Abiding Faith — Letter 3

Abiding Faith — Letter 3


ChickenBones: A Journal

for  Literary & Artistic African-American  Themes



In 1976, my wife Evelyn Duncan, raised in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and I divorced.

I met her in Baltimore while she was working for Local 1199, a health care workers union,

as Fred Punch’s secretary. At the time of divorce she was pregnant . . .



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 3


May 11, 1976***


My dear Son,

Just a few lines to give answer to your most kind and welcome letter which I receive a few weeks ago. Some glade to hear from you and know you was doing fine. Please excuse my long delaying in riten as you can see I am a poor riter.

Besides I Been Very Busy lately. In garden. Taking care hogs and chickens and working too. But to day I am off for 2 days so I felt a little like riten. I got 50 Baby Chicks. I got 2 hogs. Also I got a right Big garden keep me pretty Busy. I don’t have time for the Boys, ha ha.

I received the jewelry, thanks a lot. It is very pretty. I like it. I had a lovely Mother’s day. One of the Best I Ever had. I got a lot of gifts. Lucinda give me shoes and Bag to match. Bunk, Jane, Wanda gave me Birthday stone ring. Robert Lee gave me a dress. Sistuh gave me $5 dollars.*

Kenneth talking about getting married. The weather is some dry down here. Every Body here is doing pretty good. Still working So I dont guess they doing too bad. I went to church heard a nice Sermon. I went to Calvary at Yale, Va.** I hope you are still doing fine in School. Well in the world we have to put God in Front of us Because it nothing we can do without the Lord. So all we can do is pray and hope for the best. As the Song sing, you cant hurry God. We just have to wait no matter how long it take and it is true. So that what we got to do.

I pray for you Every time I say my prayers. I ask Lord to take care you in Every walk of life. But above all you must pray for your self. So you rite when Ever you can. Give my regards to your girl friend.* I close with love.

Your Mother

Ella Lewis

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*Robert Lee, Wanda, Kenneth, and Cleveland were the children of Edith (see Introduction). **Cavalry Baptist Church was in Yale an area on a back road between Jarratt and Sussex County Courthouse. Many thought the people of Yale had a different accent than those of us in Jarratt, though the two communities were only ten miles apart.

***In 1976, my wife Evelyn Duncan, raised in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and I divorced. I met her in Baltimore while she was working for Local 1199, a health care workers union, as Fred Punch’s secretary. At the time of divorce she was pregnant with a West Indian man’s child. During this time, I was dating a Norwegian woman named Astrid Garatun. 

That same year I began my studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. My mentor Dr. Max Wilson, a Haitian and professor of philosophy at Morgan State College, arranged for me a scholarship while I was working as a porter at Maryland General Hospital. I had been living since 1965 in Baltimore  throughout the city in Negro communities, eastside and westside.

Letter 2 < > Letter 4

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Ella Jackson Lewis

(August 11, 1910–December 28, 2009)

Makes Her Transition

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#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

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#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 #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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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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