After Work

Elevator photo

A scene from Heartburn which I am absolutely clueless about! 😀

Making her way to the elevator just after 6:30, Quinn was glad to see the end of the day. She spent the afternoon wheeling and dealing like a Wall Street broker securing new health plans to replace Martech after their premium rate hike. Quinn was successful so far, but at the expense of a migraine trying to form behind her eyes.

Pushing the down button, Quinn leaned her head against the cool, marble wall while she waited for the elevator.

“That kind of day, huh?

Quinn turned to find Fletcher Morgan… standing unusually close to her. She hadn’t even heard him approach.

“Unfortunately, yes. But it’s over… for now. It’s safe to make my escape.”

Fletcher nodded, knowingly. “Funny how a forty-hour work week so easily turns into sixty… or more. It seems like we’re always here. I’m sure your husband will be happy to see you walk through the door.”

Quinn quickly looked away and was saved from responding when the elevator doors opened.

Frowning, Fletcher followed her into the car. “Where are you parked?”

“Um… garage level four. Thanks.”

“I’m on four, too.” Pushing the button, Fletcher leaned against the lift wall. “Quinn, did I say something wrong?”

She stared at the descending floor numbers.


Smiling faintly with a half shrug, Quinn looked into Fletcher’s eyes for the first time. “I’m going through a divorce, Fletcher.”

The young man froze… momentarily speechless.

“Quinn, I-I… dammit! I feel like such an idiot! I had no idea. Please forgive me for speaking out of turn.”

“It’s okay, Fletcher. You didn’t know. Although, I’m pretty sure you’re probably one of the last few in the building who didn’t know.” She laughed easily.

Fletcher watched her… confused.

“Well… um, you seem to be dealing with it pretty well.”

“It didn’t just happen. It’s been a few months, and honestly — I waited far too long.” Before Fletcher could respond, the elevator doors opened. Quinn quickly exited the lift, heading for her car, pausing long enough for a quick goodbye. “Have a good eve-…”

“How are you really doing, Quinn? I know it’s stressful. My divorce two years ago had me drinking way too much.”

“That bad, huh?”

He nodded.

“It has been stressful. He keeps finding ways to stall, and while he’s stalling, he, along with our families gang up on me trying to make me change my mind.”

“He’s still in love with you?”

“Oscar is in love with Oscar… and the thought of marriage.”

“If he’s going through so much trouble to stall, maybe he’s learned his lesson and reconciliation is possible.”

Quinn smirked.

“It might be a possibility for him, but not for me. He should have thought about that before he cheated… several times.” She saw a flash of anger in his eyes, but it quickly disappeared.

“Are you kidding me? The man was married to you”, he pointed at her, “and he cheated? Is he a sighted man?”

The laugh escaped her lips before she could stop it.

“Seriously, Quinn Landon. You’re a beautiful woman. I don’t know you well personally, but I hear nothing but good things about you around the company. Forgive me for being so forward, but I think your husband — soon-to-be-ex-husband — is an idiot.”

Ducking her head as heat flooded her face, Quinn was grateful her mocha skin hid her blush.

“Thank you, Fletcher. That’s so kind of you to say.”

“You’re welcome. May I ask if you have a good attorney? Your assets being protected?”

“He’s a great attorney, and I’m not giving up a thing. What’s mine stays mine.”

“Good. My ex-wife came into the marriage with nothing, attempted to spend half of what I had while we were married, and tried to take the rest with her after I filed for divorce. This is a community property state, but no need to get carried away.”


He reached out and touched her arm. “It will get better, you know?”

Quinn nodded.

“I know. I’m just ready for the storm to pass. I need some sunshine in my life.”

Fletcher nodded in agreement, the firm set of his jaw instantly making Quinn think of John Wick. Damn that Priscilla! She bit the inside of her jaw to keep from smiling.

©2017 Felicia Denise, Al Rights Reserved


MLK and the “I Have a Dream” Speech

Martin Luther King Jr. improvised the most iconic part of his “I Have a Dream Speech.”

On Wednesday, August 28, 1963, 250,000 Americans united at the Lincoln Memorial for the final speech of the March on Washington. As Martin Luther King Jr. stood at the podium, he eventually pushed his notes aside.

