A Final Farewell from Sherie Denise Spruill-Allen

text and photographs by Larry H. Spruill
Along The Blended Path

Thirty days betwixt
August and September,
I offered up my debt to
Sherie Denise Spruill
my baby sister
She was so very sick.
Tied to a hospital bed,
life support machines,
unable to engage in
her favorite pastime – walking.
She valiantly fought
a courageous final battle
to maintain her
dignity and independence of spirit.

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The Lady is Back

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Nick’s Pub
Harlem, USA

Jonathan Baptiste, piano
Phil Kuehn, bass
Joey Saycor, drums
Kenneth Oshodi, guitar
Aaron Holland, saxophone

and of course
Jennifer Sano, vocals

This poem is dedicated to the Jennifer Sano
for her delicious gifts from Lady Day.

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The Responsibility of Knowledge

A Speech at Free Synagogue
Mount Vernon, New York
Sunday, November 16, 1997

By Larry H. Spruill

Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad

Our Father who art in heaven, Holy is thy name…

Qul hu wa La Hu Ahad
Al La Hu Samad
Lam Ya Lid Wa Lam Yu Lad
Wa Lam Ya Kul La Hu Ku Fu Wan Ahad

I open my address to my brothers, the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob with prayers declaring the onenessss of God in the Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions. It is so important to establish the truth of what the Ishmalites say in the Arabic language…they talk about oneness, the indivisibility of Millatu’l Ibrahim which is translated as the religion of Abraham.

We all profess the oneness of God Almighty..El Shaddai…We all seek oneness with God…But it is the desire of our merciful God that we seek oneness in love among the diversity of His creation…that is among all of humanity.

This has been and remains the greatest challenge to humanity. How difficult it seems to be to create what Dr. M.L. King declared as the “beloved community on earth.”

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Workplaces Where Everyone is Not Alike

The United States Post Office
Bear Mountain State Park
September 26. 1999

By Larry H. Spruill

I am deeply honored for being invited to be your keynote speaker this morning. Other than going to my house of worship, I could think of nothing better to do this morning than coming out to lovely Bear Mountain and having a conversation with you about the power of change, culture, diversity and the counting down of the minutes, hours, and days to the year two thousand. There are less than 100 days to the beginning of a new year, new decade, new century and new millennium. We are coming to the close of a thousand year period. This is an extraordinary event. No one living on earth will live to see another time as the beginning of a new millennium.

There is so much anxiety about 12:01 am, January 1, 2000. I am not one to panic about the computer glitch issue. If the worse case scenario happens there is nothing I can do about that anyway. As I get older, I find worrying an extremely wasteful activity. What I am most concerned about is January 2nd and beyond. I am concerned about the millennium changes that are already here. I am concerned about things like the impact of the increasing diversity at my workplace, in my community, in public services, fire, police, local government, schools and yes even the postal services. How will these agencies and institutions handle not only the technological changes taking place in the workplace but the ethnic and cultural shifts in our places of work and public service agencies.

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Who is thy neighbor?

A Speech By
Larry H. Spruill

January 14, 1998
Mamaroneck/Larchmont
Emelin Theater

I give honor to the communities of Mamaroneck and Larchmont for inviting me to your neighborhoods. Tonight pre-faces the birthday of one of the most effective Americans of all times…Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King…

What is the function of the annual King Holiday and its celebrations…It is to bring our nation into a moment of reflection about the success of our people in the journey toward the realization of our basic creeds…Are we living and governing our individual, family, local, state, and national affairs as if all men…all of humanity are really, really created equal. Are we handling our personal, business, and government affairs as if all of humanity is really, really, entitled to life, liberty and the right to purse happiness.

During this time…we get to a chance to take a look at our values and beliefs…we get a chance to ask ourselves how faithful were we to the religious and multicultural slogans on our currency: you know…In God We Trust…and E Pluribus Unum…out of many one…

The holiday stirs our conscience…we look at ourselves again…deeper than the day and week before…we ask ourselves questions like…Who is my neighbor? I submit to you that we have a generation that do not know who Dr. King really was and represents…I submit to you that we have a generation that still do not know their neighbors.

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My Village – My Life

“The Road is Rough but
It is the Only Way Home!”

By Larry H. Spruill

I have known villages
both ancient and modern…
I have an ancestral village in Nigeria…
I know not which or exactly where.
There is the Southern village of my birth…
where horse driven buggies
creaked along dusty dirt roads.
My native place
My coming forth into this world.
But there is the village of my life and heart.
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Simply Deferred

By Larry H. Spruill

The African dream
of life, liberty and peace
is rooted in
an innate pursuit of
unrestrained happiness
erupting with joyful
exuberance
taking time with friends,
miles of smiles
dance and music
with very little
in purse and pantry
but hearts full of
sweet flowers
frankincense and myrrh
and honey flavored
tongues with delicious
poems and songs
and ancient
proverbs and prayers
mixing with time and talent
to make African dreams
prosperous realities…
but for the moment
simply put…
things deferred.

Scholars and Self-Respect

By Larry H. Spruill

African students
are taught to
uniformly
fearfully respect
the headmaster
the teacher
the learning laboratories
the books and pens
honoring the things
of the mind
and one another
as a way of
demonstrating
self-respect