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A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious, economic, psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."

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    Black Bird Press News & Review: Happy Mother's Day: Heaven is at the feet of your Mother (Prophet Muhammad, PBUH)

    I wish somebody would help me show love for all mothers in the universe. I urge all men to stop the patriarchal domination and abuse of women. Men have no right to dominate the pussy of women. Let women be in control of their womb. Men have no right to control the womb of women. You can't even control your dick yet you want to control women. This is patriarchal addiction to male supremacy and must be destroyed. You men who have daughters should wake up and smell the coffee. Do you want your daughters slaves to patriarchal domination? My daughters are doing all they can to transcend the glass ceiling, and they are being successful. I have no desire to see my daughters and my female grandchildren oppressed under the glass ceiling. If my daughters are superior to my sons in intelligence, why would I want them to be oppressed because they are women. My mother was an independent business woman, a real estate broker, so I observed my mother being successful as well as serving the people as a spiritual counselor following the teachings of Christian Science, a follower of Mary Baker Eddy.

    As I have said many time before, there was no medicine cabinet in our house as Mother did not believe in medicine. She taught us to know the "truth" and the truth would set you free of all disease.

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  • 05/08/16--21:29: Miles Davis Discusses Prince

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     Poet Marvin X and Lynette McElhaney, President, Oakland City Council
    photo Adam Turner


    Praying that your heart and mind continue to heal.  Your transparency may help others, both men and women, understand that life is a journey and that we can give ourselves permission to love on, beyond our own failings and the failings of our elders.

    Love is a powerful force.  You clearly have been on the soul journey to allow God to heal you and in so doing, free your children to also be on the path of wholeness.

    Praying for all the mothers in your life, on this thread and touched by those here connected.  May our quest for mental and physical freedom be realized in our lifetime.

    Blessings and peace, Lynette

    Message from Marvin X on Mother's Day

    Dear Mothers and all women,

    I wish you happy Mother's Day! I have been honored to have had a most precious, loving Grandmother, Mother, mother's of my children and women partners, friends and comrades in revolutionary struggle. Aside from writing, being in the presence of beautiful, intelligent, spiritually conscious, politically aware women puts me in heaven on earth.

    My father abandoned my mother and I did the same to my wives and children. I have tried my best to reconcile with my former wives and children, and for the most part, I have been successful. For sure, no matter what age, your children need parents for emotional and spiritual support. Many women are single mothers, including my daughters, so they need all the support men can give them, especially fathers. I urge all men to support their daughters whether they are mothers or not.

    In this racist society, it is a wonder our women (as well as ourselves) don't go stark raving mad as James Baldwin said in our 1968 interview. It is a miracle mothers are able to take care of children 24/7,  for they cannot blink their eyes for a moment while caring for them, especially their male children who are ever in danger of homicide by their brothers or by the police under the color of law.  Mothers in the hood are ever fearful when their sons go out the house they may not return because of minefields on the path of their daily round. We pray Mothers will find Mama Time and supportive appreciation for the daunting task they endure. Thank God/Allah/Ancestors, this day is for Dear Mama!

    Peace and Love,
    Marvin X

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    Marvin X Jackmon's photo.
    Oakland Black Artists gather at Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza as
    the Oakland City Council voted to establish the Black Arts Movement Business District
    photo Adam Turner

    Please save the date 5/13/2016, 6PM - 9PM to meet at East Side Arts Alliance, 2277 International , for a Town Hall meeting to plan the implementation of BAMBD, (Black Arts Movement Business District), in downtown Oakland. This meeting is for Artist and Cultural Workers invested in fighting Gentrification by building culture.

    We are working to make the BAMBD a real and functioning district dedicated to the promotion of culture and livity (good strong life).

    This is an integral part of building a Black Corridor that stretches along 14th St in Oakland from Frontage Road in West Oakland to 106th St in deep East Oakland. The development and implementation of BAMBD is an essential step in this process. It would create the Western arm of this corridor and would complement the ongoing efforts by East Side Arts Alliance to form a Black Corridor dedicated to building, preserving, and growing the culture, providing services, housing, public spaces for the building and dissemination of intellectual capital, as well as the creation of art that reflects our lives, aspirations and struggles for equity.