The night before the march, Dr. King began working on his speech with a small group of advisers in the lobby of the Willard Hotel. The original speech was more political and less historic, according to Clarence B. Jones, and it did not include any reference to dreams. After delivering the now famous line, “we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream,” Dr. King transformed his speech into a sermon.

Onstage near Dr. King, singer Mahalia Jackson reportedly kept saying, “Tell ‘em about the dream, Martin,” and while no one will know if he heard her, it could likely have been the inspiration he needed. Dr. King then continued, “Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream….” And then the famous Baptist preacher preached on, adding repetition and outlining the specifics of his dream. And while this improvised speech given on that hot August day in 1963 was not considered a universal success immediately, it is now recognized as one of the greatest speeches in American history. For more information on the 1963 March on Washington, visit

Image: National Archives and Records Administration

Forgiving Max #52weeks52stories


#52weeks52stories: Week 7

Word prompt: bench


Having the bench in sight gave Ophelia Brubaker an energy boost to make the last few feet to her destination.

With her cane as support, Ophelia eased her brittle bones down onto the bench, grateful she’d remembered a seat cushion this time.

She loosened her light jacket and wiped the sheen of perspiration from her forehead as she caught her breath.

Ophelia looked around the immaculate grounds. The clover green grass had a uniform cut and stretched out around her like an inviting blanket. The trees, birch and oak, provided shade and comfort, their leaves rustling in the light breeze.

“The beauty of this place always takes my breath away, Max. I won’t say it’s wasted because that would be cold and unfeeling… and just plain rude. But, the city parks department could learn a thing or two from the landscapers here.”

She sipped from her water bottle before continuing.

“I spent a long weekend with Loren and his family. Teresa gave birth to his first grandchild Thursday night, and Carl graduated from Southern Sunday afternoon.” She chuckled. “It was quite a busy time. Made me realize how old and tired I am… but I loved every second.”

Ophelia smile faded, replaced by sadness. She looked around the grounds again, her mind prodding, pushing her to stop evading the subject.

At last, her eyes came to rest on the ornate headstone. Tears pooled in her eyes until they spilled down her drawn cheeks.

“You know, my love, I’ve been coming to visit you for twelve years. Updating you on what our children are doing, sharing the names and birth dates of our newest grandchildren and great-children, and telling you which of our friends to expect to see.”

Ophelia pulled an embroidered handkerchief from her bag and dabbed her eyes.

“But I’ve never talked about what was on my mind… what’s always on my mind.” Her jaws tightened. “And it’s been there for over sixty years. We didn’t talk about it when you were here… and I still have trouble talking about it now.”

She straightened her posture sitting erect, hands folded in her lap.

“But we will talk about it today, Max Brubaker. It’s time.”

She stared at the headstone.

“You and I, we had a perfect life together. I loved you with a fierce passion that scared me sometimes. And you… you could read my thoughts, finish my sentences, tell my moods by looking into my eyes. It was wonderful, my love. More than I dreamed I’d ever have.

“When we started our family, our blessings multiplied. I was heartbroken and guilty for the wives whose husbands didn’t come back from the war because mine did. And I was so grateful, Max. So, so grateful.”

“We had sad times. Losing our parents all so close together was difficult. When your cancer was diagnosed in 2004, it almost broke me. And when I lost you in 2006… Max, it did break me. I wanted to crawl into the casket next to you. Only the grace of God and the wonderful children he blessed us with saved me from dying of grief.”

Scooting to the edge of the bench, Ophelia leaned on her cane and stood.

“Some days it hurts to sit as much as it does to stand.” She hobbled around the bench and leaned on the retaining wall.

“The last true bad spot in our lives, Max, was Kerwin.” The name dropped from her lips leaving a grimace in its wake.

“Some families call members like him the black sheep, but Kerwin was so much worse… a cancerous plague spreading and devouring everything it touched.”

She paced the few steps to the end of the bench. “He almost destroyed us, but I refused to give in.” Her gaze returned to the headstone. “And you refused to admit the truth even though you saw it in my eyes. I couldn’t say the words either, too consumed with guilt, shame, and anger.

“But, when you said you had to take your dad to the specialist in Boston and Kerwin would stay with the kids and me and keep the sidewalks and driveway cleared of snow and ice—I’ll never forget that argument.”


