Christian Considers the Problems of Reconciliation with His Wife Ruth

Christian Considers the Problems of Reconciliation with His Wife Ruth


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Letters from the

Archives of Marcus Bruce Christian

From & To Friends, Colleagues, & Wife



Books by Marcus Bruce Christian

Song of the Black Valiants: Marching Tempo / High Ground: A Collection of Poems  / Negro soldiers in the Battle of New Orleans

I am New Orleans: A Poem / Negro Iron Workers of Louisiana: 1718-1900 /  The Liberty Monument

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Letter 33

Christian Considers the Problems 

of Reconciliation with His Wife Ruth


July 26, 1945



Dear Ruth:

Thank you very much for your nice letter of July 14th. I am glad to see that your interest in racial matters continues. You will find that it helps a lot to put your clippings in envelopes or folders that have been alphabetized. You are so interested in collecting Negro facts that I think that it would be very wise if you would probably enroll in Library Science at the University of Chicago and get some library training. You don’t have to have a B.S. or have completed college. In fact, I’d like to see some of your clippings, but I am afraid that time and the inconvenience of shipping them make me defer it to a brighter and longer day.

I like your description of your home, your way of life, and the people you see and meet. You probably know that several studies have been done on the Negro in Chicago. I have read quite a lot about them, but I did not think that anyone up there would get jealous of you because I had been one of the poets included in GOLDEN SLIPPERS.

Now to get down to personalities. I am glad to know that you are beginning to understand me better. I realize that I am a poor, insignificant, rebellious pagan, usually doing the wrong thing when I would prefer to do the right, and forever making grievous mistakes that are difficult to set right, but the only redeeming feature about me is that I believe that I am right, that I try to be honest with myself, and that I am certain that I am sincere. And after that there is not much to be said.

You asked whether I have missed you. To be honest, I have not. But I did miss you around Christmas time and confessed my feelings to sister and others. I have told many people how gentle your little rough hands could be when I was sick — have told them how you seemed to get so much pleasure out of bringing my dinner or breakfast — or whatever it was — to the bed, and sitting down on the side of the bed and eating it with me. And there were the long nights when you and I worked late in the shed. And there were the times when you just must have chicken for Sunday, and how you would take half of it to Sister’s and put it on ice. . . .

Even after you seemed bent upon destroying what might have been happiness and contentment, I did not feel bitter towards you. You were grown. You knew what you wanted to do. Even after you were gone I bought you candy, wrote to you offering to send you a Christmas present, and also said that if you thought that we could make it, we might try again.

But you would not hear of it at the time. I don’t know why. I had a dream one night and in it you confessed that there had been someone else–you even intimated as much in your letter when you said that someone was willing to pay for the divorce. You said that you never wanted to see me again until you had remarried and had eight children. Although an excitable man, I can be very patient or forgiving at times.

What you might have learned, dear Skipper, is that one cannot bodily remove a person from his life as one might pull up a weed or a flower by the roots. You will also learn that when two persons have slept and wept together and eaten and smiled face to face with each other, memories must go on and on. You must one day realize that all of our present and future actions are governed by the well-springs of past experiences.

You asked whether you had ever meant anything to me. I think that question could answer itself if you would only search through your memory. If you didn’t, who else did? As for the second question, you have been trying by every means possible to make certain — at least it seems that way — that you would mean nothing to me in the future. You repeatedly and emphatically voiced your intentions so plainly, that no one could blame me for making plans elsewhere. If I have been entangled elsewhere, you have no one but yourself to thank for it.

I have rehearsed this long tale because it has been a part of me so long. However, if you have decided to change your plans, I’d be glad to know just what they are. Although I would prefer to finish the book before you come back, it is a pleasant idea of having your help in doing so. I often look at the nice picture that you sent me. I might even say that you are beautiful.

But I still can’t see what a girl like you would be concerned about a man like me., who is over-age, poor, a bad provider, a chronic grouch, and a near-failure. But if you have any plans, I again repeat, just let me know about them. Also let me know the time limit that you may set upon my accepting them. Whether it will be six months, a year, or two years. And in the meantime be a good girl. . . . 

Marcus Christian

<<—Previous                                 Next–34->>  

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Selected Letters  Selected Diary Notes

Memories of Marcus B. Christian (CainsChristian’s BioBibliographical Record    Introduction to I AM NEW ORLEANS 

A Theory of a Black Aesthetic   Magpies, Goddesses, & Black Male Identity

Activist Works on Next Level of Change   Intro to I Am New Orleans   Letter from Dillard University

A Labor of Genuine Love  Letter of Gift of Photos   Letters from LSU and Skip Gates

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Negro Iron Workers of Louisiana: 1718-1900

By Marcus Bruce Christian


Study of the blacksmith tradition and New Orleans famous lace balconies and fences.

Acclaimed during his life as the unofficial poet laureate of the New Orleans African-American community, Marcus Christian recorded a distinguished career as historian, journalist, and literary scholar. He was a contributor to Pelican’s Gumbo Ya Ya, and also wrote many articles that appeared in numerous newspapers, journals, and general-interest publications.

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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.”

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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 7 January 2012




Home     Marcus Bruce Christian  Selected Letters  Selected Diary Notes    I Am New Orleans Table (Poems)   Fifty Influential Figures  

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