay there limply,
his eyes closed as though to shut out the rows and rows of
small, drying-out plants that represented the work of his
hands, every day, from can see to can't, since early in the
"Ef hit would jes' rain some . . . seems like the mo' a
man strain, hits the harder times git. Li'l rain now, an' the
cotton be right up, but soon '11 be too late." Weariness
spread in him and the effort even of thinking was too
great. He just lay there inert, more passive even than the
tree, which at least stood. Even if by some miracle this cot-
ton in the section he was "halfing" for Mr. Riley Peterson
survived the drought, rains coming in August or
September would turn the dust into mud and rot whatever
cotton was ripening in the bolls— or else wash it into the
A sudden panic came upon Lowe Junior, stretched
beneath the tree. He could hardly feel his body, which was
just a numbness. He felt that he could not rise, could not
even begin, for his body would not obey him. For a brief
moment he was terrified of making the effort lest he fail.
Then he sat up suddenly, almost falling over forward from
the violence of his effort. "Better study out whut t' do. No
profit to layin' here scarin m'se'f. Quarter section be a lot
o' farmin' fo' a man. Sho' ain't be able to keep t' grass
outen the cotton by myse'f."
This a problem for him, had been ever since he had
asked Mr. Peterson to give him this quarter section. He was
young but a good worker; still Mr. Peterson might not
have given it to him had it not been for the fact that no
other tenant would take it. Lowe Junior did not want to ask
for help with the chopping because, in "halfing," the cost
of the seed, fertilizer, ginning, and any hired help came
out of the tenant's half. Already most of his half belonged
to Mr. J.D. Odum, the merchant in Sunflower who had
"furnished" him. He knew that he would have to have
help before then, when he would at least have an idea of
the crop's potential. "Man can en' up wit nothin' thet
way," he muttered. "Hit '11 happen anyways, tho. Figured
to put in eight mebbe even nine bale fo' my share come
the crop . . . now be the grace o' the good Gawd ef ah
makes fo' . . . man doan feel much even t' keep on . . .
Lawd, hit be better t' die, than t' live so hard." He found
little comfort in those grim lines from the old blues to
which his grandmother was so partial. She was always in-
canting that song as though it had a special meaning for
After his father died, and his mother went off to the
North to find work, it was the old woman, pious and ac-
cepting, who had told him the old stories, raised him in
the Clfiurch, and interpreted for him the ways of their
world. He remembered her story of how God had put two
boxes into the world, one big and the other small. The first
Negro and the first white man had seen the boxes as the
same time and run towards them, but the Negro arrived
first and greedily appropriated for himself the larger box.
Unfortunately this box contained a plough, a hoe, a cop-
axe, and a mule, while the smaller box contained a pen,
paper, and a ledger book. "An' thass why," the old
woman would conclude, her face serious, "the Nigger
been aworkin' evah since, an' the white man he reckon up
the crop; he be sittin' theah at crop time, jes' afigurin' an'
areckonin'; he say
Noughts a nought,
Figgers a figger.
All fo' us folks,
None fo ' the Nigger.
He had been fifteen before he even began to doubt the
authenticity of this explanation. Now the old lady was ail-
ing and very old. But she had not lost her faith in the
ultimate justice of the Lord or her stoic acceptance of
whatever He sent. It was a joke among the neighbors that
when the good sisters of the Church went into see the old
lady, now failing in sight and almost bedridden, her
answer to the question, "How yo' keepin', Miz Culvah?"
invariably was "Porely, thank d' Lawd." Lowe Junior
chuckled, got up, dusted off his clothes, and went out into
continued on page 48
Lonely hearts run free, no where to go. No real
destination. Why is this? Man puts you through so
many changes. Unnecessary changes that could be
avoided by a mutual understanding of situations . The
non-emotional sex wants to consider me possessive,
but I just want to understand h(m. Is it too much to
ask to want to be with a man who makes you happy?
He will say you 're trying to take up all his time when
he spends, in reality, no more time with me than with
his study. Lonely hearts run free. No real destination.
Why is this? Man cannot deal with the emotionalism
of my sex. He says we get too involved. What then is
the purpose of a relationship? Lonely hearts run free
until that day when an emotional, sentimental,
understanding, lonely man finds me.
HE STANDS ALONE
HE STANDS ALONE
IN AN OPEN FIELD.
HE STANDS OPEN
TO THE SUN
AND THE HOT BREATH
OF THE AFTERNOON.
HE STANDS ALONE
HEAVING A MILLION LIVES
TO THE SKY.
ORBITING A MILLION GRAINS
WITH TEARS IN HIS EYES
AND MUSCLES TEARING
THROUGH HIS SKIN
HE STANDS ALONE;
AS HIS BROTHER STOOD ALONE
AND AS HIS FATHER STOOD ALONE.
HE MAKES HIS SILENT
GESTURES TO GOD
TO BRING BACK LIFE FROM
WHERE LIFE WAS TAKEN.
HE SPEAKS HIS PRAYER
TO NO ONE.
HE STANDS ALONE.
Wear your beads like a queen, my love
Wear them on your hair around your neck.
Wear them on your navel around your waist
your wrists and ankles.
Let you and I then
go round and round and follow drum
Let's twirl colorful rhythmic steps
Like your green, black and red beads.
Till we are moonstruck
Till the moon, lovestruck
Tips over the hills
Our feet must stomp the earth
And raise the sun.
At dawn my love
Let's do a dance of fire
Round our hair, our wrists, our ankles
And into our hearts
To bind a band . . .
A love with no beginning and no end.
(Song for a dead daddy that did not de-tox.)
Awaiting in a line, black cars
shining like the knuckles of old black men.
An Italian face waits to guide us expertly.
My aunts and uncles sharpen
in their new suits. My mother
speaks across a great expanse.
I remember how she would talk
and he would snap
back, sitting in the cockpit
as the cruiser cut into the Hudson,
pilot cap pulled hard down
on his furrowed brow.
This day cuts into me
sharp as the breath of a desert lung;
a voice crying aloud in the wilderness
on the radio, on Sundays
as he set out for the golf course;
"This is the Voice of Prophecy!
Coming again, Coming again,
Jesus is coming again! ' '
Six days, sometimes seven,
he spent pent in by desk
in an office ensconced in layered decay-
Harlem of the tarnished, tender people.
With always, the hearing, the smelling, the tasting
of a people feeled by nine-to-five funk,
the roaches that kept coming again,
shrieks of once delicate women
mingling with the crackle of frying pork,
and, through the ceiling,
drippings from men bleeding
junk and dried barbecue.
After six, sometimes seven
days of that, the suburbs
shined senselessly. The day
would snap in two
when he crossed the bridge to Jersey.
But the women who had crawled up
from the West Indies for jobs as maids
understood the Mr. Jones,
who secretly bled heart and scotch.
Some days he couldn't talk,
just sat and smoked and listened
to Mahalia Jackson, Gloria Lynn, Madam Butterfly.
Then he'd go for drives alone
on icy roads, speaking to the middle of the night.
"Daddy, can you hear us?"
We would hold his swollen hands
talking to him for hours.
But he would only look at us
like he was trying to remember language.
But we believed, just as our six births
expanded space, he'd always
light the Christmas fires, sit up
on Sunday mornings over sausage and grits,
talking about the Tea in China
and the Pearls of the Orient.
This day is ready to snap shut.
My uncle's eyes are moist, my aunt's
hands are turning to powder.
Everything is growing larger
and smaller in technicolor.
But, surely, this is not my country,
not my language. These roses are too red,
my father's face too paper thin and brittle.
C Ji J. JLiJiJ J I how when ■ ■ ■ looking back on youi past,
things sometimes seem so fine . . . JIO W.
i^na even the baa wasn I so lough,
mow . . that ds ail fell UU
~lnose scais you 've ootained
may exist in youi heait
foi a vciy, vely, vCiy, long time.
'fet, even those seals, may be ooliged to lesign as,
liaces in back of youi mina.
-liaces of a memoiy
inscii-bed on ike flight
of a Jjluebild . . . in time, in time
Wiaces of a memory
insciioed on me flight
of a JSluebi'id . . . in time.
JLol long ago you emolaced and you touched
then soon aftel, paths ■ . . paHs theil ways.
J^ife s sometimes Ciuel with it 's ups and it 's downs
like a iose with it 's tholns in youi way.
J^ook on this all
with a smile in yoWi heait
and be convinced that it will nevei be thiough.
Jjecause once love s embrace has had a glimpse of youi healt
it will all-ways lemain pall of you.
-liaces of a memoiy
insciibed on the flight
of a -Dluebiid . . . in time.
-liaces of a memoiy
insciibed on the flight
of a -Dluebiid . . . in time.
Oo now when looking back on youi past,
and you 3CCX the JICGS) to ciy,
just lelease those teals
because teais . . . .ale just palt of being alive.
just lelease those lonely teais
31. e. a)a.is 3^-
the host governments can allocate for the convenience of
the refugees is limited. In most cases crowdedness is the
order of the day. In Botswana, the more than 8,700
refugees are confined in a single camp built to cater to a
thousand people. The refugee numbers grow each day
faster than new campsites can be erected for them. Two
more gigantic problems complicate the already complex
situation. The World Food Organization provides food-
stuff for refugees but the diet is limited to cornmeal. They
have to do without fruit, vegetables or meat. At various oc-
casions the host governments have parcelled out land to
the refugee administrative units to grow supplementary
food items. Invariably, the land is not adequate and
sometimes the climatic conditions are less than
cooperative. This year, for example, rains in Zambia have
been unseasonally heavier and more continuous than ever
before in the recorded history of the country. The result is
that plantings and pastures were washed out of existence
ushering in shortage of crops and animals for slaughter.
Also, crop sites as well as the refugee camps have been vic-
tims of constant air raids by the Rhodesian military misan-
The unhealthy living conditions and the less than
nourishing diet which face the refugees translate into
diseases and illness. Adequate medication is therefore a
high priority for the sake of the refugees as well as that of
the local population. In Zambia, there are only two doctors
for the residents of all the camps. The outcome of the
serious shortage of medical personnel is that the drugs that
are available are unadministered or worse, administered by
untrained or ill-trained volunteers..
