Tuesday, August 04, 2015


It's August...another hot baseball night. What are you reading after the game?


The Black Scholar 45.3: High Tides and New Formations

 Cover by John Jennings

The new issue of The Black Scholar (TBS) takes Hurricane Katrina as its inspiration, particularly the storm’s socio-economic impact on life in urban America.  Featuring essays on Katrina and post-Storm New Orleans—one by Lynnell L. Thomas, author of Desire and Disaster in New Orleans (2014 Duke University Press)—and others on urban development, “heritage politics” and pedagogy in different parts of the country, this issue remembers Katrina by way of its relationship to the longer trajectory of urban renewal as it operates in the context of racial ordering and institutional power.  Also, we continue our recent interrogation of history and cultural politics in the Dominican Republic via a startling and informative interview with iconic Dominican singer/activist Xiomara Fortuna. Given the current crises of racism and immigration in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Fortuna’s long engagement with race, gender, and national belonging has much to tell us about an island so deeply fractured. 

Preview issue with free (limited) access to Introduction: High Tides and New Formations by Louis Chude-Sokei and New Orleans Revisited: Notes of a Native Daughter by Lynnell L. Thomas. To subscribe and read more of this issue, please visit our page with Routledge (Taylor & Francis). As with institutional subscriptions, all personal subscriptions to TBS come with digital access to almost 45 years of TBS back issues.

Come see what we've got on our website and blog! More to changes and content to come. . .
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Monday, August 03, 2015


Yesterday I was reading Michael Eric Dyson's "President Obama's Racial Renaissance" in the New York Times. I had to laugh when I came across the following statement:

"We need a new Kerner Commission report that is updated for our day, paying special attention to how black people are viciously targeted by unethical police practices"

During my 40 year tenure at Howard University directing their African American Resource Center I sat near 5 paperback copies of this report. No student or professor ever asked to check a copy out.

Maybe it might be better if we started reading Chester Himes again?

Can you see Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson dealing with today's black youth?

Their names tell you they don't play. A little tough love?
Things are finally beginning to click in terms of the work I'm doing on my June Jordan lecture. Finding new connections...

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Baseball Blues Under Those Red Hats

All one had to do tonight was look in the Mets dugout. Notice how quickly a team can pull itself together and win ball games. Yes,anything can happen during the next 2 months. Nothing however will happen to the Nats this year if several batting averages don't change. Oh, and it's just a matter of time before we hear rumors about the need for a new manager. If the Nats want to see the playoffs this season - tough decision will have to be made.

Here are players who should not be in the line up:

Here are players good on defense but struggling at the plate.

The Nats are not scoring many runs in the first inning. OK - so they need their lead off hitter back.

This team is very conservative when it comes to base running, Geez...I would send a runner on first base (with 1 out) whenever Ramos is hitting. One could stay out of a good number of double plays.

I would have a quick hook for any starting pitcher that gives up 3-4 runs in the first two innings.

I fear this team is going to be maybe 4-5 games out of first place by August 16th.
That LAD/SF west coast tour (August 10th -16th)  looks like Waterloo for Washington.


I've written 2 memoirs and might write one more. I've always wanted to explore the "unspoken silence" 

of black fathers. My father was a man with a camera when I was a baby. He was always taking 

pictures of his family. He was a man of few words. When I look at the pictures he took of his family 

back in those Bronx days I notice his absence in the photographs. Yesterday I could have taken a 

"selfie" with  my family but I didn't. I took my father's position in front of the house and looked back at 

the people I will be forever linked to. The photographer like the writer is often a solitary individual - an 

outsider to even the people he might love. That is how I remember my father. That's how I live my life 

as each day turns into memories.


http://www.energyjustice.net/hiring HI Ethelbert,

Saturday, August 01, 2015


The Light Is Always There
Drawing attention to stillness, silence, and spaciousness shifts your focus from feeding the insecurity of the ego to connecting with pure being. Anytime you identify with a sense of 'I'—'I feel something'; 'I have lost some­ thing'; 'I am lost'—you are identifying with the wrong person. You are identifying with the ego, with your pain body, not with your true nature.

