Official Artist
Sung Kang
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memoirs of AGENT BLACK entry 2:


Entry 2:


November 1956


Momma fell ill the day the Louis Jordan released his new song “Somebody up there digs me”.  I went to Midland Record Store to pick it up for her.  I wasn’t a fan of Jordan but Momma loved the way that man sang.  “Something about the way he smiled makes me feel like I know that man”, she would say.  Come to think of it Momma would say she was somehow related to anyone who liked to smile.  That was the last album I bought for her, Momma passed a month later.  Ironic, I wish somebody up there did watch out for her.  Pop didn’t make much of Momma’s passing.  After the wake I sat in her room crying.  He said that tears wasn’t gonna bring her back.  I’ll never forget what he said after I asked why my Momma, someone who was so good to everyone was taken so early by god.  He said that Mr. Darwin got it all wrong.  “The weak are not taken out early, it’s the folks that are too good for this cruel world that are taken from us, to remind us what we should be like”.  Maybe he was right.  But it’s still not fair.  Momma’s passing added another rule for Pop.  Don’t talk about things you can’t change.  Wisdom comes from the saddest places.  


Charles Dean was my best friend.  He was two years older than me but we were in the same grade.  He was sick as a child so he started school later than the rest of the kids his age.  Physically he was superior than most adults.  He came from share cropper stock.  Strong, agile and mobile. He stood 6 feet tall of solid muscle at the age of twelve.  He was the fastest runner in Midland and the smartest kid I knew.  Boy, could he throw a football.  Kids from the white school would come to watch him play pick up games to learn what a perfect spiral looked like.  I think because both of us lost our Momma’s we could relate with one another.  Charlie’s momma died giving birth to him.  He felt he owed it to his Momma to make something out of himself.  More than just throwing a football he knew power and choice came from intelligence.  If it wasn’t for Charlie I would of never gotten into the sciences.  Charlie and I would make up science experiments in his daddy’s garage.  We’d find discarded chemicals in the trash and mix them together thinking we could create chemicals that could make us fly.  I’m surprised we didn’t burn down the place with all the crazy things concocted in that dusty garage.  We even tried to give one of Pop’s old chickens a heart transplant.  Didn’t work but at least we got to eat chicken for supper.  Charlie would say he was going to be the next George Washington Carver.  He’d say he was gonna invent something more than just peanut butter.  Ironically  George Washington Carver was the name of Midlands black elementary school, junior high and High school.  Carver was a fitting role model for us, we celebrated his name because he reminded us we were equals in intelligence.  Charlie planted this seed in me.  I could become someone of relevance, someone that could change the world.  It was simple, put your mind into it and you can change the world.  I was gonna change the world.  




almost 7 years ago 0 likes  14 comments  0 shares

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Photo 28824
Wow. Everyone should be so blessed as to have a Charles Dean in their life....
almost 7 years ago | flag as spam
Rottendoubt a4 patrick
keep it coming!!! =D
almost 7 years ago | flag as spam
Photo 28042
I can never speak to the authenticity of your voice because I wasn't raised a black kid in the integrated south but it's a brave attempt. One usage that didn't work for me was your description of Charles as a working-class farm boy. I think of working class as more urban, industrialized workers. Even though it can include agrarian types. The kid sounds more like from sharecropper stock. Just a thought.
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Photo 35751
good work Sung, Flagday makes some interesting points but I am captivated by your writing and I don't have the same working class associations as Flagday, (though I see them as industrialised workers I also see them as small town and rural workers, but not farmers who own their own land). I come from working class peops, but rural railroad workers. Anyhu I digress... I look forward to the next installment.
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Photo 30827
I love this, Sung! I grew up in the south, as did my parents - My dad can tell stories that parallel this sort of story line. He was from a poor family, his mom did share-crop work, piece mill work, ironing for others.... anything that brought in money for the family. His dad was in the Navy for a while but that paid less than many jobs in the city. Once out of the Navy his dad worked with the Rail Road. But his mom still had to do many odd-jobs to help, while she raised 4 children. Keep the stories coming!!! <3 =)
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Photo 28042
To piggyback on my other comment, and because I live on a farm property and because of the time (1956) I thought "barn" or "shed" instead of garage. Garages were not common at the time outside the new suburbia where it started to become important to house a car, but in the country, old wood barns, sheds served those purposes, if you did happen to have a car. But I don't know what your landscape looks like. Thanks for the note.
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Photo 43083
Interesting and interesting .. curiouser and curiouser .. keep going, please :)
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Photo 6664
I especially enjoy the use of the famous names to stir up vivid memories associated with the era. =)
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Photo 35692
"Don't talk about things you can't change. Wisdom comes from the saddest places....Charlie planted this seed in me. I could become someone of relevance." Just a couple of my favorite moments from this piece. It's great to see this side of you as an artist. So glad you are speaking out on behalf of people of color, on their history and greatness. Yet this story completely transcends race. This is only a little related to your piece, but today, I substitute-taught in a class that had one white kid, two Asian kids, and the rest black, which is pretty ususual in our area. I really hope each one of them sees the possibilities that they have.
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Photo 41842
Good continuation, look forward to more!
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Photo 55239
hellow i am eminesertaç
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Default avatar
Have you always had the ability to invoke such emotion in your work. This definately brought a tear to my eye. Thank you for the inspiration.
over 6 years ago | flag as spam
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英文不好,我看了半天,查了半天,才看明白,I believe in you
over 4 years ago | flag as spam
Photo 631552
yea you can change the world
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Languages Spoken
english, korean
Location (City, Country)
Los Angeles, United States
Member Since
July 19, 2007