There are hundreds of other refugees who have manag-
ed, somehow, to remain outside of the camps. They are
known as 'urban refugees.' By far the largest number is
that of domestic refugees: concentration camp detainees
and their families; thousands of families who have been
uprooted from their rural abodes and relocated in 'pro-
tected villages,' the Rhodesian version of DIMBAZA and
thousands more who have lost their jobs and homes who
rove the streets knowing not what else to do.
The gravity of the refugee situation has been
underscored by the attention it is receiving from the
Patriotic Front (ZAPU-Zimbabwe African People's
Union). In a fund raising pitch, the executive committee
of the North Upstate New York branch, wrote the follow-
You probably know that our country (Zimbabwe) is in-
volved in a life and death struggle for freedom . This war is
taking a terrible toll on the lives of our people, particularly
of innocent civilians who have been dying at the rate of
twenty a day. As a result of this catastrophe, thousands of
our people have been displaced and forced to seek refuge
in neighboring countries of Botswana, Mozambique and
Zambia. The living conditions of these refugees in these
fraternal countries are very bad. There is a constant shor-
tage of food, clothing and medicines.
As Zimbabweans living in North America, we believe
that it is our obligation to do something to help our
brothers and sisters. We, therefore, wish to appeal to you
to join us in collecting medicines, clothes and money for
these helpless people. One dollar ($1), ten dollars ($10),
one hundred dollars ($100) etc., will be heartily ap-
preciated. No amount of help is too little. We hope that
you will find it possible to participate in this noble cause.
Thanking you in anticipation, we request you to send your
contribution to: ZAPU North Upstate New York Branch,
c/o the above named people.
Freedom fighters are not, as suspected, made of
mystical, crude and savage stuff. They are men and women
of such human and intellectual decency that they have
pledged their lives to the struggle for the elimination of
gross human injustice and for the establishment of order
and prosperity for all in the land of their birth and growth.
The result of all that has been said in this paper is
predictable save for those whose distance from reality has
blurred their vision. The leadership of the present regime
is aware of the inevitability of this outcome but, like the
spoilers that they are, they are hoping for certain adverse
developments to occur. In 1965, the country was declared
independent from Britain, clearly and internationally an
illegality since this act was in defiance of Britain's position
as well as that of the United Nations and the Organization
of African Unity. This step taken by the Rhodesia Front
was certainly not purported to solve the problem that had
existed for about one hundred years, rather it had a delay
effect. More than a year ago, the Rhodesia Front persuaded
and co-opted three so-called African leaders to join the
regime in a treacherous deal under the pretext of an 'inter-
nal settlement.' By so doing, they abandoned immediate-
ly, their claims to leadership among the masses and the
liberation fighters. Again, the insidious motive of the
government is to buy time. It is carefully calculated that
the ire and therefore the energy of the freedom fighters
will be directed against their fellow Africans gone sour and
thus, allow for a breathing spell for the real enemy. The re-
cent internationally orchestrated negotiation acrobatics in
which Ian Smith of Rhodesia is the cinesure is an attempt
continued on page 32
to pit Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and Robert Mugabe on the
one side against Abel Muzorewa,' Ndabaningi Sithole and
Jeremiah Chirau on the other side. After the formation of
the window-dressed 'bi-racial' cabinet in SaHsbury, a
pubHc announcement was made to the effect that public
elections leading to majority rule would be held on
December 31, 1978. This was a ploy aimed at silencing the
freedom fighters and raising false hopes among the masses
who would, in turn, look upon Nkomo and Mugabe with
skepticism. Then, the guardians of the regime and the
three African stooges would sit down and divide the spoils.
However, during the second week of November, 1978, Ian
Smith unilaterally postponed the elections to April 20,
1979- His three cheer leaders sheepishly went along.
It is obvious that the 'divide and rule' strategy used by
imperialists so successfully over the years is being put to
test in Zimbabwe. If the trend of developments continues
at this pace, the freedom minded people of Zimbabwe will
surely disappoint the strategists. As the writer has observed
elsewhere (SMITH'S SEED FOR CIVIL WAR NOT SO
SUBTLE, OCT., 1978) "An entire change of the present
set up should be the inevitable result of two and a half
decades of intense revolution, and to wish otherwise, is
political myopia. ' ' Not only is the regime running out of
tricks but the realization that they have nothing to lose but
their chains, has inspired Zimbabweans to expect nothing
less than total victory. •
JAPHET ZWANA is an exiled citizen of Zimbabwe. He is professor of
African/Afro-American Studies at the State University of New York in
Albany. He is author of several magazine and newspaper articles on con-
temporary issues in Africa and the diaspora.
His Ph.D. dissertation: The Administrative Role In The Introduction of
African Languages As Primary Media Of Instruction In African
Schools — An Exploratory Study, has been printed as a book by the
University of Michigan.
Time has come to look
At that which have /will
come to past.
To imagine the personae
Of those weary old
Making their travels via
trolley /in town.
Time to carry paths of
Knowledge, worry and Dreams.
That only He can read.
Roads paved that first breath.
cuz only through
you does my love find
Seeds starving, struggling
In the valley of my folds.
Cuz you face a desolate
Beyond the warmth of my limbs.
Only a beginning.
^_^hisa turned in her sleep several times moaning and stret-
ching her arms in an outward motion, like one who swims rapid-
ly in water.
A vision of the pond of Wagaba, where the men of Chiolu
and Aliakoro had fished flashed before her. She saw the men of
the villages casting their nets, pulling them back, filled with the
fish of the generous pond.
The dream was one of the old days, years before the Great
Wars, before the white man had crept into the villages late at
night and raided the compounds, killing off many and carrying
off families. It was when Chiolu and her neighbor Aliakoro had
engaged in a battle that became so bloody that it ran streaming
red into the pond and arrows could be drawn more readily than
fish from Wagaba.
It was at the shore of Wagaba that she and Iketchi had made
vows of love and it was here, later that she found his body, limp
and lifeless, pierced by arrows of Aliakoro. It was this remem-
brance that caused her to tremble and moan in her sleep for the
pond had been the burial grounds of love for her.
"Iketchi, Iketchi!" Chisa cried out and almost instantly she
felt a hand on her shoulder. Though the quarters were dark,
when she turned she could see the face of a woman, who looked
to her with tired, but tender eyes.
"It is only the deceiver of night troubling you," whispered
the woman in a way as not to awaken the others.
Amazed, Chisa asked her, "Where are you from, daughter of
the tongue of my fathers?"
"I am Zori," said the tender-eyed one, "I am of Aliakoro."
Chisa moaned, "So they have raided the neighbor of Chiolu
as well. You are the first from there that I have met since I was
taken. The rest, who knows where they come from. They know
the ways of the white man and speak his tongue."
"The white man raided my village like yours, killing many of
my people. He loaded the rest of us into big boats, crowding too
many into one space. People died all around me. When they
allowed us up to breathe the air many men and woman leaped
overboard to their death. I wanted to die too, but after the
others had jumped they stopped letting us come up for air . . .
Besides, the child of my husband whom the white men killed is
now growing in my womb."
Chisa stared at Zori's swollen belly, "Do you wish to give life
here in this white man's land? Perhaps the Gods will be
angry. . ."
Zori's nostrils flared now as she spoke, "The Gods have
already punished us . . . They were angry at the men for their
senseless war. They sent the white man to punish us . . . We,
who stand on his shores, scarred from the acts of abomination by
the war, we pay the price!"
Chisa stopped herself from answering because she had other
thoughts of why Zori and some of the others were here. She
thought the white man a beast, who destroyed all that he touch-
ed. That the gods had sent him to carry off the clan would force
Chiolu and Aliakoro to end their own war and unite against the
She would not tell Zori that her own father, who was killed by
the white man, had been one of the leaders of the war. Chisa
remembered how her mother and other women of the village
had protested the war. The women of Aliakoro had voiced
similar sentiments. They believed that the pond could be shared
by both villages. If only the men had listened to the women.
The war would have been avoided and the wrath of the Gods
spared. She and Zori would never have been brought to this
desolate place and the villages would not reek of death.
But now these things must be put aside, now that they were
captives and held at bay by these heavily clothed madmen,
whom they were being instructed to call "Master."
"The others here, how do they treat you?" asked Chisa.
"They want most of all to teach me of the white man's
language, his customs and ways. They show me how to pluck the
white, woolly blossoms in the land. This is what we must do
from early morning call to late night sigh."
"Have you seen the men with the whips?" asked Chisa.
"Yes, they are servants of the white man. They stand over us
while we work, yelling for us to go faster. This white man is
greedy. He wants all the white blossoms and wants to see our
blood and sweat. He has no heart."
"Have any of them whipped you?"
Zori's face turned like stone. She turned her back to Chisa and
lifted her shift. Chisa stared at the deep cuts the whip had bitten
into her back and gasped.
"Why did they whip you?" she cried.
"You are new to this land, newer than I. I will tell you
because you must understand this now. The white man will beat
you without cause, just for the sake of bending his arms. I got
these wounds because I was sick one day and did not pick
enough of the cotton. The head watcher saw that I was suffering
and demanded that I go faster ... I could not, ' ' said Zori, look-
ing down sorrowfully at her swollen belly.
"They wish to kill us and our unborn children," sighed Chisa
mournfully, "I too have seen what they do. I saw them killing
with their thunder sticks, taking even priests and priestesses into
chains and men of many titles. They seem to think we all are
meant to be killed or enslaved."
She stopped again thinking of the child that Zori was carry-
ing. A future generation, removed and imprisoned in a strange
land, to know no father and to be taught of the white man's
language and of his religion.
"Do not despair," said Zori, "We will make it through this
life, even if we are to be slaves. Some of the others who were
born here know of ways to destroy the white man. They have
studied him and know his weaknesses. Perhaps they will show us
continued on page 35
one day how to overcome him. Just as he stepped on to our
shores when we were in times of peril amongst each other and
used this peril to raid our villages and drag us over to his land,
Just as he used our weaknesses, we shall learn his weaknesses and
But then the screech of the early morning cock was heard and
the room about them began to move. The others were awaken-
ing, speaking in low tones, putting on their shifts and preparing
for the work ahead of them.