    Please contact Dr. Nzinga for more information and spread the date and location for the Town Hall. There really is "strength in numbers". 510-457-8999.


    Dr. Ayodele Nzinga,
    Black Arts Movement Business District

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    New Feature Film AMERIGEDDON Issues Dire Warning To Americans

    Director Mike Norris, son of Chuck Norris, issues call to action to protect America’s freedom

    Dallas, Texas (March 1, 2016) – AMERIGEDDON, coming to theaters nationwide May 13, 2016, has been described as “the movie the establishment doesn’t want you to see.”
    Showing what happens when a not-so-future U.S. government conspires with the United Nations to stage an attack on the energy grid, AMERIGEDDON depicts a country ruled by martial law in which citizens are stripped of their constitutional rights and their guns.
    A group of patriots fight back and rescue the country from slipping into irreversible chaos.
    AMERIGEDDON’s release in an election year is not coincidental.
    The film illustrates a dystopian future all patriots must guard against and is a call to action to preserve the Second Amendment and stop executive rule by fiat.

    Director Mike Norris, son of Chuck Norris, asks for like-minded Americans to support the film.
    “The fact that a recent poll showed a majority of Americans are enraged with the federal government points to a frenzy of unrest with the dictatorial way in which our country has been run,” said Norris.
    “My family has long been involved in protecting the rights of Americans. We are concerned about the future and and see this film as a call to action. We urge people to join us in theaters and show Hollywood and politicians that true patriots will fight for their rights and want to see their values represented on-screen.”

    A collaboration between Norris and entrepreneur and writer Gary Heavin, AMERIGEDDON seizes on fact-based threats and asks the ultimate question, “What happens when government turns on the people it’s supposed to protect?”

    Executive Producer Gary Heavin believes the film’s message warning is timely.
    “We made a movie that is fun to watch but it is based in reality. In AMERIGEDDON, survivors of an EMP attack on the United States must live in a state of martial law led by the United Nations. American soldiers must decide whom they serve, second amendment rights are curtailed and food, water and survival become our primary concerns—unfortunately, these are all likely scenarios resulting from a very real threat,” said Heavin.

    “I believe if we can entertain while we inform, more people will wake up; and if we hope to restore our freedom we must share the truth with as many people as possible.”
    Co-written by Norris and Heavin, the film features Marshall Teague (THE ROCK), Annalynn McCord (“Dallas”, “90210”), Dina Meyer (“Starship Troopers”), Spencer Neville (“Days of Our Lives”), Mike Norris (“Walker, Texas Ranger”), Diane Ladd (JOY) and India Eisley (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”).
    For more information, visit the film’s Facebook page:

    About ForeWarned Films: Forewarned Films was created as a joint venture between Mike Norris and Gary Heavin as a platform to produce films and television programs to further narratives that protect patriotic values in a time of great social change that threatens the underpinnings of America.
    AMERIGEDDON is the first of a series of planned films and television projects to help protect the country’s freedoms.

    Heavin is the founder of the successful fitness franchise Curves begun with his wife and Norris is a long-time director, actor and stunt man and the son of actor Chuck Norris.

    This article first appeared on
    “In Theaters Friday“-To Find A Theater Click:
    Opening in these Cities:
    Grand Rapids
    Las Vegas
    Oklahoma City
    San Antonio

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    The Aqueila Lewis interview with Marvin X will play
    on After Hours Radio, KPFA, 94.1FM, 1AM --5AM
    Sunday, May 15, online
    After broadcast, show will be in KPFA archives

    Poet/journalist Aqueila  M. Lewis finally interviews
    Marvin X. KPOO's Donald Lacy took almost five years
    to interview the poet. Aqueila is a close second. But she
    got him on Friday, May 13, 2016. Or did he get her? Please
    note when you look at the monkey in the zoo, the monkey
    is looking back at you!

    lol chuckling to myself. I never had another journalist that I've interviewed write about the interview! This clever man as I always knew would do just that, Marvin X beat me to the punch! Look forward to Part II and more. And stay tuned to my Radio and written interview in several media outlets coming soon!--Aqueila Lewis, KPFA Radio

