In My Write Mind
11.18.2004

The Underground

**Soundtrack--Cold, Cold World, Carl Thomas, Emotional**

Working here at National Urban League headquarters, every once in a while you come upon fascinating documents from the annals of Black History that define how far we've come since the 18th Century. Since I began here, I've come across such gems as black and white photos of a young Mary McLeod Bethune, wonderful poetry written back in the early '40s by Langston Hughes for the Urban League pub Opportunity Journal, speeches written by former League presidents Whitney M. Young and Vernon Jordan...it's a wealth of history, as overwhelming as it is important.

Today, actually while faxing something, I came across a book called The Journal of Joshua Loper, A Black Cowboy. Inside, author Walter Dean Myers chronicles the April to September 1871, day-by-day journey of Loper while on the Chisholm Trail from Texas to Kansas. It was sorta like his personal blog, only before electricity and stuff. LOL

Well, with Loper in mind--and book in hand, I've decided that if he could write something every single day about his trials and tribulations while trying to reach his destination, why can't I do the same?

I can. And I will.

So here we go. In honor of all Black cowboys that rode the rough terrains in search of..., I present to you all my similar daily trials and tribulations on the NYC subway system as I head from 135th Street in Harlem to Wall Street in downtown Manhattan. Borrowing ever so slightly from the original title, I will be calling these entries The Journal of Will Dawson, A Black Homeboy--The Underground.

The first entry will be tomorrow because, like Loper did, I must ensure I have the tools necessary to complete and chronicle such a journey. Alas, this might mean I must abandon the traditional reading of the newspaper on my daily commute and actually observe my surroundings. It may even mean that I must exhale instead of the tradtional "see-how-long-I-can-hold-my-breath-before-I-pass-out" thing I usually do when a vagrant passes me by, so that I'm able to relay that situation in all of its smelly splendor. Me crammed between two fat people in a space meant for just me, I will let it be known (as soon as the feeling comes back to my extremities, of course...). Every rude sneezer, pole-hogger, bag-bumper, smoker (yup, its happened on my train before), non-showerer, loud talker...they will all be written about, if not knocked the f* out.

That's right...for the sake of history, I will do just so.

One day, long after I'm gone, when underground trains go the way of the Volkswagen Beetle van, someone will find my blog, my Homeboy journals, and make them into a book--a book that will tell a story about train rides to and fro, about the ramifications of morning breath, about the struggles of African Americans as they attempt to get a seat before reaching 96th Street. It will have it all.

This will be my story. My contribution to history. Stay tuned for more of...The Underground.

TO BE CONTINUED...

scribbled by Will at 11/18/2004 03:45:00 PM
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Mind Droppings

I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)



The Write One


Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971.
Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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