Trelfani Michel

GooglePlus asked me for a username a couple of weeks ago. I entered “Trelfani,” a dream name, and my future last name, “Michel.”

While researching my family history for my memoir, “No Blue Stones on Mondays,” I found out my genetic grandfather was John W. Arick (not “Wise,” the man my grandmother married before she got pregnant with my father). I’m also learning about the Wallicks on the paternal side, going back to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when Hans Michel Walck arrived from Germany in 1732. This is funny, because Ben Franklin was busy at his store, publishing his newspaper and almanac, and Hans may have known of him.

Hans quickly moved to York, Pennsylvania in 1733, got married in 1736, and had three sons. His oldest, Johannes, is my ancestor. I plan to take the old man’s middle name, Michel, as my legal name in a few years, and my next book will be published under the name Marilyn Sue Michel.

Book Review – Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery and the Troubled History of America’s Universities (Wilder, 2013)

Wilder has done an excellent job of tracing the influence and financial contribution of slavery on the elite educational institutions of the United States, back to the colonial era.

The Northern approach to slavery between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War is thoroughly analyzed, in particular, the support for colonization and resistance to abolition among highly respected university presidents and founders. Education and science were perverted to support anti-black prejudices. The North maintained an appearance of opposition to slavery, while collecting large profits from building slave ships and processing slave-grown cotton. It is a shame that traditional history teachings have largely accepted this tacky façade as a substitute for the truth.

This is a good book for anyone who wants to learn more about racial delusions in the North.

Poetry in Motion

On the anniversary of James Baldwin’s death (November 30th), I watched “The James Baldwin Anthology” (presented by Claire Burch). His speech at UC Berkeley in 1979 makes up the greater portion of the film. After a charming introduction by Angela Davis, Baldwin demonstrates his own charm and insight into human nature. Of the Black people, he notes “our presence here in this country terrifies every white man walking.” Alas, all too true.

Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford and Eric Garner – the madness continues.

No News

The grand jury in Ferguson performed as expected. Too many people have a siege mentality that protects the police at all costs. Too many municipalities would rather pay out a multi-million dollar settlement, later, than contradict the heated, prejudicial, deadly decisions made by a police officer.

More massacres to follow.



The Suge and Katt Show: Happy Hallowe’en!

The front runner for Dumbest Man of the Week is Katt Williams, arrested and charged with stealing a camera from a celebrity photographer. Suge Knight was also charged, as his alleged partner in crime.

Suge’s bail is set at $1 million; curiously, the amount he paid on behalf of the late, lamented Tupac Shakur, to get him out of jail. As no one can forget, Tupac later died as Suge’s passenger.

Does Katt think he’s strong enough to avoid disaster in Suge’s shadow? Think again, ya’ big dummy! (Long Live Redd Foxx!)

It is certainly entertaining to watch the local news. In a time when we have to worry about Ebola, ISIS, and never-ending political commercials, we need something to laugh about.

This week, Katt, we’re laughing at you. Not with you, at you.

Unjustified Homicide

The recent shootings of Michael Brown and Ezell Ford have caused much controversy. Sadly, these incidents are not new. Those of us who remember Tyisha Miller and Anthony Dwaine Lee, among countless others, may wonder if this conduct will ever cease.

It is not sufficient to refer to the post-Reconstruction South or post-World War II discrimination as the basis for unjustified police shootings of unarmed Black Americans. Both North and South in the colonial era passed restrictive laws which encompassed free blacks, slaves, Indians, and bond servants. These laws assumed that all such persons were a menace to society unless firmly controlled.

Black Americans must prove their acceptability day by day. While the extent of white privilege may be in doubt, Paul Mooney is not wrong when he refers to “the complexion for protection.” Any white adult who pretends otherwise, is in denial.