    On Friday, May 13, 2016, KPFA Radio's Aqueila M. Lewis interviewed poet/philosopher/activist/organizer Marvin X. He invited her to his apartment up the street from Lake Merritt and treated her to breakfast. When she asked him if she could help with breakfast, he told her to sit down and get ready for her interview. She did as ordered and when the breakfast was put before her she wanted to take a picture of it and after savoring the meal, suggested he open a restaurant. He declined to consider her suggestion. His last wife used to say, "When Marvin say he's going to cook, I don't even ask what, I just sit down because I know it's going to be something out of this world." Aqueila said what his "last wife" used to say, "I should have stayed in the kitchen to see how you did what you did, the ingredients." Breakfast was turkey bacon, scrambled eggs with pepper jack cheese and potatoes with green and red peppers, garlic and onions, and carrot juice. When the care provider arrived and saw the meal cooking, she wanted some so there was no seconds.

    After the care provider finished her duties and departed, the interview began with the poet discussing his autobiography (see Somethin' Proper, the autobiography of a North American African poet, Black Bird Press, Berkeley, 1998, introduction by Dr. Nathan Hare). He told of growing up in the Central Valley, born in Fowler, raised in Fresno by parents who sold real estate and published the Fresno Voice, a Black newspaper. "My earliest memories are sitting on a desk at the typewriter while my father typeset the newspaper. I remember him type setting by  inserting the words  backwards. When I was five or six (born May 29,1944), I remember going to the corner of F and Fresno Streets and selling the paper or giving it away.

    My parents were political so the most often repeated word from my childhood is N double A CP. That word rang in my ears and yet it was years before I knew the full meaning of NAACP. Today I am honored to have had conscious parents or what they called in those days of the late 40s and early 50s, Race Man and Race Woman, i.e., Black men and women who were for the national upliftment of our people.

    In the interview, Marvin did not include the fact that his maternal great grandfather, Ephraim Murrill,  was a Race Man in the Central Valley who lived the first twenty years of his life as a slave who saw Abraham Lincoln and died in Madera at 99 years old in 1941. The Fresno Bee Newspaper gave him a long obituary declaring he was well liked by Blacks and Whites.

    After telling Aqueila his personal and communal history of North American Africans, especially in the Bay Area (although Aqueila informed him about is frequent use of the term Negro in his description of North American Africans--Marvin's proper term for us as delineated in his treatise The Psycholinguistic Crisis of North American Africans)--he just likes the term Negro, after all, he recalled during  the interview, "When we were Negroes, we had Seventh Street in West Oakland, Fillmore in San Francisco, Harlem in New York, South Side in Chicago--now we Black, we African, Pan African, Kemites, and ain't got SHIT!"

    In truth, Elijah Muhammad called us so-called Negroes, but he said we are the Aboriginal Asiatic Black Man of the Planet Earth. Elijah taught,"Wherever you go on the planet earth you will find the Aboriginal Asiatic Black man or evidence he was there first! If you haven't read Message to the Black Man, you don't know a Goddamn thing about Black Studies, Africana Studies or none of that bullshit!"

    Marvin gave Aqueila a history of Black consciousness in the Bay Area, especially the birth of it at Oakland's hotbed of Black Nationalism at Merritt Collage, including the role of Donald Warden's Afro American Association that gave birth to the Black Panther Party, the Bay Area Black Arts Movement and Black Studies. He told her about the critical national journals published in the Bay Area during the 60s such as SoulBook, Black Dialogue, Journal of Black Poetry and The Black Scholar, to say nothing of the Black Panther Party Newspaper, equal to Muhammad Speaks, two of the most disseminated newspapers in North American African history.

    Marvin X at his Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland.
    "Marvin X is Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland!" according the Ishmael Reed.
    He told Aqueila,  "This is not only my Academy, it is a crisis center where I deal with traumatic stress, not post but full blown traumatic stress in the now. People get in my face eyeball to eyeball to make sure I'm listening to them tell their "horror"  stories. Who wants to hear the blues of a Negro? Every Negro got his own goddamn blues! Even our psycho doctors ain't qualified to heal our people because they must be certified by the white man and for sure if you are a victim of white supremacy you cant be cured by doctors certified by white supremacy!"

    Aqueila asked him about the Black Arts Movement Business District along the
    14th Street corridor. He gave her a short tour of the corridor from the lower bottom to
    Lake Merritt, but said he has passed the baton of the Black Arts Movement Business District to
    his chief student, Dr. Ayodele Nzinga who is holding a Town Hall Meeting tonight, Friday, May 13, 2016, at East Side Arts Cultural Center, 23rd and International Blvd, 6pm.

