A Golden Age in Black Culture and Consciousness

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By W. F. Twyman, Jr.

They say the most important age for how one grows to see and understand the world is the age of eight. At the age of eight, I was the only black kid in my desegregated public school class in Chesterfield County, Virginia. My daughter at the age of eight attended a private school in sunny San Diego with a Harvard Law School alumnus Dad and a Yale alumna Mom. …


by W.F. Twyman, Jr.

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Before one can understand the idea of a new Plessy, it is useful to revisit the social conditions leading up to the old Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). There is an unconscious assumption that Jim Crow or enforced social separation of the races co-existed easily with American slavery between 1655 and 1865. While this conception is a well and fair premise about antebellum life in the North, Jim Crow segregation corresponds less well to the reality in the antebellum South. One of the best books about Jim Crow is The Strange Career of Jim Crow by C…


J.D. Richmond & W.F. Twyman, Jr.

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Ed Robertson for Unsplash; created with Typorama

Dear Transracial Friends,

We have read your confessions of living a lie, and we are intrigued with your self-abasement. We have thought about the idea of transracialism for some time, especially after Rachel Dolezal’s whiteness was revealed and she was accused of being a race traitor. In earlier times, transracialism might have been called passing for white. Hundreds of thousands of people have lived transracial lives throughout American history. Jessica A. Krug, you are a scholar of black American history and know the obvious examples of transracial souls — Descendants of Rev. Lemuel Haynes…


W.F. Twyman, Jr & J.D. Richmond

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Dear Reader,

Ever since the publication of “Black and Blue and Blond” by Thomas Chatterton Williams in the Virginia Quarterly Review, we have thought about the delicate question of skin color in the black American experience. Blackness is less than skin color and more than skin color. Writer Thomas Williams grappled with this question in all of its nuance and complexity. And, in the end, he came to terms with the risk of permanently killing off the culture, “blackness,” as the black father of a blond, blue-eyed baby girl named Marlow. …


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W.F. Twyman Jr. & J.D. Richmond

Dear Jennifer,

During lunch, my wife sent me a text about George Washington. The text contained an Opinion titled “George and Martha Washington Enslaved 300 People. Let’s Start with Their Names.” The opinion piece was yet another shot at Washington. Mind you, this week should be one of national celebration in remembrance of national unity and sense of purpose. My wife sends me a piece demonizing Washington as slave owner. I guess she wants me to confront the brutal truth about our Founding Father.

There is an unhealthy urge these days to only see…


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The Alternative 21-Day Racial Reading Challenge ©2020

W.F. Twyman, Jr. & J.D. Richmond

After the tragic death of George Floyd, many people are working to tackle issues around racial equity and justice. As part of this endeavor, many groups, including the American Bar Association’s Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Section, have created a 21-day Racial Equity Reading Challenge. The idea is that it takes 21 days to change a habit, so taking time every day to better understand racial justice issues will assist our progress towards a more equitable society. We agree. We stand firm behind racial unity and justice…


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Somewhat hesitantly, I accepted an invitation to a free online digital marketing class. In our current reality of Zoom, I figured it couldn’t hurt to learn some new digital skills. I logged on at the appropriate time to find a DJ as the first act. Ok, sure. A little music never hurts. But then he started to pick us out and ask us to dance, with the instructions that we were supposed to mimic the dance of whoever was chosen. I couldn’t turn off my screen quick enough. I was thankful to shut off my video before I became one…


Love and Letters

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This is not the essay I started to craft three or so weeks ago as my third and final essay in the series on my search for connection. Everything has changed.

The mission has shifted.

I started connecting people through letters several years ago in response to what I saw as an ideological crisis of political polarization sweeping the nation. Today the COVID-19 virus has me going in a different direction as we shelter-in-place, quarantined from friends, family and even neighbors.

In my previous musings on connection, and in my recent TEDx talk, I revel in the…


In the trenches…

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Photo by Rocket Fuel Studios

Welcome to Part II of my TEDx adventure. For those just joining, here is Part I: In Search of Connection. This is a story of not just the making of a TEDx talk, but my own search for connection through correspondence. In this essay I explore Anger and Ego, and a host of other pesky personas who I came to know better in my attempt to script my “idea worth sharing”. I found that the connections I made were not only with my pen-pals, but also with myself.

Our calls were often towards the end of the…


by Eric Le Roy

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His face lights up my computer screen like an oval-shaped golden vase over which spill shiny black follicles of Chinese hair as rich as the finest loam. His “Hello Ewik!” (a version of Eric, for Chinese people often struggle with the English ‘r’) sounds affectionate and childlike, when in fact he is a very self-possessed 15-year-old. I will call him Tom, though that isn’t even his American name. (Many Asian students take on English-sounding names when they come to places like the US and UK to study). I call him Tom to protect his identity and…

J.D. Richmond

Founder of the Truth in Between Publication and Hold my Drink Podcast host. Searching for context in a chaotic world through correspondence and conversation.

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