John W. Fountain

By John W. Fountain Dateline: CHIRAQ—One hundred days later, and we don't remember her name. I am sure. It is gone. Vanished
Driving into Evergreen was like driving through a cloud of smoke into the past. The roads looked strangely familiar, as the events of 1979 seemed to come back to life. There was the police station uptown where Mama, my stepfather, Net, and I had gone to get a copy of the police report.
We discovered that some women's hair is falling out, they suspect, for washing in toxic water, of from not being able to
These memories help comfort me. For they are a reminder that for as long as I have life and breath, our mothers live inside of us. They are a reminder that a mother's love is eternal. And reason enough, for me, to always wear a red rose on Mother's Day.
Would someone who gave vital information to police stand more to gain, or more to lose? And if the bad guys should come for them, masked and under the cover of night, which of us could they then call? Would the cavalry arrive too late, if at all?
I am aware that some things still haven't changed; that being smart or a schoolboy still ain't cool; that rude boys and gangsters still get the girl; and that the groveling, often hard-to-understand ghetto talk still embraced by one world can cripple a child in another.
Far from the plight of the children who remain in harm's way, even as they resume play, making cold mud pies beneath sun
"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, the people's champion, Muhammad Ali," declared the poster that glowed in the dark
I wonder why more brothers can't see that using these terms is just another way to justify the inhumane treatment of our sisters, daughters, mothers, girlfriends, wives.
And I am praying for you--without judgment. Believing in you, hoping for you--on the "free" side of those cold steel bars, and yet, still in the struggle.
I have heard some sisters' tales of sons, husbands and lovers exercising their daily ritual of chilling in the basement, smoking blunts and drinking forties and thumbing the Xbox 360 or PlayStation while the woman of the house "holds it down."
A preacher and his wife, plainly dressed, wearing no vestments, neither bathed in pomp and circumstance, administer the Lord's Supper. They lift the bread and cup to the mouths of some of those gathered here for a morning service.
"I read you sometimes, in the newspaper on Thursdays, and sometimes, when I get done, I say, 'I'm gonna pray for him,'" she
Get over it? Get over what? How do you get over nearly 250 years of slavery that established a socioeconomic gap that continues
She was a fierce Bible believer and demanded that we memorize scriptures, pray, and say grace before we touched one morsel
In his last breath, I wonder, did Tyshawn wonder why he was about to die? Or whether--if black lives really matter--why his assassins most likely looked like the family he saw soon after he first opened his eyes?
Long before hashtags, before Black Lives Matter marches and social media campaigns, the names of Chicago murder victims have been etched into the hearts, psyches and souls of family members and friends. Among them was Frances Colon, 18. I promised her mother I would not forget.
Even in an age of preacher as celebrity, it is not the evolution of a Bling Bling Gospel that most disheartens me. It is the loss of the church's heart and soul: the mission to seek and to save lost souls through the power of the Gospel and a risen savior.
Somewhere along the way, for us, for me, the church--the collective of black churches of the Christian faith, regardless of denomination--lost its meaning, its relevance. It seems to have no discernible message for what ails the 21st-century black male soul.