    All questions regarding the BAMBD should be directed to Dr. Nzinga. 510-457-8999. She is the point person locally and nationally. She has the full support of Mrs. Amina Baraka, widow of BAM chief architect Amiri Baraka. Dr. Nzinga will produce the Black Arts Movement Theatre Festival at the Flight Deck where her theatre is in residence. The BAM Theatre festival will include productions of The Toilet by Amiri Baraka, Flowers for the Trashman by Marvin X, Bathroom Graffiti Queen by Opal Palmer Adisa, and other works. The BAM festival is scheduled for August/September. Marvin X will perform the opening monologue for Don Lacy's Color Struck at Laney College Theatre in Aug/Sept. Stay turned for date and time.

    There is more and more and more that Marvin X dropped on Aqueila. She begged him for another interview that will include breakfast at his place!

    Stay turned to Black Bird Press for the date and time this interview will be heard on KPFA radio's After Hours, 1AM to 5AM, Saturdays. 94.1FM.

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    Gays/Lesbians married/trans in restrooms!--time for men to stand up who love sex workers and multiple wives
    Now that gays and lesbians can marry and trans people can enter any restroom or locker room, isn't it time for men who desire multiple wives and sex workers to come out of the closet? If men who desire polygamy and sex workers will get organized, they can fulfill their desires just as others have done in this wild crazy world. The reason the LGBT community acquired rights is because they organized to do so. What is wrong with these weak ass men who won't get their nuts out the sand but rather complain about what gays, lesbians and trans people are doing. What does it matter what they do when you can't do what you want to do? I am not concerned about what somebody else is doing, I only care about what I want to do. Now if I can't do what I want to do, we got a real problem up in here! But the solution is political, not to engage in pseudo moral pronouncements that make people hypocritical. As men, we should be ashamed of ourselves for being unorganized  for the rights we desire and need. Why should grown men not be able to be with their sex workers in peace? I'm talking about legal prostitution, not having sex with children and women who are sex slaves.

    Long ago my friend, then Assemblyman Willie L. Brown, pushed through legislation permitting sex between consenting adults, so why are men still sneaking around in the alley like a broke dick dog, facing arrest, cars seized and other humiliations to be in a mutual agreement with sex workers?

    It's time to legalize prostitution and regulate it as it is in the State of Nevada. When I taught English at the University of Nevada, Reno, 1979, no preachers talked against gambling and prostitution. One Black preacher received a Cadillac donated by the owner of Mustang Ranch, a venue for legal prostitution.

    I'm totally against the trafficking of sex slaves and the spread of disease. As per polygamy, I was not successful with monogamy or polygamy. Mama told me I didn't need a wife, "You need a maid, secretary and mistress, but not a wife!" Obviously, Mama was right, I just can't figure out how she knew so much about her son!
    --Marvin X

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    Inline image 2

    We understand over 70 people attended the Town Hall Meeting at Eastside Arts to discuss the Black Arts Movement Business District, hosted by Dr. Ayodele Nzinga. People came as individuals and as members of organizations who want to see the BAMBD a reality along the 14th Street corridor, downtown Oakland. Dr. Nzinga informed folks the BAMBD will be whatever they want it to be and the idea is beyond the imagination of any person or group. Stay tuned for a summary of the meeting. Another meeting is scheduled soon.

    FYI, the Oakland City Council approved the district on January 19, 2016. We still await banners and vendors along the corridor. We have also asked that the Malonga Center be placed in a land trust for the BAMBD district along with other properties that will be utilized for artist space and general housing. We would like to see capital improvements to Geofrey's Inner Circle as an anchor of the BAMBD. There is discussion of extending the BAMBD from the Lower Bottom of 14th Street to deep East Oakland along the International Blvd. corridor. Activities planned for the BAMBD include the Black Arts Movement Theatre Festival at the Flight Deck and Donald Lacy's play Color Struck at the Laney College Theatre, August-September, 2016. For more information, please contact Dr. Ayodele Nzinga: 510-457-8999.