As Chisa watched them, she was struck with the power of
Zori's words. She grabbed Zori, pulling her near to herself and
trembled with the fury of an ancestor's rage.
She whispered, "I Chisa, swear to you Zori, that not another
day will go by without new hope for your unborn child. If we
must fight the white man with his own ways then we will. If we
must swim the length of the ocean which carried us here, then
we will. But your child will see better days than these."
They embraced, huddling together for mutual warmth.
Before they departed to the fields Chisa cried, "Though they
have taken our masks, our Gods are still with us!"
And the spirit between them would travel through Zori's
child and be born again in the generations to come. •
As the World Turns
As the world turns
I see our history as a Repeat Performance
A boat about to sink and
We the crew going down with it
As our finger like an axis spins the Globe
Around lesson and after lesson and Around lesson
So we must repeat and sink
Knowing there is a way
Not to stop the world from turning
But our lives from evolving into
Plug up that hole of separatism
Throw down the anchor of unity
Behold our Blackness
Which charts the course of Strength
As we rise into the sun
of Truth and Purpose
Self determination is our goal
Guided by Collective Work and Responsibility
to ourselves and our children
who thru their creativity
We learn Faith
to Build Cooperative Economics
As we turn the World
The Great Pyramid
\^n the Gizeh plain, about fifteen miles fiom Cairo,
there stands a monument and message to man that has
defied orthodox science for thousands of years.
Until the late nineteenth century, historians of the
Western world felt beyond a shadow of a doubt that the
Great Pyramid was nothing more than a tomb of the great
Egyptian Pharoah Khufu (Cheops). In 1864, an
Englishman named Piazzi Smyth completed
measurements and calculations which proved the Great
Pyramid to be a storehouse of mathematical and
astronomical knowledge. He also concluded that the Great
Pyramid was not a tomb but was planned by its builders to
be a record in stone which would last through thousands of
years until man had reached a plane of spiritual evolve-
menc that would enable him to see and decipher the
message. He claimed the Great Pyramid held a revelation
to modern man, that once deciphered would go a long way
in salving the spiritual wounds inflicted by thousands of
years of ignorance.
Many scholars of Smyth's day were interested in the
Great Pyramid and his treatise was widely circulated. As
many scientists and military men had made measurements
and calculations prior to and after Smyth, his information
on the mathematical and astronomical data was found to
be correct. A major point in Smyth's treatise is his belief
that the Great Pyramid's numerical system is part of a
Divine revelation. It was scorned by many of his peers. The
thrust of this rejection came from Sir Flinders Petrie, who
confirmed Smyth's measurements but rejected any divine
idea in the building. He said it was built as a tomb and
because of his standing in intellectual circles, the Royal
Society of England upheld his findings. Even today his
views are the views of orthodox universities and en-
Before I continue with the physical characteristics of the
Great Pyramid, I would like to point out that although Mr.
Smyth's work was considered monumental and enlighten-
ing, it is not without flaws. As in many works on the Great
Pyramid, the questions, "Who built it?" and "Why?"
were asked and answered by Europeans. The general con-
sensus of Western thought is that it could only have been
built by a white race which inhabited the area before the
Great Flood of Biblical account. They did not feel the peo-
ple indigenous to the area (Egypt) for at least 5,000 years
had the intelligence or desire to build such an enduring
structure. This presumption remained unshakable until'
the early twentieth century, when workmen found Egyp-
continued on page 38
tian symbols on a stone that had been inverted inside the
pyramid. The symbols were simply carpenter's markings in
the old Egyptian language. This discovery proved that the
Great Pyramid was indeed built by the Egyptians, who
were Black, and had been inhabitants of that area of Africa
much longer than European scholars admitted.
The Great Pyramid at Gizeh is the oldest and largest of
the pyramids. It was built before Moses even began writing
the Old Testament and it was already ancient when the
Greeks of Homer's time called it one of the seven wonders
of the world. Because of the spiritual and esoteric
knowledge it was to house, the site chosen had to furnish a
stable foundation. The point chosen was higher than any
of the land that was flooded by the almost annual rising of
the Nile. The Great Pyramid is extremely close to the
center of the earth's land masses, which makes it less
vulnerable to earthquakes. The geographical location
where the pyramid's base diagonals intersect is latitude 30
degrees north; longitude 30 degrees east. Time in degrees
from point zero begins at Greenwich, England, the site of
the Royal Observatory. The scholarly Englishmen of the
day could not find it in their quest for scientific truth to
begin the time line from the geographical center of the
earth's land masses where the Great Pyramid is located,
but decided to choose their own "hallowed" hall as the
starting point. Politics of the west, brothers and sisters,
The sides of the Great Pyramid form a base which is a
perfect square. It takes up 13-1/2 acres, each side is ap-
proximately 760' long and oriented north, south, east, and
west. On a four sided pyramid-shaped structure there
should be an apex or capstone, but the base circuit of the
Great Pyramid was purposely made less than the designed
base circuit by 286.1 pyramid inches. Esoterically, this
displacement symbolizes man's self willed displacement
and rejection of the truth. The Displacement Factor is the
cosmic theme of many of the measurements of the
pyramid's chambers and corridors. This theme appears to
be the reason why the Great Pyramid is not a favorite sub-
ject of discussion with the rich or powerful governments of
There are approximately 2,300,000 individual stones,
each averaging two to two and a half tons, including some
that weigh as much as 54 tons. The granite used in the con-
struction came from quarries 500 miles to the south. The
stones are so perfectly cut that when laid side by side a thin
point of a sharp knife blade will not penetrate.
At one time, before they were torn down to be used for
other structures, the Great Pyramid was encased in highly
polished white limestone. The limestone was cut concavely
(curved slightly inward) so when the sun shone on the
structure it had the appearance of a reflecting mirror. The
builders had a knowledge of materials; the granite which
expands and contracts with heat and cold was used in the
inside construction, while the limestone used on the out-
side becomes harder when exposed to the weather. The
limestone was quarried from the Mokkatan Hills about 12
miles from the site. Before the highly polished white
limestone casing stones were torn off, the Pyramid must
have accurately portrayed the "Lights and Measures," as it
was called in some of the old records. The glistening white
limestone gave the appearance of an enormous sun dial
visible for miles.
As a geometric instrument the Pyramid incorporates
many formulas thought to have been developed by the
"highly intelligent" Greak civilization. For example, the
vertical height of the Pyramid multiplied by two, is to the
length of one side of its base as the diameter is to the cir-
cumference of a circle — in other words 1 to 3.1416, the
value of pi. Another number found in the equations for
the structure of the pyramid is 3.20, which baffled
mathematicians for years until the space age when scien-
tists determined that the distance above the atmosphere
could be accurately calculated using 3.2, the value of pi.
The relationship of the base to the height is of a 10 to 9
ratio. Ten to the ninth power multiplied by the height (in
inches) of the pyramid in the distance from the earth to the
The builders, using a system of number symbology
called the Teleois proportions, knew the dimensions of the
earth and its orbit, the number of days in the solar year,
the importance of pi, the laws of gravitation — and what
may be the most valuable piece of lost science on the
planet — the science of levitation. All of these were
understood and used in the construction of the Great
Pyramid. This last point may seem a bit far-fetched, but as
we all know, the powers-that-be have for ages tried to
alter, hide, disprove and discredit information that would
increase our spiritual knowledge of ourselves as Black peo-
ple and our place in God's scheme of creation.
Many white people are also now questioning
"orthodox" science on many fronts, and since technology
has made vast strides, many of the pyramid's revelations
have been proven. I hope this article will create interest in
a structure that has stood for over 10,000 years and holds a
message from another age to ours. Have hope, courage,
and vision brothers and sisters; because the once silent
stones at Gizeh are not as silent any more. Much of the
secrets and information have been uncovered. More are
MY FATHER IS A HERO
Lots is said and praised about mothers — it should be so.
But, I'd like to add something about a father ... my
father. Black men don't usually get much (good) said
about them, only the ' 'famous few. ' ' Black fathers seem to
get even less. That's understandable, I guess. Most of
them never get famous, never get rich, never even get their
name in the paper or save a little money for old age. Black
fathers have to try harder to get jobs than black mothers
because of this system we live in. Black fathers endure
more aggravations, frustrations, intimidations, mutila-
tions, and humiliations than most fathers in this system.
Most of us don't notice except to add to their burden. This
is background. In the foreground ... my father.
Grew up on a farm in Illinois . . . my father.
Fed pigs and planted potatoes
Climbed mills where the wind blows
White folks country school
And white playmates foolin '
Few real friends for a ' 'colored boy " . . . my father.
Music, music in a guitar . . . my father.
A clear, warm sound in a voice
Working a way through school with no choice
Singing in quartets and traveling bands
Playing and praying through those one-night stands
He should be a star . . . my father.
Caught by the eyes of a Texas girl . . . my father.
Married and children, my brother and me
Having to work days in a factory
Canning soup, making candy bars .
Gigging weekends in local bars
Did share the bill with Sarah once . . . my father.
Quartets, trios, duos, solo . . . my father.
Singers, organs and pianos made it good
Also made it harder to live than it should
But word got around in most large towns
And more folks came out to dig the sounds
Music, music six nights a week . . . my father.
Read a little bit between th elines and you know that my
father was not often home. Holidays became extra-special
for us since clubs were closed then and the whole family
could be together. In other cities he usually made good
and lasting friendships, but there were so many strangers,
cold and cruel. The stories he's told me, so few of the
many, hurt me to my soul. I've gone through hating
myself, hating white folks, hating the system . . . just like
my father. Music, music eases the pain and if other folks
really listen, their pains are eased too. Now, I'm going
through knowning myself, loving my folks, changing the
system, and living for music . . . like my father.
Heroes give you experiences to learn from, learn to
think, to fight and to survive. Hereos give you someone to
respect and to love. My father is a hero.