“Boston General says the tests take two days. We’ll be on our way back home by Wednesday afternoon.”

Ophelia’s heart broke at the sadness overtaking her husband. “Do they think they can help your dad?”

He sighed, resting his elbows on his thighs. “That’s what the tests are for—to see the exact location of the tumor, how fast it’s growing, and if it’s operable. The only thing Dr. Minor would say for sure is if they do nothing, dad will lose his sight by fall.”

“I’m so sorry, my love. I know Dell is glad to have you with him.”

“I know, Lia. I’m glad I’m here for him too.” Max stood and grabbed another cup of coffee and before standing next to his wife at the counter.

“That winter storm they’re predicting could hit before we get back. I’d feel better knowing you and the kids weren’t here alone, so I asked Kerwin to -”

“No.” She grabbed more vegetables from the fridge.


“I don’t need… I mean there’s no need to inconvenience Kerwin. We’ll manage.”

Sitting his cup down, Max slid his hands around her waist.

“Inconvenience? Honey, he’s my brother. Of course, he’ll help look out for my family.”

She pulled away. “No, Max. It isn’t necessary.”

“Honey, I know you’re not the biggest fan of my brother since he tried to kiss you at Christmas dinner, and I’m sorry for that.”

Max couldn’t see her knuckles whiten as her grip tightened on the butcher knife.

“But he’d celebrated with a bit too much spiked eggnog, is all. He apologized to you when he sobered up.”

Ophelia stabbed at the potatoes and rough-chopped the carrots as though swinging a machete.

“Max, you’re talking about two days. TWO days. We’re two blocks from the children’s school and I’ll postpone any appointments I have. There. See how easy that was? No driving while you’re gone.”

Max stepped away from her, dragging his hand through his stiff buzz-cut. “Don’t mock me, Lia. I’m being serious about- ”

“I’m serious too, dear. The boys walk to and from school every day. If a foot of snow falls, it will take them longer… because they’re kids, and they will play. I can shovel a path to the sidewalk and walk down to the corner and wait for them. See? We’ll be fine.”

“Kids playing?” Max shoved his hands deep into his pockets, stomping around the kitchen. “You’re determined not to take this seriously, Lia. I get it, you don’t like Kerwin. But, remember that storm from last winter? It was supposed to be three to four inches and ended up being nineteen? The city was shut down with power and heating outages everywhere. We were all here together and things still got bad before streets were cleared and power restored.” He slumped against the refrigerator. “I have to know my family is safe. I’m sorry, but Kerwin will stay here.”

Slamming the knife down on the counter, Ophelia Brubaker whirled around to face her husband.

“You’re sorry? You’re sorry?” She walked toward him. “I have to tolerate Kerwin at family gatherings. And I’ve spent years listening to your family make excuses for his bad decisions.” She stopped mere inches from Max, her body shaking from rage.

“You are a wonderful husband and father, but you’re blind when it comes to your brother.” She took two more steps. “I will not have his presence forced upon me in my own home… not even for you. If you think the storm will be a problem, reschedule your father’s appointment- ”

“You know I can’t do- ”

“… then I’ll take the boys out of school for a couple of days and go to my brother’s.”

Stunned by her plan, Max Brubaker grasped for words.

“Lia, I’m just… I need you to work with me. I can’t be two places at once.” He held his arms out to his sides, his brow knitted in confusion. “I don’t know what else to do here, Lia. You act as though you’re afraid of my brother.”

Ophelia didn’t respond, but she held his gaze, fighting to keep her body from shuddering.

But she couldn’t keep the pain from her eyes.

She knew Max saw her pain when recognition dawned on his face.

The seconds ticked by as the couple stood moored in silence.

Embers of relief and hope grew inside Ophelia and calmed her soul. Max knew. At last, he knew. No more hiding her pain. No more fake smiles.

But Max Brubaker held his hands up in front of him… between them… backing toward the kitchen door. “Okay, Lia, you win. I’ll tell Kerwin your brother is coming here instead.”

He turned and walked out of the kitchen.


Tears streamed down Ophelia’s face, remembering that fateful day.

