Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day: Remembering the Dead

The video I posted below is of Army Spc. Brittany Gordon, aged 24, who died in a suicide bomber attack in Afghanistan back in October 2012. There are many I could have chosen from, of course, but I was especially moved by this one. It truly underscores that the sacrifices made by the younger generation deserve our full attention, respect, and resources.

Below is a family photo (my grandparents, with my dad, aunts, and uncle) from 1952, when my father and his older brother were in the service during the Korean War. My Aunt Muriel (sitting at far right) also served later. I am very thankful that my immediate family members made it safely through their service--although many who served with them did not. Others (from all the wars and "conflicts" our country has been involved in) made the ultimate sacrifice, so, on this Memorial Day, we honor them.

Williams Family, 1952. Standing: Uncle Henry, Aunt Billy June, Richard (my dad). Seated: Aunt Naomi Ruth, Rev. Henry C. Williams, Sr. (Granddaddy), Genevieve (Grandma, holding baby Aunt Deborah), and Aunt Muriel. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mapp for Mayor: Positive Change for Plainfield After Nearly Eight Years of_____________(Fill in the Blank)

These are just a few reasons why Adrian should be an overwhelming "YES" as Plainfield's new mayor after nearly eight years of incompetence, stagnation, and controversy.

  • Adrian brings financial expertise to the our city as a Certified Municipal Finance Officer and is chairman of the Council’s Finance Committee.
  • Adrian brings 21st century vision and energy to Plainfield.
  • Adrian discovered $1.7 million dollar error in mayor’s budget and created a workable solution to fix it.
  • Adrian voted to restore full funding to the Plainfield Public Library and its literacy and children’s programs when the mayor wanted to cut the budget by 40 percent.


 I hope you will come to the Plainfield Public Library at 7:00 pm this evening to hear Adrian speak about the issues facing our city at the co-sponsored FOSH/LWV forum--for more info, click here. We've had nearly eight years of the nonsense. Now let's hear issues and ideas to move our city forward.



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Commemorating the Birthday of Black Lesbian Playwright and Activist Lorraine Hansberry, 1930 - 1965

I want to acknowledge the life and legacy of black lesbian playwright and activist Lorraine Hansberry, who was born on May 19, 1930. She died of cancer in 1965 at the age of 34, but left a lasting legacy in the form of her artistic contributions as well as her political writings (too many to name here). To start your immersion into Hansberry's aesthetic, I would suggest that, in addition to reading the original play of A Raisin in the Sun and watching the 1961 film version (the classic and superior version), you look at To Be Young, Gifted, and Black, the posthumously released collection of writings that was turned into a play and film, respectively. Required reading would be the essay written by her dear friend, James Baldwin, titled "Sweet Lorraine." I have a copy of the film, which was directed by Michael Schultz for WNET Playhouse back in 1972 and which stars Ruby Dee, Blythe Danner, Al Freeman, Jr. (who died just last year) Lauren Jones, and Barbara Barrie. The film is a sort of bricolage of all of Hansberry's writings, with her character being read by all the actors, irrespective of race, gender, and sexual orientation. It was the kind of experimental work that was being done by WNET in the early days of public television. Also born on this day was Malcolm X (1925), who also died prematurely (at the hands of assassins) in 1965 (aged 39). It is difficult the imagine losing two great black intellects in the same year (just a month apart), but we have their respective legacies. We can ignore them at our own peril. Finally, I invite you also to watch Nina Simone performing "To Be Young, Gifted, and Black" (the song she and Weldon Irvine wrote as a tribute to Lorraine) at the Harlem Cultural Festival (known as the "Black Woodstock") in 1969.




Friday, May 17, 2013

Literary Classics by Darkinboddy Editions!

As you all know, I am a voracious lover of literature and history. I am also working on a literary project in conjunction with The Darkinboddy Chronicles. It's called Darkinboddy Editions, and it is my publishing company, which focuses on publishing novels, essays, and short stories by 19th and early 20th century American authors. These particular editions constitute part of my larger mission to introduce modern readers to important literary and historical texts. The first available works, Frederick Douglass's The Heroic Slave and Other Tales of Madison Washington and Nella Larsen's Passing, are available for sale through the Darkinboddy Chronicles website and on You can read descriptions of the first two releases below. 

Nella Larsen’s 1929 Harlem Renaissance novel, Passing, is a modernist masterpiece which resists categorization. Viewed as a comedy of manners, a domestic drama, a murder mystery, as well as a “race” novel, Larsen’s narrative crosses boundaries of genre and offers insights into the gender, racial, and class concerns of the black bourgeoisie in the early decades of the 20th century. Irene Redfield, an upper middle-class African American woman, finds her tightly-controlled domestic sphere is turned topsy-turvy by the sudden reappearance of her childhood friend, the seductive and enigmatic Clare Kendry, as both are drawn into a fascinating world of racial masquerades and illicit affairs.  

Paperback $6.95 click here!