'^hen you look into my ej,
what do you see?
ip you see me
to you see you -MKi
do you see the one you want tdW^%
do you see white
do you black
do you see the world in
do you see time
do you see space
do you see nothing at all?
SIGNinCANCE OF PAN-AFRICAN DANCE
IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Cultural Significance of Dance
Culture is defined as "that complex whole that includes
knowledge, beliefs, morals, laws, customs, religion and art". '
In traditional Afi:ican society, dance was a fundamental element
of aesthetic expression, basic to social cohesion, ritual obser-
vance, maintenance of tradition, expression of joy and grief. ^
There were dances to worship gods, dances to commemorate life
and death, dances of war and peace and celebration. So signifi-
cant was dance in traditional Africa, that it is impossible to
separate from music, poetry or the oral tradition. Elements of
African culture are known to exist throughout the modern
world. Despite when customs were lost and native cultures cut
off in the rude transplantation of slavery, rhythm memories and
skill persisted, later to merge and transform whatever new mode
of expression taken on. 3 Dance, therefore, closely parallels the
social history of African peoples.
Today we suffocate from what Madison Avenue has coined
'discomania' — computerized soul to make you dance, dance,
dance; broadcasted coast to coast, via Soul Train, Disco '78, etc. ,
for millions of viewers to securely peep, reassured that the
natives are indeed still happy. Radio endlessly streams the sordid
sounds of disco, while Black classical music is still forced to the
obscure hours of the night. Discos arc opening with alarming
rapidity, learning to hustle at Fred Astaire's is a common offer,
while musicians are forced to discotize in order to survive.
Social scientists and political observers anticipated the forth-
coming decade of the '70's as an era of further value clarifica-
tion, as the initial step of total independence for African
peoples. It is agonizing that that cultural identity still remains
undefined, left to fall into shambles and decadence, more
specifically as it relates to Blacks in the United States. It is the
Black American who should logically spearhead that progres-
sion. Black Americans are in a highly unique position — scrip-
turally speaking, residing in the lion's mouth. His experiences
have been unlike those of any people ever to live on the
planet — he has proven to endure and survive the most
treacherous form of slavery and injustice. Experiences have
shaped him to be the most sensitive and compassionate to
human suffering. Once possessing a knowledge and understan-
ding of that history, he is more apt and qualified to bring forth a
new world order, a new culture. Furthermore, he has more
potential power to do so than any other people. There are more
talented, highly educated Black Americans than in some entire
countries. Black Americans have nearly $80 billion dollars in
spending power, the gross national product of some nations.
History has proven that when Black America stirs, it alters the
world. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that a strong
positive cultural identity be established, supported and pro-
moted by Black Americans.
Dance as an integral component of culture, must be studied
seriously and in depth. Its history must be preserved as a linkage
to the past. The roots divide and go deep; one strand leads to the
delta and the plantation, another to the West Indies and Central
America, still another to Africa. Dance connects all people of
African origin all over the world, transcending time and space
distance, to a common ancestry. Such study should be instituted
into curriculum and community centers, so that children may be
able to study Pan-African dance, its history and form. Early in
life that identification to the world community must be
The manipulation of African culture into disco must be
eliminated. Disco allows a few to profit tremendously, while the
systematic annihilation of African culture continues since
slavery. Meantime, many, especially the young, are left to
believe that the only contribution Blacks have made in culture,
that the world views worthy of recognition, is disco. Further in-
vestigation reveals that the music and disco-dance lack meaning,
bordering on the ridiculous and obscene. Again the only solu-
tion is the elimimation.
Dance As Therapy
Of equal significance is the therapeutic role which dance
plays. Pearl Primus points out this in an article, entitled "Life
Crisis: Dance From Birth To Death":
". . . if our children were exposed to dance — not professional
dance — hut dance, if they could be encouraged to dance their
thoughts, to dance just their being, we would have less
It has been estimated that 80% of all illnesses are psychosomatic
in origin, results of tensions in modern life. Blacks are known to
be especially vulnerable to diseases of this type — the pressures of
racism and discrimination, poverty and strife are all cited as pro-
ducing tension. Consequently Blacks suffer hypertension, heart
diseases, stroke, obesity and cancer at substantially higher rates
than Caucasians. Life span, difficulties in pregnancy and old age
all illustrate that Blacks are in poorer general condition. Mental
disorders are equally on the rise. Often diet, lack of exercise and
lifestyle are cited as the main causes of this poor health profile.
Each of these variables are controllable-variables which can be
modified through physical regimen. Dance is a well suited form
of exercise, both mentally and physically, that can be done at all
ages. It has often been observed that when a regular exercise
regimen is undertaken, that often other habits, such as smoking,
drinking, eating are often modified. It is unlikely that doing the
freaky deaky on Saturday night could possibly compare with the
benefits of a regular study of dance. Children often love exercise,
and dance could be offered as a constructive avenue for energy.
As adults this level of exercise decreases, and adults are often
beset with sedentary lifestyles and resulting obesity, a factor in
many diseases. The survival of Blacks depends on the health,
both physical and mental well-being, of the population. Dance
can be a highly significant form of activity to insure that survival.
In conclusion, it becomes obvious that dance is a highly
significant form, both culturally, politically, and physically.
There are many other reasons not mentioned here. This
significance must be publicized to others so that support for
Pan- African dance will continue and increase. •
S - S
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Oh river how I envy you!
You flow with grace and peace,
Birds sing sweet melodies to you;
Green grass grows beside you,
Nature surrounds you gaily;
Yet you flow on . . . proudly, as though disinterested
With all that wants to be close to you.
You sparkle when the sun shines;
Glitter in the moonlight,
You have a strong will to survive.
Although you take life . . .
You give life;
You wander from land to land,
As though in search of something . . .
I wonder what you are looking for?
We wade through you and pollute you,
Secretly you disappear into the unknown,
But return again looking clean, clear and undisturbed.
You come across barriers;
But you conquer.
You gutter and gush
Taking with you what is in your way.
Quietly and gracefully you flow on,
Where you are not always wanted;
For you know, river.
We want you;
And we need you.
You are overloaded with riches,
For what you do not want.
You deposit to your banks.
You are mysterious . . .
All life depends on you;
For that life you give.
You continue your course.
Proudly flowing past us;
With grace and ease.
Oh river, how I envy you!
And the power of the drum
And the magic of the flute
Brought back the blue and purple rhythm
Of an age-long struggle
Brought back ancient memories
Of distant shores and midnight laughter
And we heard your story
Insistent and constant
Pleading and fervent
Clear and singular
And we recalled a rainbow people
A proud people
Hewing from stone, spinning from
Fine silk threads
Webs of beauty and poetry
Worlds of dignity and faith
Wisdoms of simplicity and strength
And we saw them collectively
Bound and collectively chained
Listened to their collective cry
Swayed to their collective song
And we watched your escape
Tasted your freedom.
Glimpsed your vision
Relished in your joy
And we were moved
You Danced and we were moved . . .
A reed, a cut and shaped piece of bamboo
when taken, soaked in saliva
placed in a mouthpiece and ligature tightened,
when touched by the tip of tongue
pushed by your wind rushing up,
a reed vibrates
and wails dry and slow like the wind over the desert
and ancient tones slip like silver tongues
through dark plum clouds stretching endlessly.
Knee deep in the Nile
in the reeds, plays a flute
cut from rushes.
Her secret song is
the heart of evening.
The sun sinking, her ceremony.
She is black, bare and scented
from the cone of wax on her crown.
She stops, as fish rush past her calves,
her son tapping rhythms
on a leopard skin gourd.
A tuning fork is vibrating.
There has been only
for ten-thousand years.
the music of the opening up of
palms of the hand,
the acceptance of immeasurable benefits
from the infinite past.
If you could realize the gift.
If you could rem^ember your promises made,
to become one
with the oneness the wholeness of sound, sound
that can fold in like a flower in the night,
and have the symmetry of the wings of large birds.
Or sounds of city that swell up and sweat out
through the pores of the skin I stolen
and disguised, glittering with paste jewel soiinds-
but all sounds are woman melody
flowing over male rhythm.
Knee deep in the mud of a Cuban river,
in a New Jersey marsh, on the edges
of the Missouri, men penetrate wilderness,
cut away America to make way for Europe;
machetes slice, shred, wound
Can you not still hear them?
A plethora of reeds, re-
growing, replanted in the New
World. Like a coming together of planets:
Lester's and Jacquet's reeds.
Moody 's, Rollins ' and Stitt 's reed.
Trane 's reed.
Shepp 's reed.
Marion's, Ayler's and Dolphy's reeds.
McPherson 's, Pharoah 's and Rahsaan 's reed-
through them rush
the ancient languages like silver tongues,
tones of molten silver.
Xra Aldridge, also known as the African tragedian, rose to great
heights as an actor in the early 1800's.
Many conceived of Ira Aldridge as an African but in actuality,
Ira was born in New York in 1807. He was the son of a
minister — who foresaw Ira as following in his own footsteps.
In New York, Ira attended the African Free School, that was
founded by the Society to Protect the Rights of Freed Slaves
following the Civil War. The school existed before free white
schools had yet been established. Even at such an early age, the
"Hollywood" showed through as Ira liked to recite in front of
Ira's first contact with the theatre was at the Park Theatre in
N.Y. Ira spent a lot of time there just observing the actors com-
ing and going from the theatre. Soon he became familiar with
the stage hands and began running errands and other odd jobs
Henry and James Wallack were very famous in this period for
their ability to perform in Shakespeare roles. It was through
Henry Wallack -that Ira was to witness his first play.
At this period of time blacks were restricted from performing
on stage. Blacks were played by white performers in black faces.
Ira ran away for a short period of time following the death of his
mother. By the time he had returned blacks in New York had
formed their own theatre known as the African Theatre. The
theatre was founded by Henry Brown. The African Theatre prov-
ed to be Ira's vehicle to becoming an actor. He worked along
with James Hewlett, a black performer from the West Indies. Ira
learned a great deal from Hewlett. With his help Ira played his
first important role at the African Theatre. He played the role of
Rolo, the Peruvian from the play called Pizarro.
