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In addition to our Staff member 
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STACfc ALLEN • Layout 


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Editor's Note 




An Appeal From The World Federation 


Queen Mother Moore 

Future Trends In Zimbabwe 


Japhet Zwana 

Marcus Garvey 


Calucha Veiga 

God Bless The Child 


M. Shareef Rasool 

Leroy Clark and Douens 


David G. Brizan 

"My Hero Is A Heroine . . ." 


Gilbert Caldwell 

Bright An' Mowin' Star 


Mike Thelwell 



Kathe Sandler 

The Great Pyramid 


John Lopes 

My Father Is A Hero 


Semenya McCord 

Significance of Pan African Dance 


Afriah Rasool 

Ira Aldrldge 


Nadine Kee 

Nefertiti and Akhenaton 


Earnestine Brown 

Alvln Alley 


Janet Renee' Butler 

Hannibal Barca 


Earnestine Brown 

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;•- 
All Letters 
Poems, Contributions 
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." 


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." 


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." 


PROFESSOR MIKE THELWELL Consultant and Faculty Advisor W.E.B. DuBois Department of Afro- 
American Studies 

A Special Thanks to WILLIAM L. JACKSON for this graphic expertise 

editor's note 








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. 

Thank you, 
Attica 71-78 

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 
the world. 

Before I go through the formality 
of introducing myself, I would like to 
explain how I came about writing 
this missive. 

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 
discourse instead. 

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 
of reading. 

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 
black people. 

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 

Dear Editor: 

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 
and well. 

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- 
ing material. 

"Robert Mitchell" and 
John Loriol 

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! 

Exiled Brother 

Richard Murray 
77-C-578 Box l49 
Attica, N.Y. 14011 




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 

Box 244 

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 

I rise 

Up from a past that's rooted in pain 

I rise 

I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide. 

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. 

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear 

I rise 

Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear 

I rise 

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, 

I am the dream and the hope of the slave, 

I rise 

I rise 

I rise. 

Maya Angelou 



Japhet Zwana 

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 
are high. 

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 
voted for. 

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 


Calucha Veiga 


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 
of racism. 

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 


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 

Bheki Langa 



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 
were changed. 

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 
Verse 24 

God bless the child that's got its own, name. 

Mirror Image 

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. 

Bheki Langa 




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 — 
January, 1974. 

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 
blue sky. 

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- 
escapable reality. 

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 














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•^ -s:^ I 5i-,l-i ^ i-.^^l III 

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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 
from it. 

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 
But TIME! 

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. 
Stay Strong. 

Marlene Duncan 



Mike Thelwell 

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 
blackjack oak." 

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 

mud. 9Kili< 

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 
the sun. 

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. 

Lorraine McCollin 




























Sun Love 

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. 

Bheki Langa 


(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. 

Freida Jones 




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) 3^- 

c/w 1/7/78 


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- 
ing appeal: 

Dear Friend, 

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 
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. 

Maternal Lament 


Love me 

cuz only through 
you does my love find 


Seeds starving, struggling 

In the valley of my folds. 

Grow Children 

but strong 
Cuz you face a desolate 

welcome mat. 
Beyond the warmth of my limbs. 

Only a beginning. 

Kissette Bundy 
Boston, Mass. 


Kathe Sandler 

^_^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 
white man. 

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 
destroy him." 

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 

Never learned 

So we must repeat and sink 

Knowing there is a way 

Not to stop the world from turning 

But our lives from evolving into 

sinking ships 

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 

Ndambi Nassomi 

The Great Pyramid 

John Lopes 

\^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 
wealthy nations. 

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 
waiting. • 


Semenya McCord 

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 
all despair? 
do you see time 
do you see space 
do you see nothing at all? 





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 
illnesses. " 

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. • 






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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. 

When annoyed. 

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. 

When away. 

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! 


You Danced 

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 
You Danced 

And we heard your story 

Insistent and constant 

Pleading and fervent 

Clear and singular 
You Danced 

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 
You Danced 

And we saw them collectively 
Bound and collectively chained 

Listened to their collective cry 

Swayed to their collective song 
You Danced 

And we watched your escape 

Tasted your freedom. 

Glimpsed your vision 

Relished in your joy 
You Danced 

And we were moved 
You Danced and we were moved . . . 

Betty Hodges 


Freida Jones 

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 

the woman 


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, 

to hear 

her son tapping rhythms 

on a leopard skin gourd. 


A tuning fork is vibrating. 


There has been only 

one sound 

for ten-thousand years. 


It is 

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 

the reeds, 

the reeds 

cry out 

Can you not still hear them? 


A plethora of reeds, re- 
growing, replanted in the New 
World. Like a coming together of planets: 
Hawkins' reed. 
Betchet's reed. 
Lester's and Jacquet's reeds. 
Parker's reed. 

Moody 's, Rollins ' and Stitt 's reed. 
Ornette'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. 



Nadine Kee 

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 
his class. 

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 
for them. 

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 
said nothing. 

"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 
conversation ceased. 

"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 

looking in. 

Give me the delicate rose 

I wish for so longingly 

Sweet as ripe wine now flowing through 

Our veins 

but be wary lest 

the thorns 

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. 

Jennifer Bayne 

Love Rite # - 


is what you are. 
Turn me over 
and 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 
three times. 
Blink Tingle-master 
the flicker of your smallest 

eye lash 
I, any way you want me, 
am yours. 

]enee Gaskin 

Love Rite # ± 

Somali warrior planted a 
rose upon my breast- 
sweet lips so 
Gentle petals light upon me 
, drip moon dew in 

the night 
while Somali warrior hums 
a pretty melody and tingles 
my ear. 
I cupped the fragrance of my beauty, 
mixed sweat beads from his head, 

Somali warrior poured us on 

the night- 
Streaked it red amber rose. 

jenee Gaskin 

Nef ertiti and Akhenaton 

Earnestine Brown 


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 
1368 B.C. 

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: 

o crystal, 

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. 

o candle 

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 

dwindling height. 

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 
moment before. 

"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 

'■ J-jmg 






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 
departed . 

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' 

hit." sarnm^ 

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 
own knowledge. 

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. • 


I write 

about the eye 
That see and knows 
What goes in and around 

you and me 
The life we lead. . .need 
The life we see 

The eye 
revolves. . .watching 
the growth 

or lack 
of development 
We express We hold 

Possession of life 
The key is ME 

the Eye 
That sees and knows 
What goes in and around 

you and ME 
Visions of Blue — green — Brown and Black 

Ndambi Nassomi 



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 
Dance Theater. 

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. " • 


;:^a-M }enM^ 


Earnestine Brown 

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 
military intelligence. 

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 
daring maneuver. 

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 

falls through, 

I won 't laugh at 

the stars you had 

in your eyes. 



, ©F MASS. 

?|B 51980 

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.