A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 25, 2011
“America’s chickens are coming home to roost”

“Chickens come home to roost” is an idiomatic expression meaning that bad words or deeds will come back to the speaker or actor. The expression was popularized by Robert Southey, who put this proverb on the cover of the book of his poem, The Curse of Kehama (1810):
The expression has long been used in American politics and culture. A Civil War pamphlet was titled: Military despotism! Suspension of the habeus corpus! Curses coming home to roost! New York, May, 1863. Malcolm X, speaking at the Manhattan Center in December 1963, called the assassination of President Kennedy as “chickens coming home to roost.”
“America’s chickens coming home to roost” was used almost immediately after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Ward Churchill wrote the essay “Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens” on September 12, 2001. Reverend Jeremiah Wright, of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago (where he was Barack Obama’s preacher), delivered a sermon on September 16, 2001, where he said “America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”
The Free Dictionary
chickens come home to roost
Prov. You have to face the consequences of your mistakes or bad deeds
The Phrase Finder
The chickens come home to roost
Bad deeds or words return to discomfort their perpetrator.
Google Books
The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
Pg. 720:
Robert Southey
English author, 1774-1843
“Curses are like young chickens, they always come home to roost.”
The Curse of Kehama motto (1810). Geoffrey Chaucer wrote something similar in “The Parson’s Tale” (ca. 1387): “And ofte tyme swich cursynge wrongfully retorneth agayn to hym that curseth, as a bryd that retorneth agayn to his owene nest.”
Wikipedia: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens
On the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequences of U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality (ISBN 1-902593-79-0) is a book written by Ward Churchill published in 2003 by AK Press. The “Roosting Chickens” of the title comes from a 1963 Malcolm X speech about the John F. Kennedy assassination, calling it “merely a case of ‘chickens coming home to roost.’”
Churchill used the term “Roosting Chickens” in a short essay Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens first published on September 12, 2001. In that article, Churchill alleged that the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States were “acts of war” by the “Islamic East” in defense against the “crusades” waged by the “Christian West” (e.g. Arab-Israeli conflict and The First Gulf War) throughout the late 20th century.
Wikipedia: Jeremiah Wright controversy
The Jeremiah Wright controversy is an American political issue that gained national attention in March 2008 when ABC News, after reviewing dozens of U.S. 2008 Presidential Election candidate Barack Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright’s sermons, excerpted parts which were subject to intense media scrutiny. Wright is a retired senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago and former pastor of President of the United States Barack Obama.
Controversial sermon excerpts
Most of the controversial excerpts that gained national attention in March 2008 were taken from two sermons: one titled “The Day of Jerusalem’s Fall” delivered on September 16, 2001 and another, titled “Confusing God and Government”, delivered on April 13, 2003.
“The Day of Jerusalem’s Fall”
In a sermon delivered shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001, Wright made comments about an interview of former U.S. Ambassador Edward Peck he saw on Fox News. Wright said:
“I heard Ambassador Peck on an interview yesterday. Did anybody else see him or hear him? He was on Fox News. This is a white man, and he was upsetting the Fox News commentators to no end. He pointed out — did you see him, John? — a white man, he pointed out, ambassador, that what Malcolm X said when he got silenced by Elijah Muhammad was in fact true — America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”
Wright spoke of the United States taking land from the Indian tribes by what he labeled as terror, bombing Grenada, Panama, Libya, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, and argued that the United States supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and South Africa. He said that his parishioners’ response should be to examine their relationship with God, not go “from the hatred of armed enemies to the hatred of unarmed innocents.” His comment (quoting Malcolm X) that “America’s chickens are coming home to roost” was widely interpreted as meaning that America had brought the September 11, 2001 attacks upon itself. ABC News broadcast clips from the sermon in which Wright said:
“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye… and now we are indignant, because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought back into our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”
Google Books
The Curse of Kehama
By Robert Southey
London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown
OCLC WorldCat record
Military despotism! Suspension of the habeus corpus! Curses coming home to roost! New York, May, 1863.
Publisher: New York : W.C. Bryant & Co., printers, 1863.
Series: Pamphlets (Loyal Publication Society of New York), no. 20. 
Edition/Format:  Book : English
OCLC WorldCat record
Coming home to roost: a novel
Author: Gertrude Elizabeth Grant
Publisher: London, 1872.
Edition/Format:  Book : English
OCLC WorldCat record
Maine’s political chickens come home to roost
Author: Edward F Dow
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: National Municipal Review, v30 n8 (194108): 488-493
Database: CrossRef
OCLC WorldCat record
The Chickens of the interventionist Liberals have come home to roost ; The bitter fruits of globaloney
Author: Harry Elmer Barnes
Publisher: Chicago : American Renaissance Book Club, 1953.
Edition/Format:  Book : English
2 December 1963, New York (NY) Times, pg. 21:
Likens Slaying to ‘Chickens Coming Home to Roost’
Malcolm X, a leader of the Black Muslims, yesterday characterized the assassination of President Kennedy as an instance of “the chickens coming home to roost.”
Accusing Mr. Kennedy of “twiddling his thumbs” at the killing of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, Malcom X told a Black Muslim rally at the Manhattan Center that he “never foresaw that the chickens would come home to roost so soon.”
He added: “Being an old farm boy myself, chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad; they’ve always made me glad.” His remarks on the Kennedy assassination were made at a point when the auditorium was open to questions and comment from the floor. There was loud applause and laughter.
Newspapers Chided
Malcolm X told the crowd, estimated at about 700, that immediately after Mr. Kennedy’s assassination the Black Muslim leadership had been asked for comments by the newspapers. He charged this was an attempt to trao the organization into a “fanatic, inflexibly dogmatic” statement. He said the press was looking for such a remark as: “Hooray, hooray! I’m glad he got it!”
With this exclamation, there was more laughter and applause.
In further criticism of Mr. Kennedy, the Muslim leader cited the murders of Patrice Lumumba, Congo leader, of Medgar Evers, civil rights leader, and of the Negro girls bombed earlier this year in a Birmingham church. THese, he said, were instances of other “chickens coming home to roost.”
“They’ve got to come home some day,” he added.
MALCOLM X: Kennedy and “Chickens Coming Home To Roost”
Uploaded by antihostile on Apr 17, 2007
The Complete Malcolm X on DVD: http://malcolmxfiles.blogspot.com/
Malcolm X explains his comments regarding the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
4 August 1966, Omaha (NE) World Herald, pg. 2, col. 1:
Morie Ryskind sees in a North Vietnamese threat America’s chickens at Nuernberg coming home to roost.
OCLC WorldCat record
American violence : chickens coming home to roost.
Publisher: Los Angeles : Pacifica Tape Library, 1969.
Edition/Format:  Audiobook on Cassette : Cassette recording : English
Summary: Official commissions look for roots of violence in the study of political assassinations. A documentary featuring Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Kennedy, Ralph Nader, Dave Dellinger, Bobby Seale and the voice of Lee Harvey Oswald.
Google Groups: alt.current-events.usa
Newsgroups: alt.current-events.usa
From: Ivan Gowch
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 17:11:32 GMT
Local: Tues, Sep 11 2001 12:11 pm
Anybody consider that the sound of the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon collapsing is the sound of the chickens coming home to roost?
Did Americans really think they could launch almost daily bombing attacks on Iraq, give aid and comfort to Israel’s terror campaign against the Palestinians and, in general, try to throw its weight around almost everywhere in the world without suffering punishment?
Google Groups: alt.religion.islam
Newsgroups: alt.religion.islam
From: “Antarktos”

Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 17:07:37 -0500
Local: Wed, Sep 12 2001 5:07 pm
Subject: Chickens Come Home To Roost : We Should Not Be Dying For Israel ; Bill White
Chickens Come Home To Roost
We Should Not Be Dying For Israel
9/11/01 10:03:35 AM
Bill White
Statement—Brief statement:
The New York World Trade Center and the DC Pentagon have beeen bombed,
likely by Muslims angry at our involvement in Israel and Iraq.  We have killed more than two million in Iraq, and have allowed the Israelis to kill thousands. Now we die.
In the words of Malcolm X:
“The chickens are coming home to roost.”

End US aid to Israel.  End Us involvement in Iraq.  No war with the Muslim World.
Libertarian Socialist News
Post Office Box 12244
Silver Spring, MD 20908
Monday, Sep 17, 2001 21:28 ET
Bin Laden’s American blood brothers
The day terror struck our country, homegrown extremists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn waxed nostaglic about their own bombing exploits.

By David Horowitz
—“U.S. foreign policy has come home to roost today ... we are reaping what we have sown.” Glynn Ash
Blame America At Your Peril
Oct 14, 2001 8:00 PM EDT
This mindless moral equivalency is the nub of what lefties mean when they talk about “the chickens coming home to roost,” or “reaping what you sow.” Talk about ironic: the same people always urging us to not blame the victim in rape cases are now saying Uncle Sam wore a short skirt and asked for it. A haughty Susan Sontag made it sound as if we were the ones being thickheaded for not seeing that Sept. 11 was a perfectly understandable response to years of American policy.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Military/Religion /Health • Thursday, August 25, 2011 • Permalink

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