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I had taken over Yusef’s house when he moved to Australia with his new wife. I, however, do not

recall asking Mona Lisa to marry me. I spoke to her several years ago, after about thirteen years o

f silence between us, and she tried to remind me of these events. But seemingly, after I left Louisiana,

I blotted out of my conscious mind many of the painful events between us.

 

 

Letters of an Abiding Faith:

Legacy of a Slave's GrandDaughter to her Son

written by Ella Lewis to her Son (Rudolph Lewis)

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Letter 35

 

 

December 6, 1985

 

My dear Son,

Just a line to Give answer to your Most Kind and Welcomed letter. Also the Money I sure do thank you so much. You dont know how much I apreshate it. I really need it. I do hope this may Find you and your girl Friend doing Fine.* As For me I feel Much Better than I Been. I just got the Checks to day. Lucinda send them to me.

Well I hope you the Best of Luck in your Marriage.* I hope you have a successful one. All the rest of the Family is OK Far as I Know. We is having some Cold weather down here. But we had a lovely Fall. The weather was nice. I wish I was able to come down to the wedding But I not. But I praying For you Hope you Find What you are looking For. All here wish you the best.

I got the Book you sent I read part of it. Yet I So Sorry you cant Come home For Xmas. I do hope you can Come in Spring. Bunk is buying a house in Petersburg Va. I hope her good luck. I glade to see Every Body trying to do Something in life.

Buggy Goodwyn was down in Nov.** He come to Va stayed With SueGal a Week. He went to Norfolk Va get a Job. But it diden Suit him the money wasn't Enough. So he went Back home. Listen Who I suppose to send the money to For the pamphlet Book you sent. I see the price on them. Let me Know. So you Be Good to your self.

Bye Now From Mother

Rite soon

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Commentary

*My head was definitely in the clouds during this period. I was possibly bewitched my Mona Lisa’s creole charms. In my heart I can not remember much of what occurred during this period. I do recall that Mona Lisa was being put out of her house and I invited her to live with me on Piety Street. I had taken over Yusef’s house when he moved to Australia with his new wife. I, however, do not recall asking Mona Lisa to marry me. I spoke to her several years ago, after about thirteen years of silence between us, and she tried to remind me of these events. But seemingly, after I left Louisiana, I blotted out of my conscious mind many of the painful events between us. I still possess the photos she gave me of a house party at Piety in which we invited a number of guests. None of them was really my friends, although I think Gillian and her friend Joe attended that party. 

Clearly, in my heart, I did not trust Mona Lisa enough that I thought it was a match made in heaven. I had known her less than a year and I was thirty-seven years old. Even at that age, I was not a complete idiot. Moreover, I had had already one failed marriage. Surely, I was not jumping blind into another one. But maybe she was at an age or in a moral state that marriage was important for her. I might have nodded yes to the proposition, but did not take the matter seriously. Obviously, I did mention it to Mama.

** James "Buggy" Goodwyn is Mama’s grand nephew and my cousin. His father Freddie Goodwyn, a jackleg preacher, was the only son of Aunt Sally, Mama's sister.

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

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#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

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#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
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#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 31 December 2011

 

 

 

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