“You broke my heart, Max, and my spirit. If it hadn’t been for the boys, I’d have killed myself. It was too much to live with. Knowing you knew and did nothing. Like your parents, you covered up and ignored Kerwin’s sins, and defended him to anyone who held him accountable.”

She pointed an accusing finger at the headstone.

“Your brother raped me a month before you were discharged! He was smug and arrogant and knew your parents would protect him.” She twisted the handkerchief in her hands.

“I didn’t know what to do… who to tell. I felt responsible for letting him into our home. But he was your brother, Max. I didn’t think…” Her voice trailed off. After several minutes, Ophelia cleared her throat.

“I didn’t want your homecoming ruined, my love. I decided to say nothing until you got home. But even then, I could never form the words. The shame and guilt were just too great.”

“But years later… that day in the kitchen. You realized what I’d been hiding… and ignored it.”

“You put your brother ahead of me… and I hated you for it. Hated you! Do you hear me, Max?”

She clawed at her chest, trying to stave off her own hysteria. She buried her face in her hands, massaging her brow. When she raised her head, her calm had returned.

“I pretended things were okay—normal, even. I’d had a lot of time to perfect fake smiles and false sincerity. The only time I let my guard down was with my children.”

“You pretended too, my love. Pretended you didn’t know—like we’d never had that argument. But, you changed. You never left me alone with him after that and didn’t invite him over the way you used to. I was grateful for that.”

Ophelia paused as a woman a few years her junior walked by.

“Give him hell, honey. He can’t get up and leave.”

The two women shared a chuckle as the younger woman made her way to a bench and headstone of her own.

“We went on, Max. It was hell for us both, but I believe our love is what saved us. My head told me to walk away but my heart wouldn’t hear of it.” She grinned. “So glad I listened to my heart.”

“It all began to make sense right before your dad passed, in a dysfunctional, chaotic way. When Kerwin was arrested for assaulting that woman at his job, your dad stopped all his medical treatments to use his savings for Kerwin’s defense. When the woman dropped the charges, I realized the defense was to pay for her silence.

“It was the admissions your sister made to me when I spent the week in Seattle with her after the Cesarean that brought all the pieces together. I’d often wondered why Katherine made infrequent visits home but figured she was a busy wife and mother. But when she said it was hard for her to visit because she hated her brother, I knew which brother and why. After she told me Kerwin molested her when she was seventeen, and your parents blamed her, your reaction made sense.”

“You weren’t protecting Kerwin with your silence, you were protecting me. If your parents didn’t believe their own daughter, I didn’t stand a chance.”

“It was a bitter pill to swallow, but I did. The aftertaste came back several times over the years, but at least I didn’t blame you… or hate you.”

She took another sip of water, dabbed her eyes one last time and returned her things to her handbag.

“I’ve chided myself dozens of times since you’ve been gone for not telling you, Max… for not forcing the conversation. I just couldn’t make myself do it.”

“Katherine called me last night both happy and angry. Happy because Kerwin died two days ago of heart failure. Angry because he died at home in his own bed. No pain, no suffering. He went to bed and never woke up.”

“Katherine didn’t think it was fair after all the pain he’d brought to so many.”

“I understand why she feels that way, but odd enough, I found an easy peace in your brother’s death. I haven’t seen him since your funeral, yet I always felt as though he was behind every closed door or hiding in the dark waiting for me. It took me sixty years to put everything into place but now I know I was shackled by fear. I hated Kerwin and thought I hated you… but I hated myself more for being afraid.”

A sad smile formed on her face.

“I knew I would come here today and tell you what’s worried my heart for so long.”

Ophelia scooted to the edge of the bench and hoisted her weary body up, braced against her cane. She hobbled across the short narrow path to the granite headstone. She pressed two fingers against her lips then touched the grave marker.

“I miss you, my love, every day. And I forgive you, Max… for allowing me to hide my own pain. It gave Kerwin too much power over me for too long.”

Slow, deliberate steps took her back to the bench. She gathered her things, and with one last smile at Max Brubaker’s headstone, Ophelia left the cemetery for the last time. She would return thirty-seven days later to rest next to her husband… in peace.


©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved



Happy Birthday, Toni Morrison!

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford; February 18, 1931) is an American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher, and professor emeritus at Princeton University.

Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988 for Beloved. The novel was adapted into a film of the same name (starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover) in 1998. Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. In 1996, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected her for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities. She was honored with the 1996 National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Morrison wrote the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner, first performed in 2005. On May 29, 2012, President Barack Obama presented Morrison with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2016, she received the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”


From Google and Wikipedia

Song Lyric Sunday | “Caravan of Love” – Isley Jasper Isley

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “Earth”. 


This feel-good song from 1985 went straight to number one on the R & B singles chart and fifty-one on the pop charts.  (British indie band The Housemartins also found success with Caravan of Love in November 1986 with their a capella song version reaching number one in the UK Singles Chart on 16 December 1986.)

In my Song Lyric Sunday post on Nesie’s Place, I mentioned the Utopia we all search for in vain. Isley Jasper Isley’s Caravan of Love is about this place of peace which is attainable if we all only reach out in love.

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Caravan of Love


Are you ready for the time of your life
It’s time to stand up and fight
(It’s alright) It’s alright (It’s alright, it’s alright)
Hand in hand we’ll take a caravan
To the motherland
One by one we’re gonna stand with the pride
One that can’t be denied
(Stand up, stand up, stand up, stand up)
From the highest mountain and valley low
We’ll join together with hearts of gold
Now the children of the world can see
There’s a better way for us to be
The place where mankind was born
Is so neglected and torn, torn apart
Every woman, every man
Join the caravan of love (Stand up, stand up, stand up)
Everybody take a stand
Join the caravan of love
I’m your brother
I’m your brother, don’t you know
I’m your brother
I’m your brother, don’t you know
We’ll be living in a world of peace
In a day when everyone is free
We’ll bring the young and the old
Won’t you let your love flow from your heart
Every woman, every man
Join the caravan of love (Stand up, stand up, stand up)
Everybody take a stand
Join the caravan of love
I’m your brother
I’m your brother, don’t you know
I’m your brother
I’m your brother, don’t you know
Now the children of the world can see
There’s a better for us to be
The place where mankind was born
Is so neglected and torn, torn apart
Every woman, every man
Join the caravan of love (Stand up, stand up, stand up)
Everybody take a stand
Join the caravan of love
Are you ready for the time of your life
(Are you ready, are you ready)
Are you ready for the time of your life
(Are you ready, are you ready)
Come go with me
(Are you ready, are you ready)
Come go with me
(Are you ready, are you ready)
Every woman, every man
Join the caravan of love (Are you ready, are you ready)
Everybody take a stand
Join the caravan of love (Are you ready, are you ready)
Every woman, every man
Join the caravan of love (Are you ready, are you ready)
Everybody take a stand
Join the caravan of love (Are you ready, are you ready)
Songwriters: Chris Jasper / Ernest Isley / Ernie Isley / Marvin Isley

Bessie Coleman, Pilot

Bessie Coleman

The first licensed African American Female pilot was named Bessie Coleman.

Born in Atlanta, Texas in 1892, Bessie Coleman grew up in a world of harsh poverty, discrimination and segregation. She moved to Chicago at 23 to seek her fortune, but found little opportunity there as well. Wild tales of flying exploits from returning WWI soldiers first inspired her to explore aviation, but she faced a double stigma in that dream being both African American and a woman.

She set her sights on France in order to reach her dreams and began studying French. In 1920, Coleman crossed the ocean with all of her savings and the financial support of Robert Abbott, one of the first African American millionaires. Over the next seven months, she learned to fly and in June of 1921, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale awarded her an international pilot’s license. Wildly celebrated upon her return to the United States, reporters turned out in droves to greet her.

Coleman performed at numerous airshows over the next five years, performing heart thrilling stunts, encouraging other African Americans to pursue flying, and refusing to perform where Blacks were not admitted. When she tragically died in a plane accident in 1926, famous writer and equal rights advocate Ida B. Wells presided over her funeral. An editorial in the “Dallas Express” stated, “There is reason to believe that the general public did not completely sense the size of her contribution to the achievements of the race as such.”

Image: Bessie Coleman and her plane in 1922, Monash University 


“Where is your joy, Lennie?”

Free_full cover

In this short excerpt, Lenore Porter is reading a letter from her beloved Aunt Diane who recently passed away.

