Welcome to my website. As a working-class kid growing up in Buffalo, NY, I learned numerous important lessons from my parents and loved ones chief among them are these: trust God; work hard, never giving up; and serve others for the good.
As a writer, educator and scholar, I hope that the stories I share embody these tenets trust, diligence, and service. As you read my work, or if you hear me speak, you will notice that I return to these bedrock issues. My work delves into harsh realities murder, betrayal, alienation and lostness. I write about racism, sexism and age-ism. Yet, amidst the seeming chaos, I strive to show hope. I strive to show Providence or perseverance at work.
While in graduate school, I took a class from the famed writer, James Baldwin. In The Fire Next Time, he observes: Color is not a human or a personal reality; it is a political reality. The profundity of that statement is this: we can transcend race; we can transcend difference. I write and speak and work toward the transcendence of difference and the forging of communities. My late mother was, among other things, a community and church worker, canvassing for charities, sheltering those in need, giving. Perhaps I learned all this from her.
That is my legacy, learned from writers like Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Flannery O Connor, as well as neighborhood evangelists and Sunday school teachers; soul singers and barbershop philosophers. My legacy is both black working-class and academic, a melding which affords me a duality of insight. Like most working-class people, I loathe elitism. Within my work, I seek stories that have been overlooked by history, stories that have life only in shadows, but that merit more light. That, for example, is my aim in Rendered Invisible, my new book, to make the invisible, visible.
One aspect of my legacy is memorialized in the gospel song, brighten the corner where you are. I hope that this website and my work serve as agents of brightening and light. Thank you for visiting.