Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Cement Angel and the Murder of a Child

Earl Varner’s Mother The old African American woman cried silently, spoke a sentence of two, sniffed and wiped her hands across her face, spoke another few sentences, and cried again. She repeated this as long as we talked. The woman, … Continue reading

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Which Side Are You On?

John & Viola Smith Bloody Harlan County In 1980 the immaculate old woman told me, “We sneaked out in the middle of the night. Just took the children and fled. Left everything and everyone I knowed.” Earlier Joanne, an activist … Continue reading

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God in Prison

“I Hollered at God” “I hollered at God,” Maria Elena told me as we began to drive my rental car towards the immigration office. Maria Elena continued, “Dear God, Where are you! If there is a God, where are you?” … Continue reading

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Death of the Black Doll

The Black Doll The sobbing African American girl hurled the black doll onto the ground and started to chop it with a hoe. The broken-hearted child, Mary Robinson, was born in 1943, the daughter of black sharecroppers. She grew up … Continue reading

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God Gave You a Big Mouth

Snake Running Loose The first time I visited Irene Mack Pyawasit, a Menominee Native Woman living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was in the early evening of one of the first days of spring in 1979. I drove into the alley of … Continue reading

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Vision-Filled Eyes

Holy Mission I remember a specific morning. Lilly’s face glistened as she told me, “I got baptized in the creek when I was fourteen. God came down in a cloud and said, ‘Lilly, visit the sick and the afflicted. It’s … Continue reading

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Ten-Gallon Crock

Electric Chair Helen D., an old woman with the booming voice, clasped her hands under her heavy breasts. “Geez, I was just a girl. I had four babies of my own at home, a sick husband, and all my brothers … Continue reading

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Lucia and the Farm Workers’ Flag

The Crate Lucia came north to Chicago from Mexico, nailed in a crate in back of a trunk in the winter. An old woman packed above her prayed for hours, then gasped for air, trembled, and lay still. A fifteen … Continue reading

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Prisoners and Peas

The Values of Her Mother Mary Robinson, an African American woman from Alabama, was 57 years-old when we talked in 2000. I was an oral historian, and my tape recorder ran on a nearby chair. Mary described a terrifying experience … Continue reading

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The Vow

The Wound The nearly grown corn glistened in the sun and seemed to speak to me. Its whispers may have saved my life. Blood still flowed from the wound between my legs. However, that wound was private. I could barely … Continue reading

Posted in Distrust, Health care, Inequality, Injustice, Poverty, Racism, Social Justice, Uncategorized, Welfare, Women's Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments