Our literary efforts for 2011 ended with a bang on Veterans Day Weekend—four days in a row from 11-10 — 11/13: on Thursday, a visit by another author who included a chapter I wrote in his new book; Friday, Veterans Day, reading and singing with other authors and singers at the Memorial Day Writers Project tent on National Mall; Saturday, reading with other authors at a county historical society author event in Greenbelt, Maryland; and Sunday, singing a song I wrote in Vietnam for our church’s Veterans Day service.
11 / 10 / 11 – Author Mark Morrison-Reed Visits
Mark, an African-American minister, is author of four books – Black Pioneers in a White Denomination (1984), Been In the Storm So Long (coedited with Jaqui James), In Between: Memoir of an Integration Baby, and Darkening the Doorways—Black Trailblazers and Missed Opportunities in Unitarian Universalism (2011). In this book of profiles, essays, and archival documents, I had the opportunity to write a chapter on Don Speed Smith Goodloe, the first principal of what is now Bowie State University and the first African-American graduate of Meadville Theological School in Meadville, PA. We learned about Goodloe from Mark’s first book, Black Pioneers in a White Denomination (1984). It was during my subsequent research into Goodloe, that I discovered a report that there were “lynchings in the area as late as 1907.” Although I was never able to corroborate this statement, it became the seed from which Well Considered grew. We hosted Mark in our home, and he spoke at our church and sold and signed his books.
11 / 11 / 11 – Veterans Day on the National Mall
That day we spent in the Memorial Day Writers’ Project tent near the Vietnam Memorial on the mall.
I did readings from my first novel, Cologne No. 10 For Men, and sang songs from my Skytroopers CD. It was a gorgeous day with a sharp wind, but we enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones as we honored our country’s veterans.
Many of the readings were poignant and grieving, but some were light and humorous.
Today I sang for the first time at this event my satiric song, “Counting Bodies In The Nam To Prove That We Have Won,”
as well as old standbys, “Diggin’ A Hole,” “The Chaplain” [who has PTSD], and “Bong Son Bridge.”
You can hear bits of these and order the CD on www.cdBaby.com/cd/richardmorris.
11 / 12 / 11 – Book and Author Event
Saturday afternoon I was pleased to be one of fifteen authors reading at the Book and Author Event of the Prince George’s County Historical Society (PGCHS). I consider my inclusion to be an unofficial imprimatur of the history I present in my second novel, Well Considered, which is set in this county of former tobacco plantations. At the organizer’s request, I read the passage in the book about my black protagonist, Ron Watkins, struggling for life in the bottom of a well.
The book event particularly celebrated the publication of a new book, Historic Prince George’s: A Confluence of Cultures, written by PGCHS members Donna Schneider, Nathania Branch Miles, and George Denny.
The other books and presenting authors were:
Riverdale Park, Melissa Avery & Don Lynch
Making of African-America: The Four Great Migrations, Ira Berlin
Lakeland: African Americans in College Park, Maxine Gross, Diane Ligon, and Violetta Sharps Jones
Full Mortality, Sasscer Hill
Bugs and Bugsicles: Insects in the Winter, Amy Hansen
The Road to Someplace Better: From the Segregated South to Harvard Business School and Beyond, Lillian L. Lambert
Well Considered, Richard Morris
Kitchens, Smokehouses, and Privies, Michael Olmert
They Have Killed Papa Dead: The Road to Ford’s Theatre, Abraham Lincoln’s Murder, and the Rage For Vengeance, Anthony Pitch
‘Bring Your Friends’ : A Brief History of the Chapel of the Incarnation, St. Thomas Episcopal Parish, Brandywine, Prince George’s County, Maryland, Franklin Robinson, Jr.
In the Shadow of the Enemy: Civil War Journal of Ida Powell Dulaney, Anne Sasscer
The Entrepreneurial Spirit of African Americans Inventers , Patricia Carter Sluby. [Note: the book pictured is her previous work, The Inventive Spirit of African Americans]
Bury Me Deep, Paul Sluby
Old Abe, Eagle Hero: The Civil War’s Most Famous Mascot, Patrick Young
11 / 13 / 11 – In our Veterans Day service at church,
I once again sang “The Chaplain.”
That ends our literary efforts for 2011. On to the new year, 2012, during which I will give birth to a new novel that I am very excited about – a young adult novel set in Cleveland, Ohio, where I had my youth.