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Coates grew up in a home and a world where consciousness in thought and deed was the ultimate reflection of what it means to be a human being, where books and papers surrounded him and reflected him. He sought other stories in comic books and novels. Baltimore in the ’80s demanded a different education of him, one where he was bored by teachers, fell asleep in class, walked through the streets assessing the landscape and the people incessantly, wary and aware that at any moment, at any time, he could be jumped and beaten for any number of imagined offenses by boys who looked like him. That world trained Coates to navigate violence with his body and his mind, pressured his inner self to become the man he is today, a man with a baby face and easy bearing whose looks belie the weapon within, a self honed to a scythe’s sharpness. Artists & Reviews 

The Beautiful Power of Ta-Nehisi Coates

With his groundbreaking nonfiction works, Ta-Nehisi Coates emerged as our most vital public intellectual. Now, his debut novel, The Water Dancer, takes him to uncharted depths. BY  JESMYN WARD PHOTOGRAPHY BY  ANNIE LEIBOVITZ AUGUST 6, 2019 Coates, photographed in Brooklyn.PHOTOGRAPH BY ANNIE LEIBOVITZ. When I meet Ta-Nehisi Coates, I am surprised. All of the photos I’ve seen of him are somber and inscrutable, but when I walk into the café where he’s suggested we meet, he’s not like that at all. He’s one of those people who looks young at any age:…

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Romeo's first volume of poetry, The Silent Dancing Spirit was published in 1974. She taught for a year at Kent State in the Department of Pan-African Studies, but then decided to move to Africa and began working as an assistant English professor at the University of Liberia. In 1977, she married and continued teaching and writing, publishing three additional volumes of poetry: Palaver: West Indian Poems in 1978, Two Faces, Two Phases in 1984, and Beyond Dream: The Ritual Dancer in 1989. In 1984, Romeo-Mark, along with C. William Allen, Keith Neville Asumuyaya Best, Henry Gensang, Thomas Johnson and Ruth Wuor founded the Liberian Association of Writers (LAW). Artists & Reviews 

Two Poems: Crossing Frontiers and Crossing the Road

    Romeo’s first volume of poetry, The Silent Dancing Spirit was published in 1974.  She taught for a year at Kent State in the Department of Pan-African Studies, but then decided to move to Africa and began working as an assistant English professor at the University of Liberia. In 1977, she married and continued teaching and writing, publishing three additional volumes of poetry: Palaver: West Indian Poems in 1978, Two Faces, Two Phases in 1984, and Beyond Dream: The Ritual Dancer in 1989. In 1984, Romeo-Mark, along with C….

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Philis Wheatly was a young African slave woman with incredible amount of talent and creativity. When she had the manuscript of her first collection of poems, “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious, and Moral,” it was not published in America because the publishers or printers could not believe that a “negro” could write those poems. The book was first published in London in the fall of 1773. This singular effort by Phillis Wheatly is considered as the foundation of African American literature. It would take 86 years from 1773 for the first African American novel to be published. This was written by Harriet E. Wilson in 1859. Artists & Reviews 

Common Themes in African and African American Literatures

    By Nvasekie N. Konneh   To fully understand and appreciate African and African American literatures or fictions for that matter, it’s imperative to understand the historical backgrounds of their experiences. First it was the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, which brought millions of Africans to Europe and America as slaves to plantations in America and elsewhere. European colonization of Africa subsequently, followed the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Both of these were very dehumanizing for the Africans. They experienced degradation as they were considered less human than others. The main justification of…

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This was a very meaningful conversation I had with my fellow Liberian writer, Eudora Aletta. So besides the political talks and photo ops, meeting Eudora who I have communicated with for years was one of the highlights of the convention for me. I hope to read and review her novel, The Wind of Change. Artists & Reviews 

Book Review: The Land of My Father’s Birth, by Nvasekie N. Konneh

    A Book Review by Theodore T. Hodge   The author’s primary purpose is to set the record straight about his nationality, and that of his father before him. That is too easy a case to make. He uses strong and impressive arguments from the outset by using general history and personal genealogy. To borrow a popular cliché of our times, it is a slam-dunk. Besides nationality, Konneh addresses the sub-themes of tribalism, religion, and patriotism. Commonly held beliefs among many Liberians include the false point of view that…

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In November 1967, Mr. Porte wrote a pamphlet titled “Thinking About Unthinkable Things In a Democracy,” wondering how Liberia, with its constitution, its adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, could be a nation where “anyone could do any wrong, and once he had the President and his office behind him, he could go free and no one, not even the Chief Justice could do anything about it. That was very dangerous for any country,” (Page 184). Indeed lawlessness at the highest level of governance was dangerous and Liberia were to find it later, in a devastating way. Artists & Reviews 

A Life of Rebellion: The Biography Of Albert Porte

    Kenneth Y. Best:  Albert Porte, A Life Time Trying to Save Liberia   By the time William V.S. Tubman became president of Liberia, the country had already abandoned any semblance of democracy and the people had lost the right to elect their leaders. This privilege was left to a party caucus, made of the President, the Speaker and a handful of people in the True Whig Party and government hierarchy. The system had been introduced by President King in 1925. Once the Caucus decided who would run for…

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Though she was not a fiction writer, any discussion of Liberian literature will not be complete without mentioning A Doris Banks Henries. She was a prolific writer who wrote many books on Liberia. Among the many books written by A Doris Banks Henries, only three I came across and they were my favorites. Those three books are "Heroes and Heroines of Liberia," "Civil for Liberian Schools," and "Africa: Our History." Artists & Reviews 

A Lifetime of Writing Books: The Legacy of Banks Henries

      A. Doris Bank Henries was born on February 11, 1913, in Live Oak, Florida and died on February 16, 1981, in Middletown, CT. She was married to Richard Abrom Henries, former speaker of the Liberian House of Representative, who was one of the 13 government officials that were executed on firing squad in the wake of the 1980 military coup in Liberia. Doris Banks Henries graduated from Willimantie Normal School (now Eastern Connecticut State University) with BSc in 1920s; She also attended Connecticut State Teachers’ College as…

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And while there has been an outpouring of respect for the struggle veteran, Umkhonto weSizwe commander, traditional healer, member of Parliament, poet and novelist, the literary fraternity has also bemoaned the fact that younger writers and women have been overlooked for the third time in a row. Artists & Reviews 

Meet South Africa’s Newest Poet Laureate

  But some say it was a woman’s turn   The grand old man of liberation poetry, Professor Mongane Wally Serote, was named South Africa’s third poet laureate at a slightly shambolic SA Literary Awards event in Pretoria this week. And while there has been an outpouring of respect for the struggle veteran, Umkhonto weSizwe commander, traditional healer, member of Parliament, poet and novelist, the literary fraternity has also bemoaned the fact that younger writers and women have been overlooked for the third time in a row. A poet laureate…

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She Would be King tells the early formation story of Liberia through historical fiction and magical realism. By exploring her own familiar history, Wayetu Moore’s debut novel offers a powerful exploration of Liberia’s relationship with colonization by freed American slaves. Moore’s literary contribution to the Liberian story is one that exudes an important brilliance that shows creativity, thought, and the true essence of Liberian Girl Magic. Artists & Reviews 

8 Books by Liberian Authors for Your Bookshelf

by Karkay Adrienne Tingba   Liberia has been telling its own stories for many generations – be it written or orally. The world, however, at some point collectively decided that story could not be told beyond the vulgar violence of civil war, poverty, disease, etc. Liberians on the other hand, know that their stories, even if about experiences in the war, carries deeper dimensions beyond the single story of barbarity to which they’ve been subjected; and we all know the dangers of a single story thanks to our Nigerian sister…

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Born in Pleebo, Southeastern Liberia in West Africa, Cde Cherbo Geeplay is a Pan African poet; the Liberian native writes about: Africa, the Liberian civil war and its tragedy, and his Grebo heritage. His recently published short story: A CHECK POINT AWAY FROM DYING, was published by a literary magazine in the United States, which foretold the dire struggles of a family desperately trying to survive a gruesome war. Geeplay was among the younger Liberian youth, forced to attend college during the brutal civil war. He studied at the University of Liberia, majoring in Journalism and while in college, worked in the media as A senior staff reporter for several news outlets. His work has been described as layered and intelligent. His poetry first appeared in Sea Breeze Journal (Liberia) and in the Blue Lake Review (New York), Rigorous, a New Orleans based literary magazine, was also the publisher of his poems and debut short story. Geeplay have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies and was THE FINALIST OF THE ADELAIDE LITERARY AWARD FOR POETRY in Adelaide Literary Magazine, 2018, based in New York, also. Cde Cherbo Geeplay is the editor of an online journal, The Liberian Listener, and lives in Edmonton Alberta, Canada, with his family. Artists & Reviews 

Three Poems: Behind Those Walls, By Cherbo Geeplay

  Born in Pleebo, Southeastern Liberia in West Africa, Comrade Cherbo Geeplay is a Pan African poet; the Liberian native writes about: Africa, the Liberian civil war and its tragedy, and his Grebo heritage. His recently published short story: A CHECK POINT AWAY FROM DYING, was published by a literary magazine in the United States, which foretold the dire struggles of a family desperately trying to survive a gruesome war. Geeplay was among the younger Liberian youth, forced to attend college during the brutal civil war. He studied at the University of…

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“My dad worked overtime to preserve our childhood,” Ms. Moore said. Gunshots in the distance became “dragons fighting” and dead bodies on the streets were people “sleeping on the road.” Artists & Reviews 

In Wayétu Moore’s Ambitious Debut Novel, Liberia Is Reborn

    “She Would Be King” reframes the country’s history in magical terms.   By Lovia Gyarkye   When Wayétu Moore was 5 years old, she and her family fled Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. It was 1989 and the country was caught in a violent civil war. Ms. Moore, her father and two sisters took refuge in her maternal grandmother’s home village near Liberia’s border with Sierra Leone. “My dad worked overtime to preserve our childhood,” Ms. Moore said. Gunshots in the distance became “dragons fighting” and dead bodies…

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