This has been a rough year for my childhood village. 2022 has called home not only my beloved father, but mothers or fathers of a half-dozen more families I grew up among. They were children of the Depression and the early war years, who entered adulthood just as the Civil Rights Movement was forging the world they dreamed of for their children.
A couple of weeks ago, Freddy Jones texted me a photo. His father, Franklin D. “Frank” Jones, passed September 15, and he’d been going through his papers. In “folder after folder,” he wrote, “I find printouts of your articles. He loved them.”
I last saw Mr. Jones in June of 2021, when he showed up in a light drizzle for the dedication of four historical markers commemorating sites in East Wilson significant to the community’s history. We hugged, and he asked about my dad, and he told me he was proud of me. Black Wide-Awake has always been an homage to the elders, to the generations of men and women who built my community and sustained its culture. That they see my work and proclaim its truth and value is a benediction, an affirmation, a reward. Thank you, Frank Jones. May you rest in peace.