Inspired writing by Shannon Sudduth who participated in Dear Evanston's Uncomfortable Journey to


"I am an artist. I create. Tell tales. Capture. I’m a healer," Shannon says. "I Converse with ancestors. A Chef. Artist with Sugar. I inspire. I’ve been writing poetry, prose for over twenty years now. I do not try to write. I record what comes when it chooses to come."

I can read and write it’s my secret. Mother knows as I’ve been teaching her the alphabet. Laura and her brother William know as well, they were my first teachers. I would stand near by when they were read to, had lessons and during play time they would teach me, as not wanting to play with a dumb darkie. Yes they was Miss Laura and Master William but we were children playing so when children played out of ear and sight of adults there was no need for formalities. We were family, I was there sister and mother told me that was also a secret. Master William father would come visit my mother when the moon was the highest and brightest. He’d bring my mother gifts of rose water and cleaning soap. My father I never knew as stories told said he swam back to Africa by way of the river down the road. Wrestled with an alligator and road on his back all the way to Africa. During one of those visits Master William took my mother’s blood purse and sometime later I was born.

I’m a man, I say, a man is all I heard him say until he couldn’t say nothing no more

She mak da prettiest corn bred rols. At season time she mak a gravy by beatin’ fat back wit salt, flour and we’d sit on da porch, hands as spoons not dropping a kernel. Good eating I tell ya, good eating

How I sho dreamed about being a house nigga instead of daily being kissed by this tortuous sun

Lord been kind taking my vessel, my way to have babies away from me. Like he done born me hollow. Master though, he don’t care as he keep coming, smelling of filth, foulness, death, planting his seed inside me. Nothing will grow here I whisper as I cleanse myself.

I’se wonder, what will come first death, going back to Africa or FREEDOM


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