Abiding Faith Letter 52

Abiding Faith Letter 52


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



I developed a unique way of creating art objects using paper, glue, scissors or an exacto knife. My initial

intent was to introduce art to my adult students. Like reading, the work required sitting for

great periods and a considerable amount of concentration, all the skills necessary in reading.

My students got a great joy out of it and did a showing which was well-received.



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 52


May 11, 1990


Dear Son,

How are you Fine I hope. As For me doing Fair thank the good Lord. I riten to ask you why you stop riten me. I would like to hear From you once in a while. I had Some Greens and things For you. I was going to bring But Bunk and Nat had to work.* So we Cant Come up For Mothers Day. I sending you a few pennies hope they will help you Some. Rite me Back when you get the letter. Yours all ways

Mother much love to you

I still praying For you

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*During this time, Annie and Nat, I believe, were living in Petersburg in a really nice house. I was really pleased for her. But they would later give up the house and move back to Jarratt. It was a good thing overall, for Mama was almost eighty years old. She needed someone there with her and Annie was good company and didn’t mind looking after her.I quite enjoyed working in the adult education program. But the handwriting was on the wall. The federal government was becoming more and more concerned about accountability and they wanted greater and greater results for their money. That is, they wanted these women on welfare to make faster progress and enter the work force quickly. Some of the expectations were unrealistic for women who had a multitude of problems. While working in this program, I developed a unique way of creating art objects using paper, glue, scissors or an exacto knife. My initial intent was to introduce art to my adult students. Like reading, the work required sitting for great periods and a considerable amount of concentration, all the skills necessary in reading. My student got a great joy out of it and did a showing which was well-received.

I eventually worked out some technical problems and continued this kind of art production for my own hobby and interest. I found a glue that did not crack and found a way to seal the paper so that it did not pick up water. Most of the pieces I gave away as gifts. It is still an activity that I pursue. Presently, I am doing Christian art pieces. I have yet to find a way to make money out of this method. It usually takes thirty to forty hours to complete a piece. To make money, I would have to charge at least $10 an hour. There are few people who are willing to pay $300 to $400 for my work. My cousin Buggy, however, did buy a piece for $300. He confessed later that it was for my benefit rather than the work he parted with such a sum. Whatever the case, I continue to produce works and I continue to give them away and I continue to improve my technique. I have done some collaborations with another self-trained artist, Kaki. Unlike me, he knows how to draw. He is quite popular in Baltimore and almost everyone in the know has a piece of his work.

Kaki has been exceedingly generous to me. I gave him several photos and he produced a painting of Mama, one of Daddy, and yet another of me for a small fee. I had all three paintings photographed. (Two of these were used for the cover.) Hopefully, I will make printings of the photographs for wide distribution, once I figure out how to market them. I am not very good on the business end of things and I have yet to find someone to work with me who knows about such things. Until then, I will continue to sharpen my sword.

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



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#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

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

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

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

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#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

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#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

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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.”

*   *   *   *   *

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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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 Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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update 30 December 2011





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