White disapproval of the theatre caused it to shut down. By
this time Ira knew the only thing he wanted to do was act and
that he couldn't accomplish this goal in the United States. At
age seventeen, Ira left the country for England acting as a valet
for the Hewlett Brothers.
Once in England, Ira worked as dresser in the Coburg theatre.
The Coburg can be defined as a Burletta — a theatre that hosts
plays which include songs and dance. Burletta theatres attracted
more of a working class audience while a Patent theatre which
held plays consisting only of spoken or straight lines drew an up-
per class audience.
Ira studied the parts of many characters and never dreamed he
would have the opportunity to play any of them. By the time Ira
was eighteen he had played the lead role in "Slaves Revenge" a
play about an African Prince captured and brought to the West
Indies. At this time Ira's pseudonym was Mr. Keene after Ed-
mund Keane, an actor best known for his portrayal of Othello.
He was Ira's idol.
Times were changing in England with the industrial revolu-
tion and the abolition of slavery. Pro-slavery critics were very
harsh on Ira and degraded him for playing non-black roles. His
worst critiques came following his performance as Othello. Un-
friendly press people made it difficult for Ira to get engagements
despite the fact that audiences loved him.
Ira then realized that his limited education also limited him to
certain roles. And in order for him to play Shakespearean roles
he would have to learn more about Shakespeare and other
classics. Ira attended Glasgow University where he studied Latin
and Greek literature and became more knowledgable of these
Ira returned to London to marry. His wife was very helpful to
him on financial mattets. Following his marriage Ira formed a
repertoire of plays consisting of "Othello" "Oroonoko" "The
Slave", "Spectre", "The Padlock", and "The Revenge". He
performed these at the Burlettas throughout Great Britain.
Ira's fame came not only through Othello, but also as Zanga,
the African prince and Mungo, the slave of a West Indian
prince. As Mungo, Ira had the opportunity to sing and dance,
something which he was quite good at. His style of acting was
unique. He knew what it took to make an audience laugh or cry.
His techniques for reaching the audience were executed so calm-
ly that one might believe that he actually lived the experiences of
the character he was portraying.
Times were still changing and Ira abided by these changes.
Black actors began to draw large audiences. Sometimes Ira was
limited to playing only black roles.
Ira's overall success resulted in an invitation to appear at the
Covent Garden, a patent theatre. Unfortunately, audiences and
critics ridiculed him for portraying Othello; the same character
Edmund Keane portrayed at the time of his death. The show was
cancelled after two nights.
Following his appearance at the Covent Garden Ira fell into a
state of depression. He was financially insecure and his repertoire
was becoming outdated. Changes were necessary. Ira sought new
roles; black and white roles. He also wrote his own play called
the "Black Doctor." Along with that he revised Titus An-
dronicus, changing the role from a black villain to a black hero.
His revision was very successful.
In 1851 Ira was honored at Stratford for his excellence as
Othello. He was labled as a "man of natural genius."
All of these years Ira had limited his appearance to Great Bri-
tain, but in 1852 Ira decided to do a tour of all of Europe.
Audiences received him well although in many countries Ira
was unable to speak the language. His effective performances,
his use of body language were used by Aldridge to close this bar-
rier. He appeared in Belgium, Germany, France, Sweden,
Yugoslavia, and finally Russia. His tour lasted for three years.
Returning from his tour Ira was tiring fast. Health became a
problem for him and his performances had to be curbed. His
final performance in London was at The Covent Garden. This
performance was a big success for Ira although it was to be his
last big performance. Ira was never to return to the United
States. In 1867 Ira Aldridge died in Lodz, Poland. •
That evening he stopped work early, just as the sun was
setting, and started home, trudging slowly over the flat
dusty road past fields, a few as parched and poor as his
own, and large ones where elaborate machinery hurled
silvery sprays over rows of tall lush plants. A wind swept
the fine cool spray into the road. He felt the pleasant tickl-
ing points of coldness on his face and saw the grayish dust
coating his overalls turn dark with the moisture. Minute
grains of mud formed on his skin. He looked into the
dazzling spray and saw a band of color where the setting
sun made a rainbow.
D 'Lawd give Noah d' rainbow sign,
No mo' watah, d'fiah nex' time.
"Thass whut the ol' woman would say, an tell
evrahbody thet she seen d' Lawd's sign. Be jes' sun an'
watah, tho." He did not look at the green fields. Looking
straight ahead into the dust of the road, he increased his
pace. He wanted only to get home.
Just where the dust road meets the highway, at the very
edge of a huge field, was the shack. Tin-roofed with gray
clapboard sides painted only with the stain of time and
weather, it had two small rooms. As Lowe Junior came up
the road, it seem to be tossed and balanced on a sea of
brown stalks, the remains of last year's bean crop which
came up to the back door.
In the front, the small bare yard was shaded by a pecan
tree already in blossom. Small lots, well-kept and tidy,
grew okra, butter-bean, and coUard green plants on both
sides of the yard. Lowe Junior walked around the shack to a
standpipe in back of the stoop . He washed the dust from
his head and arms, filled his pail, and drank. The water
was brown, tepid, and rusty- tasting. He sprinkled the okra
and bean plants, then entered the shack. The fire was out,
and the huge pot hanging over the fire, from which he had
taken his dinner that morning, had not been touched.
"Mam, Mam," he called softly, "You awright?" There
was no answer, and he went into the old woman's room.
The room was stifling-hot as the tin roof radiated the day's
heat. The air was heavy with the smell of stale urine, old
flesh, and night sweat. The old lady lay against the wall,
partially covered by an old quilt. A ray of sunlight beamed
through a small knothole and lighted up the lined and
creasing skin pattern on one side of her face. A single fly
buzzed noisily around her open mouth and lighted on the
tuft of straggling white hairs on her chin. Her eyes stared at
a framed picture of the bleeding heart of Jesus, violent red
and surrounded by a wreath of murderous-looking thorns
and a hopeful glow, which hung on the opposite wall
above the motto, "The Blood of Jesus Saves."
Lowe Junior searched his pockets slowly, almost absent-
ly, for two coins to place over her eyes. His gaze never left
her face and, as he looked, the ray of sunlight gradually
diminished, seeming to withdraw reluctantly from the
face, finally leaving it to shadow.
Failing to find any coins, he straightened the limbs,
pulled the quilt over the face, and went to tell the
When he returned, the thick purple Delta darkness had
descended with a tropical suddenness. He added more
beans, fat-back and water to the stew, and started the fire.
Then he lit a kerosene lantern and took it into the yard to a
spot beneath the pecan tree. He hung the lantern on a
branch and began to dig.
The neighbors found him still digging when they began
to arrive in the little yard. The first small group of women
was led by Sister Beulah, a big, imposing, very black
woman with a reputation for fierce holiness. She stood out
from the worn and subdued group not only because of the
crisp whiteness of her robe and bandanna but also in her
purposeful, almost aggressive manner. She led the women
to the side of the hole.
"Soh' sorry t' heah 'bout Sistah Culvah, but as you
knows . . . ," she began.
"She inside," Lowe Junior said without looking up,
"an' ah thanks yo' all fo' comin'."
Interrupted in mid-benediction, Beulah stood with her
mouth open. She had failed to officiate at buryings in the
community only twice in the past twenty years, and then
only because she had been holding revivals at the other
end of the state. She had never quite forgiven the families
of the deceased for not awaiting her return. She resented
Lowe Junior's thanks, the first she had ever received for do-
ing what she thought of as an indispensable service. May as
well thank the grave.
"Thet boy sho' actin' funny," she murmured and
swept into the shack to take charge of preparations.
More neighbors straggled into the yard. Another latern
was brought and hung in the tree, widening the chancy
and uncertain perimeter of light in the otherwise envelop-
ing blackness of the Delta night. Each man arriving offered
to help Lowe Junior with the digging. Some had even
brought tools, but Lowe Junior stonily refused all offers.
"Ah be finished time the box get heah," he answered
without looking at the men. "Sho' do thank yo', tho."
So the men sat and smoked, speaking only in murmurs
and infrequently. The women passed out steaming plates
of stew and tins of coffee bitter with chicory. Lowe Junior
declined all food. The plates in the shack were emptied
and rotated until all were fed. After a muttered consulta-
tion, one of the men approached Lowe Junior. He was old.
his hair very white against his skin. He was very neat and
careful of himself, moving with great dignity. His faded
overalls were clean and shiny from the iron. He stood
quietly at the side of the hole until Lowe Junior stopped
work and looked up at him. Then he spoke, but so softly
that the other men could not make out his words. The yard
was very silent.
"Brothar Culvah. The peoples ain't easy in min'. They
come to he'p yo' an heah yo' takin' no he 'p." Lowe Junior
"In time o' grief, praise Jesus, folks, they wants t' an'
mo'n thet, they needs, t' he'p . . . they come t' pay
respect t' the daid an' share the burden an' sarrow o' d'
vin'. Thass how hits alius bin . . . Son, when folks offer
comfort an' he'p, a man mus' accep' hit, 'caus hit's
mebbe all they got."
Lowe Junior looked at the old man.
"Yo' unnerstan' what ah'm asayin', son?" he asked
"The people doan feel like as if they got anythang t' do
heah, anythang that they needs t' be adoin."
Lowe Junior looked into the darkness. His voice was low
and without inflection. "Hit aint no he'p to give, ain't no
sarrow t' share. Hits jes' thet the ol' woman was ol', an
now she daid. Ain't no sarrow in thet."
They became aware of a sound. It came from the shack
and at first did not seem to intrude or in any way challenge
the dark silence. It began as a deep sonorous hum, close in
pitch to the sound of silence. Then it grew, cadenced and
inflected, gathering power and volume until it filled the
yard and was present, physical and real. The men picked
up the moan and it became a hymn.
hhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmMMMay the Circle ... be
Bye an bye, Lawd . . . Bye annnn Bye
"Peoples can sang," Lowe Junior said. "Praise Jesus,
they can alius do thet."