    Inline image 1

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     In the Name of Love, a poetic drama by Marvin X, Laney College Theatre

    production by instructor Marvin X. Cast featured Zahieb Mwongozi, Ayodele

    Nzinga, Doris Knight (RIP), 1981.

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    Sunday, May 15, 2016

    4000 Years of SistaPower Fighting Sexism In Ancient Egypt

    Feminism and the Battle for Women’s Rights in Ancient Egypt 

           Ancient Egyptian women celebrating feasts and festivals that were accompanied by              music and dance. 

    Natalia Klimczak

    15 May, 2016 - It is often assumed that women in the ancient world held little power or influence. However, women in ancient Egypt could become highly influential physicians, political advisors, scribes, or even rulers. But like women in many cultures throughout history and today, they had to fight to acquire and hold onto their rights. 

    The first female ruler known in ancient Egyptian history lived during the reign of the First Dynasty. Her name was Merneith; she was a consort and a regent around 2970 BC.
    Tomb stela of Merneith from the Umm el-Qa'ab.

    After thousands of years of equal rights, Ptolemy IV tried to stop the strong tradition of cults of women. He changed the law and canceled many rights that had made women equal to men. It was the beginning of the dark age characteristic for the upcoming dominating beliefs, which had their roots in Rome and Greece. However, Egyptian women didn't want to accept a patriarchal society. Until the power of the Egyptian civilization came to an end, they fought for their rights. Commonly, researchers accept that the end of Egyptian women’s independence arrived with the death of the great scientist Hypatia in 415 AD. Before that event took place, Ancient Egyptian women had thrived in society for more than three millennia.

    Women who wrote the history

    Seshat was a goddess of scribes in Ancient Egypt. Many of her priestesses were well educated writers who served nobles and rulers. Moreover, it seems that all of the noble women took writing lessons. The correspondence of women from Deir el-Medina suggests that women from other classes of Egyptian society could also write. The wives of drawers, painters, stone masons and other workers, used to exchange letters with their husbands. They were writing about the obstacles of daily life, about their feelings and all of the things which were important to them.

    Seshat carved on the back of the throne of the seated statue of Rameses II in the Amun temple at Luxor.

    It is unknown how many difficulties women had to pass to become a royal scribe like men. However, there is no proof that they had to do anything more than men, suggesting that the exams and opportunities were equal. The first known female scribe is dated back to the rulers of the 6th dynasty. Idut was mentioned in the Mastaba which belonged to the vizier Ihy, dated back to the 5th Dynasty. She was perhaps a daughter of the pharaoh Unas.

    In the tomb TT390, located in the South El-Assasif necropolis, which is a part of the Theban Necropolis was buried a woman named Irtyrau. She was a chief attendant of the Divine Adoratice of Amun, and a great scribe of Nitocris I, a daughter of pharaoh Psamtik I. Nitocris was a Divine Adoratice of Amun between 655 until her death in 585 BC. Irtyrau belonged to a prominent family Thinite from Abydos. The tomb of Irtyrau was discovered by the team of Wilkinson, Hey and Burton in 1820, explored later by Lepsius.

    Tomb TT390

    Viziers of the Pharaoh

    Some women in ancient Egypt could also be viziers (the highest officials to serve the Pharaoh). Only two of them are confirmed and known by name. The first one is known in historical texts as Nebet. She was a vizier during the reign of pharaoh Pepi I of the Sixth Dynasty, during the period known as the Old Kingdom of Egypt. Her husband was the nobleman Khui, who was also an important person in the court of the king, but his wife reached the highest possible position in the political system of the country. The daughters of Nebet and Khui, Ankhesenpepi I and Ankhesenpepi II, became wives of Pepi I. Ankhesenpepi I was a mother of a pharaoh Merenre Nemtyemsaf. Her sister bore a Pharaoh, Pepi II. Moreover, Ankhesenpepi II, after the death of her first husband, got married to Merenre Nemtyemsaf.

    Statuette of Queen Ankhesenpepi II and her Son, Pepy II, ca. 2288-2224 or 2194 B.C.E. Egyptian alabaster, Brooklyn Museum.   

    Nebet was known as a powerful woman of her times, some believe that she was a princess related to the royal family. Her name was connected with Geb, Toth, and Horus. It seems that her position influenced the image of the dynasty. As a vizier she controlled the building of the pyramid of Pepi, and other monuments ordered by him. He was one of the greatest kings of his times, and his right hand was a woman.