- Tenzin Wangyal, "The Light Is Always There"

Friday, July 31, 2015

Tomorrow is August 1st. I had to drop the blue glasses and go red. Nats Baby!  Let's Roll!


the mail woman she don't know nothing
about no middle passage
only that the mail is too hot to hold on a 90 degree day
the heat from the block  floating up to her knees
and her water cooler ain't cool no more
only more mail to deliver
she be bound for slavery if unemployment
don't capture her first. 

of all the things that drive a woman
to wish she could deliver no more mail the most common
i've come to learn are men like charles johnson who are
prolific to a crime. yes, he's the novelist sending
books across oceans bound for eyes to love.
a good johnson makes the mail woman come twice.

 - E. Ethelbert Miller

Thursday, July 30, 2015


I am very excited to teach Ethelbert Miller’s memoir Fathering Words in my 102 classes for the fall. Ethelbert has agreed to be our fall Visiting Writer (I think that’s a first; we usually only do this in the spring) and our spring Visiting Poet, so he’ll be a familiar face on the MU campus this year. He’s set to come speak to our students on Tuesday, November 17th in the Reinsch Auditorium from 1-2 with a book signing to follow. I’m not sure of the date for his spring poetry reading yet.


Today we had a fascinating meeting at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). It was a gathering of activists who are part of the progressive spiritual movement. Some of the organizations represented included the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas,Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Columbian Fathers Social Advocacy Office, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, and the Franciscan Action Network. This meeting was an outgrowth of my conversations the last few months with Jean Stokan who works with the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. It was also a timely meeting since Pope Francis will be coming to Washington DC in September. Many of the organizations are planning events that will coincide with the Pope's visit. We discussed how we could be supportive of one another and continue our networking after the Pope has returned to the Vatican. Many of us are concerned with climate change, income inequality, peace in the Middle East as well as prison reform.

Here is an excerpt from my opening remarks from this morning meeting:

Why this conversation today?  If we are activists we should embrace a life of engagement and concern. We think not just about changing the world but also changing ourselves. One's spiritual journey should have a spiritual destination.

Our love for one another is critical to the building and sustaining of community.

Too often it's easy to be against something. Too easy to protest. Too easy to say - No.

I believe the challenge we face today is how do we say - Yes.
Yes, to those things that are good.
Yes, to those things that are nourishing.
Even Yes, to those things we cannot see or understand.

Which bring us to what one might call the Yes - to faith.

Here at IPS we take pride in developing the leaders of tomorrow. We take pride in not just being a think tank but a family of fellows.

I hope today you might become members of our extended family.

If there is one thing Pope Francis has done, it is to make us aware of the size of our family.
Our family is not just human beings, but others in nature affected by our decisions. I think of the poem "Ecology" by Ernesto Cardenal which ends with these words:

"Not only humans longed for liberation
 All ecology groaned for it also. The
 revolution is also one of lakes, rivers,
 trees, animals."

Save today with $25 tickets to Mosaic Theater's inaugural season! Lock in this deal and experience some of the best and most loved actors in Washington.
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32 incredible actors. And counting... 

Over the last two months, a truly unbelievable ensemble of artists and activists have come together to take on the bold, powerful plays in Mosaic Theater's inaugural  2015-16 season. From Helen Hayes Award winners to early-career professionals, and from Israel to DC, these actors represent some of the finest artists in the city and the world. These thirty-two are the start of a stunning thirty-eight actors who will make up Mosaic Theater's inaugural company. Stay tuned for full casting next month.

8 plays. $25 tickets.

Experience the power of Mosaic Theater's inaugural season with a Mosaic 8—eight flex-tickets for the year, yours for just $200. Whether you want to bring a friend to four shows, or see all eight in the season, Mosaic 8 is the best way to experience the work of these incredible actors.

