LIVED THROUGH THIS

Car crashes, quarry jumps, and the friends we love despite everything

Photo: Christina Reichl Photography/Getty Images

I put my feet on your dashboard, sand and beach tar between my toes; we are old friends.


A woman, a worker, a mom, and her vision for the rural South.

Dreama Caldwell (Photo provided by Dreama Caldwell)

A Breakfast

A year ago, I met Dreama at Western Steakhouse for breakfast. We both ordered eggs and grits with a pat of yellow butter melting across them.


We cannot tell from here.

Elizabeth City, NC, after the murder of Andrew Brown Jr. (Photo by author)

I was twenty when my friends and I piled into my Geo Metro and drove north through the night, six of us in that damn little car. We were a funny, rag tag crew, sticking out like sore thumbs in the Bronx — small town kids in a big city — and I found a piece of cardboard and wrote “41 SHOTS” on it in marker and carried it above my head as we joined the protest.


White mob before breaking into the US Capitol on January 6th, 2020.

Twelve years ago, I packed up a Uhaul and left the home my son was born in. I drove across the country with him in a car seat, singing hours of nursery rhymes to keep him entertained.


Past Is Prologue

Hundreds of years from now, how will the story of this time in the United States be told?

Photo: ksunderman/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

As a kid, road trips were marked by dog slobber and historical markers.


The Kanawha in Charleston. Photo by author.

I woke up in a tent on the ridge above Cat Gut on the shortest day of the longest year and shook the morning rain off the fly. My car was parked in a friend’s yard, his house looking like it could slide into the creek, and I nodded to old man chopping wood before kicking my boots and getting in the driver’s seat. He stared at me and spat.


Past Is Prologue

Working-class white people in the South have better stories to tell than the Lost Cause

Woman in Graham, North Carolina counter-protesting a Black Lives Matter march this past July. Photo by author.

I think she is trying to stare me down. Her eyes are leveled right at me.


Working and poor folks are alone in this one. It’s time to build power.

“PPE for Philly Sanitation workers” by joepiette2 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Our house was way up the side of a mountain and the road that led to it was rutted and potholed. I was small for eight and I could barely see out the backseat window, which was smeared from the dog’s nose. Mountain roads might be the stuff of folk songs, but the truth is they are scary: Deep ravines plummet down with only what seems like inches to spare, loose rocks gather on their edges. …


The local sheriff stands with deputies guarding the Confederate Memorial in Graham, NC, despite no protests.

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson, a lawman for the ages, tirelessly guards the Confederate statue in Graham basically day and night with his deputies, assigning sometimes dozens of his deputies to the courthouse detail, threat or no threat, like a true patriot.


Children, parenting, and sending them in the right direction.

“Turtle Aug 2014 (1)” by Pam_Broviak is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“I want to go to Germany,” you say as we flip through the pages of National Geographic, laying on the front porch together, your red popsicle dripping onto the pages.

Gwen Frisbie-Fulton

Mother. Southerner. Storyteller. Bread and Roses. #race #class #poverty #gender #equity #children #egalitarianorganizing #bottomupstorytelling *views my own*

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