In every area of your life, you always stood out. You never tried to be the center of attention or sought the limelight, but it found you! It always found you! Your beautiful inner light shone like a beacon drawing people to you. You were never a vain or prideful child, but your dignity and grace were evident long before you reached your adult years. Why are you allowing this man to dim your light?

And you are allowing it, Lennie. I don’t for one minute believe that Ranard controls or dominates you in any way. He’s more like an unruly child acting out and you’re the tolerant, long-suffering parent.

That’s not what marriage is about, Lennie.

I’ve watched you both when you weren’t looking. I’ve never seen him hold your hand, or kiss or caress your cheek. I’ve never heard him compliment you, or say anything positive about you. But I held out hope. You have a reason for everything you do, so I knew there was a reason you married that man. But was it love, Lennie?

As your third anniversary fast approaches, you’ve already been married longer than Conrad and me. But we had so much joy and laughter, Lennie. We were disappointed I didn’t get pregnant before he shipped out, but it didn’t dampen our happiness one bit.

Where is your joy, Lennie? What makes you happy? It has to be more than your children because they will grow up and leave for their own life journeys. I speak from experience even though I wasn’t blessed to be a mother. I shared my sister’s heartache and anxiety when you left.

I also shared my concerns about you with her after our vacation. I was both relieved and saddened to find out she understood and felt the same way. Relieved because I now had someone to talk to about it – I couldn’t talk to you, Lennie. I knew you’d be angry and I didn’t want to lose you – and I was also sad because if Linda saw the same problems, they were real and not the overactive imagination of a nosy old woman.

I’ve always known you would be my heir. I almost told you on a couple of occasions, but I knew you’d insist that I sell everything and donate the money to some organization saving whales, or hamsters, or gophers… or whatever is all the rage at the moment. But no, I want you to have what was mine. It gives me peace to know I can do this one last thing for you and the children.

However, I am not done. I’m sure you’re fit to be tied by now. Clutching this letter with both hands, beads of perspiration forming on your forehead as you think about digging up my body to tell me about my bossy self.

My sweet Lennie Penny.

I hope you are sitting down because if you are angry with me now, by the time you finish this letter, you WILL dig up my body!


©2017 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved


Lenore Porter’s life had not gone as she planned.

The marriage she put her heart and soul into failed.

The man she sacrificed so much for abandoned her.

But Lennie refused to be broken. She pushed on, running a successful business and raising her three sons alone.

Through health scares and severe family dysfunction and trauma which forever changed their lives, the Porter family clung to each other to keep from sinking into the darkness.

With her marriage over long ago and her adult sons living their own lives, Lenore Porter decides to sell the cold fortress she worked so hard to make a warm, loving home.

A short, final inspection of her former home turns into a confrontation with ghosts from the past, and decisions and events Lennie felt she’d dealt with and moved on from.

Free, a Novella is a short, clean read recounting one woman’s determination to not be broken by life or lose her identity.


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Transatlantic Slave Trade 1500-1866

Of the 12.5 million Africans shipped to the New World during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, fewer than 388,000 arrived in the United States.

In the late 15th century, the advancement of seafaring technologies created a new Atlantic that would change the world forever. As ships began connecting West Africa with Europe and the Americas, new fortunes were sought and native populations were decimated. With the native labor force dwindling and demand for plantation and mining labor growing, the transatlantic slave trade began.

The Transatlantic Slave Trade was underway from 1500-1866, shipping more than 12 million African slaves across the world. Of those slaves, only 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage. Over 400 years, the majority of slaves (4.9 million) found their way to Brazil where they suffered incredibly high mortality rates due to terrible working conditions. Brazil was also the last country to ban slavery in 1888.

By the time the United States became involved in the slave trade, it had been underway for two hundred years. The majority of its 388,000 slaves arrived between 1700 and 1866, representing a much smaller percentage than most Americans realize.

Image: African Renaissance Monument, Senegal

Sacrificial Daughter | #WIP

Sacrificial Daughter

NaNoWriMo lives! This unedited excerpt is from my 2017 project, Sacrificial Daughter, currently in revisions.

Thirty minutes passed before Ana Sellers returned Jeff Russell’s call. Expecting a receptionist or machine, she was surprised when Jeff answered the phone.