    Also during the Ptolemaic period, during the reign of Ptolemy V, a woman became a vizier - Queen Cleopatra I Syra, mother of Cleopatra II, Ptolemy VI and Ptolemy VIII. She was born in 204 BC as a daughter of King Antiochus III the Great and his wife Leodice. She was the first of the great Cleopatras of Egypt and perhaps the only queen of this country, who had become a vizier.

    Queen Cleopatra I Syra. ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

    The healers of Sekhmet

    The medicine of ancient Egypt was very advanced and patronized by female goddess Sekhmet. The adepts of medicine from all of the ancient world were arriving near the Nile to study the secrets of the human body. Nonetheless, in Egypt, women were able to be a lot more than midwives. They were allowed to be physicians of the royal family and even perform surgeries.
    The first known female physician lived circa 2700s BC, during the reign of the 2nd and 3rd dynasties. Her name was Merit Ptah, and she is known from the necropolis around the step pyramid of Saqqara created by another great vizier, physician and scientist – Imhotep. The inscription says that her son was a High Priest and a Chief Physician. It seems that his mother was also his teacher.

    Soon after, another woman became the most influential physician of the royal court near the Nile. Her name was Peseshet and she lived during the reign of the 4th and 5th dynasties. She was known as the main doctor of the Kingdom. She is known from the mastaba of her son in Giza, where her personal false door was found. She graduated at medical school in Sais, the center of the medical sciences in the third millennium BC. She knew all the medical documents created in the past, she knew how to create medications, complete difficult surgeries and is recorded as having healed cancer of the womb using a mixture of fresh dactyls, bay leaves, and essence of the seashells.

    (Left) Peseshet, ( Rebel women embroidery ) (Right) Merit Ptah ( Rebel women embroidery )

    The forgotten power of female minds 

    Women in ancient Egypt worked in many jobs traditionally dedicated to them, but they were powerful enough to be independent, have their own workshops producing textiles, jewelry and other goods, and even take an important role in political life, become physicians or scribes. Although, they were underestimated by many historians for centuries, their strong position in the powerful civilization of ancient Egypt could be an inspiration for modern women in many parts of the world.


    Carolyn Graves-Brown, Dancing for Hathor: Women in Ancient Egypt, 2010.
    Christian Jacq, Les Egyptiennes, 1996.
    - See more at:

    Carolyn Graves-Brown, Dancing for Hathor: Women in Ancient Egypt, 2010.

    Christian Jacq, Les Egyptiennes, 1996. and Queens/Viziers.html#26th_Dynasty



    Sarah Griffiths for MailOnline
    13 May 2016-

    As a woman living in Egypt’s golden age, Hatshepsut was not destined for kingship.

    She was prohibited by her gender from ascending the throne even though she was of royal lineage.

    Egypt’s gods had supposedly decreed that the king’s role could never be fulfilled by a woman and although a pharaoh needed a queen to reign with him, she could never rule alone – although later there were notable exceptions.

    Hatshepsut refused to submit to this and, to get round the rule, claimed she was married to the king of the gods and therefore had as much right to sit on the throne as any previous pharaoh.
    Hatshepsut had herself crowned (illustrated) in around 1,473BC, changing her name from the female version Hatshepsut - which means Foremost of the Noble Ladies - to the male version, Hatshepsu
    Hatshepsut had herself crowned (illustrated) in around 1,473BC, changing her name from the female version Hatshepsut – which means Foremost of the Noble Ladies – to the male version, Hatshepsu. Note that this depiction Europeanizes the African reality of Egypt nearly 1500 years before the birth of Christ!

    Her brazen approach worked and she had herself crowned in around 1,473BC, changing her name from the female version Hatshepsut – which means Foremost of the Noble Ladies – to the male version, Hatshepsu.

    She reinforced her power by decorating the temples of the gods with portraits of herself in the pharaoh’s traditional kilt, wearing all his symbols of office including the black pointed royal beard.

    While conducting affairs of state surrounded by male courtiers, she may even have worn men’s clothes.

    However, previously-found statues show that early in her reign she liked tight-fitting gowns which showed off her figure and is said to have had a habit of bedding her cabinet ministers.
    Hatshepsut was the first but not the only woman ruler of male dominated ancient Egypt.

    Nefertiti followed her and then Cleopatra took power 1,500 years later, but neither took the title pharaoh like Hatshepsut.

    She showed ruthless ambition and exceptional tenacity for the times in which she lived.
    Hatshepsut was the first but not the only woman ruler of male dominated ancient Egypt.Hatshepsut was the first but not the only woman ruler of male dominated ancient Egypt.
    Hatshepsut was the first but not the only woman ruler of male dominated ancient Egypt. Nefertiti (bust pictured left) followed her and then Cleopatra (relief shown right) took power 1,500 years later, but neither took the title pharaoh like Hatshepsut.

    As a result this mysterious and courageous female ruler rewrote the early story of her country and has been called the first great woman in history.

    Hatshepsut insisted she had been made official heir to the throne by her father, the pharaoh Thutmosis I.

    The pharaoh had several sons who predeceased him and turned to his daughter to safeguard the throne.

    What immediately followed was not unusual. Hatshepsut married a much younger half-brother, also called Thutmosis, whereupon she became queen.

    Marriages between siblings were the custom in those days and at first the couple reigned together.

    But then her brother/husband died, with the markings on his mummy suggesting he suffered from a hideous skin disease.

    Hatshepsut became regent for another Thutmosis, her husband’s son by a harem girl. By now she was not content simply to be regent.

    Within two years she had taken all the power for herself and was running the country from its capital Thebes, donned in her false beard and all the traditional regalia of kingship.

    For many years she and her stepson seemed to have lived happily with this arrangement.

    She ruled while Thutmosis concentrated on his military career. So successful was he that historians know him as the Napoleon of Egypt.

    Historians suspect these campaigns were an excuse to escape from the influence of his merciless step-mother.
    She ruled while Thutmosis (shown in a relief wearing an Atef crown) concentrated on his military career. So successful was he that historians know him as the Napoleon of Egypt
    She ruled while Thutmosis (shown in a relief wearing an Atef crown) concentrated on his military career. So successful was he that historians know him as the Napoleon of Egypt
    She was becoming so powercrazed in her last years that Thutmosis even feared for his life.

    In his absence, Hatshepsut built breathtaking temples in her own honour. They were decorated with reliefs telling how she came to the throne of Egypt and with farfetched stories about her divine connections.

    Hatshepsut ruled as a master politician and stateswoman for 20 years.

    She died around the age of 50 of cancer, according to recent research and expected to be buried in her finest and best-known temple near the Valley of the Kings.

    But it appears Thutmosis III got his own back on the woman who usurped his throne, burying her in a lesser location.

    He outlived Hatshepsut by 40 years and seems to have set out on a campaign to erase her name from history.

    He threw her statues into the quarries in front of the grand temples she built and even defaced the images of her courtiers.

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  • 05/16/16--16:09: 20 Black Poets

  • 20 Black Poets You Should Know (and Love)

    Poetry lovers and novices alike can connect with verses by this list of extraordinary wordsmiths.

    By: Hope Wabuke
    Posted: April 16 2015
    The Root

    Gwendolyn Brooks

    Brooks, who was the poet laureate of Illinois, became the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her second collection,Annie Allen. Her keen insight and musical language make her writing required reading for students of poetry today. “We Real Cool” is a good place to begin.
    Wikimedia Commons

    Langston Hughes

    What happens to a dream deferred?” askedHughes in one of his best-known lines. His name became synonymous with the Harlem Renaissance, and his work has inspired subsequent generations of black poets.
    Wikimedia Commons

    Audre Lorde

    The unapologeticLorde is equally known for her poetry and essays. In every medium, she transcended form and used words to dismantle systems of oppression.
    Audre Lorde with writer Meridel Le Sueur (Wikimedia Commons)

    Rita Dove

    A Pulitzer Prize winner and the country’s first black poet laureate,Dove deftly weaves together subject matter that is both personal and political. She continues to shape the conversation onmodern poetry as an editor and professor.
    Wikimedia Commons

