Movies and Scholarly Journal Book Reviews, Poems, Children’s Books, Short Stories and Essays

Movies and Scholarly Journal Book Reviews, Poems, Children’s Books, Short Stories and Essays are my writing genres.  My audience is readers of diversity literature.  I remind you of this as I celebrate the ANNIVERSARY of my author’s website and blog.

I’m also updating  the status of my short story Who Would Kill My Mother?, which I submitted to the Chicago Tribune ‘s Nelson Algren Literary Contest.  The story was declined in July.  (Ouch)

But the Winter/Spring 2018, The Journal of African American History, Volume 103, Number 1/2, published my book review of Black Woman Reformer:  Ida B. Wells, Lynching, and Transatlantic Activism by Sarah L. Silkey.   You can find it in The Journal beginning on page 233.

The following is an excerpt from the review:

Wells celebrated the success of her transatlantic campaigns in her book a Red Record, published in 1895.  In Black Woman Reformer: Ida B. Wells, Lynching and Transatlantic Activism, Silkey documents and assesses Wells’s contribution to the lynching debate that would continue well into the twentieth century and makes it clear that in the United States and Britain, Wells’s reporting and speeches on lynching shaped how the late nineteenth-century public, and twenty-first-century historians, understand and interpret lynching.

Note:  The Journal of African American History is published by the University of Chicago Press on behalf of The Association For The Study of African American Life and History – ASALH.  ASALH is holding it’s 103rd Annual Meeting and Conference October 3-7, 2018 in Indianapolis Marriott downtown.  Theme:  African Americans in Times of War.





First blog post of mitchellworks. The creative writing blog of Lana Jean Mitchell. Here I will post in addition to my writings my activities in marketing, selling and creating those writings. I will discuss your comments about my writings as well as questions you or I raise as result of our interactions, my activities, or that come up in the course of my creative endeavors. I might discuss the fact that I was selling poetry and my children’s book, A Birthday Story, at a multiculture market, yesterday, Sunday, September 5, 2016 here where I reside in the city of Des Moines, Iowa. I sent a letter of congratulations to the Des Moines Public Library today. The library is celebrating its 150th anniversary. (I visit the library both online and in the brick and mortar buildings quite often.) I have a Facebook page where I also post. I plan to link the pages. I thought about the page because I also post there. I’ve got old post that might interest you. Bye!

This is the post excerpt.

This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.


What I Really Know About The Vote

What I Really Know About The Vote, is an essay I wrote several years ago but never published.   The 2018 mid- term elections will be held this coming November.  I’m posting the essay to help the get out the vote effort.


What I really know about the vote is that it is “ground” won.  The ground in this instance is the right to vote.  It has been won like the ground in a battle, the taking of Concord, Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War, for example.

The right to vote in the United States had to be won, by all of the groups who currently have the right to vote.  The place, once won, where you can defend your rights as a citizen.

The Original Voters in the United States

The original voters in the United States were the landed gentry.  Typically white males who were property owners. When they won the Revolutionary War against the British, they gave themselves the right to vote, remember.  Ground won.

 The 13th, 14th & 15th Amendments to the US Constitution

African American males, 18 years of age and older, and non propertied males, with the exception of those on the reservations, were the next group to win the right to vote.  The ratified 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution gave them the right after  protest and  participation in the United States Civil War. Ground won.  Women attempted to gain the right during this time but were not successful.


Women, 18 years old and older,  gained the right after years of protest and the ratification of the 19th amendment to the Constitution in 1920.  Ground won.

The ground won, (the vote) is thrown away when you don’t vote.  Voting may not do all you want it to do,  but all ground won doesn’t always win the war either, but it holds what you have won, in this case your right to have your voice heard.




“Recidivism” – habitual or chronic relapse. “Recidivism” is the title of one of my original poems. Below, I’m citing a few lines from the poem.
Before that, a relevant quote from Aime’Ce’saire (6-26-19 to 4-17-2008) Francophone and French poet, author and politician from the Caribbean island of Martinique.
“Emancipating ones self (sic) from what has been by transforming it
and giving it a new strength. It is the hour of metamorphosis
and transformation.” (the red hour expression in “And the dogs
were silent”).

When a girl,

I became acquainted

With the recidivism

Of extended family,

Neighbors and classmates.

I pondered

The cause for

The return to a road

That leads to another “stint”

In an institution erected to house,

Those, who when free

Plan their future,

With a sentence that begins,

“When I get back to

San Quentin, Leavenworth, jail,



Regina Anderson Andrews: Harlem Renaissance Librarian – A Book Review

I reviewed Regina Anderson Andrews:  Harlem Renaissance Librarian by Ethlene Whitmire, for the Winter 2017, Volume 102, No. 1 edition of The Journal Of African American History (JAAH).  Here is an excerpt from that review.

“Mention the 1920’s Harlem Renaissance and the names of certain notable African Americans currently celebrated in Black History Month programs, and African American Studies courses immediately come to mind: poet Langston Hughes; scholar-activist W.E.B. DuBois; anthropologist and novelist Zora Neale Hurston; and novelist and literary critic Jessie Fauset.  Regina Anderson Andrews’s name would probably not be mentioned, but she was a contemporary of these luminaries, and in her position as librarian at the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library (NYPL) she was, like them, an important contributor to Harlem’s New Negro movement.  Ethlene Whitmire’s Regina Anderson Andrews:  Harlem Renaissance Librarian is the first full-length biography about Andrews, though she is mentioned in articles and important books about the artists and writers of the period, such as Nathan Huggin’s Voices from the Harlem Renaissance (1976) and Cheryl Walls’s Women of the Harlem Renaissance (1995).”




If I Cry, Won’t You Hurt for Me?

I was torn.

If I cry,

Won’t you hurt for me?

If I don’t cry,

Won’t you feel unwanted, unloved?

Mama, don’t go, I said-And I cried-You don’t want to go.

I know:

You, like me,

Want the cancer to be cured.

You, like me,

Want the nourishment flowing through the tubes

To make it possible for you to eat again,

Mama, don’t go, I said and I cried.

You could be a cancer survivor,

If there is time to care,

To show love,

To lay on hands.

Mama, don’t go, I said

And I cried.

My tears, falling on my side of the shared hospital pillow.

Lana Mitchell

Great Poets Across america: A celebration of National Poetry Month (VII)

Copyright (C) 2012 by Great Poets Across America as a compilation.

Poem – “For Carmen: On Becoming A Woman”

A miracle,

It seems,

The strange new thing

That your body is doing.

In one day,

Taking you from child

To novice.

In one twenty-four hour period,

Your known world of play and carless fun,

Gave way to an unknown

Place of grown-up wisdom

And responsibility.

Cherish the wonder of your blessing,

The power to bring forth life

Has been added to your life’s possibilities,

Creating a place for you

In the future of humanity.


Lana Mitchell – Stars in Our Hearts: Finesse

(C) 2012 by World Poetry Movement as a compilation