“Russell and Peters, may I help you?”

“I’m returning a call to Jeff Russell.”


Pulling the phone away from her ear, Ana stared at it, incredulous. He knew her? Sixteen years had passed since the day she left Corwin without looking back.

“You know me?”

You were a year ahead of me in school.”

The name still didn’t ring any bells so she would have to take his word for it.

“I see. And now you’re an attorney in Corwin.?”

“Yes, my cousin, Adam, and I took over the practice from our dads about seven years ago.”

“And… and why d-do you need to speak to me, Jeff? What is the urgency?”

Silence was his response.

“Jeff? Still there?”

“Yes, I’m here. I’ve been looking for you for over two weeks.”

“Please tell me what this is about and why you’ve been looking for me.”

She heard an exhale escape from him, gruff and harsh.

“Analeigh, Rosie Chastain passed away.”

Ana froze. Rosie? Gone? No. No way. She spoke to her dear friend… three weeks ago. Damn it. Rosie said she was coming down with a cold but was looking forward to flying to Georgia in July to see her good friend and surrogate daughter.

Ana pulled at her chest, trying to ease the pain gnawing at her heart.

“W-What happened?”

“Heart failure. She told everyone she had a cold, but it was pneumonia. Her heart wasn’t strong enough to handle it. Rosie had a heart attack and slipped into a coma. Three days later, she coded. There was nothing the doctors could do.”

Her dear friend was gone. Ana’s skin prickled with anxiety as she fought to keep grief from overwhelming her.

“Jeff, how did you find me? What made you even look for me?”

“Like I said, it took some time, Analeigh. Rosie didn’t get out much the last few years. The few people she did talk to said she was disgusted with the changes and direction of Corwin.”

Ana knew that was true.

She tried to avoid the subject of Corwin when she and Rosie talked. Ana didn’t need memories of the place flashing through her mind, and Rosie said it decayed into nothing more than a political cesspool. The town’s first families — the Burfords, Foleys, and Lakes held all the offices of power. They treated Corwin like it was their personal kingdom and speaking out against them killed social standing and sometimes worse.

“Rosie had no family, and at the beginning, we thought she had no will. After wading through the legalities, we were able to enter her home. We found her will, drawn up by an attorney over in Spradlin. We also found your name and number, but the number was disconnected.”

Damn it! After a mini-battle with her cell provider over dropped calls and shoddy service, Ana switched carriers… and got a new number… four days after she and Rosie last spoke.

Analeigh didn’t bother to wipe away her tears when she realized by the time she activated her new number… Rosie was already gone.


“I’m here, Jeff. Just trying to take all this in.”

“I’m sorry to have to tell you like this, Analeigh.”

“It’s alright. I do appreciate the call, Jeff… and thank you.”

“Wait, Analeigh. I didn’t hunt you done just to tell you Rosie was gone. In her will, she left everything to you. Her home and the store.”

The buzzing in Ana’s ears roared over Jeff’s voice. Analeigh Sellers sat there overwhelmed and in shock with a sense of dread taking over.


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©2017 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Earliest Recorded Protest Against Slavery

Quaker Protest

The earliest recorded protest against slavery was by the Quakers in 1688.

Quakers, also known as “The Society of Friends,” have a long history of abolition. But it was four Pennsylvania Friends from Germantown who wrote the initial protest in the 17th century. They saw the slave trade as a grave injustice against their fellow man and used the Golden Rule to argue against such inhumane treatment; regardless of skin color, “we should do unto others as we would have done onto ourselves.” In their protest they stated, “Pray, what thing in the world can be done worse towards us, then if men should robb or steal us away, & sell us for slaves to strange Countries, separating husbands from their wife and children….”

Their protest against slavery and human trafficking was presented at a “Monthly Meeting at Dublin” in Philadelphia. The Dublin Monthly Meeting reviewed the protest but sent it to the Quarterly Meeting, feeling it to be too serious an issue for their own meeting to decide. The four Friends continued their efforts and presented at the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, but it wasn’t until 88 years later that the Society of Friends officially denounced slavery.

Over the centuries, this rare document has been considered lost twice. Most recently it was rediscovered in 2005 and is now at Haverford College Special Collections.

Photo: 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery