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Soul Food for City Folk

What a great Easter-season gift!

The article entitled “100 Years of City Folk” (Feature, March 20) was delicious soul food for a reader in need of something to enjoy reading and to savor, as memorable as a bowl of hot baby lima beans and buttered, warm yellow cornbread on a cold winter’s day.

I especially enjoyed reading the articles about Miss Laura Johnson (by Van Smith) and Miss Lucille Brooks (by Evan Serpick), because the stories of Miss Laura Johnson and Miss Lucille Brooks gave to us readers testimonies that black women might appear real simple to other folks, but black women’s life stories are like a handmade quilt—each scrap of cloth holds a listening moment of days gone by and memories to last for everyday years to come.

I enjoyed reading the following words about Miss Laura Johnson: “The urge to help out was instilled in Johnson at a very young age, after her mother and father died in the 1930s and her aunt took her and her four siblings in to join her own 13 children, Johnson recalls. They lived in an eight bedroom house in North Carolina. ‘She taught us to help one another.’”

And the words of Lucille Brooks that Evan Serpick wrote about in the opening of her storytelling: “Loud, beautiful music is coming from the Catonsville house where Lucille Brooks lives with her daughter. From the front yard, passersby can hear an upbeat rendition of the unofficial African-American national anthem ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ complete with elegant fills and flourishes.”

I am reading the book Across that Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change by United States Congressman John Lewis. In the book, I found an African proverb: “When you pray, move your feet.”

It seems to me that Miss Laura Johnson’s and Miss Lucille Brooks’ lives are an act of prayer using their talents to get their feet moving to do activities for other folks.

I bet Miss Laura Johnson and Miss Lucille Brooks are strong church women and know their Bibles. I like the Bible verse: “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree . . . They shall still bear fruit in old age” (Psalm 92: 12, 14).

What a great Easter-season gift!

Sincerely yours,

Larnell Custis Butler


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