    The Dark Room Collective

    Thiscommunity of writers gave voice to the next generation of black American poets. It was founded nearly 30 years ago in Boston by Thomas Sayers Ellis, Sharan Strange and Janice Lowe, who were dedicated to nurturing and supporting black poetics. It grew to include Major Jackson, Carl Phillips, Tisa Bryant and Kevin Young, along with Pulitzer Prize winners Tracy K. Smith and Natasha Tretheway, who was also honored as thepoet laureate of the United States.
    Wikimedia Commons

    Lucille Clifton

    Clifton won the National Book Award, was once the poet laureate of Maryland and earned two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work, legendary for its extremely modern minimalism, revolved around spirituality, womanhood and African-American identity.
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    June Jordan

    As with Audre Lorde,Jordan’s political acts of speaking truth to power through creative expression were shaped in essays, poems and stories. Lorde, the founder of Poetry for the People, has continued to inspire students through her teaching since her death in 2002.
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    Cave Canem

    Cornelius Eady and Toi Derricotte are the founding visionaries behind this Brooklyn, N.Y.-based organization that showcases the brilliance of black poets. Together with founding faculty members Elizabeth Alexander, Afaa Michael Weaver, Michele Elliot, Terrance Hayes and Sarah Micklem,Cave Canem hosted its first retreat in 1996. During the past two decades, Eady and Derricotte have created a safe space for black poets, often marginalized in traditional literary spaces, to nurture one another.
    Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady (Facebook)

    Derek Walcott

    Walcott’s first poem, “1944,” consisting of 44 lines of free verse, was published when he was just 14 years old. For a lifetime ofpoetic expression, he received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1992. The committee called his work “a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment.”
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    Claudia Rankine

    A razor-sharp intellect reinventing the lyric poem and the use of documentary style in poetry,Rankine often turns a close eye to the intricacies of macro- and microaggressions in the United States. Her latest book,Citizen: An American Lyric, was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the National Book Critics Circle Award.
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    Nikky Finney

    Finney, winner of the National Book Award for her fifth book of poems,Head Off & Split, is also a formidable educator and mentor to young poets.

    Alice Walker

    Walker wrote the first of many books of poetry when she was a senior at Sarah Lawrence College. Active in the civil rights movement, a former columnist at Ms. magazine and co-founder of a feminist publishing company, she has long been astaunch advocate for social justice.
    Peter Kramer/Getty Images

    Kwame Dawes

    The author of 12 books of poetry,Dawes is Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and editor-in-chief of famed literary journal Prairie Schooner. He empowers the next generation of black poets through his work with the Calabash International Literary Festival, Cave Canem and the African Poetry Book Fund.
    Wikimedia Commons

    Nikki Giovanni

    A star of the Black Arts Movement,Giovanni is one of America’s best-selling poets. She paid it forward by founding the publishing company NikTom Ltd. to promote African-American female writers and inspires young poets through teaching and accessible, dynamic verse.
    Wikimedia Commons

    Ntozake Shange

    Shange’s choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf revolutionized both literature and theater. Nearly 40 years after its first performance, it continues to incite and inspire audiences.
    Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

    Maya Angelou

    Considered to be more inspirational than literary,Angelou’s work popularized African-American poetry like none before it.
    Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

    Sonia Sanchez

    The author of 18 books of poetry,Sanchez has had an illustrious writing career. In the 1970s she was also instrumental in introducing black-studies courses into university curricula, something we take for granted today.

    Angelina Weld Grimké

    Grimké’s poems, essays, stories and plays made her a pivotal figure of the Harlem Renaissance.Her work often highlighted the desperate conditions of black women and children. Born in 1880, Grimké is credited with being the first African-American woman to write a publicly performed play.
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    Saeed Jones

    Last year Jones published his first full-length poetry book, the critically acclaimedPrelude to Bruise. TheBuzzFeededitor has also funneled his talent into the creation of a literary journaland a $12,000 fellowship for emerging writers.

    Jean Toomer

    His masterwork,Cane, is a meditation on the black American experience, inspired by his return to the South after his family’s migration north. There,Toomer witnessed lynchings and other racial violence and vividly expressed their horrors in his poetry.
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    Wikimedia Commons
    In 1996 the Academy of American Poets dubbed April National Poetry Month to celebrate the richness of American poetry. In its honor, here are 20 black American poets who have shown brilliance in their art and service to the community.
    Nikky Finney reading at the Annikki Poetry Festival in Tampere, Finland, June 9, 2012. (Wikimedia Commons)

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