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Unexplored Interior

By Jay O. Sanders
Directed by Derek Goldman
Featuring Erika Rose and Michael Anthony Williams

Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lang Theatre
October 29-November 29, 2015

Staged by Derek Goldman (Our ClassIn Darfur), this world-premiere epic about the madness and majesty of Rwanda kicks off Mosaic’s inaugural season. Raymond, a film student at NYU, returns home to Rwanda to uncover the roots of violence that have destroyed his family, including his beloved grandfather.

The Gospel of Lovingkindness

By Marcus Gardley
Directed by Jennifer L. Nelson
Featuring Deidra LaWan Starnes
Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lab II
December 9, 2015-January 3, 2016
A hymn-and-hip-hop-tinged elegy staged by Mosaic Theater’s Jennifer L. Nelson ( The Whipping Man), this play tells the story of Manny, a 17-year-old who sings for President Obama at the White House and is shot to death three weeks later for his Air Jordan sneakers.

Wrestling Jerusalem

Written and performed by Aaron Davidman
Directed by Michael John Garc├ęs
Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lang Theater
January 6-24, 2016
One man’s journey to comprehend the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as it courses through his divided psyche, this evolving excavation illuminates a personal story that grapples with the complexities of identity and history, while giving voice to a dozen characters and offering a promise of peace in the midst of bloodshed.

I Shall Not Hate

Based on the memoir by Izzeldin Abuelaish
Directed by Shay Pitovksy
Featuring Gasan Abas
Atlas Performing Arts Center, Sprenger Theatre
January 23-February 14, 2016
Staged by Israeli director Shay Pitovsky and performed in Hebrew and Arabic by Palestinian actor Gasan Abas, this production about a Gaza fertility doctor (nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize) who refuses to relinquish his commitment to coexistence brings humanity and courage to an unlikely hero.

Eretz Chadasha:
The Promised Land

By Shachar Pinkhas and Shay Pitovsky
Directed by Michael Bloom
At Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company / February 16-28, 2016
On tour at area universities / February 29-March 6, 2016
Adapted for an American troupe by the former artistic director of the Cleveland Play House, Michael Bloom (Off-Broadway’s Sight Unseen), this drama of relocation and displacement chronicles the waves of Sudanese refugees who crossed the desert into Israel, challenging the limits of empathy in a welcoming society.

After the War

By Motti Lerner
Directed by Sinai Peter
Featuring Paul Morella and Michael Tolaydo
Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lang Theater
March 24-April 17, 2016
From the author of The Admission, this new play follows an Israeli ex-patriot returning home after the 2006 war in Lebanon. Trying to make amends for the fallout caused from political differences within the family, After the War explores whether healing can be achieved in a wounded home.

Hkeelee (Talk to Me)

Written and performed by Leila Buck
Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, Kogod Cradle
April 30-May 1, 2016
A probing portrait of a Lebanese matriarch as remembered by her Lebanese-American granddaughter, Hkeelee invites you to travel from Beirut to Bethesda to discover what it means to be(come) American: what we hold onto, what we let go and how those choices come to shape who we are.

When January Feels Like Summer

By Cori Thomas
Directed by Serge Seiden
Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lang Theater
May 19-June 12, 2016
An unlikely pair of teenagers working at two different Burger Kings; an immigrant accountant struggling with visibility and sexual reassignment preparation; two stifled romantics stumbling towards each other — all colliding together during one strangely-warm winter. From the director of Bad Jews comes this rousing, urban romantic comedy.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The E-Note Within The E-Note

I took a look at E-Notes from 2004 and saw I was doing much more blogging back then. I think I've gotten into the lazy habit of simply posting things and being a clearinghouse for information. In the old days one picked up a copy of Negro Digest/Black World for the black cultural roundup. Ernest Kaiser kept people up to date on new books dealing with African American culture when you read Freedomways magazine. Today folks will say we have the Internet and everything you need to know is out there somewhere. But why do we have to search the junk drawer just to find a screwdriver?

Maybe in August I'll get back to blogging more. Back in 2004 I was not on Facebook. So now and then I have to decide what to place where. I plan to keep the E-Notes more personal.