The old man walked away, silent. He sat on the stoop ig-
noring the questioning looks of the others. He hunched
over, his frail body gently rocking back and forth, as
though moved against his will by the throbbing cadences
of the singing. He sat there in isolation, his eyes looking
into the darkness as at his own approaching end, his face
etched with lines of a private and unnamable old man's
sorrow. Deep and low in his chest he began to hum the
Lowe Junior chopped viciously at the earth. The people
intoned the old and troubled music that they were born to
-the music, which, along with a capacity to endure, was
their only legacy from the generations that had gone
before, the music that gathered around them, close, warm,
and personal as the physical throbbing of their natural life.
When the hole was to Lowe Junior's chin, the Haskell
boy came into the yard carrying the coffin. It was of green
pitchpine, the boards rough-planed so that all depressions
on the surface of the boards were sticky with sap. The men
also brought two boxes so that the coffin would not rest on
the ground. The Haskells stood by the hole, wiping their
gummy hands on their overalls.
"Yo' reckon hit'll be awright?" Ben Haskell asked.
"Shol'y. Sho', hit'll be jes fine. Yo' done real good;
hits a coffin, ain't hit?" Lowe Junior still had not looked at
the coffin, which was surrounded by the neighbor men.
The Haskells stood silent, looking at him.
"Sides, ol' woman . . . alius' was right partial t' scent o'
pine. Yassah, hit'll be right fine," Lowe Junior said. Ben
Haskell smiled, a diffident embarrassed stretching of his
mouth. "Yo said cedar, but see, quick as yo' needed hit,
pine wuz all we could git."
"Thass right," his brother assented.
Leastwise, Lowe Junior thought, Mist' Odum wouldn't
give yo' all cedar fo' credit. He repeated softly, "Yo' done
good, real good." The Haskells beamed, relieved, and ex-
pressed again their sympathy before moving away.
The yard was now full, some twenty persons stood,
hunkered, or sat around. Set on the boxes in the center of
the group, the raw white coffin dominated the scene like
an altar, tilling the air with the pungent odor of crude
Lowe Junior walked around the coffin and approached
the steps of the shack. The neighbors' eyes followed him.
Sister Beulah met him at the door. He saw the faces of the
other women peering down at him from behind her. All
"Brothah Culvah, this yer ah'm agonna say ain't strictly
mah business. Some would say hit rightly ain't none o
mah concern atall." She paused, looking at Lowe Junior
and the men in the yard. Nothing was said, and she con-
tinued. "But lookin' at hit anothah way, hit what ah'm
gonna say, is mah business. Hits bin troublin' mah min',
and hits lotsa othah folks heah, what ah knows feel d' same
way." When she paused again, there was a faint assenting
Ahmen from the people.
"So ah'm agonna say hit . . . Now, yo' all knows me,
bin apreachin' an aservin' the Lawd in these parts fo' thut-
ty year, an live heah thutty year befo' thet." Murmurs of
"Thass right" came from the group.
"Yas, thass the Lawd's truth, an ah knows Sistah
continued on page 54
jFior my Prince
I could feel the
gentle pitter-patter of the rain
escaping your steel prison of a heart.
You said break the chains
But show me
What chains are there in a desert wasteland
unfit for human habitation
or even the psyche?
Where time stands still
Only lost caravans pass through here
unknowingly driven by the wind
to shelter or to fresh growth
or who knows, to nowhere,
only to destruction. Unfortunate.
Our essences, rushing subtly, rapidly
increasing to a crescendo
Breaking down in a thunderstorm
of passion. I cried
through a crack in my heart.
A perfect reflection resounding
like a mighty ocean wave
rhythmically rolling and tumbling
restlessly releasing the tangled tensions
of our innate genesis
then crashing, ' 'loud' ', against a wall
in torrents with tears left over.
Our love, a magnetic grip
that seals the already locked
Don 't you see, we 're on the outside
Give me the delicate rose
I wish for so longingly
Sweet as ripe wine now flowing through
but be wary lest
resist your anxious plucking.
Shine Black Prince
As you so assuredly proclaim yourself . .
patiently, dearly to those who sleep . . .
Shine majestically, shower the night
spangle it with beads of light.
You glow like soft embers
gazing out at me
pleading, won 't you share with me
a glass of suppleness dark and pure
beneath the ivory and the gold.
You emanate a ripple of sheer love.
As it swells so does it overflow.
So warm, so rich, so mellow,
only the worthiest deserve to taste
such renowned acclaim,
a challenge to the noblest of kings.
In homage of your royal name
I whisper a celebration of our being.
Love Rite # -
is what you are.
Turn me over
I become sugar crystals
sweet and light-
blow on m-e-and I am
feather soft, once again
one more time
I'll be your star-dance to the song
on your breath-meet your rhythms
up and up.
I'll grow wings and
glide in air
ride like a buoy
on your ocean body-
' round then 'round
the flicker of your smallest
I, any way you want me,
Love Rite # ±
Somali warrior planted a
rose upon my breast-
sweet lips so
Gentle petals light upon me
, drip moon dew in
while Somali warrior hums
a pretty melody and tingles
I cupped the fragrance of my beauty,
mixed sweat beads from his head,
Somali warrior poured us on
Streaked it red amber rose.
Nef ertiti and Akhenaton
While I was researching this paper I came into contact
with many controversies surrounding Nefertiti' s origin, the
biological relationship between Nefertiti and Akhenaton,
their age and the cause of their death. From the works I
have read I have chosen the material that seems to be most
relevant to their cause.
The idea of being a hero not only deals with military tac-
tics and revolutions, it also deals with religious ideology
and true love. Two ancient figures who fit into this
category are King Akhenaton and Queen Nefertiti, the
divine rulers of Egypt during the Eighteenth Dynasty in
What makes them heroes is that they as one had enough
personal courage, love of their people and love for each
other that they stood up against all others to fight for their
belief in one god; their true god Aton, the source of hap-
piness and light.
Akhenaton was the son of Amenhotep III Pharoah of
Egypt and Tiy the Queen of Egypt. Nefertiti is believed by
some to have been his half-sister. While others believe her
to have been the daughter of Aye, and a Mitannian
Princess. Others believe her to have been a middle class
Egyptian who rose to fame mysteriously. Whatever the case
really was the end result concluded in a everlasting love
between Nefertiti and Akhenaton. A love they offered to
Aton, the one who life depended upon.
During a time when Egypt was the richest, most
cultured and powerful country surrounding the Nile, the
river of life. The people within this highly advanced
civilization practiced polytheism — the worship of idols,
sacred animals and many gods. This religious belief was in
constant conflict with Akhenaton and Nefertiti. They
planned to give their people a faith based on love. They
were dreamers whose ideas were centuries ahead of their
time. When their dream was not understood by their
home Thebes, the capital of Egypt, they planned to build
a new city where only one god would be worshipped,
Aton — symbolized by a many-rayed disc of the sun, which
stretched down over the heads of the Royal family and
ended in hands, one of which was grasping the Ankh, sym-
bol of life.
Together as Pharoah and Empress of the two lands they
brought about changes in art, (for the first time in Egyp-
tian history their art was being directed towards realism in-
stead of conventionalism), architecture and religion.
Akhetaton was the city built by and for this one man and
his woman. It was a city for all the world to share. It
abound with gardens and flawless in nature. It possessed
the great temple of Aton, "House of Sun" and castles of
splendid color. The houses were symmetrical with flat set
roofs apart by gardens of lustrous hue. Elegant murals
decorated the walls and columns all over the city. It was a
city of beauty for the eyes and truth for the mind and love
for the heart. Akhetaton was Nefertiti. It was Akhenaton.
It was Aton-their god.
The idea of being a hero for Nefertiti and Akhenaton
falls into balance in the form of religious ideology and
love. They were a people of beauty and truth. They were
life at its zenith. They are an equally unified representa-
tion of heroism. They are Ancient Egyptian heroes. •
glass and candle — poem facing GOD
GOD i need you . . .
my flame is born.
turmoil has arisen.
i flicker and feel
my chest to test the rate
of heartbeats backed into private corners. «
the showdown has begun.
i fill my glass
with the hope of purity,
i watch as tension bubbles i
cling to my surface. )
i am afraid.
talking to the outer reach of universe-home
bursts a bubble and
a thorn is pned away;
but tomorrow i must cross the same woods
whose thickets are my plight.
i look down
upon glass and candle
seeing two circles
of my inner world:
that i might look thru you
and understand the movements of your prisoner,
a fleeting soul who knocks
loudly against his destined fortress.
i wander between
excitation whirlpools and stagnation cesspools,
groping for the balance between peace and power.
neither powerless peace
nor peaceless power
is deserving of praise.
o net of prayer,
filter away the lazy slime
from within the clean of my vessel,
that i might see the true road ahead.
estrella de mi vida
your light is the force of my breath,
your glow, the mark i leave our world.
the flame shines in my vessel;
an energy line emanates from my shadow.
action breaks through the earth of thought
to flower a sign;
true peace brings true power.
the flame must stand tall
against the candle 's
my spirit 's launch must not be hindered
by the body 's plunge in the war against Time,
the destroyer of all forms.
distraction is the test
of all true focus I forms
striving for the smile of GOD.
the still flame is my goal
touchless but touching;
still but moving.
peace is its power
power is its peace.
what am i,
this mass of bones and magic fabric
full of incessant rumblings
that only GOD knows?
i am a being I process,
a pool with candlelike center I force .
o that my fluid be cleansed
by light that is long I straight I bright .
GOD i need you . . .
Sterling L. Rex, Jr.
Culvah, Miss Alice we used t' call her, from the fust come
off t' plantation an' nobody evah had a word o' bad to say
'bout her, praise Jesus. Yas, an' ah known yo' po'
mothah, an yo' se'f, Brothah Culvah, from evah since."
The murmurs from the neighbors were stronger now. En-
couraged, Sister Beulah continued. She was now speaking
louder than anyone had spoken in the yard all evening.
"She wu2 a good woman, a go-o-d woman, she knowed
Jesus an' she wuz saved. Hits true, towards the las' when
she wuz porcly an' gittin' up in age, she couldn't git to
meetin' to praise her Gawd, but yo' all knows she lo-oved
the Church." She took a deep breath. "Now, ah knows
thet back then, in slavery times, when the ol' folks could'
do no bettah, an' had to hoi' buryin's an' Chris 'nin' an'
evrah-thang at night. But, thank Jesus, them days is gone.
They's gone. Hit ain't fittin' an' hit ain't right an' propah
t' hoi' no buryin' at night, leas' hit ain't bin done
herebouts. The body o' the good sistah, now called t'
Glorah, ain't even bin churched. Yo' knows thet ain't
right. Ah knows thet, effen she could have somepin t' say,
she'd want hit done right at the las' ! Ah kno-o-ows in mah
heart she would."
"Yas, yas, ahah, praise Jesus." The neighbors agreed.
"An Brothah Culvah, yo' a young man, yo' a Gawd-
fearin' man, an' ah knows yo' wants t' do right. Cause . . .
yo' know hit says . . . the longes' road mus' ha' some en-
din', but a good name endureth fo'evah." On this
dramatic and veiled note of warning the huge white-
draped woman ended.
Everyone was quiet, but there was a faint expectant
shuffling of feet as the people looked at Lowe Junior.
"Tain't no call t' fret yo'se'f," he said. "01' woman
wuz ol' an now she gone. Ah be aburyin' her tonight."
There was a quickly stifled murmur from the people. No
one spoke, and Lowe Junior continued more softly.
"Tain't that whut yo' say ain't got right to hit, Sta'
Beulah, 'cause hit do. But hits no law say thet effen yo'
buryin' t' do, hit cain't be done in the night."
"Yas, Brothah Culvah, effen yo' got t' do hit. Doan
seem like me hits no hurry ..." Beulah said.
"Yas'm, hit is a hurry. See, ah feel like ah should take
care o' this thang personal. Ol' woman raise me from when
ah wuz young, ah wants t' take care o' the buryin' per-
"Whut's wrong with t' morrow? Yo' answer me thet."
"Be no tellin' jes' where ah'll be t'morrow," Lowe
Junior said, lifting one end of the cofin and asking Ben
Haskell to help with the other end. They took it into the
shack to receive the body.
"Hey, Lows, yo' sho' nuff fixin' t' leave?" Ben could
not keep the excitement out of his voice.
"Thass right," Lowe Junior's first knowledge of his
decision had come when he heard himself telling Beulah, a
"Yo' mean yo' ain't even gon' stay t' make yo' crop?"
"Any one o' yo' all wants t' work hit is welcome t' my
share. Ah'll sign a paper so Mist' Peterson and mist'
Odum'll know." Temptation and fear struggled in Ben's
eyes, and finally he said only, "Ah'll tell d' other'ns . . .
but supposin' no one wants t' take hit?"
"Yo' mean 'bout Mist' Peterson . . . well, he got mo'
cotton. Pack is, he got 'bout all theah is."
"Lawd's truth," Ben agreed, and went quickly to share
the news with the men in the yard. There the women were
grouped around Sister Beulah who was threatening to go
home. After what she judged to be sufficient entreaty to
mollify her hurt dignity, she agreed to remain and conduct
the burial, but only because "hits mah bounden duty to
see to hit thet the pore daid woman gits a propah Christian
service." She led the women into the shack to put the old
lady into the coffin.
After everyone had taken a last look at the corpse, Ben
Haskell nailed the lid on and the coffin was brought out
and placed on the boxes. During the smging of "Leaning
on the Everlasting Arms," two of the women began to cry.
Lowe Junior stood a short distance off under the shadow of
the pecan tree and looked out over the darkness. He took
no part in the singing until the lines of "Amazing Grace,
Ah wunst wuz lost but now ah'm Found,
Wuz blind but now ah See.
In a loud but totally uninflected voice, he repeated "Wuz
bhnd but now ah See."
This unexpected voice, coming as it were from behind
her, distracted Sister Beulah who had begun to "line out'"
the succeeding lines for the benefit of any backsliders who
might have forgotten them. She stopped, turned, and
glared at Lowe Junior, then continued m the joyful and
triumphant voice of one whose seat in the Kingdom is
secure beyond all challenge.
"Tu'uz Grace thet taught mah heart t' feah, " she ex-
ulted; "An Grace mah feah relieved. " Her face was il-
luminated, radiant with the security of grace.
When the coffin was being lowered and was a quarter of
the way down, the rope under the head slipped, and it
thudded into the hole, almost upright. The people stood
in momentary shocked silence. Sister Beulah at the head of
the grave raised her massive white-sleeved arms to the sky
as though appealing for divine vindication of this sacrilege,
the result of Lowe Junior's stubbornness. Lowe Junior
continued on page 56
quickly lay flat on the edge of the grave, and shoved the
high end of the coffin with all his strength. He grunted
with the effort and the box slid into place with a heavy
thump, followed by the tattle of dirt and pebbles from the
At that moment the sky lightened. They all looked up
and saw the risen moon peering from behind a wall of dark
clouds that had not been there when the sun set.
"Glorah, Glorah!" a man shouted hoarsely, and the
ritual resumed. Sister Beulah had thought to preach her
famous "Dead Bones Arisin" sermon capped with a few
well-chosen words on the certain doom of impious
children, but recent events had lessened her zeal. Almost
perfunctorily, she recounted the joys and glories of Salva-
tion and the rewards awaiting the departed sister. Then
they piled dirt on the coffin, patted down the pile, and
Lowe Junior sat on the steps. Barely acknowledging the
final murmured consolations, he watched the neighbors
leave. He realized that he was not alone when the old man
approached the stoop.
"Ah heah yo' is leavin', Brothah Culvah. Done any
thankin' on wheah yo' goin' an' whut yo' gonna be
Lowe Junior did not answer. He in no way acknowledged
the old man's presence.
"Thass awright, yo' doan have t' answer 'cause ah
knows — yo' ain't! Jes' like ah wuz when ah wuz 'bout yo'
age. An ah lef too, din't know wheah ah wuz agoin' nor
whut ah wuz lookin' fo'. Effen yo' doan know whut yo'
seekin', Brothah Culvah, yo' caih' know when yo' fin'
Now Lowe Junior was looking at the man; he seemed in-
terested in what he was saying. It was the first interest he
had shown in anyone else that evening.
"See, Brothah Culvah, ah travelled aroun' some when
ah wuz yowr age, and heah ah is now. Ah never foun' no
bettah place no-wheahs." He shook his head. "Fo' usses,
theah wuzn't none, least-ways not thet ah could fin'."
"But at leas' yo' looked," Lowe Junior said.
"Thass why ah'm asayin' t' yo' whut ah is. 'Cause ah
did. Brothah Culvah, yo' a good worker, yo' knows far-
min' an cotton, but whut else do yo' know? Ah disbelieves
thet yo' even bin so far as Memphis."
"Well," Lowe Junior said, "t'morrow thet won't be
true. But ah 'predates yo' kin'ness."
The old man hobbled into the darkness, shrouded in his
Lowe Junior sat on the steps and watched him leave, un-
til finally he was alone. He went to the tree, blew the lamp
out, and sat in the darkness . . . When the sun came up
next morning he had not moved. The astringent pitchpine
smell still hovered in the still air. Lowe Junior saw that the
morning sky was covered by a heavy, metallic-grey cloud
that had come swirling up from the Gulf in the dark. He
entered the shack and looked about him for something to
take. In the old woman's room he found nothing. He
returned, picked up his hoe, turned around in the small
room, saw nothing else that he wanted, and started to
leave. On the steps he changed his mind and re-entered
the house. In the old woman's room he took the picture of
the Sacred Heart from the frame. Then from a small
wooden box he took a Bible which he held by the covers
and shook. Three crumpled bills fluttered to the floor. He
gave the book a final shake, tossed it into the box, then
picked up the bills and carefully wrapped them in the pic-
ture. He placed the package in the long deep side-pocket
of his overalls. He picked up his hoe from the steps and
started out. At the dirt road he turned, not towards the
highway, but east towards his section. Soon he could see
the top of the oak in the thin dawning light.
"Sho' nevah put no stock in all thet talk 'bout thet
tree," he mused. "Burned like thet on the sides an so
green t' the top, hit alius did put me in min' o' Moses an'
the burnin' bush. But ah wager a daid houn', ain't no
Nigger agoin' t' work thisyer Ian' now."
He stood for awhile looking at the tree, at the lean
runted plants. "Sho' do feels like ah knows yo' evrah one,
evrah row and clump o' grass like hit wuz the face o' mah
own han' or mah own name."
He strode up to the tree, set his feet, and swung the hoe
against the trunk with all the strength of his back. The
hickory handle snapped with a crack like a rifle in the early .
morning. The blaf e went whirring into the cotton rows.
He felt the shock of the blow sting the palm of his hands,
and shiver up into his shoulders. He stepped away from
the tree and hurled the broken handle as far as he could in-
to the field.
"Theah," he grunted, "yo' got the las' o' me thet yo' is
gonna git — the natural las'."
He started back towards the highway at a dead run.
There were tears in his eyes and his breath was gusty. He
tired and slowed to a walk. He saw the first raindrops hit-
ting heavily into the thick dust of the road, raising sudden
explosions of dust and craters of dampness where they
struck. Before he reached the cabin, torrents of water were
lashing the face of the Delta. When he reached the
highway, he turned once to look at the mean little house,
gray and forlorn in the storm. He saw a pool already
spreading around the roots of the pecan tree.
The dry earth gave off an acrid smell as the water
dampened it. "Be nuff now fo' evrah one, white and
black," Lowe Junior thought and laughed. "Sho' doan
mattah now effen they takes o'vah mah fiel'. Hit be all
washed out, evrah natural one."
The rain swept down with increased violence. He was
completely drenched, streamlets ran down his face,
washing away the dust. "Ah nevah seed the like. Sho'
now, be hongry folk heah this year. Even white folk be
hongry in the Delta this winter. ' ' He walked steadily down
the highway stretching into the distance. •
about the eye
That see and knows
What goes in and around
you and me
The life we lead. . .need
The life we see
revolves. . .watching
We express We hold
Possession of life
The key is ME
That sees and knows
What goes in and around
you and ME
Visions of Blue — green — Brown and Black
Janet Renee Butler
_/\lvin Ailey was born January 5, 1931 in Rogers, Texas.
He was an only child of Alvin and Lula E. (Cliff) Ailey.
When he was very young, his parents separated and he re-
mained with his mother until he moved to Los Angeles
with her in 1942. As a child, Ailey was fascinated by the
beauty of the blues and the rituals of the Baptist Church.
As a teen-ager in California, he took part in school
sports. He also took part in tap lessons and primitive danc-
ing. He didn't become serious about dancing until 1949
when he was introduced to the work of Lester Horton.
Ailey, attracted by the Horton technique of modern dance
and his stress on all theater crafts, wavered between danc-
ing and a more stable career in teaching.
After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in
1948, he attended UCLA for a short time and then
transferred to Los Angeles City College until 1951. From a
scholarship, he attended Saturday workshop sessions and
composition and technique classes with Lester Horton. He
also served on a stage crew and he danced in corps of the
Lester Horton Dance Theater. After, he left for San Fran-
cisco State College. His intention was to specialize in
romance languages in 1953. He began to dance with a
nightclub act in San Francisco. By the time the act played
in May of that year, he was completely committed to
dance. Upon commitment, he rejoined the Lester Horton
In the fall of 1953, Horton died and a committee was
formed to keep the company together. The group accepted
choreography from the company members. Ailey's first
dances were "Mourning Morning" and "According to St.
Francis" which was performed at the Jacob's Pillow Dance
Festival in 1954. During that year, Ailey also choreo-
graphed "Creation of the World" by Darius Milhaud
which was made for the Horton Company performance.
Ailey taught at the Lester Horton School and he directed
the Horton Children's Theater. He left both assignments
when he was invited, along with a Horton dancer, Carmen
deLavallade, to appear in a Broadway production called
"House of Flowers" which opened in Dec, 1954.
During his first years in New York City, Ailey studied
modern dance with Martha Graham, Hanya Holm, Doris
Humphrey, Charles Weidman, and Anna Sokolow. He
also studied ballet with Karel Shook. He appeared with
Anna Sokolow, Sophie Maslow, and Donald McKayle and
he danced in several musical shows including "The
Carefree Tree" (1955) and Harry Belafonte's "Sing, Man,
Sing" (1956). Alvin Ailey was the lead dancer in
"Jamaica" (1957) which starred Lena Home and was
choreographed by Jack Cole.
On March 30, 1958, Ailey and Ernest Parham assembled
a group of dancers (mostly from "Jamaica") and they
presented a program, h was stated in Dance Magazine
(May 1958), "As a dancer, Mr. Ailey is exceptional. He
reminds one of a caged lion full of lashing power that he
can contain or release at will." He started the Alvin Ailey
Dance Theater in which he gave his first, full-scale concerts
in Dec, 1958.
January, 31, I960, Alvin Ailey's masterpiece, "Revela-
tions" was performed. Revelations is a dance exploring the
"motions of American Negro religious music." This
masterpiece never failed to bring out an appreciative
response from its audiences.
In the fall of I960, Ailey performed his first program at
Clark Center for the Performing Arts. (A part of New York
City's YWCA). It became his company's home base for
rehearsals and teachings. In 1964, the company embarked
on its first European tour where they received an un-
precedented sixty-one curtain calls in Hamburg, Germany.
One might wonder what other accomplishments has this
volatile, restless, and attractive man made. He is a well-
read and a sophisticated conversationalist. He also strives
for perfection in dance or whatever else that he does. In-
between performances in dance, Ailey has appeared in off-
Broadway productions, "Call Me By My Rightful Name"
(1961) and "Two by Saroyan" (1961). Along with William
Hairston, he directed the Langston Hughes gospel show,
"Jerico-Jim Crow" (1964). A person might describe Ailey
as being a Choreographer-Director-Actor.
August, 1963, Ailey said, "I get the greatest satisfaction
out of choreography, of creating with other people. Inter-
preting is fine, but I enjoy most making a thing, to see it
suddenly exist where nothing was before. I like to help
mould a performer and get him to that point . . . when he
is able to communicate something vital of himself. " •
Our depiction of heroes would not be complete without giv-
ing ample recognition to one of the greatest generals who has
ever lived. A man who led one of the most memorable cam-
paigns in military history. A man who in five months
transported an army of soliders, elephants and materials from
Spain through the untamed Alps into Italy. The name of this
military genius and tactician, is none other than Hannibal Barca:
general, statesman and Black Man.
Hannibal was born in 247 B.C. in Carthage, an ancient city on
the Northern coast of Africa. He was the son of Hamilcar Barca
who was also a great military leader of the Carthaginian army. It
was Hannibal's father who led the first Punic War: and as history
unveiled it, was Hannibal who was commander during the Se-
cond Punic War.
In 237 B.C. Hannibal wished to accompany his father and his
army to Spain. Before he was able to go Hannibal had to swear
an oath to forever be an enemy of Rome. Guided by his father
who had suffered tremendous losses during the First Punic War
Hannibal was to succeed in the work of vengeance. He was then
taken to Spain where he proved himself to be of superior
In Spain under the supervision of his brother-in-law
Hasdrubal, Hannibal led troops which helped to increase Car-
thaginian power in Spain. After Hasdrubal's death Hannibal
became Commander of the Carthaginain army. Having this title
he set out to enlarge the Carthaginian area of influence from
Tagus to the Ebro (the boundary of limitations between the
Romans and the Carthaginians). While all this was going on
Hannibal was also making plans to attain his ultimate goal. This
goal was to make an overland journey from Spain across the Ebro
through the Pyrenees across Gaul over the Rhone and through
the Alps to reach Italy, where he would overtake and humiliate
Before he embarked on his invasion Hannibal had to gain the
support of his Government. The means of this support came
through the town of Sagutum. Which, in spite of its being on
the Punic side of the river, was being protected by the Romans.
Hannibal took this opportunity to skillfully persuade the Car-
thaginian government to support him. To do this he disregarded
Rome's established boundaries and started a siege on Sagutum.
In 220 B.C. after eight months of fighting, Sagutum was
destroyed, and Rome declared war. A war which Hannibal had
desired all along.
Of the large army that he had at his disposal, Hannibal
selected only the most trustworthy and devoted from the group
which consisted of mercenaries from Carthage, Numida, Spain,
Gaul and other countries. He then set out to establish his most
The march is believed to have begun somewhere in Spain bet-
ween May and June of 218 B.C. Hannibal first advanced from
Carthage to Ebro. In the spring he made his way through the
Pyrenees, reaching the Rhone River (which he left three days
before Roman troops under the Consul Scipio arrived). And in
autumn he reached to the foot of the Alps. The direct passage
that he used to get across is not known. There have been many
hypotheses presented as to his route but there is not one that has
been completely agreed upon. Traveling through the Alps Han-
nibal suffered terrible losses due to attacks from mountain
tribes, bad weather and the immense task of transporting the
Carthaginian battle elephants.
Before circumstances turned against him, Hannibal possessed
many auspicious signs of success. These were, first, a substantial
reinforcement from Gallic tribes which helped to compensate for
his losses in the Alps. Secondly, in Northern Italy he scattered
Roman troops in what proved to be his major victory on Italian
soil. Following this he moved his army to Central Italy where on
the Shores of Lake Trasemeno he destroyed another fleet of the
Roman army in a masterfully planned ambush. Next, in 216
B.C. he found himself outnumbered by the Romans in Cannae,
but being the genius of tactics that he was, he quickly assembled
his men in the form of an arc with retreating sides and pulveriz-
ed the Romans.
But the fortunes of Hannibal's success soon turned sour. His
allies became too involved in their own affairs to keep up with
his. His enforcements were being blocked and the land that he
held in Italy for almost thirteen years was slowly drifting away.
Scipio, the Commander of the Roman army had driven the Car-
thaginians out of Spain and was invading Africa. Hannibal was
then called back to Africa where he embattled Scipio in Zama
was defeated in 202 B.C. The Second Punic War ended in 201
B.C. with Rome the victor in spite of Hannibal's extensive ef-
Under the provisions presented by Rome, Carthage was allow-
ed to govern itself freely under its own law.
Returning to civilian life Hannibal began to show his skills at
being a statesman. He instituted vigorous financial reforms
which helped Carthage to a rapid recovery. For a short period of
time the relationship between Hannibal and Rome was stable.
But in 196 B.C. Roman and domestic pressures forced him to
flee to Syria where he was protected by King Antiochius who was
about to go to war with Rome. Antiochius made little use of
Hannibal's military knowledge and was defeated by Rome.
Suspecting his surrender to be part of the treaty between Rome
and Syria, Hannibal fled to Bithynia (Turkey), where he received
orders from the Roman Senate to surrender. Determined not to
surrender Hannibal in 183 B.C. committed suicide by drinking
Hannibal despite his misfortunes was a military genius for all
times. He was a master of tactics and a man of great personal
courage. He created a formidable army of diverse racial elements
that crossed the Alps in five months. An act which has astonish-
ed historians for the last two thousand years. His achievements
are byond reproach and his memory is one that cannot be
destroyed. He is a true Hero. •
I 'II play princess
to the mask of fortunes
you HI never see.
And when your reign of dreams
I won 't laugh at
the stars you had
in your eyes.
, ©F MASS.
DRUM would like to thank and give credit to:
EDWARD COHEN for his fine photography
appearing on the cover and pages 5, 25, 28,
40, and 53.
LEROY CLARKE for his excellent art v\/ork ap-
pearing on pages 30, 34, 36, and 45.
We v\/ould also like to take this time to hunnbly
apologize to Robert Davis, Jr., Lorraine McCollin
and Arifah Rasool for the inexcusable mistakes
in their contributions. We are truly sorry and
hope that these mistakes will not discourage
your faith in us or hinder you from contributing
to the magazine in the future.